How to make your baby sleep all throughout the night? – That is one of the most common questions you may hear from any parents. Is it possible? Yes! It will be challenging at first, but it’s definitely worth it when achieved. On this blog post I’ll be sharing the 8 secrets to a better and healthier sleep for your babies.
Sounds familiar? Well, I get that a lot when I was still pregnant. They said sleeping with a baby will be an everyday battle. And instead of just accepting what’s in store for me, I did what I do best – research and prepare.
After my comprehensive research, I found unusual keywords that may probably help me – sleep coach & sleep training. I initially thought that this isn’t available in the Philippines but I’m glad that I found Ms. Maria Campos Lopez (Ria) –the first Filipino sleep coach. She regularly conducts informative sleep classes. Too bad, I didn’t have the chance to attend her classes when I was still pregnant because I am not available on weekends. Despite this, I still took note on everything I need to know.
During Audrey’s first month, she literally just sleeps all day and only wakes up for feeding and pooping. Then as she grows, her sleeping pattern changes. Her waking hour increases and sometimes, she’s active and shows social smiles. I can say that her growth spurt and sleep regression periods were the most challenging part of this sleep training. Good thing, I’ve prepared for this battle.
Last May 25, I finally had the chance to join in the “Healthy Sleeping Habits” class at Baby Mama in Makati facilitated by Ms. Ria with Halo & Gorenje, as their event sponsors.
Audrey was already 5 months old when I attended the class. And I tell you, it’s a lot better to hear it straight from Ms. Ria. Most of the online sources that I’ve read were very theoretical about this topic. Ms. Ria, added a personalized approach and made it very relatable to all the attendees. And it took some time before I can share this blog because I really want to have a firsthand experience on my learning.
Why am I very particular on this?
I really wanted Audrey to be a good sleeper because sleeping plays an important role on her growth and development. And when she’s having a good rest, I will have a good rest too! It’s a win-win scenario, right?
Here are the 8 secrets to a better and healthier sleep for your baby —
1. Know the importance of good sleep
Sleep training is more than just having a good night for you and your baby. Here are the more important purposes why we should do this:
Babies are little humans. Just like us, they also feel satisfied if they woke up from a good sleep. This mood will be carried all throughout the day. Happy baby, happy mommy!
When the baby is in the good mood, there wouldn’t be any hindrance on their development. They can participate well in any activities and can play without any interruptions.
Since our babies can sleep all throughout the night, we parents can also sleep all throughout the night. This also means more quality time with our partner.
I thought PPD was a myth, not until I experienced it. This is true and it can happen to any moms, not only to first time moms. Successful sleep training is an achievement for mommies. It can boost our confidence and it feels like a soft tap at the back that we are doing great as a mom.
2. Know your baby’s sleep cycles and biological rhythm
As our babies grow their sleep pattern changes and evolve. It’s important that we are one step ahead on their natural cycle so we can adjust accordingly. Things that need to be considered are: sleep duration, naps, sleep consolidation, sleep schedule and sleep regularly.
This is the period when babies have no concept of night and day. There’s no distinct pattern or system. They just sleep, pee, poop and eat whenever they want to.
Now, babies can somehow distinguish night and day. They can finally get 4-6 hours sleep at night!
During this stage, babies can sleep 11-12 hours throughout the night. You can also drop night feeding, if your pedia allows it.
3. Know how much sleep a baby needs
Check out the chart below
4. Know what is a SAFE BABY SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
It is highly recommended to create a SAFE BABY SLEEP ENVIRONMENT because it reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and SUIDS (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome).
Baby sleeps ALONE, on their BACK, in their CRIB
A pillow, blanket, toy, bumper, and many other things shouldn’t be placed on the crib while the baby is sleeping. Loose bedding, for example, can entrap baby’s head and may cause suffocation.
Usually we check their hands and feet to gauge their temperature but according to Ms. Ria, they are naturally cold. What we can do is to check it through our baby’s nape if it’s sweaty or cold.
Parents from different country recommend different kinds of sleepwear according to season. But since we are living on a tropical area, this won’t work for us. It’s hot even on night time! So the best sleepwear for us – is a cotton pajamas or onesies. You can also swaddle your baby. Swaddle is an age-old technique of wrapping the baby in blanket for warmth and security.
Darkening the room reduces stimulation. It also signals them that it’s time to rest.
White noise creates womb-like environment that calms the baby. Usually white noise machine/sounds are placed near the baby but Ms. Ria said the better way to use this, is to place them where the noise is coming from. If the noise is near the window, place it in the window. That way, the white noise machine will muffle the unpleasant sounds.
When the baby sleeps on their own, in their own room, it’s equally important that we keep an eye on them and continue to monitor them.
Additional tips! Babies have little head and neck control that’s why loose items may cause suffocation while they sleep. The following items are not recommended:
- No pillow until 3 years old!
- No wedge!
- No crib bumper!
5. Introduce pre-bedtime routine
Another effective way to have a good sleeper is to develop a pre-bedtime routine. It should be as simple as possible – 3 steps will do! The important part is you have to keep on doing it so that your baby will associate those steps with sleeping. Here is my suggested 3 step routine
- Warm bath (You can use bedtime soaps as they have calming scents. Check out my review to EcoStore: Sleepytime bath. If you can’t bath them, you can also sponge bath them)
- Talk to our baby like “Audrey, its night time we need to rest now. I’ll be turning off the lights and turning on the fan/ac”
- Read story or play music (On our case, we play music. Our go to playlist is Music Box Lullaby in Spotify. If Audrey grows older, I’ll let her choose between reading and music time.)
6. Few more tips
- Baby should be placed in their bed drowsy but still awake. As a little human, they also get surprised if they woke up in bed and not in mommy’s arm where they’ve slept. Just like us, we’ll be equally surprised if we woke up in the bathroom and not in room where we slept.
2. Do not make your baby dependent on props feeding to sleep, rocking and pacifier.
3. Make sure that your baby does not have a problem ex. Sleep apnea. Check with your pedia.
4. What to do?
MORNING – Brightness, Playtime, Skin to Skin. Sunlight, Eye Contact
NAPTIME – Keep room bright, 2 hour limit, Playmusic or let in street noise
BEDTIME – Dark and quiet, Start a routine, Put a baby to bed when they are sleepy and not asleep
MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT – Keep lights off, No stimulation, Only change diaper if neede, Feed quickly
7. Plan of action
Communication and cooperation is very important to have successful sleep training. If you have other caregiver like daddy, yaya, lola or anyone that looks after your baby when sleeping, it’s important to include them in the plan so all of you have the same goals. Even if you are not around, they can still put the baby to sleep by following that pre-bedtime routine that you prepared. It’s also important that you talk to your baby and include them in the plan. After all, it is their sleep that we are talking about here.
8. Consistency and Patience
Sleep training needs a great commitment. You must consistently follow the plan even if you encounter challenges. A baby may be fussy or anxious at first because you are introducing a change. A little rebel, right?! But don’t worry, all it takes is just 10 -14 days before they can adapt and you should be good to go!
Wooh! That was long! Thank you for reaching this far. I hoped that the secrets I shared may help you with your sleep training. Actually, it wasn’t my secret, but it was Ms. Ria’s secret. I appreciate that she allowed me to share it with you.
I would love to hear from you! Let me know if the secrets I’ve shared have helped you with your sleep training journey.