All of the consultants at SleepWell Baby are moms. Most of us have become passionate about sleep because of our own experiences, struggles and triumphs with our own children’s sleep. I am a mom to three boys, ages 4, 2 and 4 months. As a sleep consultant, I get asked constantly if my own children sleep well. And truthfully, they do. I did my consultant training when my middle child was around 9 months old, and while it helped tremendously with him, I was always curious about what a difference my sleep education would make if I started some strategies from birth.
Enter child number 3. (That’s him in the photo, taken by our SleepWell Concierge and photographer extraordinaire, Erin Francais!) Since he joined us 4 short months ago, our baby Lincoln has been a dream. Seriously. I feel like I can say that because my other two boys were not dream-like at this age. Believe me, I’ve put in my time. While I’m not entirely sure how much is his personality and how much is what I’ve contributed, here are some of the things I wish I would have known with my older two boys:
- Day sleep is SO important. With my oldest, I was always focused on night sleep, and had no idea the importance of day sleep. Naps and night sleep are so related. Not enough daytime sleep typically results in poorer night sleep.
- A baby is often ready for sleep and will fall asleep easiest before they start showing any sleepy signs.
- Confidence makes a big difference. Babies can tell when you are anxious. If you are putting your baby down gingerly, expecting them to wake up as soon as you put them down, they may sense that.
- Keeping a baby up so they will sleep longer at night most often backfires.
- The timeline. Knowing how a baby’s sleep works and knowing when to expect changes has made a huge difference. When babies are first born, their bedtime is typically quite late. Over the next four months you can move it earlier gradually. Knowing the appropriate schedule for the appropriate age has been huge and has allowed my husband and I to gently ease Lincoln into an amazing schedule. Check out our SleepWell Baby Sleep Milestone chart for a quick reference to see where your baby is at with their sleep.
- A well-rested baby is a content baby. Babies learn and grow at a staggering rate. Sleep is critical to their development. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my most content baby is also my most well-rested baby.
SleepWell’s SOS Package starts at 16 weeks because, prior to that, babies sleep is too immature for the strategies and schedules we use with our older babes. Newborns need to be fed often, have somewhat unpredictable sleep patterns and need to be attended to constantly. However, there are tons of very gentle tips and tricks that you can use for this age group. I want to be clear that none of these strategies include crying, and none involve delaying or eliminating feedings as that would be inappropriate at this age. If you are pregnant or know someone who is and want to be proactive with your baby’s sleep, check out our Getting Ready for Baby package.
Something I’ve been telling my mamas lately is that sleep in our culture is too often painted as wasted time – Time you’re not being productive. Time you’re not “loving” that baby who will only be little once. Time you’re not using to teach that baby how to grow up. That’s just not the case. Sleep is not wasted time. It’s very valuable time – especially to babies. Sometimes the greatest love we can show our babies is helping them to get enough sleep.
Teresa Johnson is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant with SleepWell Baby. She works with families to help them get the sleep they need. Teresa offers support to parents with children ages 4 months- 8 years old through both in home and remote consultations. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.