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I LOVE speaking at The Baby Show on the Made For Mums stage – It’s one of my favourite events in the calendar because I get to talk with expectant mums and parents with babies about getting the whole family sleeping soundly.
The Spring show had some recurring questions from parents which I wanted to share with you here…
Firstly, I met with a lot of parents with 4 month olds and they were all working about a ‘4 month sleep regression’ and nap challenges.
My top tips:
- I don’t believe in regressions – they are always progressing! At 4 months, your baby is going through a huge developmental leap. He may be sitting or learning to sit and his daytime sleep is looking to take more shape now. Some of the ‘old tricks’ that used to get him off to sleep might not be working so well now because he is wise to them and he needs a more sustainable way of getting to sleep.
- Help your baby get those daytime sleep hours in by getting him down after no more than 90 mins awake time – Don’t wait for sleepy signs like eye rubbing and yawning as that’s a sign it’s almost too late! One eye on baby – one eye on the time!
- Be sure to have your bedtime routine in place and consistent – The same steps in the same order every night so he knows what to expect. This rhythm will make for smoother bedtime settling in the long run.
- Start tuning in to when your abby is waking due to hunger and when it’s just a night waking. Sometimes we just wake up and your baby simply needs your help to get back to sleep – It’s not always a feed that’s required.
Another question I noticed a lot was ‘How do I cope with lack of sleep when baby arrives’?
Many new parents are fearful of sleep deprivation and I respect them for getting ahead of the game and learning about it in advance – I wish I had. I was blissfully unaware or optimistic about it.
My top tips:
- Get in the know – If you know what to expect from a newborns’ sleep, it won’t come as such a shock and you can prepare your mind as well as your body for this with some good self care habits.
- Start a bedtime routine – A routine creates rhythmicity and is effective from just 2-3 weeks in. Simple steps in the same order every evening at the same time to cue your baby for sleep.
- Make the most of any help you have – First time mums in particular can be a little possessive and reluctant to allow others to help but you can always get the help with preparing food, doing the laundry, cleaning the house. Help doesn’t have to mean someone taking your baby from you.
- Night feed shifts – A new baby will wake in the night for feeds but it doesn’t have to be all on one person to deliver those feeds. It can be exhausting for a breastfeeding mum who is dying to do it all. There is nothing wrong with offering breast milk in a bottle and allowing someone else to respond sometimes in the night and it will actually help your baby to be flexible. This is useful in an emergency scenario too.
Finally, the message I always like to share when I speak on stage is that no-one needs to suffer. We live in the information age and solutions are accessible to all – There is no magic bullet solution to sleep challenges and it will differ from child to child so getting a good understanding of this mine-field of a subject is key. If you still struggle, expert help will turn things around in no time and your family’s health, safety, well-being and happiness depends on it.
Catch me at the next Baby Show. Find out more HERE.