Sweet sleep

The dos and don'ts of baby sleep. Think unbroken nights are a thing of the past now you're a mum? Think again - our top tips will help ensure peaceful nights all round

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  • Sweet sleep

    Think unbroken nights are a thing of the past now you're a mum? Think again - our top tips will help ensure peaceful nights all round.

  • Do

    Play with her

    If you keep your baby entertained with toys, new places and faces, and she gets plenty of fresh air, there'll be lots of information to process - just what a good night's sleep is for!

  • Do

    Feed her

    A well-fed baby stays asleep longer, so make sure she has enough milk in the day and give her a full feed before you put her down.

  • Don't

    Let her nap too much

    They say never wake a sleeping baby, but if your baby isn't sleeping at night and is regularly taking long naps during the day, you should gently wake her after two or three hours.

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  • Do

    Establish a calming bedtime routine

    A warm bath followed by a gentle massage, if your baby enjoys them, and a story, means your little one should be super-drowsy and ready to drop off.

  • Don't

    Confuse her

    Yes, it's lovely to rock or sing your baby to sleep, or let her fall asleep next to you sucking a breast, bottle or dummy. But if you do this over a period of time, she'll come to associate these habits with sleep, and won't be able to fall asleep any other way. Always place her in her bed awake, and settle her there.

  • Do

    Make her comfortable

    Your little one will be fretful if she feels ill, wet, hot or cold. Check that her nappy is dry and that her bedclothes and sleepwear are right for the room temperature.

  • Don't

    Give her a reason to wake

    When she wakes for a feed during the night, be as quiet as possible so she learns not to wake for attention. If you're bottlefeeding, make sure everything is to hand so you can feed your baby before it even crosses her mind to cry! If she needs a clean nappy, change her quickly in dim light, with the minimum of fuss and no talking or cooing.

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  • Do

    Put her down in her own bed...

    ...so that she learns to associate it with sleep. In the initial weeks, use a Moses basket or carrycot - not only will your baby feel more secure sleeping in a smaller space, but it's portable, too, so you can keep her with you.

Last updated on 4 November 2011

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