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  • catherinejforrester

Easy wins to improve your baby's sleep

Here are seven areas to consider where you can do to improve your baby’s sleep - absolutely no sleep training required!

Sleeping environment

For optimal sleep at night, baby’s room should be dark, cool, calm and free from distractions.

  • Use black out blinds

  • Optimal temperature is 16-18 degrees

  • Keep room calm and clear of distracting objects if you can

  • Consider your sleep set-up: many babies sleep much better in close proximity to their parents.

Use sensory sleep cues

  • Use continuous white or pink noise as baby falls asleep and all night

  • Use an aromatherapy diffuser with relaxing oils if you like them

  • Sleep on your baby’s sheets so they smell like you

  • Use familiar, soft and comfortable bedding/sleeping bags

Use light wisely

  • To set baby’s circadian rhythm, get out into natural sunlight as soon as you can in the morning - ideally the first couple of hours after you wake

  • Keep house lighting dim (ie fairy lights, low lamps, salt lamps) or on the red light spectrum in the hour before bedtime

  • No screens or bright lights in the hour before bed

  • Red light only in baby’s bedroom

  • Tape over any light sources in the sleep space

Predictable rhythms and routines

  • You don’t need a fixed bedtime but a regular morning waking window (is within the same 30 minutes each day) may help.

  • You don’t need to be stuck to a rigid schedule, but a familiar routine will help baby feel secure. If you can, do similar things, in the same order, most days.

  • Use a short and familiar pre-nap routine if you want them to sleep independently.

  • Develop a familiar and enjoyable bedtime routine.

Get outside and move!

  • Spend as much time as you can outside.

  • Give baby every opportunity to move their body freely - beware of spending too much time in baby containers.

  • Once they are older seek out activities they enjoy that can physically tire them out. Dance, swim, bounce, play hide and seek...

Before bedtime

  • Get the wiggles out after dinner! Use rough and tumble, big body play to release stress and connect with your child.

  • 15 minutes or so of calmer activity before the bedtime routine starts.

Day time sleep

  • Have realistic expectations about how much sleep baby might need overnight or per 24 hours. Many babies only need 10-11 hours overnight.

  • Follow baby’s cues for day time sleep.

  • Use contact and motion as amazing sleep-supporting tools.

  • Space naps so that baby is tired enough for the next one.

  • Bedtime can be flexible based on when last nap ended.

If you're struggling with sleep at the moment but know that sleep training is not for you, please reach out for support. We weren't meant to do this parenting gig alone, and you don't have to.

We can work together to rule out medical issues, find areas where tweaks or changes could improve sleep, and work on strategies to make supporting sleep sustainable for your family.

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