Getting your baby to sleep through the night is one of the most common problems facing new parents. One mother tells how she had problems teaching her son a good routine and a Paediatrician gives her tips for a good night's sleep.
Dr. Su Laurent: There is one thing which I say to all mums which is unrealistic to expect your child skip through the night, if you can't cop with them having them cry, for at least a short spell, when you put them down sometimes and also when they wake up in the middle of the night. They’ve got to get through that to be able to sleep through the night. Deborah Baggs: I probably didn’t do what I should have done. When he woke up, and started crying as a small baby, I used to pick him up and feed him, whereas I didn’t really try and get into routine. Dr. Su Laurent: Routines are probably something which are actually very important and sometimes quite hard to develop. Most first-time mums will respond to their babies by feeding them, putting them down, and it will be fairly straightforward when the baby wants to go to sleep. But a habit that we all fall into is letting our baby fall sleep in our arms always so that then you put them down very carefully into the cot and then they sleep, and then if they wake up, they panic because they are not used to being in cot, awake, and they scream. Deborah Baggs: The other mistake I made was letting him fall asleep when he was feeding and over my lap, and then putting him in his cot, teaching, and he learned to go to sleep on his own. Dr. Su Laurent: Something that I would advice all first-time parents is to try very hard to put their baby down awake when they put them down to sleep. They won't be able to do that because they will fall asleep quite often in their arms. But sometimes putting down awake, so baby gets used to be able to go to sleep from the waking state lying in their cot, and they'll have far fewer sleep probably than a long time. To start with put your baby to sleep when they are sort of awake so they can learn settling in their cot, and then in the middle of the night when they wake up as you expect them to, you go to them, you don't pick them up, you just say something reassuring and the most important thing is not to feed them. So you reassure them, you go by downstairs again and you wait. And they will scream, as they always have no doubt. And then you wake and five minutes later you pop in again, and you just say, it's okay, go back to sleep. This time you leave it to ten minutes and time it, ten minutes, and then you go back again and settle them down again and you may have to do this for two hours the first night. My strong recommendation as a breast-feeding mother if you are trying to do this, is to let your partner go in and do it because if you go in and you are breast-feeding, the baby will smell your milk and won't settle easily. Also it's about time if you are a breastfeeding mother that your partner did a bit of something in the middle of the night. So you settle him down and you keep doing this but make your interval longer and longer between going and checking on them. Do as I do but if you know they are okay and they are safe, just leave them. Deborah Baggs: Teaching and he learned to go to sleep on his own, in the cot on his own until he was well over one. But we got there in the end and – be taking that.