While i am no sleep expert i have listened to lots of parents in my classes and these are some tips from real parents for real life situations. Lots of programs and books will make you believe that this can be done in a certain number of days.
When in reality what works for one may not work for another, advice can be a good thing but please remember they are not living in your house in your current situation.
In my experience its trial and error.
Lots of things come into play when trying to get the little one off to sleep, environment, emotions (of parents and babies), expectations and readiness of baby to actually want to sleep.
Babies go through lots of different states throughout the day you will never get a baby to sleep if they are in one of the awake states. This is why reading babies cues can be a good indicator these include but not limited to red eyebrows, averts eyes, turns head and blank stares.
This is the time you should be helping them wind down for sleepiness, if babies get overtired they fight the sleep, stress hormones rise and the quality of sleep is reduced.
See our post on how to recognise babies sleepy cues for more information on cues.
We also have the huge debate of using the cry out method or parent soothe to sleep which ever your choose has to be right for you and your family situation.
But here are some tips that will help on you way to a good night sleep for everyone.
Beware if you little one does sleep through never tell a sole, don't post on social media as this will mean the little one will never sleep through again.
1. Start a bedtime routine.
This will be the building block of all future sleep, babies learn to read signals so the more you can give them that bedtime is approaching the more accepting of bedtime they will be.
Try and do the same thing everyday in the same order, babies like repetition and this is key. Whatever your routine may be make sure the last bit is done in the same room baby will sleep in. My routine was as follows bath, massage,book, bottle and then bed. Keeping the routine short and flowing stops them getting overtired.
Although my little one did not sleep perfect every night she started sleeping for around 9-10 hours from 10 weeks. I now have a toddler that sleeps 7.30 till 6.30 we still do the same things every-night but we have just adjusted this slightly to fit her age and will continue with this.
2. Create a bedtime environment
In the room where baby is going to sleep try and keep it nice, dark calm and quiet.
Things that over stimulate babies will just make their brains go into overdrive and make it harder for them to drift off. So try not to have over head mobiles or light shows and turn the telly off.
Having said this about the quiet some babies do like noise this is where you could try white noise. There are lots of apps and toys that can provide this.
3. To cuddle or self soothe
I am not going to sit here and say one way is better than the other you have to decide which way is right for you and your baby. But having spoken to my parents in class this is what worked best for them.
Soothe to sleep if you decide this route then gently rhythmically rock the little one holding them close, if they can hear your heartbeat they will be calmer. Gently tapping them on the bum mimics the heartbeat they will have felt in the womb bringing calm and a familiar feeling.
Placing baby down sleepy but awake this is normally done from 6-8 weeks there is a short window for a baby between sleepy and overtired so its important to read the cues.
When baby is sleepy but still awake place them down in the cot maybe with your hand on their chest till they fall asleep. This may take a few days to master but overtime they will realise that this means off to sleep. If baby gets a little agitated give them a little rock or pick them up cuddle and then back down. This is personally how i did it i took about 8 days for her to trust that she was OK to sleep on her own.
4. Babies that wake
Once you have mastered the getting to sleep stage then what do we do if they wake ?
Do the same as you did to get them to sleep this signals its still sleep time. Doing something that is totally different will just confuse them.
5. Sleep regressions
Yes even if you have a perfect sleeper from birth they will regress this means broken sleep and fussiness at night and during the day. I am afraid its best to ride these out if you try and get them to stick to the routine while they are going through this the stress levels for everyone will be sky high.
They normally last between 1-3 weeks which seems forever but they don't last i promise.
When the regression is over you can get back to the routine, the regression is a part of baby's development.
I hope these tips helped they have all come from real parents in the throws parenthood.
Just remember that your baby is just that, no one else is in your situation you are the expert of your own baby and know them better than anyone else.
Try not to compare, your baby is unique and not everything that is posted on social media is all glitter and gold.
And REMEMBER don't tell anyone if they sleep thorough unless its in the comments on this blog that does not count ha ha.
That's all for now see you soon.
Calm Babies Owner and Toddler Mum