Parents of a newborn baby will be familiar with the consequences of sleep deprivation. Over extended periods of time it, sleep deprivation affects memory, judgment, and reasoning. It can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, clumsiness and even weight loss or weight gain!
Not getting enough sleep can also put pressure on a relationship as the family works to stay afloat during the challenging time. And it can be especially taxing for new mums, after physically carrying and delivering a baby, learning to breastfeed and care for their new born.
While there is no ‘magic cure’ to help your baby sleep through the night, below is a list of tried-and-tested tips from our Jumbo educators, who work with babies every day, to help towards a peaceful night’s sleep for everyone at home!
Prepare throughout the day. An unrushed, calm yet flexible routine throughout the day familiarises baby with what to expect throughout their day and night helping them with the transitions.
Ensure baby eats and drinks well. Throughout the day and early evening feed baby until you’re confident their belly is full and baby is not resisting sleep because they are hungry.
Stimulate baby with play times. Think tummy time, floor time on an educational mat with age appropriate toys, hard picture storybooks, background music and even a long walk in the fresh air to help baby use their energy and be ready for sleep.
Limit screen time. Too much light can lower the body’s level of sleep inducing chemicals like melatonin. Screen time before sleep leaves children feeling physically alert and awake, well after their scheduled bedtimes making it more difficult for baby to become familiar with their routine. Screen time includes television, tablets, phones, and computers.
Bathe baby before bedtime. Help baby to relax by integrating a warm bath complete with lavender aromatherapy and calming music before bedtime.
Wrap baby for sleep time. Wrapping baby can comfort them and stop them waking themselves up during sleep. Wrapping is also a sign for baby that it is time for them to drift off to sleep.
Pat them to sleep in their cot. Rocking young babies to sleep is a lovely experience yet as they grow patting them to sleep in their cot is a great alternative. It has the advantage of not disturbing baby transferring them into the cot and can assists in teaching baby to drift off to sleep independently.
Read baby’s signs. An overtired baby may continue to resist sleep and present as very upset by wriggling their body around and crying when they need to get sleep. If baby’s signs suggest this, persevere soothing baby to sleep.
Stay calm and keep them safe. Use a reassuring voice along with a gentle patting or rocking motion. In line with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) recommendations for keeping a sleeping baby safe and sound, ensure baby is lying on their back with feet close to the end of the cot.
Help them back to sleep. If baby wakes up during the night and doesn’t need a feed or nappy change, have a quick cuddle and then re-settle baby back to sleep. Keep the lights dim so baby knows it is still nighttime.
The bigger your bag of tricks and your patience for trying them all the greater your success rate will be. The more sleep you get, the more patience you will find you have too and everything will become that little bit easier.