6 tips for getting your baby to sleep... you might not have tried
As a new parent, one of the biggest challenges you may face is getting your baby to sleep, and at times it may feel like sleep is all you think, talk and day dream about! While some babies fall asleep easily, others can be more difficult to settle. Unsurprisingly ‘baby sleep’ related google searches are up there with the most googled parenting queries of all time, as already exhausted parents look for any way to increase their shut eye. So be rest assured you are not alone.
You might have tried the usual methods such as rocking, singing lullabies, and swaddling, but they may not always work. In this blog, we'll share some of our favourite hacks for getting your baby to sleep that you might not have tried.
1. Hot water bottle in bed
A warm bed can be comforting for babies, just like it is for adults. Before putting your baby down to sleep, try placing a hot water bottle or hot wheat bag in their bed for a few minutes to warm it up. Just be sure to remove it before putting your baby in the bed. This can create a cosy and comfortable sleeping environment that can help your baby fall asleep faster.
2. Blackout blinds
Light can be a major factor that keeps babies awake and is particularly challenging for day time naps and early sunrise in the summer months. Most babies are sensitive to light therefore blackout blinds can be a great investment to create a sleep environment at any time of the day or night. The dark environment becomes a cue for babies to know it’s sleep time as well as helping them wind down which can encourage your baby to sleep longer and deeper. Make sure you opt for full black out with no light cracks coming through, if you aren’t able to install these permanently at home then the Tommy Tippee black out blind is a great temporary solution and is also great for travel. We also love The Snooze Shade range for pram naps and especially for travel.
3. Tummy time before bed
Tummy time is important for your baby's development, but it can also be a great way to help improve their sleep. Firstly, it will help to tire them with the extra effort needed to hold their head up and balance. It is also great at clearing any gas they may have in their tummy after a feed which is often a major factor in preventing babies from falling asleep. Try adding tummy time into your baby’s bedtime routine by doing a few minutes before putting them down to sleep.
If your baby isn’t a big fan of tummy time keep it short and use props to keep them distracted. We love Samuel Sensory black and white boards.
4. White noise
White noise can be a calming sound that can help babies fall asleep faster and sleep longer. It can also be useful for older babies and toddlers in noisy households to create a calm sleep environment. It is most likely a solution you will already have heard of but we couldn’t write this blog post without mentioning it because it really does work if used consistently.
You can buy white noise machines or download apps on your phone that can play a variety of white noise sounds but our biggest tip is – choose one noise and stay with it. If your baby is young starting the white noise early will help them develop an association with the noise and sleep. If your baby is slightly older choose a noise to start with and use it consistently for all naps at home or away, it may take a bit longer but eventually your baby will develop a link.
We use the Tommy Tippee Dream maker which has one noise as well as a pulsing red light which helps to create a calm sleep environment. It stays on as the baby falls asleep then will turn off and on again automatically when a noise is detected in the room.
5. Object that smells like Mum
Research has shown that newborn babies are able to recognise the unique smell of their mum's, and particularly their mum's breast milk, within a week of birth. This ability to recognise and be comforted by their mum's scent is thought to be an important part of the bonding process between mother and baby and can help massively in calming a baby. You can try placing an object that smells like you, such as a top you've worn, a scarf or a blanket you've slept with, in your baby's bed. The familiar smell can help your baby feel more secure and relaxed, which can make it easier for them to fall asleep without you there.
6. Create a signal
As well as having a good routine in place so your baby knows bedtime is coming, it can be helpful to have a signal for sleep. This can be handy when you are out of routine or when someone else Is putting your baby to sleep. A signal might be a specific lullaby you sing before sleep or a toy that is given only at the point of sleep (just make sure to remove it once your baby is asleep). Make sure the signal you choose is only used for sleep times to help them develop a clear association and be consistent.
Signals we love include baby comforter like the Jellycat Cordy Roy Baby Fox Soother
There you have it - 6 tips for getting your baby to sleep you may not have tried. I hope at least one of these tips help in getting your baby to sleep so both you and your little one can get some much-needed rest! Just remember, every baby is different, so don't get discouraged if one method doesn't work. Keep trying different things until you find what works best for your baby.
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