Encourage falling asleep alone
It may be difficult at first, but try to leave the room while your baby is calm and awake. If your child is used to drifting off on their own, it’s more likely they will go back to sleep without crying for you if they wake during the night.
Some mums find that self-soothing – where their baby settles themselves to sleep, or calms themselves when they’re stressed or irritable – can help, especially after a nappy change, feed or waking in the night. Self-soothing can help to regulate your baby’s mood and help them sleep for longer. One study even found that self-soothing is a key factor in helping babies sleep through the night, making your life more predictable and settled too.
Prevent the dry skin cycle
Itchy skin – and the need to scratch – could mean a long, sleepless night for your baby and you. Your baby’s dry skin can become hotter, itchier and more irritated during the night. Soothe your baby’s skin by applying Oilatum Junior Cream at least 20 minutes before bedtime to help keep them comfortable. If your baby is scratching a lot, keep their fingernails short to prevent them damaging their skin. Putting mittens on their hands at night can also help if they scratch when asleep.
Use a security object
Babies have a strong sense of smell from birth, unlike eyesight, which develops gradually over the first year of life. Smell is the most advanced sense they have at birth. Keep your baby’s blanket near you for a while before bedtime so that it carries your scent. Then put it in the cot when you put your baby down to sleep. If your child wakes in the night, the smell of you can help calm them, allowing them to fall back to sleep independently.
Have a playlist
If your baby becomes distressed and self-soothing isn’t working, try creating a playlist of lullabies, nursery rhymes or classical music that you can play to help settle them. Many experts agree that music by classical composers Brahms and Bach has a calming effect.