Take the first steps towards sleep training TONIGHT…….

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February 21st 2017 

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If you’ve been sleep training your baby for some time, you will know that it takes time to see any meaningful results in your child’s sleeping habits. Sure, some parents see immediate results but know that this is not the norm. For the majority, successful sleep training takes time, patience and consistency for sometimes weeks, but it is well worth it for a full night of sleep.

Often it is the daunting prospect of starting that deters a lot of us from giving it a real go. ‘What do we do first, how do we begin and where to we begin? Nap-time or bedtime?’ This is a lot for an exhausted parent to consider.

With this in mind I want to help make this easier and clearer so you feel confident in taking the first step. Below are my 5 key tips to help you get started TONIGHT………

Identify your baby’s negative sleep associations

This is something that can be done right now, in just a few minutes! Think about how your child typically falls asleep. Do they  fall asleep while nursing, or drinking their bottle? Do they fall asleep while you’re rocking them? Do they fall asleep on you, or in your arms? All of these are negative sleep associations,  they are things your baby needs in order to fall asleep. The process of sleep training is simply weaning your baby away from her sleep associations, so that she can learn to fall asleep on their own, without outside help. Once you have identified your baby or toddler’s sleep associations, you have identified the problems that need fixing. That’s step one!

Introduce a bedtime routine

A fundamental rule to achieving good sleeping habits is routine. The consistent, soothing motions you go through, make your baby feel calm and secure, they will become clear cues for your baby to switch into sleep mode.

Your routine doesn’t have to be long or complex, keeping it simple is often better. But the key rule is to do the same every night. Follow these steps with consistency and your baby will come to know what is expected of them at bedtime and soon you will see positive changes in your child’s sleeping habits.

Begin to shorten the time spent with their sleep association

Now that you have identified how your baby falls asleep implementing an immediate, sudden change can be daunting for you and a shock for your little one. Look to gradually shorten the time spent with that association. For instance, if your baby is used to being rocked to sleep for around 20 minutes, begin by shortening this to 10/15 minutes, aiming to put your baby down awake but drowsy.  If this is done gradually you will soon wean your baby away from being nursed to sleep.

Don’t race in when your baby makes a noise

I choose an approach to sleep training that is gentle and calm therefore I never recommend the ‘cry it out’ method. However, I always recommend that you don’t rush to you baby as soon as they make a noise, pause for a moment and remember that not every noise is a cry of distress. Babies make all sorts of noises when they sleep and some noises are those made when we are simply drifting from one sleep cycle to another. If you wait for a few moments you may find that your babies settles himself without your help. So tonight, I am going to encourage you to pause for a moment to see if your little one settles himself.

Track your baby’s nighttime wakings and daytime napping schedule

Start to keep a sleep log. Note down all nap times and their lengths, the time your baby goes to sleep at night and the times and duration’s of any night wakings. Doing this will allow you to identify any patterns or trends that may be happening in your baby or toddler’s sleep, and it will also help show you where you are making progress and where you need to continue to focus your efforts.

Following these 5 simple steps is a great way to subtly introduce sleep training and allow you to regain control. Remember you are not alone, I am here to help you every step of the way.

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