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One Sleep Solution That Will Work for Every Child

According to Wikipedia, “infant sleep training refers to a number of different regimens parents employ to adjust their child’s sleep behaviors.”

Sleep Training

Two words that conjure up such mixed emotions from one mom to the next.  I often wonder why that is.

Is it because we think that if a certain strategy worked for our child, then it MUST work for everyone else’s child (if only they’d just do it right)?  Or maybe it’s because there are so many different techniques with one being the total opposite strategy from the next.  Or is it simply because we’re dealing with a lot of hormonal, sleep deprived, defensive moms? Nah, that can’t be it.

On the contrary, I assert that the vast majority of the fevered emotion surrounding “sleep training” arises from the misunderstood and often misused cry-it-out (CIO) method (commonly known as “Ferberizing” or the Baby Wise method).

Dallas Moms Blog CIO Sleep Training

Whether you call it “sleep training,” “sleep teaching,” sleep coaching” or “sleep guiding” – it’s a matter of semantics.  As with anything else we parents do with our children, we’re simply trying to affect long-term behavior in a positive (or at least what we deem positive) way.  We “train” our children to walk, to talk, to dance, to have good manners, to recite their ABCs.

What’s so wrong with training them to sleep well?

In my mind, sleep training isn’t as much about how quickly you can get your child to sleep through the night, but more importantly, it’s about developing long-term, healthy sleep habits. You know – like the tortoise and the hare.  Despite our push to be like the hare, this is actually the time to strive to be more like the slow-moving, intentional tortoise.

No two are alike when it comes to sleeping...not even twins!

No two are alike when it comes to sleeping…not even twins!

So why the emphasis on long-term, healthy sleep habits?

A recent study came out confirming the many benefits of a consistent bedtime routine and a good night’s sleep in children.  Not only is this of utmost importance when it comes to healthy brain development in children (we can all agree that we want that, can’t we?) but it also equates to a happier family over all. Not many people would argue against the fact that well-rested parents are better parents – more patient, more in touch with their children’s needs and certainly more confident in their parenting abilities.

So what works for our family?

Swaddles & Sleep Sacks are our best friends!

Swaddles & Sleep Sacks are our best friends!

With all three of our boys, we use(d) a hybrid approach of Gary Ezzo’s On Becoming Baby Wise and Suzy Giordano’s The Baby Sleep Solution.

Six pointers I can offer no matter which method (or non-method) you choose:

  • a daily schedule that baby can rely on is crucial to a good night’s sleep.
  • just as energy begets energy, sleep begets sleep, so skipping naps does NOT help baby sleep longer at night.
  • in order to make it the whole night with no feeding, they must be able to take in enough sustenance during the day – according to Suzy, that’s at least 24 oz. of breast milk or formula.
  • consistent bedtime routine at an early enough time to eventually allow baby to sleep 12 hours. Bedtime should start anywhere from 7-9pm. If anyone tries to tell you to “keep him up late so he’ll sleep longer,” just smile, politely nod and relish in the fact that you know much better than to do that!
  • remember that their lightest sleep is from 4-6am (so if restlessness occurs during this time, resist the urge to run to your baby’s rescue right away)
  • my personal favorite – being old enough (with enough mobility and head control) to sleep on their tummies was a game changer for one of our twins.

If you haven’t seen the memo, Dallas Moms Blog is devoting this week to all-things sleep.

Rather than seek out the content that you disagree with, my challenge to you is to read through these posts with an open mind with the intention of possibly taking away a sliver of good advice or even just a glimmer of hope that a full night’s sleep IS in your near future.

And if you’re re-reading the title of this post and wondering to yourself, “so what’s the ONE sleep solution that works for every child,” then here it is – patience, patience, oh and more patience.

Now that you’ve read what worked for us, are you willing to share those golden bits of advice that brought coveted sleep back into your home?

What works/worked best for you and your sleeping littles?

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Does your child have a bedtime habits you’re not sure how to break? Are you ready to make a change in your child’s sleep routine? 

Owner Visa Shanmugam of Sound Sleepers will give you a clear, easy-to-follow plan that will teach your child the skills necessary to happily sleep through the night (and take long, restful naps during the day).

Visa has been personally trained by Dana Obleman, the creator of The Sleep Sense™ Program, whose methods have been used worldwide by more than 30,000 families to solve their children’s sleep problems. She offers one-on-one sessions and group seminars for parents, and is available to lead workshops at drop-in groups or for public appearances.

Contact Visa Shanmugam today for a FREE 15-minute telephone consultation!
Call (214-785-1943) or send an e-mail to [email protected]

 

**Sound Sleepers has sponsored a portion of Dallas Moms Blog’s “Mamas, Rest Easy” Sleep Series; however, they have not sponsored the content. Michelle has not used the services of Sound Sleepers.  All opinions and writing in this post are 100% original to the contributor. 

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5 Responses to One Sleep Solution That Will Work for Every Child

  1. LauraP November 5, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    Three things that changes nap time and night time for us: 1) knowing babies nap differently than sleep at night (I.e. our daughter slept light during thee day and hard at night. This meant house had to be quiet in the days). 2) a good nap should be at least 45 minutes and 3) we paid attention to total sleep versus number of naps. This helped us see the changes as our daughter was growing. Lastly, we really took routine to heart. We created a consistent day and night routine around the naps.( I.e. after second morning nap we’d play music and do some learning (like colors or shapes)

    • Michelle November 6, 2013 at 9:54 am #

      LauraP –

      Great point about paying attention to the total sleep time as opposed to how long or what time the nap(s) occurred.

      There are many reputable sources that discuss the total sleep time needed by age. Here’s what WebMD has to say:

      http://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/sleep-children

      -michelle

  2. Kristina November 5, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    The recommendation of Baby Wise turns me off. That book has caused moms to follow it to a tee and has resulted in failure to thrive babies. Book should be burned.

  3. Laura
    Laura November 5, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    Love this post! Michelle is so right, every baby is so different in how/when they will sleep. But those 6 tips are so true, regardless of what sleep method you use! We definitely used aspects of Babywise that we liked (eat, play, sleep schedule, and ignoring the clock for the first two weeks and just focus on feeding our baby) and threw out what we didn’t agree with in the book. No sleep book should be read as the ultimate authority, Babywise (and every other sleep book!) included. We momma’s have got to listen to our baby’s specific needs and follow common sense, hence why those 6 tips are so good. Thanks Michelle!

  4. Kathryn November 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    Agree 100% with these six tips. My twins just turned two this weekend and we used the same kind of sleep training. Even now they sleep 12-13 hours at night and take a 2 hour nap during the day. I used Babywise to tell me age-wise what to expect and when they should be ready to drop a nap or sleep longer. One of our most amazing moments tho was when I didn’t rush in one morning at 4 am and Baby A just went back to sleep. And so did I! (Tip #5). We also put the boys in their cribs to sleep from the day we came home from the hospital so they always slept in their room, not with me or next to me. I am blessed to have such well adjusted kids but I also had faith in them that they could learn to self-soothe and be good sleepers.

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