Being busy during the day creates peace at night
During the daytime babies want to be entertained. They want to eat, look, grab, listen, crawl and play. If your child shows no urge to be active, turns away their head, yawns and rubs their eyes – give them some time out. That doesn’t mean the baby has to sleep. Sometimes short breaks for a rest with cuddling and daydreaming will also do the trick.
Many babies over 6 months only need 2 daytime naps of 90 minutes each in the morning and in the afternoon. Children over the age of 1 are often content with an after-lunch nap of about 1 hour.
Do not turn night into day
If your child wakes up at night, stay calm. Keep the light dim and avoid loud noises. Do not take your baby out of bed immediately. Instead, speak with a reassuring, calm voice or quietly sing a song your child knows well.
After about six months, many babies will no longer need a regular nighttime meal. Observe whether your child is actually hungry when they wake up at night, or if they just use the breast or the bottle as a means to fall back asleep. If your baby is hungry, check whether they had a sufficiently filling meal in the evening. Otherwise you can try to postpone dinner to a slightly later time.
Routines and rituals
In order to find a suitable sleeping pattern you have to develop a healthy daytime rhythm first. This includes a certain order of regular meals to suit to the age of your baby. During the first months you can already determine a regular evening meal. This will help your baby to develop a natural day/night rhythm.
Bedtime routines make it easier for your child to prepare for sleep. Fixed times and the same evening programme are the best sleeping aids. Lots of excitement, playing and similar activities are best scheduled for the early afternoon. Start the evenings with picture books, rhymes or cuddling on the sofa. After that it is time for a bath, to brush teeth and then it is off to bed. Spend a few minutes at the bedside, sing songs or tell a goodnight story. Do not forget a goodnight kiss.
Give your baby a fixed place to sleep. Paediatricians recommend a separate bed near the parents’ bed right from birth. If the baby wakes up, they will find that their bed and everything around them is familiar. This way they will be able to fall back asleep all by themselves, without the help of their parents.