Sleep training can be a nightmare for a new parent if done the wrong way. With the right techniques at your finger tips it will become a bonding exercise that you and your little one will enjoy.
Rocking your baby until they sleep every night
Most parents fall into this trap because all your are doing in the first few months after your bundle of joy arrives is feeding them and rocking them to sleep (this is besides changing diapers of course). In the first three months when your little one is still adjusting to life outside the womb falling asleep after feeding is still okay and actually comes naturally. Rocking them at this age is fine since a young baby (below 3 months) does not have the ability to self sooth and cannot develop bad sleeping habits.
When they are past three months they develop the ability to self-soothe and form habits. This is because at this age your little one is now mature neurologically and can start developing sleep routines. Sleeping and rocking at this age will not be helpful. This is because naturally babies wake up an average of 4 to 6 times every night. Whatever strategy you are using to put them to sleep at bedtime will have to apply when they stir.
after 3 months your little one is now mature neurologically and can start developing sleep routines
Make it easier for you and your baby by creating a bedtime routine that helps your baby associate certain activities with sleep. For instance give the baby a bath, put on their pajamas, read them a story and then dim the lights. If this becomes a daily routine, your baby starts understanding that when these activities happen it is time to sleep. Your want your bundle of joy in the crib before they are too sleepy. This will help them start connecting sleep with the crib and not with being in your arms.
Picking up your little one every time they cry
Of course as a parent you instinctively want to console and comfort your child immediately they start whimpering. For the first 6 months it is important to go to the baby immediately they cry, this helps gives them a sense of security knowing that you are there every time they need you. However, after 6 months of consistently doing this they know that they have someone in their corner so it is perfectly okay to give the baby a few minutes and see if they are able to settle down without your help.
Overdoing night feedings
This is another common mistake that will prevent you from sleep training your baby peacefully. Establishing a proper routine means that there is time for everything including feeding. While in the beginning this will be quite challenging, your baby will get acclimatised and actually start enjoying the routine you come up with. If you overdo the night feedings, your bay will quickly get accustomed to the ‘midnight buffet even if they don’t need the calories.
Napping on the go
Allowing your baby to doze off in the stroller is extremely convenient because t makes it easier for you to run your errands without interruptions. However it does not help when it comes to sleep training. This is because your little one quickly becomes accustomed to snooze while in motion making it quite difficult for them to doze off in the crib. The solution is to organize all nap times so that they can fall around a time when it is possible for the baby to fall asleep in the crib.
Allowing your baby to stay up late
It is tempting to let your bundle of joy stay up late especially if you are working parents and this is the only time you can spend bonding with your baby. Some parents let their babies stay up late because they think that this will make the babies sleep deeply and longer. Sleeping late can actually backfire because when they stay up late they become fatigued. Putting them to bed will help them wake up more energised and ready to start a new day revitalised and reinvigorated.