Night Nannies: The Baby Sleep Experts
A good night’s sleep is often top of a new parent’s wishlist, but how to make that dream a reality? We spoke to the sleep experts at Night Nannies to find out...
Night Nannies are the UK’s leading maternity nurse and night nurse specialists. Since 1999, they have given over 10,000 parents throughout the south of England a good night’s rest. The nannies provide expert solutions to sleep, feeding and routine problems and help parents to build good sleep habits that last. It sounds like the stuff of dreams to us, so we asked the night nannies to share their wise words on the dos and don’ts of getting your little one to sleep better and longer.
- Get your baby into a routine at night from 2-3 weeks old. For example, from about 6pm you could massage your baby, give them a bath and then breastfeed or bottlefeed them in a darkened room and then put them to bed. This acts as an unwinding process and the baby will know that it is bedtime.
- Try to put your baby down in their cot awake, so that they get used to going to sleep on their own.
- Buy blackout blinds, which are useful for keeping out early morning rays.
- Try not to pick up baby as soon as they cry. Wait a few moments and see if they will settle themselves back to sleep. If not, try patting them in the cot and, if you cannot settle them, pick them up, comfort them but then put them back in the cot and leave the room. If they don’t settle, then leave them to cry a little longer (ie 3 or 4 minutes) and then go back in and repeat the process.
- Don’t get into the habit of rocking your baby to sleep – you may be there for hours!
- When feeding in the night, do not go into the room and turn on the lights and TV. It is night time and the baby needs to understand this – so keep things quiet.
- The last feed before bed is vital if your baby is going to sleep longer at night. Do not just give up if they fall asleep during the feed, because in an hour or so they will wake up again for more. Encourage them to finish the feed by waking them. You could change their nappy, tickle them, wind them or cool them down. But, whatever you do, keep going!
- Do not expect your baby to sleep through the nights until they are on solids at around 6 months.
- Don’t give up on these new techniques after only a few days. It will take at least two to three weeks of persistence to get rid of bad habits and see the benefits of the new.