I’m counting down the days until this chubby wubby bub pops out and it feels like the days are getting longer. Nearly every day I have someone say to me ‘better enjoy your sleep now while you still can,’ and it actually makes me roll my eyes.
I’ve put on 17kg, I have the bladder a size of a marble and extreme Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction…oh and this chubsta has started waking me up for milo at midnight every night – so sleep is not something I have been getting (or looking forward to) for the last 4 weeks.
BUT, sleep deprivation is something I know we are going to go through, so I contacted Tara Mitchell from The Gentle Sleep Specialist, to get some advice on how better to cope when this vampire child is sucking the life from me in the early stages of motherhood.
Here are Tara’s tips:
It’s one of the most talked about topics when it comes to babies… Sleep! As a paediatric nurse, mother and qualified sleep consultant, I am sending you my top tips to get your newborn on the right track to healthy sleep habits. Enjoy!
- Be mindful of over-stimulation and over-tiredness.
From the moment your little bundles enter the world, their brains are working hard to process everything going on around them. Our lives are filled with activities, people and fast pace. Sometimes this can become too much for our little ones. If your baby is fighting sleep, unsettled or having long crying spells, take a moment to keep things low key and provide a calm environment for your baby.
- Offer your newborn regular opportunities to sleep.
On average, the longest awake period for a newborn (including feeding time) should be approximately 40-50 minutes – some will be even shorter. Offering regular naps will prevent your little one from becoming overtired, and also gives you a chance to rest too!
- Tired signs come in a lot of different forms.
Indications of tiredness aren’t always just the classic grizzle and eye rub. Just when you thought they couldn’t be any more of a mystery! A tired baby will often present as an over-alert, wired baby who comes across as fighting sleep.
- Consistency and predictability are key for your little ones.
Give your baby the opportunity to sleep in the same safe space as often as possible. This will allow them to become familiar with their sleep space, which helps to nurture a secure and predictable relationship between baby and their bed.
- Think ahead and decide what role you wish to play in your little one’s sleep.
There are many different settling styles that you may wish to use to get your little one to sleep, whether it be patting, feeding, rocking, independent sleeping or using a dummy. No matter which you choose, be mindful that after the newborn period, the role you play can often become what they associate with sleep. Although teething can be a reason for sleep disruption, it’s not always the primary cause.
- Make sleep time a positive and predictable event.
Using a bedtime routine, having a bedtime phrase and having some relaxed time to wind down prior to bed are some great ideas to help your little one settle.
Having a new baby is the most wonderful time but doesn’t come without its challenges! If you are struggling with your little one’s sleep, don’t just resign yourself to the fact that they are ‘that type of baby’ or ‘they just hate to sleep’. I am still yet to work with a baby or toddler who hasn’t thrived off healthy sleep habits.
Head to my Facebook page, The Gentle Sleep Specialist, to learn more about sleep and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for sleep help for your infant or toddler. Also, remember to always follow the SIDS safe guidelines, which can be found here: http://www.sidsandkids.org/safe-sleeping/.