For babies, sleep tends to fluctuate - some can sleep for long uninterrupted periods, others for short sporadic intervals. However, most parents are all too familiar with the midnight cries from the next room which can be a mild nuance for some and at worst a complete endurance test for others. If you feel like you've been running on a few hours of broken sleep for the past week, Cosyco have put together a guide to getting a silent night...
Limit Daytime Naps
We know how hard it is to wake your sleeping infant, but if you're letting your young one rest when they like throughout the day, you'll find they're more disturbed during the night. Brief naps are fine, but those long hours of extended sleep during the day are going to cause problems for you later on - wake him or her up, feed them, and then you can gauge for yourself whether they need to nap some more or not.
Have A Pre-Sleep Routine
Babies are creatures of habit and creating a comforting cushion of predictability in an unfamiliar world will result in a more settled youngster. This is where your trusty pre-sleep routine comes in; write down a list of things you need to do each night - from washing, changing clothes, putting them to bed, closing the curtains, dimming the lights, creating the correct sonic atmosphere e.g. playing their favourite lullaby... It may feel like an unnecessary ritual, but it's all about creating a safe and calming environment for sleep. Developing a concrete routine early on will also help cement good parental habits from the outset and ultimately make your life a less chaotic and more enjoyable one.
Use White Noise
Although adults typically require a silent sleeping environment to aid a great night's sleep, for babies, the post-womb world can be a disturbingly quiet one. This is where a white noise machine comes in - containing every frequency within the human range of hearing, white noise has a sound similar to analogue TV static, promoting sleep by recreating a womb-like level of noise, helping young ones to drift away naturally into a slumber. Low running fans and ambient music can also provide the same effect - no wonder babies are always falling asleep during car journeys!
Let Your Baby Resettle
Dashing straight into your child's room the moment you hear the first twilight cries can actually create a disrupted pattern of sleep that can continue for the whole night. Sometimes a baby will wake, let out a few cries, and then drift back to sleep on their own. Try to let them resettle on their own if you can - this will solve any problems associated with breaking up their sleep by constantly soothing them.
Develop A Coping Strategy
A great coping strategy should evenly distribute the baby duties between the two of you. We know that there's no such thing as a perfect world, but when your baby invariably becomes disturbed, ask your partner to alternate feeding, changing and dressing duties with you so you can get some undisturbed shut eye a few nights a week. If you're a single parent, asking a friend or relative to help you out during those more difficult periods will help your general well-being enormously.
Remember, baby sleep patterns vary and change, you may think you've got it sorted for a few nights but they inevitably enter different phases and stages where teething, illnesses and growing pains can cause them to become unsettled during the night.