6 Strategies for Enjoying a S.I.L.E.N.T. Night
With Christmas just around the corner, I’ve seen the joke “all I want for Christmas is a silent night” with Mom holding Baby more times than I can remember. But I still laugh every time, because if I had a baby who was keeping me up all night, I would literally forgo all other presents and maybe even Christmas cookies if someone could guarantee me said “silent night”. Sound extreme? Well, sleep deprivation is extreme! It messes with you, body, mind, and spirit. So I’m giving you my best tips, right here, right now, to start implementing before Santa comes to town, so you can welcome Baby Jesus on a full night of sleep!
“S” is for Schedule!
Many parents don’t realize how important an age-appropriate daytime schedule is for nighttime sleep. If your baby is going down to bed too late, having too-late or too-short naps all day, or eating too frequently or not-frequently-enough, this will certainly affect their overnight sleep. And this great schedule all starts with a lovely 7am wake-up, followed by a full feed. 7am may feel too early if you’ve been up all night, but this is the key to getting that optimized daytime schedule going, which will lead to silent nights.
“I” is for Independence
One of the most important components to helping a baby sleep all night is giving them the opportunity to become independent sleepers. This means putting them down awake at bedtime and naptime. If you assist them to sleep for all sleep, they will need that same assistance to get back to sleep the rest of the night or half way through a nap, which can lead to short naps and many wake-ups throughout the night. Make sure your routine separates feeding from bedtime.
“L” is for Love
All these changes might have you freaking out, knowing that your baby might have a hard time with some of these changes. This is where I encourage my clients to take a step back and think about what their baby or toddler really needs. In the moments where they might express some negative feelings, parents need to remember that all these changes are coming from a place of love – so that Baby can get the rest they need to thrive, and so that Mom and Dad can be at their best as parents.
“E” is for Environment
Make sure you check all the boxes with your baby’s sleep environment. It should be:
Safe (read more here)
Dark (like, really dark. No light-up toys!);
White noise (turn it up!);
Cool (our bodies produce melatonin easier in when the temp is 66-68 degrees);
Clean, calm, not overstimulating;
Swaddles before 5 months, sleep sacks after.
“N” is for Nutrition
One really common problem I see is nutrition deficiency or imbalance. This could be either from too much milk and not enough solids, or vice versa. Sometimes, it could be the type of food, like too many snacks and not enough nutrient-dense foods. It’s really common to find 7-9 month olds still eating only fruits and veggies without any protein, which can lead to early morning wake-ups because they don’t have enough protein to sustain them all night. The main point is to focus on whole foods that are nutrient dense and have the right balance of protein, healthy fats (you can hardly have too much healthy fat before the age of 2!), and complex carbohydrates. Not sure if your little one’s diet is optimal? Set up your free sleep call and let’s talk about it!
“T” is for Training
Even after you get all of the above suggestions in place, your baby still might not be thrilled about your expectations that they will start sleeping independently on this new schedule. This is where training comes in. What is training? Simply put, it’s coming up a with a plan for how to respond to your child while teaching them to sleep independently. This is where a personalized plan becomes everything. Before the emotions or exhaustion takes over, know exactly what you’re going to do and when, so that your child can learn these new expectations with 100% consistency from you. Whether it’s a check-in type method, gradual withdrawal, or something in between, kids respond best to predictability.
Not sure how to put this all together into a comprehensive, personalized plan that fits you and your child? Set up your free sleep call with me today! If Christmas leaves you still wishing for your silent night, maybe we can transfer this wish into a New Year’s Resolution and have you all sleeping through the night in 2019! 😉