Sleep – What the book’s DON’T tell you
1) Problem: Your child throws up during sleep training – what do you do? You finally muster up the courage to start sleep training. You’re only 20 minutes in and they puke all over themselves and their bed/crib, so what to do?
Solution: Keep calm, tell the child they are fine and quickly clean them up. Once your child is clean, clean up the environment around the child and then put them back into the crib/bed. DO NOT re-feed. If you have a known puker, make sure the last feed is 60 minutes before bedtime and prep the area in advance for an easy clean up.
2) Problem: Your child can fall asleep standing-up or sitting
Solution: Let your child sleep sitting or standing up in hopes that your little one will put themselves down on their own. If not, wait for 20 minutes and then put them down quickly. For the really feisty ones, a crib tent can be a great option, as they can’t use the rails of the crib to prop themselves up. Always have faith in your child. If they can get up they CAN get down!
3) Problem: Your baby kicks non stop, or as a toddler, bounces around constantly
Solution: Just because it looks odd to us, children have ways of soothing themselves that just look plain weird. It is important to know that these behaviors are normal and there is no need to worry. Just give them time.
4) Problem: Flying objects. Does your child hide or throw their pacifier? Do they throw their favorite toy outside of the crib? Especially when you are trying to teach your child healthy sleep habits, kids will do anything to get you back in the room.
Solution: Only return the object once with a reminder that next time, you won’t be giving it back. It is always good to have a few options available or 2-4 pacifiers in the crib. If they do throw everything out give a 30-minute window where they are without and then go back in one last time and return the object. If they repeat the behavior, then don’t return the object and they will have to use some of their other tools to put themselves to sleep.
5) Problem – The early riser aka the child who wakes and is ready to start his day at 4am.
Solution: Create a visual cue to help him understand when morning starts. This is especially helpful in the summer months when it gets light out at 6am but you’re not ready to start your day yet (and truthfully, neither is he). Put a lamp in the room on a timer and set it to go off at a time when you’re ready to star the day. Explain to the child that when the light goes on, he can call you (or if he’s older get out of bed on his own.) But remember, just because he’s ready to start the day at 5am, doesn’t mean you should! We all need a good night sleep.
Tracey Ruiz AKA The Sleep Doula, specializes in helping your babies, toddlers and children sleep. Tracey and her team provide parents with information, options and non-judgmental support as well as hands-on learning and practice enabling them to learn how to help their child sleep. Tracey is certified as a Birth & Postpartum Doula, and Trainer. She is also certified as a Childbirth Educator and is a Happiest Baby Instructor. Having been through it herself, Tracey understands firsthand the desperation that can be caused by sleep deprivation. For more information visit www.sleepdoula.com