The 411 on Falling Asleep: Tips for Sleep Training
One of the most daunting tasks for new parents is that looming need to get your baby sleeping through the night. It can be tricky to get your little one on a sleep schedule that gets you both the rest you need. Luckily, Coastal Kids’ dedicated pediatricians have tips to help you find the sleep training method that works best for you and your new baby. Keep reading for the 411 on falling asleep!
Preparing for Training
Depending on the age of your baby, this may be something you already know or have done before, but before starting a sleep training method, it is important to get your baby on a consistent newborn sleep schedule. At around 2 months old, start putting your baby to bed at the same time each night. We recommend sometime around 7-8pm. From there, you can work on developing this as a routine and showing your baby that this means bedtime.
Starting Sleep Training
Sleep training usually starts at around 4-6 months. It is important to give your baby the time they need to be biologically ready to go longer periods of time without feeding and to start developing their circadian rhythms. Finally at 4 months they are able to sleep through the night— and do so without feeding. So, anything earlier than 4 months is too early to start a consistent sleep schedule. At around 9 months, babies start actually sleeping through the night. So this sweet spot from 4-6 months is a great time to get started on your sleep training system.
Our little ones actually have little REM cycles! While adult REM cycles are between 70 and 120 minutes, babies have 30 minute REM cycles. That’s why babies nap in 30 minute increments. Eventually, they wake up slightly after each REM cycle and oftentimes, the baby will wake up screaming. But did you know that your baby might actually still be asleep? Parents come in to soothe the baby thinking they are helping, but are actually waking them up! That is why we recommend you let them cry for about 30 seconds to a minute to allow them to self-soothe if possible before falling back asleep.
Building a Routine
It is very helpful to establish a bedtime routine for your baby that lets them know they are on their way to bed. We recommend feeding just before you start the routine so that your baby does not come to associate feeding with bedtime. Many parents choose to feed first then follow that up with bathtime and getting them in their pajamas. Then, try telling stories or singing songs to help soothe your baby with your voice. The goal is to get through the routine before your baby falls asleep so that they learn to do it on their own.
The important part of an effective sleep training program is finding what works for you and sticking with it. So, if what you are doing now works, keep it up! The goal is to make sure your baby learns to fall asleep on their own, so the method is up to you, and your baby. Of course, if the methods you try don’t work, switch it up!
Sleep is a vital part of the healthy and happy development of your newborn. Coastal Kids Pediatricians are here to help you find the best sleep training methods for you and your baby. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment for a consultation on the best sleeping methods to try with your baby. Or, if you’re dreaming about trying out these sleep training methods, go on and get snoozing!