Sleep Tips from Maryanne Sayers - Baby Sleep Educator
Ensure you baby’s daytime and night-time is lined up with their natural body clock.
Help establish your baby’s naturally occurring 24-hour clock by ensuring the appropriate bedtime and wake time to start the day. Your baby’s circadian rhythms are regulated by light and dark (the same as adults). Daytime is for naps, feeds and some awake time. And night-time is for long stretches of sleep (and feeds through the night for babies under 7 / 8 months of age). The ideal bedtime is 6pm for babies / younger toddlers – and 6.30pm for older toddlers. This is the times their body clocks are wanting to go into night-time sleep.
One sleep location when at home
When you are at home, don’t put your baby down to sleep in different locations throughout the house such as lounge, pram, or on a bed. At home it is best for your baby to be in their bassinet or cot for all day sleeps and night sleep. It’s all about having one common sleep space (the same as we do as adults!), to ensure your baby has consistent and familiar sleep associations with the room and the sleep space itself. Consistency is key with everything you do with your baby / toddler
Respond to tired signs
This is such an important foundation to understand and follow. During the daytime, be in tune with your baby’s tired signs. When babies are tired, they show tired signs (the same as we do as adults…ha, are you seeing a pattern here? Yep, foundations for baby sleep are the same as us for adult sleep!). Tired signs include irritability, rubbing eyes, yawning, grizzling and jerky arm and leg movements. Babies tire very quickly, and if their up-times during the day are too long, they become overtired and over-stimulated making it very difficult for them to fall asleep easily and naturally
Create a safe sleep space for your baby
Your baby’s cot or bassinet should be free of musical toys, hanging mobiles, play mirrors etc as these all equate to noise, colour and movement which is too stimulating. It is also a safe sleep practice, so that nothing can fall into the cot. In their cot or bassinet, there should be no bedding or toys or comforters or any other loose items. Just the mattress and the fitted sheet. Any bedding or loose items in the sleep space are a safety / suffocation hazard
Ensure your baby is dressed appropriately with sleepwear depending on climate
With no bedding in the cot, it is so very important that you make sure your baby is warm enough with their sleepwear and with the room temperature. In summer and in warm / hot weather, they should be dressed lightly and a fan in the room to move the air around. In winter and even in spring in the lead-up to summer, the nights are still cool – so a nice warm cosy swaddle (for younger babies) or all-in one sleep suit with arms and legs (for older babies) are needed. 2.5TOG and 3.5TOG swaddles / sleepsuits are best for cooler nights. Babies who are not warm enough will wake overnight, especially the second half of night and mainly around the 3am to 5am period. Also, it is very common to need heating in the room, and the only type of heater I advise for a baby or toddler’s room is an oil heater (for winter and cooler nights). Also you always need to know the accurate room temperature. I recommend the Avent room thermometer, it’s the one I have always used.