Hush little baby

Some baby ailments can interrupt your baby’s sleep. Learn how to cope

with baby sleep expert Jo Tantum

Your little one’s sleep patterns keep changing and just when you think things are going well, something will come along and disturb their sleep. Here are some of the common issues that will disrupt your baby’s sleeping patterns

Teething

This will be the main thing that disturbs baby’s sleep; even those who were sleeping through will often wake at night when a tooth’s coming. They are likely to be clingy and will want to breastfeed more for comfort. This usually lasts around seven days until the tooth pops through.

To help your baby sleep, there are few things you can do; before a nap, put teething gel on the gums and offer some teething powder or granules. At night, offer ibruprofen solution – this works better and lasts longer than paracetamol. Give water in the night, as they will get thirsty due to dribbling.

When they wake in the night, give them cuddles to reassure them and then try to settle them back down after giving more teething gel.

Colds

Your baby is likely to get around seven colds in the first year, so this can really upset their sleep patterns. Raising the top end of the cot so their head is higher can help, as can a humidifier.

Use a saline spray to clear a blocked nose several times a day, then use a ‘snot sucker’ to get the mucus out. They hate this but it does really help them breathe, feed and sleep better. Using a decongestant like Olbas Oil or Snufflebabe really works well, though these can only be used from three months old.

You may find that your baby needs to sleep more when they are unwell, so watch for their tiredness signals, such as rubbing their eyes and ears and getting grumpy. Put them down for a nap earlier. Sleep really does help!

Constipation

This condition can wake your baby in the night with griping pains, or it can be too uncomfortable to allow them to get to sleep.

Babies are all different when it comes to how often they have a dirty nappy but most will have one a day – every two to three days is fine too. You can offer cooled, boiled water around 15 minutes before a feed to help things move along. If your baby hasn’t had a dirty nappy for a few days, add a teaspoon of orange or prune juice to the water. Do this in the morning though, as you don’t want to be tackling an explosion in the night!

If your baby is weaned, offer fruit in the morning and at lunchtime. Gentle clockwise massage on your baby’s tummy can also help dispel constipation – see our feature on Baby Massage

When your baby’s sleep is disturbed because of these issues, try to stick to your nap and bedtime routines as much as possible. They will need more cuddles and more feeds. These things are just phases your baby will go through and however tough it can be, try to remember it’s only for a short time and your baby will soon be sleeping better again.

Jo Tantum offers Skype and Facetime calls, phone calls and email support, all with personalised routine and action plan with exclusive soothing videos.

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