Just like adults, babies have different temperaments. Some are laid back and happy most of the time; others can be prone to frequent tantrums. Some babies enjoy a peaceful environment; others feel more comfortable when there is noise around. You may not realize, but the type of temperament that your little one has can affect their sleep, as well as having an effect on any sleep training that you provide.
When you are making changes to your child’s sleep, they may respond easily and go with the flow or they may protest for a while about it. This is where knowing your child’s temperament will help you when making changes and what to expect.
Do you have a dandelion baby or an orchid baby?
Now first off, if you have a dandelion baby I’m not calling your child a weed! 😀 All I mean is that some babies are able to thrive no matter where they are and others need very specific conditions. Just like a dandelion they can adapt and thrive no matter what kind of environment they are in, like this dandelion, for example. It’s not in an ideal place for water, probably gets extremely hot in the bricks and the conditions are not ideal, but it’s growing and thriving without any problem. Before becoming a parent I thought this is how all babies were. Oh, how wrong I was!
Now take and orchid. An orchid needs conditions that are just right. Not too much water, not too much sun light, not too hot, not too cold, juuuuuuust right. If the conditions aren’t good then the orchid doesn’t thrive. I know because I had orchids living in Colorado and never had success with growing them but in Sweden they are like the easiest plant! 😀 If you have a child that needs very specific conditions, you know what I’m talking about. You’ll need to be very aware of their awake windows, naps times, routines, and room environment for sleeping.
If your baby is an easy going dandelion
If you have an easy going baby, the task of getting them to sleep through the night should be fairly simple. In fact, you may find that they do all of the work themselves. This type of baby is often a self-soother. This means that If they do wake up in the night they will usually fall asleep again in a few minutes.
If this sounds like your baby, you should simply stick to a regular routine each night, so that they get to know that it’s time to sleep. If you do hear any crying during the night, you should use a technique that is a gradual way to help guide them to sleep but they will be able to start doing it more on their own fairly soon. Your little one may have been startled by waking up and just need a few minutes to settle, so leave them for about ten minutes before you investigate. However, self-soothers and easy going babies do not usually carry on crying. If the upset continues, it’s a good idea to check if there is a problem.
If your baby is an orchid
Every parent thinks their own child is special; even if their little one is difficult. However, some babies can be hard work; even if their parents will not admit it in public. If this sounds like your baby, the good news is that temperaments can change. Just because your baby is tantrum prone and attention seeking does not mean they will be a difficult toddler or teen.
However, babies that are difficult still present a problem in the here and now. They are easily disturbed and upset and they want you to be there when they are. This results in frequent loud crying during the night. One thing you should never do if you have a child with this type of temperament is adopt the ‘cry it out’ technique. Some babies will just keep crying for hours, until they get attention. This is not good for the baby, or anyone else in the household. This does not mean you should let your baby rule your nights either. Here are some tips that you may find useful.
If your child is a little of both
The fact is that many babies veer from being easy going to demanding, at a moment’s notice. There can be many reasons for this such as:
The best way to deal with this may be to use a gradual approach to not answering their signals at night. You can start by popping your head into your baby’s room to check on them, and then get them gradually used to you not coming straight away when they cry. If they wake up at night, you first wait only a minute or two. Then the next night you start increasing the time by another one to two minutes until you are up to ten minutes. If they just want to grab your attention, and you do not provide it, they will often get bored and go back to sleep. However, all babies are different, so be prepared to be flexible. Some will be more persistent than others when it comes to this!
By the time you are ready to make changes to your baby’s to sleep, you should have a good idea of their personality. Use this knowledge to help you find a sleep training technique that works best for you and your child.
BY COURTNEY LANDIN
POSTED: JUNE 25, 2019
The concept of training a baby to sleep may sound a little strange to you as a parent. Surely, a child should enjoy and benefit from natural sleep, rather than be trained. That’s what I thought in the beginning too! Then I had a baby who needed help understanding when it was time to sleep and what that feeling meant in her body. The thing about training your child is that it can actually help them, and you, to get the right amount of restful sleep. It’s a way of protecting your baby and keeping them healthy and happy. Training or practicing healthy sleep habits is no different than your baby learning how to eat or crawl on their own. Both take time, practice, and patience.
The most important thing to remember is that every child is different, as is every family. What works in one home may not work in another. There are different methods to help your baby sleep so, take a look at the ones mentioned here to create a sleep training routine for your baby that fits your family.
What does sleep training involve?
Sleep training is simply a way for you to help your child understand how to sleep, so that they get the rest they need. For the first four months of your baby’s life, you really just need to go with the flow. The way your child sleeps will depend on basic needs such as feeding and changing. But what you can do from early on is set up their room for sleep (dark, cool, quiet) and begin simple and consistent sleep routines (feed, song, sleep) to help develop these habits early on. Once your child is around four months old they are usually ready for more routines and sleep guidance but these simple steps will help make this transition.
If your child still seems reluctant to sleep for longer periods, do not worry. As I mentioned earlier, every child is different. Your baby may simply need to be a little older before they can begin to understand how to sleep for longer.
First steps in sleep training
The first thing you need to think about when sleep training a baby is having a routine in place.
You will see several sleep training methods mentioned by experts. No one method is best, you simply need to find the method that works in your situation. Let’s take a look at the three main methods, which can be varied to suit.
Cry it out
This is the method is as it sounds. You place your baby in their crib and you leave the room and return at regular intervals to help soothe. This does not mean that you should just leave your baby crying for hours. If attempting this method, it’s best to place your baby in their crib before they get too tired. Let them cry for a while when you leave and go back to soothe them if necessary. In this method you do not pick your baby up; simply soothe them with your voice. This method can be difficult for some parents to manage. Although this is the method many pediatricians advice parents to use, I believe there are better ways to help a baby develop health sleep habits. This method may not suit all families. Before I knew anything about baby sleep we attempted this method for about 10 minutes and gave up. Now I know that there are better ways to help a child, but if you do use this method, be sure that their room is set up for sleep and they have a consistent routine in place before sleep.
This is the complete opposite of the cry it out approach. As soon as your baby cries, you should comfort and soothe them immediately. The problem you may find is that some babies tend to be more attention seeking than others. If your baby knows you will come if they cry, training them to sleep could be a long process. You will need a lot of patience and time with using this method. I find this method to be very difficult because it takes a very long time to see results. Maybe your baby isn’t crying but you are because you are so tired. I also tried this method and it was too exhausting to continue.
This method of baby sleep training is popular with a lot of parents and one that has a nice balance of learning and love. It involves moving further away from your child’s crib each night as they fall asleep. They get used to you being at arm’s length and then not being in the room and it’s a gradual process. Fading also involves checking your baby but making it less obvious over time so that eventually they are not even aware of your presence. This is what I base my sleep plans and support on and think that parent assisted changes make for the perfect balance between loving boundaries and loving support from you.
You may need to try different methods to find the one that works best for your baby and for you. Do not simply expect that what worked for a previous child will work with the baby you are currently training to sleep. Be prepared to adapt and change routines and methods until you settle on what works the best. My best tip is to decide on a method, make a plan, try it for one week, take notes to see any positive changes (even small ones), and then decide if it’s working for you and your baby.
BY COURTNEY LANDIN
POSTED: JUNE 24, 2019