We have all heard the term 'sleeping like a baby' and at first we assume this to mean sleeping well, solidly and peacefully - but in reality most parents know this is far from the case! My little man only started 'sleeping through' (assuming he is not unwell or teething) just after his first birthday so I am definitely aware of just how exhausting having minimal sleep over many, many months can be. I am definitely not an expert but here are some things that helped us make the transition.
White noise - what is this you may ask? Basically it is a program in which you can play repetitive sounds that may soothe your baby. It may be a hum of a vacuum cleaner, the sounds of rain or even somone saying 'sssshhhhhhhhhhhhh'. This constant noise can be quite relaxing for your baby and will also help drown out the other household noises around them. We just downloaded an ipad app but I have since discovered that there are soothers and sound machines that you can put in/near your childs cot.
Introduction of solids - As my son got older I slowly introduced various solids in pureed form and then eventually went to soft finger-foods. Obviously a baby still relies heavily on milk (breastmilk or formula) for a lot of their vitamins, minerals and nutrients. I unfortunately fell into the trap of continuing to give my son large amonts of formula (in the lead up to his first birthday) and as a result he wasn't eating as much of his actual 'food'. This was causing him to wake up genuinely hungry during the night and needing yet another bottle to resettle. It goes without saying that your child still requires milk but speak with your maternal health nurse or have a look online for some information on the milk requirements for your childs age - you might be really surprised by how much they really do need as they are also getting lots of calcium from cheese and yoghurt as they get older.
Temperature - This is a huge one for us as my son is often a bit warm and can get quite ruddy and sweaty. What you dress your child in as well as the bedding that you use can have a great impact on their quality of sleep. Hunter always wears a sleeping bag over his nightwear and it is important to check the warmth/thermal resistance or the TOG. Most sleeping bags will have a TOG number on them which corresponds to the room temperature that they should be worn in. Bamboo is also a great breatheable fabric especially for the warmer months ahead.
I just thought I would share our sleep experiences and the things that have helped us get a restful nights sleep. I have also found a fantastic website and online store that has everything 'sleep related' that you may need ranging from blockout shades and pram covers to white noise machines, comforters and sleeping bags. It is called the Dream Child Emporium and I highly recommend it - click on the link below to check it out, there are also some helpful articles written by sleep experts on their blog!