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What The Heck Is A Sleep Prop?

As parents, one of the biggest concerns during the first few years of a child’s life is their sleep patterns. Today, I’ll reveal the primary reason – perhaps the only reason – why your baby might not be sleeping through the night. It all boils down to one concept: sleep props.


What is a Sleep Prop?

To understand the concept of a sleep prop, think about your own bedtime routine. Each of us has distinct habits and rituals that signal to our bodies that it’s time to transition from the hustle and bustle of the day to the quiet of the night. Some of these might include:

  • Personal Rituals: Getting into your favorite relaxation position, or shifting into another when it’s time to sleep.
  • Interactions: Chatting with your partner before you drift off.
  • Setup: Having a glass of water by your bedside, or earplugs at the ready.

I label these personalized routines as sleep strategies. They’re our individual ways to help ease the transition from being awake to falling asleep.

The Baby’s Transition to Sleep

Now, consider this – babies too make this transition. But instead of having internal cues like adults, they often rely on external help, mostly from their parents. This external assistance, be it your presence, a pacifier, a bottle, or breast-feeding, becomes their sleep prop.

Herein lies the issue: At some point during the night, there will be natural moments when a baby wakes up. If their sleep prop (or ‘external vehicle into sleep’, as I like to call it) isn’t available, they’ll get restless, cry, and want that familiar setting to go back to sleep.

In essence, these are their sleep habits. And habits, as we know, can be challenging to break. So, if your baby isn’t sleeping soundly through the night, their dependence on sleep props might be the culprit.

Reflect on Your Baby’s Sleep Habits

I urge every parent to reflect: What is your baby’s sleep prop? What external cue have they grown dependent on to drift into dreamland? Identifying this is the first step towards understanding their sleep patterns and making nights more restful for both of you.

In my next video, I’ll go deeper and reveal the most common sleep prop babies tend to rely on. Until then, ponder over your little one’s bedtime habits and see if you can spot their unique sleep prop. And remember, I’m always here to help – drop me an email if you’ve got questions or insights.


Ready to transform your baby’s sleep habits?

The Sleep Sense course is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step system that gives parents the tools they need to get their toddlers sleeping straight through the night.

As seen on Good Morning America, it’s been the Internet’s most trusted resource for over 20 years and has already helped over 125,000 families finally solve their children’s sleep problems.

The Sleep Sense course comes complete with Direct Messaging access to a team of sleep professionals, and offers a no-hassle money-back guarantee… so you have nothing to lose and a great night’s sleep to gain!

Click below to get started:

Baby Not Sleeping Through The Night?

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The Sleep Sense Philosophy

Cry-it-out? Coddle? Co-sleep? Attachment parenting? Ferberizing?
If you’re going to let me help you with something as precious as your child’s sleep, you probably want to know a little bit about who I am and exactly how I think...

Dana’s Sleep Blog

Straight talk about sleep, parenting,
babies, toddlers, relationships… and
just about anything else!
My blog is a great place to find opinions, advice, the occasional rant, and some great videos about sleep.

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