Sleep Training Essentials
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Evelyn just dropped her morning nap and we are officially down to one nap each day. She’s almost 14 months old now and I’ve been dreading this transition for quite some time, but it’s actually gone over quite well! Thankfully, it was easy to identify that she was ready for this schedule change because we’ve been prepared for it for a while. I thought it was about time to share what we’ve found helpful while sleep training Evelyn through each stage.
I already know some people disagree with sleep training. Some people don’t believe you should force your baby into a routine or schedule. They think it’s unhealthy or potentially damaging to them in some sort of way. If you’re of this belief, this post is not for you.
First of all, if you don’t own a copy of On Becoming Babywise you need to get one. That book is the reason my husband and I were able to enjoy our newborn daughter. I’ve dedicated a post to just talking about this book. In fact, it was the very first post I ever wrote – How I Got My Strong-Willed Baby to Sleep Through the Night. That’s how passionate I am about this book. It works.
If you have another method you’re sold on to sleep train your baby, great. If you’re still looking for one, please read my post about the book. I talk about how it’s a very balanced method they use to help your baby get on a schedule that will result in them sleeping through the night very early. If you use their method (which is sound and applies common sense), you will not harm or damage your baby. Your baby will be rested, happy, and healthy as a result! After all, a sleep deprived baby is not healthy.
If nothing else, you should have On Becoming Babywise to sleep train your baby. If you’re open to some of the other things I found helpful that we used, I’m sharing them here as well.
This book would also make a great gift to an expecting couple! We received it as a gift and we only wish we had gotten it sooner!
It’s so important that you know your baby is not too hot or cold while sleeping. Especially while sleep training, you don’t want to have to go into their room to reswaddle them or cover them up. It will only excite them more to see you when they should be sleeping.
Some babies don’t enjoy being swaddled but we found it super helpful for Evelyn for a long time. You don’t want to continue swaddling your baby once they can roll over because it’s a suffocation risk. Once they can roll, you want their arms free so that they can push themselves off their face while on their tummies.
We first swaddled Evelyn in a good old fashioned receiving blanket. She was small enough to be wrapped up tight and she slept well swaddled up. Once she started getting stronger and could kick her feet out, we used a diaper safety pin to help keep the swaddle tight. They’re super cheap and they have a safety locking feature so that your baby won’t get poked.
Once she outgrew the receiving blankets we switched her to a velcro swaddle. The only issue I had with the ones we were gifted was that the velcro was pretty weak. It wore out quickly and would not longer hold. However, I feel like these were still necessary before she could graduate to the next step. They’re inexpensive considering you will use them for every nap and bedtime. You can also use the diaper safety pins on the velcro swaddles if they begin to lose hold.
Right before Evelyn began rolling over we purchased some sleep sacks to accommodate her height and I’m so glad we did! Her first one had the option to tuck her arms in like a swaddle. Once she began rolling, we were still able to use that one (we simply didn’t tuck her arms in) and we also bought some that are similar to a simple vest. She’s still using these today and she’s just over a year old. They are great for keeping baby covered at night as they toss and turn. I never have to wonder if she’s warm enough or if she’s kicked her blanket off.
They make light weight ones, micro-fleece (what we have) and winter weight ones. They are worth every penny! Evelyn’s have held up well and grown with her for a long time. They zip down so that the zipper isn’t in baby’s face and baby cannot wiggle out of them. Currently I will put Evelyn down for naps with just a shirt underneath, but at night we usually have her in long sleeves and long pants because it’s winter. I’m always making sure she’s not cold or too hot when I wake her up and she’s consistently comfortable in her sleep sack. I highly recommend these.
If your baby doesn’t like being swaddled, you can jump straight to these. Babies don’t need to be swaddled but most find it comforting and it helps prevent them from waking themselves up which is so important while you’re sleep training.
I don’t know how parents put their babies down before having video monitors! I love being able to see if Evelyn is moving around, standing up, or completely knocked out. She stays quiet when she wakes up, so I like having the option to actually see her.
We found it helpful having a crib bumper for the fact that if baby’s arm or leg gets caught in the slats you have to go into their room to help them. If its not an option, they’re more likely to be able to sleep soundly even if they toss and turn a bit before or during. You obviously want to make sure you get one thats secured tightly and is breathable.
While we were in the process of teaching Evelyn to self soothe our timer came in handy. You want to make sure you’re giving baby a chance to soothe themselves but you don’t want to lose track of time and allow them to cry for hours on end. You can also use the timer on your phone of course.
It’s such a good idea to have a night light in baby’s room for when you need to go in at night. When you turn on the overhead light it causes unwanted stimulation while you’re trying to help baby back to sleep. If baby is young enough to wake up at night to nurse or have a bottle, you want to keep the lights as dim as possible so that they will go right back to sleep!
We trained Evelyn early to sleep with an instrumental playing in her room. We wanted her to get used to some noise while she slept so she would not be dependent on complete silence. If you don’t have specific music you want your baby to enjoy, a simple sound machine is a great idea to have consistent, soothing noise while they sleep.
Whatever you choose to use for your sleeping babe, remember, consistency is key. You want to create routine, schedule, and dependability while you’re training your baby to sleep. They will catch on quickly and learn to love their sweet sleep!
Thanks for reading. Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m no expert but I love discussing it and spreading the word on what works.
What did you use to help your baby sleep through the night?
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