How to establish sleep routines for babies
Sleep is especially important for newborns, toddlers and children, as it is vital for mental and physical development.
Here, our sleep expert, Dave Gibson, shares 10 tips to help your baby get the right amount of sleep, and for you to be able to cope with the disruption to your routine too…
1. Sleep when your baby sleeps
New-borns tend to sleep for about 16 to 17 hours a day, between 2 to 4 hours at a time. Babies will initially set their own sleep routine. Thus, the best advice for mums is to sleep when your baby sleeps. This would be the case, even if your newborn starts from day and night reversed, sleeping in the day and waking at night.
2. Learn how your baby behaves when they start to get tired
Some babies will rub their eyes, some fuss and some cry when they start to need to go to sleep.
3. Put your baby to bed when they’re sleepy but not asleep
It is best to put your baby to bed when they are sleepy but not asleep. This way you are training them to eventually learn how to fall asleep by themselves.
4. Develop a sleep routine
Train your baby to go to sleep in the evening by developing a sleep routine. Feeding, having a bath, making the room dark, and differentiating between day and night are all key components of a good sleep routine.
5. Pick a consistent bedtime
Once you have chosen a regular bedtime, aim to allow your baby to fall asleep on their own with as little help as possible.
6. In the day keep your baby active and in a light room
7. Remember to let your baby take naps
Naps are vital with newborns taking from 2 to 4 a day. They should be in a dark room to nap.
8. It’s normal to feel tired
During the first month, it is more than likely that you will be sleep deprived. It takes between 2 to 3 months for a baby’s sleep cycle (circadian rhythm) to develop. Up to that point, you will most probably be grabbing sleep when you get a chance to.
9. It takes time to develop a routine
Ideally, if you can be consistent with the routine, from about 3 months your baby will have developed a routine where they can both fall asleep and stay asleep without your help.
10. Make sleep your priority
Make sleep your priority during the first three months in order to be able to cope with the demands of being a new mum.