Sleep Training Your Baby
This post is all about a set of 9 questions to think about before you start sleep training your baby. Really give yourself to time to reflect and be honest with yourself. For any positive change, you need to be consistent. If you don’t have a solid plan in place or really know the whys behind what you are doing then it’ll be really tough to stay on track!
Why are you thinking about sleep training your baby?
Are you doing because you’re all simply exhausted?
Are you doing it because you’re going back to work?
Is there pressure from your partner to move your baby into their own room?
Is there pressure from your partner to stop co-sleeping?
Are you ready to make a change?
Think about how you truly feel.
Are you afraid to make changes because you love the special closeness that nighttime breastfeeding brings?
Do you feel guilty at the thought of moving your baby into their own room even though ‘it’s probably the right thing to do’?
Have you come up with a good plan?
Before you start sleep training your baby, have you thought about what strategies are you planning to use?
Are you prepared that gentle changes take time?
Will you respond in the same way with each sleep and wake?
Are you going to keep /a dummy/ bottle/breastfeeding/night feeding?
Think about what stage your baby is at. If they are close to stopping night feeding, moving to a sippy cup, weaning or any other milestone then take that into consideration when preparing for sleep training.
It can be sometimes helpful to tackle things bit by bit and have goals for each thing. It can feel overwhelming to make a lot of changes in one go – for you and your baby.
What’s the MAIN focus you’d like to change?
It could be frequent night waking, short naps, motion naps only, rocking to sleep, feeding to sleep. Think about what’s the most important and prioritise. You may find solving one issue helps another anyway.
What will their bedtime routine be?
A bedtime routine will really help establish good sleep. But more than that, really think about the order in which you carry out the routine. My 2 top tips for this are trying to offer a last feed of the day away from their sleeping environment. Feeding them before sleep in their room can create a sleep association between feeding and sleeping. Secondly, keep the lights low from the beginning of their wind-down routine. White light can suppress the production of melatonin which is the sleepy hormone we all need to sleep well.
What time will your day start?
Having a time in mind that you can stick to as a family can help you work out the best time to put your baby to bed. Working out how much sleep they need and working backwards from their day starting can help you set the right bedtime too. Grab my FREE Ultimate Infant Sleep Guide below to get more guidance and support.
What’s your baby’s sleep environment?
If you optimise their sleep space for sleep it can have a really positive impact on their sleep.
Think temperature – not too hot or cold. 16°-20° is ideal. Bedding and clothing suitable for the season.
Do you have blackout blinds to minimise sunlight (especially in those more fragile early hours)?
Think noise and stimulation. Keep the room calm and neutral with white noise.
Are you ready to be consistent?
This is such a HUGE one! You need to feel you can be consistent as inconsistency causes confusion for your baby and delay any positive change. If your little one is struggling to get back to sleep in the night and you’re so exhausted that eventually, you bring them into your bed. There’s nothing wrong with that in itself but you need to be clear about what is ok and not ok for you as a family.
I hope this post has given you some food for thought before you start sleep training your baby and decide to make some sleep changes and put a plan in place. Remember, take notes to help process and reflect back on. Take time for yourself when you can. Just because you’ve got the greatest role of your life now as a parent, it doesn’t mean your own self-care should be forgotten! Quite the opposite – the more you can care for yourself, the more you can care for your baby. Good luck and remember I’m always on hand if you feel you need professional support to guide you and your baby to better sleep.LET'S GET STARTED!
In this together,
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