Whats The Right Age For Sleep Training
Most sleep coaches say the ideal time to start sleep training is based on your babys development, but is usually somewhere between four and six months, when your baby hasnt had much time to get used to nursing or rocking to sleep. At this stage, most babies are also developmentally ready to learn the skill of falling asleep on their own, explains Jennifer Garden, an occupational therapist who runs Sleepdreams in Vancouver. Around four months of age, some babies go through a sleep regression because their sleep cycles change and there are longer periods of lighter sleep per cycle. Its a great time to work on independent sleep skills, says McGinn. Other babies slumber derails around this time because they are working on new skills, like moving around and rolling. Some parents choose to wait until things settle down before embarking on a sleep-training method, but you dont have to, says McGinn.
If your baby is older than six months, dont worry, McGinn says: Its never too late to develop good sleep habits. Dickinson says he finds nine months to be a bit of a sweet spot for parents in terms of getting babies to sleep through the night. They are at a good age for understanding routines and dont need to eat during the night, he explains.
Consider Moving Away From Feeding Your Baby To Sleep
If your baby is falling asleep while drinking from the bottle or breast, they arent actually self-soothing or learning to self-soothe.
Although this is a fairly simple change to most sleep routines, it can lead to some upset crying as your child is required to find other ways to soothe themselves asleep.
Particularly in the beginning, you may need to stand next to the crib offering verbal assurances or even the occasional back rub as your child learns to self-soothe without the aid of liquids and full body human contact.
Use Proper Soothing Toys
Crib safety guidelines recommend that you choose soothing and harmless toys to put in your childs crib. For babies below eight months old, it is suggested to tie the toy to their crib, which they can feel, smell, and sense, but cant pull closer or get entangled. For babies above eight months, you can just drop the toy in their crib.
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Do Not Comfort Your Baby Too Soon
Give your baby a chance to self-soothe. Instead of picking him up as soon as he starts crying, wait for some time. Try to distract him with some fun activity or leave him on its own for a few minutes. If the crying doesnt stop, it is a sign of uneasiness or hunger then you should pick him up. Listening to trivial complains and cries of a child will only spoil him. So, you better be careful.
When Can Babies Self
It is completely natural for babies to wake during the night, and even after your little one begins to learn self-soothing techniques they may not be able to soothe themselves each and every time they wake up. However, anywhere between 3 and 6 months old, babies begin to be developmentally able to self-soothe. Once your baby reaches this age range you may begin to notice some repetitive behaviors that act as a mechanism for self-soothing.
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Safe Sleep Practices For Infants
Practice the ABCs of safe sleep: Babies should always sleep Alone, on their Backs, in a Crib. Place your baby on his or her back for every sleep, night time and nap time.
Do not put your baby to sleep on his side or tummy.
Once your baby can roll from his back to tummy and tummy to back, your baby can stay in the sleep position that he assumes. But always place your baby to sleep on his back.
Place your baby on a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib with slats no greater than 2-3/8 inches apart.
Make sure your babys face and head stay uncovered and clear of blankets and other coverings during sleep. If a blanket is used make sure your baby is placed feet-to-foot in the crib. Remove all pillows from the crib.
Create a smoke-free-zone around your baby.
Avoid overheating during sleep and maintain your babys bedroom at a temperature comfortable for an average adult.
Remove all mobiles and hanging crib toys by about the age of 5 months, when your baby begins to pull up in the crib.
Remove crib bumpers by about 12 months, when your baby can begin to climb
For additional safe sleep practices for infants including information and video on choking, making a safe home environment, resources, swaddling and tummy time, click here.
Pay Attention To Stimulation
One thing that can make it difficult for your newborn to self-soothe is too much stimulation. Thats why it is important to pay attention to the stimulation your child receives and to keep it in check. According to theRaising Children Network, you should manage your childs stimulation by leaving loud environments and paying attention to your babys changes in behavior in different situations. Many times, a situation will seem totally manageable to you but still be overstimulating to your baby. Giving them a break from stimulation can help you both to feel better.
Everything is new for your baby, so it will take time for them to learn to self-soothe. When you provide them with calming environments and give them regular patterns to follow, it will make the process much easier. There is no better time than now to start giving your baby the tools of successful self-soothing.
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Is Self Soothing Good For Babies
The ways people employ to self-soothe might be contentious.
Some might feel that newborns cannot and should not be required to self-soothe, whereas others think it is necessary for their development.
However, there is also no clear proof that newborns who really can self-soothe are more developed than others who cannot. There is no agreement on whether the methods used to promote it are useful or detrimental.
We know that sleep is essential for a childs development and performance.
Parents and carers may benefit the most from self-soothing.
Since sleep deprivation may be detrimental to both newborns and their families, the capacity to self-soothe is beneficial to those who are struggling.
The Baby Sleep Site Is Giving Away Their 3
The 3-Step System To Help Your Baby Sleep is a judgment-free approach to getting your baby sleeping through the night. In it, you learn the pros and cons of all the available baby sleep methods as well as how to incorporate each one into your own routine. You get quick and easy information not he science behind baby and toddler sleep. You learn what you need to do – in a step-by-step format – to tackle your babys sleep challenges. Whether you are interested in co-sleeping, crying it out, setting schedules, incorporating breastfeeding, weaning, or anything in between, The3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep cuts through all the formalities to get right to the solutions you need to get the most out of your babys sleep.
At The Baby Sleep Site®, we know that there is no one-size-fits-all solution that works for every baby – your babys sleeping patterns and habits are as unique as she is! Thats why weve designed The 3-Step System To Help Your Baby Sleep to be different than traditional sleep systems. It offers a comprehensive look at all the tried-and-true methods that parents have been using for decades so that you are better-informed to make the right decision for your family.
The 3-Step System To Help Your Baby Sleep Silver Package includes an instant download of the e-Book, as well as a variety of supplemental materials designed to help you achieve maximum success with your babys sleep. Your FREE bonus materials include:
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Extinction Or Cry It Out
The idea behind extinction is that you want to extinguish the behaviour by not responding to it. As with the check-and-console method, go through your bedtime routine, put them in their crib awake, say good night and walk out. This is certainly the most controversial sleep-training method, and even experts disagree on what you should do nextit all depends on what stage your baby is at developmentally, as well as what works for the parents.
McGinn, for example, suggests leaving your baby until the morning, unless youve predetermined that they still need a feed in the night. That first night can be rough, says McGinn. They could be up every hour crying.
Mitelman, on the other hand, recommends that parents wait for at least one or two wake-ups before going back into the room. Then, if the baby wakes up after midnight, she believes its OK to go back in, comfort your baby for a few minutes and then leave again. She also supports scheduling in regular night-time feeds if your baby still needs them.
Tips To Help Your Baby Learn To Self
A term that we use a lot in our work with our Baby Sleep Site® clients is self-soothe. Is this a term youre familiar with?
Simply put, a baby who can self-soothe is a baby who can calm himself down, and regulate his emotions – usually by sucking on his fingers and/or toes.
When Do Babies Learn To Self-Soothe?
Sounds pretty basic, right? Except that its not. See, babies arent born knowing how to self-soothe – its a learned skill. When a baby is born, hes not yet capable of regulating his emotions, and he really does need mom or dad to step in and comfort him when hes upset, by rocking or holding or singing to or feeding him.
But as baby grows, and as his brain matures, he becomes capable of managing his own emotions, and soothing himself. Experts dont agree as to precisely when a baby becomes capable of self-soothing, but its generally accepted that while babies shouldnt be expected to self-soothe before they are 3 months old, they are definitely capable of self-soothing by the time they are 6 months old.
In our work with families, weve found that the 4-7 month window is a really good time to work on helping a baby learn to self-soothe your babys sleep patterns have matured by that point, but shes still too young to have formed very strong sleep associations that will be difficult to correct. Will she always be perfect at self-soothing? Most likely not. They will still need us some of the time after all!
Why Does Self-Soothing Matter?
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Ensure All Needs Are Met Before Your Baby Gets Too Tired
Once your baby is overtired, it can be difficult to convince them to finish the last few ounces from their bottle or not cry out in distress about every change in their environment.
For many reasons, their ability to control their emotions and self-soothe will be greatly reduced if theyre too exhausted.
Signs That Your Baby Is Learning To Self Soothe
There are a few common signs that show youre having success with understanding how to help your baby self soothe at night these include:
- Moving back and forth, or their head from side to side as they try to find a comfortable position.
- Pauses while crying, even if its only for a few seconds. Longer periods of time in between fits of crying or fussing are a strong indicator that they are not in pain or discomfort, and that they are working on calming themselves down.
- Preoccupation with a baby soother toy, toes, fingers, ears or hair can indicate that your baby is starting to find comfort in repetitive actions or is more interested in something other than having you immediately present.
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How To Tell If Your Baby Is Trying To Self
There are many things that an infant can do to try and soothe themselves. Keep an eye out for some of these clues and encourage your baby to use these strategies when they become upset.
- Sucking on a pacifier, fingers, thumb, or their fist
- Rubbing their eyes
- Snuggling with their favorite toy or blanky
- Rubbing something soft in between their fingers
- Rubbing their hair or head
- Rocking themselves from side to side
- Making humming or cooing sounds
If you see that your baby is becoming upset, try to encourage them to use these tactics rather than just picking them up and snuggling them right away. I know it can be difficult, but they will learn in time.
But when should you start teaching your baby to self-soothe?
There is no exact pre-determined age, each child is different and has different needs. Experts suggest the earliest you should start is around 4 months of age.
Although if you do not work with your child on self-soothing tactics within the first year, the toddler years and beyond might get a little rough. Six to nine months seems to be the sweet spot for many .
Teaching your baby to self-soothe takes time, so dont rush it. Be patient with yourself and with your little one.
How To Help Your Newborn Develop Good Sleep Habits
Though it isnt possible to set a sleep schedule for a newborn baby, you can help her develop good sleep habits from the day you bring her home.
- Start by helping your little one learn the difference between day and night. When shes awake during the day, keep things lively by offering plenty of stimulating playtime and conversation, and head outside for some daylight too. Just be sure to protect your baby from too much sun exposure. Stick to shaded areas and keep her skin covered. If thats not possible, apply a small amount of baby-safe sunscreen to her face, the tops of her hands and her feet. In the evenings, keep things quieter and dim the lights to send the signal that its time to wind down. After a few weeks, shell start to get the hang of it.
- Stick with a similar routine for naps. Feeding, rocking, soothing, songs, or a story are all gentle cues that send your baby the message that its time to relax .
- Introduce a basic bedtime routine. Similarly, a quick routine at night can help signal that its time to sleep. Try the four Bs: breastfeed/bottle, bath, book, bed.
Even with this sense of routine, keep in mind that a formal schedule is still a few months away. Trying to get your newborn to stick to a schedule, by, say, keeping her awake too long or waking her from naps early is a recipe for an overtired baby. And that can actually make it harder for her to sleep well at night.
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