Those that know me, know that I promote "making it work" and "survival" for the first few months. I don't advise sticking to a strict routine as I believe it just puts more pressure on a mother to hold to it, which is difficult when every single day is different. I also believe that in the first initial few months, feeding plays a large role in sleep issues and I don’t want to interfere with that. However in saying all of that, there are a number of things that you can do to try and teach your baby good sleep manners and never need to book in with me.
I was never very good at traditional swaddling so I bought Love To Dream Swaddle UP’s for my own children and have always advised them for clients too. Not only does it help with your inferior swaddling techniques but it actually makes sense that babies sleep in their natural position with their arms up. Babies often can self soothe with access to their hands and these swaddles allow them to suck away at them. It is nice knowing that they can’t escape them and will always stay warm and covered up.
2. Help your baby learn night from day.
From about 6 weeks, babies can learn to distinguish day from night and that is why you can often see them do longer stretches at night at this point. When winding down for the night, feed your baby in dimmed lighting or only using a night light. Dreambaby have a great range of Night lights. During the day, try and allow your baby to be in a lot of natural sunlight, be expressive when chatting and make plenty of eye contact with your baby. In contrast to that, night time should be low light, expressionless and quiet.
3.Invest in a really good monitor.
It is crucial that you have a good video monitor. One of the first things that I ever implement when I go to help a family with sleep is to give them a monitor. I find that parents that don’t have one, get a lot less sleep for two reasons. The first reason is because they worry a lot more about their little ones, they lie there wondering if they have rolled over, if they are hot, if their comforter is over their head, if their dummy has fallen out..the list is endless! With a monitor, they can go have a quick look at the monitor, then roll over and go to sleep and feel at ease. The other reason is that I find that parents are resettling too often if they don’t have one. Instead of allowing your baby to self settle themselves after waking, they rush in there and try to do it for them and can actually wake the baby up more.
I love my Oricom Secure 860 Video Baby Monitor, it has a touch screen, it plays white noise or songs which is excellent for drowning out other noises (like dogs barking or older children in my case) and you can talk through it which allows me to resettle without getting out of bed – Winning! It sits on the windowsill and I actually feel calmer knowing that it is “watching over” my bub every night.
4. Aim for them to self settle once a day:
Don’t be too hung up on your baby self settling from such an early stage, but if you do have the energy then start enforcing a once a day sleep training exercise where your baby goes off to sleep relatively unaided. If they can do it once a day, then slowly you can build up to more and then all of a sudden you’ll notice that that sleep is so much better.
5. Don’t google too much:
Telling a mum not to Google is a waste of breath, we all know that Google is our best friend BUT your search results will tell you all the things that you aren’t doing right. So read my words… You are doing a good job! Feeding your baby to sleep in the beginning is absolutely fine – you are making your baby having a wonderful attachment and fostering a great relationship with sleep. You know what else you are doing right…? Not putting your baby on a strict schedule. Google has some very tight schedules for mums to follow. You know why it’s not good? It changes all the time and is likely to make you stress and therefore your baby anxious from the beginning. Ignore the sites that tell you anything other than to go with the flow. Routine will come later, roll without it for now.
Good luck and sweet dreams!