The Top Methods and Tips for Sleep Training Babies
by Garry Howard
Having a child is life altering. As cliché as it sounds, the arrival of your little one will turn your sense of normality on its head, so that it’s hard to remember what life before baby looked like. Those early days after their arrival are among the most transcendent and turbulent you’ll ever experience, but although there’s magic in each and every moment, it’s okay to acknowledge that it can also be really difficult, especially if your little bundle of joy doesn’t sleep through the night.It’s something every parent has experienced: the long hours of lying awake, listening to every little snuffle and snore, followed by the frustration of hearing baby cry the second you close your eyes.As much as it might come with the territory, however, you don’t just have to accept that this is how your life is going to be now. Sleep deprivation isn’t good for either you or your baby, as it will leave you short-tempered, unsettled, and grouchy – which your little one will pick up on.The solution? You need to teach your newborn to fall asleep and stay asleep independently – a feat that can be achieved with the help of a few popular baby sleep training methods. Although it might sound difficult, it can be done, which is why we’ve written this handy guide to help you.
How do you get a newborn to sleep through the night?
Getting baby to sleep through the night is a challenge many parents face. While newborns will inevitably wake up through the night more than older infants, as their tummies aren’t big enough to keep them full, you can start putting a routine in place and creating an environment conducive to sleep from early on. With this in mind, we recommend the following:
• Establish a bedtime routine
It’s never too soon to get a bedtime routine in place, and this will set you up for success further down the line. With this in mind, try to incorporate calming, soothing activities that your little one responds to, such as swaddling and reading, as this will build positive sleep associations for baby.Activities such as reading, playing music and singing nursery rhymes can all help to create this routine. Some babies can even form a strong bond with a comforter, such as a teddy or small blanket and the familiar feel and smell of this item can help them to fall asleep. At Direct4Baby, we offer a collection of sleep comforters to help new parents and soothe babies, including the Zazu Nightlight Heartbeat Sounds Soft Toy, Ewan the Dream Sheep Deluxe and the Gro Company Gro-Clock Sleep Trainer.
• Stay calm and relaxed at bedtime
If there’s one thing babies pick up on, it’s stress. It’s important to remember that newborns can’t differentiate between night and day, so they simply sleep when they need to. Although this can make getting into any kind of routine difficult, it’s important to stay calm and for both baby and parent to take time to rest whenever it comes. Eventually, your baby will begin to both stay awake and sleep for longer periods and you will be able to extend things like playtime and wind down time to start to suit your desired routine. Things like comforters and sleeping aids again can be used as tools to help both parent and baby stay relaxed.
• Create a soothing environment
Last but not least, encourage baby to sleep longer by creating a calming ambience in their room. You can do this by keeping the area at a comfortable temperature, ensuring it’s properly dark, and adding some white noise to drown out disturbances.Many of our parents swear by night lights and sleeping aids such as Ewan the Dream Sheep Deluxe - which both emits light and ambient sound to keep baby well-rested.
What can you use to help baby sleep?
When it comes to sleep training infants, most of it will come down to your efforts, but there are some handy baby sleep products out there to make life a little easier. These include everything from blackout blinds to darken your nursery through to our popular range of baby sleep aids from Gro. If you take a look at this particular section on our website, you’ll find lots of handy ideas, all of them designed to create a more soothing sleeping environment for your little one.
How do you get your baby to fall asleep on their own?
While few things feel as lovely as letting your baby fall asleep in your arms, you’ll soon find that allowing this to become a habit can make life more difficult. A better approach is to teach your little one to fall asleep on their own, and there are a number of ways you can do this. That’s why we recommend getting into the habit of putting them in their cot when they start to get sleepy. While it’s okay to stay with them to begin with, stroke their hair or hold their hand as they drift off rather than picking them up and rocking them. Slightly weighted Grobags can also help, by making baby feel like they’re being held even once you’ve left the room.
How do you teach your baby to self soothe?
Although some people don’t like the idea of letting their baby self soothe, some parents do feel that this is a good technique to teach them if you’re struggling to get them to settle overnight. It’s not taught by ignoring your little one, but rather, by limiting the amount of time you spend with them when they cry. This means that rather than picking them up when they fuss overnight, you place a gentle hand on their chest to calm them and then leave the room once they’re all right. Some say that this will teach them to fall asleep on their own, so they no longer feel the need to cry and be settled back to sleep by you.When it comes to sleep training your baby, each child and parent is an individual, but these top tips and tricks are preferred by some parents. Pick and choose those that suit you, and use them alongside the many handy baby sleep products that are out there, and your little one should be snoozing through the night in no time!Why not shop baby sleep aids at Direct4Baby today?