Getting your little one to sleep. Sounds easy right? Unfortunately this can be a very daunting and challenging task for many parents. Many times there are varying opinions on what should be considered the most effective techniques when it comes to sleeping training. This ultimately ends up being confusing and frustrating for parents who are oftentimes already overwhelmed. To help ease this frustration, I have put together a list of 6 of the most common sleep training mistakes and how you can avoid making them.
6 Sleep Training Mistakes
Mistake #1: Starting sleep training at the wrong time
This is a common mistake that many parents make when beginning sleep training with their baby. The best time to begin sleep training with your little one is going to be around 4 months of age. At this point babies are able to self soothe and oftentimes no longer require night time feedings. Starting sleep training anytime before this is usually counterproductive as they are unable to really establish any sort of a routine before this age.
Mistake #2: Not sticking with a method long enough
There are many different methods that can be used when getting your baby to sleep. Ultimately whichever method you choose to try with your little one, be sure to stick with it for at least a week. Don’t switch around between methods as this can just result in confusion for your baby and will prevent you from making any progress.
Mistake #3: Not having a good bedtime routine
Babies thrive on routine! They need consistency and routine to sleep well. It is important that once you get them used to a timeframe, you make sure to stick to it. For example, if you give your little one a bath at a certain time, feed at a certain time and then lay them down for sleep at a certain time, you will want to stick with those same times for each activity. Consistency is key.
Mistake #4: Not sticking to a consistent daily nap schedule
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous rule, which is maintaining a schedule! Sometimes parents make the mistake of waiting too long to put the baby down for a nap by waiting until they’re already cranky, crying and screaming. If you maintain a daytime sleep schedule you’ll be putting them down for a nap before they get to that point. You can keep an eye out for subtle hints that the baby is ready for a nap including rubbing eyes, yawning and clenched fists.
Mistake #5: Not allowing baby to self soothe
Babies that are sleep-dependent have a hard time learning to go to sleep themselves. This also goes along with mistake # 1, which is starting training at the appropriate age. Once a baby hits the 4 month mark they are generally able to self soothe. It’s important to allow your baby to learn to self-soothe whether that’s with their own hands or with a pacifier.
Mistake #6: Not creating a good sleep environment
It’s important to make sure that whatever room your baby is sleeping in is conducive to sleep. This mistake is a crucial one, and definitely something that can make or break your little one’s ability to fall asleep. This includes making sure their room is nice and dark, preferably try to set the temperature around 68 degrees. Often setting up a white noise machine that goes the entirety of the sleep period can be helpful as well. All of these elements help to promote good night’s sleep.
Avoiding these mistakes will help you when you start sleep training with your little one. Consistency is extremely important throughout any of these methods. As mentioned earlier, you should attempt to stick with any approach you are trying for at least one week before deciding if you need to try a different sleep method. If you need assistance implementing any of these sleep training methods you can head here to see how I can help.