Gentle Sleep Coaching Tips
Updated: Aug 29, 2021
One of the first difficulties parents face is establishing a sleep routine for their babies. Like most parents, members of Parents First submit questions asking how to get their babies to sleep through the night, avoid sleep regressions, and learn better sleep patterns. While sleepless nights are a right of passage for new parents, there are ways you can help get your baby sleeping for longer stretches at a time and eventually, sleeping through the night!
To help our amazing community, we asked Renée Poole, founder of The Tired Mama Sleep Co., to join our Expert Panel and give us some advice.
Here's what she had to say:
As a fellow parent, I understand the struggles we all face when it comes to sleep challenges. The most important tip I can give is to follow a consistent schedule as best you can, even when things aren’t going smoothly. There are, however, a few additional things you can do to help ensure restful sleep for your infants and toddlers, as well as yourself.
Set Up the Sleep Environment For Success!
A dark environment is the only way we can naturally produce melatonin, the “sleep hormone”. Blackout curtains or blinds can help to keep the room dark, especially during Summer when it stays light out long past your child’s bedtime and gets light very early in the morning.
White noise not only blocks out surrounding sounds but also mimics the “swooshing” sound made in the womb, which can be very comforting for babies.
The ideal room temperature should be 68°-72°F for the most comfortable sleep. A baby monitor with temperature readings can help you to stay within the appropriate range
Try using a swaddle for children who cannot yet roll from back to tummy, or a sleep sack for those who can. The tightness of the swaddle mimics being in the womb, and both will keep your child warm.
Have a Consistent Bedtime Routine
Consistency is key to establishing a routine. Once your child knows what to expect, this routine will signal that they are expected to go to sleep soon. An example routine for a young baby would be bathtime with lavender, a lotion massage, a final feeding, storytime, lullabies, cuddles, and then bedtime.
Staying consistent is hard when you are so tired yourself, but all your hard work will pay off when you and your little one have a great night's sleep!
Tips For Better Sleep
Finally, here are some tips for getting your little one prepared for bed outside of the bedtime routine:
Try not to introduce screen time in the two hours leading up to bedtime, if possible. The blue light emitted from the screens inhibits the production of Melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Instead, encourage quiet activities such as reading, coloring, puzzles, or building blocks.
No sugary snacks after dinner. Some good examples of after-dinner snacks include, but are not limited to: toast with butter, whole rolled oats, a glass of warm milk, cheese and crackers, or a banana. (Bananas actually contain tryptophan, the chemical in turkey that makes us sleepy.)
Dim or turn off the lights in the house one hour before bedtime. Since we only produce melatonin in dark environments, this will help with that.
These tips are just the beginning of a long discussion on gentle sleep training in the Parents First group! Become a member of Parents First and learn more about how to get your baby on a sleep schedule that will benefit you both.
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Renée Poole is the founder of The Tired Mama Sleep Co., which specializes in gentle sleep coaching for newborns up to three years of age.
You can follow her Facebook or Instagram pages for periodic sleep tips and tricks!