By Anita van Wyk from Ballito, married with a 13 month old son & expecting a 2nd child soon. She chose to leave the corporate world to become a Good Night Sleep consultant after they assisted her with her first born.
The words ‘CRY IT OUT’ jump into most parent’s minds when they hear the words ‘SLEEP TRAINING BABY’, which is why I don’t like to refer to myself as a sleep trainer but rather as a sleep consultant.
It is extremely important to set the stage for your baby to get to sleep on their own and then to settle themselves back to sleep when they wake up at night. Effective sleep training requires taking their age, growth and lots of other factors into account.
There are loads of sleep training methods available in baby books and on the internet. All these tools have the same end-goal in mind : to teach your baby to get to sleep independently. You do, however, need to be aware of a couple of crucial factors, before trying any of these methods :
Setting the stage for sleep training baby
Make sure your child is receiving the correct amount and type of food. For example, babies under one years old still need a certain amount of milk during the day, and a parent should not remove night feeds if the child is not getting enought during day time.
Prepare the place where baby sleeps at night carefully – in some cases the room might be too light, or the environment might be too noisy. If that’s the case, you then need to try block out curtains, switching off the hallway light or maybe introducing white noise into baby’s room.
Safe sleep is extremely important, especially under the age of 1 year and then again for toddlers who are able to get out of bed and walk around in the house.
Balancing sleep and awake time
Babies and toddlers need a specific amount of sleep during the day and you need to keep to your child’s age appropriate awake time.
You cannot expect an overtired or under-tired baby to sleep independently and soundly.
A fixed, age-appropriate routine and schedule will cue your child’s brain about when sleep is coming and that makes it so much easier for them to fall asleep.
Make sure you understand what negative sleep associations your baby has, address them and focus on building positive ones.
We can teach our children the very valuable skill of sleep in a very gradual, gentle manner. That is why Good Night has a very holistic approach to sleep, without looking at sleep in isolation. Remember, you never have to leave your child’s side and nor do anything you are uncomfortable with..