We had the pleasure of talking to Emma Gawne of Help Baby Sleep, a baby sleep consultant. Emma has given us the OK to share with you her golden rules for a good night’s sleep.
Rule 1: Timing
Leave time after your baby has woken up from their last nap of the day before getting them ready for bed – sleeping late in the afternoon can be the cause of many infant sleep problems.
Equally make sure your baby is not overtired – a child that’s missed its usual nap can struggle to settle at bed time.
Every child is different but generally a baby under four months will need sleep every ninety minutes. And from six to twelve months they need sleep every three to four hours.
Rule 2: Sleep Cues
Introduce a consistent routine. If you have familiar steps leading up to bedtime each night, it will help your baby to feel sleepy and safe.
Ideally the routine should include; a quiet time, a warm bath, perhaps a massage, songs or story as well as bedtime feed. This is the time for lots of contact with your baby.
Rule 3. Discourage a milk/ sleep association
Try not to allow your baby to fall asleep during the pre-bedtime milk feed. A good idea is to introduce a picture book that you can share after the feed and before going to bed.
Alternatively, you can split the feed – giving half before bath and half after. If you think your baby is about to fall asleep, change their nappy as you can then put them in their cot awake – this discourages them from falling asleep while drinking milk, helping them learn how to self-settle.
Rule 4. Love the cot!
As much as possible place your baby into her cot while they are awake, babies can find it alarming if the place that they went to sleep is not that same place they wake up.
You don’t need to leave them alone – you can sit quietly and offer comfort by touch or your voice.
Rule 5. Remember the sleep cycles
It is normal for babies to wake several times during the night. Babies who on waking feel safe and secure can settle themselves again and go back to sleep. For this to happen babies should be able to settle themselves independently.
It is important that your child does the work of falling back to sleep so try to avoid continually picking your child up, rocking or nursing them back to sleep. Instead comfort through voice and touch while they are in their cot.
Of course, each child is different so what works for one, might not work for another. If you follow the above, you have a very good chance their sleep will improve – and so will yours.
If you are still struggling or have a specific question, Emma has agreed to give KidStart members 10% off their first consultation. Contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more tips, visit Help Baby Sleep.
Facebook: Help Baby Sleep Group
Emma is a certified sleep consultant for babies and children. She is a holistic sleep coach so can assist with issues ranging from nutrition, room set up and lifestyle that can all affect you and your baby’s sleep.
Emma is also mum to two young children, so has first-hand experience when it comes to sleep and what happens when you are not getting enough!
“My Daughter really benefited from Emma’s personalised approach and we as parents feel empowered with the knowledge we need. She is thriving on her new routine and now content in her cot. We are thrilled!! Thank you again, we have no hesitations in recommending you to any sleep deprived parents!”
“Emma is so kind, supportive and always looking for what works well for the whole family. The plans she gives are so gentle, gradual, very informative and made me think about the whole sleeping process from a different perspective.”