Getting your baby into a good sleep routine will help you both get a sufficient night’s sleep, waking up happier and healthier. Managing your babies sleep can be one of the most challenging aspects of parenthood, so having a baby that can naturally self-settle to sleep can be a huge blessing. If your little one is the opposite and can’t fall asleep by themselves then don’t fear, there are a number of ways that you can teach your baby to self-settle. Here are our top tips on teaching your little one how to fall asleep on their own.
When a baby self-settles it means they are able to fall asleep in their cot, or sleep environment, themselves, without being rocked or cuddled by a parent. Having your little one self-settle means that you will get much more sleep yourself and won’t have to worry about your baby waking up crying because they need you to help them return to sleep. Babies that self-settle generally sleep for longer periods of time. Newborn babies won’t be able to self-settle as they adjust to the outside world, but some naturally learn to settle themselves to sleep from the age of 3-4 months. However, it may take time for your little one to learn the art of self-settling; some 6-month-old babies, or older, can still struggle to fall asleep themselves, so be patient and take everything at your own pace.
There are a few different ways that can help your baby to fall asleep themselves once they are old enough.
One of the most important tips to helping your little one self-settle is to ensure that their nursery or room is dark, quiet, and at a good temperature. You should create an environment at night that soothes and relaxes your little one so that they can become sleepy themselves. Play white noise to help encourage your baby to self-settle in their cot. Make sure your little one is sleeping away from loud noise, e.g. a TV or busy road, if possible. Their nursery should also be kept at a temperature of 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, or 20 – 22 degrees Celsius. This sleep environment should become their consistent place of sleep too, somewhere that they relate with going to sleep for both naps and night.
Another crucial tip for getting your baby to self-settle is to stop them from falling asleep in your arms. It can be tough to wake up your baby when they are in your arms, but it is necessary in order to make sure you can all get more sleep during the night. When your little one falls asleep in your arms they are getting used to having you with them when they sleep, which can make it more difficult for them to fall asleep themselves. When your baby begins to get sleepy or the time is coming for a nap, place them in their cot while they are still awake, so they can get used to falling asleep without your help. Also, if your baby is falling asleep in arms when they cycle through their sleep into a light sleep phase their brain will check to see if all the factors that were in place when they fell asleep were there and if they are not they will wake fully looking for those factors to be replaced. Hence why when you continue to hold your child while they sleep they will generally sleep longer!
Create a routine so that you create structure around nap times in the day and the same bedtime at night. This will help your little ones to become sleepy themselves as they will get used to napping in their sleep environment each day. Create a bedtime routine that can help soothe your little one, such as a warm bath, lullaby or story before putting them into their crib to fall asleep. Cycle your feeding schedule alongside your sleeping schedule but feed after sleep rather than right before so that you can avoid feeding to sleep which can be a key factor in an inability to self soothe in the same way as holding to sleep.
Rocking your newborn baby can be a great way to get them to sleep, but it can also mean they get used to the feeling of being rocked and cry without it. Once your baby reaches 3 to 6 months old, reduce the time you spend rocking them and gradually phase it out until they can fall asleep without it at all. It is completely normal for your little one to cry a little when you first try and adjust them to sleeping themselves in their cot. Support them, in a way that fits with your parenting style, while they are getting to know this new way of sleeping while allowing them to learn their new skill around self-settling to sleep. Remember, that every baby is different and yours may just need more time before transitioning to self-settling at night but being consistent in the changes you are making will be key to them achieving self-settling.
A great way to help teach your baby to fall asleep without relying on you to comfort them is to introduce healthy sleep associations. A healthy sleep association can be the perfect transition if you are struggling to get your little one to self-settle. White noise as previously mentioned can be an ideal sleep association; many babies find it easier to fall asleep with white noise. Other good associations to try out include a teddy bear or baby lovey. Make sure any external associations you introduce for your baby are safe and will not put their safety at risk.
The most important thing to remember when trying to get your little ones to sleep themselves is to withhold expectations and be as patient as possible. Get in touch with us at Babogue today to help your baby sleep. Erica is a certified child sleep consultant and offers families choice in how their work on their child learning the skill of self settling. Babogue's online sleep program, The Sleep Series, and its 7 Steps to Better Sleep gives parents details of 5 techniques that can be applied while working on self settling with your little one.
Trying to adjust one baby to a sleep schedule can be incredibly difficult, so having two little ones to get to sleep is double the work. Although similar steps are used to help create a sleep schedule for twins, there is also a range of challenges that can arise with twins that could prevent you and your little ones from getting the valuable sleep you need! Luckily, there are a variety of things that you can try so that you and your family can get the best possible sleep during the night. Here at Babogue, we are giving you our top tips on getting your newborn twins to adjust to a sleep schedule.
There are two main methods to help ensure your twins have a good sleep during the night. The first is by syncing your twin's sleep and feeding schedules so that they both fall asleep at the same time. This method will make time for you to rest as your twin's sleep, which can be easier to handle. Another popular method is to have a staggered sleep schedule so that you can spend more time with each twin alone and minimise the risk of your twins waking each other up if they are in the same cot or room. This staggering of schedules can take the form of 15 to 1 hour differences in schedules. Either method has limitations so you need to stay flexible and try to be patient; it may take you a while to figure out a schedule that works for you and your babies.
Whether you are syncing your twins' sleep schedule or keeping them staggered, there are a number of steps that you can take to help them both get used to a sleep schedule. For those that want to sync their twin's sleep schedule, it is a good idea to feed your little ones at the same time; this means that if one of your babies wakes up and wants food, you should wake the other up to eat too. Feeding time should help to sync your babies with sleep time; if they feed at the same time they will most likely get sleepy at the same time. You should also keep an eye out for when your babies rub their eyes or yawn as this will indicate that they are tired and is a great time to put them down together for a sleep
Appropriate steps to help single babies fall asleep on a schedule can also be extremely effective for your twins.
These steps include creating a routine for your babies in the evening so that they know it is bedtime. Dimming the lights, talking only with a soothing voice, singing a lullaby and bathing your twins at the same time each night can all help them to get used to the difference between night and day. As your babies transition from your womb, it can take a while for them to adjust to sleeping at night; this is because their circadian rhythms haven’t developed. Creating a difference in the atmosphere at night should really help your babies to settle and get to sleep.
Another great way to help soothe both your babies to sleep at the same time is to play white noise in the background. This will not only relax them but can help stop one baby from waking the other up during their nap, as the white noise should keep them settled. Make sure the play the white noise continously through sleep rather than turn it off after a period of time.
If you plan to follow a different sleep schedule for each of your little ones, it is a good idea to have their cots in different rooms once they are a little older (if you have a big enough space). This will minimise the chance of one baby waking the other. If they are remaing on the same sleep schedule it is encouraged that they room share.
A typical schedule for a newborn baby pretty much involves a continuous cycle of sleeping and feeding. A newborn baby will have around 15 to 18 hours of sleep over 24 hours, and spend the rest of the time feeding or having short periods of wake time. The best time to put your newborn to sleep at night is anytime from 9 to 11 PM. This will allow you to get a few hours of valuable sleep before having to wake to feed.
Here at Babogue we can help with getting your newborn twins adjusted to a great sleep schedule. Sleep is a necessity which is why it is so important for you and your babies to be well-rested. Erica is a mum of three, a Certified Child Sleep Consultant and member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants. Get in touch with us today and follow us on social media for regular updates and sleep tips!
Swaddling can be a great way to help your newborn settle to sleep as they get used to the outside world. Once practised safely, swaddling is completely safe for your newborn but must come to an end before they reach 6 to 12 weeks old. You may find transitioning your baby out of swaddling difficult if they have gotten used to sleeping in a swaddle from birth. Although every baby is different, the moment your little one shows signs that could put their safety at risk, it is time to leave the swaddle behind. Babogue is here to help guide you on transitioning your baby out of swaddling in the easiest way, to help both you and your baby continue getting a good night’s sleep.
Read our earlier blog on how to swaddle
There are a range of signs that indicate swaddling should come to an end. Most babies show signs that they need to be transitioned out of swaddling from 6 to 12 weeks of age. The most important thing to keep in mind with swaddling is your baby’s safety; no matter what age they are, if they grow strong enough to roll over at night, it is vital that you put an end to the swaddling. Likewise, if your baby becomes strong enough to unwrap the swaddle and is left sleeping with loose blankets you must stop wrapping them up! If you find your little one is fighting against the swaddle or want their arms free it is time to transition out of swaddling.
If your baby reaches 6 weeks old and continues to sleep soundly and safely in their swaddle there is no rush to transition. If you transition your baby out of swaddling too early your baby’s Moro reflex can mean that neither of you will continue getting valuable sleep.
Moro reflex causes babies to feel as though they are free-falling due to a lack of support, which causes them to rapidly spread out their arms, bring them back in and then curl into a fetal position. This is usually also accompanied by a lot of crying. The Moro reflex is completely natural and healthy, it indicates that your little one’s nervous system is developing and will usually come to an end when your baby reaches the age of 3 to 6 months.
Transitioning your baby out of swaddling gradually is the best method to avoid you and your little one’s sleep being disturbed. However, it is important to remember that if your baby is getting out of their swaddle, leaving loose blankets or they are strong enough to roll over while sleeping then you must stop swaddling immediately rather than gradually. If your baby is waking up more often or you notice they have increased arm activity, you can gradually transition them out of swaddling with a few key steps.
There are two different methods you can try first for transitioning your baby. One step to gradually transitioning your baby out of swaddling is to allow your little one’s legs to be free out of the swaddle. Swaddle your baby from above their legs to their shoulders; they will still feel wrapped up and supported but their legs will be free to move around.
The time it takes to transition your baby out of swaddling can differ, depending on how ready they are to leave the swaddle. We recommend trying out the steps listed above for a few nights at a time, and if successful, this will mean that your little one will be out of their swaddle within 1 to 2 weeks!
Be patient and take your time in trying out different methods to transition out of swaddling, if your baby’s safety is not at risk.
Here at Babogue we offer a range of services to help you and your baby sleep. Erica is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant and a member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants. We work with a huge range of families to help them reach their sleep goals. Get in touch with us today to begin your journey to a better night’s sleep for you and your baby.
One question a sleep consultant is frequently asked is whether babies should sleep in a dark room, or not. Some parents suggest that a nursery should be light during the day time, during naps for example, and dark at night so as to avoid confusion. The short answer is yes, babies should sleep in a dark room, for all sleeps.
Let’s take a look at the detail and how we’ve come to this conclusion.
Younger babies are less impacted by a light or dark room as babies aren’t born with a circadian rhythm which is the internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and helps control your daily schedule for sleep and wakefulness.
Between the ages of 2 and 4 months, you baby will start to develop their circadian rhythm and it’s at this stage they will be impacted differently depending on whether they are in a dark or light room.
As your baby grows, however, they will sleep for longer in a dark room, as darkness supports melatonin the sleep hormone. Therefore, it’s recommended that you get them used to sleeping in a dark environment as early as possible.
Melatonin is the sleep hormone that helps the body control sleep cycles. Light breaks down melatonin, and consequently, babies will produce lower levels during the day when rooms tend to be brighter. Therefore, napping in a dark room will support this hormone, which in turn helps them fall and stay asleep.
A: Babies tend to find ways to entertain themselves, which means parents need to make sure their sleep environment is dark with no distractions that may impact them falling asleep. The older your little one gets, the more sociable and curious they become. With this in mind, it’s recommended to keep the room dark to help your baby to fall asleep without the distraction of toys, for example, in their sleep environment and also support Melatonin, the sleepy hormone, to do its work.
Blackout curtains or blinds will help block out any light sources
A: There are several steps you can take to ensure your baby’s room is dark enough to support their sleep cycle and line them up for a good night sleep. Start by entering the room at night to identify what the potential light sources are. Of course, there will be the main light and/or lamps that can easily be switched off, but if there any light coming through the windows or under the door perhaps?
Blackout curtains or blinds will help block out any light sources out of your control, such as sunlight/moonlight or street lamps. Heavily lined curtains will help keep the warmth in the room too, so it’s a win-win.
I do not recommend the use of nightlights for younger babies however if you do need to be in their room at night use a nightlight to help you keep an eye on your little one and when it comes to nappy changes. Ensure this light is red, orange or yellow as these shades a less likely to impact melatonin production, unlike blue & white light sources.
A: The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recommend newborn babies sleep in the same room as their parents until at least 6 months old and up to the first year if possible. There is strong evidence to suggest that room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by up to 50%. SIDS is the unexplained death of a baby younger than one year.
With this in mind, by one years old, parents will likely be looking to transfer their little one into their own sleeping environment. The trick is to do this early enough to avoid sleep separation anxiety but past the risk of SIDS.
Remember, every baby’s sleep cycle will be different to some extent, so it’s best not to worry too much or compare to others experiences. However, if you’re struggling to get your little one to go to sleep, consider reaching out to a sleep consultant for assistance, not only with your child’s sleep but to help the whole family sleep better. or