There’s so much information about babies and sleep that it can leave you feeling overwhelmed. So try our simple, back-to-basics tips to help your baby get off to sleep – and stay that way through the night
1. Feed in the day
Aim to give your baby most of his milk feeds during the day, so he doesn’t make up for it at night (and end up waking for cuddles too!).
2. Teach him to go to sleep by himself
Put him down when he becomes sleepy but is still awake – about 15 minutes before his usual nap time – so he learns to fall asleep without you comforting him. If you always feed, rock or cuddle your baby to help him sleep, day or night, he’ll learn to expect this.
3. Give him a comforter
This will act as a transitional object to help him feel secure when you’re not around. It could be a cuddly toy (suitable for a young baby, of course), muslin square or baby blanket – just make sure you have two for when one is in the wash!
4. Use music
Play lullabies or nature sounds at nap times and if your baby wakes up in the night, so you can all get your rest.
5. Follow a bedtime routine
Establish a bedtime pattern of bath, story, feed and bed from the very start. You’ll thank yourself for it in the months to come.
6. Make night-time different
Keeping things quiet and dark around your baby at night will help set his body clock and teach him that this is the time for sleeping.
7. Don’t disturb your baby
Bringing your baby downstairs into the exciting evening world after you’ve put him down will make him wakeful.
8. Let him try to go back to sleep
If your baby grumbles at night, wait to see if he sends himself back to sleep and don’t go to him unless he gets upset. Stroke his forehead, if that helps to quieten him, but try not to pick him up and don’t talk other than to make soothing noises. Only change his nappy if he needs it.
9. Keep it dark
Fit blackout lining to curtains to block out bright early morning light (this is also useful for daytime naps) and get him used to sleeping when it’s dark.
10. Don’t forget yourself
If you can’t sleep when you do get the chance, put a lavender-scented tissue under your pillow and have a snack that includes banana or turkey – they both contain tryptophan, which increases serotonin levels and helps aid sleep.
Establish a bedtime pattern and you’ll thank yourself for it in the months to come