Strategies for helping your baby to sleep

COMMON questions new mums ask parenting consultant Kate Barlow are ‘how can I get more sleep?’ and ‘am I spoiling my baby?’

For the first concern, Barlow advocates establishing a bedtime routine even as early as week one of baby’s life — the same sequence of events at roughly the same time each evening. 

“It could be bath, lullaby, milk, bed, cuddles… For some co-sleeping works, for others it can make the situation worse so it’s just about experimenting.”

For those who fear spoiling baby, Barlow says you can’t spoil a newborn. 

“Your baby needs lots of cuddles just as you need to be holding your baby a lot. They will take up a lot of your time – as they get older you’ll see when you put them down they’ll stay down for slightly longer.”

Barlow – along with midwife manager Margaret Merrigan Feenan and sleep trainer Teresa Boardman – have worked with WaterWipes to create a series of 15 two-minute, bite-sized advice videos to help first-time parents navigate a daunting time.

The Take 2 for Mums series features a wide range of parenting topics, from how to get baby sleeping through the night to the best way to change a nappy to how to deal with pressure felt around baby’s milestones.

“Half of parents feel their child should hit milestones at a particular time,” says Barlow. 

“They’re bombarded by what their child should be doing – from the Internet, other mums, from books. Anecdotal advice is helpful but it’s not always accurate. 

"Babies and children will meet their milestones when they’re ready. [But] if you feel your child’s development is falling behind, ask your GP or health visitor.”

The ‘expert insight’ section covers topics such as newborn skin. “A baby’s skin is five times thinner than an adult’s. It takes over a year to build its skin barrier up. 

A new baby will need to be changed around 10-12 times a day, an older baby six to eight times,” says Merrigan Feenan.

This section also looks at how dads feel about parenthood. Dads often say they don’t feel involved in family life, says Barlow. 

“Traditionally they’re going out to work and [then] coming home at very stressful times. It’s important dads have time to build a relationship with their children. 

"At the same time, jobs should be allocated for Dad when he comes home — bathing baby or prepping dinner while Mum feeds. Mums [should] let dads experiment and make their own mistakes.”

Find full list of videos on WaterWipes website at 


* If breast-feeding, ensure you have day-time siesta, eat well and drink enough water.

* Avoid having cranky, over-tired baby at night-time – perhaps let him/ her have a shorter sleep in the morning, a longer one in the afternoon.

* Activity aids baby’s sleep. Put him/ her on play mat, get out for fresh air.

* Wind down in the evening. Keep in mind the four Bs: bath, bottle, bedtime story, bedtime.

* Keep lights dim and everything quiet.


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