Mum Shwetha Gundurao had a mommy problem that most mums out there are familiar with – her 15-month-old daughter just doesn’t sleep through the night. After trying everything else, this sleep-deprived mommy wrote in to us, hoping that we would finally be able to help her out.
She wrote: ‘My daughter has always had a problem sleeping at night. Inspite of giving her solids, liquids and a relaxing massage before sleeping, she doesn’t seem to sleep more than an hour or two. She’s also underweight because she’s fussy about eating.’
Each time a tired or out-of-ideas mom writes in to us for help, we know who to turn to – YOU. Coz YOU, lovely mums, have given us those valuable and practical advice and ideas and tips that are not only helping countless other mums out there, but are also making parenting that much more easier, more fun! We bring to you the most suggested ideas and ways, tried out by real mums, that have helped baby sleep through the night. Let us know if this helped your baby, or tell us any other ideas that you may have.
#1 The first thing that almost all mums swear by, is making your little one play play and play more through the day. The more the physical activity through the day, the more the chances of baby sleeping through the night.
#2 Much like #1, but don’t make baby play the entire day, as too much exertion will make your little one cranky and over-tired, thus making sleeping at night even more difficult. Let baby have a nap time of 1-2 hours in the day, preferably early afternoon, so that there is enough gap before night sleep time.
#3 It’s not only important to make your little one indulge in physical play, but much like grown-ups, its equally important to get your baby involved in mental activities, especially after the first birthday.
#5 Since your baby is a fussy eater, chances are, she may not have a complete dinner, and this may make her hungry during nights. Try and give her meals in smaller portions through the evening.
#6 A warm glass of milk, preferably without sugar, works well in most cases, as it makes baby ready for a nice cosy sleep.
#7 If your baby is still on your feed, try and give her a feed before bed-time. Sometimes, even if its not needed to satisfy hunger, it will be your baby’s comfort feed before she dozes off to sleep.
#8 Avoid giving any kind of sugary or sweet stuff to baby, especially near bed-time, as sugar will make baby more energetic and hyper, taking away all chances of sleep.
#9 Follow a schedule. Half an hour before its really time for baby’s sleep, dim the TV volume and try and keep the lights dim. Get baby in a sleeping dress and bring to the bed. Keep the pillow and the sheets ready. If baby has a sleeping toy, make sure you place the toy on the pillow and tell your little one that its now bedtime and even the toy needs to sleep.
#11 Read to your little one in a soft voice.
#13 Even if baby wakes up in the middle of the night and wants to play, don’t get up. Pretend you are asleep. She may cry for some time initially, but once you practice this for about 2-3 weeks, chances are, she will fall into a routine! If baby is sleeping in a baby cot and wants to play, tell and keep telling her that its time to sleep and show her that you are near her and are sleeping. Try not getting angry. The more angry or upset you become, the more upset your baby will be, and this will reduce chances of sleep. If baby is with you on the bed, even if she is getting up to play, show her and tell her that it’s bed time and try not to get involved in play. If possible, make her lie down and play with a toy, even as the lights are dimmed. She may soon doze off to sleep on her own (if you are lucky!)
#14 Try and find out if your baby is teething. Sometimes, it makes baby extremely irritable and uncomfortable and will wake them up. Massage the gums lightly in the day and before bed time.
#15 Keep the room temperature comfortable and make sure baby is dressed properly, not too warm clothes and not too light either. The room shouldn’t be too warm, cool or humid. Try and get fresh air in the room if possible.
#16 Make sure there is some dim light in the room, and not complete darkness. If baby wakes up in the night and sees you beside her, chances are, once you have passed the first 2-3 weeks routine of pretend-sleep, she may get up in the night, but not wake you up and fall back to sleep herself!
#17 Don’t make her sleep too early in the night, as then she may wake up earlier. Try and get her in bed at a time that will be good for her to follow later, and will ensure she wakes up at a normal time in the morning. See what works for you and your little one.
Do remember: Some babies are generally more active in the night and find it difficult to sleep at a stretch, even though they may sleep perfectly well in the day. If this is a common recurrence, do not worry. Try and help your baby as much as you can, using the above ideas. All babies have a different pattern, and most babies will get into a routine by the time they reach their 3rd birthday, if not earlier.
Thanks to all mums and dads who helped out with their advice. A special mention for: Sonali S Vinnakota, Komal Goyal, Vanitha Kurup, Joan Kwek Lee, Swapna Sharath, Manvi Kumar Gupta, Natasha Dias, Chetna Saini.