It's hard to remember everything we're told when learning from other moms during those nine months. Mom may think she has an idea of how she wants to handle different situations in her infant's life, but when that baby starts screaming, all her plans go out the window. Thankfully, newborns do sleep a lot on their own. That's pretty much their gameplan: eat, sleep, repeat. However, once a baby gets a few months older, it's time for mom to start introducing a sleeping routine.
Sleep training is essentially the act of having your baby fall asleep on their own. Parents don't need to sleep train of course, but if mom or dad are having trouble getting through the night, then maybe sleep training is right for you. And if parents think sleep training is as simple as placing their baby in the crib and walking away, they're sorely mistaken.
Before you start sleep training, ask your baby's doctor if it's the right move for you and your child. Once you get the green light, here's everything to know before you start:
10 Routine Is Key!
Routine, routine, routine! Babies love a good routine because it keeps them on track. In a world where they can only communicate through crying, it's comforting to them when they know what's going on through the system of routines. Before mom or dad begins sleep training, think about the routine you'd like for your baby.
Do you want to give them a warm bath before reading a book to them? Would you like to sing a lullaby? Think of the routine that works well for you and your family and give it a whirl. When it's set in stone, stick with that routine so that your baby knows what's happening and that it's time to get cozy.
9 Both Mom & Baby Need To Be Ready For Sleep Training
Mom and dad may be ready for sleep training by the time baby is a month old, but that doesn't mean the baby is. Before you begin sleep training, get more information from your baby's pediatrician. Then, according to a mom over at Nested Bean, start the routine to get baby familiar with bedtime if your baby is around 15lbs and is growing steadily at a healthy rate. If there are no medical concerns, then sleep training could be the perfect fit.
8 Baby Should Be Awake When Putting Them Down For Their Nap
When some moms think of sleep training, they think of rocking their baby until they fall asleep in their arms, then carefully placing them in their crib without waking them up. On the contrary, babies should be a little drowsy—but awake—when putting them down for sleep.
According to Parents, there will probably be some tears, so mom or dad can sit beside their crib to reassure them of safety. But after some time, baby will tucker out and the parents can go about their day.
7 Start Keeping Track
There's nothing wrong with parents taking notes of their baby's progress in any regard. The same can be done with sleep training. Start keeping track of what time they usually fall asleep and what time they wake up.
How many hours are they actually logging a night and what times of day are they fussy around? These natural times could come in handy when sleep training.
6 Are They Old Enough To Start Training?
If your baby is around 15lbs and is growing beautifully without any medical concerns, the next thing mom or dad need to think about is their age. According to the Nested Bean, sleep training can begin successfully around the four- to five-month mark.
5 There's More Than One Method Of Sleep Training
When it comes to sleep training, there's more than one method (thankfully). This is wonderful considering every baby is different, with different day-to-day lives. Some of the sleep training methods are the "cry it out" method, which many professionals are against. The Ferber Method is essentially a way for a child to soothe themselves when uncomfortable; fading is essentially the parent slowly fading away from the baby's sleeping routine; and then there's the "pick up and put down" method which is probably the more popular option.
4 Sleeping Needs To Be A Priority
There's a reason it's called sleep training, people! Just how people train for an Olympic event, a baby (and their parents) need to train for sleeping.
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, without the proper amount of sleep, it can affect how a baby functions, learns, and grows. Sleep training is more than just getting mom or dad a few more hours of sleep—it's about starting healthy habits for baby.
3 But How Much Sleep Is Enough?
If a baby is sleep training and napping, how much sleep is too much sleep? Rather, how much sleep is enough sleep? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine explains that 12-16 hours of sleep is perfect for a baby within the age range of four to 12 months. The 12-16 hours should also include naps. When a child reaches a year or two, 11-14 hours of sleep is the norm.
2 Beware Of 'Crutches'
We all have our crutches, don't we? Well, for babies, it's all the same. Routines like singing, rocking, or humming are all fantastic, but there may come a time when baby relies on them to fall asleep. When you notice this happening, it's time to kick the crutch to the curb. They're not bad by any means, but if your child wakes up in the middle of the night, they may not be able to fall back asleep until that crutch is back in their lives.
1 Consistency Is Key!
Just like anything else in life, consistency is key. Whether we're training for a 5k, going on a diet, or learning a new skill, consistency will lead us to success. The same can be said for sleep training.
It's not going to be easy, and there may be times a mom or dad wants to throw in the towel, but it's important to stick with it! Your baby wants to sleep just as much as you; they just need to be guided in the right way to do it.