Getting enough zzzs? We didn’t think so. Try some new ideas to help your baby drop off and save you from a mama meltdown
Try the beating heart trick
‘Hold your baby so her heart is near your heart,’ says Tina Southwood, Mother&Baby sleep consultant (sleep-baby-sleep.co.uk). ‘The sound of your heartbeat will soothe her, as it reminds her of being in the womb.’
Work out your Happy routine
‘If you do roughly the same thing at the same time every day, your baby learns what to expect,’ says Emma Leatham, 29, from Fulham, who’s mum to Theo, 10 months. ‘Whether it’s tummy time or a feed, you’ll have an easier time getting her to sleep with a routine that suits your life.’
‘For a daytime nap, wrap your baby up and let her snooze in her pram in the garden or take her out for a walk,’ says Tina. Fresh air has been proven to help babies sleep longer at night, as it’s thought being outdoors helps her regulate her body clock.
Give her a virtual hug
‘Swaddling is a great way for your newborn to relive the security of being inside you,’ says Tina. ‘It also reduces the startle reflex that can often wake your baby.’
Make a womb room
‘Try a CD or mobile phone app, a radio tuned off-station or even a vacuum cleaner or extractor fan,’ says parenting expert Sarah Ockwell-Smith (babycalm.co.uk). Newborns love white noise, as it sounds like the whooshing noises they used to hear in your body.
Harness bath power
‘After bathtime, your baby starts to cool down rapidly. This triggers the release of the sleep hormone melatonin, which will help her nod off,’ says Sammy Margo, author of The Good Sleep Guide For Kids (£10.99, Vermilion).
Put her down awake
‘That way, she’ll know where she is when she wakes and will feel more secure going back to sleep by herself,’ says sleep consultant Niamh O’Reilly (thenursery.ie). ‘It won’t be a shock she’s not in the place she last remembers.’
Watch my finger
‘If your baby’s refusing to switch off and close her eyes, gently stroke your finger down her forehead and nose,’ says Tina. ‘Following your finger forces her to close her eyes.’
Make a super-comforter
‘Tie a knot in the middle of a muslin (so she can’t pull it over her face and it’s easy to find), then place it in the cot for her to snuggle,’ says Tina. ‘Let your smell become impregnated into it first to create a sense of calm.’
If your baby has a cold, try raising the head of her cot a couple of inches by putting some books under it – this will help open up her airways, allowing her to sleep better. Try the same for acid reflux, too.