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To get a better understanding of the issue
Helping to teach your child to fall asleep independently doesn’t have to be stressful. When children learn how to self settle, it doesn’t need to involve parents’ hearts breaking or children crying and feeling distressed. A lifetime of good sleep habits begins with knowing how to fall asleep independently. This is a skill that is learned. For something to be learnt, it must first be taught. General treatments for frequent wakings usually involve teaching gentle self-settling strategies to children and their caregivers.
I know this is easier said than done but trust your instincts. There are so many health care providers, who are often all giving so much conflicting advice. At the end of the day, you are the person with this baby day in and day out. Take in all the information, and choose to implement what works best for your child and your family. If you’re unsure about a recommendation, or your instincts are telling you that there’s something else going on, there is nothing wrong with asking questions and requesting more investigations.
Quick tips to calm a baby, and encourage longer periods of sleep
- Swaddle your baby before bed
- Use white noise
- Try dream feeding
- Feed infants every 1.5-2hrs during the day
- Limit daytime naps to 3 hours
- Try putting baby to bed when drowsy, but still awake
- Make clear distinctions between day and night
- Establish a short (less than 30min) but regular sleep routine
During night feeds, stick with the nighttime routine. Keep lights dimmed, noise to a minimum and try not to engage in any wake time activities like television or play.
Sometimes, young children can really struggle with changing sleep habits they’ve come to like and expect, like being cuddled to sleep at bedtime or rocked when they wake up in the middle of the night. There is absolutely nothing wrong with soothing a baby to sleep, but sometimes these habits can become unsustainable for parents. In these cases, a gentle sleep and behaviour consultant can help to address behavioural aspects of sleep-onset associations that are highly problematic or demanding.