Babies, like us, sleep in cycles. At certain times in this cycle your baby may stir and even open his or her eyes. At this point “Wait, Watch and Wonder”. If left undisturbed he/she may resettle (if feeling secure) and go back to sleep. It is good to get to know these small things as they can make a huge difference to your understanding of your baby’s needs and in predicting his or her behaviour.
- All babies need to sleep, however it is a very individual and an ever-changing process. Sleep is essential for normal growth and development as well as being critical for brain development.
- The key to settling your baby is to prepare them for sleep at the first signs of being tired.
- At around 4 months wrapping should loosen in preparation for your baby rolling and moving around.
- Babies have sleep associations (cues or prompts that babies use to go to sleep) just as adults do. For example, dummy, rocking and music. It is important to be aware of creating associations that might become difficult for you to replace, as the baby gets older or for the baby to do themself.
- It takes around 4 months for babies to have a predictable pattern of sleep and wake time.
- There is no one right way to settle your baby. Choose what methods of settling suit you and experiment. Treating your baby as an individual and following your gut instinct will create a calm and secure environment for your baby to sleep.
- It is important for parents to stay calm and relaxed around sleep time. Babies need to feel secure and safe in order to go to sleep.
- Learning to understand your baby’s communication cues will enhance the bond you create with your baby as well as making your parenting experience that bit easier.
Firstly, I will mention the SIDS and Kids recommendations for sleeping multiples safely at home. The strategies to reduce the risk of SIDS are to sleep all babies in their own safe sleeping space e.g. cot and bassinette.
However, they also recognise that at times babies might need to share bedding such as on holidays in the one port-a-cot. In this case place their heads in the middle and feet touching each end of the cot, use sleeping bags not blankets and on their back. Once rolling though the advice is not to share beds at all. All other SIDS and Kids safe sleeping guidelines should be followed in conjunction.
So how do all the above tips on babies sleeping work when relating to multiples? Often not easily…..
Many nights 1 of our twins would sleep in the lounge room, hallway or walk in robe as trying to settle one baby and keep the other one asleep was a real juggling act at times. When we talk about sleep in relation to multiples it is a whole set of different challenges than with a singleton baby. Our big boy was 8 when our boy/girl twins were born, however I could still recall the relative ease of settling only one baby at a time.
Another thing to consider is will you or do you feed your bubs all at the same time or just as they wake? By developing the same pattern with each baby for their feeding and sleeping means you have a greater chance of some sleep and rest yourself. This can be a little tricky if there is a considerable discrepancy in their weights.
If possible having another adult to “tag” team with and share the load. My husband and I worked like a well-oiled machine in those first few months and when he was at work my mum and mother in law stepped straight in.
Remember it is a sign of strength not weakness to ask for help. There are many benefits in creating the help before you hit crisis point. Planning ahead can ensure your multiple parenting journey can be enjoyed and not just tolerated. Raising a single child has challenges however raising multiples adds a whole new level of complexity.