Are you a sleep-deprived parent, constantly battling with a baby who just won’t snooze through the night? You’re not alone! But don’t reach for that third cup of coffee just yet, because we’ve got a guide that’s going to help you get on the right track to win the sleep battle, and make it a little more fun too. With a good night’s sleep, who knows, you might even have the energy to learn that new hobby you’ve been dreaming of, like juggling or unicycling (or maybe just catching up on your own sleep).
So, first thing first, when do babies start sleeping longer at night? The truth is, there’s no set age for this to happen. Some babies are sleeping like a rockstar by 6 weeks, while others may not be sleeping through the night until they’re 6 months old. Every bub is unique and develops their sleep habits at their own pace. But don’t stress, one day you’ll look back and laugh at the days when you thought you’d never sleep again. Or at least that’s what people tell me, I’m still waiting for that day!
The power of consistency:
Like alot of things in parenting, consistency is key. When it comes to developing good sleep habits for babies, you really need to establish a bedtime routine and commit to sticking to it every night. Soon enough, your baby’s body will start to recognise when it’s time to snooze. Start by putting your baby to bed at the same time every night and make sure they have a full, happy belly, and a clean nappy. Try soothing techniques like rocking, singing, or reading a bedtime story. And why not get creative? Maybe a lullaby in the style of your favourite band or reading a bedtime story in a silly accent will do just the trick. The key is to create a relaxing and familiar routine to signal to your baby that it’s time for the Zs. And if that doesn’t work, bribe them with cookies (just kidding, don’t give cookies to babies).
Creating the perfect sleep environment:
Creating the perfect sleep environment is crucial for your baby’s sleep. Make sure the room is dark, cool, and quiet. You can trying using blackout curtains and a white noise machine to block out any external noise (My personal tip: there are hundreds of white nose videos on YouTube). And if you want to be little bit fancy, maybe invest in a smart-thermostat to make sure the room is always at the perfect temperature. And let’s not forget about the bedding – splurge on the softest (and cutest!) sheets you can find; your baby will love feeling like royalty (just kidding, babies probably don’t care, but at least it will satisfy mama’s dream of having a Instagram worthy baby bed).
Napping is like hitting the snooze button for babies. It’s not just about taking a break from the world, but it’s also about recharging their little batteries so they can tackle the next round of playtime, feeding, and everything else. And who doesn’t love baby nap times – when mum and dad can have a little break too (meaning vacuuming the food on the floor and dealing with never-ending laundry)? But seriously, napping is essential for babies, it’s not just about giving them a break, but it actually plays a crucial role in helping them get a good night’s sleep. A well-rested baby is a happy baby, and a happy baby means happy mum and dad! So, make sure your little one is getting enough daytime sleep and establish a consistent nap schedule.
And as your baby grows, their nap schedule will change too, it’s like they are a tiny human version of a smartphone, always needing updates. As they get older, they may need longer naps during the day and may start to drop the morning nap. But don’t worry, it’s not like they are dropping a call, they are just upgrading to the next level of sleep.
Sleep training can be a bit like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube blindfolded: it’s a bit confusing and you’re not sure if you’re doing it right.
There are different methods of sleep training, such as the “cry-it-out” method or the “no-cry” method. It’s important to research and choose the method that feels most comfortable for you and your baby. Once again, every baby is different, and what works for one may not work for another.
Don’t forget to ask for help, whether it’s from a pediatrician, a sleep consultant, or even just a friend who’s been through it. And remember, this is a temporary phase, and soon enough you’ll be on the other side with a well-rested baby (and a well-rested parent). And that’s worth all the unsolved Rubik’s cubes in the world.
Have a sense of humour:
Taking care of a baby is already hard work, and remember that raising a baby can be stressful, so try to keep a sense of humour about it. Laugh when things don’t go as planned and don’t be too hard on yourself. If it helps, be open to share your struggles with other parents, you’ll find that you’re not alone in this journey. And who knows, you might even make some new friends online during the 3am feedings.
When trying to change your baby’s sleep habits, it’s important to make gradual adjustments rather than trying to change everything at once. This will help prevent overwhelming your baby and make the transition smoother for them. And don’t be afraid to try different strategies to find what works best for your baby. Just like in a restaurant, not everyone likes the same dish!
Be prepared for regression:
AHHHH! Every exhausted parent’s greatest fear when it comes to bedtime. As your sweet baby grows and reaches new milestones, they may experience sleep regression. This is normal and, fortunately, temporary and although it may be very discouraging, just remember, this too shall pass (it also means bub is growing and learning a lot! Hooray for that!). And you can just think of the sleep deprivation as an excuse to finally splurge on that fancy concealer!
If there was an Olympic event for “Most Sleep Deprived Parent,” we would all be taking home the gold medal, hands down! Creating good sleep habits for your little one can feel like a never-ending game of Whack-a-Mole.
But chill, with a little bit of consistency, patience and a comfortable sleep environment (and a whole lot of caffeine), you’ll have your little one snoozing like a champ in no time. And always remember that every baby is different and will develop good sleep habits at their own pace, so don’t get discouraged if it takes a little longer (or a lot longer). Try your best to enjoy this journey and treasure every baby snuggle, you may be surprised at how much you will miss these late night dates (maybe?).
Happy snoozing, and good luck!