A severe lack of sleep can leave you grouchy, grumpy and completely exhausted – sound familiar? If so, you could be in need of our guide to helping your baby (and you) sleep a little better…
Before tearing your hair out after another 3am wake-up howl from your baby or screaming at your partner because neither of you can settle her (and obvs it’s his fault), take some advice from our top straight-to-sleep and stay asleep guide.
‘The key to a relaxed bedtime is the three C's,’ says Annie Simpson, sleep advisor at the Infant Sleep Consultant. ‘Stay calm, confident and consistent.’
Things might not improve instantly, but keep it up and you’ll get there before you know it.
1. Is your baby crying?
If your baby has woken you up with her crying, then check out our SOS crying guide to figure out what might be wrong.
2. Is your baby hungry?
Probably the most classic reason for a baby to wake is because they’re hungry, so check to see if your baby wants a feed. This will probably send her right off to sleep again.
3. Does she need a change?
Check to see if your baby needs her nappy to be changed. She might just have woken herself because she’s uncomfortable.
4. Is she restless?
While babies do need a lot of sleep, your baby can get too much sleep which can mean she doesn’t settle very well at night.
Try tempting her back to sleep by comforting her and reading a story. ‘A bedtime story is not only a wonderful bonding experience, it helps to keep children calm and relax them before settling down to sleep,’ says Annie.
5. Is she uncomfortable?
Have a feel of your baby’s tummy and see if she feels hot. If she is too hot, strip off a layer to see if this makes a difference. If not, take her temperature to check that she isn’t unwell.
6. Have you disturbed your baby?
As tempting as it can be to check in on your baby a few times during the night, you’re quite likely to disturb her – and then you have to deal with getting her back to sleep.
‘Once you have said good night, remember that until it is time to get up in the morning, your role is to be a comforting presence but not to interact with your child,’ Annie says.
7. Have you got a bedtime routine in place?
When your baby’s about six weeks old, you can start putting a bedtime routine into place which is a great way to prepare your tot for sleep.
‘We all naturally wake several times during the night, so if you can encourage your child to go to sleep on her own, she’ll be much better at settling herself back to sleep when she wakes in the night,’ Annie explains.
8. And remember…
If you have had a bad night, don't let it ruin your day.
‘Draw a line underneath it and start afresh,’ advises Annie. ‘Focus on what your child has managed to do not what they haven't!’
What sleep tricks do you swear by? Let us know below.