Helping Your Baby Sleep
“But I can’t just let my baby cry!”
It’s a common misconception that sleep training means putting your baby into a crib and allowing him to cry to sleep. Cry It Out (CIO) methods are a type of sleep training, but not all sleep training methods involve extended periods of crying. This news comes as great relief to many parents who are desperate for sleep but feel that a CIO solution is not right for their family.
Everyone knows sleep is important, for infants and adults alike. Sleep is a significant factor in being prepared to learn, grow, and to maintain good health. So how can you ensure your family is getting the sleep they need when you have a new baby?
Beginning at about 6 weeks of age you can develop healthy sleep habits with your baby.
Establish a bedtime routine.
For many families, this can be a warm bath, feeding, and a lullaby. Figure out what works to get your baby relaxed and create predictability.
Design a soothing sleep space.
Putting your baby to sleep in the same place will facilitate better sleep. AAP recommendations suggest cribs and bassinettes should be free of pillows, toys, blankets, and other items that could pose a hazard to your baby. Room darkening blinds are helpful. You may want to use a sound machine for soft white noise. Many parents find they are most comfortable with a video and sound monitor set up, allowing them to check on the baby without going into the room.
Timing is everything.
At this age, babies are often alert for 2 hour stretches. You can lay your baby in his soothing sleep space when he shows signs of drowsiness or after about 90 minutes. Watch for cues that your baby is getting sleepy and try to catch him before he becomes over tired.
Hire a Sleep Consultant.
A Sleep Consultant can help you get your baby on the right track. There are a variety of methods used by Sleep Consultants, some are considered CIO and some take a gentler approach. Ask questions to find out if the Sleep Consultant’s methods align with your values and goals, while being open to their expertise. Don’t be afraid to ask for references!
When sleep is a top priority, a Postpartum Doula will be an asset to your family. Regardless of the sleep training method you choose, a postpartum doula will be the support you need along the way. Your Postpartum Doula can help you implement your new routines and stick to your Sleep Consultants recommendations. For families that prefer a baby led approach to sleep, a Postpartum Doula can care for the baby through the night, offering bottles or bringing the baby to be breastfed, depending on your chosen feeding method.
Having a baby does not need to be synonymous having with sleepless nights!
Guest Written by: Lacey Park