Sleep strategies and tips for you and your new baby

It’s never too late to look for help to get your baby (and you) to sleep. Filled with sensible, reassuring advice, the new Tresillian Sleep Book aims to help parents understand sleep and help them grapple with that crying baby.

Caitlin’s story (mother of Amelie, 4, and Maia, 1)

One of the things that’s hardest prior to having your first child is the uncertainty about what is going to come. Some babies are sleepy from the very beginning, others just never seem to understand the concept of sleep and scream from the word go. From the moment she was born, my daughter cried. She lay on my chest for the first hour with a startled expression on her face and screamed. She wailed while they weighed her, she howled while her father held her. At one point, I looked at the midwife and asked, ‘Are they always like this?’

‘Sometimes,’ she said with a knowing smile and helped me direct my little one’s mouth onto my breast. Aaah, finally some silence. This was a pattern that continued for many weeks.

Admittedly, night-times could be a struggle. I remember bouncing her in my arms, willing her eyes to droop so I could attempt to lower her into her bassinet and fall exhausted into bed. The worst was when her eyes sprang open just as I’d laid her down and I’d be forced to start the whole dance again. Nothing lasts forever, certainly not the newborn phase”

First things first, let’s look at what sleep is and how it works. Whatever that phrase originally meant doesn’t really matter, because this book is going to explain to you what ‘sleeping like a baby’ really means.

…there is no simple, magical formula that will teach your baby to sleep. Sleep is complex, and it follows a normal developmental course similar to the way your baby develops the ability to walk and talk.

Circadian rhythms and the role of light

Research has found that parents who help their baby synchronise her day–night rhythm to a normal daytime–night-time 24-hour clock soon after birth have a much more enjoyable relationship with their baby.

What does all this mean and how can it help you? Well, you can organise your baby’s routines to help her internal and external rhythms adjust to day and night.

  • Your baby’s sleep develops slowly and in stages.
  • You have ways to help your baby.
  • Any information you have can be modified to suit your family’s needs.

You never know if it will work unless you try…

Being in sync with your baby, especially during the first three months, really helps for the development of long-term sleep patterns.

Small-Tresillian-sleepbook-cover-Extracts have been taken from Chapter 1 of The Tresillian Sleep Book (HarperCollins Publishers) available now online at shop.abc.net.au/tresillian-sleep-book or from your local bookshop. Part of the proceeds of this book go to Tresillian, Australia’s largest early parenting organisation providing advice and guidance to thousands of families over 100 years.

Guest Contributor