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This Father’s Day give your dad the gift he really wants … sleep!

Sleep, glorious sleep … it’s the bane of every new parent’s life, the battle to get enough sleep.

Although it’s fair to say that sleepless nights and groggy days are normal when you have a newborn, Biba Milioto shares 8 baby sleep tips that will change your life. These tips together with five great Fischer-Price baby goodies will turn your baby into a sweet dreamer.

Before babies start snoozing for 8-hour stretches (typically around 6 months), they have to learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep on their own.

THESE LIFE-CHANGING BABY SLEEP TIPS CAN HELP:

  1. Be your baby’s sleep clock – ‘The sleep hormone melatonin isn’t fully produced by infants until at least 9 to 12 weeks, which means they don’t have a ‘schedule’ until then,’ says The Sleep Lady Kim West, author of Good Night, Sleep Tight. During the newborn stage, Kim recommends you expose your baby to plenty of light during the day and wake her up for feedings if naptime has gone longer than three hours.
  2. Keep it dark – To help your baby understand that nights are for snoozing, keep the lights dim during nighttime feedings and feed your baby in the bedroom. Blackout shades can also encourage a bit more a.m. sleep.
  3. Skip the diaper change – Changing a damp diaper just wakes babies up. Unless the diaper is truly heavy or there’s a poop situation, Kim says don’t bother. Instead, use an absorbent overnight diaper and apply a layer of protective barrier cream at bedtime to ensure that your child’s skin isn’t exposed to too much moisture.
  4. Consider the dream feed – If you wake your baby for feeding before you hit the hay, you’ll fill your tot’s tank-and everyone in the family may get more Z’s. If you want to give it a go, try it for three days and see if your baby snoozes longer at night.
  5. Don’t swoop in at the first sound – All babies fuss, grunt, and wiggle at night, says Heather Turgeon, co-author of The Happy Sleeper. Wait and see if your baby will settle down on his own before you assume he’s ready for another feeding.
  6. Make some (white) noise – It’s tough for babies to go from a noisy womb to complete silence at night, added Kim. Whether you pick a fan or a made-for-baby app, the soothing sound will become a sleep cue (and can camouflage the sound of you tiptoeing away after you’ve put him to bed).
  7. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake – If you wait until your baby is snoozing before placing him in his crib, it will be harder for him to learn to soothe himself when he wakes up, says Heather. Routines (even if they just consist of a sponge bath, feeding, and lullaby) can calm down babies so they’re ready for dreamland.
  8. Know that daytime Z’s count, too – Parents often follow consistent bedtime routines, but then they skip them at naptime, added Heather. Remember that the more chances your baby learns to self-soothe, the more quickly she’ll learn to fall asleep and stay asleep, day or night.
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Luckily, Fisher-Price has some really amazing products to help you along the way.

Dive Right In Activity Mat – Your baby will love the bright colours and friendly animals on this activity mat, and its four baby toys to make tummy time even more fun. Engaging with the BPA-free popsicle teether, snorkel mirror, crinkle shark toy and lemonade rattle will help strengthen their core muscles and hand-eye coordination. R449.99

Calming Clouds Mobile & Soother – Helps your baby settle down for sleep with overhead motion and calming music, sounds and lights. With a convenient sound sensor, the mobile automatically restarts the calming action when the baby makes a noise. R699.99

Baby Bear & Firefly Soother – Starts as a tabletop sound machine for your nursery with customizable music, sounds, twinkling lights or overhead light projection to help settle your baby for sleep. As your baby grows, the cuddly plush bear detaches for snuggle time while the take-along lantern becomes a comforting nightlight for toddlers. R599.99

Music & Vibe Sloth Tummy Wedge – The two repositionable activity toys, which include a BPA-free leaf teether and colourful clackers, will encourage your little one to lift their head and push up to play with them while strengthening their neck and core muscles. They can enjoy exploring the textures of the large, friendly crinkle sloth face with his soft “hair” as gentle music and vibrations play for up to 10 minutes to calm them and give them an extra comfort. R499.99

Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Sis – She responds to your baby’s touch with exciting sing-along songs and phrases that introduce more than 100 first words, parts of the body, colours, shapes and more! And because every baby develops at their own pace, Sis comes with Smart Stages technology, so you can choose the level that’s best for your child. R599.99

Fischer-Price products are available at leading baby stores or online from Takealot.

WIN!

One very lucky dad can win a hamper filled with all the Fischer-Price products mentioned above. To enter, visit our Facebook page, find our Father’s Day competition post and follow the instructions.

Entries close June 21.

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