Baby sleeping through the night? If not, we can help. By determining the cause we can find the solution to get your baby sleeping soundly
Sleep training is the process of getting your little one to fall asleep and stay asleep during the night. Most sleep-related problems require decisive and consistent action and this is where sleep training babies can be most beneficial.
While it might sound like the solution you want from day one it’s recommended you start sleep training babies between four to six months. Newborns sleeping habits can be very different whilst babies from four months will have typically started their sleep-wake cycle.
It is important to establish a bedtime routine before you start any sleep training methods. Although sleep training babies when they are newborns isn’t beneficial, because at this age they are unable to adapt to a sleep schedule, these techniques can still be used from birth to help little ones become used to a night-time routine.
Firstly, it’s important to recognise your baby’s sleep cues and begin your routine there, these include: yawning, rubbing eyes or ears, looking away and not holding a gaze, jerkiness or fussiness and general over tiredness. These cues let you know when it’s time to start getting your little one ready for sleep.
Before settling down for bedtime, establish a calming and relaxing routine that helps baby understand the bedtime associations that will eventually become a connection with sleep.
Once you’ve established its time to begin the bedtime routine, start with a relaxing bath, avoiding overstimulation in the tub, which could cause alertness resulting in them to become over tired. After their bath create a comforting and cosy environment starting with a baby massage, fresh bedtime clothes and an ambient room.
Next up is a final feed before bedtime and other calming activities such as gently rocking baby as they begin to become drowsier. Make sure to put the baby down in their crib before they fall asleep so they get used to falling asleep on their own
Just remember that a routine will take time to establish but if you remain consistent it will help little one understand when it’s time to go to bed.
We have outlined recommended techniques, which could help you get the magical eight hours sleep, however, whichever you choose will be down to your personal preferences keeping in mind your living conditions and your child’s individual sleep problems.
Self-settling isn’t about leaving your little one to cry until they fall asleep but instead offers parental comfort while teaching baby to fall asleep independently. It means little ones can help themselves go back to sleep when they wake in the night without going through the same bedtime routine. However, this method isn’t recommended until babies are over the age of six months.
Once you’ve put your little one to bed either settled in their crib or cot after their bedtime routine return to check on them after a minute or so to reassure them that you are still there. Then return at longer intervals being mindful not to interrupt their self-settling. If you feel like your little one needs additional comfort simply offer them a quick cuddle with lots of reassurance before placing them back in their crib or cot, continuing with comforting and rubbing of their belly and once they are calm leave the room and repeat the above steps.
This method is a gentle approach ideal for younger babies, but it does require slightly more patience. This technique is perfect to try if your little one cries in their crib or Moses basket during a nap or bedtime. When little one gets upset, simply pick them up to comfort them until they become drowsy again, but not asleep, and then put them back down. If they are still fussy or crying, repeat until your baby is asleep.
This method is found to work best for young babies up to seven months, at which point your presence may become too much of a stimulus and can sometimes make baby feel more upset.
Establishing a sleep pattern with your baby takes a lot of consistency and can be hard for parents emotionally. It’s important to be aware that this won’t be suitable for all babies especially those with anxiety problems. You’ll learn your baby’s cues and determine whether this method is right for you within your own time.
For more advice on getting your little one into a bedtime routine read our blog for more top tips.