Life with a young baby is full of both beautiful and challenging moments as you adapt to becoming a new parent. Along with all the cute smiles and first laughs are the inevitable sleepless nights and many parents look to baby sleep aids and strategies to help settle their babies.
However, with so many products and promised 'miracle' solutions out there, how do you know which one is right for your baby and whether it's worth the money?
Whether you are coping with a baby who has never slept or are experiencing a sleep regression, this article will talk about the best affordable sleeping aids and strategies that actually help. So fear not, there is hope and believe us their sleep does improve!
Sleep aid apps
White noise machines can be expensive and take up a lot of space and if they don't work with your baby they feel like a waste of money. Thankfully there are a variety of excellent white noise apps you can download for free on your phone. White Noise Baby Sleep Sounds is a free app with a variety of great noises to choose from. White Noise Baby is another great app, although it does cost 89p, the price of a good night's sleep will be more than worth it.
Setting up a sleep routine that you follow every night can prepare your baby for a good night's sleep. Babies enjoy a routine and setting up a good evening schedule can help your baby wind down. An hour before their bedtime turn off bright lights, and the TV, and create a soothing environment. Play soothing music and give your baby a calm bath before dressing them for bed. Keeping to a good schedule can help your baby recognise that it is time to go to sleep.
Exposure to daylight
Ensuring your baby knows the difference between night and day is crucial to a good night's sleep. By 8 weeks your baby’s circadian rhythm will have developed and they should be able to notice the difference between night and day. However, exposing your baby to daylight can help babies develop a 24-hour time cycle and help to regulate the sleep hormone melatonin. Expose your baby to daylight safely by ensuring you open the curtains in the morning to let daylight in, sit in the garden with them, or take them out for a walk.
Being active with your baby during the day and quiet when it gets to bedtime can help establish good daytime and nighttime boundaries. Getting outside, taking them to a café, or simply just being playful during the day will keep them stimulated and more ready to sleep when it gets to bedtime. Of course, all babies need to nap during the day, however, making an effort to be more active and playful during the day will help your baby recognise when it is time to wind down to sleep.
Create a good sleep environment
The room your baby sleeps in can greatly affect their sleep and can be the difference between a good night's sleep. Many young babies sleep in the same room as their parents, however, the room your baby sleeps in should be adapted for your baby.
Try adding the following to the room your baby sleeps in:
- Blackout blinds will cut out streetlights or the very early morning sun.
- A room thermometer will tell you if the room is too hot or cold for your baby
- Do not disturb. The room your baby sleeps in should be quiet and undisturbed.
- A nightlight can soothe your baby and stops the need to turn on lights to change them.
Every baby is different and some sleeping aids and strategies will work for your baby whereas others won't. Of course, coping with sleepless nights is difficult and you may choose to sleep-train your baby or allow them to find their own rhythm.