So your kid doesn’t sleep through the night? Welcome to the Exhausted Parents Club. If you were lurking on the KIDLY Facebook page last week, you’d have seen my desperate plea for tips to try to get my diva to give us a bit of a break when it came to her sleep habits. And those of you who answered came through with shedloads of advice - and here it is! The top picks direct from our fab KIDLY community of parents. But please remember, each and every bundle of joy is different...
The 3 Bs
Just like us, a baby needs some sort of routine - eat, sleep (ha!), drink, repeat? But for tots many of you raved about the 3 Bs: bath, book, bed. And you can start this pretty much as soon as they pop out. Sure, they might not understand at first, but do it a few months and they’ll cotton on. Harry Potter may be a bit above Evie at the moment but I’ll be investing in some cool baby books for her…
Hangry from Hemel Hemptstead
When you’re hungry, you’re not yourself - and this applies to mini humans too. Starving at night? The child is going to have serious hanger issues. Lots of our respondants swore that their cure for getting them to sleep through was to make sure they had full bellies. After milk, some mums add a little bit extra, too. So stock up on that porridge, Weetabix, Rusks, take them to an all-you-can-eat Chinese* and maybe, just maybe, they’ll sleep through. Adding solids (after 6 months, of course) doesn’t replace those important milk feeds, it just tops their tums up.
*We’re kidding. You know we’re kidding, right?
Ban the breast - or bottle
Sometime between 6-12 months, your sleep thief probably won’t need a night feed - especially if they’ve been at the all you can eat Chinese.* However, when it’s 2am and they’re screaming for milk it’s easier to just give in - the quicker they drink it the quicker you can go back to sleep, right? Nope. (Guilty, as charged!) Once they’ve reached 12 months, it’s usually just habit. Lots of fab advice came in to help stop this habit - and that’s all it is, habit. The winning answer? Swap their night time milk for water. Yes, they may scream in protest for a few days but when they realise that all they’re getting is water, they’ll probably decide that sleep is a better option… well, maybe.
Cry it out. 3 little words that can spark furious debate amongst parents. Some swear by it, some hate it. I personally don’t have the patience - did I just say that out loud? But, it seems it is not bad for them (check out the NHS guidance) and loads of you have cracked this sleep thing with this. The general rule is let them cry for 5 minutes, go in comfort them and repeat, and repeat and… you get the idea. You’ll need patience, (read: wine), a tough skin, and maybe earplugs but apparently mums have seen an improvement within 2 days. Can’t hack it? Delegate to the other half, mum, sister, next door neighbour, dog… or anyone that can be bribed with chocolate. It’ll be worth it. Really. Well that’s what I’m telling the Other Half 🙂
Send in the troops
Miracle pieces of kit? Our fab Facebook mums had loads of tips on the baby bits that have helped settle their tots. Some raved about sleeping pods , which make them feel nice and enclosed, others suggested teddies that played white noise and glowed were their knights in shining armour. And loads of mums swore by sleeping bags instead of blankets, to keep the baby warm and semi-swaddled.
Keep calm & carry on
Let’s be honest, most 13-year-olds don't wake up during the night, and I’ve not heard of one co-sleeping with their parents either - well maybe once, on Jeremy Kyle 🙈. What I’m trying to say is that eventually all kids get to grips with this sleeping through the night thing. Just hang in there. Buy shares - LOTS of shares - in coffee shops and plot how you’re going to wake them up when they're a teens and sleep is all they want… #mwahahaha
If lack of sleep has you (and your baby) in a bad place, ask for help. Read further on specialist sleep aids. For more advice or support, take a look at the Lullaby Trust website. They are the experts in sleep safety for babies and the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death). The NHS also offers guidance and advice - as well suggestions for other places to go for support.