Sleep training your baby can be helpful.
You never wake a sleeping baby.
How many new moms have heard this sincere instruction?
The truth is, if you want your baby to routinely sleep through the night, then it is essential to wake him/her up.
What if I told you your little ones could be sleeping from 11 pm to 6 am at about 12 weeks?
And sleeping twelve hours regularly about 16 weeks with routine nap times?
While you can start sleep training very early on it is recommended by experts to start at around 4-6 months of age.
The reason for that age is that babies are physically able to go about 6-8 hours without feeding and do not have the habit of relying on mom or dad to be able to go to sleep yet.
We’ve been taught to feed our babies to sleep and let them wake up when they want.
Not only does that not go well with their digestive system, (nor does it go well with ours) it hinders their wake/sleep cycle.
Babies Don’t Set The Routine
While in the hospital, with our newborn, nurses have us on a 3-hour routine.
Somehow when we come home, we suddenly forfeit that routine to no routine.
We are told the baby will set his/her own routine.
Why would we allow an infant to set the routine?
No wonder so many parents are worn out with toddlers who are still not sleeping through the night.
There is a much better way.
Starting from birth, you set up a daily routine for a 2 ½ to 3-hour feeding “block” of time.
Within that block of time, you have a cycle consisting of
1) feeding your baby.
2) Keeping him/her awake…and
3) then you have nap time.
Sample Feeding Schedule:
Feed: 7 am
Naptime: 8:30 am
Feed 10 am
Feed 4:00 pm
Feed 6:30 pm
BEDTIME: 8:00 pm
Feed time 9:00pm
NO WAKE TIME
Feed time: 11:30 pm
NO WAKE TIME
Let Your Baby Sleep
After the 11:30 pm feeding, do not wake your baby.
Let your baby wake you up.
At first, your little one will likely wake you up at about 2-3 am. Then again about 5-6 am.
If you stay consistent with your routine, you will find something amazing begin to happen.
One night instead of waking you up at 3 am…it will be 4am, and then 6 am.
You have trained your little one to get his feedings during the day, and you are training him/her to do the majority of their sleeping at night.
Once your baby is sleeping routinely from 11 pm to 7 am, you will adjust your 11 pm feeding to 10:30, then 10:00, etc.
By about 12 weeks your baby’s day should start at 8 am with a bedtime at 8 pm, along with a 2-hour nap from 10 am to noon, and again from 2 pm to 4 pm.
Not only does this create a happy baby and a rested mom, but it also gives both mom and baby peace of mind.
Mom is more aware of abnormal crying and behavior.
A routine is a blessing to the entire family as well as to other caregivers.
What About Nap Time?
When your baby wakes up crying during periods when he/she should be sleeping, there are several things you can do.
Let’s say you put your baby down for a nap and he/she either doesn’t sleep at all, or wakes up after a half-hour when naptime is supposed to be an hour and a half.
Remember That Mom (Not Baby) Determines Nap Time
- Give him a few minutes. He may be transitioning from a night of light sleep into a deep sleep.
- One mistake we make with babies is thinking that when they cry they are finished with their nap. That is not true. We need to understand sleep cycles. We rise and fall between light and deep sleep.
- Many times as babies transition between the two they will cry, coo, babble, etc. but they are not finished with their sleep.
- In fact, their deepest most essential sleep has yet to take place. So, give him a few minutes. He may transition by himself, he may not. That is what you are teaching him.
What About The Crying?
Moms are different when it comes to crying, especially new moms. Give yourself a time limit.
For example, let’s say 15 minutes. If after 15 minutes he doesn’t settle down, go in and check on him.
Does he need a diaper change?
If you pick him up, and he stops crying then you know he just wanted to be picked up and you do not want to encourage that habit.
So, give him a kiss and gently tell him, this is nap time. Mommy’s here, but it’s nap time.
You may have to do that a lot during your training stage.
Keep Him Awake
If he just won’t sleep or won’t go back to sleep, then get him up.
Put him in his swing or somewhere to make him happy and try to keep him awake until his next scheduled nap time, or as close to it as possible.
Chances are the next scheduled nap time he will be ready.
Wake Up for Next Scheduled Feeding
Be sure to wake him up for his next scheduled feeding.
That is the pattern of your day time schedule.
One block of time may go well, one may not go so well.
As you stay consistent, your baby will fall into a routine.
Eventually, you will have a baby who goes to sleep easily and on his own and wakes up happy.
During the night time most babies transition on their own. Some wake up out of habit.
You may need to help him break that habit and that will require listening to a bit of crying.
Normally, a baby will correct himself after three nights.
So, any crying is short-lived.
The blessing of routine however far outweighs the short-lived crying and your baby’s routine will be a blessing to the entire family.
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