SLEEPING TIPS FROM THE FOUNDER OF NIGHT NANNIES
Night Nannies was founded by former TV journalist, Anastasia Baker in 1999. She has two children and carried on working at the BBC when her first child was born but found she struggled to hold down a demanding job alongside motherhood when her second child arrived. Anastasia saw a gap in the market for mums with newborns, who craved two or three nights a week of uninterrupted sleep. Here she shares with Marloe Musings her top tips to try and get your baby to sleep through the night.
Many people assume if your baby is up all day, he will sleep all night – this is not always the case. The baby is usually so over tired and over stimulated, that they have difficulty settling at night. A baby with structured and regular sleeps in the day tends to be more content and therefore usually sleeps better at night too.
- Try not let a baby sleep beyond 4pm otherwise they will not go down well at bedtime (7pm)
- Ideally try to get the baby into a routine at night as soon as possible. For instance, from about 6pm you could massage your baby then give him/her a bath and then breastfeed or bottle of milk in a darkened room and then bed. This acts as an unwinding process and the baby will know that it is time for bed.
- The last feed before bed is vital if your baby is going to sleep longer at night. Often after taking part of the feed they fall asleep. Try not just give up and put them to bed, because in an hour or so they will probably wake up again for more. Encourage them to finish the feed by waking them. You could change their nappy, tickle them wind them or cool them down. But keep going!
- The minute your baby cries it is tempting to rush over to the cot and pick them up. Try not to, wait a few moments and see if they will settle themselves back to sleep. If they don’t then try patting them in their cot and if you cannot settle then pick up and comfort them but then put them back in the cot and leave the room and see if they will settle. If your baby doesn’t then try leaving them to cry a little longer ie 5 or 6 minutes and then go back in and repeat the process.
- Try and put your baby down in his cot AWAKE, so they get used to going to sleep on his own. Don’t get into the habit of rocking your baby to sleep – you may be there for hours!
- If you are still feeding in the night, do not go into the room and turn on the lights and TV. It is night time and your baby needs to understand this – so keep things quiet. Especially important if you have a maternity nurse, don’t get chatting to them while feeding!
- Invest in some black out blinds, useful for keeping early morning rays out.
- Do not expect your baby to sleep through the nights until they are on solids at around 6 months.
Whatever action you take do stick to it for at least 2-3 weeks. It is no good for a couple of days as this is not long enough to get rid of bad habits.