How to get baby to sleep
Are you suffering from sleep deprivation?
As a new mum it’s highly likely that you heard about sleep deprivation but never really understood it until now. It would be great if all babies just fell asleep when they were tired but the reality is that all babies are different and most babies need some form of assistance from you as the new mum to help get to sleep and to stay asleep (download my free parenting made easier guide that details how to parent with child temperament in mind here).
When it comes to your baby sleeping there are two very important motivations – 1) to give your baby a rest and 2) to give you a rest. The second point is vital for both your sanity and for your ability to parent in a calm, rational and safe manner. So bearing this in mind there a few things you need to decide on:
A) am I prepared to let my child cry it out?
B) will my baby even respond to crying it out (see the child temperament ebook to understand that some babies won’t)
C) Do I care if my child does not sleep in a cot – eg co-sleeps safely?
D) what does my child need to go to sleep – eg comfort, reassurance, food?
E) am I prepared to relax my expectations and do what I think is right for us, rather than worrying about what I think will make others happy?
Now, besides all the usual things by now you know to look out for in your baby (eg first signs he/she is tired – like pulling ears and hair or yawning) there are a few extra things you can do to help your baby sleep – once you have addressed A – E above.
1) If your baby has a sore tummy due to excess wind, try picking her up and with one hand gently on the lower tummy gently bounce her/him to allow the wind to move down and pass through. You can also try rubbing the tummy or gently holding both feet and rocking the legs up and down and side to side to pass the wind. Both my girls had lots of wind and these methods worked for them. We also used a natural product called Colic calm which we found very beneficial.
2) if your baby is regularly waking up he/ she may just need extra comfort. Here you have several options.
-) invest in a baby sling so your baby can sleep with you and you can still get on with your day. Personally I have used the Baba Sling for both of my kids and I love it because it’s adaptable up to 2 years of age and has freed me up to have a normal life whilst my girls have received the comfort they need.
-) if your baby keeps waking up, check if your baby has a wet or dirty nappy. Some babies really feel uncomfortable so need to be changed more often. Keep the nappies close to the cot and sleep baby in a grow bag so it’s quick and not too disruptive to change the nappy at night.
-) ensure your baby has had enough to eat so she’s only waking up when expected. When your baby gets older make sure you leave at least an Hour between the last meal and bedtime to avoid a sore tummy, when you’re baby is smaller though keep her in a more inclined position in bed, the pram etc to avoid excess wind. For instance place an extra folded blanket under the head of the mattress to incline the top only slightly so your baby won’t roll to the bottom of the bed. Remember to always follow SIDS sleeping guidelines so your baby is save and don’t place any blankets on top of your baby which could cover his head.
-) with a baby who needs extra comfort it’s all about either giving in to co-sleeping (again ensuring you’re following SIDS safe sleeping guidelines) or investing in a cot that you can place next to your bed so you can gently roll your baby over to the open cot next to you without you baby realising. I highly recommend the Bednest Bedside Cot. Not only is it beautiful, it serves this purpose perfectly.
There are lots of things you can do to ensure you get some sleep and your baby does too. The important thing is to not get stressed if your baby doesn’t just gently drift off to sleep. Your baby has spent months close to you, so it only makes sense that he/she may need some assistance to get to sleep. Be kind to yourself and be patient. You may need to try a few different things before you get it right.
If you’re a new mum and you feel you need some more personalised support, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book in a private session or visit https://www.helpformums.com/products/coaching_for_new_mums for more information about Wellness coaching for Mums
Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac