Tuesday, July 16th, 2013
Have a little baby–or young child–who’s keeping you up at night? Read what sleep expert Rachel Waddilove has to say, and I guarantee that you’ll get more shut-eye. Her new book, Sleep Solutions: Quiet Nights for You and Your Child from Birth to Five Years, just came out, and below, she gives you her top tips for getting your kid to snooze for long stretches of time. Gwyneth Paltrow and even the British royal family trusts her–so you can too. If you are tired, you simply must check it out.
KK: What is the number one way to promote good sleep in babies? Toddlers?
RW: The most important thing to do to enable your baby to sleep is feed him well at every feeding. If you are bottle feeding then you will know how much he is having, but if you are breast feeding it is more difficult to tell until you have learned the signs that baby is full. A baby with a half full tummy will not sleep well until the next feeding. Having a good bedtime routine is important for toddlers, too. Don’t let your toddler get overtired as he will find it difficult to settle into a good sleep pattern.
KK: Do you think parents should let their kids cry it out?
RW: If you are sleep training your baby or toddler it will be important that you do leave him to have a shout for a little while as you are teaching him that he needs to sleep when you say so. It is important that you have someone who knows about sleep training that you can chat this through with, as it can be an anxious time for parents.
RW: Babies as young as four weeks old can sleep from about 11 p.m. until six in the morning, but it is more usual for a baby to be about eight weeks old before he can sleep through the night. However, many babies do not sleep through the night until they are three to four months old. By the time your baby is five months old, he may well sleep from seven p.m. until seven a.m.
RW: The benefits for a mother whose baby sleeps well at night are huge as we all know how detrimental sleep deprivation is for a family. If a baby sleeps well mom will feel happy and contented with her baby and will feel able to cope with everyday life. She will feel happy to take her baby out to play dates and to meet friends for coffee or lunch. She will feel happy to leave her baby with a babysitter while she and her partner go out for a meal. If she has other children it will mean the whole family is calmer as mom will be more relaxed if baby sleeps well.
RW: It is very important that baby has a bedtime routine. It is a good idea to start a routine early on as baby will become used to the same thing happening at the end of the day and this will continue when he is a toddler. It gives a sense of stability and security and also is good for parents, as there is a set bedtime, and you don’t have to expect your baby or toddler to be up all the evening, giving you both time for each other.