Baby Sleep Training Made Easy
It may sound complicated, however, baby sleep training is easier than you think. Just like adults, babies need a daily routine.
So what do you do when waking up every hour because you have your baby sleeping in your bed?
Or your baby refuses to sleep at all?
I am not a fan of leaving your baby to cry alone – or the cry it out (CIO) method. I definitely prefer a more gradual approach that involves fewer tears.
There are ways to approach baby sleep training without having to pretend to be asleep, hoping that your partner will get up first and fetch a bottle.
What is sleep training?
Sleep training is the process of helping a baby learn to fall asleep on their own and stay asleep through the night.
Some babies do this quickly and easily. I was very lucky. My little one started sleeping through the night at 4 months!
Little did I know that this was an amazing accomplishment and treat (none of my doing by the way), until I spoke to other moms whose baby’s were NOT sleeping throughout the night.
Needless to say, I was very grateful. Some children are naturally good sleepers, and before long all into a sleep pattern that you are happy with.
I learned that by the time your baby is 3 to 4 months old, your child would have developed a fairly predictable 24-hour pattern.
This is why it becomes important for you to provide consistent structure. A friend of mine swears by this book by Richard Ferber. I have not read it, but it made all the difference for her.
Many babies have trouble settling down to sleep or getting back to sleep when they’ve wakened – and need help along the way.
You approach to sleep training could make a huge difference in your baby’s sleeping habits.
It is never too early to introduce a bedtime routine. A routine can include a warm bath, a book, and a lullaby before putting your little one in their crib.
Your baby needs to learn that the nursery or your bedroom (if your baby is co-sleeping) is a room for sleep, not play.
Keep the area around the crib free of toys and other fun distractions. Crib distractions confuse your baby as they know early on that the toys mommy and daddy use to get them to smile and relax are play toys and not sleep toys.
Start by putting your son or daughter in their own room for at least one nap a day to begin with.
Slowly transition from one nap, to two, and so on, until you feel comfortable enough to leave your baby in the room by themselves for an entire night.
A daily solo nap also helps both you and your little one get used to being apart.
Trust me, these little breaks are healthy and necessary.
During this time, your baby will also learn to put him/herself back to sleep if woken by a sudden loud noise.
Is It Day Or Night?
Light signals daytime to little ones. Babies take some time to distinguish between day and night, since they can’t yet tell the difference or read the clock! LOL.
You can make the process smoother during your baby sleep training by dimming the lights at appropriate times in the summer months.
Increasing the light in the late afternoons in winter will also help your baby adjust easier.
Babies need to feel secure that you are close by, so try not to make the room pitch black. I don’t like to fall asleep in complete darkness either.
When there is a bit of light in the room your baby has the opportunity to look around the room and get used to his or her surroundings.
It really is okay not to run to your baby the very second they start crying. I did it. Many many times.
So what is the best technique? There is none. The best way will depend on which sleep strategy you think your child will respond well to and what you feel comfortable doing.
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It all comes down to your unique baby, and your unique parenting style.
Allow yourself time and let it become a part of your daily routine. Some days will be easy, some will be hard. Be strong yet consistent.
Did you recently have a baby, or are going through the process of baby sleep training? Or are you an experienced mom already?
How did you cope or deal with your baby sleep training?
Please share with me some of your tips, comments, and feedback below. I would love to hear your advice!