I recently spoke at a “Baby Bistro” at the area hospital, an event that takes place once a week for Moms and their babies up to a year of age. During this time, Moms can come with their little ones and chat or commiserate (as one Mama joked) about all things motherhood. It was a great opportunity for me to come and share my knowledge on child and baby sleep and I was so excited to participate. Not to mention, my baby fever spiked as I watched these little ones play and coo. It was a great experience and I felt that the Moms were receptive to the information that I had for them. They asked so many great questions, and I thought I would share them, along with my answers, in case other Moms had similar questions!
1. When is a good age to start sleep training?
You can begin teaching your little one healthy sleep habits from day one! Encourage your newborn to sleep independently on a flat surface as much as you can. Otherwise, I always say a good age to begin sleep training is at the 3-4 month mark. This is when babies’ sleep cycles begin to change and they go through what is called the “4-month sleep regression”. However, it’s never too late to teach your child healthy sleep habits!
2. When is a good age to put baby in his crib?
I would say whenever you are ready but again, 3-4 months of age is a great time. If your baby isn’t sleeping in his crib, it’s important that he’s at least sleeping in some type of flat surface such as a bassinet or Pack N’ Play. If your concern is that your baby won’t be right next to you in your room, you can gradually move his sleeping apparatus away from you until you’re comfortable putting him in another room. For instance, put him on the opposite wall or corner of your bed. You can even put him in your bathroom or closet, if you have either of those that are big enough! Overall, practicing safe sleeping habits is very important!
3. So, I just need to put my baby down awake?
Yes, but there is much more to it than that! If you’re not sure where or how to begin, reach out to me and we can get started. My sleep plans cover much more than just bedtime; I help identify your little one’s sleep props, create an ideal schedule for you, and give you solutions for bedtime, naptime and what to do for night wakings. I also talk about what to do if you experience certain regressions down the road and offer support along the way.
4. How do I transition my baby out of my bed?
Honestly, the best way to do everything in the world of sleep training is cold turkey. Setting your expectations and being straight forward off the bat will result in more success and make the process a lot easier. I suggest that you and your partner get on the same page and pick a night in which you are ready to commit to this change because it is, indeed, a commitment. Back-stepping onto any old habits at any point will result in a lot of confusion for your little one.
5. What are considered sleep props?
Sleep props are anything that your child relies on to fall asleep. Common sleep props are feeding to sleep, rocking to sleep, pacifiers, swaddling, co-sleeping, etc. By removing these sleep props and teaching your child to rely on only his skills to fall asleep, he will sleep much more efficiently and won’t need your help when he wakes in the night!
6. What do you suggest doing with newborns?
The sleep training strategies that I teach for newborns are a little different than those for a 3-month and older baby. For newborns, the main thing is just getting him to sleep independently as much as he can. Of course, it’s important to continue to cuddle, feed and love on your newborn as much as possible at this age. But encouraging those independent sleep skills from the beginning will do wonders for him as he grows!
Have another question? Contact me and ask away! 🙂