The memory of being sleep deprived by young children, remains with me to this day. I am definitely an 8-9 hours a night person. Being tired really doesn’t suit me. So, when our children were little, getting them to sleep and me to sleep was paramount and of course so was keeping them asleep.
Tips I learned that were most useful were:
- No baby or child continues to want to be in your bed forever. Sleeping with babies feels the right thing to do. (No alcohol, drugs etc)
- If you have taken your baby into your bed for some peace and quiet and want them back in their own bed, pop a hot water bottle under their blankets/duvet. When you do transfer them back to their cot, there will be no change in temperature to wake them up. Remember to take the bottle out.
- If you hear your baby waking (again) and it’s becoming a habit, get to him as quickly as you can and gently pat his tummy, in time with his breathing. Pray he does not actually surface, and then begin to slow your pats down, his breathing should also slow and he will drop back into a deep sleep.
- It takes 3 nights to make a habit and 3 nights to break it. If she has begun to wake up for no apparent reason, is not hungry, scared etc then watch out for the 3rd night! As a loving and caring parent and in a loving and caring way, try not to let it get to 4 nights because then you have a habit to break.
- Massaging your baby after a bath will definitely help her to sleep. Sing and hum gentle nursery rhymes as you massage. If she is too tired, even massage will not do the trick. Try a massage before bath (watch out they can be slippy, if you then bath them) and keep everything quiet and gentle. www.gentlehandsbabymassage.co.uk
Remember babies and young children thrive on routine. This is not about being really controlling, but about setting boundaries. You may not be able to stick to a routine all the time, flexibility with babies is vital. But it really helps for babies to understand the pattern of the day. Bedtime is: play, bath, massage, bed.