I first posted this article back in August 2008 but I often return to the list after a bad night sleep. We have had a few bad nights recently so I thought I would repost this useful list.
I have been blessed to have a child that has never really slept well at night.She wasn't a great sleeper as a baby and now at 7 years old she really still isn't that great. 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 and that kind of threw my theory out the window.
I 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 helped 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.