This time last year, when I was pregnant with my second child, there was one thing I promised myself that I wouldn’t do: Google. I vowed that once my second bub came along I would stay away from the internet, the forums, the constant search for answers online. Instead, I would trust to my instincts and mother my baby like the experienced second time mum I would be.
What did I do when my baby was 24 hours old and refusing to be put down in her moses basket at night? I Googled. Like a mad woman. “Day old baby won’t go down in moses basket”, “Newborn hates her crib”, “Why won’t my baby sleep at night?”. I tried a whole variety of questions in the hope that one of them would yield that magic answer that might bring me a few hours of shut-eye. Did it work? Did it hell.
At nearly seven months old my baby is still a tricky customer when it comes to night time. And I still haven’t learned to stay away from Google. So, to save you the bother of trawling the web at 3am, here’s what Google has taught me about baby sleep:
1. Start a bedtime routine from day one, to set up good habits.
2. Ignore a bedtime routine for as long as possible, plenty of time for routines when your baby gets bigger.
3. Follow a feeding schedule to ensure regular naps and longer sleep at night.
4. Feed on demand – your baby will soon learn the difference between night and day.
5. Offer a bottle of formula at night if your baby is breastfed.
6. Stay away from formula, it could reduce your milk supply and mean your baby wakes up even more often.
7. Never breastfeed your baby to sleep, they’ll just expect it every time they wake.
8. Always breastfeed your baby to sleep, breast milk contains a “sleepy” hormone to promote better sleep.
9. Put your baby in their own room, so they can’t smell you or be disturbed by you at night.
10. Put your baby in your bed, so they feel secure and avoid any negative sleep associations.
11. Leave your baby to cry herself to sleep.
12. Never leave your baby to cry herself to sleep.
13. Ensure your baby has plenty of naps during the day because “sleep begets sleep”.
14. Don’t allow your baby to nap too much in the day or they won’t want to sleep at night.
15. Pat your baby’s stomach and “shush” her when she wakes, but never pick her up.
16. Pick her up immediately when she wakes – instant comfort will avoid any sleep anxiety later on.
17. Put one of your old T’shirts in your baby’s cot, so she can smell you.
18. Avoid putting anything of yours in your baby’s cot – the smell will just mean she’s more likely to wake for milk.
19. All babies are capable of sleeping through the night by the time they are eight weeks old.
20. It’s very rare for a baby to sleep through the night regularly before they are one year old.
21. If left to cry, all babies will eventually learn to sleep.
22. There are two types of babies: tension releasers and tension increasers. The former are more susceptible to sleep training.
23. Starting solids will help your baby sleep through the night.
24. Babies don’t always wake because they’re hungry – starting solids will make no difference to your baby’s sleep patterns.
25. Introduce white noise, lullabies or a dummy to help your baby sleep.
26. Avoid “sleep crutches” such as white noise, lullabies or dummies – your baby needs to learn to fall asleep on her own.
27. Never rock your baby to sleep.
28. Always rock your baby to sleep if she needs it – it will promote a positive sleep association later in life.
29. Do whatever you can to ensure you get some sleep – even if this means putting your baby to sleep on her front or side.
30. Never put your baby to sleep on her front or side, only ever put her to sleep on her back, with her feet to the foot of the cot.
31. When your baby wakes, immediately offer her milk as she’s probably hungry.
32. Never offer your baby milk as soon as she wakes – she will learn to wake for milk and you’ll end up with a bad sleeper.
33. Co-sleep – it’s the best way to get a good night’s sleep for all of you and there are many other benefits too.
34. Never co-sleep – it’s dangerous and will set up bad habits meaning your baby will be in the bed with you until she is a teenager.
35. When your baby wakes, start the bedtime routine from scratch, to prompt certain sleep queues.
36. When your baby wakes, do as little as possible and keep things silent, or she will wake up fully and never go back to sleep.
37. Sit in the room with your baby and sing to her, so she feels secure and knows you are there.
38. Never sit in the room as your baby falls to sleep – she will just rely on it later on.
39. Never let your baby fall to sleep on you. Always put them down sleepy but awake.
40. Always let your baby fall to sleep on you. It will promote a strong attachment and better bond as she grows up.
Thanks, Google. Fat lot of help you are.
Have I missed any?
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