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Parents, Don’t Make These Mistakes When Trying To Get Your Baby To Sleep

So you’ve got yourself a baby who doesn’t sleep…? Welcome to the club.

With so much conflicting baby sleep advice out there, it can be hard to know where you stand as a new parent trying to get your tiny crying bundle to sleep.

Do you pick them up and soothe them? Do you let them cry it out? So many questions – and to be honest, often no right answers. It’s mostly a case of trial and error, and doing the best you can.

When Gemma Coe, a baby and child sleep specialist based in Kent, speaks to parents about their baby’s sleep (we’re talking under ones), she suggests there are many who feel there are certain things they’d do differently next time.

Here are some of the most common themes.

1. That cot mobile? Probably not doing you any favours

In fact, get rid of all those fancy sleep props. That includes the projectors, toys, bubble lamps, cot mobiles, and those white noise animals that only last for 45 minutes, Coe suggests.

“Babies are distracted and fascinated by everything,” she says. So, rather than surrounding them with stimulation, the sleep specialist recommends setting up a dark, calm and – most importantly – boring sleep space.

“Try to keep things consistent, so the environment they fall asleep in is the same as when they wake in the middle of the night,” she adds. “They’re then less likely to wake completely if everything’s consistent.”

On top of that, for safe sleep it’s important to keep the cot or crib nice and clear of toys and other sleep paraphernalia, she adds. That includes cot bumpers and loose bedding like blankets.

2. Expecting too much from a newborn

As soon as they arrive on the scene, babies are embarking on a process of learning how to sleep. But sometimes we forget that and expect them to just ‘get it’.

“Babies in the newborn phase often need your help to get to sleep and lots of intervention at night for feeds and changes,” says Coe. “You’re not doing anything wrong.”

She routinely speaks to parents who worry they’re making a rod for their own back by carrying their baby in a sling or contact-napping. “It simply isn’t true. Please, please, enjoy those newborn snuggles as sadly they won’t last forever,” she adds.

As babies get closer to four months old, parents can start thinking about presenting opportunities for them to learn more independent sleeping skills, adds the sleep specialist, but remember: this is the ‘practice zone’ and it won’t always go to plan.

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