I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard parents tell me, “I just don’t think he’s ready for sleep training yet” or “I know I’ve created this sleep association, but it’s working for the time being. I’ll sort it out soon.” Soon. Soon, meaning, “In the meantime, I’ll just keep doing things I know are short-term solutions which are going to cause us problems down the road” (and lead to some very tired parents).

I’m absolutely not trying to shame or judge anyone for doing what they feel they need to just get some sleep. I am just as guilty as anyone of putting band-aids on problems in order to hold the fort until I could deal with the bigger issue. How could we ever cope as mothers if we had to deal with every issue the moment it came up?

Here are 4 simple tips to help you along your sleep journey, wherever you may be on that journey!

1. Hello darkness, my old friend.

Light, natural or artificial, sends a message to our brains that it’s daytime and not time to sleep. Melatonin production is triggered by darkness, so start turning down the lights an hour before you plan to put your baby down. Especially electronic screens, which emit a blue light that is particularly hostile to a baby’s shut-down process.

For babies who wake up early, invest in some blackout blinds. These are not expensive, and I’ve had many parents tell me it’s the best money they have ever spent.

2. Turn down the heat

New parents are often obsessed with their babies’ comfort. Particularly the temperature of the room and what their baby is dressed in for the night. Think layers and TOG ratings.

Babies, just like us, sleep best when they’re warm and snuggly inside of a cool environment. A warm night-time onesie and a cool nursery, somewhere between 20°C – 22°C is the best way to ensure that baby remains comfortable through the night.

3. Keep it boring

I know we all love the look of a cute, elegant mobile over the top of our baby’s cot but even though they may seem soothing to us, they can be a real source of fascination for your little one, which is great! Just not when they’re trying to sleep. To a baby, they can be the equivalent of a big-budget action movie, so keep visual stimulation away from the cot!

A white noise machine can help to block out any outside noise that might wake your baby up and a yellow night light can keep toddlers from getting scared of the dark, but other than that, the more boring your child’s bedroom is, the better they’ll sleep.

4. Be predictable

A well-planned, consistent bedtime routine is conducive to a good night’s sleep, no matter what your age, but particularly with babies. Once their bodies and brains start to recognize the signals that indicate an upcoming bedtime, they will start preparing to pack it in for the evening as soon as that first step begins.

Their energy levels will start to wind down, melatonin production will kick in, and muscles will start to relax, so by the time you’re giving them a goodnight kiss, their system should be all set for a long, restorative sleep.

Teaching your child great sleep skills isn’t a one-night operation. It takes some time, a lot of repetition, and plenty of discipline and diligence on the part of the parents, but for those of you who are desperate for just a little bit of relief, these tips should help you and your little one get a few more hours of shut eye, starting tonight.

You can work on the rest once you’ve had a little rest or call me to support you through it all!