When you first announce your pregnancy, after the initial wave of congratulations you’ve likely had a friend or family member tell you to enjoy sleep while you still can because once your baby comes you’ll be lucky to get a full night’s sleep even once a week.
New parents aren’t under the impression their baby will be the first baby in history to sleep perfectly every night.
It doesn’t have to be this way, there are plenty of sleep tips that you can follow as a parent to help your child to sleep better at night naturally. Sure, you’ll never have a baby that sleeps as well as I do after a large roast dinner, but you can definitely improve their sleeping habits by following these powerful sleep tips.
Here are 4 sleep tips that can help you get your life back on track very quickly:
Keep Sleep On Schedule
One of the most essential parts for getting your baby to sleep well is to keep to a sleep schedule. Children crave structure and having a solid schedule for sleeping and waking up gives your baby that structure they need to help develop their sleep cycle and keep it working.
For your sleep schedule, you’ll want to have nap times, sleep times, and wake-up times on a schedule, keeping everything routine so your child can adapt to it. At first, you’ll want to base the schedule off of your child’s natural sleep cycle but you need to keep to it as much as possible.
If your child is still sleeping at wake-up time, it may be tempting to take an extra 20/30 mins of them sleeping, but that will only bite you in the evening when they struggle to fall asleep, so try as hard as you can to keep the schedule in place.
Stick To A pre-Sleep Routine
Create and stick to a sleep routine. A sleep routine is similar to your sleep schedule but rather than keeping to set sleep and wake up times, a sleep routine is about having a routine that is the same as preparing and getting your little one into bed.
So a sleep routine may look like this:
1 hour before bed – Feeding
45 mins before bed – Bath time
30 mins before bed – Change into pyjamas/sleep wear
15 mins before bed – Bedtime story
0 mins before bed – Baby in bed to sleep
Your routine doesn’t need to be complex, but by having a few steps you follow every time you put your baby down for sleep, your little one will adapt to this routine and their sleep cycle should eventually link up to the routine you have in place.
As your little one grows up and sleep behaviors change, you’ll need to adjust the routine to cater to that, but keeping a routine is a great way to improve the sleep of your little one.
Block Out Waking Triggers
There’s nothing worse than getting your little one to sleep, walking away, getting into your bed, and then something wakes them up as soon as you’re tucked in. So you’ll want to find your child’s wake-up triggers, it could be the light from passing cars outside or certain noises like the sound of a toilet flushing. There are other triggers, but the most common are light and noise.
One of the easiest sleep tips is to block out light triggers. Make sure you choose the window blinds in your child’s room to ones made from blackout material like double roller blinds, to block out light from outside. This should cut down on wake-up triggers coming from outside lights.
For sound triggers, a white noise machine in your child’s bedroom can drown out the noise from outside your home as well as within and should help your little one drift to slumberland in no time.
Lock Up The iPad
The iPad, some parents hate it, some parents love it. Either way, most modern parents have an iPad or another similar device for their little ones to keep them occupied with games or cartoons while they get chores done around the house.
This point isn’t to discuss the merits of iPads in parenting, but the light from the screens of iPads. Electronic screens like the ones on mobile phones, TVs, and iPads emit something called ‘blue light’ – the same type of light we get from the Sun and tricks the human brain into thinking it’s daytime and blocks the production of melatonin (the chemical needed in our sleep process) which can lead to your child being awake at bedtime.
The simple solution to this is that you avoid using your iPad with your child when it’s coming up to bedtime, the effects from the ‘blue light’ can last for 1-2 hours, so it’s best you keep the iPad away for an hour or so before bedtime.
Following these sleep tips won’t guarantee that your baby sleeps well every night, but they should help make your child’s sleep routine more consistent, making your life easier and help you get your sleep as well!