There have been times in the past five years when I would have given anything for a good night’s sleep. Actually, make that many, many times!
If you’re a parent who dreads watching the sunset, because it foreshadows the sleep you won’t be getting tonight, lean a little closer to the screen.
“Sleep is a learned art,” says Chris sagely. “It’s important for parents to know that from the very beginning.”
With that in mind, here’s what Chris thinks every sleep-deprived parent needs to know about sleep:
Listen to Chris give sleep advice on Feed Play Love’s Helpline:
10 sleep truths from a mothercraft nurse
1. Consistency is everything when it comes to your baby’s sleep
Timing and routine are crucial to raising a ‘good’ sleeper.
2. Sleep cues come a close second
That means helping your child learn what steps are taken in the lead-up to bedtime. A song, a book, being swaddled or being sung to. Whatever your routine, make sure you stick to it.
3. Nothing stays the same for long
In your baby’s first year, sleep patterns change regularly and often. A baby who sleeps through the night from an early age is an exception to the rule.
4. Young babies are designed to wake through the night
Very few infants go to bed and stay asleep for the entire night without waking.
5. Babies don’t go on holiday; they just go to sleep in a new location
No matter where you take your baby, sleep cues and routines need to be the same. This will maximise your chances of maintaining your baby’s sleep habits.
6. The more sleep a child gets, the better that child will sleep
That’s why sorting out the day sleep for your infant or child often helps solve any lingering night sleep issues. An overtired baby will not sleep as well as a well-rested baby.
7. Get timing right for toddler sleep success
Generally speaking, toddlers cope best with being awake for approximately five and a half hours, before they’re ready for bed. For a 7PM bedtime, make sure the daytime nap finishes by 2PM.
8. Daytime napes don’t last forever
A child normally gives up their daytime nap between two-and-a-half to three years of age.
9. Don’t rush the move to a big bed
Moving a toddler into a big bed before they are ready will have a big impact on nighttime sleep, so don’t rush it.
10. Got an early riser? Play with the daytime nap
More often than not, early waking toddlers (4:30AM-5AM) need their daytime nap adjusted. Ensure the afternoon sleep is no later than 2PM to encourage better overall sleep.
A little truth-telling goes a long way when it comes to getting sleep sorted – and feeling a little less alone in the ‘sleep challenged’ department really helps.
Need some more baby sleep advice? Our Parent School sleep experts can help. Click to find out more or book a one-on-one session.