Encouraging Better Sleep – Tips & Hints From Real Mummies
Sleep – a contentious issue amongst most parents, am I right?!
From the ‘my baby slept through at two weeks’ crowd to the ‘HELP ME, MY 3 YEAR OLD STILL WAKES 5 TIMES A NIGHT’ crew, sleep is absolutely dependant on the individual child. It’s really important to consider that, although waking is normal and not your fault as a mummy or daddy, your rest is very important not only for your well being, but also for the well being of your children and other dependants.
There are ways that we can gently encourage our little ones to drift off to the land of nod, and benefit from good quality stretches of sleep. We’re going to be taking a look at some tips from real mummies to help YOU and your little one to achieve better rest.
Is your baby a dummy monster? Check this out!
This hilarious parenting hack has gone viral and we LOVE it! Laura Gerson shared the below photo in 2018 and it is still doing the rounds on social media – she credits this genius tip with her little one being better settled at night and not needing help finding her dummy when she spits it out. Some comments have pointed out that a dummy clip is another solution, but many parents avoid them at bed time just in case the strap causes a hazard.
Fill your days with fun & energetic activities!
Keeping your baby active and engaged in the day will ensure that they’re tired out by the end of the day and happy to go to sleep. I’ve learned this the hard way! Since starting nursery, my son’s sleep quality hugely improved and now we’re in a really consistent pattern which has made us all very content.
Check out our activity guides!
- Read ‘Exploring Nature For Toddlers & Babies’ by Growing Up With Nature here!
- This guide on Nature Activities For Winter is a great read to prepare for the colder months.
- Holly’s Awesome Sensory Box Idea is perfect for smaller babies – it’s amazing for keeping tiny tots engaged.
- This Natural Sensory Play guide by Nerys Hillier is great.
Don’t underestimate the importance of napping.
One rookie error I see a lot of is ‘should I cut out naps to make my child sleep?’ At some point, perhaps around the age of 3, this might be necessary, but in smaller babies, sleep breeds sleep and an overtired wee one is likely to irascible and harder to settle. If your smaller baby appears sleepy in the day, don’t be afraid to let them settle for a wee nap.
Gently get into a routine.
In our community group, there’s quite a lot of mixed opinions on routines; some mummies like to establish a routine from early on, and others go with the flow. I’d say that I’m the former; we went with what Max wanted on demand from birth, but we let him find his feet in the world and establish his own sleep pattern, and once we recognised a pattern, we then gently followed that as clearly it was what his growing little body needed. A lot of our mummies agree that a ‘gentle routine’ is a great compromise.
Give your little one a warm, soothing bath in the evening.
Lavender bubble bath and warm water are a fantastic combination for encouraging calmness and sleepiness in little ones (as well as adults!). I’d say this is one of the most popular methods our community parents use, as it’s really easy to stick to and little ones enjoy it.
Read a book and get snuggled after their bath.
There are so many benefits of reading to our children (read our guide here), and one that we often overlook is that it can be used to build a positive association with bed time, as well as being deeply relaxing due to the oxytocin from close contact with mummy and/or daddy. That small window of sleepy consciousness just before bed time is the perfect opportunity to read with your little one and prepare them for bed.
Offer gentle reassurance and comfort to help baby feel secure.
If your little one cries in the night, offer comfort and love. Some mummies prefer to do this without lights on (or with lights dimmed) and without talking to help keep baby sleepy. Remember, it’s impossible to ‘spoil’ a baby, and they thrive when their need for a cuddle is met!
Take baby massage classes.
Baby massage is hugely popular amongst our parenting community! It promotes intense relaxation, and could help your little one to drift off – it’s also strongly recommended by mummies of colicky babies who rave about the impact of the technique! This massage guide is highly recommended, and the video below is helpful too.
Do you have any tips you’d add to this? Let us know in the comments!
Love from Katie. Xx