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Our Favourite Ways to Get Baby into a Sleep Routine

Most parents in today's society are craving sleep. They have a busy lifestyle, they have to look after older children, do the housework and then usually go back to work when their baby is around 6 months


When a baby doesn't sleep well, mom and dad are often left exhausted, grumpy and stressed... and so is baby.

We asked the Baby Show's sleep expert Jo Tantum why it's important to get your child into a routine at night and how to best go about it.

Baby sleep routine tips

Baby sleep expert Jo Tantum says...

You might be told that your baby will learn how to sleep and will get better as they get older, or that it will get better when you wean them, because the reason they wake frequently in the night is because they are hungry. You might also be told that when your baby starts to get more mobile (crawling and walking) they will wear themselves out and start to sleep better! This gives you hope that if you can get to that point it will all be OK.

Then your hopes are dashed.

sleeping through the nightThe truth is, they won't sleep better just because they are weaned or have started to crawl and sadly, they won't just grow out of it! If they have the wrong sleep associations and bad sleep habits, they will continue to have interrupted sleep unless you teach them how to sleep without props, such as bottles, or constant reassurance.

Your baby needs to be taught how to become a good sleeper. Just as you will encourage them to walk, they need to be encouraged to learn how to sleep. Some babies are naturally good sleepers but most babies won't just fall into it. You will have to work at it, but if you persevere it will work and your baby will become a great sleeper throughout toddlerhood and beyond!

Naps and nutrition

Teaching your baby to have good nap times is also key to sleeping well at night. A baby who is overtired when they go to bed is going to nap and not fall into a lovely refreshing deep sleep. When you start to teach your baby good sleeping habits always start at the beginning of the day so that they will have several practices before night time. You will also be able to be more alert and patient than in the middle of the night when you will do anything just to get more sleep!

Babies need to have a long deep sleep at this age. It is the time when their brains are processing everything they have learned during the day. It is also the time when their immune systems are boosted and their bodies repair themselves. Research shows that they should be getting enough nutrition in the daytime so they don't need feeding at night.

Jo's favourite tips on getting baby sleep routines right:

  1. Follow a bedtime ritual consistently every night. Babies and toddlers relish routine and they like to know what is coming next.
  2. Treat every hour between 7pm and 7am as night time, which means dark and quiet with no talking, no games, no activities. Your baby will soon understand the difference between night and day.
  3. Try not to let your baby fall asleep in your arms whilst cuddling or feeding. Always lay your baby down whilst they are awake.
  4. Use 'Spaced Soothing' to calm baby and reassure them that you are there for them without having to pick them up.
  5. Don't rush to your baby at every sound - many of the noises a baby makes are his attempt to fall asleep.
  6. Give your baby a late night feed or 'dream feed' at the same time every night (around 10.30 or 11pm) even if you have to wake him to do so. Continue until he is ready to sleep through the night. Great if you can get Dad to do this as it is an opportunity for babies and fathers to bond and for mums to get some much needed sleep!
  7. Set a base time for the middle of the night feed and never feed before it. Stretch that time gradually until your baby starts to sleep through the night.
  8. Try and get your baby used to the nursery as soon as possible. Otherwise, when they do decide to put them in to their own room they won't feel secure and won't associate it with sleeping.
  9. Watch for tired signs and let your baby nap before they become overtired. Many parents underestimate how much sleep a baby really needs. A newborn can only stay awake for around 1 hour and at 6 months this only increases to 2 hours.
  10. Try to encourage your baby to settle themselves to sleep without a sleep prop. A 'prop' is when you are feeding your baby to sleep, rocking them, pushing them in a pram/buggy or even giving them a dummy. Soon this will be the only way they can sleep, and will need props if they wake in the night.

If you are interested in getting more helpful information from Jo, check out her book Baby Secrets.

Bleep sleep consultants

sleep routines for baby

If you would like some more help from the professionals, Tinies Maternity can provide a specialist maternity nanny. We work with sleep consultants and lactation consultants throughout the UK.

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