We're not exactly sure where the term 'I slept like a baby' comes from as in our experience, babies don't sleep that well, or at least they sleep but not for long periods. Talk to other parents and you will probably hear a mix, those that have the perfect sleeper, their baby slept the whole night from 4 weeks old, to the other extreme where some parents are still struggling to get their toddler to sleep through. If you dig a little deeper, every baby at some stage has struggled with sleep. We look at a few ideas that may help you if you are struggling.
Find Your Own Routine
One thing that does come up time and again is routine. Finding the right routine for your baby is important. Even from a young age, a routine can help baby know what to expect and what is expected of them. Most routines involve a bath, quiet time and a story to help settle baby, which may seem strange when they are a new born, but it may pay dividends later on. It can also help you to unwind too by adding structure to your day, particularly in those early weeks/months.
The important thing here though is it is your family routine; what works for one family may not work for another and you need to find what works for you!
Create a Calming Environment
Creating a relaxing bedroom for baby may help promote better sleep. Being able to make baby's room dark when you want, as well as light can be beneficial as well as being warm (but not too warm) and comfortable. These are all things that can help baby fall to sleep more quickly and deeply.
Using a room thermometer and blackout blinds offer simple solutions and can help you instantly see if the room is as comfortable as possible (if using blinds avoid having any hanging cords to be safe, and if you require a fan make sure this is out of reach and not directly pointing towards baby).
Music and sounds may also help promote sleep, soothing and relaxing baby. If used regularly as part of your bedtime routine - this can also encourage them to settle quickly as they associate the music with bedtime.
Differentiate Day and Night
Some baby's when born are a little confused and may mix up their day and night, not great when you are trying to sleep and baby is wide awake and wanting attention. To help solve this problem, keep the curtains open and put some background music on when they nap during the day and then at night time keep curtains shut and noise to a minimum.
It is also worth keeping an eye on the length of time baby does sleep and whether they are sleeping for longer during the day than at night. If this is the case, it may be worth waking them up a little earlier during their daytime naps to see if you can encourage the longer sleeps during the night.
It's a Phase
You will hear this so many times and probably start using it yourself as those simple three words can help you see a light at the end of the tunnel. Babies, and children for that matter, go through phases. Sometimes they sleep and you think you have finally cracked it and then they get poorly, a tooth cuts or they decide they no longer like sleep and you feel like you are back to square one.
Simply saying 'it's a phase' will help you see that they will soon fall back into their sleep pattern and you too will finally get your well-deserved sleep.