In my personal and professional experience there are certain themes that take precedence over others when it comes to parenting. The top ones include Sleep & Settling and Feeding your baby. Actually not only your babies but also toddlers. This post will focus on sleep and settling.
Im not going to tell you how to settle your baby and how long Bub should sleep for. What I’m going to tell you is explore a variety of strategies, pick the ones that you feel comfortable with and implement them how you feel best able to do so. You are the expert of your own child. Do what works best for you, your child and your family. What works for one family may not work for another.
Now as a child and family health nurse I’m guessing you would expect me to have it all down pat, have a child who sleeps like a dream because l know what to do right? I’ve had lots of experience with parents and sleep but guess what? My first child didn’t sleep. He woke frequently and the only way l could sleep was by having him in bed with me. He loved to breastfeed (and still would now if l let him) no matter what time or day up until l was so exhausted l went to a residential care facility for 5 days so l could get help with weaning him from night feeds and getting him to sleep in his own bed and for longer periods at night. He was about 16 months old. I was working…. had little family support (live in another state)… my husband ran his own business and worked long hours. It was the only way l could survive. I asked for help.
Here are some sleep and settling tips l would like to share
- Follow your instincts
- Talk to other parents and explore what works for them
- Go and talk to your local Child and Family Health Nurse or other relevant professional that you trust
- Learn baby’s tired signs and put them to bed when they first start showing them: http://raisingchildren.net.au/sleep/babies_sleep.html
- If you are breastfeeding, babies will fall asleep at the breast. It’s ok and you are not setting them up for bad habits.
- If it feels right and it’s working for you then do it
- Follow the SIDS guidelines for safe sleeping: http://rednose.com.au/resources/education
- It’s ok to cuddle your baby to sleep if you want. Again if this isn’t working for you, change it
- If you decide to co sleep, follow safe sleeping guidelines: http://rednose.com.au/article/sharing-a-sleep-surface-with-a-baby
Here are some good websites to look at for further information