Being the parent of a new born baby includes many stressful and sleep deprived nights. When you’re finally ready to being sleep training it can be tough to know where to begin with the vast amount of advice you receive and information you find on the internet. As a mother, grandmother, and pediatrician for the past 20 years I have learned that the hardest  for us, the parents. Once you have a realistic understanding of sleep training its actual implementation is a breeze.

A few things to understand about your baby and sleep.

Day Time Routine will mirror night time routine

  1. You can begin creating the foundations of a bed time routine at roughly 6 weeks.
  2. Sleep Training is best between 2 - 6 months. I recommend starting a bedtime routine when your baby is 2 months old.
  3. Your baby is born with natural body rhythms that cause them to cat nap, wake up, make noise, and fall back asleep for an hour or 2. This is NATURAL

So what’s the appeal of self soothing?

Self-soothing pertains to the baby’s ability to fall asleep on her own, without the need for an adult to rock, cuddle, pat, carry or shush her to sleep. Some babies are natural self soothers but most need to be taught.

Self- soothing has benefits such as: parental relief. Parent’s can sleep throughout the night instead of calming the baby in the middle of the night. This creates a more normal sleeping schedule for the entire household. Self-soothing teaches babies how to learn to fall asleep and trains their bodies to relax when it is time to sleep.  Babies who can self-soothe develop healthier mood management as toddlers and handle tantrums much better.

Sleep Props are sensory or auditory self soothing tools to support self settling.  They will help initiate a sleeping routine and soothing mechanism for your baby.

  • Toys like a musical crib toy, teddy bear, or rattler will provide an auditory cue for sleep and sensory sense of calm for your baby.
  • If your baby is under 6 months old choose a toy that is soft or can attach to the crib for accessibility and safety.
  • Always have those toys in your babies daytime and nighttime crib. Also – you can put a blanket in her crib that smells like you. Wash it with your detergent. This may provide a soothing tool.

Building An Initial Sleep Schedule: The key is self soothing

Stimulate your baby during the day and be aware of nap times in correlation to feeding times.
When your baby is two months old (you can start earlier), establish a routine that lasts at least ten minutes.

  • Feed your baby
  • Rock your baby
  • Sing to your baby
  • Talk to your baby
  • Then lay your baby to bed!

Your baby needs to be ready but most importantly you and your spouse need to be ready to stick to this routine or it will be a waste of your time.

Can you commit to your sleep routine or will other events or commitments disrupt this process?

Can you commit to your sleep routine or will other events or commitments disrupt this process?

Don’t give up and avoid consistent soothing, you’re not supposed to switch out the rattle for your finger as much as you’d love to.

Self-soothing means your child will self-settle and you CAN leave the room and let them fall asleep, don’t’ interrupt this important process.

Once you feel confident in teaching your baby to self soothe you can begin the sleep training process, check my article here for your first week guide.

Dr. Meg Meeker, MD

Practicing pediatrician, parent, grandparent, coach, speaker, and author. Say hello @MegMeekerMD

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