Sleeping tips for babies!

Both my kids were TERRIBLE sleepers! My eldest used to wake up to 20 times a night (seriously!) until he was around 9 months old... at that stage I was beyond broken and I consulted a baby sleeping expert to help me. My kids are now 9 & 7 years old but I've recently just passed on these tips I got from the sleep consultant to a friend whose 1 year old is waking up repeatedly through the night. 

This is what she recommended we do, and after 3 nights he was sleeping through from 8pm to 5pm and then a few nights later from 7 til 7, and this changed my life! So here they are, in case any of you have babies that are terrible sleepers and you are feeling on your knees and at the end of your tether as I was!

BABY SLEEPING TIPS: (in no particular order) 

  • Play classical or some sort of relaxing music on low during the night to soothe and cut out any background noise. I did this for years (classic fm on low) and in fact both my kids now still listen to this sleep meditation cd:
  • Pat your baby 10 times on the chest slowly and softly at bed time to signal the beginning of the night, to distinguish from a short day time nap when you don't do it.
  • Stick to same routine every night if possible - eg bath then story then bed at a similar time -  trying to keep things as calm and quiet as possible   
  • Make sure your baby is actually tired at bed time. We got into a cycle of my son being awake all night, then him being so tired in the day and me letting him nap a lot - so that he wasn't tired for night time and awake all night again! Don't let them have a nap too close to bed time.
  • Leave them to self soothe. This is the hard bit! When they wake, try not to go to them immediately if you don't think it's an emergency. Babies don't know that it's wrong to wake up in the night, they do it for a reason, usually for comfort or cuddles and if that's what they get then they will continue to wake for it! Try leaving them for 5 mins before going to them, then perhaps 10 mins, then 15 etc.. and eventually they will get bored of waiting and just go back to sleep themselves (with any luck!)
  • Rather than using a boob, bottle or dummy to settle when they wake try getting them to do so with the help of a something that doesn’t involve you, such as a muslin. My 9 year old still uses his to drop off to sleep now!
  • Make sure it is really dark in the room - black out blinds etc. 
I remember our sleep consultant saying babies shouldn't need milk in the night after 6 months and to just give water of they wake. You need to try to cut down on all the reasons it might be nice for them to wake up for - e.g. food and cuddles!
As I say I am not a sleep expert, and if you are worried about any of these tips then please consultant a health professional first, but these are just some things that we were advised to do, and they really helped, so hope they might help you too! And as someone once told me, like so many things, kids not sleeping through the night is just a phase, and will eventually pass, but I remember how utterly exhausting and debilitating it is at the time! Lucy x

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