Sleeping Through the Night
Inevitably, that line always brings two thoughts to mind: Either those parents are REALLY lucky, or they aren’t telling the whole truth. Teaching your baby to sleep through the night is no easy task, but with a little work, patience and dedication, you too can be a member of the “Sleeping Through The Night Club”!
There is no doubt that having a brand new bundle of joy in our lives is exciting. But eventually, the initial delight diminishes, the adrenalin wears off and the exhaustion sets in.
Each day is filled with feeding, burping, rocking, pacing, singing, doing laundry and changing diapers. The first few months are a total blur. Even though sleep training at this early stage is not advisable, there are some practices that you can introduce:
• Ensure your baby gets regular, full feeds, rather than short, little ones.
• Provide the same sleeping environment for your baby, whether it be in their crib, bassinet or in your bed.
• Encourage your baby to fall asleep without rocking or sucking (breast, bottle or pacifier).
• Put your baby down to sleep awake. Try patting or rubbing, rather than holding. Finally, at around three to four months of age, babies seem to “wake up.” They are more responsive to outside stimuli and seem to be more mature. Both babies and their parents feel more comfortable and are ready to focus more on developing healthy sleep habits. Below are some additional tips that you can try to incorporate into your day. Before you try any of these suggestions, please ensure that your baby is healthy and is not going
through any big changes that may interfere with your new plan.
• Try to develop a schedule, which will include feeds, naps and bedtime at the same time everyday. Use this as a guide, but bear in mind that the schedule will change slightly as your baby gets older.
• Introduce a bedtime routine, which includes bath, bottle or breast, books, lullabies and finally, bed. Use the same routine at nap times too, trying to give your baby the same visual cues each time. Your baby will recognize the signals and will gradually adapt to the new plan. Try to be consistent. Babies love ritual, routine and predictability.
• Pay attention to your baby’s signals when he or she is tired or hungry. When you learn to anticipate their needs, you will avoid having to deal with an unhappy baby.
• Keep nighttime feeds simple by avoiding diaper changes, talking or turning on lights.
• Try feeding in a chair, rather than lying down, to prevent you or your baby from falling asleep.
• Make sure to burp your baby after each feed.
Hopefully, these few guidelines will make the daily challenges a little easier to manage and you too will become a member of the club!
Rosemary Greisman, mom of four and founder of Our Sound Sleeper, wants to empower parents with the tools that will give them the confidence to raise happy, well rested, children. She is available for private consultation in the GTA and can be reached at 416-616-8855 or e-mail. Find her online at www.oursoundsleeper.ca and on her blog.