As a child therapist and mom of two small children I often get asked sleep training. Although I’m not a trained sleep consultant, I have been conducting sleep consultations with parents across the nation for quite some time based on the knowledge I have as a behavioral therapist. For me sleep training is about self-regulation, low anxiety, and parenting tools.
From a behavioral perspective, sleep training is more about the parent than it is about the child. For example, if the parent’s anxiety is high, then the child will have a harder time falling and staying asleep. If the child’s sleep routine is off, then the child will have trouble adapting to changes in their schedule. You may see this the most in children who have a parent that travels a lot and has an inconsistent schedule or if a parent is be deployed of and on for a long period of time. This can also take place if any major life changes have recently occurred like a new sibling, a new home, a new school, vacation, houseguests, etc. Children may even regress during these times of inconsistent change until they feel secure in their adapted environment. And if the parent lacks being consistent or following through, then the child will be inconsistent, too. On the other hand, children are resilient and will more easily adapt to their environment with some basic routines, structure, and consistency amongst the changes.
I typically charge for my sleep training consultations but I will be offering a few tips on the blog today in hopes you will see the value in what I have to offer and reach out if you need a more hands on, customizable treatment plan! And if you do, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will give you more tools to help you and your child get more sleep!
There are many factors that will set you and your child up for success, so before you start any sleep training routine, make sure you begin on a Friday evening and during a time when you have no houseguests, no upcoming vacations planned, and no recent major life changes. I suggest starting on a Friday evening so you can sleep in on the weekend and not have to worry about getting up early for work since chances are you will lose some extra sleep during the training process. If you have a spouse, partner, extended family member, or nanny that can help you, that is ideal for your success – especially if you are nursing. The other person will act as a neutral buffer between you and your feedings – especially since your baby can smell your breastmilk. If you aren’t there your baby won’t expect to eat. Your baby may get more upset if you aren’t there to feed on demand in the short term, but will be a life changer for you in the long run. But please make sure you speak to your pediatrician first to make sure that your baby can eliminate nighttime feedings.
I also suggest starting sleep training when your baby is at least 6 months old due to cognitive and developmental levels. You will also need to get past the 4-month sleep regression and possibly beyond them cutting their first teeth. Also, do not begin the process if your child is sick, congested, or going through a big developmental leap (check the Wonder Weeks app for more information on developmental leaps).
Once you are ready, begin by planning out a nighttime timeline with your sleep training partner. Determine how many times you will go into the nursery and how many times your partner will go. Determine what times you will feed and what times you won’t. Also determine how long you can listen to your baby cry before going into the room. The average parent I work with says that 20 minutes is his or her limit, but every parent is different. I strongly suggest waiting a minimum of 5-10 minutes as your baby may self regulate on their own and fall back to sleep without your assistance. If you go in too early you are missing the opportunity for them to learn this important skill on their own. Studies have shown that a few minutes of tears will not harm a child in the short or long term. And from a therapeutic perspective, learning how to self regulate at a young age will benefit you and your child for years to come! Once your plan is complete, be consistent and follow through.
Other tools that may help you are:
-Knowing when your baby is tired and putting them down before they get overtired. Look for signs like rubbing their eyes or yawning.
-Put them down before they are actually asleep in a drowsy state. Try not to let them fall asleep while they are nursing.
-Invest in a white noise machine and blackout curtains
-Keep your bedtime routine consistent
-Make sure the temperature in the room isn’t too hot or too cold
-Invest in a mattress that will help them sleep better (see one of my suggestions below!)
For more sleep training tips, please email me for a custom sleep training consultation. They are typically done on the phone during a time of day or evening that works for you and your schedule. And if you mention this blog I will offer you a 20% discount!
Now that you are serious about sleep training and have a few helpful tools, let’s talk a little about Storkcraft and their products that will help your babies get a better night’s sleep.
“Since its founding in 1945, Storkcraft has been keeping babies safe for over 70 years and has provided families with affordable, innovative, and quality furniture that will be with you every step of the way!”
A mattress you can depend on for safety and comfort is the Graco Dual-Comfort Natural Bamboo Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress. (#ad) This is a wonderful mattress for any parent looking for a safe crib mattress for their infant or toddler. The mattress is double sided and is firmer on one side for an infant and softer on the other side for toddlers. It is a mattress that can grow with your child from birth until elementary school! Talk about a healthy investment. And did I mention how soft the material is on the outer cover of the mattress? I know my baby will sleep well with a pillow like mattress under his head! My husband wants a larger version for our bed! za
The quality of the sustainable material is superb and even though the breathable foam material is soft, it is a firm mattress so you can rest assured knowing your baby is safe and secure. It is easy to clean and is light enough to easily take in and out of the crib to change the sheets. It also fits the crib perfectly leaving no space in between the mattress and the crib itself. As a mom, I love that the mattress is anti-static and anti-microbial and free of lead and phthalates. Safety is always first in my book and this mattress meets or exceeds all safety and flammability standards. Plus it has a 6 year manufacturer warranty! To shop this mattress please visit https://storkcraftdirect.com/products/6-dual-comfort-natural-bamboo-foam-crib-toddler-mattress/
For more information about Storkcraft and their products including cribs, mattresses, gliders, changing tables, dressers, safety gates, and more, please visit their website https://storkcraftdirect.com To shop the Storkcraft Portofino 4-in-1 Convertible Crib and Changer in Espresso crib we have used for both of our children please visit https://storkcraftdirect.com/products/portofino-4-in-1-convertible-crib-changer/ The changing table is attached to the crib and can transform into a toddler bed. I personally researched so many cribs when my first child was born and I specifically chose this one based on the stellar safety measures, convenience, and price.
Thank you Storkcraft for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.