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10 Mothers share their top baby sleeping tips for new moms

Author imageThe Mattress Warehouse

In celebration of Women’s Month, we set out to find the best baby-sleeping tips for new and expecting moms. So, we went to the experts and interviewed ten moms on their top tips for baby’s sleep-time. From establishing a routine to self-care tips – they’ve covered it all! Read on to find out more on how you can provide the best sleep system for your baby.

Establishing a routine

As we all know, a routine is a sequence of actions, regularly followed. A set routine provides safety and security to your new baby. They like the stability of the predictable cycle. Plus, their bodies also adapt to the routine by falling asleep faster, making your life so much easier.

Is a routine really that important?

When asked whether a routine is important, only one out of the ten moms interviewed responded with a “no”. This goes to show just how important a routine really is.

Routines keep your life organised and prevents chaos. Set up routines according to main events in the day. For example:

  • Waking up
  • School-time (Get ready for school, pick up from school etc.)
  • Mealtime (Breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Bath time
  • Sleep time

Set up a routine that works for you and your family.

How long should a baby sleep for?

Most moms’ responses varied in the range of 8-10 hours of sleep per night. However, this is not all the sleeping your baby needs! Naps are also crucial in the development of your small child.

How many naps do you recommend for your baby?

As most moms have different aged children – we sectioned of their responses.

Newborn

A newborn is probably the hardest to establish a routine with. It is possible, but don’t pressure yourself.

Let your newborn sleep and eat when they want. Hold them as much as you want, as this time is so precious and short-lived.

Jane, mom of 3.

3-18 Months

From 3 months on, your baby is ready for a routine. Usually, a routine is not implemented abruptly, rather in phases as they grow older.

Implement set nap- and meal times. This will teach your baby’s body the cycle of your house – aiding them in falling asleep easily, and quickly. The recommended nap times for your 3-18-month-old is around 3 naps per day. As they get older, you’ll start to limit nap times.

18 Months-3 Years

Your child is no baby anymore! By now you can limit the nap times to one nap per day. As your child grows closer to 3 years, you can even take away their midday nap – but use your own discretion. Every child is different with different sleep needs.

How do you get into a routine?

You decide on a routine and simply stick to it every single day. I started right from the beginning. Follow your child’s cues and base your routine on what is best for them.

Minjonet, mom of 2.

As mentioned earlier, create your routine according to set events like meals, going to work and sleep times during the day. When you’ve decided on your routine, stick to it every single day. This will help create a safe environment and rhythm your baby needs to easily fall asleep.

Creating a sleep-friendly environment

Now that we’ve got the nap times down, let’s have a look at your little one’s sleeping environment. Lighting, temperature and sounds all play a part in creating the ideal sleep environment for your baby. Well, what did the moms say? Let’s have a look!

Bedroom lighting

Out of all the moms interviewed, 50% advised that dark lighting worked best for their baby. The absence of light triggers the release of melatonin, a sleep hormone, in the human body. This hormone will aid your baby is falling asleep faster, and stay asleep for longer.

Out of the other 50% of moms, only one stated that her baby liked to sleep with the lights on. The others said that their babies liked sleeping in a dimly lit bedroom.

As you can see, this is not a cookie-cutter answer. Rather experiment and see what your baby likes. However, try to have them sleep in a dark or dim bedroom, as this is crucial in ensuring quality sleep and, in turn, adequate development.

Bedroom temperature

When it came to bedroom temperature, the moms were almost equally divided. Most, however, selected that they used some kind of heating in their child’s bedroom. Babies aren’t that good in regulating their bodies temperatures as of yet, therefore, a warmer bedroom is advised. This way, their bedroom is warm and cosy, allowing them to have adequate sleep.

The other gross part of moms reported using no temperature regulator at all. In a warm country like South Africa, this is very plausible, since temperatures vary around the same degrees all year round. However, keep an eye out for the cold nights, and consider utilising some kind of heating device in your child’s bedroom.

Special touches before bedtime

My son liked to hold a soft blanket with different textures on it close to his face.

Jane, mother of 2.
Baby and with a comforting blanket
What special touches does your baby like?

Every child is different, therefore, the special touches your baby likes will also be different from others. As a parent, you’ll have to experiment and use various techniques to see what your baby likes. Here’s what some of the moms had to say:

My daughter needs her special blanket to fall asleep. Before bedtime, we would read a story, then read from a children’s Bible following a short prayer. This bedtime routine really helped their bodies along in the process of falling asleep.

Rachelle, mom of 3.

Sleep-time music

Most moms reported that they used some kind of sleep time music for their children.

The white noise playing in the background really does wonders for your baby’s sleep time. I’ve found that they fall asleep faster, and stay asleep for longer.

Ellie, mom of 3.

Bed sizes for your bedrooms

Some babies sleep in their own beds from day one, others stay in your bed until their six years old!

Kiera, mom of 4.

Co-sleeping can be the best of the worst situation for you, your child and your husband. This is a part of your child’s sleep patterns that’s entirely up to you. If, however, you go the co-sleeping route with your little one, consider the bed sizes in your home.

A big bed is ideal for the co-sleeping family. Don’t opt for bed sizes like the standard Double or Queen, rather invest in a King size bed that is large enough to fit the whole family.

Baby and father co-sleeping
Do you co-sleep with your baby?

Additionally, consider investing in an appropriate bed size for your baby’s room. While they’re still young, this bed can be used as a guest bed. Additionally, it can act as a bed for you to sleep on during those night’s when they want you to be around all the time (and you’re not going for the co-sleeping route).

Diet and feeding times

Baby eating a cake
Diet and feeding times play a big role in the sleep routine of your children.

Diet and feeding times play a huge part in the sleep rhythm of your baby. As mentioned earlier, most routines are built around the meal times of your little one.

Should you feed before bed?

Small babies definitely need a feeding before bedtime. Children who can sit around a table should have their last meal about an hour before bedtime.

Saskia, mom of 4.

As you can see according to the statement above, small babies need their feedings right before bedtime in order to sleep for longer stretches at a time. Older children can, however, have their last meal about an hour before bedtime.

Waking up to feed?

The moms generally didn’t advise waking up your small baby. Sometimes, however, newborns don’t gain sufficient weight. In this case, you may be advised, by your healthcare practitioner, to wake your baby for more regular feedings.

Self-care tips for mom

Mother going for a facial as a form of self-care

As it is Women’s Day, we thought it fit to also ask the moms for their best self-care tips. As a new mom, it is crucial for you to make time for yourself in this new routine that is your life.

Support systems

The first step in self-care lies in your support system. I would deifinitely recommend a support structure – especially to first-time-moms.

Debbie, mom of 4.

A good support system is the first step in creating a self-care routine for yourself. A willing grandmother or aunty can be great when you need some time alone.

Furthermore, a good support system can also take shape in the form of warm meals prepared for you in the first couple of weeks. This takes the stress of cooking off your shoulders, making the task first-time parenting much lighter.

Self-care routine

Make time for yourself, watch a movie and drink a cup of coffee. Make time for your husband by doing something together without your baby.

Marlize, mother of 1.

As you can see from the example above, self-care is a very simple concept. It can be as simple as a cup of coffee by yourself for five minutes, or as elaborate as a spa-day (the latter being a bit more unrealistic for a brand new mom).

Mother watching a movie as a form of self-care
Make time for yourself as a new mom.

Additionally, making time for you and your husband is just as important as caring for your new bundle of joy. This is also where your support system comes in. Your mother, mother-in-law, sister or sister-in-law will be more than willing to watch your baby for an hour or two to allow you and your husband to spend some quality time together.

Words of encouragement

You’re doing well! You are a great mom. Don’t give up when you’re breasts hurt during breastfeeding, things will get better. Do not listen to everyone’s (sometimes conflicting) advice, rather follow your instincts. This is your baby – mother know’s best!

Liz, mother of 3.

As a new mom, you may feel overwhelmed in this new phase of your life. However, through and through, all moms responded that really, it does get better! You can rest assured, you’re a great mom – don’t be so hard on yourself! Follow your instincts, and love your baby; the rest will all fall into place over time.

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