PC: Magpies Children's Shop
With the focus on sleep this week, it was only appropriate for us to touch on the dreaded and controversial topic of... Sleep Training *
trailing echo*. I know for me, my lack of sleep is mostly
due to my kids (and Pinterest, let's be honest). I have three kids, and my first child sleep-trained himself at 8 weeks old (unicorn baby). I didn't have to do a thing! It was truly amazing. My second child needed more support. He was 8 months old when I had my fill of #thatzombielife. I started asking around. Knowing mine and my child's temperament, I settled on a conservative approach toward the thing. I'm not going to lie here, it was difficult, especially that first go. Listening to your baby cry for any reason is never easy. Here are some tips I have for you moms that are living that zombie life and are ready to see the light of day again!
Work with your pediatrician to establish that your child is developmentally ready and capable, gaining enough weight, and HEALTHY enough to go through the sleep training process.
This is key. One of my biggest problems with sleep training was the guilt or the "what ifs" that played through my head as I listened to my baby crying. When I could check all the boxes above, I could stick it out knowing that I covered my bases and my baby was in a good place to start.
Get a support network in place.
Sleep training a child is a big job, it's work, and it's emotionally draining. Your support system will help you by encouraging you and helping you feel that you are not alone and other people have gone through the same difficulties---with success in the end.
Create the right environment.
Make your little one's room a peaceful place. Remove toys and distractions if necessary. Only use blankets that are breathable, like the Little Unicorn Cotton Muslin Swaddles, they are safe with to-die-for patterns. Also, having a monitor that you are comfortable with is important. I love video monitors. Also, the Owlet Baby Vitals Monitor
will bring peace of mind and help answer the never-ending question, "is the baby okay?" Try to make the room as dark as possible with a small nightlight like the Boon Glo Night Light
. If you can, get a white noise machine (or a white noise app for your ipad or phone) or a fan. This is key especially if you have other children. Drowning out the outside noise is so helpful for those little guys who have major FOMO. Another game changer is having a comfortable chair like the Davinci Olive Glider
, this chair will help make that routine something both of you can look forward to.
Develop a routine that works for you.
A routine should be something that you can do every time before bed. For a lot of people, this includes a bath. The Tubby Todd bath combo is so soothing with all natural ingredients including calming lavender. This set also comes with a lotion that is perfect for a mini-massage for your babe that will make those eyelids heavier by the minute. Reading a book in that comfy chair is a great pre-bedtime activity. A book like the Lucy Darling All Aboard National Parks
board book is perfect for any age or gender, you will enjoy the darling artwork while you child will love the animals.
Choose a method.
There are many options out there. My favorite has been The Sleepeasy Solution
. I love this method because it encourages your child to soothe him or herself while you stay connected and reassure your child that you are near. It also offers very good support for the emotional strain that you are going through as you train them.
It gives you a list of things to do as you let your child learn how to sooth him or herself like writing down your progress; and seeing those improvements on paper is huge. This book was key for me to being able to stick through the difficult times. It has a section for all ages and a lot of different scenarios like switching to a toddler bed.
Plan It Out.
If possible, coordinate with your spouse a good time to start training so that you can be on the same page. We always started on a weekend so that my husband could go in at night because it was easier on both myself and my baby. If my baby saw me
, he thought I was going to feed him, so when I didn't feed him, he would become very upset. When my husband went in, he knew it was time for bed and wasn't as disappointed.
Go For It!
Now that you have prepared yourself and your child, it's time to get to work. Remember, it is not going to happen overnight but with consistency and a method you are comfortable with, it will work. It is not so much how long it takes to happen, but that you are making progress and both of you are comfortable with the process.
Think good thoughts, send good vibes. Imagine your child peacefully drifting off to sleep and waking up happy to see you. Praise your child for progress they are making (even if you think they can't understand you yet). Remember that a good night's sleep and good naps are something that your child needs for their development. I can't emphasize this enough. As a nurse, I am particularly concerned about the physical needs of sleep from a health and development perspective. Know that you are supporting your child in learning a very valuable skill that will serve them their whole life.
We want to hear from you! What are some methods or tricks that you have used to get through this hard time? Is anyone out there going through this and needing some support?
Written by Callie Lippard