Sleep tips for new mums
With motherhood comes long sleepless nights, so Bensons for Beds and Dr Guy Meadows have produced these top tips for new mums and babies on how to catch up on those well-needed zzzs.
When your baby naps, resist the urge to do chores or read a book. Ignore the dishes, silence your phone and try to get some shuteye! Once your baby is up, you have to be as well. Seize the opportunity to sleep!
New mums often feel they may never sleep well again, but worrying only increases night time wakefulness. Instead, notice things objectively in the present moment, like the touch of your duvet on your toes. This can help to quiet your mind and get you to sleep.
When it's time to snooze, you may be tempted to fall asleep in front of the TV, or even take a pill. While sometimes helpful in the short term, they can soon become part of the problem. Aim to train your brain to sleep naturally, without any props, by keeping a regular routine for yourself and your baby.
An end in sight
Know that sleepless nights will not go on forever. Most babies begin to sleep through the night by six to nine months, according to the American Academy of Paediatrics.
Don't reach for coffee
As tempting as they are when you're tired, try to avoid stimulants such as caffeine after 2pm as these will make it harder for you to sleep.
For the little ones
Day v. night
Teach your baby's internal body clock the difference between day and night. Open curtains and play games during the day while dimming lights and unwinding at night. Soon your baby's brain will recognise when it's time for bed.
Back to basics
Telling a bedtime story is a tradition that has been responsible for sending generations of children to sleep. Reading an age-appropriate book to a child in a dimmed light with a soothing voice is a must for sending your baby to a restful slumber and boosting brain development.
If your little one is napping too much during the day it can impact their night-time sleeping schedule. Make sure they nap for the right amount of time for their age and avoid letting them nap too close to bedtime.
Settle and soothe
It is perfectly normal for your child to moan and cry a little when being put to bed. Encourage them to self-settle by sitting a small distance away and not touching them and intermittently (every 30 seconds to one minute) make your presence known by saying things such as "Mummy's here, sleepy time".
Baby bedtime routines
Dinner followed by quiet play (no TV), a bath and a lullaby before bed each night will ease your baby into a night-time routine. They'll learn when it's time to settle down to sleep.
Dr Guy Meadows is a sleep physiologist and co-founder of The Sleep School.