As a pediatric sleep consultant, there are a few questions I’ve grown accustomed to hearing. Two questions ALWAYS come up and understandably so!
Will my baby cry? If so, how long?
When will my baby sleep through the night?
What most parents are actually hoping I’ll tell them (and it would certainly be nice!) is that there is a magical wand that would immediately help their child sleep, putting an end to the third and fourth pots of coffee that are becoming the norm.
Once they realize that the magic wand doesn’t exist, they ask about a product a friend uses. You know, a magic swaddle blanket, sleep suit, or essential oil that has put an end to sleepless nights for good?
While there are definitely products that are helpful, especially during infancy and the swaddling period, the fact is that products do not teach a baby how to sleep, so they won’t work forever.
When you consider how many products out there say they’ll get your baby to sleep, it’s not surprising that parents think that maybe one of them might be the solution. Surely ONE of them will work! Maybe the self-rocking crib? The vibrating mattress pad? The weighted blanket? The motion-detecting auto-shusher? The hypnotizing bedtime book?
I’m not making this stuff up, by the way. All of those are actual products available for purchase, and that’s not even close to a complete list.
What’s the biggest problem with these? It’s not that they don’t work, but that some of them DO!
Let’s look at the Amazon bestseller, a baby hypnotizing book (yep, it’s a thing!). I highly suggest reading a book as part of your nightly routine, but this is different. This book is designed to put your baby to sleep through boring repetitive phrases said by the reader.
While I certainly don’t promote a tickle session before bed, reading a baby to sleep isn’t exactly pure gold. Why? You probably know by now that neither young or old sleep all night. We sleep and wake multiple times during the night. Adults generally don’t remember it, but a baby who can only fall asleep during “The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep” just might need some help during those wake ups.
So, if you don’t really enjoy a painfully boring book at bedtime, you certainly won’t enjoy it DURING the night. There’s also an elephant version, so I guess you could rotate for the third wake up.
Sleep is a skill, and while there are babies who sleep well from day one, it is most certainly not the norm. For nearly all babies, sleep must be learned and takes practice. It’s no different than swimming, riding a bike, driving a stick shift, or playing the piano. When you lull your little one to sleep with motion, shushing, vibration, or feeding, you’re doing all of the practice for them. You’re constantly holding the seat of their bike while they’re trying to learn to ride it.
That’s what sets a sleep consultant apart from all of the “stuff” out there.
Together, we take the training wheels off and watch them ride.
Little steps at a time, we watch them develop strategies for self-soothing and falling asleep then are amazed at how they love their own space.
As an expert sleeper, they are comfortable in their bed no matter who’s watching. There are no more concerns about whether the battery of the singing ceiling stars or vibrating rocker dies. Once asleep, they’ll stay asleep all night.
Too often we overlook the true value of a baby sleeping.
A well-rested baby is better able to learn and adapt, relax, and simply enjoy taking in the world around them. Much like a soaked sponge cannot hold more water, a baby’s brain without rest hasn’t had a chance to process what was learned the day before and cannot comfortably take more in. No wonder a tired baby is cranky!
Learning to sleep can be hard! But isn’t it great once we do? We want our babies to feel the same relaxing deep breath we do when we finally get to lay our heads down, don’t we? And what if, before that, we enjoyed a little quality down time with a book and snuggles instead of anxiety and battles? Wouldn’t that be great?!
It’s not so hard to drop the first pennies on swaddling blankets. But another $30 here for a swaddling sack, $200 there for the Doc-A-Tot, and then another sleep sack that has a weighted animal on it, because none of that has worked? Is your baby even sleeping in that beautifully designed nursery? I know that wasn’t cheap!
Teaching your baby the skills needed to fall asleep on their own really is the cure-all for their nighttime woes. But, most importantly, and the reason that I am passionate about baby sleep is that our babies NEED QUALITY SLEEP. And equally important, so do their parents.
Stop spending mega money every month for another gadget, I can help!
Start sleeping now 7 Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep.
Sweet Home Sleep Solutions
If you are reading this in the wee hours of the morning and feeling like you are on your last leg, I know how you feel! We love our children, but so desperately need rest, too. I can truly say that I know what it’s like to have tried everything possible and still be up at night... Learn more about how I can help.