You know that saying "When Mama ain't happy, nobody's happy"? Well, I'd venture to say that is 110% true. For moms of babies, though, I'd add one extra disclaimer: If Mama ain't sleeping, then Mama ain't happy. And we all know what it means when Mama's a grumpy, sleep-deprived monster. Not a lot of home happiness. Sleep is SO important and SO scarce during the infant stage of parenting. But don't fear, a good night's sleep is only a sleep training plan away!
There are soooooooo many resources out there for parents dying to get a good night's rest-- lots of different methods and means to an end, all of which can be adapted to your individual parenting style. While this blog post can't give all of the sleep training details that a book with the same subject matter can, we'd like to at least set you off in the right direction with a few pointers:
- Decide what kind of "sleep trainer" you are. What do we mean by that? Well, quite simply, some moms and dads are the kind of parents who can't stand to hear their baby self-soothe (that's sleep training lingo for crying). And while not all sleep-training methods promote "crying it out," some do. Read up on a few different methods, to decide what your mommy or daddy heart can tolerate. There is no right or wrong way. Decide what's best for your family.
- Make sure your baby is old enough to last through the night without a snack. No one is advocating depriving your little one of a needed feeding. Nearly all babies are able to sleep through the night at six months, after introducing solids. The good news? Some may be ready to snooze through the night substantially earlier than that. A good rule of thumb? Ask your pediatrician for advice. He or she knows your little one's unique set of needs.
- Set yourself up for success with a solid bedtime routine. Babies thrive on routine. Set up a ritual at bedtime, so that your little one learns to anticipate sleep, and differentiates between bedtime and the rest of the day. Maybe you always give baby a bath, then rock and sing a song. Maybe your routine is as simple as having a special sound machine or mobile only for bedtime. You get to decide but keep it consistent. It will make your job so much easier!
- Choose a comfort object. A special stuffed animal, blanket, book, or toy--anything that's safe for baby to have at sleep time--can become a comfortable and familiar object that can help soothe your little one at night time. We happen to think our blanket sets make amazing comfort objects! Why? Because they grow with your little one. The same blanket they've been swaddled in from birth is large enough to remain a familiar, soothing presence during their toddler bedtime routine.
- Remember patience. Be patient with your little one, and also with yourself. Recite, "I am a good mom," over and over in the bathroom mirror if you have to. Parents can be way too hard on themselves, and sleep training can be difficult.
Best of luck on your journey to a good night's sleep!