Ask any new parent and they’ll tell you – one of the greatest challenges in the early days of parenthood is persuading their newborn to sleep throughout the night. Often, the new bundle of joy wakes up in the middle of the night, crying persistently. The more you try to soothe them back to sleep, the louder they seem to cry. However, through shared experiences and basic understanding of infant behaviour, we can identify strategies to encourage your baby to sleep soundly at night.
Firstly, it’s crucial to recognise why babies generally struggle with uninterrupted sleep. The newborn phase is dominated by a basic metabolic cycle of waking, eating, and sleeping – a cycle oblivious to the concept of day and night. Therefore, in these initial months, there’s not much that can be altered in this routine. However, as your baby reaches the age of around 5 or 6 months, your approach to their care can be modified.
A crucial part of this process is encouraging good sleep habits and helping your baby differentiate between day and night. This involves creating a schedule for your baby, training them with consistency. Feeding your baby adequately before bedtime can ideally discourage middle-of-the-night wake-ups. If they do wake up, ensure to keep the feeding quiet, so the baby recognises the difference from daytime feedings.
To further facilitate a good night’s sleep, consider giving your baby a warm bath before bedtime, as the warmth tends to induce sleep. Moreover, a newborn often finds comfort and relaxation in the smell and warmth of their mother, promoting quicker sleep when they share the bed.
Parenting a newborn demands immense patience and common sense. Understanding your baby’s needs from their perspective can guide your actions effectively. Some childcare experts suggest adopting a compassionate detachment approach as your baby grows. For instance, if your baby wakes up crying in the middle of the night, don’t rush to them immediately (unless they seem unwell). Allow them to cry for about ten minutes before reassuring them, but avoid excessive pampering. This might be challenging at first for both you and the baby, but over time, your baby might stop crying when they realise it doesn’t yield the expected attention.
Mastering the art of putting your baby to sleep is a significant part of childcare, but there’s a lot more to learn as your baby grows into a toddler. That’s why we encourage you to enrol in our Online Toddler Course. This comprehensive programme covers a range of topics to equip you with the skills and knowledge to navigate the delightful challenges of toddlerhood confidently. To learn more or sign up, visit our website today.