My top 5 baby sleep training tips for baby sleep success
Once you apply sleep training strategies consistently it's a game changer. Expect to encounter natural resistance, it's very normal. Just this past week I've had some persistent resistant older babies and toddlers. Denying a baby or toddler something they've been getting for a very long time, it's natural that they're going to be pissed and angry. My hair has been yanked and I've lost a few strands, a bruise on my arm from a pinch and my aural senses have taken a battering! Oh yes, an angry baby or toddler is something to behold! It's probably the first time you have said no to your little cutie and it doesn't go down very well at all.
Here's a previous blog I've written on this topic: BLOG: The no 1 most important ingredient in sleep training success
2. PersistenceBe as persistent as your little one is resistant to change. Keeping a calm cool head and follow the plan and within a week you should be richly rewarded. As a baby whisperer I am as determined as the sleep rebels I help and I think that goes a long way to achieving success. Kids sense your strength and exposing any weakness can escalate their resistance. There's nothing mean about persistence and it's not forcing. It's about standing your ground and keeping the boundary where you want it. Expect two weeks of broken sleep and psyche yourself up for that, then if you get lucky early on that's a bonus. Celebrating prematurely often ends in tears. Avoid pulling the champagne out on night two as it often gets worse about night three or four before it turns a corner.
3. Bedtime routineBedtime routines set the scene and transition your child from day to night. Routines reduce the stress hormone, cortisol and give cues about what is coming next and it eliminates resistance. Pre-bedtime activities like bath, books and lullabies do wonders to help your child prepare to fall asleep. They know what comes next, and they’ll just follow along naturally.
One of the big pitfalls parents fall into, is sticking to the bedtime routine at any cost and failing to take into account and act on an overtired child. Tired signs and being ready for bed overrule the need to stick to the bedtime routine. When your toddler is refusing to eat dinner, having a tantrum and is plainly overtired I'd advise moving onto bed and sleep quickly and cutting out the bath and story time. Stretching bedtime will causes more stress, and a stressful bedtime often leads to broken sleep. I've had many overtired children in bed early with a 5:30 or 6pm bedtime not unheard of.
Here's a previous blog I've written on this topic: BLOG: A good bedtime routine helps your baby sleep better
4. CryingExpect crying when you change how you are helping your child get to sleep. Change creates stress and escalating behaviour such as crying, tantrums and angry behaviour. I've had a few babies who didn't cry at all but it's rare and being prepared for crying will help you
Crying hard on the first night and by the second night it becomes more peaceful and it is possible to achieve a 'no cry sleep solution'. You cannot break your child or baby with my methods as you are present and helping them navigate this change. Crying allows the baby to get rid of stress.
'Controlling' habits of holding, rocking, feeding to sleep or replacing dummies results in keeping the stress inside your child. Allowing and helping your baby to express emotions and cry helps them emotionally and physically self-regulate. Developing essential skills for life and helping your child develop resilience and self confidence. Keep yourself calm and mindful whilst your baby is crying and you will help and reassure them so much more.
Here's a previous blog I've written on this topic: Babies and crying, what is OK?
5. DurationMost babies are able to be sleep trained within seven to 10 days. Things get worse on the third or fourth night as a result of behavioural learning before they start to improve. Knowing this fact would help parents be consistent and persistent. It's the same as starting a diet, day one you're feeling motivated and virtuous, day two a little less so, day three or four the novelty is wearing off and you are tempted to eat just a little piece of chocolate 'as it won't matter'. Babies and toddlers are the same, they escalate their behaviour and react to the initial change.
And there you have it, my top five tips to rescue parents from baby and toddler sleep hell delivering you to sleep nirvana. YAY say the parents, a really great way to begin your New Year 2017 with a good nights sleep and baby sleep success.
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