Print

Tips to improve babys sleep

  • Consult your Health Care Practitioner before you embark on any form of sleep training  to ensure your baby is healthy and not suffering, or in any form of pain.

        

  • Establish a good routine  for your baby. Most babies thrive on routine, and it certainly makes the mom's life easier when she knows what to expect in the day.

        

  •  Seek the advice of a Sleep and Routine specialist. They will tailor-make a program especially suited to you and your family. This is probably the best advice, as each baby is different, and so is each family. You have different demands and schedules, and as such a specific plan of action can be tailored to your needs.

        

  • There are a number of good books on the market which will definitely help in establishing a good routine and sleep pattern.

        

  • For the first few months it is advisable to swaddle you baby in a cotton swaddling blanket. This will ensure that your baby feels safe and secure, as they did in the womb. Flailing arms and legs may wake a sleeping baby.

 

  • Find a toy that becomes a security object. It is suggested that you sleep with it in your bed for a few days, so that your scent goes onto the toy, then place the toy or" blankie" in the cot with your baby. The baby will start to develop a sleep association with that object if it is brought out every time at sleep time.

        

  • Massage your baby after its bath at night using a Baby Massage technique. This will help to calm your baby. If however your baby does not appear to want to be massaged then stop and try again the next day.

        

  • Consider using a dummy to comfort the baby. This is a good and bad idea! Good in that it calms your baby well, and often helps them to fall asleep on their own. BUT when they lose it in the night, they will need you to go and find it and return in to their mouth - right up until almost a year. You need to decide if you are going to be a dummy parent or not. Weigh up the pros and cons and ask your Health Care Practitioner or Sleep Specialist for advice.

        

  • Try and stay calm and relaxedwhen putting your baby to sleep. Your baby can pick up on your mood and tension and, if tense, will prevent your baby from relaxing and drifting off to sleep.

        

  • There are various techniques to teach your baby to sleep, from the one extreme of leaving your baby to "Cry it out" to the other extreme of a "No tears" approach. Each has its merits and difficulties. Research each option, and then decide which route is best for you and your baby. The Sleep and routine specialists will help in advising you, and there are also a number of books to give you guidance.

        

  • Once your baby is over 6 weeks or 4,5kg,s use a Sleep Sack, which will ensure your baby stays warm at night, as she will not be able to kick off her blankets.

        

  • Create a calm sleeping environment for your baby. Remove toys from the cot and avoid colours and patterns that can over stimulate your baby. This way, when they enter their room, they can feel at ease and calm.

        

  • Try and keep at least 15 minutes before bed time calm, and avoid overstimulation from the TV and loud boisterous play.

        

  • Natural Remedies can be effective in calming both you and your baby at bed time.
  • Play calming music or white noise in your baby's room, this will calm her and help to block out other household noises which may wake your baby.
  • Ensure that the sheets and blankets and bed clothes are all soft and non-scratchy.

___________________________________________________________________

The information in this article was reviewed for medical accuracy by, Paediatrician and Allergy Specialist, Dr Claudia Gray (MBChB (UCT), MRCPCH (London), MScClin Pharm(Surrey), DipPaedNutrition (UK), PostgradDipAllergy (Southampton), Certified Paediatric Allergologist (SA))

Dr Gray works at the allergy clinic at the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town, and has a private practice at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town, contact 021 531 8013.