By now I'm sure we've all seen a fair few baby sleep solutions floating around on social media. You know the ones- father wafts a piece of paper across baby's face and he falls asleep instantly. You know the kind of thing. You might have even tried them, anything in an attempt to get baby to sleep? I know I have! We do what we have to do sometimes. So, while we're not claiming to be the ultimate experts on it all, and we're certainly not saying that we have all the answers, we DO have valuable parenting experience. So here are a few tricks to help you out a little. Here are three baby sleep problems and their solutions.
Problem: Baby will only go to sleep if you feed/rock/swing/hold her...
Firstly, know that you are not alone. Also, know that if this is not a problem to you, then it should not be a problem to anyone else either. That said, babies who depend on a 'sleep prop' to fall asleep tend to also rely on that same prop when they wake in the night. This makes it harder for them to learn to fall asleep independently. That doesn't mean they won't learn eventually, but it could mean a few sleepless nights for you. If that's a problem, here are some things that you can do about it.
- Go cold turkey. Remove the sleep prop and encourage your baby to sleep without it. Not easy, but there are lots of articles out there than can advise on the best method for you.
- If baby feeds to sleep, change your routine a little. Offer the feed earlier than you would normally, and don't put her to bed directly afterwards.
- If baby likes to be rocked/ swung you can wean her from this gently. Start by slowing down the action gradually until you are not moving at all. Each night reduce the length of time that you rock/ swing until baby falls asleep without.
- If baby likes YOU to hold her, it might be an idea to enlist the help of someone else at bedtime. She may have sleep associations with you and that could make it tricky for anyone else to put her to bed. And it never hurts to have a partner when it comes to bedtime!
Problem: baby will only fall asleep in the car seat...
By now you will have heard the latest guidelines when it comes to baby sleeping in car seats. If not, you can read them here. If your baby does prefer to sleep in her car seat and refuses to sleep elsewhere, it is likely to be a movement issue. That means that she is used to being lulled to sleep by the motion of the car, and that can be a tricky habit to break. Its also worth noting that the snug position of the car seat is very comforting for babies, and especially those with reflux. The best advice here is to gradually break the habit by reducing the length of time baby is in her car seat, and ensure that naps are taken at home in bed, or in the pram where she can lie flat. Use a SnoozeShade to eliminate distractions.
Baby wants to sleep with you, in your bed...
Again, if this is not a problem then don't sweat it. But if you want your bed back, there are ways that you can get it! Co-sleeping is not for everyone and if you do it, it's important to do it safely. Read this post for advice. So how to gently ease baby out of your bed?
- If baby is very young, use a moses basket or bedside crib so that she is near to you but in her own sleeping space.
- Put baby's cot alongside your own bed, and each night gradually move it a little further away.
- Put a mattress down on the floor in baby's room and sleep with her for a few nights until she is able to sleep alone.
- Work on day time naps- if baby is able to sleep in her own room during the day it will be easier to make the transition at night time too.
What are your current sleep problems?