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Sleeping difficulties

Patience, praise and peace

There are many different reasons why babies and toddlers do not sleep through the night.  Feel confident in yourself to know whether your child is really distressed or just restless.  Trust your instincts.

Try to establish a regular night time sleep routine for your child early on by putting them to bed at a regular time each night.  Prepare a warm, comfortable place for them to relax in.  Reading to your child at bedtime helps them to unwind, and gives you some special time together.  If your child is scared of the dark, try keeping a night light on.  Adult beds are not designed for babies and toddlers and do not conform to safety standards.  Only breastfeeding babies should ever be fed in bed, and if so, should be positioned on the outside of the bed and returned to the cot after the feed has finished.

Bedwetting may be stressful for both of you and can wake your child.  It is not easy to know why some children take longer to be dry at night than others.  Try not to lose your patience or punish them, your child is not doing this on purpose.  

Children learn at their own pace and praise and support will help.

Safer sleeping

Keeping your baby safe and healthy:

  • Place your baby on their back to sleep, in a cot in your bedroom for the first six months.
  • Place your baby in the 'feet to foot' position i.e. baby's feet at the foot of the bed/cot.
  • Do not let your baby get too hot and keep his head uncovered.
  • Never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair
  • Do not smoke in pregnancy or let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby.

It's dangerous for your baby to sleep in your bed if you (or your partner):

  • Are a smoker (even if you never smoke in bed or at home).
  • Have been drinking alcohol or taken any drugs.
  • Have taken any medication that makes you drowsy.
  • If your baby was premature (born before 37 weeks).
  • If your baby was low birth weight (less than 2.5kg or 5 1/2 lb).
  • If you or your partner are overweight.

It is very dangerous to fall asleep together on a sofa, armchair or settee and it is also risky to sleep a baby alone in an adult bed.

Health Visitor

    

If your sleep is often disturbed, arrange for a trusted relative or friend to care for your baby or child so that you can get some sleep.  Talk to your Health Visitor.

Your child's sleep may be disturbed by bedwetting.  Between the ages of three and four they are likely to have the occasional accident but gradually more and more nights will be dry.

Questions

  1. I am so tired when my baby wakes up at night it seems easier to share the bed.
  2. The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a cot by your bedside for at least the first 6 months.  Try to establish a regular sleep routine.
  3. Speak to your Health Visitor about how to keep baby safe and get some sleep.
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