Welcome to Part 1 of the Sleep Training Special Series. In this three-part series, qualified sleep trainer Sonya Kumar shared all you need to know about sleep training. Whether you are a new parent, have recently had another baby or are a childcare professional. Find out everything you need to know in this sleep training special series – part 1.
What is Sleep Training?
It does confuse many people all the time because it does sound quite militant for a baby to be trained on how to sleep. Sleep training is all about teaching the baby how to self soothe by using different techniques and routine.
What does that mean exactly?
Well – teaching a baby how to fall asleep and stay asleep without waking up through the night. But if they do wake up, they know how to soothe themselves into going back to sleep. Without the adults’ help or comfort. The way Sonya sees it, it is that it is a very crucial life skill. Which would be needed by the child through every development stage in life as they get older.
Let’s look at some examples
Being able to self soothe themselves when they are going through a tough situation at nursery or school. Where they can give themselves comfort and carry on. Instead of crying hysterically and needing an adult to be always by their side. Also, when the child becomes an adult and they experience tough times at university or work. They can self soothe and keep themselves calm. To get through the situation. And to overcome any hurdles and obstacles that come their way.
Sleep Training is All About Routine
Routine plays such a huge part for it to be a success. Without a routine, no one will have a clue on what is going on. And on what needs to be done next. In fact, the baby will be confused, cranky and all over the place too. Routine implementation does not only help the baby. But it helps the parents and family too! Everything is structured. Ready on standby and everyone knows what is going on.
Also, once the routine is followed religiously the baby knows what is going on. And what is coming next. For example, doing the same bed routine every night at the same time is very important. Once the baby has its bath and is getting dressed. He/she will know it’s feed time. Which then means it’s sleep time. Babies are very clever. Some will cry hysterically because they do not want to be dressed after a bath. Or have their feed because they know it’s time for sleep. However, some start to get drowsy straight away knowing it’s time to sleep!
A routine is also very important because the babies sleep and feeding routine throughout the day needs to be well structured. And it must have the right number of gaps in between each sleep and feed time. So the baby is not over/under sleeping or feeding. Always stick to the same routine every day as much as possible. Of course except for travelling, time change, teething and other emergencies. This includes feeding, exercise, and sleep throughout the day for your baby.
Develop a day routine
Developing a daily routine where regular exposure is involved is very important. Whether it’s a day or night. Regular exposure to sunlight and darkness is key. It is important in the day to mimic the night time. So that the baby develops a great sense of awareness of their surroundings. For example, when putting the baby down for a nap during the day you must always follow the same routine of closing the curtains. And make sure to block any light into the room. Have the white noise machine on and close the door.
When is the right time to start sleep training?
Personally, Sonya advises sleep training should not start until the baby is 6 months old. By this age, the babies diurnal rhythm has developed much more. Many starts before this. But what is the point? Once a baby reaches 6 months old, they develop a better and more regular sleep-wake cycle through the night. Where they are having fewer wake-ups. By this age, they can go 6-8 hours through the night without needing a feed.
However, if you try to sleep train a baby who is 3-4 months old. You will struggle because of course, they will NEED their night-time feeds. As you cannot stop these too soon. Stopping the night-time feeds too soon would mean the babies nutritional needs are not being met. But then sleep training requires the baby to learn how to get through the night without the adult’s comfort. This is not possible if you are doing regular feeding visits through the night. Of course, this does not mean you totally shut the door and never look back through the night at your baby. It just means you won’t be doing as many visits as you would if it was a 3 or 4-month-old.
Sleep Issues Affects Everyone
Sonya has worked as a sleep trainer with many clients in and around London who were at breaking point before she stepped in. To help and guide them towards the light at the end of the tunnel. She has and still works with parents and families where the baby not sleeping through the night. And this is affecting their relationship as a couple or family. Parents not being able to sleep in the same bed because one of them sleeps with the baby in the nursery room instead. Or the dad gets put into the spare bedroom. So the mum can bring the baby in with her.
Having a crying baby through the night affecting all the adults sleep in the house can affect relationships and life quality and not forgetting affecting the child’s development because they are not getting enough sleep. Everyone needs sleep and that what sleep training is about! Not just teaching the baby to self soothe and sleep by using techniques and a routine. But also giving the whole family a chance to sleep peacefully. And start a fresh new day every day!
Things To Check
Sonya would like to advise that you should check with your GP/Paediatrician or a sleep trainer what routine works best for your baby. This depends according to their weight and health. Because every baby is different. Also, it is worth getting checked if the crying in the night is extreme. Perhaps the baby is Colic or has any other health problems which require medical attention that could be causing the baby discomfort.
In Part 2 of Sonya’s Sleep Training series, Sonya will be giving some special tips on being successful with sleep training. As well as the methods to use or choose from.
How Can Polo & Tweed Help?
If you are looking for childcare support, setting up a sleeping routine and everything that comes with it, Polo & Tweed can help. We have an extensive selection of the best childcare professionals on our books, all fully vetted and checked. From Maternity Nurses, to Nannies, we will be able to find you the best and most suited childcare. Why not get in touch with us today, to find out how we can help.
Sonya is an experienced sleep trainer, having worked with babies from 6 months to 4 years old. She has a vast client base in and around London helping families overcome any difficulties related to their child’s sleeping habits or patterns. Sonya does not just work with the child to overcome any obstacles which could be the reason for interfering with their ability to self soothe and be influenced into a routine but also with the family. Working as a unit and having the whole family on board is just as important.