That age-old question – and if only we had the magic answer! There could be any number of things that wake your little one up at night, but we’ve put together some handy tips to help:
Establish a short, simple bedtime routine from around three months old
Include plenty of quiet time, turn off the television and don’t start any activities that will make your baby more alert. This will help them relax.
Allow your baby the chance to fall asleep on their own
Your baby’s natural circadian rhythms, including their ‘sleep-wake cycle’ usually begin developing as early as six weeks old. To help you child start to regulate their sleep, put them down to sleep on their back when they are sleepy but still awake. Try not to feed or rock your baby to sleep as they might start to depend on it to nod off, rather than self-soothing.
Make daytime feeds lively and social, whilst night-time feeds are calm and quiet
This will help your baby’s body clock to develop and for them to understand the difference between night and day. Lots of mental and physical stimulation during the day will also help wear your little one out for a good night’s sleep.
Give your baby a nice relaxing bath before bed
The warm water will make your baby feel sleepy and you could even try a little massage too. Follow up the bath with a lullaby or story, and in the same way as your bedroom should be dark and quiet, so should your baby’s. Bedtime routines should only last around half an hour maximum.
If your child is over six months old, offer a security object
This could be a cuddly toy, a blanket or even one of your old t-shirts. Having a familiar object in your baby’s cot can be a real comfort to them, especially ones smelling of you. Babies have a strong sense of smell, and if he or she needs calming in the middle of the night, the smell of you will help.
Rest assured, waking up in the night is a phase that your baby will grow out of just like everything else. But making sure they are not hungry, ill or need changing – as well as enjoying the ideal sleeping environment – will go a long way towards making these difficult months as pain-free as possible!