As a mom of a toddler with another baby on the way, I’m part of quite a few mom groups on Facebook and in real life. Even as a Baby Sleep Consultant, I don’t pretend to know all the answers about everything parenting. Dealing with toddler hitting or packing a lunch that my daughter will actually eat at school, I’m still learning about these things. And these mom groups have helped immensely with some of these questions.
I know many moms who are struggling with their child’s sleep go to these mom groups and ask for help and advice. The thing that really gets me is the number of comments about some magical solution or product that magically got their baby sleeping through the night.
Getting your baby to sleep
When you consider the sheer number of products out there that say they’ll get your baby to sleep, I understand why parents are intrigued and ready to shell out a bunch of money on all of them. It’s a magic unicorn that will solve their problem instantaneously without any effort, crying, or protest. Cool! Sign me up!
Maybe the self-rocking crib, the vibrating mattress pad, the weighted blanket, the motion-detecting auto-shusher, the hypnotizing bedtime book would work? Or maybe a special blanket, one-of-a-kind swaddle and magic bubble bath combination would put
Yup, parents really latch onto these ideas.
I get it! You are exhausted. You are sleep deprived. You can hardly think, let alone think straight. You feel like you are losing your sanity at an increasing rate. You. Just. Want. To. Sleep!!!
Now, these products likely will help your baby fall asleep. However, this is part of the problem. The product helps your baby fall asleep. The way they know how to go to sleep is with that specific product. Great! Or is it?
Let’s look at an example – the ‘magic’ sleep book
Let’s say you buy the magical sleep book, read it to your little one and then they are out! Well, you may know this, but just in case, the fact is that none of us (including our little ones) fall asleep and stay asleep for 8-10 hours straight. Our bodies don’t work like that. We all sleep in cycles that take us from light sleep to deep sleep and back. In between those stages, we all wake up. As adults, we typically don’t remember those wake-ups because they are so brief and we know how to get ourselves back to sleep on our own!
Are you starting to see why this magical book or other contraption might be an issue? If we were dependent on some sort of product to fall asleep, because it was the only way we know how to go sleep, in between those sleep cycles, we would need to get up and read the magical book again. Doing this every 2-3 hours for the next few years sounds pretty unpleasant to me. And I’m guessing would sound pretty unpleasant to the exhausted mombies asking for advice on getting their kiddos sleeping!
Or take the example of a special swaddle or the self-rocking crib to get baby to sleep
Sure, these may help your baby sleep for longer stretches at night now. But what happens when they get too big for the special swaddle or that self-rocking crib? You are back at square one. Trying again to figure out what you can do to get your child to just go to sleep and stay asleep!
Sleep is a skill
You have likely heard me say this before and you will likely hear me say it again. Sleep is a skill. It’s no different than swimming, riding a bike, driving a stick shift, or playing the piano. We may be born with the ability to fall asleep, sure, but it still takes some practice to refine that skill.
When you lull your little one to sleep with feeding, bouncing, shushing, rocking, or by using one of the many products on the market that promise to get your baby to sleep, you are doing all that practice for them. As babies get older, more aware and excited by their surroundings, that work you as the parent are doing to get them to sleep becomes more and more work and more and more exhausting. It’s like you are never letting go of their bike seat as they are trying to learn to ride it.
So how do you get your baby to sleep well for the long term?
Of course, this is the real question desperate parents are asking in those mom groups. They just might not realize it, because the immediate gratification of sleep now sounds too good.
What sets a Sleep Consultant, like me, apart from all of these thingamajigs
Parents and I work together to help their children master those sleeping skills we talked about. Together we take you and your little one, step-by-step, from exhaustion and the constant work and struggle to get even a few hours of sleep a night to blissfully sleeping long stretches at night and some much needed time to yourself after your little one is in bed for the night.
Working with parents, like you, we get the pieces of your child’s sleep puzzle put together correctly. And by correctly I mean without any magic or temporary tape (aka all those products out there that claim sleep magic). It will take you and your family from just surviving the exhaustion, bedtime dread, nap struggles, and frustration to thriving by feeling well-rested, more energized, happier getting the sleep you all need.
This means that no matter where they’re sleeping, no matter who puts them to bed or if you run out of their favorite bubble bath, they will have no problem getting themselves to sleep, and then sleeping all night long.
The benefits of solving your child’s sleep puzzle
One of the best things that comes out of this is a well-rested child (and well-rested parents!). As any parent learns early on, a well-rested child is a lot more pleasant and fun to be around than an exhausted, grumpy baby. (The same can be said for lots of parents, too!)
Once kids master these skills, it isn’t just something they can do, but many love to do it! They know they feel better when they sleep. They feel confident in being able to do something on their own that makes them feel great. My daughter and the many children I have worked with start to really enjoy bedtime. It isn’t such a battle (toddlers will test limits, so check this out for some tips to keep things on track), and kids really enjoy the quality time, cuddles and closeness with their parents to help them wind-down after all the fun of each day. Then you get them in bed and they take control. They get themselves to sleep so they can wake up in the morning ready for a new day of adventures.
Real talk about these magic sleep products
If dropping a few hundred bucks and lots of time and energy, every few months when baby grows out of their special sleep apparatus, or that magical bubble bath seems to have lost its magic sounds good for you, then more power to you. You do you, momma!
Or you can get to the root of the problem and solve it, instead of putting a band-aid on it. Teaching your baby the skills they need to be the master of their own journey to sleep is going to pay dividends. Because you, your little one and your whole family will be sleeping well for the months and years to come.
Sounds pretty great, right? Many parents agree, check out what they have to say!
If you are wondering what solving the root of the sleep challenges you are having with your child would look like, please reach out to me. Schedule your free evaluation call to learn more. Then you can decide the best step for your family and how to get past the sleep struggles to thriving instead of just surviving.
Cheers to healthy, happy sleep!