Are you desperate for more sleep and searching for ways to encourage your baby to sleep through the night? If you've read my last post and established your bedtime routine you'll be ready to instigate the training during the night. If you missed the last post you can read it here.
Once you have the bedtime routine in place, the next step is ensuring you follow through with your chosen sleep training method during the night. Here's my recommendations:
Keep their place of sleep separate
I'm all for letting little ones sleep in noisy places during the day as the last thing you want is a baby who wakes at every noise because you've tiptoed around them from birth, but bedtime is different. As tempting as it may be to put them in the moses basket in the lounge so you can watch them sleep, putting them somewhere separate, even if only in the room next door, will help establish the idea that it's bedtime.
Don't play at night-time
When you get your little one up in the night for their feed, it can be tempting to play with them and encourage lots of giggles or smiles. Try and keep this time as relaxing and quiet as possible.
If this is something you decide to do then remember it is as it says: 'controlled'. The idea is not to leave your little one to scream for ages at a time until they stop. You are allowing them to cry for a few minutes at a time in order to teach them a valuable lesson that they can settle themselves to sleep without the need for rocking or other sleep aids. You will be listening to them and be in easy reach the whole time. This is not about ignoring your baby, and you will be on close hand should they get in the slightest bit distressed. I have yet to meet anyone who has tried this consistently and not found it worked. When we finally did this with Jonas, it took a matter of nights for him to start sleeping 12 hours. After doing it we had a happier, more contented baby as he had learnt to sleep and, more importantly, was getting the sleep he needed.
Make sure you know why they are crying
If you choose to do controlled crying I would recommend reading up on this in a bit more detail or talking to mums who have done this before. Remember, you need to check why your baby is crying first. Have they been fed, do they need a nappy change, are they too hot? You need to do this carefully and make sure they are merely crying because they think they can't sleep. Listen out for the type of cry and if they get in the slightest bit distressed, check on them!
Keep your baby in their own cot
You might be tempted to allow your little one to sleep in your bed between feeds. At some stage they will obviously need to be in their own cot therefore for your sake, the earlier you establish this, the easier it will be down the line.
Be consistent & persevere
Whatever routine you set or method you try, be consistent! Babies need consistency, it makes them feel secure. Don't be tempted to give up after a few nights of trying a routine. The older your baby, the longer it may take. This took us a few nights, for some it takes weeks. Be prepared to do it without giving in.
Do it as a team
Whatever you decide to do, if your partner is present, get him involved. In the early hours of the morning when you have had a couple of hours sleep the best intentions can go out the window. Getting your partner on board will help you to remain consistent when you don't feel like it.
Remember, for some babies sleep training is necessary. Whatever method you choose, I can't stress enough the importance of remaining consistent. But after a little perseverance you will see results.
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