Everyone around you might be making New Years resolutions to eat better, get fitter or try a new hobby, but if your baby can’t sleep then that is probably your number one priority right now. So, forget fad diets and try one (or all!) of our New Year resolutions for a better night’s sleep for the whole family…
1 – Establish a bedtime routine
If your baby can’t sleep, then the first thing you should do is establish a bedtime routine that you can follow every night before putting your baby to bed. This can be tailored to you and your little ones but essentially it should look something like this… bath, story, feed and then into bed. It sounds simple but making the change to ensure that your baby follows the same routine every night can make a huge difference to how quickly they settle and how long they sleep for. Even very young babies will respond well to routine and if you keep it going as they grow older (adapting it if you need to along the way, e.g. when they no longer need a feed at bedtime) then the good nights should continue.
2 – Check the temperature
You might find your baby can’t sleep if they are too hot or too cold and it can be dangerous if your baby overheats at night or during naptime. Invest in a room thermometer and try to keep their bedroom at a healthy temperature of around 16-18C if you can. Always refer to temperature guidelines for tips on how to dress your baby correctly for the temperature in their room…
3 – Invest in good blinds and a soothing nightlight
This might not seem important now while the nights are long but trust us, when springtime hits you will be so grateful that you invested in a black out blind for your babies bedroom, so hit the January sales now to pick up a bargain, we promise you won’t regret it! Not only is natural light an issue for babies sleep patterns, but artificial light can be too. Try to keep baby’s bedroom as dark as possible and if you need to use a nightlight then ensure it doesn’t omit blue light which can stimulate the brain and disrupt sleep patterns.
4 – Consistency is key
Just as resolution number one was to establish a good routine for night time, it is equally important to try and be consistent with daytime naps. If your baby can get used to the idea of napping in the same place as they go to bed at night, then the whole sleep routine becomes so much easier for you and baby. Whilst this won’t always be convenient, try to make sure that you are at home for naptimes as much as possible while you are attempting to establish your new routine and avoid napping in the car or on the move if you can, to get baby used to settling themselves without movement.
5 – Put baby to bed awake
This may seem counterintuitive in those early days of parenthood when all you want to do is cuddle your baby and help soothe them off to sleep, but the earlier your baby gets used to falling asleep on their own, the better it will be in the long run. Try to put your baby down in their moses basket or cot when they are drowsy but not asleep so that they can learn to drift off unaided. This can be really tricky if you are breastfeeding baby, particularly at night, but taking off baby’s socks and stroking their feet with your hands while they sleep is a great way to gently keep them awake until you have finished and can put them to bed.
If your baby can’t sleep because of the startle reflex then you may find swaddling helpful to prevent baby waking themselves up and swaddling can also help if baby is struggling to adapt to life outside the womb because it helps them to feel secure and safe. The Love To Dream Swaddle UP™ is a modern evolution of the traditional swaddle techniques that involved blankets or muslins and a lot of folding and tucking! The Swaddle UP™ features a handy two-way zip for the perfect swaddle every time and the innovative “arms up” design allows baby to self soothe whilst calming the startle reflex. This swaddle suit is a hip healthy design that helps prevent hip dysplasia and the soft, close fitting fabric helps if a baby can’t sleep.