If you follow the Sleep Sense Program, or have watched a few of my other videos, you’ve probably heard me refer to “sleep props” a few dozen times by now. That’s because sleep props are the single biggest obstacle to your baby sleeping through the night.
“Not me,” you might be thinking. “My baby doesn’t sleep with a pacifier, stuffed animals, or toys of any kind.”
And while those things are all forms of sleep props, they’re not nearly the most common ones I see.
Check out today’s video and I’ll explain my definition of a sleep prop and why you may be using one without even knowing it.
– Hi, I’m Dana, welcome to this week’s video.
Tell me if any of these scenarios sound familiar to you. Each time your baby needs to sleep, you have to rock her or each time your baby needs to sleep, you have to feed her or each time your baby has to sleep, you have to give her a bottle until she falls asleep. Or or or. There are lots of “or”s to this question.
Now, if you’re nodding your head and thinking, yeah, that sounds like us then that is called a sleep prop. So I’m gonna dive into this a little bit deeper with you today to really get to the bottom of why is sleep prop so problematic in encouraging great sleep habits and what you can do to encourage your child to move away from the prop and start learning some skills that are independent around sleep and I’m telling you, people, this is the bottom line. This is the only reason your child’s not sleeping well.
So that’s the good news. This has a very, this is a very fixable problem you’ve got.
So I want you to think about going to sleep at night for yourself. What’s involved in getting yourself ready for bed? You most likely do a routine every night.
You climb into bed on the same side of the bed. You have your pillow that you are very clear that it’s not your pillow if it’s not. Maybe you need to have the window open just so or a glass of water by your bedside or your earplugs ready to go or socks on or whatever it is.
These are the strategies that you’ve collected along the way that help you get to sleep easier. They’re comforting. They’re habit. We don’t like change around our sleep environment at all and that’s why we don’t sleep well when we go away or sleep in a hotel or at friend’s or family’s houses because it’s a little bit different. It throws you off for a night or two.
So we’re very protective of our habits around sleep even the positions that you get in to. You might start off relaxing on your back until you feel ready for sleep to come and then you turn into what your favorite position is.
So think about that. Watch it tonight and you’ll be like, ah, yes, correct. Those are the things that I do.
So what happens to babies is that they develop these strategies but they’re dependent on something external.
So the journey into sleep for most babies looks like I get on the breast and I nurse until I fall asleep or I get on the bottle and I suck on the bottle until I fall asleep or I’m bounced on the exersaucer or I’m rocked around the house. I mean, these are all the ways the child now believes hey, this is how I do this thing. I get on the bottle, I get on the breast and the journey to sleep begins.
Does that make sense? So it’s not the, I’m not against feeding babies obviously but when you have to feed your baby to sleep in pretty much every sleep situation then that is a clear sign that your baby has a prop dependency on the breast, the bottle, rocking, being driven around, car seats. I mean, all kinds of things can become a prop.
So I want you to take a minute and just think about it. What is the fastest and easiest and your go-to way to get this little one to fall asleep and whatever your answer is, that’s your sleep prop.
So how do you get rid of sleep props? Well, that’s a whole other video, a whole other, in fact, I wrote a whole book on how you get rid of sleep props. So check out the Sleep Sense Program if you’re curious and that’s gonna give you a very clear walkthrough of how do we break this association on the prop and teach our babies to sleep well.
I will leave you though with some really good news. Sleep is a biological necessity. I mean, we all need sleep. Our bodies are gonna absolutely help us get the sleep we need. So when you show a baby the way, without these props, this is how you do it, they will quickly find strategies that become independent. So they get in a certain position or maybe they cuddle a baby or a teddy or maybe they play with their own hair.
I mean, it’s all kinds of things. They’ll figure it out. They’ll be like, oh, this is comforting to me. I’m gonna do these things while I’m waiting for sleep to come or starting my journey into sleep and once they have their own independent sleep skills, they become superstar sleepers and all these problems go away.
Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 57,00 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started today – I’m looking forward to helping you!