With World Sleep Day on Friday 18th March 2022, part of Safer Sleep Week this week (14th-20th March), we spoke to an expert who shares their top tips for better and safer sleeping for your baby.
Sleep, and getting enough of it, is a common concern for every new parent, and navigating the challenges of getting your baby to sleep whilst ensuring they also sleep safely can be exhausting and overwhelming!
Top Tips for Better and Safer Sleeping
Marking World Sleep Day, baby and nursery retailer Kiddies Kingdom spoke to baby sleep expert Katie Amies who shares her expert advice on what position babies should sleep in, how to introduce them to their own room and how to get them to sleep through the night.
What is the best position for babies to sleep in?
It is advised that a baby should stay in their own cot in the parental room until they are at least six months old.
Katie explains, as supported by the Lullaby Trust: “The safest way for a newborn to sleep is on their back, in the feet to foot position unless told to do otherwise for medical reasons. This is one of the most protective actions you can take to sleep as safely as possible.”
“It’s also crucial to not have any loose items in the crib, including pillows, cot bumpers, comforters and soft toys.
“The safest way to keep baby warm in their bed is to have either a blanket firmly tucked under their arms to ensure it isn’t pulled over their face or a sleeping bag that is an appropriate age and tog rating,” she adds.
When is it okay for your baby to sleep on their tummy?
Whilst sleeping on their back is the safest position for babies, Katie says: “Once your baby can roll over, they will choose their preferred sleep position.
“Don’t panic – once they are able to roll, this is completely fine. Sleep can sometimes be disturbed whilst they are practising their skills and get stuck one way. Providing lots of rolling practice during the day will help minimise the problem.”
When should I introduce a bedtime routine for my baby?
According to Katie: “It’s never too early to introduce a bedtime routine – the earlier the better! Babies love routine, as it helps them understand what’s coming and they find comfort in the familiarity of a routine after being exposed to the big new world.
“Develop a routine which includes the same activities, in the same order, in the same room(s).”
How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?
There are all sorts of reasons why your baby may be waking through the night which will disturb your sleep too – and there isn’t one single answer to this question.
“There is a mismanaged expectation that little one’s sleep through the night once they reach a certain age, weight or start weaning,” says Katie.
She adds: “It’s also important to remember that nighttime wake-ups are very normal for little ones and are only a problem if they become a problem for the parents or wider family.
“As a practitioner of gentle sleep solutions, it is not necessary to leave a baby to ‘cry-it-out’ to resolve sleep problems.”
What are the best ways to introduce a baby to sleep in their own room?
It may be difficult when you first start introducing your baby to their own room to sleep in. To prepare for the move, Katie suggests: “Have quiet play in their room during the day, avoid using clean bedsheets so they have a familiar smell and introduce naps in their own room, with the first nap of the day often the easiest to try new things!”
Which baby sleep regression is the most challenging?
When people talk about sleep regression, they are usually referring to when your child starts waking up during the night and has trouble falling back asleep. There are many causes, and the triggers could be different at different stages of a child’s development.
According to Katie: “The four-month regression is the most challenging in regards to sleep as your little one’s sleep architecture is changing from a newborn to resemble more of an adult’s.
“For this reason, it can be the most impactful on sleep and last longer than other regressions. The key thing to remember is it is just a phase.”
Jumaimah Hussain, Showroom Store Manager at Kiddies Kingdom said: “Bedtime can be challenging for parents throughout their baby’s sleep journey but there are many products designed to make bedtime easier and ensure your little one is sleeping safely too.
“Nightlights, projectors and sound machines are handy to help your little one drift off, as well as investing in a baby monitor to help your peace of mind.”
“Make sure that your baby sleeps on a mattress that is firm, flat and protected by a waterproof cover for safer sleep. It must also be in good condition and correctly fit the cot they sleep in.
“A room thermometer may also be useful for safety reasons to ensure your baby’s room is a comfortable temperature of between 16-20°C.”