The first thing to remember is that babies & toddlers love predictability and consistency. Creating a routine for them is what they want, even if they resist at first. Sleep training a child is a long process, and the earlier they can learn, the easier it will be in the long run. However, you just can’t start sleep training your child whenever you want. You have to be careful with the timing, or you could cause more damage than good, which means handling a cranky baby waking up at all sorts of ungodly hours. Visit https://snorebay.com/are-snoring-and-sleep-apnea-the-same/ for more information regarding this topic.
Newborn babies do not have internal biological clocks their first few weeks. At this tender age, your child does not understand the difference between day and night as they do not produce enough melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate sleep. There will be a lot of sleeping, but it won’t necessarily be at night when you want it to happen. The first few days, they sleep about 15-18 hours a day, in 2-4 hour stretches. Babies also need more feeding sessions at this age, so it is recommended that you don’t start sleep training yet. Babies sleep in short bursts when they are young because their stomaches only hold a maximum of three to four hours worth of nutrition. Thus, baby will wake every few hours and cry to be fed.
Around 4 months you can start gentle sleep training with your baby. There is a sweet spot from 5-10 months that is optimal for sleep training. It is sometimes more difficult with older babies and toddlers. Their overall sleep quality also improves as their separation anxiety reduces. They become more sociable at this age. However, if you find sleep training your baby a challenge at this time, you can delay it to another six months. Your baby is still learning new skills every day and will eventually come around to being more receptive towards sleep training.
At age 9-11 months, your baby understands that you’re still around even when you’re not in the room and will also start developing a proper routine around this time. Your baby’s sleep-wake cycle should be developed. This means that she will be more capable of staying asleep for longer periods of time. Therefore, the likelihood of him or her sleeping through the night is higher. It’s important to keep in mind that all babies are different and their development is going to progress at slightly different rates.
Good Sleep Environment
Your baby needs a good sleep environment. This doesn’t mean they need the most adorable nursery in the world. They need a place to sleep that is safe and conducive to sleep. Babies can fall asleep anywhere when they are a few weeks old. But as they get older that doesn’t work as well. They need a place that screams sleep at them. Apart from ensuring that the bed is suitably warm the best temperature for sleep is 70 degrees with a 50% humidity. A good sleep environment will help your child realize this is time to sleep not play and will help them stay asleep.
In the morning open the curtains, let as much sunlight into your home as possible or sit by a sunny window. The point is to associate “daytime” with brightness and noise. Several times a day, strip baby down to a diaper and lay them on your bare chest or cuddle next to them in bed. This is a great thing to do while nursing or bottle feeding baby as it can also keep them awake and stimulated so they will feed better. Try and ensure your baby has a pleasant day. As odd as it may sound, the more peaceful your baby’s day the greater the chance that your baby will also enjoy a good night’s sleep. Some research shows that babies that are held more during the day sleep better at night.
Put baby in the crib drowsy, but not totally asleep. This helps teach them to put themselves to sleep. If baby wakes before “goal wake up time,” do everything in your power not to pick them up. You can offer a pacifier, rub their back, turn on some white noise to lull them back to sleep, or sit in the nursery to comfort them. This is a self soothing tactic. The most important thing to remember is to be consistent. You need to make each sleep situation exactly the same so the baby can develop a consistent strategy on her own. If your child depends on a “prop” to fall asleep, such as breastfeeding, bottles, pacifiers, patting, rocking, or even playing with mommy’s fingers, then they will find it difficult to get back to sleep without their prop.
Feed baby as often as they want to during the day, whether it’s breast or bottle. If you’re breastfeeding, now is the time to master the latch and try out different breastfeeding positions. Make sure to empty each breast even if it means feeding on the same side twice in a row. That will increase your supply and provide baby with more hind milk. Try your best NOT to let baby fall asleep during the feeding. Sucking is extremely soothing for a baby and it’s natural for them to drift off or get tired halfway through. If baby continues to fall asleep while nursing, they won’t get full enough and will wake up wanting more just a short while later. Don’t let your baby’s one five-hour stretch be in the middle of the day when you are awake. More than that, if babies don’t get all the calories they need during the day they will wake up for them at night. Wake that baby up and feed him. It is hard in the moment, but it will help you out in the long-term. The older and bigger they get, the longer they will be able to go without a midnight snack. Most babies stop feeding during the night around five to six months.
The number one reason why newborn babies cry after a feeding is because of gas. Often, babies will put their hands to their mouths or root around when they need to burp which can be confusing if they just finished nursing. For babies who are struggling with gas, try using colic tablets or essential oils to ease their tummies. For a good Burp, try gentle bouncing or laying them on their tummy across your arm or leg instead of patting their back. Adding a little bit of pressure against their tummy with the palm of your hand, or holding their stomach against your rib cage as you bounce up and down can help to eliminate gas.
What your baby wears during sleep can also be a factor. Babies in the early months are known to prefer sleeping slightly tighter (snugly wrapped in a nice baby blanket). If your baby is prone to allergies it may irritate her more during the night. If allergies are an issue, examine the allergens present at nighttime and minimize them as much as possible.
Watch for signs of sleepiness
Throughout the day, keep an eye out for signs that they are ready to sleep. Some babies get very fussy, others may simply stare off in one direction and start the “slow blink.” As soon as you catch the hint that they are sleepy, prepare yourself to initiate the nap time routine.
Get your partner on board
If you have a spouse or partner, being on the same page is crucial for sleep training success. If mama does one thing and daddy does it completely differently, baby is going to have a rough ride of figuring out what on earth he’s supposed to do. So make it easier on your baby and yourself, and make a plan together.
The 5 S Method
Developed for newborns by pediatrician Harvey Karp, the idea here is to provide all of the comforts of the womb: Sucking, Swaddling, Swinging, Shushing and comforting on the Side/Stomach. Then, once your babe falls asleep in your arms, gently wake him before putting him down in his crib so he understands the sensation of putting himself to sleep.
This one “gradual extinction” means you soothe and shush the baby to sleep in her crib for, say, three nights without picking her up. It can take up to 90 minutes for a baby to fall asleep this way. Then, for the next three nights, shush from a chair next to her crib. The next three nights? Shush from her doorway until she’s asleep. Then shush from behind the closed door, and repeat as necessary for the (hopefully by now infrequent) night wakings. Patience is key, and remember, babies can feel your stress so if you are unable to give them the time they need to fall asleep you may want to re-think this choice.
Choose a method that feels right for you. There are a ton of various sleep training methods out there. How to know which one will work the best? Choose what feels right for your family situation, your parenting style and the temperament of your baby. Nothing is worse than trying to implement something that you don’t feel good about. Not only will your baby feel your inner stress but you won’t be as likely to stick with it.