Q - Should I leave a light on for my baby at night?
A - Putting your child to bed confidently in the dark gives her the message that it is a safe place to be and reduces the chances of her developing a fear of the dark. What's more, your child's body produces more of its own natural sedative, melatonin, in the dark, which in turn helps to settle her. However, you may feel that a small light makes it easier for you to check on your baby during the night.
Set the lights how you want them before your child falls asleep, otherwise she will wonder why it's all different when she wakes during the night. Make sure the light it is no stronger than 15W (the plug-shaped lights that connect directly into electric sockets are ideal).
Q - Should I let my baby have a dummy at night?
A - This really is up to you and your baby. Some babies need to suck for comfort, others don't. Even if your baby is a 'sucker', she may develop her own comforter, such as her thumb, a blanket or a favourite toy. Or, you may find that a dummy is the only thing that calms her. However, you should think about weaning her off it at the earliest opportunity. The longer you allow your child to have a dummy, the more of a crutch it will become for her - and you may find yourself getting up several times a night to retrieve it for her from underneath the blankets.
Long-term use of a dummy can also affect how your child's teeth grow, which could lead to dental complications later on. Try introducing an alternative comforter - a suitable, safe toy, or perhaps an item of clothing that has that familiar smell of mum or dad - but make sure there is no danger of your child ending up covered by her comforter.
Q - My baby and toddler have to share a room - will they disturb one another?
A - Children have shared rooms successfully for generations, and there is no reason why yours can't do the same. Many parents find their children are able to sleep quite happily through any night-time disturbances from their siblings. In fact, putting your baby in with her sibling may help to settle her, as she will naturally fall in with their established, rhythmic breathing.
However, if you intend to start sleep training one child, it may be an idea to move your other child to another room - you don't want to compromise your new sleep program through fear that your other child might be disturbed. If you have to move a younger child temporarily, she should be able to take it in her stride, but an older child may be less willing to give up her bedroom. Appealing to her maturity may work: explain why you need her to swap beds for a few nights, and how she can be a big help to you in this. Or try to build in some extra treats for her, such as an extra story at bedtime while she is in her temporary bed. You should be able to put your children back in together again within a few nights.