- keep the lights low
- minimise chat and eye contact - try not to stimulate your baby
- only change nappies when necessary
- keep feeds short.
- Lie your baby on his back in the cot or bassinet, with his feet at the bottom so he can't wriggle down under the covers.
- Keep the room temperature around 16-20˚C – overheating is a risk factor in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS, or cot death).
- Tuck in covers securely at shoulder level so they can't slip over your baby's head.
- Use pillows, doonas, quilts, sheep skins, baby nests or bedding.
- Put your baby to sleep on an electric blanket or with a hot water bottle, next to a radiator, fire or in direct sunlight.
- Allow smoking in the same room as your baby.
- Sleep with your baby if he is under eight weeks old, if you or your partner smoke, have recently drunk alcohol, taken medication or drugs or feel especially tired.
The New Contented Little Baby Book by Gina Ford
'I offer real and practical advice on how to establish a good feeding and sleeping pattern from day one, thus avoiding months of sleepless nights, colic, feeding difficulties and many of the other problems that the experts convince us are a normal part of parenting.'
- Organised mums who like strict routines and early starts, and first-time mums who feel more secure being given an exact timetable to follow, hour by hour.
- Newborn babies who are breast- or bottlefed, although the routine goes up to one year, so older babies can be switched on to it.
Gina instructs mums to teach their babies from day one the difference between night and day, naps and long sleeps, and exactly how to structure feeds. Her philosophy is that everything you do affects your baby and his sleep pattern.
Critics say it's hard to stick to the rigid daily routines and many mums dislike being told what to do every moment of their day.
Baby Wisdom by Deborah Jackson
That wisdom passed down through the centuries and from other cultures can help us deal with our babies' sleep patterns. In a nutshell, she believes it's not the baby's fault he can't sleep through the night - it's ours for expecting him to.
- Laid-back mums who believe in responding to their babies' natural demands.
- Babies who are breastfed or who hate sleeping on their own.
Your baby sleeps in your bed. As your newborn in unable to regulate his own body temperature, Deborah recommends bodily contact with you to keep him warm. Sharing your bed also helps bonding with your baby, as you learn to respond to his needs even while half-asleep.
Your baby may never learn to fall asleep on his own if he gets too used to being with you. Some experts have also expressed fears that you could smother your baby.
Never sleep with your baby if you smoke, are ill, tired or have been drinking, taking drugs or any prescription medicine that could cause drowsiness. Use a firm mattress and keep pillows and bedding away from your baby. Never fall asleep with your baby on a sofa.
Kiss and Retreat by Jackie Walsh
All babies are different and what works for one won't necessarily work for another - you have to discover what's right for yours. 'But you can teach your baby to sleep on his own, even if he cries. It's about teaching your baby a vital new skill,' says Jackie.
- Mums who want the best for their babies and want to teach them to sleep through the night in a gentle way.
- Babies from six months.
The key is having a routine and putting your baby to bed while he's awake. On the evening you start, lay your baby awake in his cot after his bedtime routine. Say goodnight, give him a kiss and leave the room. When he cries, don't rush back in. Wait for a fixed amount of time, then go in, settle him (but don't pick him up) and leave. Each time he cries, increase the time you wait before returning. 'Start with a time limit that suits you,' says Jackie. 'If you can only bear 30 seconds, that's fine.'
'Controlled crying is hard work,' says Jackie. 'You must be committed. If you're not ready, it's best to wait.'