How to help your baby sleep through the night
It's a question every parent has wondered - just how do I get my baby to sleep through the night? These expert sleep tips from Maryanne Taylor will help you both get a good night's rest.
It's Sleep Awareness Week, but if your child doesn't sleep through the night then you're probably painfully aware of that fact every day!
Make sure that your child’s bedroom is warm, comfortable and soothing. A room temperature of 16-20°C is recommended, which often feels cooler than most people would expect.
During the summer months, if your baby’s room gets too hot, close the curtains and open a window to allow a
breeze to flow through the room and ensure that the cot is not in direct sunlight.
Use a small plug-in night light if your child appears to be nervous in the dark. Blackout blinds or curtains help
to keep all external light out, which is particularly important to prevent early rising and help ensure good daytime naps.
Keep your baby’s sleep space plain and simple, without heavy bedding, pillows or too many toys. A few soft toys at the bottom of the cot is fine but avoid overloading it.
The baby’s mattress should be firm and free from tears and sagging, which is why it is always advisable to use a new mattress for a new baby.
To ensure your baby’s head is always kept uncovered by clothing or bedding, use a lightweight well-fittng sleeping bag rather than loose fittng sheets or blankets.
Make bedtime the same time each day to regulate your child’s body clock.
A bedtime routine is a powerful cue leading up to sleeptime and should take place in the room in which your baby sleeps. It should be simple, comforting and predictable with calming and quiet activities, such as lullabies and simple rhyming stories, all of which will help your baby to wind down before going to sleep.
Help your baby to gradually learn how to fall asleep independently without always needing a sleep ‘prop’ such
as being fed or rocked to sleep.
At bedtime, put your child into their cot drowsy but awake, so they are aware of their sleeping environment.
If they are always put down fully asleep, they will be less likely to be able to settle themselves when they wake during the night.
An attachment to a security object or ‘lovey’ can help your child feel safe and secure and help to soothe them
back to sleep if they wake during the night. For babies, this should be something which has breathable material and is suitable from birth.
Sleep on the go
For naps in a pushchair, ensure your baby is lying flat and doesn’t get too hot.