With motherhood often comes disturbed slumber, fatigue and long sleepless nights. Bensons for Beds and Dr Guy Meadows have produced these top tips for new mums and their babies on how to catch up on those well-needed Zzzzs!
- Sleeping beauties - 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 shut eye! Once your baby is up, you have to be as well. Seize the opportunity to sleep!
- Be mindful - New mothers often feel that they may never sleep well again. But worrying only increases night take wakefulness. Instead, notice things objectively in the present moment like the touch of your duvet on your toes. This can help to quiet the mind and allow you to sleep.
- Sleep aids - When it's time to snooze, you may be tempted to fall asleep in front of the TV or even take a pill. Whilst 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.
- Nap time - 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 them too close to bed 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.
- Back to Basics - The telling of a bed time story is a tradition, which 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.
- 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 1 minute) make your presence known by saying things such as "Mummy's here, sleepy time".
Tagged in Parenting