I ran into Hillary today at Music Together in Greenwich. She is a sleep specialist and she noticed I looked exhausted....I mean what mom of an 8 week old and 20 month old isn't?! right?! She shared 5 very simple and easy to follow sleep tips with me to both help set Ford up for success and help me get some sleep. I used all of these with Charlie when he was a baby and he is now an excellent sleeper. She reminded me to start implementing them with Ford! How soon we forget :)
AVOID SLEEP PROPS
Babies should learn to fall asleep on their own without external props in order to avoid night wakings. These props are usually used to help babies fall asleep but are not there when the babies wake up. They include pacifiers, rocking your baby to sleep or letting your child fall asleep in your arms and then putting them in their crib. When your baby wakes up and realizes they are not in the exact environment they fell asleep in, they are more likely to get upset. The props I do use and think are fine include a noise maker and the Ollie swaddle. These tools are okay because they do not change from the moment the baby goes to sleep to any night wakings.
Keep your baby on an EAT-PLAY-SLEEP schedule to help ensure they sleep their best. This is a great one. If you feed your child and let them fall asleep, they will always associate feeding with sleep. It is not a good habit to start. If you follow the EAT-PLAY-SLEEP rule you will teach your baby to fall asleep on their own, without the help of the breast or bottle. The earlier you teach your baby self-soothing skills, the happier everyone will be. You will also be setting your baby up for success in the future when breast/bottle feeding will be replaced with solids. The less sleep associations you have to wean your baby off of, the better.
The best bedtimes are usually between 6 and 8 pm. An early bedtime will prevent your child from becoming overtired, which can make it difficult to settle down to sleep. We put both Ford (8 weeks) and Charlie (20 months) down at 7:00 pm. Charlie wakes up between 7 am & 8 am and Ford slept until 4:30 am last night! Having an early bedtime not only breeds more sleep, but it also gives my husband and I some adult time.
A soothing bedtime routine will help your child drift to sleep peacefully. A bedtime routine should be anywhere between 20 - 30 minutes. Believe it or not, Charlie both started sleeping in longer stretches and going to bed peacefully when we started to implement a 20 minute bedtime routine. He now knows exactly what is going on and has that time to understand that he is going to bed. My husband bathes him, puts him in his jammies in our bedroom and gives him his bottle as they talk or read for a little while. My husband then lets Charlie turn off all the hallway lights and Charlie says goodnight to all the hanging animal pictures. He then grabs the tags of his two lovies and goes down 99 percent of the time by trying to dive into his crib.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
Keeping your child's sleep routine consistent provides security and comfort. It also helps your child understand what is expected of them. The routine will not work if you do not do it consistently. These 5 tips will not start working right away, so be sure to stick with it!!! Consistency is key!!
Here is Hillary's info! You can also find our go-to sleep tools below :) Everything but the rock n' play! We use that during the day with Ford but not at night.
HILLARY CATHERINE SLEEP CONSULTING
SLEEP@HILLARYCATHERINE.COM I 475.328.0230
SLEEP & HOW TO GET SOME