Sleep Baby Sleep

How to Put a Baby to Sleep

Want to know the best way to put a baby to sleep? With so much conflicting information on the web, something so simple like laying a baby down to sleep, can turn into a fiasco. So I thought I would put together some of my best tips. Let's talk about how to put a baby to sleep considering safety, comfort, and of course ways to help your baby sleep through the night!

How to Put a Baby to Sleep

Swaddled. If your baby is young and not yet rolling, swaddling really helps keep that startle reflex under control. It also helps your baby feel warm and snug, kind of like she did in your belly. Some babies won't accept being swaddled at first, but give it a few tries before you call it quits. Also try some different types of swaddles and sacks. Not all are created the same. 

On His/Her Back. This is also important for babies that are young and not yet rolling. The SIDS campaign teaches the importance of safe sleep by recommending that you always place your baby on his or her back to sleep. Once your baby is able to roll by herself, she can sleep in any position she can get herself in, but until then, your baby should be put to sleep on her back. 

how to put a baby to sleepAwake. When clients ask me about how to put a baby to sleep, awake is the very first word that comes to mind. A baby that falls asleep by nursing, rocking, bouncing etc will expect that during the night and will wake frequently. The best way to put your baby to sleep, is by putting her down awake. This is just as important when your baby wakes during the night.

In the Dark. Sounds pretty self explanatory right? Not really, many parents still use night lights, and projectors that light up the ceiling hoping that this will help put a baby to sleep. Studies show that even the slightest amount of light can suppress melatonin, the hormone that helps your baby sleep. The room should be dark with no night lights, and anything that illuminates should be covered up. I even have the fire detector light covered with a piece of black tape!

With Noise. It's no surprise that babies are drawn to strange noises like the vacuum, blow dryer, fan and other crazy things. These noises mimic the sound your baby heard while in your belly. Take advantage of this soothing and familiar sound and play some of these noises while your baby sleeps. If you don't have a sound machine, there are many great smart phone and tablet apps.

With Love. Kisses, cuddles, and snuggling is the best part of our bedtime routine. A baby that has enough opportunity to spend time bonding with mommy or daddy will feel safe and secure to fall asleep on her own at bedtime and will sleep soundly through the night. Many times separation anxiety can be "cured" with a little extra loving!

Now that you know how to put a baby to sleep, you can spend less time stressing and googling this topic, and more time enjoying your little one!
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No Cry Sleep Solution

Does it work?
I get this question often from parents that are looking for an alternative to the old cry it out technique. The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley has gained some popularity because of the gentle sleep training methods Pantley teaches in her book. But do these methods work? Well, the only way to find out is to read 250 pages and try these techniques on your baby. But who really has the time for that while caring for a baby? In effort to save you some time, I will outline the gist of this book and explain why it may or may not work.

no cry sleep solutionThe main focus of the no cry sleep solution is to teach your baby to fall asleep on his or her own, which is great. However, to achieve this, the book tells you to gently remove from your baby's routine whatever it is that your baby is dependent on. Pantley mainly focuses on the sucking to sleep association so this can be nursing, pacifier, or bottle. She basically says that you should give your baby the breast, bottle, or pacifier and gently slip it out as your baby is falling asleep. On the first night, your baby can be totally asleep before you take it out. As the nights go on, your baby should be more and more awake when you take it out, until your baby is falling asleep without the sleep association.

Pros: If your baby is really young (1-2 months), this may work because your baby hasn't yet become really dependent on these props.
Cons: In the end your baby is still most likely going to cry, so you are just prolonging the inevitable and will still have to follow up with some other methods.

In theory, the no cry sleep solution seems like a good plan, but in my experience as a sleep consultant most babies that have these strong sleep associations are really dependent on nursing, feeding, pacifier, or rocking to sleep. And when removing these sleep props, most babies will still end up crying just as much, if not more, because you are just prolonging the process. The best thing to do is to help eliminate these sleep props by helping your baby learn to fall asleep on her own, and addressing any crying immediately so there doesn't have to be many tears in the process. Weaning or gradually taking these sleep props away rarely works, at least not without many tears in the process. So how gentle is it, if your baby is still going to end up crying? After basically spending a week "teasing" your baby and slipping his sleep prop away from him, you are still going to have to use some other sleep training methods.

Hope this helps answer your questions about the no cry sleep solution. Every baby is different and responds differently to sleep training. If you are looking for sleep training help, based on your baby's unique situation here are some options.



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Daylight Savings Baby Sleep Tips

Spring Forward: 3 Simple Daylight Savings Baby Sleep Tips

With daylight savings time just around the corner, that means we lose an hour of sleep, but for your baby this can mean another monkey wrench thrown into his/her sleep schedule. If you have an early riser you may be getting excited about your baby waking an hour later. But it may not be that simple. Your baby's internal sleep clock helps put her to sleep at a certain hour, and helps wake her up at pretty much the same time each morning. So it may be a little difficult to put your baby to sleep at the usual bedtime, and have her wake an hour later in the morning. To help make daylight savings time an easy transition for your baby, follow these 3 simple tips.

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  • Prepare for daylight savings time, ahead of time. You will have to change your baby's entire daytime schedule, not just bedtime. So for the 6 days prior to daylight savings, shift your baby's schedule by 10 minutes each day until you reach the full hour. This will give your baby a chance to adjust, without a drastic change in his/her sleep schedule. A young baby, or a baby that doesn't adjust well to change, will not be able to handle an hour time change easily. Prepare your baby slowly and ahead of time. If you haven't had enough time to prepare ahead of time, no worries, you can even do this post time change. 
  • Get ready to deal with some bedtime troubles. As I mentioned your baby's internal clock is set to get her ready for bed at a certain hour. With daylight savings time, you will be putting your baby down an hour earlier than she usually goes down. The new 7pm bedtime, will actually be 6pm prior to the time change. Meaning your baby will most likely have a hard time falling asleep that early. For your baby, all of this feels sort of like jet lag. It will take about a week for your baby's internal clock to be reset to the new schedule. Helping your baby settle for the night by dimming the lights and creating a calm and quiet environment before bed will be important. 
  • Get some good blackout blinds. With daylight savings time, comes more light during the evening hours.  If your baby was falling asleep in the pitch dark, it may be really difficult for him/her to fall asleep with even the slightest light coming in. Also, light suppresses melatonin, the hormone that helps your baby sleep, making the room nice and dark will help tremendously. 
Daylight savings time is not as stressful in the spring, as it is in the fall when you have to change your clocks back an hour. Nonetheless, some babies still have a bit of a hard time. Making sure you prepare ahead of time and gradually shift your baby's sleep schedule, will help the transition go more smoothly. 



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How to Get Baby to Sleep in Crib

Wondering how get your baby to sleep in the crib? Crib transition can be a little nerve wrecking. Not only will your baby be now sleeping in his or her own room, but will be expected to sleep in a big, open, and let's be truthful, not so comfy space. You may have already tried laying your baby down, but I bet your baby cries when put in crib. Well, what if I told you there are tricks to getting your baby to sleep and transition to the crib? Here are some of my best crib transition tips and tricks. They also work great if your baby won't sleep unless held.

Top 10 Crib Transition Tips

Receiving Blanket Rolls
how to get baby to sleep in crib, transition baby to crib, baby won't sleep unless held, baby crib transition This is a pretty neat trick I learned from the hospital nursery. This is what they do right after a baby is born to help them feel secure. It's most appropriate for really young babies, that just need help sleeping somewhere other than on top of mommy during the first few weeks of life. This is a great trick to use when baby won't sleep unless held. What you basically do is take a receiving blanket, and roll it up the long way, and place one on each side of your baby. This helps your baby feel like she's being held, and helps her feel nice and snug. The roll should be placed along side of your baby, armpit level down. You obviously don't want it anywhere near your baby's face and if you are worried about SIDS, then use the rolls during the day and remove them when you are ready to go to sleep. This also not appropriate for babies that are very mobile. 


Crib Elevation
baby cries when put in crib, crib transition, crib elevation, baby won't sleep unless heldThis is another trick I learned from the hospital nursery. All of their bassinets are slightly elevated and this really helps a baby sleep better. Think about it, our baby didn't sleep flat in the womb, so there's no way she's going to sleep flat in her crib or bassinet. To help with this you can slightly elevate her bassinet, crib, or co-sleeper. This trick can be used for young babies, or even older babies that are going to be sleeping in the crib for the first time. Sometimes that slight elevation, makes all the difference. You can buy a Dex Baby Crib Wedge, or use books under the crib legs to give a more "natural" elevation. With the arms reach co-sleeper you can simply take off one set of legs. 

Warm water bottle
baby cries when put in crib, how to get baby to sleep in crib, baby won't sleep unless held, This is a great way to get baby to sleep in the crib. Fill up a water bottle with warm water and put it in your baby's crib where she will be sleeping. Then slip it out right before you lay your baby down. This will make the crib warm and cozy for her and will help her settle a little bit better than laying down on cold sheets.


"Lovey"
get baby to sleep in cribA lovey also known as a security item is all that your baby may need to transition to the crib. Having that lovey or buddy to cuddle with, is very important to help your baby feel secure and to help him create a good sleep association. A "lovey" can be anything, a small blanket, or receiving blanket square,  mommy's t-shirt, a bib (some babies love the tag), the list is endless. It's basically anything that your baby finds comfort in.


Sleep Sack
baby hates crib, baby cries in crib, baby will not sleep in crib, Sleep sacks are a huge help during crib transition. They help take away that feeling of being in a big open space, which is usually the reason a baby "hates" his crib. The more snug or narrow sleep sacks are better, because they feel more secure and give that feeling of being held. The Carter's sleep sack pictured on the right is great for that. The Halo, is usually too loose in the legs. Save your Halo for when your baby gets better at sleeping in the crib. For the initial crib transition, try something more snug and along the lines of the Carter's Sleep Sack. The cozy material helps with soothing too. 

White Noise Machine
baby sleeps on mommy, baby only sleep being held, baby will not sleep unless held, baby needs to be held to sleepWhite noise can be a huge life saver. I don't know what it is, but the distracting noise can really calm a baby. Get a machine with noises that your baby enjoys. Some of the most common are vacuum, hair dryer, womb sounds, running water, or gentle shushing. 
Practice Time In The Crib
baby won't sleep in crib,  baby does not like crib help, help baby won't sleep in cribIt's important to give your baby some practice time in her crib during the day. I typically don't recommend toys or mobiles in the crib at bedtime because they usually overstimulate and keep a baby awake. But during the early crib transition phase, mobiles are usually a great distraction and you can always take them down before bedtime. Practice crib time should be done when your baby is happy and awake, like after a good feeding. Lay your baby down and just let her explore. The more practice she gets in her crib the better she will feel about being in there, and you never know when she may surprise you and actually fall asleep in there. 



The "Right" Crib Sheets
how to get baby to sleep in cribBelieve it or not some babies can be really picky about their crib sheets. And did you know that some crib sheets actually encourage self soothing? I have watched so many babies use the texture of the crib sheet to help get themselves to sleep completely on their own. The Carter's Velour Sheets are amazing. The texture is so smooth, soft, and your baby's hand will literally glide across. They should make these for adults!
The "Right" Temperature.
The right temperature is also very important. If your baby is waking up with cold feet and hands, that may be waking her up during the night or very early in the morning when the temperature drops. Since everyone's thermostat can be very different, I don't recommend setting it at a certain temperature. 74 degrees in one person's home may be cold, while it's sweating hot in someone else's. So the rule of thumb is that you put one extra layer of clothing on your baby, than what you are wearing. So if you are warm and cozy in long sleeve pj's and a blanket, then put your baby in a long sleeve onsie, long sleeve pj, and a wearable blanket and that should keep your baby nice and warm through the night.

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This is a biggie. If you have tried all of these tricks and your baby is still not sleeping and crying every time her head hits the crib, then chances are she just needs to figure out how to fall asleep on her own. Take a look at what Sleep Expert Jodi Mindell says about crib transition and self soothing.



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We can work on crib transition, teaching your baby to self settle, and finally getting your baby to sleep through the night. View Sleep Plans Here..


So there you have it, my top 10 crib transition tips!  Now that you know how to get your baby to sleep in the crib, you can start enjoying this big occasion. Getting your baby to sleep in the crib for the first time is a big milestone, and it should be an exciting one. Use these tips if you are having trouble, and your baby will accept the crib in no time.


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Swaddle Transition and The Zipadee-Zip Sleepsack Giveaway

The Zipadee-Zip is great for transitioning a baby off the swaddle but it also helps a baby self soothe and sleep soundly through the night. It's different from all the sleeveless wearable blankets or sacks out there. There’s a reason people call it the new and improved wearable blanket. The star-shaped pointed sleeves and star-fish design is Patent Pending because it inspires sounder sleep than any other wearable blankets on the market. The slight resistance in the wing-span allows a baby to move around freely while still providing the enclosed, cozy sensation babies enjoy so much in the swaddle and the womb. The ‘Moro’ or startle reflex is what prevents a baby from sleeping soundly and jolts a baby awake suddenly. The reason babies are startled is because they wake up and can’t feel their edges like they were able to in the womb. The Zipadee-Zip provides those ‘edges’ or that womb like environment while still providing them the freedom to roll around and use their arms and hands safely. This is why the Zipadee-Zip will work when all other products parents have tried to transition their babies typically fail.


Although most parents purchase the Zipadee-Zips for the transition off of the swaddle, many love the Zipadee-Zip for other reasons: The Zipadee-Zip is easy to put on, it keeps a baby’s hands warm at night, and the enclosed feel gives babies the security they need to learn to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own and it can be easily buckled into a car seat or stroller. It also keeps germs away from from those little hands in grocery stores and doctors offices.

Stephanie, the creator of the Zipadee-Zip has generously offered to give away a Zippy to one of my lucky readers. All you have to do is enter through Rafflecopter below. It's really easy to use. All you have to do is login, so that I know how to contact you once you win. Then just simply complete one or more of the tasks, depending on how many entries you want to submit. Yes you can enter multiple entries! Winner will be chosen on Feb 3, 2015 Good luck everyone!

If you're not our lucky winner, but still want to purchase a Zippy, go to zipadeezip.com. You can use the code SLEEP for a $2 discount
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