FACT #1: Establish a good schedule (eat, wake, sleep)
If this is the only thing you take from baby wise, then great! Babies thrive from consistence. If you are constantly changing up the schedule and routine daily, your child will have a more difficult time achieving good nighttime sleep. Every day should have consistency with a wake up time that is the same every day (our’s is 7am) and a bedtime that is the same every day (our’s is 7pm now). In between the start and close of each day, your child will cycle through several eat, wake, sleep cycles. This trains you child to not become dependent on nursing or bottle feeding to fall asleep. And beleive it or not, this helps with nighttime sleep too. If you babies wakes in the middle of the night, she may be able to put herself back to sleep if she is not dependent on nursing or bottle feeding to fall asleep. For more on eat, wake, sleep cycles see my post entitled “Infant & Baby Schedules” http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/16/infant-schedules/
FACT #2: Keep Sleep Props to a minimum
Baby Wise urges parents to stay away from sleep props such as nursing or rocking baby to sleep or sleeping with your baby in a shared bed. There is nothing wrong with any of these sleep props. There are many parents who do this with their children and it works for their family. But if you are attempting to use parent-directed feeding and Baby Wise, these sleep props will hinder your progress. The goal of Baby Wise is to help teach children how to fall asleep on their own without someone’s help. Having said that, I will say that I believe it is okay to rock your baby to the point of drowsiness before laying her in her crib. Just don’t allow them to fall sleep in your arms. For more on putting your baby to bed drowsy but awake see my post “Put Your Baby To Bed Drowsy But Awake” http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/09/put-baby-to-bed-drowsy-but-awake/
FACT #3: Some crying will happen (Cry-It-Out)
If you are using Baby Wise, then they recommend putting your baby in his own crib awake. Some babies will fuss or cry in their crib before falling asleep. Baby Wise suggests allowing your baby to cry for up to 15 minutes. If your child is still crying after 15 minutes, go in a check on him. You might want to pat him on the back or hold him in your arms for a little. Then leave the room and try again. Every baby is different, if I showed my face even after 15 minutes my son would cry longer and harder. I had to learn that when we where in the heat of sleep training (Cry-It-Out), I had to just leave him be. We had a video monitor so we could make sure he was okay. Thankfully, the hard nights really only lasted for 3-5 days, maybe 7 days at the most. We started putting my son to bed awake by drowsy when he was 4/5 weeks old at night. At first he would cried for 20 minutes before falling asleep, but it did not take long (maybe 4-5 days) and his crying diminished. I believe by the time he was 3 months old, he rarely cried going to sleep at night. If he did cry, it was because he was overstimulated and needs to blow off steam.
FACT #4: Some babies make noise, fuss, or cry during sleep transitions (so don’t rush in)
Babies sleep cycle are about every 45-50 minutes. During this transition from one sleep sleep cycle to the next, your baby may partially arouse and make noise, fuss, move around, or even cry. As hard as it is, don’t rush into their room to check on them. Give them a few minutes to settle. “Sometimes you may think your baby is waking up when she’s actually going though a phase of light slumber. She could be squirming, startling, fussing, or even crying- and still be asleep. Or she may be awake by on the verge of drifting off again if left alone. Don’t make the mistake of trying to comfort her during these moments; you’ll only awaken her further and delay her going back to sleep. Instead, if you let her fuss and even cry for a few minutes, she’ll learn to get herself to sleep without relying on you (BW p. 146)” My son use to wake from his naps in between sleep cycles (45 minute intruder) and would cry for 5-15 minutes when he was 2-4 months old. I learned to leave him alone or he would never complete a full nap and be cranky. For more on baby’s sleep cycle read my post entitled “Infant Sleep Cycles” http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/13/infant-sleep-cycles/
- Don’t start sleep training during a growth spurt, illness, or during a hectic time of year with lots of disruptions http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/choosing-the-right-time-sleep-training/
- It is never to late to start sleep training. It does not matter if your child is 2 days old or 12 months old. It is just easier to start when you baby is young because habits have not been formed yet.
- Be consistent- if are going to use the Cry-It-Out method then stick to it. Don’t let your child cry it out for 3 nights, but on the 4 night rock him to sleep or nurse him to sleep. You are going to send mixed messages to your baby. He will not learn what is expected of him. http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/consistency-sleep-training/
- Put them to bed before they are overtired or overstimulate. If you put them to bed to late, often babies will have more difficulty falling asleep and will cry longer and harder. http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/23/sleep-windows-get-them-to-bed-before-its-too-late/
- Keep a consistent bedtime routine and time, as well as a consistent wake up routine and time http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/bedtime-routine/ and http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/24/dramatic-wake-up/
- Don’t Set unrealistic expectations. See my post about how many hours a baby should sleep at night without a feeding http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/sleep-requirements-for-infants/
- Make sure that your child has a good sleep environment http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/create-a-good-sleep-environment/