Koalaty Sleep Consulting
“You’re a new parent, you’ll get used to less sleep.” “Give baby time, they’ll grow out of it and sleep better eventually.” “Sleep when baby sleeps.”
Everyone has heard some version of these after having a baby. But they really aren’t true. Sleep is a skill and you can start teaching your newborn how to sleep right away (though obviously they won’t sleep through the night for several months). 80% of babies/children struggling with sleep issues will not outgrow it for 3+ years. And if your baby doesn’t take good naps or sleep for long stretches during the night, how are you ever supposed to get sleep??
Cue the sleep consultant. We often get a bad rap as people associate us with the cry-it-out method, but each consultant will use different techniques. As a SleepSense consultant, I use a gentle technique where the parents are allowed to be present and provide some amount of comfort for their child which we work to gradually fade until they are sleeping independently.
But my goal is to teach parents the importance of sleep and give tips on how to establish healthy sleep habits so that you don’t have to struggle with sleep later on. Sleep is very important for your child’s development: brain and memory, immune system repair, and basic reenergizing. If your child isn’t getting enough sleep, they might struggle in different areas.
How do you know if your child is getting enough sleep? Let me give you an easy chart:
So as you can see, kids need a lot of sleep! The other key to getting enough sleep for your child is to schedule their day properly. You have probably realized that your young baby can’t stay awake long before needing a nap, but as they grow older, they are able to stay awake longer. This is called their “Wake Window.” Scheduling your day (naps and bedtime) according to this will help you prevent over-tiredness and get your child enough sleep.
The chart below shows the wake windows of different ages:
Another tip is to teach your child independent sleep. This means putting them into bed awake and not rocking them to sleep or feeding them to sleep before putting them into the crib/bed. This way your child learns to sleep on their own and in the middle of the night if they wake up, they will know how to fall back asleep. To help with this, if your child wakes up in the middle of the night, or too early from a nap, wait a few minutes before going in to see if they will fall back asleep on their own. They need opportunities to practice!
And the last tip for today is to make sure the environment is conducive to sleep. This means no distractions (toys, music, lights), as dark as possible (at bedtime, morning, and nap times), cool temps (between 68-72°F), comfy clothing, and quiet (use a sound machine to block out any background noise).
If you just aren’t having success on your own, or you are struggling and at your breaking point, I would love to help out. I have services for prenatal moms, infants, toddlers and older children where I create a personalized plan for you and your child and walk you through it. Then as you put the plan into action, I will follow along to give support and answer any questions you have. Often the hardest part about going through with sleep training is staying consistent and having someone as an accountability partner can really help out!
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, or schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation to chat with me! Follow on Facebook or Instagram for sleep tips throughout the week.
Erin Van Engen, Koalaty Sleep Consulting