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Filtering by Tag: sleep training

Three Changes You Can Make Today (It's OK, You Can Start Tomorrow) to Improve Sleep

Elizabeth Nalle

Admittedly, as a sleep consultant, I help most of my clients prepare for, implement, and maintain new sleep routines -- in other words, I help parents teach their children how to go to sleep and back to sleep using detailed plans that are tailored expressly for the individual children.  However I find that a huge part of my work happens behind the scenes focusing on all of the elements that play a role in good sleep whether you sleep train or not.

I sorted through my lists of products, reached out to my team members, and considered my recent conversations with clients who are probably in the same shoes as you and have come up with three essential steps to improving sleep without requiring ridiculous hoops to jump through.

Change #1 -- My 3 month old has stopped napping, or if he does it is just for 20 minutes at a time!

Between 10-12 weeks, you can start to skip the micro nap and establish a pattern that combines eating and sleeping but doesn’t always link the two.  For many babies, feeding and comfort overlap; this is a good thing!  However sometimes it is so comfortable that they sleep/eat rather than just eat.  As a result, you get a micro nap (I call it a disco nap), your baby eats, sleeps while eating, and now is not tired enough to sleep easily and well for his real nap happening an hour and change later.  

To skip the micro nap, aim to feed your baby 15-20 minutes after he wakes up in the morning or from his most recent nap.  Make sure he is awake, hungry, and then engage with touch and voice while he is eating.  Touch his cheek, his hair, and chat.  If he is closing his eyes and no longer actively swallowing, then he is micro napping.  Take out the bottle or shift your position/location and start over.  Give it some practice, but it can help.

Change #2 -- My baby is too hot, he’s too cold, I need to check on him

What if there was a swaddle or a sleep sack that guaranteed the best temperature?  Well, good news, there is!  At sleepy on hudson, we are big, big fans of the sleep products at Little Lotus because they solve the problem of the over active heating/drafty house, and they do it with well designed sleep sacks and swaddles that improve sleep right from the get go.  They have the research up on their website to support this, and I can tell you that I am hearing the same from our clients.

Even better, Little Lotus is mission based.  They don’t just help us with our too hot/too cold houses making sleep for our baby just right (à la Goldilocks), they also help infants and babies in developing countries using their Embrace incubator.  I just love the idea that while your baby is comfortable sleeping at home, there is an infant in the developing world with access to an incubator bettering his chances to thrive.

Change #3 -- Have someone else take over bedtime or one nap time

I know, I know, you are the only one who can put your baby to bed.  Why?  Because you are good at it; in fact you are the best.  However doesn’t your partner deserve the chance to improve just a little bit?  Or your friend, or your mother in law?  If you step out of the routine (and I mean truly step out, not coach from the door), your loved one can do it.  It might be rocky at first, but after a few nights, a few naps, it will work.   So finish your feeding if you are breast feeding, and leave.  Go to bed, meet up with a friend, take a yoga class -- if you need more ideas, I have plenty ;)

Why does this help?  Your baby is ready to learn new ways to self regulate and is even open to it, if you give him the chance.  As your baby learns to sleep without your bouncing, boob, or rocking, he can discover his other innate calming abilities.  He might start sucking his fingers, his hands -- all essential tools for better soothing and better sleep.

The worst sleep advice out there!

Brooke Nalle

Let's face it.  In life, there are people and places that give terrible advice, about anything and everything.  When I was in college, a girl at the dining hall revealed her big weight loss secret to a bunch of us struggling with the freshman 15: stop eating fat and only eat carbs.  I thought that was brilliant and happily gobbled down 2 bagels covered in jam for the next 9 months for most meals.  Let's just say I neither looked nor felt healthy.

The bad advice continued through my 20s (a lot of it revolved around careers and cocktails) and then when I hit my 30s the parenting bad advice started.

I should pause here though, because I have gotten a lot of fabulous advice these past several decades.  I could write a lot about the good advice coming from very wise and resourceful friends, but that might be boring (at least for the purpose of this little missive).

That said, I could write pages and pages on bad parenting advice, but tonight I will narrow my focus.  

So here you go...

The top 10 WORST Sleep Tips...

1. Keep your baby up all day so he will sleep at night.

2. My baby slept through the night at 8 weeks; I bet yours is ready too!

3. Give him rice cereal to keep him full all night.

4. Let her sleep in a loud noisy environment; life is loud and noisy.

5. You are a bad mother if you let her cry.

6. You are a bad mother if you bring him into your bed.

7. Keep her up super late, and then she will sleep super late.

8. Just do cry it out until it works.

9. You are a bad mother if you don't let him cry.

10. It is too late to sleep train; you might as well accept your situation.

I am sure you all could add to this list, it's just a start.