(Photo courtesy of @everythingmumlife)
Just Google "baby sleep training" and you'll see that there are countless methods out there created to get your baby to sleep, but the truth is that sleep is a natural process that we're all hardwired to want to do. Plain and simple, our bodies need sleep and this includes even the youngest members of the population. You don't have to trick your baby into needing sleep, they actually want to sleep. Typically, the things that are preventing your baby from being a good sleeper are due to parental behaviors. You may not even realize some of the bedtime habits you think are helping your little one sleep are actually training them to be a bad sleeper. Here, the best ways to raise a good sleeper.
Baby Sleep Tip: Always Put Baby to Bed Awake
As new moms, we've all fallen into the trap at some point--mostly out of desperation--of rocking baby to sleep and then setting them down into their DockATot Deluxe or crib to slumber. But, there's clear evidence that putting the baby down already asleep affects their overall sleep time. A study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics showed that "parental presence until sleep onset" was a key factor in preventing babies from getting at least six consecutive hours of sleep a night. It may take some practice, but learning to let baby get themselves to sleep independently will have a huge payoff in the end.
Baby Sleep Tip: No More Middle of the Night Feedings
Remember the movie Gremlins, when those cute fuzzy little animals turned into scary trolls if they were fed after midnight? Well, turns out feeding your baby in the middle of the night could have a negative effect, too--and turn you into a sleep-deprived monster. In the same JAMA Pediatrics study, the authors found that "the factor most strongly associated with not sleeping at least six consecutive hours per night at five months of age was feeding the child after an awakening." Experts say that babies are ready to wean off their "dream feed" at about four to six months old, as long as you're giving them enough calories during the day. But you know your baby best and if they need that middle of the night feeding, then go ahead and give it to them.
Baby Sleep Tip: Stick to the Same Bedtime Every Night
This sleep tip is not earth-shattering news to most of us, but all the same it's an important one when it comes to raising a good sleeper. Even more of a reason to put your child to bed at the same time every night? It boosts their brains. A recent study done at the University College London showed that when 3-year-olds have a consistent bedtime they performed better on cognitive tests given at age 7 than children who had bedtimes that were not regular.
Baby Sleep Tip: Use DockATot at Bedtime
One of the keys to raising a good sleeper is to create an ideal sleep environment. We designed DockATot to be the ultimate sleeping haven, with materials that create the perfect microclimate (meaning the fabric doesn't harbor heat) and is made with ultra comfy materials that literally hug your little one. The DockATot Deluxe size mimics the womb, by recreating that snug and comfy environment they got so used to for nine months. The DockATot Grand keeps toddlers safe and cozy inside their big kid beds, while giving them a sense of reassurance.