I find the one question that people constantly ask me, now that I have a young baby again, is "Is he a good sleeper?" and when I reply with the fact that he sleeps through from 5/6 until 5.30/6.30 in the morning I always get the feeling that no one believes me, but it's true and his big brother was just the same.
My boys were both big babies, 9lbs 8oz and 9lbs 11oz respectively, and I do think that their size has contributed somewhat to their ability to sleep so much - as I'm constantly told when people ask how much they weighed "big babies seem to rear themselves don't they?" but there are also some things that I've done to help ensure that they're calm for bedtime and that they do sleep for me and I thought I'd share them today.
1. We have a consistent bedtime routine
The baby's bedtime routine is always the same (and Tyler's was the exact same when he was a baby too). I bring him upstairs for a bath/change an hour before bedtime, massage him with a calming baby lotion, get him in a fresh babygro and bring him back downstairs for a bottle. Sometimes he'll fall asleep in my arms after he finishes drinking, other times he's just hanging on, but I leave him in my arms for about ten minutes and then bring him up to his cot where he'll sleep for the night.
Ever since he was born, I've been playing white noise to Beau to get him to nap and sleep. White noise is one of the most calming sounds for sleeping and I've found that it really helps to settle him down, close his eyes and drift off into a peaceful sleep. Even if I put a lullaby on for Beau at bedtime I also put on some white noise too as it's been a consistent sound for him at sleeping times since he was born and I highly recommend playing white noise if your little one tends to fight their sleep or has trouble getting settled at night.
One great baby sleep sounds resource is Fade Away Sleep Sounds.They have a whole section dedicated to sounds which help babies to sleep from car ride journey sounds to hairdryer sounds, whatever appliance noise you find your baby tends to fall asleep to, Fade Away Sleep Sounds has recordings of them which can be downloaded or played on their site and YouTube channel for use at baby's bedtime - Beau always tends to fall asleep to the sound of the washing machine and this is one of the baby sleep sounds Fade Away Sleep Sounds offers.
One of the things that differentiates Fade Away Sleep Sounds to other channels that provide white noise sounds is the slow, gradual fade at the end of every track they have. This partial silence helps to both settle baby but also to wean them off the sound of white noise too, so that they will one day get to the day when they won't need it at all and will be able to sleep unaided.
The below video gives some more information about Fade Away Sleep Sounds for anyone who's interested in trying their sounds with their baby.
3. We use a sleeping bag
Both of my boys have been brought up using sleeping bags at bedtime. Not only does the sleeping bag help to ease my anxiety of something happening to them during the night, it gives me reassurance that they're not pulling blankets up over their faces or kicking them off and getting cold during the night. The sleeping bags help to keep them cosy, warm and settled for the night.
I must admit, I do love when the baby falls asleep in my arms, but if I have to put him into his cot while he's awake I try not to stay in the room for too long as I find that he won't settle down when he senses or sees that I'm there. I put him in his sleeping bag, get him cosy, put on his mobile and white noise, stroke his face for a minute or two and then say good night to him. He then falls asleep within five minutes and will sleep for the night. Whereas if I stay in the room he'll just lie there staring at me and will fight his sleep. Both of my boys have seemed to want their independence when it comes to bedtime, both being happier in a cot in their own room rather than in a Moses basket next to my bed, and I'm happy to give them that independence.
5. We use nightlights
Both of my boys have nightlights, the ones which change colour slowly and I find that watching the colours change helps the boys to drift off to sleep peacefully as the room is not completely dark, nor is the big light on disturbing them.
6. We swaddled
I didn't swaddle Tyler but I really wanted to try it with Beau and I'm so glad I did because it really helped to settle him down and he'd fall asleep within minutes of being swaddled. I'm so sad he's now grown out of his swaddles as he's so tall, but I still put the swaddle on him like a blanket over his sleeping bag at bedtime and the muslin material seems to be a comfort to him.
Hopefully these things that I've done will help others to help their babies to sleep. These things really have worked for us and I'll continue doing these things with my boys. Tyler is now three and a half and still has the same type of bedtime routine he had as a baby, just replacing the bottle with dinner and adding in a bedtime story or three!