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19 August 2003

Get baby to the Land of Nod

By now you are probably getting used to getting up at night and getting by without a good night's sleep. But how can you make your baby sleep better?

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By now you are probably getting used to getting up at night and getting by without a good night’s sleep.

Here are some techniques you could try to help your baby sleep better:

Moving him to your room:
When your baby wakes up, pick him up and put him in your bed or on a mattress next to your bed.

Settling:
When your baby wakes up, don’t feed him and avoid picking him up. Rather use other methods to get him to sleep (patting, singing, soothing music). Your baby will soon start to disassociate waking with feeding.

Gradual withdrawal:
Don’t go to him immediately. Wait five minutes and then settle him. The next time he wakes up, wait ten minutes before you settle him. Gradually increase the time period.

Important points to remember:

  • Don’t introduce a sleep training programme when you are under stress at work and need your sleep – holiday times are best.
  • Enlist your partner’s support.
  • Some babies wake up because they are hungry. Increase his daytime food intake and make sure his diet is adequate.
  • Be consistent with routine (such as bath, supper, drink, nappy change, bed). This will help your baby to identify the triggers of bedtime.
  • Darken the room before bedtime.
  • Avoid excessive stimulation before bedtime. Reading to your child is a good alternative to energetic games.
  • Try to stay calm. Your baby will sense your anxiety, frustration and irritability.
  • Whatever you try, be consistent and persevere!
 
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