Here at Beaba, we get a lot of questions about sleep, so we asked our friend and Children’s Sleep Consultant at Slumber Academy, Rebecca Michi for expert advise on how to improve your baby’s sleep. Read on to see her advice and let us know if you try out any of these awesome tips!
Often we can be overwhelmed when it comes to sleep and trying to get help our child get the best night’s sleep possible. Here I share 5 things you can do this week to help your child get a better night’s sleep.
- Have realistic sleep expectations.
You may wonder how this is actually going to help your child sleep, but it will hear me out.
We would all love for our little ones to sleep through the night, but realistically they’re not going to. More children are waking through the night until 12-months or so than those who are not. If you are expecting something that is really hard to obtain, it’s frustrating and maybe even a little pointless. It will also affect you as you are trying to get your child down to sleep at the beginning of the night and during the night.
2. Accept that wakeups are going to happen.
They’re normal (we all wake between 2 and 6 times a night), and your child is probably going to need to feed during the night (not something you often hear a sleep consultant say). This will change the way you interact with your child, you’ll be feeling more relaxed, they, in turn, will be feeling more comfortable. The more relaxed they are, the easier time they will have sleeping.
3. Introduce a daily routine.
When we get up at the same time each morning and nap around the same time each day, not only will we have an easier time falling asleep for naps at the beginning of the night, but life becomes much more predictable. Introduce a small awake window in the morning, around 30-minutes is perfect. If your child is not awake by the end of your window, wake them. Your naps will happen around the same time each day, they will be of similar duration, and you can have a consistent bedtime. You need a regular day to have a consistent night!
4. Introduce a nap and night routine.
Humans love routines, we thrive on them. A nap routine is a great way to cue sleep, let your child know that sleep is coming and ease them into sleep. A nap routine should be nice and consistent when you are at home, doing the same thing in the same place in the same order whenever you are home for a nap. This routine should be between 5 and 15 minutes long. The night routine should also be consistent, but it does need to be longer. Between 30 and 45 minutes is the perfect sweet spot. Books, songs, quiet play, bath, massage, diaper change, etc. are all perfect things to have as part of your nap and night routines.
5. If age appropriate, pause for a second or two before helping during the night.
If you have a newborn, don’t leave them long before going and helping them, if you have an older child who has woken up with an urgent cry, don’t leave them before going and helping. Help them both as soon as possible. If your child is over 4 months, gaining weight well, etc. you can pause a little before helping your child during the night to see if they may be able to get themselves back to sleep.
I like to wait until a child is asking for help and then helping, whether that be 20 minutes or after 20 seconds. Listen to the cry and ask what yourself what you think your child is trying to tell to you. Are they grunting and shuffling? They’re not asking for help. Are the fussing and whining? They’re not asking for help. Is the cry big and wobbly? They’re asking for help. Use your best judgement and trust your gut. Pausing for even a few seconds can give your child the opportunity to get themselves back to sleep, you never know!
Please take a look at Slumber Academy if you are looking for support gently sleep training.