Top tips for putting your child to sleep in their first year
written by: Ineke
Bedtime. It strikes fear in the hearts of parents world-wide. So here are some top tips for getting your little one to sleep and avoiding the drama, from ages 0 through to 12 months old.
Did you know that babies need to learn to go to sleep and that they learn this from 6 weeks of age? This means that for you, as a parent, setting the mood for sleep time is very important.
Try out the following hints and tips:
Bath time! A nice warm bath in a quiet place will help calm your baby.
Reading a story or singing a lullaby is the perfect way to encourage sleep, and remember, your little one doesn’t have to be completely asleep in your arms before you place them in the cot.
Have they started crying? Let them settle themselves to sleep with their fist or fingers in their mouth. If not, you may wish to try giving them a dummy, or pacifier for example. Pacifiers are a hot topic in parenting circles – the general recommendation is that as long as they’re gone by the time your child is 1 year old, they will do no harm.
And now your child is asleep, right? No? Well, co-sleeping is another popular option, although the experts recommend sticking to a cot. Cots are rather large though, so if you want your child close or feel this form of sleep settling works best for you (or for those late-night feeds), then try a smaller cot or a safely set up bassinet next to your bed.
General sleeping tips
Have a routine. Child health nurses in Australia recommend the ‘Feed Play Sleep’ routine from 8 weeks old, and to place the child in the cot to sleep when they are drowsy, not asleep fully, as this will encourage them to fall asleep unassisted. This will help the entire family save their sleep too!
Transitional Objects. In other words, get a teddy bear! Teddy bears are recommended by your Child health nurse from the age of 8 months old – start by cuddling with the teddy and your child, and preferably a good book too, just before bedtime.
Other ideas and where to get help. We recommend the Raising Children website for safe, approved ideas on making bedtime a calming, happy time for the whole family. For information on safe bedding and other safety issues regarding children, check out Red Nose Australia and Kidsafe WA. Looking for more parenting information? Try Maggie Dent’s website for tips on all things parent related.
Not quite sure if the numbers above are the right ones to call? Try the below if you are needing personal mental health support or going through a personal crisis:
Lifeline – 13 11 14
Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800 for young people 5-25 years
MensLine Australia – 1300 78 99 78 for men of any age
Advice was taken from the Child Health Nurses at Balga Child Health Centre, 17 Lavant Way, Balga. Post by Ineke.
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