- Kids Health
How to cure the sleepless nights of your baby or babies
A baby who has trouble sleeping can cause many problems within the family household. The lack of sleep increases the irritability between family members, with parents snapping at older children and each other for no real reason and thus arguments occur when they need not.
It is therefore very important to find the cause of your baby's sleep problem as soon as you possible can, not only for your baby's sake but also for your own sanity.
There are many causes for babies having trouble sleeping, some can be dealt with easily, while others need a bit more detective work.
Most babies should start sleeping through the night between 8 and 12 weeks, obviously as all babies are different, some may sleep through quicker some longer.
Why is your baby not sleeping when you put it to bed?
If your baby is not sleeping through the night then you should look at the overall situation,
- Have you just moved them into a cot or a junior bed?
- Have they just gone into their own room after being with you for some length of time?
- Have you moved house?
- Has there been something happen within the family to cause an unsettled feeling i.e. a death to close family member?
All of these things are enough to unsettle a baby at night.
Good baby Sleeping tips
One of the best ways to help your baby sleep at night is to have a very good bedtime routine. This should start the same time every night, and should follow the same pattern. For example;
- 6.30pm bath/shower
- 7pm a little play with quiet toys
- 7.15pm story time, maybe 1 or 2 small books
- 7.30pm lights out, kiss, cuddle and tell them ‘sleep tight and see you in the morning’ and maybe get them to cuddle their favourite teddy
Any method such as this should work as well as any other baby sleeping tip
Books to help you get your child to sleep
A baby waking in the night
When a newborn first arrives on the scene you expect to be woken 2-3 times during the night, with this gradually decreasing as you get baby into a better sleeping routine. However when an older child/toddler starts waking 2-3 times in the night for no apparent reason or generally showing a total lack of sleep, it can be very annoying for the parent, and in turn you end up with a very tired toddler and parent.
So again you find yourself looking at the big picture and asking simple questions,
- Are they cutting teeth? Remember a child can still be cutting teeth at the 2-3 years of age!
- Are they still in a cot? It may be possible that the cot is now getting too small and they are waking themselves when they move in the night.
- Have you just moved them into a child size bed? It is possible that they feel insecure by the amount of round that they have around them. Perhaps fill their bed with their favourite teddies.
- Are they waking up wet with nappies leaking? This can be very uncomfortable for the child and you should be thinking about maybe cutting back drinks before bed and just allowing them to have their milk at bedtime. Or if they do not drink too much maybe you need to look at larger nappies for during the night, or even a different brand. They are all cut and fit slightly differently.
- Have you started potty training but still have them in nappies during the night? If so this could be there way of telling you that they need a wee during the night.
- Are they asking for a drink of juice every time they wake? If so, and you usually give your child diluted squash it could be that they are actually craving for the squash. Be brave and strong and just give them water for during the night and during the day dilute the squash so water only just changes colour.
- Are they having a growth spurt and waking hungry? If so perhaps they need a more filling evening meal, meat/vegetarian option with vegetables, or maybe a pasta dish, followed by a filling pudding i.e. rice pudding, fresh fruit with any yoghurt. You could always give your child something simple to eat while you are reading a story and they are drinking their milk i.e. breadsticks or small piece of toast/bread and butter.
Sleep aids for your baby
Once you have considered all of the options above hopefully you can solve the problem of why your child is waking. However if things are still not working remember that the health service is there to help and you can turn to your local doctor or health visitor for advice. This is not just happening to you even though you may think it is. There are many other reasons why a child may not sleep.
However, if all else fails do not allow your child to sleep with you in your bed as this will encourage them to wake, knowing that they can do get into your bed. Another favourite that should not be allowed is sleeping in their room, as this is not teaching them to sleep on their own. The only exception to this rule would be if your child is ill and needs checking regularly.
Some sleep toys for your baby
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