If you have watched my videos before, you’re probably familiar with the term, “Sleep props.” I use it to describe anything a baby relies on in order to get to sleep, such as rocking, feeding, sucking on a pacifier, car rides, and so on.
You also probably know that I suggest eliminating sleep props from your little one’s bedtime routine so they can learn to fall asleep independently. But does that mean that there is no such thing as a “good” sleep prop?
Today, I’ll talk a little about how I define a sleep prop, why I advise against them, and where you might find a little loophole in the rules in order to allow your little one a nighttime friend in the crib.
I got asked an interesting question the other day. Someone asked me, is there any such thing as a good sleep prop?
Now, if you don’t know what I mean when I say the word sleep prop, you’re gonna wanna go back and watch. I have a lot of videos that talk about sleep props and how they’re challenging to a child’s sleep and how we need to break the prop and teach them how to sleep independently.
So a sleep prop is basically anything your child thinks he or she needs in order for sleep to come. So that includes things like nursing to sleep or feeding bottles to sleep or rocking to sleep. Those are some of the more popular sleep props and those I mean, I don’t wanna really label anything good or bad but those are problematic in the sense that your baby will wake up repeatedly through the night and look for that prop and want you to come back and recreate all the things that got them to sleep in the first place and that’s why they are a problem when it comes to sleep.
Good props though on the other hand, there are a few and one would be some sort of a lovie or attachment like object.
Now, you’re gonna wanna make sure that you investigate if it’s age appropriate or not and you’re going to also need to make sure that it’s completely safe to give to your child. So make sure there’s no eyes that they might get loose and into their mouth or anything like that but I call them a lovie. It’s just a little piece of comfort that the child incorporates into their strategies for learning to sleep well.
My first son had a stuffed giraffe someone gave him for his first birthday and he would hug that giraffe in one hand and it had a tag on its leg and he would just fiddle with the tag on the leg and that was his strategy and you could watch him. He would drift off to sleep doing this motion and that’s a lovely lovie or my other two children developed an attachment to a blanket they called the blankie and it was just a small blanket that my mom had made for them when they were babies and again, they developed that into their strategies where they kinda hugged it or my son chewed on the corner and again, those are okay but you need to feel comfortable with it. I don’t want you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
If your child’s under the age of six months, most people recommend that you do not put anything extra in the crib just because it might become a safety issue. And this lovie can become just a nice comfort object that can go with them to daycare or go with them to grandma’s house. I used to say it was just for the crib so they had to leave their toy in the crib and then they were always really happy to see it when it was nap time or bedtime and I would suggest you do a similar approach just so that your child doesn’t sort of drag blankie all around and through the mud and turns into a completely dirty, gross blankie very quickly. So keep it in the crib and then they’re always happy to see it.
Another thing that I do consider an okay sleep prop would be white noise. Now, there’s nothing magical about white noise. It’s not going to lull your baby to sleep in anyway but it can be helpful if there is environmental noise going on in your home. So if you have a dog that barks every time someone drives by or you’ve got an older toddler in the house who is having a very hard time being quiet for baby’s nap then running a little bit of soft white noise in the room.
The Dohm sound machine is one of my favorites. It just gives out a nice, clean, clear white noise not too loud. It just kind of blankets a little bit some of the environmental noise.
Now, most people can live with or without white noise. They can sleep just fine with or without it. So it shouldn’t become a problem down the road but they’re making really cool little portable ones now too so you can take it with you when you travel and there’s really no reason why you need to break the connection if your child sleeps well with it.
Music on the other hand I don’t consider a good sleep prop. Music can run through the routine but I suggest you turn music off when baby gets to the crib just because if music’s playing while you’re falling asleep and then somewhere in the night you wake up and the music is no longer playing, that could be enough of a change in the environment to stimulate a full wake up and now your child’s wondering, hey, where are those beautiful sounds that lulled me to sleep in the first place and they could become upset because it’s no longer on and I really don’t think there’s any need to keep music playing all night long.
If you wanted to do it at nap time again to drown out some of the environmental noise, my advice would be to let it run through the course of the whole nap so there’s nothing different that would occur if baby were to wake.
Alright, those are my good sleep props. Thanks for watching today. Sleep well.
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