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There's no magic trick to good sleep, but get ahead with our recommendations for creating a calming night-time environment
It's been three years since I had a baby in my arms, rocking and swaying him and desperately wishing sleep upon us both. Now, at four months pregnant with my second child, I'm reminiscing about those early days: what I learnt and which baby-sleep aids helped to make night-times a little easier.
During the first few months of my baby waking during the night, often for hourly feeds, I found my usual night-light was too bright, and we would both struggle to get back to sleep afterwards. A moonlight energy-saving LED will give off a gentler blue glow, which means you can see to your baby without either of you becoming too alert to nod off again.
Ensuring that you have everything you need for a feed or a change close to your bed before you go to sleep will give you a precious few moments of extra sleep. I found having our changing table close to our bed meant that those newborn night-time changes didn't disrupt us too much. This makes feeding so much easier than getting out of bed and going into a separate room.
We used a white-noise app on my smartphone. We could choose from a selection of noises, such as the sound of a heartbeat as a baby would hear it in the womb. This helps to soothe newborns and remind them of being in utero. You can also buy soft animal toys, which make the animal's noises. We're going to be picking up one of these this time round, as I like the idea of my baby associating the noise with a particular night-time soft toy.
I attended a baby-massage class when my first son was a newborn, but if you can't make a class, some massage oil for little ones and a book on techniques would be just as good. I found it really helped us to have the routine of bath time followed by gentle massage to help settle us into the night-time routine. If nothing else, he really enjoyed it, and it was a lovely time to bond and feel closer to my little one.
Believe in yourself
While I found these tips and tricks were my essentials in those first few months of motherhood, I'd also say there's no silver bullet when it comes to babies and sleep. If your baby isn't sleeping, it is totally normal. You are doing a fantastic job, and before you know it you'll have a three-year-old and be reminiscing about how wonderful that time was – sleep deprivation and all!
By Fritha Strickland, lifestyle blogger