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Sleep Training 101

11/29/2017 09:30AM ● Published by Digital Media Director

By: Leann Latus, Certified Sleep Sense Consultant, Founder of Tender Transitions

Let’s face it…parenting is hard work! And at the top of the list of challenges is how to get your baby to sleep. Thousands of parents struggle with getting their baby to sleep easily and independently. The good news is you don’t have to accept the status quo!

Take a nine-month-old healthy baby. Every night at bedtime, he requires his parents to rock him, bounce him, or feed him to sleep. Sometimes this can be enjoyable and sweet. But beware; he may suddenly seek these techniques out several times a night – keeping everyone awake. 

If this sounds familiar, read on for some easy tips you can start implementing tonight.

Hello darkness, my old friend.

Light sends a message to our brains that it’s daytime and not time to sleep. Melatonin production is triggered by darkness, so start turning down the lights an hour before you plan to put baby down.

Turn down the heat.

Parents can be obsessive over their babies’ comfort. Making sure they’re warm enough is such a basic instinct and people tend to overdo it. Babies sleep best when they’re warm and snuggly inside a cool environment. A set of cotton pajamas and a sleep sack inside a cool nursery, somewhere around 66° to 70° is the best way to ensure baby remains comfortable through the night.

Keep it boring.

We all love the look of a cute mobile over the top of our baby’s crib, but they can be a real source of fascination for your little one, which is great! Just not when they’re trying to sleep. To a baby, they can be the equivalent of a big budget action movie, so keep visual stimulation away from the crib. Instead, use a white noise machine to block out any outside noise and a yellow or red night-light to keep older infants and toddlers from getting spooked during the night.

Be predictable.

A consistent bedtime routine is conducive to a good night’s sleep, even with newborns. Once their bodies and brains start to recognize the signals indicating an upcoming bedtime, they’ll start preparing to pack it in for the evening as soon as that first step begins. Energy levels wind down, melatonin production kicks in and muscles start to relax. By the time you’re giving them a goodnight kiss, their system should be all set for a long, restorative sleep.

Teaching your baby great sleep skills isn’t a one-night operation. It takes some time and plenty of diligence on your part. But before you know it, you’ll have a rock star sleeper! 

Health, Parenting, In Print, Today parenting Sleep Training sleep sense consultant