Find out how me sleeping with a comforter stuffed down my top, tin foil and BBC Radio 4 helped my children to sleep...
I’m not a sleep expert, nor do I claim to be. As a mum of two (very different children) I tried a lot of things to get them to go to sleep and stay asleep. I learnt two things:
- There is no ‘right way.’ It’s a combination of what you’re comfortable with trying and what works for your child.
- All children are different and what works for one, might not work for another.
If you’re reading this because you’re trying to improve your baby or child’s sleep, this is not intended as another ‘expert’ view. It’s simply a list of things, that worked for one or both of my babies, that you can pick and choose to use, or ignore, as you see fit!
I’ll start with the very first thing I tried with my babies - swaddling. It’s the one thing that worked for both of them.
I’ve written all about why it’s so good before, so I won’t go into details. All I will say is that there are so many benefits and it’s one of the simplest things you can try. I have a free guide, if you need a hand.
I also have to mention that our 100% bamboo muslin swaddle blankets are perfect for keeping your baby warm and secure - without the risk of overheating.
My youngest responded really well to sleeping with a comforter, with my scent on it.
I brought two of these, slept with one down my top / kept it on me while feeding and kept the other with her. You have to be extremely careful putting anything in your baby’s cot, due to the suffocation risk. These were perfect as I lay them flat underneath her head. You could also do the same with a muslin, or even the cot sheet!
When my eldest just wouldn’t nap in his room (or anywhere else, unless it was the sling and I walked for miles…), a health visitor suggested playing Radio 4 to him. I was dubious, but set up a little radio in his bedroom - and it seemed to work! I guess he just responded well to background noise.
When I heard about using white noise for babies I decided to give that a go and it was like a miracle! It blocked out most background noise in the house and the postman could now knock on the door without my baby screaming his head off.
It worked brilliantly for my second baby too - as her older brother could play and she could sleep without the fear of missing out, that she has now…
In fact, both of mine still have white noise in their rooms, to this day.
My youngest just won’t sleep if she is in anyway stimulated - and she’s been like that since just before she turned one. So, wherever she sleeps (especially if it’s somewhere new) we have to make it as dark as possible.
At home we have blackout curtains, but it turns out she needs absolute darkness - so we use a gro blind underneath.
We also use a snooze shade in the buggy (which is less effective for on-the-go naps now she’s two and knows how to take it off!) We’ve stayed away quite a bit since she’s been born and my top tip for travelling is tin foil! Once wet, it sticks to any window - and can then be easily removed when you leave.
If you don’t want to pay for a blackout blind, you could easily do this at home too.
Once my children were sleeping, both went through the ‘awake at 5am’ stage. A gro clock was (and still is!) brilliant for letting my eldest know that it’s not yet the morning and he needs to stay in bed.
My youngest now has one too and, while I’m not entirely sure she understands the concept, she does love ‘saying goodnight to the sun’ being part of her bedtime routine.
The list goes on
Other things I tried included shushing and patting, putting down and picking up, long walks in the sling, long walks in the buggy, naps in the baby bouncer, sitting next to the cot for hours on end, walking up and down the stairs, rocking the buggy in the kitchen with the extractor fan on, singing...the list goes on and on.
So, this is just what’s worked for me and my children. I’d love to know - what’s worked for you? Comment below and let’s share some ideas!