So you decided that enough is enough! You need your sleep and sanity back! And the only way to do that is by creating some structure in your baby's sleep routine. Well sleep training will do just that. Learn more about How Sleep Training Can Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night. You don't have to think of sleep training as some harsh means of controlling your baby. And you certainly don't have to hear your baby cry all night. In fact, there doesn't have to be much crying at all. There are many things you can do to help your baby get to sleep, and stay asleep.
Here are some of my best sleep training tips:
- The best place to start is a solid, and consistent bedtime routine, at a decent hour. This will help teach your baby predictability. The more your baby knows what's coming, the more likely she will accept it. You can start with something simple like a bath and reading a book. It doesn't have to be anything complex. As long as it is the same routine, every night, at the same time. Eventually your baby will get use to this routine and know it's time to go to bed.
- Create a good sleep environment. This may include things such as: room darkening shades, swaddling (if your baby is young), comfortable jammies, proper room temperature. Anything you can do to make your baby as comfortable as can be, to promote a restful night's sleep.
- The next thing is a biggie. What I always try to teach parents is to put your baby down to sleep "drowsy but awake". This may be a little difficult, but it is essential to getting your baby sleeping through the night. Your baby has to learn the skills to fall asleep independently, so that she may do the same when she wakes in the middle of the night. A baby that falls asleep by rocking or nursing, will expect the same thing when she wakes at night. Since babies have many short sleep cycles, they wake a lot. So I'm pretty sure you don't want to keep running in your baby's room to rock or nurse her back to sleep all night. Do yourself and your baby a favor, and put her down to sleep awake. It's the best thing you can do for your baby's sleep.
- The next important step, is to find a sleep training method or program that works for you and your family. Sleep training is not easy, and neither is teaching your baby to fall asleep independently. It's going to take major work and you're going to need help, there's nothing wrong with that! There are many programs out there to choose from. Some involve letting your baby cry, others involve little or no tears. To make a decision on which one is best for you and your baby, ask yourself these questions? Are you comfortable with letting your child cry it out until they fall asleep? Or would you be more comfortable with going in to comfort your baby? There are some programs that utilize both crying and comforting, but if you feel uncomfortable with letting your baby cry at all, then make sure your research first. Think long and hard about how you want to do this, because once you start, you're going to have to be firm and consistent. I highly recommend the Sleep Sense Program. I wrote a review on it here. If you don't want to buy a program, you can try a variety of different methods created by "sleep experts" to see what works, but this may take a lot more time and patience. It will be a trial and error kind of thing. To learn more about those methods refer to my article Sleep Training: No Cry Methods . There are many choices, pick something you feel comfortable with, and something you can actually see yourself committing to.
- The last, and most important piece of advice I can offer, is to be consistent and don't give up! Whichever program or method you choose, no matter how hard it gets, and how badly you want to give up, stick to it! If your baby takes and hour to fall asleep the first night and 50 minutes the next, that's progress. Take every day at a time, don't look too far ahead and hope your baby is going to be sleeping through the night within a few days. Sleep training takes time, patience, and commitment. And think about what your poor baby is going through, this isn't easy for her either. Your baby wants to be able to just fall asleep and stay asleep just as much as you want her to. It's a process, you have to go through together. If your lucky, you can sleep train your baby within a week, but for most, it's going to take a bit longer. It's not easy, but I promise you the uninterrupted and blissful night's sleep, makes it all worth it in the end. Good luck, happy sleep training!
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