I am VERY excited to be sharing my space today with Leslie Black, owner and certified sleep consultant at A Kiss Goodnight. Leslie is kicking off something new for North Shore Mama, our EXPERT series, and I cannot wait for you to get started with our first expert… right now! I feel lucky to be partnering with A Kiss Goodnight on both a professional and personal level, because the tips she provides are invaluable to all parents out there with babies!
So without further ado, here is Leslie!
Why won’t my baby fall asleep?
Have you ever found yourself endlessly rocking your baby to sleep just to have him wake up right when you place him in the crib?
Have you tried driving to Squamish and back in the middle of the night and your baby STILL won’t sleep?
Were there things that used to put your baby to sleep and now they don’t work anymore?
If so, you’re not alone.
Most parents have found themselves in this situation and they can’t figure out why their baby won’t sleep. The answer is actually quite simple: your baby doesn’t know how to sleep. When babies are newborn or infants, we love to hold and cuddle them to sleep, they fall asleep while feeding or in the stroller while we take a walk. Over time, however, babies become dependent on these methods to go to sleep. If your little one cries each time they are placed in their crib, it’s because they don’t know what to do in there. They are used to movement or feeding to make them fall asleep, so they genuinely can’t fall asleep without some kind of assistance from you.
Adults and babies alike all have sleep cycles. While adult cycles are slightly more complicated, babies only have 2 stages of sleep: active and quiet and the cycle lasts about 45 minutes. After the quiet cycle ends, the baby must re-enter active sleep or wake up. A baby who falls asleep with our assistance, or a sleep “prop” (eg soother, lullabies, bouncing, rocking), usually can’t re-enter the active cycle. This is the reason many babies will only nap for a short period of time and wake up several times in the night, which most parents find frustrating.
While the answer to this question may be simple, teaching your baby to fall asleep independently can be difficult. Here are a few of my favorite tips on how to start your baby on a path to great sleep.
- Develop a consistent bedtime routine. A bedtime routine should last about 30 minutes and could look like bath, pyjamas on, feed, read stories and into the crib awake. This routine should be the same each night and it’s a great idea to take turns with your husband, partner or any other caregiver that helps you so that your baby can learn that the steps are the same no matter who puts them to bed.
- Give your baby an early bedtime. Most people think putting their baby to bed later will help them sleep longer, but usually the opposite is true. When a baby goes to sleep overtired, they are likely to have a rocky sleep and will probably wake up earlier. Most babies do well with a bedtime around 7:00pm (and then mom and dad can have some time to themselves in the evening).
- When your baby wakes in the night or from a nap, give them a few minutes (between 3-10 min) before you go to them. Many babies are actually stirring and not quite awake and can put themselves to back to sleep if given time.
For more tips on how to get your baby to sleep better, please visit my website akissgoodnight.ca to download your free copy of my top 5 tips.
*In honor of Mother’s Day, I am currently offering $100 off the price of a consultation or $50 off the price of a Newborn Package until May 19th, 2013.*