Any sleep deprived parent will tell you that baby sleep solutions are worth their weight in gold! Our very own Inconsistent Earth Mother, Jackie Heffer-Cooke draws on her own experiences, as well as those of the Mums she teaches, to give you some tips that actually work!
Trouble sleeping? Baby sleep solutions that work!
Ladies with babies…. none of this is factual, or researched, or science.
It is just about me listening to 20 mums a week, for the last 5 years, about what works – and what doesn’t (as well as a little of my own thoughts too).
- Swaddle. Swaddling little newbies stops their arms and legs from flailing about, which keeps them awake, and can even scare them as they don’t actually know what the objects thrashing around in front of them are. They have no idea it’s their own arms and legs! They have been used to being snug in your belly. They like being snug. Swaddle. (This is the best swaddle blanket I have ever found, available from the OGC shop). You can also read my swaddling blog for more info.
- Always finish one breast before you go onto the next, otherwise they will be getting the fore ‘gassy’ milk, rather than the hind more fatty, filling milk. If they just keep snacking on front milk they won’t fill up and will have gassy bellies. Not conducive to a good night’s sleep! (Take a look at our breastfeeding workshops for additional advice)
- This is more of a sleep solution for you! Get a co-sleeping cot, fundamentally a cot with one side missing, which is pushed up to the side of your bed. The cot becomes an extension of your bed, so it’s a way of co-sleeping really safely. The idea is, when your baby wakes for a feed in the early weeks, you can simply roll over, pick your baby up and feed, roll back and place him back to sleep, without waking yourself up too much, which makes it easier for you to drift back off….zzzzzz.
- Be aware of “hungry baby” formula milk. For some babies it can be way too rich and can keep them awake at night with tummy troubles. I brought mine up on combination feeding after 3 months, and always used first milk (I recommend aptamil because it has really easy protein to digest)
- Go with a black out blind, and make it black out. Even the smallest chink of light in the summer months at 5am can stop baby sleeping. Use blu-tac, be pedantic, get rid of even the smallest glimmer of daylight with military precision.
- When they get bigger and start to roll, use a long sleeping bag and tuck it under the end of the cot tight. Then cover it with a light blanket suitable for the time of year. If they can’t roll so much, they won’t wake themselves up. It’s not cruel, it means they sleep better, and so do you!
- Once they are at an age when they can see themselves through the night without feeding, use your hand to settle them rather than your breast. Simply rest your hand on their belly until they fall asleep, then sneak out of their room without making a sound.
- When weaning never try new food at the teatime feed. Always try new food in the morning or lunchtime to see how their bellies react, it’s hard having a gassy grumpy baby during the day, but more difficult at night!
- Use a lullaby and start in pregnancy! Sing your baby the same song every time you put them to bed at night – this will become a conditioned response that will indicate the end of the day, and the start of sleep time.
- Don’t over stimulate your baby in the evening. Sounds/ music/ lights/ tv – it’s all too much after a heavy day of experiencing new things since 7am. Lots of issues, like colic, are sometimes mistaken for a baby who is simply over-stimulated and has simply done too much in one day. From 6pm your baby needs quiet and dark to get into the right frame of mind for sleep.
- Right this one is mine – keep Dad involved! For older babies, wait until your baby is saying dadadadadada as an experimentation sound, poke your husband gently in the ribs in the middle of the night when you hear a rendition coming from the nursery and play with his heart strings “oh sweetie, he is calling you”… 🙂
- Do it your way. It doesn’t matter how other mums do it, we can only parent according to who we are, what are own experiences are, and what makes sense to us. Don’t judge yourself against others. Do what you need to do, and what you believe is right for you and your baby, and that will be the answer for you both.
For more baby and pregnancy tips from The Inconsistent Earth Mother, go to our online baby magazine.
Jackie Heffer-Cooke specialises in pregnancy massage here at the OGC, as well as teaching HypnoBirthing, YogaBubs Baby Yoga and YogaBumps Pregnancy Yoga. To book an appointment for massage with Jackie, or to book a place on any of her classes, call Reception on 01603 631 900, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our contact page.