If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: Melissa Brown saved my life. The founder of Sleep Shop OC, Melissa is a certified sleep training consultant with a degree in pastoral care and counseling. She’s also a mother of four who doubled as my personal therapist during the first few months with a baby who refused to sleep.
I’m so grateful that she came into my life, because Melissa was one of the first women in the Unpacified tribe who offered me—as a new, struggling mama—what I needed most: comfort, support and empathy. Simply put: she got it.
When someone mentions Sleep Training, most people immediately think, “Crying it Out.” While there may be some tears involved, there are so many more gentle ways that you can get a baby to sleep; the key is teaching your child to go to sleep on their own. As the parent, your responsibility is to help them get there, but not doing it all for them. I’ve worked with hundreds of families with very different parenting styles and we are almost always able to find a program that best fits their needs while still getting more sleep out of their little one.
Here are some tips in trying to avoid the tears but still get the sleep:
- Don’t put the baby down when he or she is overtired. Over stimulated babies are more agitated and more prone to tears. If you are able to get a baby down before they get over tired they are better equipped to put themselves to sleep.
- Always put the baby down awake. I know that is easier said than done so if you are rocking your baby to sleep, you can keep rocking them but stop just right before they fall asleep. Or if they are eating to sleep try and keep the baby awake during the feed and then put then down shortly after.
- Make sure the baby has a full tummy. Babies that are well fed sleep well. Make sure they are eating enough to sustain them through a long nap or a long stretch at night.
- Develop a consistent bedtime routine.Before nap and bedtime, do the the same things (for example: book, diaper change, swaddle and song). Your consistent routine will become sleep cues for your little one. So even though they may not want to go to bed they will know what’s coming and will be less anxious about what’s happening next.
- Create an environment that promotes sleep. You want your baby to be in an environment that promotes sleep, and making sure they are in a dark room will definitely help with that.
- Give it time. Babies don’t instantly change over night. Make sure you are consistent and slowly but surely you will see changes. I see too many people give up after a couple nights but if you stay the course you will start to see change and in the end get more sleep!