Struggling with getting your baby to sleep? Our sleep expert is here to help!

Struggling with getting your baby to sleep? You are not alone! Resident baby sleep expert, Claire Andersen from Bubbasleep, answers some of your questions.

My six-month-old baby generally sleeps well from 8pm. But she wakes for a feed at 2am, and I always struggle to get her back to sleep! Help!

The reason you are having difficulty at 2am is because the drive for sleep is lower here than before midnight. The fact that your six-month-old is only waking once overnight for a feed is fantastic. To better answer this question. I would need to know what is happening at 2am. Is bub crying? Playing? What are you doing to try and get bub to sleep? Is it possible that your intervention is too stimulating? (Are you rocking, then trying to feed again, then leaving the room then putting down then picking up?) If bub is playing it indicates a developmental leap and usually only lasts a week or two if you don’t start teaching her she needs your help to go back to sleep at that time. You are best to ignore any playing and go back to bed as engaging is sending the wrong message.

My five-week-old baby will only sleep for blocks of 1–2 hours… whether day or night. I know he is only young, but how can I start to get longer sleeps?

For a five-week-old a lot of sleep issues are related to feeding. If bub is only going one hour between feeds it could be that he is not taking full feeds each time. Make sure he is actively feeding, stripping him off if need be. If you are having any issues beyond doing this seeking help from a Lactation Consultant is a good idea. With regards to promoting sleep, Dr Harvey Karp’s 5S’s are great for soothing: Swaddle, Suck, Sway, Side-laying (in arms if windy, not in the cot unless using a sleep positioner) and Shhh. Basically, re-create the womb environment. Arms down or arms across the chest swaddle is best, it stops the startle reflex. The most important tools are the swaddle and the white noise to encourage longer blocks of sleep.

Our 18-month-old still can’t sleep through the night. He will wake crying several times a night and need cuddling back to sleep. We’ve ended up co-sleeping, but would like to get our bed back!

This will take a little bit of work, starting with positive sleep associations in his room, lots of play in there. From here you may look at co sleeping in his room so he is in the right room at least. From here into a cot (I don’t recommend a bed at this age,it tends to cause further dramas) and soothing from the other side of the cot, then working your way out of the room. You can do this as slow or as fast as you like depending on how your little one reacts. Expect it to take time. 18-month-olds have stamina, however, what is on your side is that they have comprehension!