Top Ten Tips from Sweet Sleepers
- Be consistent. If you decided to do some sleep training, do three honest days before changing methods or giving up. Stopping and starting and changing can be confusing.
- Get your baby medically cleared by your GP before starting any sleep training. If your baby is not thriving or is suffering from any illness, now is not the time to work on better sleep habits. Getting such clearance can also help with the dreaded ‘Mom-guilt’!
- Stay calm, patient and confident, your child looks to you to feel secure. Give your baby confidence and love not anxiety and insecurity. You can do this and your baby will sleep!
- Be prepared for small regressions this is normal and try not to feel discouraged. These often occur around 4 months 9 months and 12 months, and even as babe starts to consolidate sleep. They should only last for a few days if you stay consistent.
- Make your baby’s sleep environment optimal for sleep: dark, cool, and not stimulating.
- Get your partner on the same page – parents who disagree are inconsistent. Sit down and talk about your parenting values and what your goals are around sleep. Try to come to an agreement on what is the desired outcome and how to support each other through the process.
- If your baby is under 4months and not rolling, Swaddle them! Check out great swaddles online.
- Establish positive sleep associations like lovies, white noise and a good wind down routine before all sleeps. These become predictable and allow your baby to understand when its sleep time, and thus not feel stressed or confused.
- Ask for help! Sleep is hard and you deserve support. Friends, Family and/or Professionals are here for you.
- Understand that sleep training is hard work and there is no right way and wrong way to sleep train your baby; don’t worry about what your friends are doing. Do what feels right for your family and it will be the right thing for your child.
Don't Do These Four Things...
Keeping a baby or child up later than their natural bedtime, is rarely successful. Even if your child is waking early in the morning or fighting bed at night, it is more likely that they are overtired, rather than under tired. Babies that are made to stay up late, often become more stressed and overtired, compounding the issues. Instead, try and earlier bedtime!!
This is very similar to the later bedtime- it goes against a child’s biological clock and natural sleep needs. Forcing babies to stay awake or skip a nap will have detrimental effects on sleep, so watch those age appropriate wake times carefully and be patient! Napping isn’t always easy.
Although many people think sleep difficulties can be the result of hunger, but there are other ways to address this than introducing foods too early, or too quickly. Be sure to wait for the right time for solids, and do so at the right pace to allow babe’s body to adapt. Some babies need feeds overnight for a longer period of time and may continue to wake even after you start giving them other foods. It’s more beneficial to teach settling strategies than stuff them full of something they don’t need.
This too shall pass:
Yes, changes and growth spurts happen, but excessive wake ups and overnight feeds will only be reinforced when they continue to happen. You don’t need to experience sleep deprivation, especially long term. There are solutions for you!!