Tips for getting your 0-6 month baby to sleep
Have you found yourself at 4am Googling how to get your baby to sleep? We all have... Sleep consultant Jo Tantum is one of the leading professionals in the industry and is here with some of her top tips for helping to gently guide your 0-6m baby to sleep.
Congratulations and welcome to the world of parenthood! During these next 6 months, your baby will go through so many developmental and physical changes some of which can be really confusing and stressful. Don't worry, I'm here to help you understand your baby a little better.
1. When your new baby is born, try in those first few weeks to be kind to yourself. You are going to feel emotional, sore and very overwhelmed so don't put too much pressure on yourself to look like the celebrities in the glossy magazines and have your baby sleeping through the night by week 4!
2. Your baby won't understand the difference between night and day until around 6 weeks old. So try and make daytime and nighttime different. In the day wake them up around every 3 hours for a feed otherwise they will be feeding all night and that won't help your milk supply if you are breastfeeding.
3. Daytime is all about talking to them and interaction. Changing their nappy before a feed to wake them up more, and in the middle if they are really sleepy or have a dirty nappy, which is totally normal. Night time is all about quiet, calmness, darkness and sleep.
4. Your baby will be tired every hour of wake times for the first 6-8 weeks. Just enough time for a nappy change, a feed, a cuddle and a sing-song! As they reach 3 months old this wake time for naps changes to around 90 minutes, so more time for playing. By the time your baby reaches 6 months they will be tired every 2 hours of wake time.
5. At night time in the early days, your baby will naturally wake for feeds, although they are able to achieve one long stretch of sleep, starting from around 4 hours and increasing as they get older.
6. From around 8-9 weeks your baby will be taking full feeds in the day and the nighttime sleep will start to be longer stretches. This is when I suggest that you don't change your baby's nappy after the dream feed as this will wake them more and it will be more difficult to settle them back to sleep.
7. Look at introducing a dream feed as soon as you feel able, some parents start from the first two weeks and others a little older. The dream feed is a feed you give to your baby before you go to sleep, it's a great time to introduce the bottle so Daddy can have baby bonding time too. You are pulling your baby out of a deeper sleep and resetting their sleep clock so they have their long sleep when you have yours, which makes so much sense! This way you will all be much more rested. When introducing a dream feed always try it for at least 7 nights before things improve.
8. Always make sure you have total blackout, a swaddle or sleeping bag (after 3 months) wave/womb sounds and later on a story. These are all sleep triggers and will help your baby sleep better during the day and at night. A happy baby is a rested baby.
Jo Tantum- UK's leading Baby Sleep Expert with almost 30 years experience as a Maternity Nurse, a Nanny, in Baby units and as a gentle sleep trainer. Find out more about Jo and her services at www.jotantum.com.