All new parents know how tiring it can be getting your baby into a reliable sleeping pattern, and at Adorable Tots we've experienced the same ups and downs! There is no doubt that it can be extremely hard at first when your little one is learning about sleep and keeping you awake at night. But it does all fall into place with time and the right strategies.
The trick is to finding the approach that works for you and your baby. Every family is different and it often pays to experiment with a few techniques to see which one 'sticks'.
The first thing to know is that when your baby is a newborn - up to 12 weeks - it is very unlikely that they will sleep through the night.
Their tiny tummies are just too small to hold sufficient milk and they will wake to be fed regularly; often every couple of hours for the first couple of weeks at least. As the weeks go on, they will be able to sleep for longer, and most parents report on how amazing they feel when they start to get 4 hour stretches of uninterrupted sleep!
At this stage, the trick is simply to recognise that your baby needs to wake regularly, and to share the feeding load as much as you can. If you are breastfeeding, you can express so that your partner can help. Keep the crib close to your bed so that you don't need to travel far to attend to your noisy little arrival in the night.
Getting a routine
A good routine to incorporate early on includes an evening bath with relaxing bath bubbles, a song or a story and a baby massage. These are all proven to relax baby and encourage sleep. For parents too, it is vital to sleep in the day when baby does. Newborns need up to 18 hours of sleep a day, and you should be catching those all-important zzz's at the same time!
Creating a Beautiful Baby Space
Your new arrival will probably be in a Moses basket or crib in your room, but this is a lovely time to invest in beautiful nursery furniture so that you have a calming space to feed your little one and to spend time in when he or she just doesn't want to sleep. Buy beautiful luxury nursery furniture like a supportive nursery chair that's comfortable and can support you and baby whilst nursing or feeding. It is important for you to feel relaxed and will generally make things feel easier with a cozy chair to rest in.
Past the 'fourth trimester'
As baby gets older, incorporate routines and regular bedtimes. Track their wake up times so that you can see patterns emerging. When the clocks change, some parents prepare a week in advance by gently adjusting sleep times, so that the hour change is less of a shock.
It is also important to expose your little one to outdoor light as early as possible - safely of course. This will start to regulate circadian rhythms and teach them about day and night - something that newborns don't know about!
Yes, it's natural to ensure that your precious bundles new nursery is filled with the most beautiful luxury nursery furniture, decorations and toys, but what about you? Treat yourself to a massage or facial, a manicure or even a nice glass of wine occasionally. Get out for a walk to feel the benefits of UV light and fresh air - this will benefit the baby too. Ask a trusted family member to look after the baby for a while so that you can take a shower at least.
As your child gets older still, you will find that comforting rituals such as a bottle of warm milk, a blanket tuck-in and the presence of a favourite teddy bear will all help, as well as a structure for bedtime preparation, such as teeth cleaning and a story.
Try to avoid television and too much stimulating activity before bed. Lots of outdoor play earlier on in the day will tire them out, as will a regular afternoon nap schedule. For most children, regular and sound sleeping is a continuing pattern; it's only when they get too over-tired that things start to go awry. Reintroduce the routine, stay calm and start again; things will soon fall into place again.