How to get started?

 

Start on night one with implementing your new bedtime routine, ensuring your child stays wide awake until going into the crib.

Night one can be a tough night as it is the transition night. Do not have any expectations that you will see improvement on night one. You will start to see improvement within 2-3 nights.

And sometimes things get worse before they get better as you are removing props. It is like taking off a bandaid. And this is why I recommend making all the changes on night one. The band aid is taken off quickly and it is not as painful as you thought. You could make one change at a time and take it very slow. But then the process in long, drawn out and way more painful. And parents do not want to wait that long to start seeing progress.

For many parents the anticipation of night one, is much worse than actual completing night one!

Consistency

Consistency is so important here!

If your baby is confused as to what to expect around sleep time, you will get way more crying and see little progress.

If you rock him one night and then expect him to go down on his own the next night, you will get more protest. If you expect her to nurse to sleep at bedtime and then fall back sleep on her own during the night, you will get more protest.

If you start the process of “sleep training” and call it quits half way through the night, then you are only teaching your baby to protest even harder the next time you try.

The best advice is to jump in with both feet, make your baby’s sleep a priority for 2 weeks and COMMIT. Within 2 nights of consistency, you will be seeing improvement!

 

Soothers

 

Can you baby sleep well with a soother?

Some babies that are good sleepers can get away with using a soother. But I have yet to come across a baby that can learn to sleep well using a soother. It is a prop, something external they rely on to fall asleep or stay asleep or even just start their journey to sleep. And because of this, it interferes with the development of their own skills.

What if baby can find the soother on their own? It still interrupts their sleep even if they have to wake up and find the soother. And most babies will still need some help every now then.

So the bottom line is the soother needs to go if you want sleep to improve.

Most parents are nervous to get rid of the soother because it is their crutch too. But within a few days, parents report it is so liberating not having to worry about the soother.

Early Mornings

 

How to deal with an early bird!

You might be surprised to hear it all starts with bedtime.

• Ensure the bedtime feed is before bath or at the beginning of the routine and your little one is wide awake for the feed.

• Ensure baby is going down wide awake all on her own.

• Ensure baby is not at all overtired.

• If baby wakes between 5am-6am it is best to stay out of the room if at all possible. Seeing mom or dad is just too stimulating and now they know you are awake too, so there is usually no going back to sleep. They think it is party time!

• Wait until a minimum of 6am to take baby out of the crib.
• Ensure the room is pitch dark and you are using white noise to drown out all of those early morning noises like Dad getting ready for work.
• It can take 4-6 weeks of being super consistent before your baby’s body clock is reset and he starts sleeping in later.

Night Wakings

 

For all night wakings, even it is feeding time, give your little one 10-12 minutes to try to go back to sleep on their own. Because they went to sleep on their own at bedtime, this is a realistic expectation. If they have not gone back to sleep and it is not feeding time, then use the same strategy your did at bedtime: either come and go or sit and support until they go back to sleep. The first night or two the wakings may be long, but if you are consistent your baby will catch on pretty quickly. You should start seeing progress in 2-3 nights and the average for sleeping through the night is on night 5.

Night Feeds

 

 

Does your baby still need a night feed? The rule of thumb is that babies become metabolically capable of sleeping through for 10-12 hours around 3 months and/or 13 pounds. For babies 3-6 months I take it case by case if we keep a night feed in the schedule. Many babies will start to sleep through the night once they develop the skills to fall asleep on their own.

Between 5-6 months, it is best to start giving your baby that gentle nudge to cut the night feed out if they have not done so already. At this age I find it ends up causing night time sleep to become inconsistent and you can get lots of random wakings with baby wondering if it is feeding time yet. This happens when they are not waking out of hunger anymore, but out of habit.

And the most important part of the night feed is that baby needs to stay AWAKE for the whole feed and go back in the crib AWAKE after the feed.

Tip #4 Falling Asleep At Bedtime

 

As you know from the last post it is super important your baby falls asleep from wide awake in their crib at bedtime. What can you do to support them as they are learning to do this independently?

You can choose one of 2 methods. Sit and support or come and go. Sit and support starts out with you at the crib side and you gradually remove your support over the course of 8 nights. Or you can use come and go where you are in the room for 1-2 minutes and then out for 10-12 minutes repeating until your baby falls asleep.

Is there a time limit at bedtime for your baby to fall asleep? The answer is no. Once you start, you need to jump in with both feet and see it through. It takes a baby an average 1 hour to fall asleep on night one. If you throw in the towel after a certain period of time, you are only teaching your baby to cry long and hard. And that is not fair to your baby! And you!

Tip #3 The Bedtime Feed

 

 

This is where all of the magic lies…. The bedtime feed has to be at the beginning of the bedtime routine. Yes, before bath and before story or song. And it does not matter if your baby is breastfeed or bottle fed. The same rule applies. And no sneaking in “the rest of the feed” at the end of the routine. It does more harm than good and your baby will associate feeding and sleeping, which is the biggest contributor to poor sleep.

Tip # 2 Creating A Perfect Sleep Environment

 

 

Here is a checklist when creating the perfect sleep environment for your baby:

-pitch dark, as dark as noon as it is a midnight
-no mobiles or devices that light up or play music in the crib
-use white noise that plays for the duration of nap and throughout the night
-use a sleep sack for naps and night time
-introduce a small lovey such as a blanket or stuffed animal once your baby can roll comfortably both ways
-no night light until your child is asking for one around the age of 2.5
-keep your child in a crib until between the age of 2.5-3