Welcome to Part 2 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 2.
In Part 2 of Sonya’ s Sleep Training Special series, Sonya shares her personal favourite tips that help make sleep training successful! Make sure to read carefully because each tip plays an important role.
Get Your Baby To Do Enough Exercise
This is vital! Just like us adults, it is important we have exercised enough to be able to get a good night sleep. You know those nights where over the weekends or on your days off you can’t go to sleep at your usual time. Because you have been lying around and watching TV? That’s exactly how baby’s bodies work too. They are humans at the end of the day.
Make sure you are getting the baby to do enough exercise (depending on their age of course). So they are tired out and used up their energy throughout the day. So they can fall asleep! Exercise is not just important to help the baby/child sleep. But also to help them get hungry. Once the child is hungry they tend to have a fuller feed. Which means they are content and ready for a nice long night of sleep.
Types of exercise
Exercise choices depend on the babies age. But things such as 30-60 mins of tummy time through the day can be great. This could be split before and after the afternoon nap. As well as things such as swimming, going for walks in the park. Or even letting the baby run around and chase a ball around the house should be enough to tire them out.
If you have just started weaning with your baby it’s best to introduce solids slowly. Because it can cause indigestion. This is due to something new being introduced to the baby’s stomach. It’s also best to start off by introducing one meal throughout the day. Which Sonya recommends being lunch. So the baby has enough time before bed to go through any stomach situations. These can be things such as being gassy. Or soiling the nappy more than usual.
As the baby gets used to solids and is having more meals throughout the day. Sonya recommends parents include starchy items in their dinner. This helps them get through the night and stay fuller for longer. Things such as baby rice, baby pasta in the babies before bed feed. Just like adults, babies need to have a full tummy. So they can get through 6-8 hours of sleep through the night and dream away.
Some parents might be sceptical about doing a dream feed. But in Sonya’s opinion, it has always worked a treat for all the babies she has worked with. A dream feed is where you give the baby a milk feed 3-4 hours after their before bed feed. The aim is to do the dream feed whilst the baby is still asleep. For many parents, this would mean doing the dream feed between 10 pm – 11:30 pm.
How do you do a dream feed?
You shouldn’t have to worry about the baby waking up and crying hysterically. Because you have just disturbed their sleep. What you should do, is to pick up your baby nice and gently. Sit down and have them in the feeding position (semi-upright position). And gently touch their lips with the bottle or breast making them aware of it being there for them to let you in.
You may have to play around with the bottle/breast with their mouth a little. But your baby will be delighted (especially if hungry) and suck away! Of course, the baby might reject it after you try it a few times. Which is a sign they don’t want it, so you can stop. The dream feed basically helps push the baby to stay asleep longer. As they are being fed to stay nice and full, their sleep is being pushed by a couple of hours to the early morning. Instead of you being woken up around 3/4 am by a crying hungry baby. You are tackling the situation earlier.
Stick To a Schedule
For sleep training to be a success it is important that there is a schedule. A schedule that’s been put in place throughout the day helps the babies sleep be as harmonious as possible. And let the night synch with the day. If the baby gets too much sleep in their day nap then they will not sleep at night!
If they are being fed or being put to bed at different times each day. Then the baby will have different sleeping and waking times each night. Think of it this way. The baby has a clock in their body which they use to know and understand what time it is for each feed or sleep. Now it’s up to you to get in synch with it. So the babies needs are being met at the right times.
Always Use a Sleeping Bag
Using a blanket in the cot for a baby can be very dangerous. So please don’t consider this! Always use a sleeping bag. And make sure it is the right one with the right tog. According to the temperature in the room. A 2.5 tog is normally recommended for normal weather where the room temperate is between 17-20 degrees Celsius. Use a lower tog of course for summer times. But you can also let the baby sleep in just their bodysuit if it is too hot. As long as the baby can not stand and try to get out of the cot and you believe they are safe.
Keep the Room As Dark As Possible
Use black roller shades in your baby’s room to blackout the windows. Do this before closing the curtains. If there are any gaps under the door that allow light to go in or attract the babies attention. Then block them with a long soft toy, for example. You need to make sure the room is as dark as possible. With no distractions for the baby to fall asleep. Of course, a baby cam monitor with a little red flashing light is an exception.
The Ferber Method
One of the methods that Sonya would recommend is the Ferber method. This is where you follow the bath and bed routine and put the baby in their cot drowsy. You leave the room after turning off the lights. And making it as dark as possible. If the baby starts crying you wait for 3 minutes to start off with. Before going in to comfort them. Your aim is to let the baby cry a few minutes longer each day. Before going in to comfort to see whether they will stop crying themselves. Knowing they are safe and loved. Some babies just need some reassurance they are safe. Which is totally normal.
Put Down Method
Put down method is also great which just means constantly picking up the baby when they start crying and then putting them down once they stop. This may mean you do it 100 times through the night but it’s giving the baby reassurance and comfort that the adult will always be there. Once their unsafe feeling cycle is broken and they know you are there, they will start sleeping through.
In Sonya’s next and final article in the Sleep Training Special Series, Sonya will be talking about some real-life baby stories that she has worked with in the past. What she changed, or what worked to help them sleep through the night.
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.