Do you want to know my #1 TIP to help babies sleep through the night? Listen carefully. You need to eliminate the sleep props.
Sleep props are anything that we use to help us fall asleep. We all have them......babies, children, and adults. As adults, many people can’t sleep without their favorite pillow, a fan blowing on them, the TV on, a CPAP machine, etc. Most children have props like a pacifier, bottle/breast, parents rocking them, lullabies, favorite blanket, etc. Some props are harmless, some are bad, and some are downright ugly.
The reason props can become bad or ugly is that they either require another person, or they are not conducive to sleep (blue light from TVs depleting melatonin=UGLY). For example, if you rock your baby to sleep and then go lay her in her crib, chances are she is going to be startled and/or pissed off when she wakes up in the middle of the night and you aren’t there holding her. After all, that was pretty sneaky of you. Therefore, your sweet little princess is going to scream and cry until you come in and help her fall back asleep because that is how she has learned to fall asleep. She now associates rocking in your arms with falling asleep and doesn't know any other way.
Most parents hope for the best and pray that their little ones will sleep through the night; however, none of us sleep throughout the entire night without waking. We are biologically wired to come to the surface of wakefulness between each sleep cycle to reposition our bodies, check-in with the environment, etc. As adults, we hardly even notice these wake-ups because most of us have independent sleep skills (those of you who don’t need to call me!). Babies and toddlers typically don’t have these skills and need to be taught.
So, we need to pull the props. If a baby can fall asleep on her own at bedtime, she will then learn to put herself back to sleep during the night time arousals between sleep cycles. Most parents look at me with sheer panic when I tell them we need to pull the bottle, pacifier, or rocking their kiddos to sleep. I won’t lie, it is hard work. But, it’s only a struggle for a little while (typically a couple of weeks if you are working with me). Teaching your child independent sleep skills should be at the top of your priority list because quality sleep will improve your entire family’s mood, energy levels, health, attention…….and the list goes on and on and on!
Call me, I'll help you eliminate the crap out of those sleep props!