Warm milk, a strict routine and gentle rocking are the top three ways to get a baby to sleep, according to parents. In a survey looking into how little sleep new parents get, mums and dads revealed the tricks and tips they felt worked to send babies off to the land of nod.
New mums and dads will get just four hours and 44 minutes of sleep per night during the first year of their baby’s life, the survey found. But in the early months, one third of new parents believe warm milk is the best remedy for settling a restless baby, while 32% found their child slept best when they were rocked to sleep in their arms.
Also coming in the top 10 included giving them a warm bath, using a dummy, and gentle bouncing. The survey of 1,000 parents of kids aged five and under, conducted by sleep technology brand Simba, also found putting babies in a pram and outside in fresh air were common sleep strategies used by new parents.
Top 20 ways to send a baby off to sleep, as told by parents:
1. Warm milk
2. Sticking to routines
3. Gentle rocking motion
5. Give them a warm bath
6. Comfort blanket (according to safe sleep advice from NHS Choices: ‘Keep your baby’s head uncovered. Their blanket should be tucked in no higher than their shoulders.’)
8. Gentle bouncing
10. Give them a favourite toy
11. Playing with your baby as much as possible during the day to tire them out
12. Calming music
13. Ambient noise - e.g. hairdryers, washing machines, turning on the hoover
14. Driving them around
15. Baby massage
16. Children’s TV
17. Putting them in hiking pack or pram and walking for miles
18. Reducing eye contact before bed
19. Putting them outside in the fresh air
20. Scenting a tissue/fabric with fragrance near the bed.
The survey also found new parents will sleep 59% less in their child’s first 12 months and spend 54 minutes per day trying to get their baby to nod off. Mums and dads will also pace the equivalent of two miles while rocking their baby each day and night, totting up to 730 miles over a year.
Parents revealed that in their sleep-deprived state, they often behaved “slightly unusually”, with 11% saying they have hallucinated something which wasn’t really there, and 44% completely forgetting what they were saying mid-sentence.
Advising parents on how to cope with sleep deprivation in those early months, Lisa Artis, from the British Sleep Council previously told HuffPost UK that adjusting your thinking is a good place to start. “Stop wishing your baby would snooze for longer and take each night as it comes, rather than putting extra pressure on yourself to get on a schedule,” she said. “No matter how tired you are, it pays to remember that babies are programmed to wake up in the night. It’s nature - it’s unlikely you are doing anything wrong.”
How do you cope with a lack of sleep as a parent? Let us know in the comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.