Is your baby waking multiple times? Is your baby waking really early in the morning?
These are all common challenges parents face and they often feel confused and at a loss as to how to resolve these or whether this is normal. First of all, it's important to understand that sleep is a skill. Nobody told me this, I just assumed that sleep happened and it would gradually get better but for me it didn’t, in fact it got worse!
So what are the 'ingredients' to a good night sleep…
A Healthy Sleep Environment
Little ones need calm, dark and relaxing environments to sleep. Make sure their room is a comfortable temperature (16-20 degrees), that they are dressed in the appropriate clothings for the temperature and the room is nice and dark (a good blackout blind can be a life saver for this!). White noise can also really help with settling your little one, particularly if you live somewhere noisy.
A Consistent Routine
A good bedtime routine will consist of 3 or 4 steps which take place in the same order every night in the build up to bed. This routine should be calming and relaxing to help your little one unwind as well as giving them the signals that bed is coming. A good consistent routine every night will help your little one feel secure as it is familiar and sets clear boundaries.
The Ability To Self Settle
This is the bit that comes down to 'skill'. From 16 weeks, your little one has the ability to learn to self settle and remember that as it is a skill, they can learn, forget and relearn it so it's something your little one will need to practise. If your little one doesn't know how to settle at the beginning of the night then when they move between sleep cycles, they are likely to wake as they cannot settle into the next sleep cycle.
Overtiredness Will Sabotage Their Sleep
If your little one is overtired, this will almost certainly impact on their ability to settle, create night time wakings or cause them to wake early in the morning...or if you are unlucky, all three! Make sure your little one is getting the right amount of day time sleep at the right time of the day to make sure they are going bed well rested.
Feature by Claire Louise Bamford - Child Sleep Consultant