The million dollar question for every mother…How to deal with sleepless nights. Have a frozen yoghurt and relax! Just kidding.
I have battled and still battling with sleepless nights. There is nothing worse than being woken up two to three times a night and feeling groggy the next day. I guess you can excuse bad temper then in that case.
So I thought I would share some sleeping tips with you guys which may or may not work for you (some definitely help my little one sleep better), and it could mean the end of sleepless nights for you too!
So why do babies/toddlers wake up? I ask myself this question every time and do believe that my son rotates through the list below and so I have given up in trying to identify the reasons now.
Heres a list of a few common reasons why babies and toddlers may wake at night:
1- Hunger (most likely)
Well this is a tough one, because no matter how good your sleep routine is, if he/she is hungry, they will cry and wake up. Try and make sure they eat well during the day. One trick I found that worked a few times involved giving the last milk feed at night using formula milk with a few spoons of baby rice to fill them up (I started doing this from 5 months). This seemed to work for about a month or so but now my son doesn’t even take formula milk and hasn’t since he was 6 months old! I know what you are thinking…
Yes I am still breastfeeding! 15 months and still milking.
2- Cold room- that’s where the Gro bag comes handy
It would be a good idea to have a temperature monitor in the room. I use a BT baby monitor that has a feature to temperature monitor amongst a light show, music. So the health visitors and midwives will say a temperature of 18-20 degrees is ideal, well that is what I was told, but I found, the warmer the better. So a temperature of around 20-21 degrees is what I aim for. I would probably keep with recommended temperature for newborns though.
To help keep the youngsters warm, I dress my little one in the award-winning Grobag sleeping bag. They are manufactured to the highest possible standards and they meet the relevant safety standards.
You can buy these at John Lewis or Peter Jones (where I go) or online at http://www.gro-store.co.uk/
I admit, I’m jealous with a capital J every time my little one is slips into one of these for bedtime. It zips all the way round, easy to put your little tot inside and it is ultra warm. The best bit about it, is that it has varying Tog values for the different seasons. They range from 0.5 to 3.5 tog. So in the Winter months 3.5 is warm enough for them and in the lighter summer, a 1.5 but that depends on the room temperature. Each Grobag comes with a free nursery thermometer and a guide on what to dress the babies in. It doesn’t get any easier now does it!
3- Teething (quite often occurs)
There is not a lot you can do with this one I’m afraid. However, if you know your baby is teething then giving a dose of paracetamol or Ibuprofen before bedtime. This will help settle the pain. My teething saviour is a little box called Camilia. It’s a French brand. No surprises there right? They are the queen of fashion, make -up and now baby products. They come as little cartridges, you break off the tip and empty the liquid contents in the mouth. I find massaging it into the gums is very helpful and soothing for them. The one pharmacy I have found so far that sells this in London is the Gloucester Road Bliss Pharmacy (I am sure there are a few more that stock this but haven’t got round to discovering them just as yet).
Now I will state the obvious here, switch the outside room lights off! Just like adults, if we see light, it makes it harder for us to fall asleep. Some mums find their little ones waking up around 4am from the sun shining through the window. The best solution for this I found is to get yourself a black out blind which you can buy from IKEA or Next.
5-Advances in development
So when a baby has learned to crawl, walk or stand, they want to practice this all the time and sometimes even at night- the one time you can say, NOT CUTE! There is nothing much you can do about this one other than try to settle them back down to sleep and hope for the best.
Mmm well there is not much one can do with this one. Ride it out.
To finish this topic I want to just add a bit on controlled crying.
Anyone heard of the Gina Ford book? Some may say her methods of parenting are too strict but I think that you can pick and chose from the book what parenting methods you want to use for your child which is what I did. I found her feeding routines very helpful and she sets it out quite nicely with a daily time plan which I found helpful.
Back to the controlled crying which I personally am not a fan of, but I did try it with my little one (using a slight deviated version of the Gina Ford method) and it worked, to an extent I may add. If you want to introduce this, then I recommend to start from about 6 months. Some books say to leave them to cry for 5 minutes first and if they don’t settle, then 10 minutes etc, but I find that way too harsh. I decided a 3 minute interval worked better for me.
- Stick to the same bed-time routine i.e bath, feed, milk, story, saying the same things to your child
- Slip them into a Gro Bag sleeping bag and put them in their cot and leave the room
- If they cry, wait 3 minutes then go in, console them and put straight to bed (sticking to the same words)
- If they cry again, wait another 3 minutes then repeat above until they finally settle themselves to sleep
This will be effective usually after the 3rd night, fingers crossed! I must add, they must be sleeping in their own room for this to work. After doing this, I found my son could easily settle himself to sleep. This was a huge milestone for me, however he still wakes at night, but I’m getting there…baby steps.
Now if you are not a fan of controlled crying, my friend tried a different method of cuddling her baby to sleep when she woke up at night and then once settled, put her straight down to bed again and left the room. This would continue for a couple of nights and eventually she slept right through the night. This didn’t work for me! But hey give it a go, it might work for you.
That’s it folks! That is my how to deal with sleepless nights tips.
If you have any questions, drop me a line below.