21/06/2018 17:50 SAST | Updated 21/06/2018 17:50 SAST

20 Ways To Get Your Baby To Sleep, As Recommended By Parents

Play with your baby as much as possible during the day to tire them out.

Warm milk, a strict routine and gentle rocking are the top three ways to get a baby to sleep, according to parents. In a survey looking into how little sleep new parents get, mums and dads revealed the tricks and tips they felt worked to send babies off to the land of nod.

New parents will get just four hours and 44 minutes of sleep a night during the first year of their baby's life, the survey found. But in the early months, one third of new mums and dads believed warm milk was the best remedy for settling a restless baby, while 32 percent found their child slept best when they were rocked to sleep in their arms.

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Also in the top 10 were giving them a warm bath, using a dummy and gentle bouncing. The survey of 1,000 parents of kids aged five and under, conducted by sleep technology brand Simba, found putting babies in a pram and taking them outside into fresh air were common sleep strategies used by new parents.

Top 20 ways to send a baby off to sleep, as told by parents:

1. Warm milk
2. Sticking to routines
3. Gentle rocking motion
4. A dummy
5. Give them a warm bath
6. Comfort blanket (according to safe sleep advice from the UK's NHS Choices: "Keep your baby's head uncovered. Their blanket should be tucked in no higher than their shoulders.")
7. Reading
8. Gentle bouncing
9. Singing
10. Give them a favourite toy
11. Playing with your baby as much as possible during the day to tire them out
12. Calming music
13. Ambient noise, for example a hairdryer, washing machine or vacuum cleaner
14. Driving them around
15. Baby massage
16. Children's TV
17. Putting them in a hiking pack or pram and walking for miles
18. Reducing eye contact before bed
19. Putting them outside in the fresh air
20. Leaving a tissue or piece of fabric dabbed with fragrance near the bed

The survey found that new parents will sleep 59 percent less in their child's first 12 months and spend 54 minutes a day trying to get their baby to nod off. Mums and dads will also pace the equivalent of 3.2km while rocking their baby each day and night, adding up to 1,175km over the period of a year.

Parents revealed that in their sleep-deprived state, they often behaved "slightly unusually", with 11 percent saying they have hallucinated something that wasn't really there, and 44 percent completely forgetting what they were saying mid-sentence.

Advising parents on how to cope with sleep deprivation in those early months, Lisa Artis from the British Sleep Council previously told HuffPost UK that adjusting your thinking is a good place to start. "Stop wishing your baby would snooze for longer and take each night as it comes, rather than putting extra pressure on yourself to get on a schedule," she said. "No matter how tired you are, it pays to remember that babies are programmed to wake up in the night. It's nature - it's unlikely you are doing anything wrong."

Read: Eight Pieces Of Advice To Help Sleep Deprived Parents Cope

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