Trying to get your baby to sleep on their own but not having the success you desire?
Does your baby keep fighting your efforts and refuse to sleep anywhere besides on your chest?
First, let me say, I understand and I have some advice to help you through this journey. So keep on reading.
Secondly, you are not alone. Please show yourself some grace right now. Sleep training is something I specialize in, but it is a new skillset for you and your baby. And, unlike how you feel about laying down at night, your baby does not take well to being put down to sleep on their own. But we can change that!
With your baby, even if they are tired and cranky, some just struggle learning to fall asleep on their own. It’s a skill that takes time and once they learn it it is a skill they don’t forget!
So despite the books and posts you may have read, the friends you have consulted with for advice, your baby needs a little more to make this transition work. And that’s okay. Every baby is different and has unique needs and wants. We help you fulfill those and build their confidence in independent sleep, so you and your baby can finally rest easy at night.
Sound good? Keep reading as I share some tips to ease into this process. Notice I said “ease into this process.” Although you would probably desire your baby to be sleeping soundly tonight, we have to give your baby time to pick up and develop new skills and routines. This is also something that will require patience and grace on your part. Because sometimes you will try something and it will work great, but then the next night your baby fully resists. This is can be a part of the process, but don’t worry I have seen and managed it all, so I can help you with your baby.
To get started sleep training, begin with the following steps:
Practice getting all of your baby’s daily caloric needs during the daytime. Focus on your baby taking solid feedings throughout the day and then a full feeding before bedtime. Focusing on your baby’s feeding is one of the most vital steps you can do for their sleep. Why? Because a hungry tummy is one of the first reasons your baby will wake up at night. Then it’s a whole process that takes you and baby out of bed, to handle the feeding, the burping, and the rocking back to sleep. As soon as your baby is old enough (check with your pediatrician) you can drop the nighttime feed(s) and train them to consume all their meals during the day.
As you implement the final feeding before bedtime, work on giving your baby just enough stimulation during the feeding that they don’t fall asleep. We want a drowsy baby, but not an asleep baby. Why? Because you want your baby to learn how to fall asleep independently in their own sleep space. If your baby is in the habit of falling asleep in your arms with a bottle in their mouth, this becomes the norm. Thus they require a feeding and the warmth of your body beside them to fall asleep thereafter. This makes it challenging for them to sleep independently and to ever self soothe during the night.
Lastly, as you prepare for the final feeding of the night, consider what else can be a part of your bedtime routine. Will a relaxing bath and bedtime story become a part of that process? Do you like to sing or pray with your baby? The reason we add in these additional activities before bed is that they serve as cues. Your baby will start to develop a routine and that routine helps them set the intention in their mind that sleep is forthcoming.
Now take a moment and reflect back on these three steps.
See how they are most likely normal parts of your daily routine. We just begin to put them together in a consistent manner to teach your baby what is happening. The more you practice this the more naturally your baby will accept the pattern. And that’s great because babies thrive with a consistent routine. It helps them since they can’t communicate as effectively as we can.
Throughout each of these three steps practice comforting yourself as well. Give yourself grace as you begin the process and your baby shows any resistance. That’s perfectly normal. Just stay the course and remain relaxed. Your calm demeanor does a lot to help your baby relax and unwind. Make the time of bath, storytime, feedings, a special moment to hold and cherish your baby. They will enjoy that and welcome more of it. Then each step of the way, you can keep modifying until your baby finally falls asleep on their own.
If you’d like support and encouragement as you undertake sleep training with your baby, just reach out.
I have an ongoing support group with live zoom sessions where you can bring me all your questions and engage with other parents. Or I can help you privately with individual sessions.