Sleep is something we obsess over as parents. How much we’re getting (or more likely not getting!) and whether we’ve got ‘a good sleeper’… or not. Here’s our top tips for promoting healthy sleep habits and getting a sound night’s sleep for your and your baby.
1. ESTABLISH A SOLID ROUTINE
You can start introducing a bedtime routine from as early as 3 months old. It will teach your little one to go to bed at the same time every evening and is also great for helping them to wind down and give you a bit of one-on-one time. Things you can include in your routine include a bath, bedtime stories, lullabies and of course a cuddle.
2. CREATE A FAMILIAR SLEEP SPACE
Little ones will go to sleep much easier if they are in a familiar space. If you’re sleeping over at grandparents’ or going on holiday, take a blanket or some bedding with you that smells of home. As your little one grows, instead of changing their bed every few years, it can help to keep things consistent with a design that converts from a cot. One of our favourites is the clever Stokke® Sleepi™, which can be used from birth all the way up to 10 years. A four-in-one concept, the Sleepi™ Mini expands to become a junior bed with the help of conversion kits.
3. MAKE IT DARK
We sleep much better in a dark environment because it allows our bodies to produce melatonin (our sleep hormone). During the summer when it’s light until late it can be hard to get little ones off to sleep, so invest in some blackout blinds for their room. Babies also struggle to tell the difference between night and day, so it can really help to keep your night feeds dark and quiet.
4. ESTABLISH THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DAY AND NIGHT
It’s important to teach babies the difference between day and night early on. During the day, open the curtains and don’t worry too much about everyday noises when they nap. At night, keep it dark, keep voices and sounds low and put your little one down as soon as they’ve been fed and changed.
5. TURN DOWN THE TEMPERATURE
Our bodies are designed to sleep in cooler conditions, with the ideal temperature being 16-20 celsius. You don’t want your baby to get too cold though, so it’s a good idea to keep a thermometer in their room so you can monitor the temperature regularly.
6. INCREASE AIRFLOW
Making sure your little one’s space is properly ventilated not only promotes better sleep, but also helps to prevent SIDS. One of the most important things is to choose a bed with maximum air circulation. The Stokke® Sleepi™’s unique oval design allows air to flow freely and it also comes with a perforated mattress.
7. USE WHITE NOISE
White noise can help to create a womb-like environment, helping to soothe anxious little ones and send them off to sleep. It can also help little ones to stay asleep longer. Play a low-pitched continuous sound (like rain dropping on the roof) as quietly as possible and reserve it for bedtimes and day-time naps only.
8. CREATE A COSY SPACE
A safe and cosy sleep space will remind little ones of being in the womb. This is why the cot or bed you choose is really important. The Stokke® Sleepi™ has a unique oval design that can be converted from a cot into a bed. The shape has a nest-like feel, that will make your little one feel comfortable and secure.
9. PRACTICE FALLING ASLEEP INDEPENDENTLY
Babies will of course sleep in with you for at least the first 6 months and tiny ones often won’t fall asleep unless they are in your arms. When they wake up, babies expect their sleep conditions to be the same as when they dropped off, so if you’re not there it can be confusing. Practising falling asleep independently can help to get them used to being in their own sleep space.
10. PROTECT YOUR OWN SLEEP NEEDS
Happy mama, happy little one – so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep too. Get an early night wherever possible and look for little tricks to help with the night feeds. A cot with a height-adjustable mattress, such as the Stokke® Sleepi™ will make reaching in and out easier. The clever design also has swivel wheels so you can move it from room to room. This really helps when they are tiny and you want to keep them close by when you’re taking it easy on the sofa! As they grow, you won’t need to wake them when you want to put them back into their room.