Raise your hand if you think your baby needs a better sleep routine?! If we were in a room filled with moms right now ... more than half would raise their hands! I would be one of them! If you are like most, you need X amount of hours of sleep to function normally. Unfortunately, your sleep cycle as a parent suffers significantly after having a baby, that little person requires around the clock care and leaves very little time to get the rest you need. The solution?! Getting your baby on a better sleep routine will help significantly in your own sleep routine, resulting in a happy baby and a happy mom!
I would like to introduce Heather Sharpe a wonderful mom and sleep consultant for Wee Sleep. I asked Heather to share her tips on establishing a great routine for baby, as well as, share her mommyhood adventures!
Introduction: Tell us a bit about yourself!
I grew up in the Ottawa Valley and currently live in Orleans with my husband and two children. Jack is five years old and is an awesome big brother to his sister Avery, two years old. As a family, we love the outdoors and look forward to spending weekends and holidays at the cottage to enjoy all that nature has to offer (no matter the season)!
How did your business venture come about?
I was introduced to WeeSleep when my son was 9 months old. He was still waking every two hours in the night and I was beyond exhausted! I kept thinking that one night it would just "click" and he would miraculously start sleeping through the night. Sleep-deprived and at my wits' end, I reached out to Janey Reilly, Founder and President of WeeSleep, and hired her immediately with the promise of getting our sleep back. After our consultation, Janey provided me with a customized sleep plan specific to my sons situation and sleep needs. After only two nights into the program, my son finally started sleeping through the night!! By the end of the program he was also taking proper naps, which improved his mood (and mine!) significantly. It was life-changing and one of the best decisions we ever made!
A couple of years after I worked with Janey, an opportunity arose to train with her and become a Certified Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant. Given my experience with both my son and daughter, I became very passionate about sleep and recognized the true benefits of having children establish positive and independent sleep skills. I joined the WeeSleep Dream Team so that I could give other families the gift of sleep by using proper, gentle, supportive techniques to help them teach their children healthy sleep habits.
If you had three tips on how to establish good sleeping patterns within baby's first year, what would they be?
Tip#1: CONSISTENCY IS KEY
Babies and children love routine and predictability. To start, create a calm and consistent bedtime routine. Doing the same routine every night helps prepare your child for sleep and lets them know that sleep time is coming. A great routine could include: a bath, PJ's, a bottle or breastfeed, a short story, a song and then into bed AWAKE (with lots of kisses and hugs of course!). With time and consistency, this routine should help your child become comfortable with their peaceful sleep space and be happy to go to sleep on their own!
Tip #2: DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE EARLY BEDTIME
One of my favourite sleep catch phrases is "sleep begets sleep". I find that many parents are afraid that an early bedtime will result in an early wake, but this is often not the case. They key is to ensure your child takes age-appropriate naps throughout the day, and gets to bed before they become overtired at night (for most toddlers and preschoolers, this means around 7pm!). This will help your child unwind more easily and fall into a deep, restful sleep. By doing so, your child will be able to get a solid 10-12 hours of sleep during the night!
Tip #3: HOLD THE PROPS!
When a baby has learned only one way of falling asleep – i.e. being rocked, using a soother, being fed to sleep, etc. – then it’s common for them to wake multiple times per night and take only short naps during the day. Essentially, if a baby is dependent on something or someone for sleep, they are looking for this to get to sleep at ALL times. Then when they wake, they cannot transition to the next sleep cycle and continue sleeping. To help your baby begin to sleep more independently, avoid the props and, instead, put your baby down awake to help them learn to fall asleep on their own – this is how babies begin to sleep through the night and take restful naps!
Have a question to ask? Heather offers a free 15 minute consultation ~ send her an email at - firstname.lastname@example.org
If you had any advise to give a new mom!
Being a new Mom is a very exciting time but can also be quite overwhelming. Practicing self-care is easier said than done but it's so important for the mental health of all Moms. Yes, there will be times when you will "sleep when the baby sleeps"; however, there is much to be said for the benefits of a hot shower + clean clothes, a cup of coffee (that hasn't been re-heated five times) or even enjoying a warm meal sitting down. Don't be afraid to ask for help - your baby needs you but you need to look after yourself, too!
What do you wish to remember the most about your children today?
Their creativity, silliness, drive for independence and love of hugs. Most of all, I wish to remember their compassion and love for one another. Oh yes, there is definitely sibling rivalry but there are those moments of tenderness that tug at your heartstrings - they MUST hug + kiss when they part in the morning, then again before bed; they show genuine concern (most times) when the other is hurt. As their mother, I can only hope that this bond grows even stronger over the years!
Images of Heather and her sweet munchkins all taken by yours truly at the One Diaper Canada Charity Event