If your baby isn’t sleeping well at night, it means you aren’t either, which makes everything (and everyone) more difficult to cope with the next day. It’s no wonder that helping your baby to sleep through the night is a high priority for most families, but it’s often easier said than done.
Sleep-deprived parents often turn to a slate of sleep props and aides to help their little ones nod off, from dummies and bottles to humming mobiles and sound machines. Sydney-based baby whisperer and mothercraft nurse of 20 years Elizabeth Sloane, who recently co-authored the book The Gift Of Sleep, says these are the first thing to go when you’re teaching a baby to sleep through the night.
“The most important part of teaching a baby to sleep through the night is teaching them to self-settle,” she says.
“Most families are struggling with babies that are waking for a dummy, bottle, breastfeeding, rocking or patting, so it’s about taking that back from them gently and teaching them the gift of self-settling, which in turn teaches them to sleep through the night.”
To be clear, Sloane, who runs a sleep training program where she stays with weary families for up to three nights, believes it’s unrealistic for parents of those under six months of age to expect their bub to sleep through.
“But if they're well and healthy and over six months old, they should be sleeping through,” she says.
There will be a few tears (from mum and bub!) on the road to a good night’s sleep, she warns, but it’s all for a good cause.
“It’s important to be honest and say certainly that there is a little bit of grizzling attached to any change, like anything new in a baby’s life,” Sloane says.
“But for those mums who are already struggling and up several times a night, and they’re really fragile and it’s affecting their relationships.”
Sloane outlines a step-by-step guide to teach your little one to sleep through the night in her new book, The Gift of Sleep, but here she shares these tips for getting your baby (aged over six months) to sleep better:
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