After a few months of sleep deprivation almost all parents start to crave the rejuvenating effect of sleep and look forward to a full night’s sleep. Young babies can be expected to wake for night feeds but by 4 months, most babies are stretching for a good 5-6 hours before needing a night feed. By 6 months all babies should be able to sleep through - i.e. not need help to resettle for 8-12 hours.
If your baby is not doing this, these Babies R Us tips will help you to be prepared-ish to guide your baby towards staying asleep:
- Ensure your little one has age appropriate day sleeps. It is the day sleeps that drives your baby’s night sleep. Follow the guidelines of “Awake times" from Baby Sense and settle your baby to sleep then. Don't wait until she shows signs of over tiredness before trying to put her to sleep.
- Create a sleep zone and stick to it. It may be in her own room, or in your room. It doesn't matter where it is, as long as it is a 'zone' where sleep happens - she will learn to recognize it as such. Make sure this zone is soothing - no mobile over the cot, block-out lining on the curtains to make the room dark. Consistency will become a trigger to make your little one drowsy and fall asleep easier and stay asleep.
- Encourage a sleep comfort or doodoo blanket to comfort your baby at sleep time. It will also act as a memory trigger to help induce sleep.
- How you settle your baby to sleep will be what she expects in the middle of the night. Do not feed your baby to sleep as she will wake for the same comfort through the night.
- Listen before you respond when your baby wakes after a sleep and in the middle of the night. If your baby is simply moaning and it is not time for her to wake up, listen to her – she may well resettle herself.
Self-soothing to sleep is one of the more complicated skills for your baby to learn and is the reason that sleep goes so wrong for many families.