Katie's Top 10 Baby Sleep Tips
1) Bedtime routine It is important to be consistent, predictable and conducive to sleep. You can start building a routine at around 6-8 weeks. At 7-8pm melatonin levels are increasing so this is an ideal bedtime. A good routine consists of Bath, pyjamas, milk, story. The routine should last around 30-40 mins with calm, dimmed lighting throughout.
2) Bath time About 30- 40 mins before sleep time is ideal. The process of coming out of the bath is a trigger to sleep so you want that to happen about 30-40 mins before you want them to fall asleep.
3) Winding down Turn off screen and electronics an hour before sleep time as the light from them promotes alertness and wakefulness.
4) Black Out blinds Sunlight triggers cortisol which keeps us alert. Therefore we recommend blackout blinds as they are useful for spring/summer months with their light evenings and early mornings. They are also useful for naps during the day.
5) Regulating body clocks Fresh air and light in the late afternoon helps regulate body clock. So a walk in the pram or some outdoor play in the afternoon is a really good idea.
6) Routine Keep feeds, naps and wake up/bedtime the same time every day (of course the nap frequency and length changes as they get older) If you want to be up at 7am, then aim for a bedtime of 7pm. At 3 months there a big changes‚ daytime sleep reducing, awake time increasing and sleep cycles are increasing in length. They can sleep for a longer stretches at night. This is when you can start to put more structure into your day.
7) Don't overdress for sleep The ideal room temperature is 16-20 degrees (c). Babies sleep better cooler. Up to 8 weeks you can swaddle. After that in a 19-20 degree room, 1 layer sleepsuit and 2.5tog sleeping bag is perfect.
8) Nutrition If your child has started weaning, ensure a good balanced diet. If there are sleep problems, ensure they are not intolerant to any foods. Wind, bloating, cramping, skin problems, grey areas under the eyes can all be indicators of an intolerance.
9) Timing This is very important. The timing between naps and between the last nap and bedtime is key to getting a baby to sleep successfully. This all depends on the amount of time they can stay awake for between naps at different ages... Awake Time By Age:
3 months - 2hours at a time
4.5 months - 2hrs15mins at a time
6 months - 2.5 hours at a time
8 months - 2hrs45mins at a time
10 months - 3hours at a time
Around 6 months, the 3rd nap of the day starts to phase out and they start to stay awake for longer at the end of the day, which impacts the bedtime routine.
10) Love & Nurture Don't just give your baby cuddles when they are upset. Make sure you give them lots of cuddles and touch during the day. They will be less likely to be looking for comfort at sleep time.