A Few of My Favorite Sleep Tips: Part two

I hope you found my first three tips to be helpful, hopeful and life-giving! See below for the remaining four sleep tips. Happy reading!

  1. Routines

Children truly thrive off a consistent and predictable bedtime routine. We all have our own journey into sleep. A bedtime routine is a transition from the rest of the day to winding down for sleep. Bedtime routines are a MUST, and they are something that can be started while a baby is only a newborn. Ideally, you want the routine to last about 30 minutes because it gives the brain and body time to settle down. Bedtime routines need to be straight forward, step by step, and most of the routine should take place in the baby’s sleeping area. I always suggest starting off the bedtime routine with a bath because it is a very different activity from the rest of the day. It is a fantastic cue to the brain, “Hey, bedtime is approaching.” Yes, using soap on baby’s skin every day is not good because it can dry out. On nights, you are not using soap, you can still give baby a bath with warm water only or choose to use a warm washcloth to wipe baby down. Bedtime routines can look different depending on how old the child is, but see below for an example:

 

For a 7PM bedtime, the routine should begin at 6:30PM 

-bath

-lotion/pjs

-story

-song

-bed

 

If a feed is still needed in the bedtime routine, I suggest doing that first or right after getting baby dressed (more on this on step 7). For toddlers, incorporating choice into their routine is super helpful. Toddlers like to have control and offering choices helps them to feel empowered through their routine. This may look like laying out two pair of pajamas they can pick from or two books, etc.

 

  1. Naptime Routines

You want naptime routines to be short, sweet and to the point; only 5-10 minutes in length.

 -Diaper change

-Comfy clothes

-Sleep sack

-Song

-Lights out (DARK room)

-Sound machine on

-Into the crib awake

 

For younger babies, it can be helpful to follow an eat, play, and sleep schedule throughout the day. If baby is feeding on demand, keeping feeds 15-20 minutes away from sleep can keep baby from developing a strong feed to sleep association. Younger babies fall asleep while eating a lot but separating it at least some of the time will help in the long run.

  1. Skipping Naps and Late Bedtimes Will Impact the Next 24 Hours

 

Sleep always begets sleep and sleeplessness always begets sleeplessness. Skipping naps and late bedtimes result in overtiredness for your baby. The result is difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep for naps and or nighttime sleep.  Difficulty falling asleep for a nap, a short nap, or a nap that is missed entirely causes baby’s sleep tank to empty by the end of the day. This results in a higher state of arousal, making it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep at night.

  1. If Baby is Feeding in the Night, Don’t Let Baby Fall Asleep at the Breast or Bottle

As mentioned earlier, this can be especially difficult with younger babies. Simply do your best and do not worry about the rest.

 

Keeping baby awake through the feed helps baby to sleep when they are tired and wake when they are hungry. If a baby can fall asleep without being fed to sleep, he or she will wake up to eat if hungry rather than as a means to get back to sleep. You should always feed your baby in the night if he or she is hungry. Babies want to sleep and teaching them to fall asleep without relying on a feed enable them to wake for feeds when they are hungry and get back to sleep when they are not hungry. On average, if baby falls asleep independently, is gaining weight well and eating solids, most babies will drop their last night feed on their own around 6-7 months.

There you have it! When it comes to the behavioral side of sleep challenges parents can: create sleep challenges, prevent sleep challenges, and correct any sleep challenges that occur! Please remember parents, sleep training is always done “for” a baby and never “to” a baby. Rest your soul, there is hope!