Sleep is a very emotional topic for parents, especially those with newborn babies who may be struggling with frequent night-time wakings and wondering when their baby will sleep all night. Just remember you’re not alone and every baby is different, so you’ll find the way that works for you eventually. These top sleep tips for young babies are designed to help.
Create a dark environment
Babies won’t automatically sleep because it’s night time. But you can help to teach them the difference between day and night by taking them outside in the fresh air and light during the day, then making sure their environment is dark in the evening.
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Establish a short, simple bedtime routine
Help your baby to feel like it’s time for sleep by adopting a winding down bedtime routine every night. Babies may not understand what you’re doing, but gradually a simple routine will encourage them to sleep.
- Take your baby away from the rest of the family for some quiet time. About an hour before bedtime, give them chance to calm down from all the excitement and adventures of the day.
- Dim the lights in the nursery or baby’s bedroom.
- Encourage your baby to relax with a warm, soothing bath. Don’t indulge in too much playtime and splashing about before bed.
- Once out of the bath, take your little one straight into their darkened nursery and dress them in night clothes.
- Give your baby their last feed before bedtime.
- Place your little one in their cot while they’re still awake.
- Use a favourite phrase such as “Night, night, sleep tight,” to signal that you’re about to leave the room.
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Don’t wait until they’re asleep to put them down
Try to put your baby in their cot or sleeping basket when they’re still awake. This will help them get used to getting themselves to sleep, so they’re more likely to do it again when they wake during the night.
If your baby always falls asleep while eating or in your arms, they may start to expect that this is how they go to sleep and when your baby briefly wakes during the night, they may not be able to go back to sleep on their own.
If your baby falls asleep during their last milk feed, rouse them gently before putting them in their cot.
After the newborn period, most experts recommend allowing your baby to become sleepy in your arms, then placing them in their cot or sleeping basket while still awake. This way your baby learns how to go to sleep on their own.
Playing soft music or sounds like white noise while your baby is getting sleepy can also be a good way to help create a bedtime routine.
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Create a place that your baby associates with sleep
Having a quiet, dark place like the nursery where baby won’t be disturbed can help baby to understand that it’s time for sleep. Putting your baby down for naps and night time sleep in their cot in a cool, darkened room will help them feel secure as they drift off to sleep.
Having a daytime routine can help too. Don’t worry, we know not every day can be the same, but having naps at similar times and making sure your baby doesn’t become overtired at night can help them get into a good sleeping pattern.