We know what it feels like when you have a baby who won’t sleep!
You rock them, you feed them, you pace around the room with them until they fall asleep – then the moment you put them down in their crib their eyes ping open and you start the whole process again.
After doing this for nights on end (or maybe even weeks or months!), you turn to the internet and start to search for how to get your baby to sleep – and Google helpfully finishes your question with a tempting suggestion of ‘how to get a baby to sleep in 40 seconds’!
You see a beacon of hope that with a click on a link, all you need to do is perform some simple wizardry and your baby will pop themselves off to sleep!
That is the dream for some families – to have their evenings back and some predictability to their baby’s sleep so they can stop looking to search engines for answers and get back to enjoying family life.
We’re not here to burst the bubble – we can’t promise that your baby will fall asleep in less than a minute tonight (in fact, it is absolutely normal to take 10-15 minutes or more to settle off to sleep), but we can give you hope that you can help your baby fall asleep happily and have more predictable naps and restful nights.
It might take a couple of days to make some changes, or it might take a little longer. Every baby is different, and every family can make changes in their own way.
We’ve supported thousands of families to help their babies and toddlers sleep better, and we’ve got some simple tips that can help you too:
Shape a predictable routine for the day.
All of us, children and adults alike, thrive on routine. Most people feel naturally more relaxed when they wake, eat and sleep at roughly the same times every day.
A predictable structure for the day helps regulate our internal body clocks – creating a rhythm to when we expect to wake and sleep.
Babies and toddlers like to know what is coming next – a predictable routine can help them feel safe, secure and relaxed.
This doesn’t mean you need to be clock watching all day or feel restricted – for many parents, having a predictable, yet flexible, routine makes it easier to get out and about and plan for the day (and know when naps and bedtime are likely to happen).
You can simply start by beginning the day at the same time each morning.
Get the timing right.
You can have a lovely routine and a perfect setting for sleep – but if your little one isn’t tired or is overstimulated and wired from being awake for a bit too long, then it is going to be harder for them to fall asleep and stay asleep.
If your little one is napping for longer, or more frequently than they need, or their bedtime timings aren’t right for their needs, then sleep is going to be a challenge.
If sleep is a battle, then look at how their sleep is balanced across the day and night. Tweaking naps lengths/timings and bedtime can make a huge difference to how easily your little one falls asleep.
If your little one is ready to drop a nap, then it can throw sleep off track. We have a free guide on how to know when your baby is ready to drop a nap and how to make the transition with confidence, just sign up below and we’ll send it straight into your inbox…
Create a great environment for sleep.
You can create an environment that makes it easier for your little one to fall asleep and stay asleep for longer. There aren’t any set rules of what this must look like, and you can adapt your setup to suit your family and home.
But, if your little one is struggling to settle to sleep for naps or bedtime, then there are some changes you can try:
- Make it dark: Some babies nap happily in daylight, but others can really benefit from a dark room to drop off in. Close the blinds, pull the curtains or invest in some black out blinds. Removing distractions and creating a calm space for sleep might be all you need to help your little one drop off more easily.
- Keep it cool: Think about the temperature in the room your little one is sleeping in. Our body temperature naturally dips as part of the process of falling asleep, so a cool room can assist in the process.
16-20°C is the ideal room temperature.
Adjust your little one’s clothing to the room temperature, ensuring they aren’t under or overdressed – we have a blog here with a helpful guide on what to wear to bed.
How are they falling asleep?
It is normal for babies, and all of us in fact, to stir between sleep cycles. Some babies and toddlers are fed/rocked/held to sleep and happily sleep for long periods of time, but for others the way they first fall asleep can have an impact on their sleep through the night.
If how you are getting your little one to fall asleep, or settling them back to sleep when they wake, is becoming challenging and unsustainable, then you can make changes.
It can feel like a big challenge, but it is absolutely possible to support your baby to fall asleep in a new way. How you do that is up to you. You can go at your own pace and choose an approach that suits your baby.
Our online sleep courses are a step-by-step guide to help you understand your baby or toddler’s sleep and remove all the guess work.
We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about your little ones sleep along with how you can create a routine that works for them and choices for how you can help them settle to sleep in their own cot or bed.
We’ve got sleep covered for every age and every stage from newborn all the way up to 4 years of age. It is never too early or too late to be curious about your little ones sleep and find ways to make sleep more sustainable and restful for your whole family.
Just choose the course closest to your baby or toddler age, and you can get started on your new sleep journey today…