Any conversation with any new parent will always involve the topic of sleep (or lack of it). It takes a while for babies to get into a routine but with a bit of patience and perseverance you will manage.
Here are some helpful hints on getting your baby to sleep better:
- Develop a bedtime routine as soon as possible so that your baby begins to learn the difference between day-time and night-time. An example might be: a bath, fresh nappy and sleep clothes, feed/supper, story and cuddle-time, bed.
- Try to quieten things down before bed-time, perhaps turn off the TV or any loud music. This may help your baby begin to relax. Older children can be encouraged to do something quiet that does not involve rushing around.
- Your baby will link certain things with going to sleep. If you always place your child in his/her cot to go to sleep, this is how they will learn to sleep there comfortably.
- If you usually rock your baby to sleep, push them in the buggy, or take them in to your bed to get them to sleep, they may always need these things to be done before they will sleep. So choose carefully.
- If your baby wakes often in the night, try to soothe him/her without taking her out of his/her cot. If he/she is very upset and you think she needs a cuddle, do this quietly and place her back in the cot as soon as she has settled.
- As children reach toddler stage they still need 11-12 hours sleep at night, so bed-times should allow them to get this amount.
- Try to get some sleep or relaxing time when the baby sleeps. Your priority is to care for your baby, so do not hesitate to ask your partner, family and friends to give you a hand with everything else (especially in the early stages).
- Stay calm. If you feel stressed or if you are finding it hard to cope, talk to someone you trust who has done it before or your public health nurse, GP or support worker.
Produced by TREOIR, The National Information Service for Unmarried Parents, visit www.treoir.ie for more information.