10 Ways to Get Your Baby to Sleep and Stay Asleep
I think this is important as a first time mum; my husband working away my son woke every hour for 7 months. We as parents were against CIO and exhausted all our options and researched a lot of sleep info. It was hard as most info out there related to CIO methods. Here are some time-tested, proven attitudes and techniques for putting your baby to sleep. Most of these are applicable to infants and toddlers of all ages.
We did eventually use sleep training, but we suited it to our child. He doesn’t sleep the full night but better than waking every hour. I read "save our sleep", Baby love and Sleep Sense. I took the theory but tailered it to the needs of my son. I still held him, I sang to him, I layed him down awake and patted him. I slowly took one prop away at a time. I only allowed 2 mins of crying and no more and the routine lasted 15 mins. This is what we felt comfortable with. I also checked this with 2 medical professionals.
“ Sleep is not a state you can force your baby into. Sleep must naturally overtake your baby” Dr Sears
1. To influence a good night time routine have a realistic attitude about night time parenting. Sleeping, like eating, is not a state you can force a baby into. Best you can do is to create a secure environment that allows sleep to overtake your baby. Help your baby develop a healthy attitude about sleep: that sleep is a pleasant state to enter and a secure state to remain in.
“Teach your baby a restful attitude about sleep when they are young and both you and your children will sleep better when they are older”. DR Sears
2. Beware of sleep trainers. Ever since parenting books found their way into the nursery, sleep trainers have been providing us tired parents with magic formulas promising to get babies to sleep through the night – does this come with a price and a risk. Most of these sleep-training techniques are just variations of the old cry-it-out method. Sleep training/ CIO programs involve the risk of creating a distance between you and your baby and undermining the mutual trust between a parent and your child. Value your own biological cues, your judgment, instead of following the messages of someone who has no biological attachment, nor investment, in your infant
Technology has also found its way into our night time routine by providing us with a variety of sleep-inducing gadgets designed to lull a baby off to sleep alone in their crib: oscillating cradles, crib vibrators that mimic a car ride and teddy bears that "breathe." All of these promise to fill in for parents on night duty - not to mention the cost especially if it only works for a sort period (then back to square one). You be the Judge about using someone else's method to get your baby to sleep. Does this advice sound sensible? Does it fit your baby's temperament? Does it feel right to you? You know your baby better than anyone trust your instincts.
3 Reasons to avoid Sleep Training/CIO in the first 6 months
It will undermine the trust your baby has for a secure and comfortable night time environment
It may prevent you from developing your own bed time techniques, routines, rituals
Could possibly keep you from uncovering underlying medical issues e.g. colic
3. Stay flexible. If it’s not working change it. Remember what worked last night may not work tonight or next week, be flexible. No single approach will work with all babies all the time or even all the time with the same baby. Create a night time parenting style that works for you. Keep working at your style of night time parenting that. Follow your heart rather than some stranger's sleep-training advice, and you and your baby will eventually work out the right night time routine for your family.
4. Decide where baby sleeps best. There is no right or wrong place for babies to sleep. Wherever all family members sleep the best is the right arrangement for you and your baby. Some babies sleep best in their own crib in their own room, some sleep better in their own bassinet or crib in the parents' bedroom, other babies sleep best snuggled right next to mommy in the parents' bed. Many parents prefer a co-sleeper arrangement. Realistically, most parents use various sleeping arrangements at various stages during the infant's first two years. Be open to changing styles as baby's developmental needs and your family situation changes.
Firm Mattress vs. Soft, swaddled or not, on their side; flat on their back or their tummy.
5. Here are some sleep tight tips, which may vary at different stages in your baby's development. What doesn't work one week may work the next.
Get baby used to a variety of sleep associations. The way your baby goes to sleep at night is the way she expects to go back to sleep when she wakes e.g. If your child is always rocked or nursed to sleep, he/ she will expect to be rocked or nursed back to sleep.
Change it every couple of days (variety)sometimes nurse her off to sleep, sometimes rock her off to sleep, sometimes sing her off to sleep, and sometimes use tape recordings; and switch with your spouse on putting her to bed (we never done this now our son only knows to go to sleep with me, unless he has no choice). If you’re a breasfeeding mother try sitting in the next room a baby can smell his mum 20ft away, give your partner a chance to develop a routine with your child also.
There are two thoughts on the best way to put babies to sleep: the parent-soothing method and the self-soothing method. Both have advantages and possible disadvantages.
1.Parent-soothing method. When baby is ready to sleep, a parent or other caregiver helps baby to fall asleep, usually by nursing, rocking, singing, or whatever comforting techniques work.
• Baby learns a healthy sleep attitude – that sleep is a pleasant state to enter and a secure state to remain in.
• Creates fond memories about being parented to sleep.
• Builds parent-infant trust
So-called "Disadvantages": Because of the concept of sleep associations, baby learns to rely on an outside prop to get to sleep, so—as the theory goes—when baby awakens he will expect help to get back to sleep. This may exhaust the parents.
2.Self-soothing method: Baby is put down awake and goes to sleep by himself. Parents offer intermittent comforting, but are not there when baby drifts off to sleep.
So-called "Advantages": If baby learns to go to sleep by himself, he may be better able to put himself back to sleep without parental help, because he doesn't associate going to sleep with parents comforting. May be tough on baby, but eventually less exhausting for parents.
• Involves a few nights of let-baby-cry-it-out
• Risks baby losing trust
• Seldom works for high-need babies with persistent personalities
• Overlooks medical reasons for nightwaking
• Risks parents becoming less sensitive to baby's cries
6.Daytime mellowing. A peaceful daytime is likely to lead to a restful night. The more attached you are to your baby during the day and the more baby is held and calmed during the day, the more likely this peacefulness is to carry through into the night. Did you have a busy day, too many visitors, was it noisy or just too much going on. My son hates been in crowds for long periods if I don’t remove him he’s unsettled for the rest of the day. Tune in to your Childs personality
7.Set predictable and consistent nap routines. Pick out the times of the day that you are most tired, for example 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Lie down with your baby at these times every day for about a week to get your baby used to a daytime nap routine. This also sets you up to get some much-needed daytime rest rather than be tempted to "finally get something done" while baby is napping. Babies who have consistent nap routines during the day are more likely to sleep longer stretches at night. Remember Structure, Consistency and stability = Happy Baby
8.Consistent bedtimes and rituals. Babies who enjoy consistent bedtimes and familiar going-to-sleep rituals usually go to sleep easier and stay asleep longer. Yet, because of modern lifestyles, consistent and early bedtimes are not as common, or realistic, as they used to be. Busy two- income parents often don't get home until six or seven o'clock in the evening, so it's common for older babies and toddlers to procrastinate the bedtime ritual. This is prime time with their parents and they are going to milk it for all they can get. In some families, a later afternoon nap and a later bedtime is more practical. Familiar bedtime rituals set the baby up for sleep. The sequence of a warm bath, rocking, nursing, lullabies, etc. set the baby up to feel that sleep is expected to follow. Capitalize on a principle of early infant development: patterns of association. Baby's developing brain is like a computer, storing thousands of sequences that become patterns. When baby clicks into the early part of the bedtime ritual, he is programmed for the whole pattern that results in drifting off to sleep.
9.Calming down. Give baby a warm bath followed by a soothing massage to relax tense muscles and busy minds. Be careful, though, because this will stimulate some babies.
10. Fill your baby during the day. Babies need to learn that daytime is for eating and night time is mostly for sleeping. Some older babies and toddlers are so busy playing during the day that they forget to eat and make up for it during the night by waking frequently to feed. To reverse this habit, feed your baby at least every three hours during the day to cluster the baby's feedings during the waking hours. Upon baby's first night waking, attempt a full feeding, otherwise some babies, especially breastfed infants, get in the habit of nibbling all night.