Ask the Expert: Slumbertots’ Baby Sleep Guide
Here at GLTC, we want to help you navigate the joys and challenges of parenting from birth through to the school years. So today we’re starting at the beginning with a question many bleary-eyed new parents will ponder – how to get baby to sleep?
We asked the lovely Katy Huyerman, a Certified Baby and Child Sleep Consultant and the owner of Slumbertots, to share her tips on how to develop a healthy sleep routine with your little one. Katy works with children from newborn up to 5 years old and helps families to get the sleep they need. Katy’s also mum to Kian and Lily, and she became a Sleep Consultant following her struggles with sleep deprivation when Kian was a baby. Since then, she has worked with over 500 families to help them get their babies to sleep well. Read on to discover Katy’s baby sleep guide.
HOW TO GET BABY TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT
If your baby or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, the first thing to say is, you're not alone! Many other families are in the same boat with their babies and toddlers. The good news is, there are some quick and easy things you can do to help your little one on the path to sleeping for longer stretches and get your baby sleeping through the night!
AIM FOR AN EARLY BEDTIME
The best time to put your little one to bed is somewhere between 6 - 8pm in the evening. This will help your child to get a solid 10-13 hours of sleep during the night, which is the amount of sleep children should be getting every night up until the age of 10. An early bedtime will mean you won’t be in the position of working out how to get an overtired baby to sleep.
PUT YOUR CHILD TO SLEEP IN THE SAME PLACE EACH NIGHT
Whether your child has a room of their own or shares with parents or siblings, it's important that you put them to sleep in the same place every night (and for naps during the day as much as possible). This gives them predictability and consistency and lets them know they’re in a place where sleep is expected.
FOLLOW BABY SLEEP TEMPERATURE GUIDELINES
It’s important to make sure that your baby is a comfortable temperature – not too hot or too cold. The Lullaby Trust guidelines recommend a room temperature of 16-20°C, with light bedding or a lightweight, well-fitting baby sleep sack.
CREATE A PREDICTABLE AND RELAXING BEDTIME ROUTINE
For babies and toddlers, consistency and predictability are two of the most important tools you can use. When they know what to expect at bedtime, it makes it so much easier for them to make the transition from being awake to falling asleep. That’s why putting a bedtime routine in place is so important!
A good example of a bedtime routine might be something like this:
6.20pm – Bath
6.35pm – Put on pyjamas
6.40pm – Breast or bottle feed
6.55pm – Story or songs
7pm – Put your little one into their cot or bed
Your bedtime routine should be around 30 - 40 minutes long, and it’s really important to make the routine the same every night. Repetition and predictability are how we learn and they let your child know that they’ll soon be expected to fall asleep.
TRY TO PUT YOUR BABY TO BED AWAKE
If you've been rocking, feeding, or otherwise soothing your baby to sleep, this will seem like a tough one... but it's actually the most important step! It's only by letting your child fall asleep independently at bedtime that they can learn the skills necessary to stay asleep through the night. All of us, babies and adults alike, actually wake several times a night. For most of us as adults, these wakings are so short that we don't remember them. However, many babies will immediately cry on waking because they haven't learned how to fall asleep on their own. If a baby has been fed or rocked to sleep since birth, it's understandable they wouldn't know how to fall asleep independently, and need some help to get back to sleep. If you start to try and put your baby into their cot awake at bedtime, this is a key step in helping them to sleep for longer stretches in the night.
BABY SLEEP GUIDES
If you’re looking for further advice and guidance on how to get your baby to sleep longer stretches or through the night, I have a number of guides available for particular baby sleep issues or phases, such as how to get a newborn to sleep, working on better naps, transitioning to a cot and dealing with early wake ups.
Thanks so much to Katy for sharing her baby sleep tips, we hope you find them helpful. Visit the Slumbertots website for more information and to find out about Katy’s 1-to-1 services. You can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
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