The wonders of having a baby: crying, nappy changing, getting thrown up on and peed on, and never getting a full night’s sleep. If you’re lucky, your baby might just wake up once during the night, however some babies will wake continually and then proceed to cry until the early hours. Luckily for you, there are some ways you can help them sleep better and longer, meaning you also get better and longer sleep.
Patterns and Routines
Human babies are effectively dumb, little animals, they can’t do anything by themselves and so you need to adjust accordingly. Setting up patterns and routines that you religiously stick to can help your baby (at least in the first year or so) adjust to the modern 16 hours awake/8 hours sleep cycle that humans have forced themselves to adopt instead of the day/night cycle of our ancestors. Putting your child to bed at the same time each night is only the first step. To help them settle, when you feed them during the day make it a lively social event and when feeding at night, stay calm and quiet which will help your child get back off to sleep quickly as well as become used to the difference between sleep-time and awake-time.
After six weeks your baby will start to develop her own circadian rhythms, and so to get them to go to sleep, simply place them in their cot and let them fall asleep on their own. This is to ensure that they don’t come to depend on you rocking them every night and allows them to sleep more independently. This might not stop them from waking in the night, however, so ensure that they feel comforted by allowing them a soft toy or blanket that you‘ve held so that it smells of you. If they awake in the night, and it’s not because they are hungry, then they probably need to feel some closeness, so by giving them something that smells of you (some people recommend expressing onto the blanket a little as well) then they will be calmed and might fall back off to sleep on their own.
This is a toughie as as soon as you hear a crying baby, you instinctively want to comfort it, however there is a lot of research that strongly recommends allowing your baby to cry for a little while without rushing in. When your baby learns that you come running as soon as it cries it will just continue until you come (this can also lead to children crying for attention when they get older). If you leave the baby to cry for a short while, they may learn that you don’t always come and drift back off to sleep on their own. Just make sure you don’t leave the child for long periods (ten minutes should be enough).
Research has shown that special sheepskin for babies will help improve the quality and length of the baby’s sleep. Sheepskin is wonderfully soft and breathable, meaning your baby will sleep soundly and stay cool enough to get a long night’s sleep, meaning that you do too, of course.
Sleep is very important and so ensuring that you can get sleep by your baby getting sleep is imperative. It not only helps you, but your baby will be stronger, healthier, and happier – and that’s what’s really important.