Sleep training is a scary term. It scared me a lot when I first heard it! But when you look into your options, have a game plan, understand the “laws of it,” it becomes less heavy on our shoulders. I chose gentle sleep parenting and along the way, learned that some things are so helpful to know!
TIPS FOR SLEEP TRAINING
Your baby needs to be optimally fed throughout the day to not wake up at night. Your baby needs a certain amount of milk or time on your breast to be fully fed at each feed. This way you know your baby is not waking up because they’re hungry.
Check out this age-by-age feeding guide for more guidance on how much your baby should be eating depending on their age.
If your baby is young and not sleeping through the night, you can start a dream feed around 10-11:00 PM. A dream feed is when you feed your baby while he’s asleep, or as gently as possible. It’s an extra feeding that will keep them sleeping longer and hopefully move back the middle in the night wake up and eventually remove it completely once your baby sleeps through the night.
Communicate with your partner about your expectations, tools and tactics. Find a balance between standing your ground and being understanding of your baby’s emotions. It’s okay for them to express themselves. You’re right there to guide them.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HEAR THEM CRY IT OUT
It is not your only choice. I’m a believer that CIO leaves certain issues as far as abandonment & attachment. Sorry, that’s just me, we all have our opinions! Having your baby cry for 5 minutes is ok! Having your baby cry while you’re trying to soothe them and communicate a new skill is ok too…they are going to voice themselves! There’s a huge difference between leaving the room for five minutes… versus three hours.
DO IT WITH POSITIVITY
Your baby is a sponge and can sense all of your emotions, not only are they learning their own emotions and don’t have the words for them (imagine how frustrating that could be) but they also feel if you’re frustrated! if you are not in the right mindset, people are over your house, your dinner is burning or you’re just plain exhausted and going to lose your mind if you have to rock them another minute, don’t do it. You’ll get back to it ad find the right time. Feed them or do what you know works or ask your partner to switch. Sometimes it’s not your sleepless baby that is the problem; you’re the problem! This has happened so many times where I’m about to lose it and Kyle would take over and Oliver would shamelessly fall asleep within minutes…
BELIEVE THAT YOUR BABY CAN DO IT
Do it because it feels right, and because you’re ready and baby is ready. Your baby will have to be at a healthy weight which your pediatrician can let you know. A seven-week-old baby could potentially sleep through the night, as long as they can physically take full feedings.
HAVE A HAPPY BABY ROUTINE
Routine and keeping your baby on a “schedule” from the day they are born is SUPER important. Just think of it as a HAPPY BABY routine. It will also change BUT what you need to keep track of is OPTIMAL wake time, FEEDING TIME and NAPTIME.
Keeping track of your optimal wake time by their age means that you’ll be able to know when you should put them down for a nap. When you catch them, you’ll be able to soothe them to sleep with much less of a fight (or none at all). YOU DON’T WANT AN OVERTIRED BABY.
Keeping track of your feeding time means: feeding them as soon as 5 mins after they wake up and referring to the picture above to know how much your baby should eat during the day.
Keeping track of your nap time, means knowing how many times your baby should sleep throughout the day and for how long. Naps that are too long will disrupt the sleep at nighttime and same as naps that are too short.
ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL
Implementing new habits by slowly changing old habits is a gentle way to tell your baby that things are changing around here. Within a couple of days or weeks, they will stop waking up as long as you soothe them in every other way than a feed when you know they’re fully fed from throughout the day. Teach them how to soothe themselves – this can be done in their crib or by co-sleeping like I did with Oliver.
All moms have different situations. Some moms start sleep training very young while others are on the later side, which is my case and also because I didn’t have the education about sleep that I now have today.
Sleeping through the night equates to a fully fed baby, and a baby that is taught good habits. It doesn’t mean that feeding them at night is a bad habit, but in the long run, it will not work for you. If you were fed every night, at the same time, you’d wake up too! Yummy!
You are more than welcome to message me if you have any questions about sleep training.