As always we covered so much at the HRP Mamas Sleep Workshop! Looking over my notes, i was able to narrow it down to three key themes!
When can you sleep train (how do you know your baby is ready)?
Eating (schedules, night feeds and more).
When can you sleep train (how do you know baby is ready)
As soon as your baby shows signs of self soothing during the day (or even at night), sucking on hands or fingers to help him calm down on his own, then you are on your way there. In addition, when your baby can move to his side and to his belly on his own, and bonus points, if he can get himself back to his back from his belly, then you can sleep train with confidence.
Sometimes your baby is ready before you, and sometimes you are ready before your baby. If you are ready before your baby, seek out some help from your partner or from a night nurse so you can get some rest, and give your baby lots of tummy time and gross motor practice during the day.
Check your calendar, don’t sleep train if you are about to travel or receive challenging visitors :)
This is a tough one. I also am not a lactation expert, so please, please, please save your breast feeding questions for her and/or your pediatrician. If your baby is growing well, and you are craving some normalcy, and you have the green light to move away from on demand feeding, then you can begin to shape an appropriate feeding schedule. Start with reasonable windows, be observant, and aim to feed after a nap when baby is most alert and can focus on eating. Offer a non stimulating environment too, as feeding gets tricky when the world all of a sudden becomes more interesting around 3/4 months. After you have a shape to your day, eating wise, then you can begin to see if baby can go back down without a feeding at night. Again start small, offer a pacifier or have the non primary feeding parent do the soothing for an initial wake up. You can also try a dream feed when you do start sleep training to supply calories and comfort without confusion.
It is so hard to get naps in, and a lot of books and web advice make you feel like a failure for all non crib naps/ This is not the case! Until you have a good sense of your day, do naps on the go, and then begin to work on one crib nap at a time, preferably the morning nap first. Sometimes a week of naps on the go can set you up for more success with crib naps than trying and failing for weeks at a time. It also does help to move the feeding to 15-20 minutes after a wake up from a nap, so your baby can eat when he is hungry and awake. I find that a feed to sleep can often end with a short nap due to a burp, incomplete feed, or frustration due to falling asleep on mom and waking disoriented in the crib.
Hope this helps! And hope to catch you and your questions at my next workshop.