Infant Sleep Training - Here’s What Worked For Me
Can newborns be sleep trained?
Should newborns be sleep trained?
Lot of new moms discuss the same plaguing problem- my baby does not sleep at night, what can I do?
The solution lies entirely with you and your partner.
As adults we more or less follow (should follow) a sleep pattern. We have dinner by 8pm and go to bed by 10pm. Wake up by 6:30am. That’s the broad outline of a working couple's desired (and somewhat achievable) sleep pattern.
But when babies come in our life, we forget all rules of the book. We stop referring to the books we read during pregnancy and we don't consult good parenting books due to sleepless nights, fatigue etc etc.
Babies can be sleep-trained from Day 1 and as part of imparting good social-skills they ought to be rightly sleep trained by both parents. Only the mom or dad alone cannot achieve this. Together the partners need to be consistent in their pattern and help the baby achieve one.
So here are some basics that I followed with my lil one from Day 1.
1. Create a familiar bed-time routine daily. Do not waver from it more than once a week (if you must). This helps regulate the baby's body-clock and creates a sleeping pattern. In fact a baby feels much more relaxed when they can anticipate what’s coming next. This can include reading a story together, or singing together or just talking.
2. The routine can include, singing, massaging and bathing or if you don't want to get into that just change the baby into night clothes. This ritual makes the baby feel fresh, loved with all the touch and cooing, and hence cosy. Some people say why change the baby's clothes since the baby isn't dirty. Well, it’s just about hygiene and habit. The massage should be much more gently and very different from the morning massage. Its to press their tired bones and ease them.
3. Post dinner, say "Goodnight" to everyone in the house and retire to the room. When you get to the room say "Goodnight moon, goodnight stars." These words help establish night time and that there will now be no activity.
4. Dim the lights and play a gentle music. We used the Chicco musical cube which has very gentle and soothing music. This calmed both me as a tired mum and the baby.
5. Feed but without talking. A gently humming tune can be sung, but no more talking for the day. If there is anything you and your partner need to discuss, it should be done when the baby is asleep. Else babies also want to be part of the talk and love to engage.
6. No phones or screens. This is the time for the mom and baby to bond into a lasting comforting relationship. New moms love to distract themselves and read 101 things wrt motherhood, breastfeeding etc etc. Leave it for the time when the baby is asleep or when an elder has relieved you for a while to be by yourself.
7. Burp the baby and cuddle.
8. Once the baby is asleep put them snugly into the same place everyday. It’s never too early to introduce the cot.
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