My Top 5 Tips for Helping Babies Sleep Better at Night
Getting a baby to sleep through the night is the Holy Grail when it comes to parenting. Or so people would have you believe. The simple fact of the matter is, everyone's definition of "through the night" is different. To some people sleeping through the night means going to bed at 7pm and not waking again until 7am. For other people it might mean sleeping between the hours of midnight and 6am.
Whatever your definition, getting a baby to sleep longer hours at night can be a challenge. But there are a few simple things you can do to try and help your bub sleep better or longer. By no means do I claim to be an expert, but in my limited experience, I've picked up a few things here and there that have definitely helped my girls to sleep better and I thought I'd share them with you today.
My Top 5 Tips for Helping Babies Sleep Better at Night
Top Tip Number 1 - Establish a bedtime routine and stick to it!I'm not one for strict routines, I'm much more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl. But if there is one thing that I am a stickler for it's our evening/bedtime routine. As soon as I implemented a clear routine when Punky was about 9 months old, getting her off to sleep became much easier and as a result of me being less stressed, she was less stressed and slept better.
Zee has slipped right in to the routine with only a few variations and it makes life a lot easier, lemme tell ya! Your routine can include anything, bath, massage, singing or stories. The important thing is to make it consistent and do it every night if possible. Make sure that anyone who might be looking after bubs at bedtime knows the routine and can stick to it as closely as possible.
Top Tip Number 2 - Don't be afraid of creating "bad habits"Babies, especially young babies, change so quickly. There you are cruising along, thinking you've got this little creature all worked out and BAM! The little buggers throw a spanner in the works and you're back to square one. So with that in mind, don't be scared by all the people who say you shouldn't do this or you shouldn't do that because you'll "create bad habits".
I don't know a single teenager who is still breastfed or rocked to sleep by their Mum. In fact, I'm pretty sure there aren't too many kids in primary school being breastfed or rocked to sleep in Mummy's arms either. The simple fact of the matter is, it's just as important for you to be getting some decent sleep so you can function properly as a wife, mother, whatever. So if breastfeeding, co-sleeping, rocking or cuddling bubs to sleep equals more sleep for you, then do it. Bad habits be damned!
Top Tip Number 3 - Make comfort a priorityMake sure your baby isn't too hot or too cold. Keep a thermometer in their room and adjust clothing and/or blankets accordingly. We have a small portable fan in each of the girls rooms to circulate the air and also to provide a little white noise. The fan is directed away from them so they don't have any direct breeze at all and the sound helps to cover any sudden noises that Dave or I may make, or the crying of their sister through the night.
Find your baby a good swaddle (and later a sleeping bag) and buy many! All the experts tell us wrapping is important in helping babies sleep, however it's not so easy to master. And if your babies are anything like mine, those little Houdinis will escape even the tightest of wrappings.
We personally used the Love to Dream swaddle after a friend gave us one when Punky was 4 weeks old. It was a godsend and we instantly noticed a difference in how well Punky slept once using it. We used them from birth with Zee. There are heaps of different swaddles/wraps on the market, it's just a matter of finding the one that works best for your bub. For us, the Love to Dream was the easiest to use and easiest to clean and care for. (Disclaimer: This post is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Love to Dream, I just love their swaddles so much.)
Top Tip Number 4 - Find a Good Nappy.The last thing your bubba wants is to be waking up feeling wet and cold. So a good nappy is a must. You might find that one brand is great for during the day but another works well for the long overnight period. Once you've found a nappy that works stick to it, and hopefully that will eliminate the need for a mid-night nappy change and assist in helping bubs sleep more comfortably.
We've tried lots of different brands and our chosen is the Aldi brand. However, I was recently sent a pack of a new-to-Australia brand of nappies to trial, Treasures. Treasures nappies have been sold in New Zealand for over 30 years and they have just launched here in Australia.
I have to say, after trying out the Treasures nappies I'm seriously considering switching. They are good quality and most importantly they didn't leak, not once. And aside from Aldi, I've not found another brand that my girls can wear without having leakage issues. Even taking in to account the fact that Zee really could have done with the next size up, they performed excellently. The cute Hairy Maclary designs were a bonus too, Punky was begging to help me "put Hair Clary on Zee".
But don't take my word for it, try them for yourself. My suggestion is try to every nappy you can get your hands on, talk to other Mum's and see what brands they use and if you can, do a swap and try out their brand if it's different to yours. But give the Treasures nappies a go too, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I certainly wasn't.
Top Tip Number 5 - Don't Beat Yourself Up!Try to stress less and don't beat yourself up if your baby has a bad night. Stay calm at bedtime. The more stressed out I get in the evenings and during the bedtime routine, the harder it is to get the girls off to sleep, and the worse they sleep during the night. It's easier said than done of course but it really does make a difference. Your mood will dictate theirs.
The most important thing to remember however, is that when it comes to babies, they are all different. Shocking I know! And also remember that it's totally normal for a baby or young child to not sleep through the night for a long time. Second time around we've been lucky. Zee has been a great sleeper from day one. I'd like to say it's because I have my shit together as a Mum now but I'd be lying! I don't think that will ever happen! Zee is just one of those babes that sleeps well.
Punky on the other hand didn't sleep through the night without waking at least one or twice until well after she was a year old. Once I realised and accepted that that was just the way she was, life felt a little easier. I came to understand that as long as I did all I could to make sure she was clean, dry, comfortable and relaxed I had done my best and that's all we can ever do really.
So there you have it, my Top 5 Tips for helping babies sleep better at night. Treasures nappies have kindly offered up the chance for one of you guys to win $75 worth of nappies (8 packets) by simply sharing your best tip for helping babies sleep at night.
So leave a comment with your best tip and the hastag #SleepingTreasures to go in to the draw. Feel free to leave your tip without the hashtag if you're past the nappy-needing stage (in which case I will be insanely jealous!). For extra points why not post a pic of your own sleeping treasure on Instagram or my facebook page with the tag #SleepingTreasures and your top tip for everyone to see. Don't forget to tag me @kyl21z if you post to Instagram.
**I was sent a pack of Treasures nappies to trial and review. As always all opinions expressed are purely my own.
The boring bits:
*Giveaway is open to Australian residents only. Total prize valued at $74.
*By entering the competition, Entrants give Treasures (SCA HYGIENE AUSTRALASIA PTY LTD ) permission to share/publish the blog posts/comments on the Treasures website and its social media channels.
*Entries must include the hastag #SleepingTreasures to be valid
*This is a game of skill and winner will be chosen based on creativity and originality
*Competition is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Facebook or Instagram
*Giveaway ends Monday 14th April at 11:59pm AEST
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