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9 Tips for Better Sleep in 20190

9 Tips for Better Sleep in 2019

Happy 2019, readers! You know what they say — new year, new start! Is your baby or toddler still struggling to take restorative naps, or maybe having a hard time sleeping through the night? Now is the time to take action! With some effort on your part (and some help from those of us here at The Baby Sleep Site®), 2019 really can be a year of peaceful sleep for your whole family.

To help you achieve that great sleep you’re looking for, here are 9 tips you can use to get started on improving your baby or toddler’s sleep, and to ensure that you have a well-rested year ahead!

9 Tips for Better Baby and Toddler Sleep in 2019

  1. Don’t put off sleep training because you think it’s “too early” or “too late”

    It’s true that there are ‘ideal windows’ for sleep training (and you can read more about those here). But regardless of how old your baby is and where they are in their sleep development, there is some part of their sleep you can be improving right now.

  2. Set Goals

    One great step you can make toward improving sleep is to set realistic, clear goals for your baby’s sleep. If you don’t know where you want to go, it’s very hard to find a path there, and too easy to become overwhelmed. Make sure that your goals are specific – instead of setting a goal like ‘sleep through the night’, try setting one like ‘down from 3 night wakings to 2 within first 10 days.’ Once you achieve that goal, you can find another small step forward until you reach great sleep!

  3. Have realistic expectations

    While we have helped some families achieve miraculous results in just one e-mail or phone call, that certainly isn’t our norm. Some families need 30 days of unlimited e-mails, and frequent tweaks to their Personalized Sleep Plans® before they see results. We aren’t miracle workers, but we keep working with you to find THE solution that works for YOUR family. Your baby is unique and may or may not respond as quickly as some of the lucky few who have success in one or two nights. So please, have realistic expectations for your baby. Know that it may take days or perhaps even a few weeks to see any improvement. If you are realistic, you will have less frustration and more success, since you are less likely to give up before he has time to learn. This is especially true for slow-to-adapt babies.

  4. Make A Plan!

    If you’re going on a road trip across country, most people make a plan. Some will plan it down to the last detail, including where they will stop for potty breaks, while others will make looser plans. If they make it to a city near their planned stop, they might choose to stop sooner or later, while others will do anything to stick to their plan and stop when and where they planned to stop no matter what. Neither of these types of plans are ‘better’ – they reflect the personality types of the people who made them. So, regardless of your personality type, remember that success usually starts with a plan (even if it’s not super-detailed). Now, as to how to get a sleep plan – we can personalize one for you, you can generate a custom sleep plan here, or if you like to ‘do-it-yourself’, you can access one of our general sleep plan templates and workbooks to get some help creating your own.

  5. Get Support From Your Village

    Whether you find a friend who’s going through a similar situation with their child’s sleep, or you have your partner/spouse, a friend on Facebook, your parent, or a Sleep Consultant from our sleepy little village helping you through, one thing that will help you succeed in making a big change in your life is your support network. Holding yourself accountable by “checking in” with someone will help you stick to your plan and work toward your goals. So, try to get your village lined up before you start!

  6. Stop comparing your baby to your friend’s baby

    It’s soooo frustrating when your friends around you all have babies who sleep great or did after five minutes of crying or something. Believe me, I know! But try not to believe the many “myths” your friends may tell you about sleeping through the night. And consider that a) not all people define “sleeping well” the same way (some might not mind replacing a pacifier three or four times per night, but you might), b) it doesn’t mean they won’t have different sleep issues later (babies change a lot in the first two years!) and c) all babies have easy and hard things about them (some might struggle with sleep and others with eating, for example).

  7. Make sure to lay the groundwork before you start sleep coaching

    There are a few things you should do before you start any kind of sleep training, including catching up on sleep (both you and your baby or toddler should do this) and possibly visiting your doctor. To read the full list and get the best start possible, check out 5 Things To Do Before Sleep Training.

  8. Stay Consistent

    So you set your goals and made your plan…but are you keeping with it? It’s an important point to remember! The number one key to successful sleep training is consistency. You have to give a plan time to work, and you have to faithfully stick to that plan before you’ll ever start to see progress. So don’t throw in the towel after just a few nights – instead, stick with it. If you haven’t seen any meaningful changes in 7-10 days, then consider making changes to your plan then, but not before.

  9. Take that first step

    Why is a bullet point about taking the first step the very last thing on our list? Because once you have your plan, taking that first step is often the hardest. Often we build up how terrible sleep training will be in our heads and, more often, it’s worse in our heads than in reality. We’re afraid we’ll be sleep training a tortoise and we’ll feel guilty because our baby won’t sleep and it’s our fault. The first step in solving any problem is usually the most difficult, but it’s also one of the most important.

What are your sleep-related plans for 2019? Any of you planning to sleep train? Feel free to ask questions and share your tips below – we love hearing from you!

Top 25 Sleep Resources of 20180

Top 25 Baby Sleep Resources of 2018

We know some loyal readers have been here for years (thank you!), but many of you reading right now have only been aware of The Baby Sleep Site® for a few months, weeks, or even days! To help out newer readers, we traditionally celebrate the end of the year with a roundup of our most popular articles, but this year, we’re doing something even better! We’ve tallied the numbers, and in honor of 2018, here are our top 25 sleep resources you loved this year! Read on to learn more about our most popular service packages, DIY-options, and blog posts on baby sleep, toddler sleep, schedules, and of course, sleep coaching.

Before we get into all of that, did you hear the biggest news this year? The Baby Sleep Site® turned 10-years-old! Check it out: https://www.babysleepsite.com/10-year-anniversary-celebration

And now, our top 25 sleep resources of 2018!

  1. Most Popular DIY Resource: The Express Sleep Plan®

    Need sleep help on a budget? Our Express Sleep Plan® accounts for your family’s lifestyle, your parenting preferences, and your unique sleep challenges. What’s more, it is available 24 hours a day, and can be downloaded instantly – no waiting!

  2. Most Popular e-Book: The Tired Parent’s 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep

    I’m willing to bet that if you’re reading this, your toddler isn’t sleeping “like a baby.” I promise you, there is relief at hand, and you can start getting it today! The Tired Parent’s 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep gives you a complete toolkit of strategies, advice, sample schedules, and sleep logs to get your toddler to love bedtime – so you can get back in control and you can both get the sleep you need.

  3. Most Popular Services Package: The Deluxe e-Mail Package

    Our Deluxe Email Consultation package is far and away our most popular sleep consultation package. With this package, you will receive a comprehensive Personalized Sleep Plan® plus three follow-up e-mail consultations, designed to be used for additional questions and support or to further refine your plan. Your three follow-up email consultations are available to you for six full months after your purchase date, so if you find you only need to use one or two during sleep training, you can save the extra e-mails to use later, in the event that another sleep challenge or a developmental milestone arises. This is a great package for growing babies with evolving sleep needs!

  4. Most Popular Membership Option: 3 month subscription

    If you’re interested in our e-Books but are having trouble deciding which one is right to you, may I suggest checking out the Members Area instead? You’ll have instant, around-the-clock access to all of our e-Books, as well as our full range of members-only assessment quizzes, do-it-yourself tutorials, audio recordings, live weekly chats with our expert sleep consultants, and the option to purchase one-on-one sleep consultation sessions via phone or email at a 20% discount! Depending on the package, this alone pays for the membership!

Top 5 Blog Posts About Babies:

Baby sleep can be tough to figure out, what with all of the regressions, nap transitions, growth spurts and more that can happen in the first year of life. Here are your top 5 most-read articles about baby sleep in 2018!

  1. How to Handle the Frustrating (and Exhausting) 4 Month Sleep Regression
  2. How To Survive The 8, 9, or 10 Month Old Baby Sleep Regression
  3. Wonder Weeks Chart: How The Wonder Weeks Affect Baby and Toddler Sleep
  4. Baby Sleeping More Than Usual? Here Are 3 Reasons Why.
  5. How And When To Stop Swaddling Your Baby

Top 5 Blog Posts About Toddlers:

It’s no surprise that the most popular resources on toddler sleep this year are all about sleep regressions! There are several over the toddler years, and getting through them in one piece is not easy. Here are your top 5 most-read articles about toddler sleep in 2018!

  1. 18 Month Sleep Regression Is One of the Hardest
  2. 5 Things You Need to Know About Your 2 Year Old’s Sleep
  3. 3 Signs Your Toddler Is Ready To Stop Napping and How To Transition to Rest Time
  4. 18 Month Old Toddler Sleep Regression: 10 Survival Techniques
  5. Your Toddler’s Sleep Regressions Explained

Top 5 Blog Posts About Schedules:

One of the most common questions we get here at The Baby Sleep Site® is “How do I get my young baby on a more regular schedule?” Did you know, we have a whole page devoted to baby and toddler schedules by age, as well as a custom sleep schedule generator to help you out? Plus, here are your top 5 most-read articles about schedules in 2018!

  1. Newborn Baby Sleep and Feeding Schedule
  2. 6 Month Old Baby Schedule
  3. Baby Nap Chart: Learn How Long Baby Should Nap, and How Many Naps Baby Needs
  4. 3 Month Old Baby Sleep and Feeding Schedules
  5. 4 Month Old Baby Schedule

Top 5 Blog Posts About Sleep Training:

We want you to feel empowered to improve your family’s sleep according to your parenting philosophy and goals. That means we offer information about a variety of sleep coaching methods and approaches, to help you determine what will work best for your unique sleep situation. Here are your top 5 most-read articles about sleep coaching in 2018!

  1. 11 Cry It Out Dos and Don’ts (Plus How Your Baby’s Temperament Affects Cry It Out Sleep Training)
  2. Night Feedings by Age – When Do You Try Night Weaning?
  3. 5 Common Sleep Training Methods – Your Cheat Sheet
  4. Cry It Out Age and What Is Cry It Out?
  5. How To Handle Your Baby or Toddler’s Separation Anxiety and Sleep

Is your favorite on the list? If not, share it below!

 

Lifesaving Sleep Secrets Every Parent Needs to Know0

When you have a baby or toddler, getting enough sleep can seem impossible. But sleep is essential for every member of your family, including yourself. You need sleep to keep your energy levels up and your brain functioning, and your kids need sleep to be their best as well. So if your family is having a hard time getting enough sleep, here are a few tricks to improve your bedtime habits.

Keep Everyone on a Consistent Schedule

If you are a parent, you already know the importance of keeping your kids on a daily schedule. When it comes to sleep, sticking to a consistent schedule is also a good idea, so figure out the best schedule for your children to help them get the sleep they need to thrive. Creating an optimal schedule can depend on a variety of factors, including age. If you have children who share a sleeping space, but are on different schedules, you can still get everyone to bed on time every evening. Make sure you put your littlest ones down first and then spend some quality time with older toddlers and children. For nap times, think about putting children in different rooms to help avoid disturbances. You may also need to overhaul your evening routines to get everyone on track, especially if you have a new baby or school schedule to adjust to. A warm bath can help toddlers fall asleep faster, so try to set aside time for some relaxing bedtime practices.

Set Up a Better Bedroom for You and Your Children

Getting a baby to sleep through the night can take time and practice. But you can get them off to a better start by adding some relaxing features to your nursery. Babies and children can be sensitive to light, so try using blackout curtains to keep the room dark during nap times and even at night. You may also want to add a noise machine to your nursery, to help soothe fussy babies and children. White noise machines can seriously be a lifesaver when you are trying to get your baby to sleep, and find time to get some quality rest of your own. Look online for reviews for the best machines for baby’s room. You can find several models with timers that are perfect for setting a sleep schedule for your little one, or even travel-friendly options that can help reduce stress in the car. While setting up a sleepy nursery should be your first priority, you should also take steps to improve your own bedroom, as well. You need sleep to take care of your children, so make sure you have cozy sheets and bedding to fall into at night. Comfy sheets can make it easier to fall asleep faster, and make the most of those moments you have on your own. You can easily find a set that is well in your price range.

Watch What You Eat and Do During the Day

Your bedroom and bedtime routines can affect your family’s sleep, but so can your habits throughout the day. For new parents, exercise can be hard to schedule into a busy day, but studies show that regular exercise, especially in the morning, can help you sleep better at night. Getting your older kids active can help them sleep better as well, so make some time for a morning family walk or hit the playground for a workout with your kids. Food can also be a major sleep factor. That afternoon cup of coffee can help you stay alert, but it may also be interfering with your sleep, even hours later. So try to steer clear of caffeine in the afternoon hours and watch out for other sneaky foods as well, like certain cheeses and alcohol.

Getting your family into healthier sleep routines can take some time, but getting more sleep is well worth the effort. Sleep is so important for your family’s health, so don’t let anyone skip out on it, especially you! Stick to a consistent schedule, set up some relaxing spaces and do whatever you need to get the rest you deserve.

Photo Credit: Pexels

5 Tips For Helping Children Fall Asleep Faster And Sleep Better0

Are you struggling night after night with putting your child to sleep? Is your toddler waking up many times during the night? Does it take you more than an hour to finally see your child asleep? If these scenarios sound familiar, then what you need are some tips for helping children fall asleep faster and sleep better. With some help from The Baby Sleep Site® and our sleep experts and consultants that can solve every sleeping problem your child has, in no time will you say goodbye to the bedtime battles and say hello to some well-deserved quality time with your spouse.

Help your child sleep through the night and be well-rested in the morning.

Introduce magnesium to your child’s diet

It is no secret that magnesium is a powerful mineral necessary for the sustenance of our bodies. Besides its many positive effects, magnesium also calms our bodies by relaxing our muscles. Considering how much faster you fall asleep when calm as opposed to stressed-out, there is no reason why it wouldn’t be the same with your toddler. Luckily, our bodies can get magnesium from a few natural food sources. Of course, you have to be careful not to overdo it with this mineral, as you don’t want your toddler to start experiencing any side effects.

Create a comfortable sleeping environment

Children are not all that different than us. If you are wondering how to help children fall asleep faster and sleep better, all you need to do is put yourself in their shoes. What would help you sleep better at night? The first thing that comes to mind is a good and comfortable mattress. As a parent, the welfare of your child is your number one concern in life. That is just the natural order of things and there is no way to change that. Having that in mind, in an effort to provide what’s best for your child, you might be enticed to make hasty decisions which may turn out to be the wrong ones. Thus, when buying a baby mattress, you need to approach this task with a lot of care and alertness. All that glitters is not gold, and you don’t want to provide your child with the second best option.

Once you are sure the mattress your child is sleeping on is a quality one, get to work on other environmental factors. In order to sleep better, your child also needs:

  • Room temperature that is neither too hot nor too cold.
  • Just the right amount of lighting, so that they don’t feel scared at night.
  • Soft blankets and a comfortable pillow once old enough (check with your doctor).

Do your part as a parent and give only the best to your child. In return, they will thank you by sleeping through the night and giving you the rest you so desperately need!

Helping children fall asleep faster and sleep better means creating a suitable sleeping environment.

Don’t sing or play music when putting your child to sleep

We know that this goes against everything you have seen in movies. But the truth is that you should not play any music nor sing lullabies to your child before sleep. The reason is quite simple – in case they wake up in the middle of the night, they will want you to sing them back to sleep. This does not mean that you should not teach your child to play an instrument, quite the contrary. Music is a well-known stimulant that has a positive effect on your child’s mental capacities, so you should always keep the instruments close. Even in the most challenging of times, such as when you are moving, music can make everything better. In such a situation, make sure you get the help you need when moving your precious instrument and jam your worries away! 

Refrain from any demanding physical activities before bedtime

Even though your toddler might be a little daredevil, interested in exploring everything around them, make sure you control them once bedtime approaches. All stimulant activities should be avoided, as they will only supply your children with more energy, as opposed to making them drowsy. In case you are in an out-of-the-ordinary situation, where it will be difficult for you to control your child, make sure you get appropriate help.

Let’s take one ordinary relocation as an example. Whether it is because of a job or because we just need a change, millions of people are relocating each year. Moving is hectic, and keeping up any sort of routine is next to impossible. We all know that children must have a good bedtime routine and habits, which should not be interrupted. In a situation such as this one, which might seem unresolvable at the time, there is always a way out. You can hire reputable movers, such as Moving of America – NJ Movers, and let them handle your relocation. You just worry about handling your toddler, not your moving boxes. There is always plenty of help around, you just have to find it!

Stick to your child’s bedtime routine.

Avoid large meals before bedtime if helping children fall asleep faster and sleep better is your goal

As a parent, there is nothing worse than having to say no to your child when they ask you for food. We hear a lot of parental stories in which they tell us that giving in to their child’s wishes is easy. And it is, but what you need to remember is that you are not doing your toddler any harm by refusing to give them candy after dinner. Quite the opposite, not only are you helping children fall asleep faster and sleep better at night by not feeding them sugar, but you are keeping their metabolism and health in check. Sometimes, being strict is the best thing you can do as a parent. Hopefully, with all the tools you have here, having problems with putting your child to sleep should be a thing of the past.

Why Is My Baby Still Awake?0

A baby sleeping wrapped in a blanket.
Your baby just won’t sleep through the night?

The moment your newborn arrives to your home is a moment of pure bliss. The whole family is overwhelmed with joy. They cannot wait to hold and caress the baby for a while. But all this only lasts for a little while. When the night falls, you are on you own. As months and months go by, you realize that your baby just won’t sleep through the night. You are gradually becoming a desperate, sleep-deprived parent without the energy to cope with daily challenges. Do not wait until you collapse. Learn about baby sleep patterns and everyday activities that can affect them in a negative way. Sometimes, the smallest changes can make all the difference.

In the period between 2 and 12 months, babies generally sleep 9 to 12 hours during the night. However, at early stages, sleep patterns are not well established. Your baby still needs to be fed at night, which is a primary reason of waking up. By the time your little one reaches 6 months, you should already expect less waking at night. But this is rarely the case. More often than not, night wakings get worse. The reasons your baby is still awake are different and any of them can be the cause of sleep deprivation. We made a list of the most common ones:

  • Hunger
  • Teething
  • Late daytime napping
  • Separation anxiety
  • Routine disruption
  • Restless sleep

Hunger and teething

Before you embark on introducing major changes or consulting experts, you need to exclude the two primary reasons your baby wakes up at night. We already mentioned that babies need to be night fed until the age of 6 months, but upon this period, there is no real need to pursue this routine. However, you need to make sure your baby is well fed during the day and introduce a late feeding that should satisfy hunger for as long as possible.

A baby girl wearing a red cap, crying.
Hunger and teething are primary reasons of sleep disruption at early stages

As for teething, there is not much you can do. Some babies simply react more profusely to teething problems than others. There are various remedies intended to soothe teething pain, but most of them are to no avail. The only thing that can soothe your baby in this situation is your affection.

Late daytime napping

Babies sleep 2 to 4 hours during the day. It’s normal for babies and toddlers to have daytime naps and these should not be avoided on any account. Should your little one try to skip naps, consult some of the free e-books on baby sleep secrets. Skipping day sleep in this period can lead to exhaustion and frustration and make the night sleep even worse. However, you should lengthen the “awake stage” prior to bedtime for as long as possible. The activities leading to the moment of falling asleep should be calm and soothing. Engage your child in a calm play but make sure he/she remains awake.

Separation anxiety

If your baby is fed and satisfied but still awake at the age of 6 months and further, the cause may lie in separation anxiety. At early stages of life, being apart from loving figures that provide care and security can cause separation anxiety. This stage is completely normal, but there are some things you can do to make your life easier. Keep to your usual schedule, fulfill your promises and maintain familiar surroundings. Practice separation even when it isn’t necessary. However, major changes in life are usually the cause of such anxiety and in these situations, it can seriously affect the baby’s sleep.

Major changes and routine disruption

Babies and toddlers do not respond well to major changes. One of the most stressful events that can hardly be avoided is relocation. A family from Ohio recently contacted one of the renowned sleep experts as their 8-month old child started waking up every hour, even though he used to be a good sleeper from a very early age. After discussing all kinds of questions, the expert diagnosis was the following: “The sleep disorder is definitely triggered by relocation even though it has not appeared immediately after you moved to Ohio from a long distance”. In this case, the only recipe is to adapt the baby to the new surroundings and make him/her realize their security is not endangered in any way.

If your routine was disrupted by the events that are beyond your control, try to reinvent the routine as soon as you can. This is the only way to soothe your little ones and make them feel safe, loved and secure. When they get the feeling of security once again, you can finally expect a good night’s sleep.

Restless sleep

A picture of a wooden baby cot with pink sheets.
Is your baby constantly hitting her head on cot bars?

Most babies sleep restlessly. However, if your child is constantly banging his/her head against cot bars, you have one restless sleeper to deal with.

However, you should not intervene immediately when the baby starts waking up. Babies are sometimes only partially awake. In these cases, they need to learn to put themselves back to sleep. It will not happen at once, but gradually, they will be able to settle themselves without your interference. Isn’t that something to look forward to?

Patience, patience, patience

If your baby is still awake even though you feel you’ve tried everything, have some patience. Stages come and go and sleep patterns gradually become established. If you have a restless sleeper, insist on relaxation and soothing play activities. If you have recently moved to a completely new environment, take your child for a walk and explore the new city. Engage your child in activities that make you happy and calm.

A mother playing with her baby outdoors.
Engage in activities that bring joy to you and your child.

The behavior of your child mirrors your own emotions. Instead of being depressed and angry, try to relax and enjoy. Your patience and affection will help your baby get through the sleepless stages and grow into a happy and confident person. A little sleep deprivation is not too much to pay for such a cause.

Ensuring the Best Breathing for Your Baby0

From the moment your baby enters the world, nothing is more important or precious than every breath they take. For people of any age, the quality of air respiratory health is a major topic, but ensuring that your baby is protected at the most vulnerable times of development is a big concern to any parent or guardian. Respiratory health is an essential pillar of infant health and respiratory illnesses can be common in infancy. Knowing what is normal for your child and what should be monitored can ease your mind and keep your baby safe.

What is normal?

Infants can often have irregular breathing patterns due to the size of their airways and respiratory system, which have yet to fully develop. Newborn babies take breaths more frequently than adults due to a smaller lung capacity, averaging between 30-60 breaths per minute compared to an adult who averages between 12-20. Breathing issues are common within the first 6 months of life, but breathing should normalize after 1 year.

Parents and guardians should also know what is normal for their baby so they can also recognize what’s out of the ordinary if an issue should arise. Be aware of any noises your baby may make while they sleep including coughing, whistling, or snoring which could signal mucus in your baby’s airways or a virus, like the common cold or bronchitis.

Common infant respiratory illness

Asthma, sleep apnea, the common cold and the flu are all illnesses that are easy for infants to catch, and should be taken seriously at this early stage of development. Keeping up to date on vaccinations and immunizations can help prevent your baby from contracting a dangerous illness, but treating these common illnesses is different for babies than for older children and adults.

  • The Common Cold – It’s ordinary for infants to be exposed to the common cold early in life. A cold should not be too serious for your baby, but can develop into more severe issues if not dealt with correctly. Caretakers and guardians should keep a child’s nasal passages clean using an aspirator and clean their face to prevent any skin irritation. If the symptoms become persistent, you should seek a doctor for further treatment.
  • The Flu – For any child under the age of two, influenza can be serious and parents should be advised by a doctor for treatment. Ibuprofen is a fever reducer and can be used as directed on the package. Annual flu shots can help prevent the flu and should be given to children at least 6 months old and older.
  • Bronchiolitis – Caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), bronchiolitis is a viral lung infection that causes airways to swell. Again, it is common among younger children to come down with the virus, but it is important to contact a doctor and stay on top of their rest and treatment. A doctor may prescribe medication, or advise the use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen. At home, parents can use a humidifier filled with warm water or saline nose drops to clear mucus-filled passageways.

Creating a Safe Environment

In infancy, children will spend many hours in the home, and making sure that their space is safe is vital for their health. When it comes to respiratory health, there are products to avoid and precautions to take that can set your baby up for a healthy present and future. It may seem obvious, but to avoid spreading germs parents and caregivers should always keep their hands clean and keep their own vaccinations up to date.

Controlling indoor air pollution for small children is also crucial for infant health, and bad air quality can lead to issues like coughing, wheezing, and asthma. Investing in organic products can reduce the levels of volatile gasses that are naturally given off by paints and furniture. Bedding should be washed regularly and a child’s bedroom or playroom should be vacuumed on a weekly basis as well, especially if there are pets in the house. Pets can leave hair and dander which can aggravate allergies and asthma. To control air quality further, buy an air purifier that can help children sleep soundly and regulate toxic particles in the air.

You should also be cognizant of what types of toxins are present in your home and your child’s room or nursery. Toxic materials can be present in places we might not normally think of, so being aware of what ingredients are in soaps, aerosol sprays, and children’s toys could make a big difference. Many toxins can even be invisible and odorless and still have an effect on respiratory health.

Chemicals such as formaldehyde and xylene are known carcinogens and can be found in many air fresheners and sprays. Asbestos is another carcinogen that causes mesothelioma cancer and lung cancer that is not banned in the United States and is still used in a variety of products. Even recently, asbestos was found in children’s crayons and has previously been found in children’s cosmetics and makeup. As infants grow and learn, they put their hands and mouths on everything, so keeping toxic materials out of their way is the best method to know they aren’t inhaling or ingesting anything they shouldn’t.

As your child grows and develops, their body with only become stronger and more apt to fight bacteria and sickness. During this process, there are so many ways to ensure that the environment is working for a child’s growth and setting them up for lifelong health. So, whether you are decorating a nursery or picking out furniture for your home, seek out products that leave toxins at the door and keep the entire family breathing easy.

The Ultimate Guide to Sleep Training Baby0

Guide to Sleep Training BabySleep training baby is not something parents seek out to do, but if your baby won’t sleep or your baby fights sleep, then sleep training may solve your baby sleep problems. Learn the ins and outs of sleep training with this ultimate guide.

What is sleep training?

The term “sleep training” used to be associated with cry it out, but I would like to think that is an old definition, now. Most new parents these days understand there are a lot of different ways you can sleep train your baby and there isn’t just the one way. Many people do hate the word “train” since babies are not dogs, after all, so another way to say it is “sleep coaching.” But, what is sleep training?

Just like we teach our children to use a spoon, to walk, to talk, how to wash hands and other hygiene, proper study habits, etc. we sometimes have to also teach them healthy sleep habits. But, healthy sleep habits often don’t come naturally to all babies and toddlers. Sometimes it’s because we start habits that we don’t realize will become a problem such as when I used to rock my son to sleep. So, in a way, your baby won’t sleep and it’s your fault. That’s NOT a bad thing. At all. You love your baby and you do what it takes, especially in the newborn days.

So, in a nutshell, sleep training is the act of teaching your baby healthy sleep habits applicable to their current age that he or she will be able to use for the rest of their lives. What “success” looks will vary from baby to baby and family to family.

Do you need to sleep train your baby?

First, let’s talk about whether you really even need to sleep train your baby. Contrary to what some people may believe, not every family needs to sleep train. Of course, there are some babies who are naturally good sleepers and if you have one of these mythical creatures babies you’re probably not even reading this. Babies who are naturally good sleepers do not need sleep training, though that sometimes changes as they grow into toddlers. Toddlers seem to come with a whole new set of sleep problems, unfortunately, even if they were perfect sleepers as a baby.

Next, if you are happy with your sleep situation and your baby is growing, developing, and thriving, there’s no reason to make any changes. After all, there may not be a “sleep problem” to solve. If you are co-sleeping, for example, and you love doing it, please don’t stop because of societal or family pressure, or because you are worried your 7-year-old will be sleeping in your bed. I promise I have helped families with children of all ages, including school-age, move their child to their own sleep space. Similarly, if you rock or feed your baby to sleep and then they sleep through the night and take long naps, that doesn’t sound so bad.

So, when do you need to sleep train your baby?

If your baby is waking a lot at night, taking short naps, is not growing, developing, or thriving with their present sleep habits, it’s likely time to make a change and try sleep training your baby.

If you are suffering from sleep-deprivation such that you can hardly function during the day, drive a car safely, or you are feeling depressed, that’s not good for your baby, either, even if he or she is doing just fine. We have a lot of parents who ask Is Sleep Training Selfish? and the answer is yes and no. Yes, we need to also be concerned about our own physical and mental health. But, no, we are not trying to get baby to sleep through the night so we can go to parties. In many cases, we are trying to get more sleep simply to function the next day or not get fired from our jobs!

It’s quite simple really. If you feel there is a “sleep problem” it may be time to try to fix it, assuming you have realistic expectations. You can start sleep training around 8 weeks old and there is no age that’s “too old.” It’s never too early or too late to teach good sleep habits.

In a survey we conducted with 136 families who had completed sleep training with us, here are some interesting findings as to why they chose to sleep train:

97% female
85% 26-40 years old
82% with children under 2 years old
75% breastfed and 97% said sleep coaching did not negatively impact breastfeeding
31% SAH, 40% WOH, 10% WAH/self-employed
30% experienced Post-Partum Depression (PPD)
90% were exhausted themselves and 49% had exhausted partners
21% children had poor mood or behavior
50% needed a better routine for the family
33% were concerned child would not develop properly
15% weren’t able to function at work
44% weren’t able to function at home
26% weren’t able to take care of themselves
29% felt unsafe to operate a vehicle or care for their baby
73% felt their child was not getting the sleep he/she needed
79% felt overwhelmed and exhausted
38% felt sleep problems were straining their marriage

When to Start Sleep Training – What age?

The age to start sleep training varies from family to family. The age of your baby, the more your baby wakes at night, the more your family is suffering, the more depressed or frustrated you feel, and the more you’re ready to make a change all factor into your decision about when to start.

Keep in mind that newborns who are just a few weeks old have limited self-soothing capabilities and the first several weeks should be focused on bonding such as massaging your newborn. After about 8 weeks old, though, depending on how disrupted and severe your sleep problems, you can consider starting gentle sleep training or sleep coaching. This doesn’t mean your baby may be a proficient sleeper in just a few days, but there are some things you can start very early to set the stage for sleep. There isn’t really a “right” or “wrong” age to start sleep training, but when you feel it’s the right time for your family. After all, no one else has to live with the sleep-deprivation you may be feeling day in and day out nor does everyone have support at home from a spouse or extended family. Some of us don’t have much of a “village” at home, which is why we try to become a part of your extended village here at The Baby Sleep Site®.

Why don’t parents sleep train their babies?

Many parents feel “wrong” for sleep training because they feel they are selfish or pushing their baby to do something he or she may not be ready for. This could be true if you have unrealistic expectations about what your baby may be capable of at their age. Other families feel like we shouldn’t “train” babies at all. They will sleep when they are ready. Here are some other fears about sleep training our survey respondents shared with us:

71% had fears about sleep coaching
75% were concerned it wouldn’t work
56% were concerned they would lack consistency
11% worried they would feel judged
30% worried they wouldn’t like the plan and feel stuck
23% worried sleep coaching would harm their baby
58% worried about their relationship with their baby being harmed

You need to feel right about your decision to sleep train. It’s not wrong to teach your child new skills and establish healthy habits if done in a loving way. Read on for more information about sleep training your baby to see if you can find a way to do it that you can feel good about.

5 Things to Do Before Sleep Training

Here are 5 things you should consider doing before starting sleep training:

  • Catch up on sleep yourself
  • Develop bedtime and naptime routines
  • Make a trip to the doctor to rule out a medical issue and get clearance it’s okay to start sleep training
  • Make a plan you can follow
  • Clear your calendar as much as possible for at least 2-3 weeks

For more details for each of these checklist items, take a look at our blog post 5 Things to Do Before Sleep Training.

Sleep Training Infants

Infant sleep training is when you help your baby learn a new way to sleep and, usually, more independently. This doesn’t mean your baby will not ever need you. They are babies after all, but you attempt to teach your baby how to sleep with less help from you.

Sleep training a newborn

With newborns, they clearly need a lot of comfort and attention. If you are thinking about sleep training your newborn baby, I do not recommend any method that involves crying. Most of the time, you are doing foundational steps like setting your newborn’s schedule or creating a bedtime routine.

Sleep training a 3-month-old

Once your baby is 8 weeks or older, you can start to consider trying to change more than their schedule and bedtime routine. Your baby may still be limited in how much self-soothing they can do, but with some gentle techniques, you can start to move towards more independent sleeping even if success comes in fits and spurts.

Sleep training a 4-month-old

Your baby will likely go through the dreaded 4-month sleep regression which is when your baby’s sleep will change permanently. This is when many babies who were sleeping through the night start waking up a lot at night again and taking short naps. At 4 months old, it’s also a common time to stop swaddling though some babies aren’t ready until a bit older. We do NOT recommend sleep training your baby while still being swaddled, if possible.

Sleep training a 5 to 6-month-old

At 5 months old or 6 months old, this is a great time for sleep training, usually. Your baby is no longer a newborn, has gone through the 4-month sleep regression, but does not sit up or stand up just yet, which can complicate things a bit. Many babies have not yet started teething, either, which is helpful. Anything that can give you confidence to move forward is helpful during the sleep training process.

Sleep training a 7, 8 or 9-month-old

Sleep training a 7, 8, or 9-month old can be challenging, but not impossible. Your baby may be starting their 8-month old sleep regression (which can last through 9 months and even 10 months old). Different than at 4 months, this regression is temporary and lasts around 3 to 6 weeks on and off. During this age, many babies are becoming a lot more mobile and their minds are very busy. This makes it harder to sleep and, thus, harder to sleep train. You may not get perfect sleep, but if everyone is miserable we still see many families improve sleep with sleep training in this age group.

Sleep training a 10 to 11-month-old

If your 10-month old breastfed baby is still waking more than once a night for a feeding or at all for a feeding being formula-fed, it’s likely time to start to sleep training, unless there is a medical issue. If your 10- or 11-month old is still taking short naps, it’s also probably well past time to start sleep training. With babies this age, the main issue is that they are often standing and cruising by now, so you will need to handle that complication. Typically, we recommend laying your baby down intermittently, not constantly, if they are standing up during the sleep training.

Sleep Training Toddlers

Sleep training your toddler is when you help your toddler become a more independent sleeper. At this point, they may or may not be able to fall asleep on their own, but most parents are tackling challenges such as needing a parent in the room, waking up a lot at night, taking short naps, not being able to sleep alone, or climbing out of the crib. There are many toddlers who are still sleeping like an infant who hasn’t been yet gone through sleep training, waking every 1-3 hours all.night.long and these parents are clearly exhausted!

Sleep training a 1-year-old

Your 1-year-old isn’t too different than an 11-month-old, but after you cross the one-year mark, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

First, not all 12-month-olds transition to one nap, so don’t jump the gun. If you transition your 12-month old too early, you could end up with quite a mess of more sleep problems. That said, there are many daycares who transition to one nap at this age and many toddlers will do just fine. However, in my experience, not all are truly ready.

Also, your baby may be transitioning to cow’s milk and you should keep in mind that animal milk is more of a beverage with a meal than a meal itself. It does not have the same nutrition as breast milk or formula, so be sure to offer 3 meals and 2-3 snacks each day to ensure your toddler doesn’t wake at night due to hunger.

Sleep training a 13 to 17-month-old

In this age group, your 15-month old is likely transitioning to one nap, though some don’t do it until later through 18-months-old. If your baby was a great sleeper, has started waking a lot at night (or waking too early in the morning), and still takes two naps, it may solve your problems simply by transitioning to one nap.

Sleep training an 18-month-old

The biggest thing about sleep training your 18-month-old is that there is the 18-month sleep regression to have to tackle at the same time (yes ANOTHER sleep regression!). During this regression, toddlers wake at night or start to skip some naps. Take heart that they do go back to napping until 3-4 years old, on average.

Aside from that, the other thing to keep in mind is that we sometimes start to see hunger strike in the middle of the night, again. These toddlers are super active and are growing a lot, so take a look at your daytime schedule and consider adding in another meal or snack.

Sleep training a 19-month-old to 2-year-old

Sleep training an older toddler has its challenges simply due to those dreaded tantrums! Toddlers are becoming very independent and want to make a lot of decisions on their own, including when to go to bed and where to sleep.

Toddler sleep training can also be more challenging now that your baby is likely saying a few words such as “mama” and “dada.” If you thought to hear your baby cry was hard before, hearing them say “mama” or “dada” over and over again is quite heartbreaking. That’s why we often use different sleep training techniques with toddlers, depending on the sleep problem. With toddlers being more mobile, sleep training is often a bit more challenging than infants, but again, we do this every day and it’s not too late to sleep train! Have no fear, it’s still possible to sleep train your older toddler, but you will need patience, resolve, consistency, and follow-through.

There are also 5 Things to Know About Your 2-Year-Old’s Sleep.

Sleep Training Methods – From Gentle Sleep Coaching to Cry-It-Out

There are a variety of sleep training methods you can use, from gentle sleep coaching to cry-it-out to in-between, and we have written on this topic several times. Here are a few of our most popular pieces:

And, if you are a member of our site, here are a few more premium resources you may be interested in:

What if you’re co-sleeping?

Can you sleep train if you’re co-sleeping and want to keep co-sleeping? Yes! Remember, you’re simply teaching your baby to sleep in a new way, not necessarily a new place, to sleep. Of course, if you want to transition from co-sleeping to crib that is also an option.

Need step-by-step instructions from transitioning from co-sleeping? Check out our premium resource, our day-by-day co-sleeping transition plan.

Sleep Training Naps – Is it different?

Sleep training naps is a bit different in that a different part of your baby’s brain handles day and night sleep. The drive to sleep is weaker during the day, so nap training is often (but not always) harder than nighttime sleep training. The main thing we do differently here is breaking the nap training down into smaller steps. Learn more about nap training here.

When are you done sleep training?

Are you ever done sleep training or will you need to sleep train over and over? As with many things pertaining to your baby or toddler, it will vary depending on the child. Their age, temperament, and personality will impact how the sleep training process goes. For some babies, a little nudging and they become fantastic sleepers for many months or years while others are more sensitive to changes and may struggle with every nap transition or schedule disruption. They do grow and mature, so although it may not feel perfect, being proactive in teaching them healthy sleep habits will “stick” eventually and it’s well worth it to have better sleep even if not “perfect.”

Should you hire a sleep consultant?

Considering I’ve been a sleep consultant for over 10 years, I may be biased, but hiring a sleep consultant can fast path you to a much smoother and faster sleep journey. In my experience, parents who have a lot of questions, worry about doing it “wrong”, worry their baby may be genuinely hungry or something else is wrong, or those who simply need more support as they go through the process greatly benefit from working with a sleep consultant. You receive a Personalized Sleep Plan® and you can ask all the what-if questions that come to mind, figure out if what you’re experiencing is normal, and have a support system to help you stay consistent, which is crucial to success. You may be interested in reading 7 Reasons Hiring a Baby Sleep Consultant Is a No-Brainer.

Not every parent needs a sleep consultant. Some families like to DIY by reading sleep books, researching on the internet, and ask family and friends, and it works for them! In my experience, those who hire us are tired of the conflicting advice, tired of sorting through the information to apply it to their baby, and often at their wit’s end. And, we hear “I wish I had done this sooner” more times than we can count like Zoe.

The #1 Ingredient to Make Sleep Training Successful

And, finally, I end with letting you know the #1 ingredient to help make sleep training successful: CONSISTENCY. You’ve probably read it many times before, but I can’t emphasize enough that mixed messages will ruin the best of plans. If you are having trouble staying consistent, you may not have the right plan, the right sleep coaching method, or the right support system. And, we’d love to help!

And, the results of our survey?

31% said the relationship with their baby improved
67% said the relationship with their baby had no change
48% felt empowered
44% felt healthier
38% felt more confident as a parent
45% felt like a better parent/spouse/partner/employee
19% felt more connected to their spouse
34% felt more responsive to their baby
87% felt more responsive to their baby, the same, or happy their baby was more independent
51% felt they would have made more mistakes at work had they not sleep coached and 13% felt they may have had to quit their job
42% felt happier and more pleasant at work
45% felt focus at work improved and 37% felt quality of work improved
51% said sleep coaching improved their PPD

and…

23% said it was easier than they thought
21% said it went as expected and would do it again
34% said it was hard, but worth it in the long run
36% said there was a manageable amount of crying

Tell us about sleep training your baby. How did it go and what do you wish you knew before you did it?

Holly Jolly Sleep Giveaway!0

Baby Sleep Site Holly Jolly Sleep Giveaway

It’s that time of year again…time for our annual holiday giveaway! This year we’re taking on the role of Sleep Santa with all of our sleep consultant elves working around the clock to help spread some sleepy time holiday cheer. Peeking into our big sack of sleepy prizes makes us really excited about helping even more families get the sleep they need this holiday season and into the new year. If you’ve been thinking of asking Santa for more sleep for the holidays, then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve got a holly jolly sleep filled giveaway launching today that also includes a $100 Amazon Gift Card because Santa knows just how much fun it is to to click and shop! Keep reading to see the full list of prizes. Get your entry in today so you can start dreaming of a sleep filled holiday.

Entries will be accepted today through Monday, December 10, 2018 11:59 pm ET. All prizes are available to entrants worldwide except Baby S.T.E.P.S. to Better Sleep which is available to U.S. entrants only.

$100 Gift Card to Amazon.com

amazon-GCThis year’s Grand Prize winner will receive an Amazon.com gift card worth $100. Order virtually anything quickly and easily online, using your Amazon gift card, and receive your shipment quickly.
 
One grand prize winner will receive a $100 Amazon Gift Card. The Amazon Gift Card grand prize is eligible to any entrant where Amazon is available.
 

Baby Shusher

thumbnailBaby Shusher Collection The Baby Shusher is the only device on the market that has an actual human’s voice recorded that “shushes” your baby. These long, rhythmic “shushes” mimic the sounds heard in utero and cut into the baby’s crying cycle to calm him/her down. It’s called the Sleep Miracle! The Gift Collection comes with two pacifiers, two swaddles, and the amazing Baby Shusher.

One winner will be selected to receive a Baby Shusher Gift Collection.
 

Baby S.T.E.P.S. Better Sleep Book

Other baby sleep books offer one-size-fits-all sleep coaching advice. It’s their way or the highway! Not so with Baby S.T.E.P.S. to Better Sleep. This resource empowers parents with the tools and knowledge they need to gently coach their children to better nights and rested naps, in a way that fits their goals and parenting styles.

Baby S.T.E.P.S. to Better Sleep offers….

  • …a step-by-step approach to help parents create their own sleep coaching plans
  • …bedtime and nap time reference charts
  • …sample schedules
  • …a breakdown of recommended sleep coaching strategies by age, parenting type, and temperament
  • …a comprehensive look at how to sleep coach to better nights and naps

Two winners will each receive a hard copy of Baby S.T.E.P.S. to Better Sleep

Personalized E-Mail Baby Sleep Consultation ($147 Value)

babysleepingWhat better way for Mom to pamper herself than to get more sleep! Your baby’s sleep shouldn’t be stressful and The Baby Sleep Site® strives to provide a strong, non-judgmental, support network to help you and your family sleep better. Our website has helped countless families through free online articles, step-by-step e-Books, and private and personalized sleep consulting services.

One winner will win the Basic E-mail Consultation Package to help with your sleep struggles. If you already have an account, your account will be credited.
 

Express Sleep Plan®

ExpressSleepPlan115The Express Sleep Plan® provides tired families just like yours with effective, customized sleep training help….and it provides it instantly. No waiting! Simply complete a brief questionnaire about your unique sleep history and challenges, submit your answers, and your plan will be available to download or print within just a few moments. It’s that simple! With the Express Sleep Plan®, you don’t have to wait days for a sleep plan; instead, you can get started as soon as you and your child are ready.

One winner will receive an Express Sleep Plan®. Recommended for families with healthy babies or toddlers age 4 months and older.
 

The 3-Step System To Help Your Baby Sleep

bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftThis book helps you design a step by step a sleep coaching plan that works for you and your family. It also includes a quick reference guide with age-specific sleep guidelines and sleep log for tracking your child’s sleep patterns. Whether you are interested in co-sleeping, crying it out, setting schedules, night weaning or feeding at night, this e-book covers it all!

One winner will receive a copy of The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep e-book.
 

Membership to Exclusive Content on The Baby Sleep Site®

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is a do-it-yourself sleep coach’s dream come true! members of The Baby Sleep Site receive unlimited product access – read all our e-Books at no additional charge, access special members-only articles, enjoy a large library of recorded tele-seminars, browse our selection of case studies…it’s like having your own sleep resource library! This is truly a resource that grows with your child. What’s more, members enjoy weekly chats with expert sleep consultants (which provides the perfect chance to ask your pressing sleep questions and get answers from a pro). And the icing on the cake? Members receive 20% off all personalized consulting services!

One winner will receive a 6-month membership to The Baby Sleep Site®’s Members Area.
 

Essential Keys To Your Newborn’s Sleep E-Book

Essential Keys to Your Newborn's SleepUnderstanding newborn sleep can be simple, as long as you keep one basic principle in mind: everything about a newborn is connected. Many factors influence a newborn’s sleep, including feeding patterns, routines, temperament, and overall health. In Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep, Baby Sleep Site® founder Nicole Johnson and sleep consultant Miriam Chickering discuss at length each factor that influences sleep. They also offer practical, hands-on tips about how you can influence some of these factors and set the stage for better newborn sleep, both now and throughout the first year. Nicole and Miriam also explain what to expect at each stage of growth, and how to cope with difficulties and challenges that will arise. Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is a complete toolkit of tips, advice, and sample schedules to help your baby establish healthy sleep habits today and throughout the first year.

One winner will receive an instant download of Essential Keys To Your Newborn’s Sleep e-book.
 

Mastering Naps and Schedules e-Book

baby napsIf naps are a struggle or if you have questions about how much and how often your baby or toddler should be napping, then this is the book for you. This book covers how to help your child learn to nap longer, why naps are so important for nighttime sleep, how to break baby’s dependence on you to fall asleep, how to help your early riser learn to sleep later, and includes over 40 sample schedules…plus much more!

One winner will receive an instant download of the Mastering Naps and Schedules e-Book.
 

The 5 Step System to Better Toddler Sleep

Toddler sleep help Many parents are surprised to learn that it is not that uncommon for a toddler to not be sleeping through the night or have other sleep related issues. With this toddler sleep book, you can learn how to get back in control with this comprehensive toddler sleep guide. This ebook includes a toolkit of strategies, sample schedules, and sleep logs will put your toddler on the right sleep track.

One winner will receive an instant download of The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep e-book

Enter the giveaway using the widget below

Entries will be accepted through December 10th at 11:59 pm ET.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Baby Crying in Sleep – What Does It Mean and How Should You Handle It?0

Baby Crying In SleepIs your baby crying in their sleep? If so, you are not alone! But, why do babies cry in their sleep? Learn these top 5 reasons and how you should handle it.

First, before you learn how to handle your baby crying in their sleep, let’s explore reasons for crying. Here are the top 5 reasons babies cry in their sleep, in no particular order:

  • Hunger – The most obvious reason a baby cries in their sleep is due to a feeding time. Some babies do not wake up completely in order to signal to their parent to feed them. They may appear half asleep but eat eagerly. With babies waking from hunger, they will usually go immediately back to sleep even if they are put down in their crib or bed.
  • Sleep Cycles – After the 4-month sleep regression your baby needs to transition between sleep cycles. The first ~5 hours (or so) are usually the deepest sleep, but then your baby needs to cycle from deep sleep into light sleep and then back again on and off throughout the night. When babies do this, they often fuss or cry between sleep cycles for a few minutes (usually 5 or less, but sometimes 10 minutes). This is the equivalent of an adult talking in their sleep. If your baby returns to sleep quickly and without issue, there’s nothing to be concerned about. In general, we see this occur 1-3 times a night. If it’s occurring more frequently, there may be another reason or you need to review your baby’s schedule.
  • Fever or Teething – If your baby is uncomfortable for some reason such as from a fever or teething, your baby may wake periodically and fuss or cry in their sleep. If your baby is teething, review our 3 proven tips to help with teething and if your baby has a fever, talk to your doctor about appropriate care for a fever. In most cases, your baby will feel better within a few days to a week in either case. If it has lasted longer, your baby may be crying in sleep for another reason.
  • Needs More Sleep – If your baby wakes up crying, it’s very likely your baby needs more sleep than he or she has gotten during that sleep period. Yes, sometimes your baby wakes up for the day hungry enough to cry, but most babies who wake up for the day crying have not finished their final sleep cycle. In this case, you may be getting your baby up prematurely. Similarly, at nap time, your baby may need a longer nap.
  • Pacifier and Other Sleep Associations – The most common reason for babies crying in their sleep, particularly when they don’t go back to sleep without your help, is due to sleep associations. This might mean they need you to replace the pacifier, rock them back to sleep, bounce them on a yoga ball, etc. They typically look like they are sleeping with their eyes closed, but are fussing or crying for you to “do” something. If your baby is waking up every 1-3 hours at night beyond the newborn days, this is the most likely reason. To change sleep associations (they aren’t all bad), you would likely do some baby sleep training.

How should you handle your baby crying in sleep? First, unless your baby needs attention in some way, you would simply leave them be and let them go right back to sleep. This is especially true if they are only crying for a few minutes. If these short bouts of crying are disrupting your sleep too much, you may want to ditch your baby monitor. If your baby needs attention to the crying, then you would clearly give your baby attention. But, take care that if it’s due to a sleep association (see above), then coming up with a strategy for sleep training would be helpful to decrease the wake-ups and maximize both your baby’s sleep as well as your own. If your baby seems to be eating at night excessively, you may want to consider when it’s time to night-wean.

And, finally, can your baby have bad dreams and that’s why they are crying during sleep? No one knows for sure, but the theory is that babies can definitely have a nightmare by age one and probably sooner. Since bad dreams and nightmares occur during REM and active sleep, it is possible even newborns can have bad dreams. How complex they are would be difficult to figure out, of course!

Does your baby cry during sleep? What is your experience? Share in the comments below!

Top 10 Baby Sleep Training Dos and Dont’s0

Top Baby Sleep Training Dos and Donts

We have written many articles about sleep training from why night-weaning may be failing, the best age to start sleep training to what’s the best weekday to start sleep training. We have also answered questions like whether to use cry it out for naps, what types of sleep training methods exist, and whether you should stop sleep training during separation anxiety.

We obviously get a lot of questions about sleep training in our Helpdesk and we thought it would be a good idea to write up a summary of all the do’s and don’ts when it comes to sleep training. Keep reading for 10 vital dos and don’ts of sleep training, as well as tips to help you decide how sleep training will be impacted your child’s temperament.

10 Baby Sleep Training Dos and Don’ts

A quick note – please don’t equate sleep training with cry it out. We know that most families really prefer to try gentler methods, and can’t stand the idea of hearing their babies cry…but we also know that some families end up needing to use cry it out for a variety for reasons just the same. For the purposes of this article, sleep training or sleep coaching is really meant to mean teaching your baby a new way to sleep whether you take a few days or a few weeks or a few months. The pace is up to you as well as the method you choose to accomplish your sleep goals.

And that transitions us nicely into point #1…

  1. DO explore various sleep training methods – There are gentle sleep training methods that can work well for some babies just like other babies may need a faster (and sometimes less confusing) approach such as cry it out or something in between. And, sometimes, co-sleeping is the answer.
  2. DO create a strong foundation first – make sure your child’s sleep space is soothing and will promote sleep, and that you’ve made any necessary changes to your sleep and feeding schedule at least 1 week before you start sleep training, ideally. You’ll also want to rule out any other cases of your baby’s night waking or short naps before you start sleep training. Our team is 100% committed to using this kind of holistic approach to sleep, which is why we don’t always start our sleep plans with sleep training.
  3. DO make sure you are prepared to follow through. Sleep training can require a lot of commitment and you have to be ready to go down that road!
  4. DO find a support system to help you through. Make sure your spouse or partner is on board (that’s key to some families’ sleep training success, as you both should respond to your baby in the same way in order for sleep training to be most effective). If your spouse isn’t supportive, ask a friend or other family member you can turn to. And, of course, you can always turn to our team of expert consultants for compassionate support and a sympathetic ear, as well as expert advice in how to make sure sleep training goes as smoothly (and as quickly) as possible.
  5. DO make a plan ahead of time. A plan is critical to sleep training success in many cases. You need to decide ahead of time how you’re going to handle your baby’s crying, and what your overall timeline for sleep training looks like. Need help with a sleep plan and confused where to start? Consider having one made for you!
  6. DON’T try sleep training too young. You should always use gentle methods to help your baby learn to sleep well during the newborn stage, and even at 4 months6 months, you will likely want to try gentler approaches. Your baby will be developing and maturing rapidly and as you establish a foundation, you can let your baby do more and more of the “work” independently.
  7. DON’T night-wean at the same time you start sleep training necessarily (unless that’s your only goal). Why? Because feelings of doubt about whether or not your baby is hungry or simply thinks he needs help falling asleep will often undermine even the best of plans.
  8. DON’T send mixed messages or be inconsistent in your approach. Stick to your sleep coaching plan for at least a week or two before you make changes – and be sure that while you are implementing your sleep training method of choice you are as consistent as possible in how you respond to your baby. If you’re inconsistent, it’s unfair to your child – not to mention confusing, and you are likely not to make much progress, leaving everyone more tired (and emotionally drained) than when you started.
  9. DON’T wait until you’re at your wit’s end and do it. Many parents who resort to cry it out because they’re practically cross-eyed with exhaustion and they tend to do it without a plan. And then, ultimately end up sending mixed messages and being inconsistent (see the previous point). If you’re already at your wit’s end, then you’ll have to disregard this one, but many of the parents we work with know a change needs to be made and it’s better to make changes sooner rather than later. When you are at your wit’s end, you tend to make more mistakes, become inconsistent, or resort to a method you didn’t want to in the first place.
  10. DON’T necessarily do naps and nights at the same time. Working on naps and nights at the same time often ends up being overwhelming for your baby AND for you, especially if there is a lot of crying, and that can make it nearly impossible to follow through.

And, one bonus thing to consider:

  • DON’T have high expectations that you will be “done” in 3 days. While that’s true for some, it’s not true for all. Instead, plan for a realistic timeline before you start.

Baby Sleep Training And Your Baby’s Temperament

It’s important to remember that sleep training your baby isn’t just about whether or not you’re ready to try it – it’s about how your baby will handle the process, too! The truth is, certain temperaments respond much better to sleep training than others, so knowing ahead of time how your baby’s personality will mesh with cry it out is helpful.

You can read our entire baby sleep and temperament series for specific details on how each temperament trait will impact sleep training, but here’s a quick summary to get you started:

  • Slow to adapt, persistent and intense children may have a harder time with crying methods and cry too intensely. For these babies, you may want to try a gentler method first and then re-evaluate.
  • An adaptable, easy-going baby will likely cry very little, if at all.
  • With consistent babies, it may be easier to time up bedtime and nap times, giving you more confidence that your baby is ready for sleep at bedtime and at nap time. That, in turn, will make it easier to stay consistent with sleep training, because you won’t be wondering if your baby is crying because she’s not tired enough for sleep.
  • High-energy babies may need longer wind-down times before sleep, and may also have more energy to cry longer, which will obviously make sleep training a bit more difficult.

All of this to say that every baby is unique, so you may need to experiment a bit with what works for your child. If you’re struggling with sleep training your baby – whether you’re considering cry it out or not – you may need help from an expert. Our team of expert consultants is ready to offer you compassionate, caring support that is 100% personalized to your unique situation. Whether you want to start with gentle methods, or whether you want personalized recommendations about how to proceed with cry it out, or somewhere in-between, we will work with you, and use approaches that mesh with your goals, your parenting philosophy, and your child’s personality and temperament. Let our team start working on your Personalized Sleep Plan™ today!

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to log in and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

What are your thoughts on the dos and don’ts of cry it out? We want to hear from you!

 
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