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How to prepare for sleep training

Updated: Mar 27, 2019

Here are key things to do as you prepare to bring quality sleep to your home.

Get the most from your sleep training experience.

1. Become an observer in your own home

The best thing you can do to effect change with your children's sleep habits is to start watching critically. Exhausted parents who feel like they have tried everything need to give themselves more credit. If all of the facts were exactly as they seem, you would have solved your frustrating sleep problems by now. We need to go back and re-examine. Something's up. Rest is necessary for growth, development and proper functioning. Your baby does not hate sleep, he's struggling with how to get (and stay) there on his own.

Take a step back. Observe your child's day as if you've not met him. Instead of noting, "he's tired," note down what behavior you saw that brought you to think that. Was he staring? Yawning? Quick to strong emotions? These are the facts we need in order to discover what is happening with your child's sleep.

Be an especially careful observer at bedtime. "He wants me to hold him," is not an objective observation. Take yourself and your feelings out of the observations and stick to the facts. Is he crying? What does the cry sound like? Are there pauses between cries? Where is he and what is he doing with his body?

On-demand sleep help with Sleepy Apple will help you sort through these observations to find the answers to your sleep issues. I'll track them with you, and help you learn to evaluate them yourself. The key to peaceful sleep is watching our children with a critical eye.

If you're feeling like your baby's cues are unclear, or that you have a fussy, unpredictable sleeper, Sleepy Apple can help. Let's clear up the communication between your and your child.

2. Get the right stuff

Prepare yourself with the tools for safe sleep, controlling daylight exposure, and minimizing startling sounds in your child's sleep environment.

The simplest way to think of this is that your child will be sleeping in an empty crib, wearing nothing but pajamas and a wearable blanket, in a room with blackout curtains and sound machine for 3 years. Swaddle/pacifier/stuffy/blankie exceptions are additional and specific to each age group.

The Basic Sound Sleep List:

- Crib, empty. (The picture above has some stuffed animals that are not great under 12 mo).

- Breathable memory foam mattress with fitted sheet

- Baby monitor with adjustable sound sensitivity

- Dohm sound machine

- + Rohm sound machine for busy households with siblings

- Newborn swaddle blanket

- Armless sleep sack 2mo+

- Blackout fabric for windows

With these tools in hand, you'll be able to control your child's sleep environment and set your house up for quality sleep. It's most helpful to get your hands on these items before we start on-demand sleep training, so that we can implement all of the changes at once and see change as quickly as possible.

Here are some links to products I personally use and recommend. This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase from my link I may make a small commission at no cost to you.

1. Dohm Sound Machine - This is a great tool for creating soft, ambient noise and putting your child into a nice "sound cloud" for great sleep.

2. Rohm Portable Sound Machine - Add this for any on-the-go sleep. and if you have a busy household or siblings that disturb baby. It's louder than the DOHM and makes a great sound barrier between awake and asleep family members.

3. Hanes Serenity Blackout Fabric: This is truly the blackest of the black when it comes to darkening a room to true night. Additionally, the opposite side is white, so this won't change the appearance of your home and windows from the outside. Sleepy Apple families often stick this up with velcro dots, which is a great no-sew way to black out a window in a removable way.

4. Baby Monitor with Adjustable Sound Sensitivity: This is an excellent monitor for parents who are light sleepers. If your child's late night grunts and squeaks have you jolted awake, this adjustable sensitivity monitor with true-to-life sound is the perfect cost-effective solution.

5. Infant Swaddle Sack (0-3mo): For swaddle sacks, I do recommend specifically the Halo cotton sleep sack swaddle. This sack allows you to swaddle arms in, one arm out, and both arms out, which makes it an excellent item to transition baby out of a swaddle and help lessen the startle reflex.

6. Armless Sleep Sack (3mo+): This super-soft bamboo sleep sack is silent and keeps baby at a perfectly ventilated sleep temperature. The brand of sack isn't particularly important, but look for one with the armless shape pictured below.

7. Time Timer: This visual timer allows even the youngest toddlers to have some awareness of the passage of time, and a warning that a transition is coming (out of the bath, done reading books, etc). It's an excellent investment that will be useful for many years.

Expecting a baby? Amazon has a fantastic Welcome Box of freebies just for creating a registry. You'll end up with at least one bottle, muslin swaddle blanket and pacifier, plus plenty of diapers, wipes and baby bath products to try. Totally worth it.

Contact me any time for your free consultation. I'm happy to help.

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