Sleep is one of the biggest areas of concern for today’s parents. We want to enjoy this special time with our little ones but a lack of sleep can cause pressure on the whole family. Sleep deprivation can be gruelling but does it have to be? How many times when you're pregnant have you heard "say goodbye to sleep" or "make sure you get plenty of sleep in now" but maybe it doesn’t need to be like that.
Sleep training could be the answer for a better rested, healthier and happier family life. In other countries sleep training is a big thing and most people will seek professional advice on the subject, so Newbie wanted to find out a little bit more about it. Sleep training is quite simply the process of teaching your little one how to fall and stay asleep. There are numerous techniques and teaching styles out there and like many parenting options, there’s arguments for and against. Unfortunately, there isn’t one hard fast rule to help your child sleep, there are lots of different ways and it’s about finding the way that suits you and your family.
We teamed up with Certified Sleep Consultant, Jay Walji as she hosted a talk and Q&A for parents at our Kings Road store. The event showcased gentle sleep training strategies designed to meet children’s needs and suit different parenting styles. Each case of sleep training is individual as your child and requires a personalised strategy for optimal results but to get you started here are Jay’s top 4 tips to help your little one sleep.
Do you personally find that you have a bedtime routine? Maybe that’s taking your make up off, brushing your teeth and reading a book. But every night you pretty much follow the same pattern? Well your children need the same thing! Get a simple bedtime routine in place as early as age 2-3 weeks. Whether it’s lullaby and a book or bath time and bed, whatever you are doing make sure it’s the same every night. A routine acts as a trigger of a cue that sleep time is coming and helps a child prepare to settle.
Consistency is key to helping your little one know what they can and cannot do. They won’t understand that they were able to sleep with you for 1 night because of some external factors and that it won’t be ok the next night. Consistent responses to your little one will help them to know what they are supposed to do as things must be black and white for them. Even if your child is not allowed in your bed most of the time but you allow them to come in with you after 5am, this will cause confusion and although it’s hard, it is easier in the long run to be black or white
How many times have I heard parents try to wear their children out in the day to help them sleep better at night. If you think this is right you couldn’t be more wrong! In fact you are potentially making life hard for yourself! Baby’s being over tired means they are so physically fatigued that it activates the stress response system. Stress hormones are released into your baby’s bloodstream, making it even harder for your baby to relax and calm down. Be sure they are having adequate nap times for the right period of time to avoid and stress induced sleep issues.
Teach your child to self settle
One of the more controversial matters of sleep training, but putting ones self to sleep is a learned skill. It does not mean you need to leave you child to cry or get into a state. There are many gentle and responsive ways to help your child develop this skill that are in line with their developmental readiness. With over six tried and tested methods and you will not necessarily fit exactly into one but don’t be ridged on yourself and give yourself time for it to work. Most methods will take a week or longer to work but sticking them out is key. Remember there will be regressions. Teething and heatwaves can have an affect but sticking it out is the most important thing and don’t compare yourself to others. We have all heard the gloat of ‘oh she slept the whole way through from day one’ but remember everybody is different and nobody is perfect!
You don’t need to figure this out alone, there is no badge of honour for suffering through this precious time. A sleep consultant is a great way for you to have a personalised strategy that works your family. Jay offers one to one consultations and can create a plan specifically for you. Give her a call and be sure to quote Newbie.
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