Where will your baby sleep?
When you are pregnant, as your walk around during the day you rock the baby to sleep inside your tummy. This is why when you sit down on an evening, or get into bed at night the baby suddenly becomes more active. For this reason, I suggest a rocking crib, they are bigger than a Moses basket so the baby should fit in it a bit longer. The rocking crib will allow them to be soothed and rocked back to sleep during the night if they wake. For the first 6 months, the baby should be in your room, after that they can go into their own nursery if you wish. The Lullaby Trust provide guides on keeping your baby safe and reducing the risk of SIDS.
The ideal room temperature is between 16-20 degrees, however I think 16 degrees is a little on the cool side and personally aim for 18-19 degrees in the bedroom. I’ve always used The Gro Company sleeping bags and had a Groegg in the room so I could monitor the temperature. They provide a guide for which tog sleeping bag and how to dress the baby for the temperature of the room so they don’t get too hot or cold. I’ve always had a range of their sleeping bags including a 0.5 tog, 1 tog and 2.5 tog to choose from depending on the temperature at the time. Everyone finds it difficult to sleep if their too hot or cold, so I feel this is important to help them get a good night’s sleep.
The difference between day & night
When babies are born, they don’t know the difference between day & night, this is something you need to teach them, otherwise they’ll party all night long. During the day, have them in a sunny room, surrounded by normal household noise such as talking and the TV. I’ve never been too worried about them being disturbed during the day from their naps. However, night time should be calm, quiet and dark.
During the night, try to keep the light level the same, so they don’t get over stimulated or confused. I found the landing light shining in the room ideal as I could see the baby during the night to check them, it wasn’t too bright that we couldn’t sleep and it give enough light to be able to do a night feed and nappy change.
During the night I also keep interaction to a minimum, its strictly feed, change and back to sleep. No chatting or stimulation, there is enough time for that during the day and you don’t want the baby waking up at 3am because they miss your conversations! If you have quiet night times and busy day times it won’t be too long before the baby is sleeping long stretches at night.
Regular day time naps
‘Sleep breeds sleep’ and it is important your baby has a mixture of awake time and naps. Usually small babies will have a sleep every 1-2 hours and feed every 3 hours. Once your baby has had a bottle, a nappy change and has had some awake time for an hour or so, I would try a nap before they’re ready for the next feed. The amount of awake time will slowly increase as your baby gets older.
Try to put your baby down awake
Trying to put your baby down to sleep whilst still awake, this will help them self soothe themselves to sleep, something they need to be able to do between sleep cycles in the night as they get older. This is one of the most important things to help your baby sleep long stretches at night. Try white noise or rocking them in the crib if needed.
Settling your baby
If your baby won’t fall to sleep, or has been disturbed by the dog barking at the postman during their nap, try stroking your baby’s hair, giving the crib a rock or use white noise. Be cautious during the night before you intervene when they wake up, rather than just picking the baby up straight away, give them a few minutes and try other options as they might just drift back off. I’ve never personally let mine ‘cry it out’ but I will try to sooth them before picking them up. If your baby does fall asleep being cuddled, gently place them back in there cot once there in a deep sleep.
Apparently after being in a noisy tummy for 9 months, babies like a little background noise. White noise is actually similar to the noises they hear in the womb and it is literally the best invention ever. If you are struggling to get your baby to sleep, play white noise as their drifting off. I would do this then when they woke during the night I would play the white noise and rock them back to sleep in the crib. You can get teddy bears and the apps work just as well (and are perfect for when your baby is tired when you are out with the pram). Only use the white noise when the baby is ready to sleep, which should help them to develop positive sleep associations.
Know the signs
Get to know your baby and the signs that they are tired, some babies start to fuss & some rub their ears. Getting to know when they are likely to be tired and the signs will help you develop a sleep routine.