Six sleep tips from top baby sleep gurus
Research is all very well, but what about the absolutely best tips from the baby sleep gurus? This is what they told us
1. Don't let your baby fall asleep right after a feed
'Have a 15-minute "awake" time afterwards,' says Jo Tantum, sleep expert and creator of new babycare range 4little1 Sleepytime. 'As your baby gets older, however they went to sleep when they were little is how they go to sleep now. If they've been rocked, fed or given a dummy, you'll still be doing that in six months, a year – maybe even 18 months.'
2. Sleep when they sleep
'You know on planes they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping your child? The same applies to sleep,' says baby sleep expert Sarah Ockwell-Smith. 'Look after yourself. When your baby sleeps, don't iron, clean or catch up with friends. Just sleep.'
3. Whatever you do, do it for a week nefore changing things again
Seven days: that's how long Jo Tantum says it takes most older babies to get used to things like settling into bed without a dummy, or you leaving them for that five minutes. It'll be hard. You'll feel like a bad mum, but just stick it out.
4. Make a noise
Most adults like to sleep in silence. 'But your baby has never done that. For nine months they listened to your heartbeat and breathing, the gurgles of your digestive system. One reason babies settle when you pick them up is that they can hear sounds from your body,' says Samantha Posner from Mermaid Maternity Retreat. She suggests a white noise machine to see if that helps your baby sleep.
5. Rule out reflux
Alison Scott-Wright, aka the Magic Sleep Fairy, author of The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan (£12.99, Bantam) says this is often why babies don't sleep: 'Reflux is more likely if you sleep on your back, which of course babies do. It can be hard to diagnose but speak to your GP. The right changes to diet, and sometimes an antacid too, will soothe it and aid sleep.'
6. Let sleeping babies lie
'View each 24 hours as 12 hours of day, 12 hours of night,' says Alison Scott-Wright. 'In the day you can wake your baby for a feed, but never wake them at night unless there's a medical reason. Only feed at night if they wake and ask you to do so.'