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Sister Lilian’s five top sleep tips

Did you know that of all the concerns parents have, sleep – or more correctly, lack of it – tops the list? I’ve been getting a steady stream of sleep queries since the mid-1980s. It’s no surprise, really; sleep deprivation is a well-recognised form of torture!

Right from the start I need to tell you that there’s no ‘magic’ way to make a baby sleep exactly when, or for as long as, you’d like. However, a compassionate, sensitive approach will lead to more rested parents, a happier baby, and a harmonious home – that’s the basis of my Sleep Recipe.

If you do these five things, you’ll find that sleep – or even lack of sleep – won’t be the main talking point in your home.

1.       Don’t pursue sleep as if it is a milestone

The most important thing to know is that ‘sleeping through’ shouldn’t be the goal. Babies are individuals, just like adults, and all have differing sleep needs.

2.       Be humane!

Small babies need to be comforted and held close for optimal development and emotional security. If this need is met, Baby (and Mom!) will sleep better and more. A great way to do this is to co-sleep – safely of course.

3.       Don’t keep a tired baby awake

Don’t try to keep Baby awake during the day, thinking that he’ll sleep better at night. This usually just makes night sleep more disturbed.

4.       White noise is good!

Don’t strive for absolute silence when babies sleep. Normal background sounds can be very relaxing and reassuring for babies of all ages.

5.       The power of practical planning

Plan ahead for wakeful nights: have everything that you might need at hand, including nappies, bottles, formula, remedies, etc. and do what you have to right there in your bed. That way, you don’t have to wake totally and can cuddle down together with Baby to keep sleeping.

I have written a special Baby and Toddler Sleep Guide filled with lots more about little ones and their sleep patterns. This guide will help you understand babies’ sleep patterns, show you how to interpret their cues, and give you heaps of tips for just about any sleep concern you may have from birth to the pre-school years.

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