As March 1 is Baby Sleep Day, I thought I would share a few thoughts about babies and sleep. As a postnatal practitioner, baby sleep is a common subject among parents who are tired and keen to find solutions.
On this baby sleep day, I would like to start by highlighting the issue of conflicting information and advice about baby sleep. Parents can be left feeling confused, exhausted and like they are failing. Some babies can sleep in chunks of a few hours and others will wake more for food, soothing and reassurance. The goal of sleeping through the night is always there but it is not based on a lot of science.
Baby Sleep Tips
- Acceptance is important. If you can accept that your baby wakes up regularly you are in a better place to deal with it. It doesn’t necessarily make it easier but it probably means there is less battling.
- Babies are meant to wake at night. They have small stomachs and need regular feeds for calories and to prevent dehydration. With brain development and an awareness of the world around them, babies also need reassurance and to feel safe.
- Try to have realistic expectations. It can be less stressful for you if you expect night wakings, rather than expecting a full night of sleep.
- Don’t compare. Some babies can sleep longer than others and it is because they can. And baby sleep can also quickly change.
- Plan for night-time parenting. It can be useful to expect to be up at night, to be better prepared rather than hoping for sleep.
- Expect variation. Baby sleep can be impacted by growth spurts, brain development, noise and a variety of discomforts.
- Get to know your baby’s sleep cues. This isn’t always easy but it could mean your baby is easier to settle.
- Plan in some rest – this is crucial with a young baby. It might not always be easy but catching up on sleep can make all the difference.
- You are not getting wrong. It can feel like that but there isn’t a magic solution. Often it is time, reading your baby’s cues and thinking about your expectations.
- Keep it safe. Always make sure your baby’s sleep environment is safe. The Lullaby Trust has some great guidance, as does the Baby Sleep Information Service. Wherever your baby sleeps, be mindful of hazards like pillows & cushions, duvets and covers.
Read more about baby sleep: Mother Cuppa Magazine – Newborn Sleep
As parents with a new/young baby it can be useful to talk through your baby’s sleep for reassurance and knowledge. You can also develop realistic expectations, explore ideas for naps and sleep and make sure you are looking after you.
I provide professional baby sleep support for tired parents – you can book consultations at a time to best suit you to talk through your baby’s sleep and the impact it is having.
Please feel free to get in touch with any queries.
Working with parents since 2002