Ever wondered where is best place for your child to sleep? For many parents, the logical answer will be the “the baby’s cot” of course. But… we all know that due to circumstances of having a newborn (ie. multiple night wakings/ ease of breastfeeding etc), it may just be easier to co-sleep/ bed share with your little one.
I won’t be going into the pros and cons of co-sleeping… there are many studies out there to support or discourage such practice. It’s really up to you to decide what works best for your family.
I myself never bedshared with my newborn, reason because I worry my husband or I may just roll-over and suffocate her! We know we will never get a good night’s rest with a baby in between us. It was my personal choice to put her in a cot in the same room for the first 4 months of her life, and then we moved her to her own room after that… Of course, I had to purchase a baby monitor before I made that move. It was just better for everyone in the family, as my baby, my husband and I were all light sleepers, and having everyone in the same room just didn’t work. Baby goes to sleep at 8pm, and we really wouldn’t want any noise or light in the same room to disrupt her sleep.
Whether or not you choose to bedshare or have your child in a cot, these 5 Steps will help you with creating the perfect “Sleep Sanctuary” for your child, having him/ her sleep through the night better. We need to create an environment that is calming and comfortable, where they immediately understand that their “Little Sleep Sanctuary” is where sleep should come quickly and naturally.
The 5 Steps for A Better Sleep Environment
Keep It Simple
- No “carnival” in child’s bed or cot, remove all those unnecessary soft toys/ pillows/ toys/ mobiles… the bed is a place for sleep and not play
- “Bare is best”, not only does this create a more calming sleep space, it’s much safer too!
Keep It Dark
- Get some blackout blinds/ curtains/ black sugar paper/ aluminium foil to cover your windows
- Most babies prefer to sleep in a dark environment, it facilitates melatonin production (a sleep hormone), allowing them to fall asleep easier
- This is especially useful if your child has early morning wake ups!
Keep It Quiet… But Not Too Quiet
- It’s not necessary that you will need to tiptoe around the house when baby is asleep, you just have to be mindful that there’s someone in the house sleeping… eg. you can keep the TV volume low, keep your voice low, continue with your cooking etc… you don’t have to eliminate noise totally
- However, if you live in a noisy environment, it may be helpful to get a white noise machine, it does a great job at “masking” other sounds
Keep It Cool
- We live in a really hot and humid country! There’s really no need to wrap baby up like a ketupat if you’re not going to turn on the aircond, beware of overheating your child!
- Dress your child appropriately, don’t let him be too cold or too warm as it may lead to frequent wakings
- Some experts recommend the best temperature for baby sleep is around 22 – 24 degree Celsius, but test it out on your child… Malaysian babies may have a better tolerance for higher temperatures 😉
Keep It Calm
- No simulating activities in the child’s bedroom an hour before bedtime, everything that happens in the room prior to bedtime should be quiet and soothing
- That helps with “setting the tone” for the night, and by not engaging in “active play” in the hour before bedtime, your child will understand that fun time is over for the day, and won’t be tempted to try and start playing games with you when bedtime arrives
Creating a “Sleep Sanctuary” for your child is a great way to set the stage for a healthy night’s sleep, but if your baby or toddler still isn’t sleeping well – chances are, there’s still more work to be done. Contact me, and I can help with identifying why that is so.