Midwife, Lactation consultant (IBCLC), Child and Family Health Nurse, baby wearing consultant and mum of two, Bel Moore, shares her top tips aids to help your baby sleep.
It’s very common for babies and children to need help with falling to sleep and to resettle when they wake between sleep cycles.
Sleep deprivation for parents can have many detrimental side effects on their health, ranging from being irritable and fatigued, to developing depression and can greatly impair concentration and problem solving.
Here are Bel’s top eight items to help your baby (and you!) get more sleep!
8 top tips on how to help your baby sleep
1. Use white noise
White noise is a type of noise that is produced by combining sounds of all different frequencies. It enables baby to block out other noise and helps them fall to sleep initially and stay asleep longer.
There are plenty of white noise makers on the market, from soft cuddly toys to small hanging machines.
You can even just use the radio on static or a fan to help create white noise. The Baby Shusher is another item used to help sooth a crying baby and get them to sleep easier.
It’s a small and compact plastic device that plays a rhythmical shushing for 15 or 30 minutes. It’s also super portable and easy to clean.
I would put him to sleep by rocking him with the shussher and then transferring him with the noise so he didn’t wake up. Dad was also a big fan, as he doesn’t have the magical boobies to stop the crying.
For the first 3-6 months of an infant’s life, the moro reflex will be triggered when they are subjected to sudden changes in sensual stimuli e.g a loud noise or abrupt touch.
The infant will react by lifting and stretching out their arms and then curl the arms and legs closer to their body. As this will usually wake them up, try swaddling them to help dampen this reaction.
The Love to Dream Swaddle UP lite is perfect for helping reduce wake ups as its snug fit makes a baby feel secure & helps to calm the natural startle reflex. They are super easy to use and it has an easy two-way zip so you can change a nappy without waking them up.
As it’s made of bamboo (breathable and thermo regulating) is perfect at keeping babies cool and comfortable in Australian summers.
The hands up design allows the baby to self soothe by sucking on their hands. You can also swaddle with baby blankets, the beautifully designed Bellies and Beyond bamboo swaddle is made of soft 100% bamboo fabric, so its lightweight, breathable and the perfect size for wrapping baby up.
Keep the swaddle in your baby bag/under the pram so you can swaddle when out and about if baby needs a nap. Babies like predictability and like to know what’s next so swaddling before each sleep can gently remind them that sleep is coming.
3. Safe bedding
SIDS recommends that the safest place for a baby to sleep is in on its own sleep surface, in their caregiver’s room, for the first 6-12 months.
A co sleeping bassinet allows you to be close to your baby, enable you to gently resettle before they fully wake between cycles and can get you more sleep overnight as you don’t have to get out of bed to tend to their needs.
Having you baby close overnight also helps with nighttime breast feeds and can assist in ensuring a good milk supply.
I use a co-sleeper and have a bike basket handing on the end to make sure I’ve got all the nighttime necessities close by.
4. Use a baby monitor
Eventually babies develop the ability to settle themselves in between sleep cycles. This is called being an independent sleeper.
Using a baby monitor such as the AngelCare video and movement monitor allows you to see and hear your baby when they are in their cot.
Being able to decided when to go in to help your baby go back to sleep from outside the room is a great tool to promote independent sleeping.
The movement mat can reduce the anxiety around SIDS as it alarms when no movement is felt after 20 seconds.
It also enables you to get jobs done around or outside the house with a range of 820ft and can alert you to any room temperature changes.
5. Ensure a good sleep environment
Research shows a cool room (between 16-20 degrees) helps babies to fall into a deeper sleep quicker and also reduces the risk of SIDS (by overheating).
The Groegg2 is a digital thermometer and night light all in one. It uses a simple but effective colour-coded system to show if the room is too hot or cold. I love being able just to pop by head in to see if I need to turn the aircon or fan on during day sleeps on hot days.
It can also help decide what to dress your bay in to sleep. The Gro blackout blind also assists in creating a good sleeping environment by creating a very dark environment. The absence of light sends a signal to the body that it is time to rest and starts the production of melatonin.
The lightweight and portable blind can be stuck to almost any window with suction caps and is helpful for daylight saving when trying to get kids in bed when its technically still light outside.
6. Be prepared for sleep on the go
It’s not always possible to maintain a sleeping routine or be at home for all naps. If your child needs a nap, try the CoziGo.
It’s a universal, lightweight, pop up cover that blocks light (97%), movement and other stimulation to help a baby fall and stay asleep without distraction.
You can use it on a pram, bassinet, airplane bassinet or I even use it to place over my baby when he falls asleep on a mat at outdoor fitness. It’s also UPV 50+ so can be used on as a sun cover on the pram!
7. Try relaxing techniques
Don’t underestimate the power of a warm bath and massage. Lavender is a natural relaxant, so I use Melvory’s Lavender Whipped Butter each night to give my baby a massage.
Not only does he smell delicious and have super soft skin, he also sleeps better! Studies have shown that infants who are massaged by their parents before bed tend to fall asleep faster, sleep more deeply, and stay asleep longer!
8. Use a good quality nappy
A wet nappy can be uncomfortable and will wake babies up. Using a good quality, super absorbent nappy overnight will ensure baby stays dry and comfortable while asleep.
Thank you nappies use a three-layer design to ensure baby stay dry which also minimise the risk of nappy rash. They are enriched with aloe vera and vitamin E and contain no nasties! I also feel good about using them as they donate money to end global poverty.
At the Healthy Mummy we understand what it is like to be a mum, as we are mums, too. That’s why we offer a supportive community from pregnancy, birth, early motherhood and beyond.
With eight community groups, including a NEW MUM SUPPORT GROUP, there are THOUSANDS of like-minded mums who can offer daily support to the Healthy Mummy members. All groups are moderated regularly by our professional staff, to ensure a safe and non-judgemental environment.
To find out more on our communities, click here.