Today, we’re introducing Katelyn Thompson of Sweet Pea Sleep Solutions, a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. She’s passionate about helping other parents get the sleep they and their children need while being gentle and responsive and keeping the parent-child bond secure. She will be sharing periodically on the blog ways to encourage just that for you and your little one! We’re kicking off with 5 foolproof ways to gain successful sleep… let’s dig in!
This is the top non-negotiable of helping your baby learn to sleep! If you have the best bedtime routine, the perfect method picked out, your partner is totally on board and your little is ready for more independent sleep- but you do not have consistency- you are setting yourself for frustration and wasted time! Children are ultra-adaptable and will soon pick up and learn to love a new routine, but it only becomes a routine if you are consistent every single night and day for at least two weeks.
2. Calming Sleep Environment.
Make your child’s sleep space a haven of comfort and calm! First, do a safety check to make sure there are no hazards in their room. Secondly, use blackout shades or curtains so that street and car lights cannot come through the windows. Even a small amount of light can suppress melatonin production! Next, make use of a calming sound machine. If you don’t have one, there are a ton of great apps you can use! Make sure jammies and sleep sacks are cozy and warm enough for the temperature in your house. If your child has become attached to a lovey, make sure it is in the crib. Finally, I love to use lavender essential oil in a diffuser in my child’s room. Studies have shown that lavender promotes calm and sleep.
Sleep coaching can be tough for the first few nights, so decide why this is important to you and your family, and what your goals are, and be confident in them! Think about how much happier and healthier your whole family will be when you are all sleeping better and are not overtired. Read the research on how important sleep is for your child’s physical and neurological development. Your baby will pick up on your emotional state, so feel confident and calm and remember you are giving your child a gift by guiding them toward more restful and independent sleep.
4. Create a Solid Routine.
A good bedtime routine should be no more than 20-30 minutes long, and consistent every single night. I love to start our routine out with a bath, followed by the final feeding for the night (bottle or breast), jammies, and a song or prayers. Following this routine, lay your child in bed drowsy but awake.
5. Cut out Sleep Props.
Nine out of 10 times, a child’s sleep issues stem from the use of a prop to get them to sleep. This could be a pacifier, bottle, nursing, rocking, bouncing or any number of tricks we use to get our little ones to sleep! The trouble with props when a child is older is that they have never learned to fall asleep on their own, so when they wake through the night they are constantly needing us to provide their prop to get them back down. Eliminating the prop and allowing your child to fall asleep independently in their bed or crib is the cornerstone of better sleep for the whole family!