A good night’s sleep. Remember that? Once something you took for granted, a blissful eight hours of shut-eye may now seem like a distant, well, dream. In the first year of a baby’s life, new parents get an average of just four hours and 44 minutes’ sleep per night, according to sleep tech brand Simba.

So if you got the recommended eight hours of sleep before the birth of your little one, this means you’ll lose the equivalent of 50 nights of sleep in the first year of becoming a parent. Ouch.

While we can’t magically restore your pre-baby sleep patterns, there are common mistakes that newbie parents make when it comes to bedtime.

1. Missed your cue?

At first, understanding your baby can be like grappling with a foreign language. Is that a hungry cry? Perhaps her nappy is wet? What the heck does she need? Well, there are some general signs you can look out for which indicate that your tiny person is tired. Ear pulling, fist closing and finger sucking can mean your baby is trying to settle herself ready for a nap. Making jerky arm movements or arching backwards can also indicate that your baby is a sleepyhead. Learn your baby’s subtle cues and you can act before she becomes overly tired.

2. Too many props

We get it. You’ll do anything for a snooze, even if that means lulling baby with the sound of the vacuum cleaner. Relying on aids or props might seem tempting but you’ll create a rod for your own back if your baby can only get to sleep to certain noises, or to motion. Instead, it’s better to get him to fall asleep naturally. One way is to create a proper sleep time routine (see below).

3. No routine

You don’t have to subscribe to a strict schedule to create a sleep routine for your baby (although if this works for you then great). Instead, you could simply create your own bed and nap time ritual. This could be as easy as reading a story, dimming the lights in the room and singing a lullaby before bedtime. Make sure baby is comfortable, using reliable nappies [Link to product page] such as Pura’s eco-friendly range to keep him dry for as long as possible at night.

4. Not sticking to it

Though it can be tempting to slip back into old habits, consistency is key to helping your little one learn to sleep. You might not think babies appreciate routine, but it actually makes them feel secure and therefore far more likely to relax and sleep. The less complicated your routine, the easier it will be to stick to.

5. Expecting too much

Finally, don’t set high expectations early on. Your beautiful baby is an individual. Some little angels snooze for a long time early on, others are less amenable. Comparing your baby to your friend’s sleeping beauty will only make you feel bad about yourself, as it can take up to a year for some little bundles of joy to sleep through the night. Babies under six months naturally nod off for a 45-50 minute sleep cycle then wake before entering the next cycle. After six months, these cycles gradually lengthen and they’ll slumber longer.

 

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