Remember what it was like to sleep for eight hours straight and not think anything of it? It was so normal. Unless of course you had a big night and then you could only blame yourself… and always indulge in an uninterrupted lie in the next morning. Those were the days.
Now back to your present reality. According to a National Sleep Foundation poll 69% of kids under ten experience some sort of sleep problem. What’s the big secret of the other 31%?
How can you and your baby get more sleep?
- Relax your baby before sleep time with a massage, soft music or bath
Let your baby know it’s the end of the day. The hard work and play has finished and it’s time to relax and rest. I still massage my two year old before bed with olive oil after her bath soak. I also let her have her dummy at bedtime, the soft sucking comforts her. We have a special bedtime song which we have sung every night since she was a newborn. It’s important your baby starts to make associations with bedtime and sleep and these are the ones which I use.
- Put your baby to sleep when she’s drowsy, not asleep
The sooner your baby learns to put herself to sleep the better off everyone will be (I know you have heard this many times but it’s true!). It will also help her soothe herself when she wakes up in the night. Some signs your baby is drifting off to sleep and it is time to put her down is her arms and legs will slow their movement and her sucking will start to ease off.
- Try hard not to make eye contact with your baby
Staring lovingly into your baby’s eyes tells her it’s time to interact with you. When I’m soothing my baby to sleep I gaze at her belly instead while gently stroking her.
- Keep her in the dark
Light tells us it’s daytime whereas darkness triggers our brain to release melatonin which helps us sleep. In our house we have dimmers on the lights in the rooms we are in before bedtime. At about 5 o’clock (in winter) I dim the lights to set the mood for sleep.
- Put a high quality nappy on your baby at bedtime
I hardly ever change my baby’s nappy during the night unless it’s soiled. Changing a nappy can wake your baby even more, no surprise that a cold and wet wipe can make your baby go from half asleep to fully alert. I use high quality nappies at bedtime hoping they will do their thing better for a longer stretch of time.
This blog post was brought to you and your baby with love by Julia and the Itchy Baby Co. team. X