Top tips for baby and toddler sleep
Babies are not born with a body clock. It takes time for babies to learn that they should be mostly awake during the day and mostly asleep during the night. You can help this process along by following these three tips overnight:
Keep it dark
Keep the room dark, and use low wattage lights for feeding and changing.
Try not to talk to them, or if you do, make sure you use hushed tones.
Feed straight away
Offer a feed as soon as they wake. This way they won't get too awake and will be easier to settle afterwards.
Tips for baby sleep aged 6 months to 18 months
It is not until babies are six months old that, medically speaking, most babies are physically capable of going overnight without a feed. All babies are different, though, and some will take longer. Here are three top tips for older babies:
Having a bedtime routine is important as it gives your little one the chance to wind down from their hectic day, and signals to them that it is nearly time for sleep. Aim for a bedtime routine that lasts around 45 minutes and, unless there is a medical reason not to, always include a bath.
With babies sleep breeds sleep. So the better daytime naps they have, the better they will sleep at night. A complete sleep cycle lasts between 45 and 60 minutes - anything less than this and they are only cat-napping.
Feed the daytime tummy
Ensuring they have the right amount of calories during the day will prevent them waking from hunger in the night. If your baby gets easily distracted at mealtimes, try having finger foods around while they play, and take them to a quiet room for milk feeds.
Tips for toddler sleep aged 18 months +
Just when you thought you'd cracked the sleeping issue, along comes toddlerhood! With the newfound freedom of toddler beds, and tricky potty training to master, parents can often feel they are back to square one. Don't despair – use these tips and it won't take long for things to settle down again:
Once upstairs, stay upstairs
Don't be tempted to take your little one back downstairs once you have started the bedtime routine. Keep them upstairs where the focus is on unwinding and relaxing, ready for sleep.
Have a toddler clock
A toddler clock is a great way to give little ones a visual aid of when it is night-time, and when it is time to get up.
Use a settling technique at bedtime, and use it consistently
There are a number of different settling techniques, so you can pick one that best suits you and your family. The key, though, is to use it consistently - so your toddler can be confident in knowing exactly what to expect each night.