Stephanie Modell, author of ‘The Baby Sleep Guide’ gives us 5 top baby sleep tips:
1. Teach your young baby the difference between night and day
During the day, give more verbal and physical interaction, go out for walks to provide light and fresh air and don't minimise normal daytime sounds when he's napping. At night, keep the lights low or off, keep night feeds quiet and minimise interaction, keep his room warm and cosy but not too hot.
2. Establish a regular bed time
Have a consistent bath and bedtime routine, creating cues for sleep. Keep it short and calm, keeping the lights low and this will prepare your baby for sleep and help his natural levels of the sleep hormone, melatonin rise.
3. Establish a routine which does not involve feeding just before napping
This will avoid your baby developing a feed-to-sleep association. A positive sleep/awake pattern to follow is: nap, feed, play/interaction, nap. This has the added advantage that your baby will be feeding when he has the most energy so is more likely to take a bigger, more satisfying amount which will encourage him to go longer between feeds.
Avoid rushing in each time your baby stirs. Babies rouse between sleep cycles and often have a grizzle, groan or babble, before going back to sleep. Give them a chance to re-settle themselves before rushing in, or you may inadvertently wake them.
5. Lay your baby down to sleep, drowsy but awake
In the long term, this is key to helping your baby sleep through the night. If your baby can get herself to sleep independently at the start of the night, she is more likely to self-settle during the night in-between her many sleep cycles.
Stephanie Modell is a sleep consultant and maternity nanny based in West Sussex; visit stephaniemodell.co.uk
Her new book, The Baby Sleep Guide, focuses on establishing positive sleep habits early on and provides parents with information on how babies sleep, their sleep cycles, natural rhythms and how to gently help them to self settle. It is written in a concise way to take the complexity out of sleep and is an easy and valuable read for new parents. Available on Amazon.