On October 15, I had the pleasure of hosting a live Q & A on Facebook with sleep consultant Marnie Huard of Cheeky Chops (click here to see the Amazing Mom post about her from earlier this year!). She had some great tips and advice for families looking for help getting their youngsters to sleep.
Since she had such great advice, I thought I would share it here. See below for the Q & A with Marnie:
Q:What is the #1 question you get asked by parents when they seek your help?
A: The first question is usually: how long will it take to make my baby sleep better. Answer: the learning curve is about 3 weeks for babies to sleep better at night and can be up to 6 weeks for naps.
Q: How long does sleep training usually take? Is it different for babies vs. older children?
A: Nights take about 3 weeks to be consistent, naps up to 6 weeks. It can take longer for older children, but it all depends on their temperament, personality, sleep issues, and so on. If you’re struggling, it might be helpful to work with a sleep training app similar to Huckleberry Care to ensure you get the right routine for you and your family. I’ve heard from friends that it helps them better keep track of the how their baby is sleeping.
Q:Is there a difference between boys & girls for sleep training?
A: Boys tend to have more attention-seeking behaviors than girls (head banging for example) so we have to deal with this while sleep training. Overall the difference isn’t very big; it’s more dependent on the child than the gender.
Q:Is having a routine necessary for a good sleep?
A: Yes!!! Having a routine ensures that your little one doesn’t have too much day time sleep and also gives your baby a sense of predictability and consistency.
Q: What is a sleep association and what are the most common ones?
A: A sleep association is something your baby needs in order to fall asleep because it’s associated with sleep. The most common ones are rocking and nursing to sleep.
Q:What are some best bet sleep techniques to help your youngster (and family!) get the sleep they need?
A: Anything you decide to implement for sleep, stick with it for at least 2-3 weeks and be consistent! Consistency is key. Breaking a sleep association is also necessary for better sleep.
Q:What are some common mistakes parents make with sleep?
A: I like to say that nothing is a mistake unless it becomes a problem for your family. That being said, adding sleep props is often a common go-to solution for parents looking for better sleep, but it only help on a short-term basis. Another common one is worrying that your baby is waking because he is hungry so parents end up feeding their little one every time he/she wakes up.
Q:Why is it that babies wake up more often during the second part of the night (after 11pm)?
A: It’s because that’s when they enter the light sleep phase and they wake up almost every hour; if they don’t know how to fall asleep by themselves, this is when you are up with them
Q:To finish up our live Q & A, let’s talk about toddlers: When is a good age to transition a child to a ‘big kid’ bed?
A: A good age to transition is anywhere between 18-3 year old, as it all depends on the child. The main thing is to look out for the signs of readiness: trying to escape the crib, interested in big bed, crib is getting to small, and child is starting to show negativity towards the crib.
Q:Once in their ‘big kid’ bed, how can you help keep your toddler in bed?
A: Getting your child involves in the transition will help them understand the concept. Also letting them know in a firm but loving tone that it’s not ok to get out of bed during the night (except for potty) until the morning for big snuggles. Having a toddler clock can be a big help. Also praise praise!! If your child ends up getting out of bed, put him right back while minimizing interaction but still being loving.
Q:Is there any final advice you’d like to add for readers before we finish up?
A: Only go ahead with sleep training your child when you feel completely ready and be very consistent once your start the process.
A big thank you to Marnie for participating in the live Q & A and for all of her great advice.
If you would like to learn more about Marnie and her sleep consulting services, you can find her on the Cheeky Chops website and on Facebook.
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