There is a certain wisdom in knowing that the moment you have a baby, the simplest things become impossible to get through. Like washing your hair for instance; the three step lather, rinse, repeat is abruptly cut short at rinse. Or lather, if it’s a particularly frantic day. Being unable to finish a meal is another casualty of being a new parent. But of course not getting at the full night’s sleep, tops the list.
The 2am Club is in part dedicated to this idea. A shared experience of sleeplessness that evolution refuses to rectify. How many times have we held our heads in our hands and wondered, why can’t babies just sleep through the night?
The simple answer is they don’t.
The complex answer is, that there are things we can do to ensure they do. For at least a couple of hours at a stretch.
Here are a few handy tips:
From 5 weeks on is when your baby is able to settle into something of a sleep routine. Between 3-6 months is when they are able to sleep for about 6 hours at a stretch. It’s a good idea to have reasonable expectations depending on how old they are, and yet babies differ vastly so a once size fits all doesn’t apply.
Right from the get go, it’s a good idea to establish a sleep routine:
Create a designated sleep space for your baby
Babies are not too different from us when it comes to having a new bed, it takes a little bit of getting used to. A cot just adjacent to your bed is ideal, so even if you do comfort them when they wake up, or following a diaper change or feed, it’s always a good idea to put them back in their designated cot.
Putting your baby to bed, is no reason to not outfit them appropriately.
Sure there are no fawning aunts, doting neighbours to show them off to, but that’s no reason to not outfit him appropriately. Ensuring they’re snug and swaddled and tucked into the cot with soft blanket will enable babies to fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer.
Routine. Routine. Routine.
Establish one that works for your baby. For example, babies respond differently to bath before sleep. Some find it calming and relaxing, while others may feel more active. Pick out a routine that works for your baby. Perhaps a gentle massage, followed by a feed, a lullaby and we’re off to bed. But remember all babies are different, so don’t get disheartened if they don’t take to the routine right away.
Lullabies and white noise
The womb is a noisy place. But its walls and amniotic fluid cut out the harsher frequencies delivering a rumble. So babies may benefit from sounds like waves ebbing and flowing, rain pattering down on a roof, whales communicating. If you are one of those parents that has sung to your child during your pregnancy, the sound of your voice may induce a similarly calming and a familiar effect.
To sum up! Establish a routine, be consistent, but don’t be afraid to improvise.
We would love to hear from you! Please share your night time parenting experiences with us in the comments section below. Oh! And welcome to the 2am Club.