Surely every parent's ultimate goal is for their baby to sleep through the night?
It’s also crucial for new parents to not be sleep deprived; a lack of sleep can increase the risk of anxiety, postnatal depression, cognitive impairment and at least encourages general miserableness – a scary thought for new mums who struggle to get any decent shut-eye in the early post-birth days and sometimes well beyond.
All babies are different – some sleep well and at the “right” times from day one, some take much longer to realise that they need to give their parents a break! Here at Meemoobaby we don’t want to preach – there is no one guaranteed method to get a baby to sleep through the night, but perhaps taking a look at these sleep tips will help.
Babies like a routine – and it’s good for parents too - some structure in what can be a chaotic time in your lives is always good. Even if it doesn’t always go to plan, at least you’ve got a plan! Think of baby’s bedtime as a flight path on what is hopefully a calm journey – destination Sleep! Maybe take off with a bath at 18:00, in flight story at 18:20, last feed served at 18:30 and baby touching down in their cot ready for sleep at 19:00. The journey may get disrupted or delayed along the way – an extra milky fuel stop or some windy turbulence - but you know where you’re going and you don’t redirect to another destination; the end destination is always sleep, no matter how long it takes.
Keep any bedtime routine or night time wakings calm and try to relax; baby will hopefully get the message and relax too! In the beginning babies will wake several times a night as their tummies are too small to hold much milk to keep hunger at bay until morning. A baby's cry is designed to alert Mum to their woes, but don’t always immediately rush to their side at the slightest grumble, especially if you’re confident baby is well, has been fed, burped & changed. A self-settling baby is what you're aiming for – we all wake up several times a night, but it’s the ability to go back to sleep by ourselves which is key. Sometimes a quiet shushing can help or perhaps a hand on baby’s tummy to show you're there (but taking the hand away is always nerve-wracking!) Keep an eye on room temperature too – about 18C (65F) is ideal. If it’s a hot night then baby may just need very light weight covers.
Babies need plenty of natural day light and fresh air during the day and a dark bedroom at night to help them to sleep well. If baby wakes at night, don’t be tempted to over-stimulate baby (or you!) by turning the lights on, bringing baby downstairs, watching screens or playing with them; don't give up, keep on your flight path and keep the room dark and calm. Bright light and especially exposure to blue light at night increases alertness and suppresses the body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Blue light is not necessarily blue – it’s part of the white light spectrum and tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime – not what you want when baby (and you!) are settling down after a feed. Meelight has very low blue light content – the soft golden glow can be dimmed right down to barely nothing to help you and baby settle down to sleep easily.
Baby will sleep through the night eventually and in turn so will you! It may seem like a long-haul but you will get there. Less haste more speed – an extra few minutes soothing baby may save you an hour or two of fretting later – but bear in mind, no matter how much we all love a baby cuddle, you do need to shut the door and have some ‘me time’ every so often.
Your long term goal is to get a full night’s sleep for yourself and baby – establish a routine, be consistent and remember don’t wish time away. Each stage, no matter how hard it may seem at the time, is only a phase – before you know it they’ll be at school and you’ll be reminiscing about the baby stage!