Tuesday, August 12, 2008

SLEEP BABY, SLEEP

I have blessed to have a child that has never really slept well at night. And really never has. I have also been blessed to have a child who does sleep well. Always has. The biggest challenge has been that the child that doesn't sleep well is my first born. New parents and a new, non-sleeping, baby are not a good mix. We naturally thought she would grow out of it, she never really has. I have often wondered how much of a role my husband and I played in our daughter's poor sleeping routine. Then our second daughter was born, a naturally good sleeper from the get-go, something that continues today.

I recently had the pleasure of asking a sleep expert about sleep and soothing babies. Dr. Heather Pizzo, The Baby Sleep Coach, has some great tips and advice for new and old parents. I know these tips are helping me to make changes and improvements, I hope they are helpful for you too.

THE BABY SLEEP COACH’S 7 MAGIC INGREDIENTS FOR SLEEP

1. BE CONSISTENT. Dr. Pizzo says parents need to choose a method and stick with it.

2.BE PREDICTABLE: Infants and toddlers thrive on predictability and routine. It is important for them to know what is coming next.

3.COMMUNICATE: Communication is important both between you and your spouse, and between you and your child. Parents need to be on the same page as each other.

4. FLEXIBILITY: It needs to be understood that a routine does not mean following a clock or a rigid schedule, says Dr. Pizzo.

5. SLEEP INDUCES SLEEP: A consistent bedtime routine sets your baby's internal clock so that she's naturally sleepy at a predictable time. A consistent wake up time is as important.

6. ELIMINATE ALL SLEEP AIDS: Eliminate the use of sleep aids like rocking, swinging, sucking after the age of three to four months. Babies need to fall asleep on their own.

7. TRANSITIONAL OBJECTS: Babies often choose an object as their security object, which is there for them in the night when you are not, it could be a toy or a blankie.

This was all part of research for an article I wrote for Urban Baby & Toddler, http://urbanbaby.ca/. For more on soothing your baby or helping your child get to sleep and stay asleep, check out the article in the Fall issue of the magazine.