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The ultimate guide to sleep – tips for parents of babies or toddlers

 

Unfortunately, when it comes to sleep, not every baby has read the “rule book”. Whilst some babies will settle into a good routine quickly, others do not, and all too often parents can find that their once sleep loving baby is no longer following a routine leaving them exhausted and baffled. Rest assured you will not be alone in this; most babies will go through periods when sleep is an issue but here are some helpful tips to help when sleep is elusive.

Routine
When it comes to babies, and toddlers, routine is the key to helping them get a good night’s sleep and they are never too young to start. It can be a good idea to introduce a calming routine in the run up to bedtime, include things like a bath and stories. Reduce the brightness of the lights during this time to help your baby relax. You start all these things when your baby is very small and as they grow, they will naturally associate them with bedtime, which can help when it comes to establishing a good sleep pattern.

Comfort
If your baby is comfortable at night, then they will sleep better. Ensure that the room they are sleeping in is safe and comfortable and is neither too cold nor too hot. It is recommended that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for the first 6 months of their lives. Place your baby’s cot away from an open window as the breeze may wake them up.
Many babies shuffle in their sleep and lose their covers, causing them to get cold and wake up. This can be avoided by using baby sleeping bags or gro bags which keep them covered all night long. The right nightwear is also important. Choose soft natural fabrics that will not irritate their skin. Organic cotton pyjamas are a great choice that will keep your baby or toddler warm and comfortable all night long.

Think about naps
If you are struggling to get your child to sleep at night, especially if they are an older toddler, then it can be a good idea to look at their nap routine. Newborn babies, for example, sleep a lot. You should expect them to spend around 8-9 hours napping during the day and around 8 hours sleeping at night. However, by the time they reach 3-5 months the daytime napping should only total 4-6 hours. This will reduce further by the time they are about 12 months to just 3-4 hours of naps a day. If your child naps late in the afternoon, then they may not be sleepy enough at bedtime and his can throw their sleep pattern out.
Night-time waking
Young babies wake in the night for a feed, and this is completely normal. However, there are a few things you can do to help them get back to sleep as quickly as possible. Keep the room dark and calm whilst feeding them, avoid conversation and eye contact which can stimulate them and wake them further.

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