From the moment my sons were born there were 2 main things I worried about: sleeping and feeding. As long as my babies were gaining weight I knew that they were okay in the feeding department. Sleeping was completely different. If they weren’t sleeping, I wasn’t sleeping and this just led to a cranky and overtired baby and an exhausted, overly emotional mommy. I’m sure many of you are there or have been there too. So, what can we do to increase success with independent sleep skills so that our baby’s embrace sleep?

Look at your baby’s sleep environment.

Making sure your baby’s room is conducive to sleep is important. If you haven’t bought them already, blackout blinds are a must. Drawing those blinds at nap time and bedtime sets the scene for sleep and also makes sure that no stray light is filtering into the room and disrupting your baby’s sleep. Babies, and children in general, are very sensitive to light, so we don’t want any sneaking in. You may also wish to use a sound machine in your baby’s room so that they are not disrupted by outside noise, especially if you have a noisy sibling running around the house. The bedroom should also be around 65F to 75F as well.

Focus on bedtime and naptime routines.

Start a consistent enjoyable and relaxing bedtime and naptime routine that you can do every day. Your bedtime routine should start no later than half an hour before bedtime and no earlier than 15 minutes before naptime. This helps relax your baby and get them into sleep mode. It is essentially a cue that sleep is coming and is a foundation for teaching independent sleep skills.

Have a solid sleep schedule.

When it comes to naps, you need to ride the sleep waves. There are particular times on the clock that your baby (if she is 4 months or older) will be primed and ready for sleep. If you put your baby down at these times she will be better able to fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up happy and well-rested.

Having an appropriately timed bedtime helps make bedtime easier. The bedtime will be somewhat changeable every day. It will likely only deviate by about half an hour to an hour. You can determine the best bedtime for your baby each day by looking at the quality of naps, activity levels throughout the day, your baby’s behavior in the afternoon and the time awake since the last nap. Don’t be afraid of bedtimes that are on the earlier side as this will help prevent a second wind, which will make it more difficult for your baby to fall asleep.

Independent sleep skills are learned, not innate.

One important thing we need to remember about sleep is that it is a learned skill. Our babies need to be taught the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep without any help from mommy and daddy. It is very easy to go the other way and teach our babies that they need mommy and daddy to help them sleep if we spend a lot of time rocking, breastfeeding or patting our babies to the point that they fall asleep. One of the most important ways we can help our kids embrace sleep and sleep well on their own is to provide plenty of opportunities to self soothe. We can do this as early as 6 weeks of age by putting our babies down drowsy but awake when possible. We can also make sure not immediately jump at the first cry our baby makes after we put them down. This gives them a chance to try and fall asleep on their own.

If you follow all these suggestions and make sure that you are as regular as you can be with your baby’s bedtime and naptime routine and sleep schedules you will find that your baby will learn to understand when sleep time is near and embrace sleep.  This will equal independent sleep skills success!

If you are having trouble teaching your baby independent sleep skills.  Please feel free to contact Mylee at Little Big Dreamers today.  Alternatively, you can book a consultation package or a free 15 minute get acquainted call here.   I look forward to helping you improve your child’s sleep.

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