It’s a technique that’s about as old as parenthood itself; rocking, singing or nursing your child to the point where they’re just about to close their eyes, and then laying them down in their crib. Inducing drowsiness seems like a natural thing to do with a child before putting them down, but your intuition might be misleading you. Find out why in this week’s video.
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When we fall asleep at night, there are three phases to our sleep. Stage one is really, really light, and it looks exactly like drowsiness, right? You’re kind of closing your eyes, or you’re doing some heavy blinking, you may be sort of drifting into sleep a little bit and coming back out. Stage two is really considered the “first true sleep state”. That’s more solidly you are falling deeper and deeper into sleep. When you’re trying to teach your children to sleep well, one of the things that I preach and I preach pretty hard is that you need to help them learn how to get themselves to sleep from start to finish. Right?
“How do I do this? What do I do when I get in the crib?” and, “What positions do I get into?” and, “How do I let sleep come naturally?” and, “What do I do with myself?” These are all the skills that a child needs to learn in order to be a really great sleeper. What happens if you help through some of this journey? Let’s say you get baby in your arms and you pop a bottle in her mouth, and she starts to get drowsy. Now, you know … Because you’ve read the program … That you can’t let her fall asleep there anymore, so you’re not doing that, but you’re still helping her get into a little bit of drowsiness.
Now, for some babies, this is going to be fine. Once you get her to the crib, she figures out how to do the rest on her own and sleeps beautifully and wonderfully all night long. But, I do find that for about half of the babies that I work with, getting them drowsy doesn’t actually help. It hurts more than it helps. They get all drowsy with your help. They get to the crib. They figure out how to do it. They fall asleep, but three hours later they wake up again, and now they’re wide awake and wondering, “How do I do this from start to finish without some help?”
They get upset and mom comes in, and she might help with a little bit of feed again to drowsy and so on. It doesn’t tend to resolve any problems, right? You’re still facing a night waking or two, where you have to come in and help in some way. Or, what could happen is that it does help initially, right? You put your baby in the crib drowsy, she gets herself to sleep and she sleeps all night, every night, for about three weeks. Then, she starts to have night wake ups, right? The problem is always around bedtime. The first thing I always ask somebody when they get on the phone with me is, “Tell me about your bedtime routine.” It’s always about bedtime.
If you’re having any nighttime wake ups in the night, or all of a sudden they’ve started and you don’t know why, have a good look at your bedtime routine. Is she getting drowsy anywhere in that routine? Maybe it’s through story time she’s getting drowsy, or maybe you have a five-minute cuddle at the end of your routine, and she’s getting drowsy. Whenever somebody tells me that it takes their baby seconds to fall asleep at bedtime? I know that they were too close to sleep when they got there, right?
It takes the average person at least five minutes to fall asleep. If your baby’s doing it in under five, there might be a problem there. Again, there might not be, but if you’re having any kind of issues, then that’s the problem. You’ve got to back off and stop helping, and let her get herself to sleep from start to finish, all on her own and that will solve the problems.
Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 57,00 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started today – I’m looking forward to helping you!