Your baby's room plays an important role in sleep. Now, I don't actually think the picture is a good representation of a good sleeping environment, but it looks nicer than a completely black picture!
Your child's room environment for sleep is a positive sleep prop to help promote sleep. When your baby wakes up at night, these factors help calm the mind and body to help go back to sleep. These tips not only help babies sleep, but also us as adults too! To encourage the best sleep for any age, an ideal room should:
If some of this sounds strange, remember that your baby came from inside the womb where it was dark, the perfect temperature, and had a constant whooshing sound. Re-make your baby's room to be as womb-like as possible and you'll have more success with sleep. This theory even applies to adults! If you have trouble sleeping, try out this room environment too.
Visit the Parent Resources page for more tips to help your kiddo sleep! Or get in touch if you have more questions.
This post is taken from my upcoming book, Happy Sleeping Baby ~ Your Guide for Sleep Success, coming out this spring! Want to know when the book will be out? Fill out the form below:
This post was written by a former client who reached out about creating this white noise album. I use the playlist often when I'm trying to work or relax! Give it a try via the link below in the post. ~Courtney
Guest post written by: Kaveh Akaber
I’m a filmmaker and composer and have professionally experimented with sound all my adult life and nighttime has always been a creative playground for me. But after our first child, I was struggling to fix my random sleep, take care of my child and try to be creative all at the same time. After years of insomnia, I collapsed. My body said stop. Not even music could calm my senses and make me go to sleep. Doctors advised me to take heavy sleeping pills, but after several weeks I stopped. Before I went to bed, I had a feeling of panic and couldn’t calm myself. This reminded me also of my newborn baby that didn’t have the right tools to calm down before sleep.
I have tried various methods to deal with this issue for many years. At one point I was reading an article about different sound therapies. How sound and music could redeem Alzheimer’s patients to start remember again and other sounds that can make you sleep easier. It was during this time I started to look for different methods of white noise sound therapy to deal with my burnt-out state of mind.
Sounds are actually ancient life hacks to make you go to sleep. People have used their vacuum cleaner to make noise and get their babies to go to sleep, driving cars for hours, or listening to static on old radios through the whole night. In all of these sounds, you have white noise. Actually, everywhere you go there is noise. Different noise can also be described in various colors depending on which frequency they have. Light waterfalls can be described as pink noise, and heavy waves on sea can be described as brown noise and so on. In my opinion the problem is our surrounding is based on artificial environments with too many sounds that interfere with our senses. We start looking for total silence instead of relaxing or going into deep meditation. But if you think about it, total silence is an even more unnatural state of mind. In our evolution, our minds have developed in light sounds in surroundings. For example, sleeping under the stars, listening to the wind, or sleeping near the sea. White noise can be discovered in all of these natural environments.
According to professor Göran Söderlund at Lund´s University, if your body is too tired before sleep you can have a sense of panic stress instead and to fall asleep can take a longer time. Especially babies who don’t have the tool to deal with this issue. White Noise can instead increase the state of alertness and make you more awake and then make you tired quicker and put you to sleep.
So, what noise works for you? There are loads of poor recordings and sounds out there, so therefore I started to make my own noises. I created this Relaxing White Noise Sounds for Baby Sleep album inspired by these events and my friend encouraged me to produce one album especially for his baby. I calibrated the white noise with sound recording pulses from other space, the seaside from south Sweden, winds from the mountains in north Scandinavia, and a hairdryer at home. In my studio I almost fell asleep during experimenting with these sounds! So, I thought this might work! This will definitely not solve all your issues with sleeping and a troubled mind, but maybe a good way to make it easier. A strange mind is a strange mind. The only thing you can do is deal with it.
Link to the album Relaxing White Noise Sounds for Baby Sleep:
White noise can be a great part to a perfect bedroom environment. Read more about a great room environment for sleep here.
If you start seeing that your baby is struggling to take a nap, here are a few things to keep in mind.
First, make sure that you have worked on your baby’s awake window, have set up their room for sleep, and have a good nap time routine in place. If your baby still isn’t sleeping well for their nap, next think if they are going through a developmental stage or regression time. When babies are learning a new skill, it can often interfere with sleep. Also, make sure your baby doesn’t have any sleep props to help fall asleep as these will often result in short naps. If the above aren’t causing short or no naps, here are a few cues that it might be time to drop a nap.
Generally, your baby will drop a nap around these ages:
4 to 5 months – 4 naps to 3 naps
6 to 7 months – 3 naps to 2 naps
13 to 17 months – 2 naps to 1 nap
24 to 36 months – 1 nap to 0 naps
If your baby starts showing some of these signs and they are within the age range of dropping a nap, then it’s probably time to adjust nap times!
You can find example age schedules at the bottom of this page!
Here’s how to drop a nap
There are three options that I find work best when dropping a nap time. The first is to let it happen naturally. On some days your baby may take a nap and on other days they may not. This works well for easy-going babies and also easy-going parents. You can read more about temperament here. This option can take a month to adjust to the new nap times.
Option two is to keep your baby awake by 15 to 30 minutes longer to help adjust to the change. You will keep them awake with extra play, daylight, or a snack. Limit anything that can trigger sleepiness, such as breast or bottle feeding, car or stroller rides. This option helps your child to adjust to the new nap times, but remember that your baby may be a little cranky when stretching their awake time and this will take anywhere from a week to a month to get on to the new nap times. Crankiness will be normal! Bedtime may be a little earlier to help adjust to the change.
Option three is to make the change to the new nap times. Similar to option two, you will keep them awake with extra play, daylight, or a snack. Limit anything that can trigger sleepiness, such as breast or bottle feeding, car or stroller rides. Your child will adjust fairly quickly (quickly can mean anywhere between three days to two weeks to make the change) but may be crankier while making this change. Bedtime may be a little earlier to help adjust to the change.
Remember, any change is like a mini jet lag and your baby’s body needs time to adjust, which can take about two weeks. Stay consistent and your baby will adjust before you know!
Visit the Parent Resources page for sample schedules and more tips to help your kiddo sleep! Or get in touch if you have more questions.
Just like adults, babies have different temperaments. Some are laid back and happy most of the time; others can be prone to frequent tantrums. Some babies enjoy a peaceful environment; others feel more comfortable when there is noise around. You may not realize, but the type of temperament that your little one has can affect their sleep, as well as having an effect on any sleep training that you provide.
When you are making changes to your child’s sleep, they may respond easily and go with the flow or they may protest for a while about it. This is where knowing your child’s temperament will help you when making changes and what to expect.
Do you have a dandelion baby or an orchid baby?
Now first off, if you have a dandelion baby I’m not calling your child a weed! All I mean is that some babies are able to thrive no matter where they are and others need very specific conditions. Just like a dandelion they can adapt and thrive no matter what kind of environment they are in, like this dandelion, for example. It’s not in an ideal place for water, probably gets extremely hot in the bricks and the conditions are not ideal, but it’s growing and thriving without any problem. Before becoming a parent I thought this is how all babies were. Oh, how wrong I was!
Now take and orchid. An orchid needs conditions that are just right. Not too much water, not too much sun light, not too hot, not too cold, juuuuuuust right. If the conditions aren’t good then the orchid doesn’t thrive. I know because I had orchids living in Colorado and never had success with growing them but in Sweden they are like the easiest plant! If you have a child that needs very specific conditions, you know what I’m talking about. You’ll need to be very aware of their awake windows, naps times, routines, and room environment for sleeping.
If your baby is an easy going dandelion
If you have an easy going baby, the task of getting them to sleep through the night should be fairly simple. In fact, you may find that they do all of the work themselves. This type of baby is often a self-soother. This means that If they do wake up in the night they will usually fall asleep again in a few minutes.
If this sounds like your baby, you should simply stick to a regular routine each night, so that they get to know that it’s time to sleep. If you do hear any crying during the night, you should use a technique that is a gradual way to help guide them to sleep but they will be able to start doing it more on their own fairly soon. Your little one may have been startled by waking up and just need a few minutes to settle, so leave them for about ten minutes before you investigate. However, self-soothers and easy going babies do not usually carry on crying. If the upset continues, it’s a good idea to check if there is a problem.
If your baby is an orchid
Every parent thinks their own child is special; even if their little one is difficult. However, some babies can be hard work; even if their parents will not admit it in public. If this sounds like your baby, the good news is that temperaments can change. Just because your baby is tantrum prone and attention seeking does not mean they will be a difficult toddler or teen.
However, babies that are difficult still present a problem in the here and now. They are easily disturbed and upset and they want you to be there when they are. This results in frequent loud crying during the night. One thing you should never do if you have a child with this type of temperament is adopt the ‘cry it out’ technique. Some babies will just keep crying for hours, until they get attention. This is not good for the baby, or anyone else in the household. This does not mean you should let your baby rule your nights either. Here are some tips that you may find useful.
Orchid babies will let you know if they are not happy and they are usually a bit loud about it. Be ready for this when making changes to sleep, or well, anything!
If your child is a little of bothThe fact is that many babies veer from being easy going to demanding, at a moment’s notice. There can be many reasons for this such as:
The best way to deal with this may be to use a gradual approach to not answering their signals at night. You can start by popping your head into your baby’s room to check on them, and then get them gradually used to you not coming straight away when they cry. If they wake up at night, you first wait only a minute or two. Then the next night you start increasing the time by another one to two minutes until you are up to ten minutes. If they just want to grab your attention, and you do not provide it, they will often get bored and go back to sleep. However, all babies are different, so be prepared to be flexible. Some will be more persistent than others when it comes to this!
By the time you are ready to make changes to your baby’s to sleep, you should have a good idea of their personality. Use this knowledge to help you find a sleep training technique that works best for you and your child.
The concept of training a baby to sleep may sound a little strange to you as a parent. Surely, a child should enjoy and benefit from natural sleep, rather than be trained. That’s what I thought in the beginning too! Then I had a baby who needed help understanding when it was time to sleep and what that feeling meant in her body. The thing about training your child is that it can actually help them, and you, to get the right amount of restful sleep. It’s a way of protecting your baby and keeping them healthy and happy. Training or practicing healthy sleep habits is no different than your baby learning how to eat or crawl on their own. Both take time, practice, and patience.
The most important thing to remember is that every child is different, as is every family. What works in one home may not work in another. There are different methods to help your baby sleep so, take a look at the ones mentioned here to create a sleep training routine for your baby that fits your family.
What does sleep training involve?
Sleep training is simply a way for you to help your child understand how to sleep, so that they get the rest they need. For the first four months of your baby’s life, you really just need to go with the flow. The way your child sleeps will depend on basic needs such as feeding and changing. But what you can do from early on is set up their room for sleep (dark, cool, quiet) and begin simple and consistent sleep routines (feed, song, sleep) to help develop these habits early on. Once your child is around four months old they are usually ready for more routines and sleep guidance but these simple steps will help make this transition.
If your child still seems reluctant to sleep for longer periods, do not worry. As I mentioned earlier, every child is different. Your baby may simply need to be a little older before they can begin to understand how to sleep for longer.
First steps in sleep training
The first thing you need to think about when sleep training a baby is having a routine in place.
The three main baby sleep training methods
You will see several sleep training methods mentioned by experts. No one method is best, you simply need to find the method that works in your situation. Let’s take a look at the three main methods, which can be varied to suit.
Cry it out
This is the method is as it sounds. You place your baby in their crib and you leave the room and return at regular intervals to help soothe. This does not mean that you should just leave your baby crying for hours. If attempting this method, it’s best to place your baby in their crib before they get too tired. Let them cry for a while when you leave and go back to soothe them if necessary. In this method you do not pick your baby up; simply soothe them with your voice. This method can be difficult for some parents to manage. Although this is the method many pediatricians advice parents to use, I believe there are better ways to help a baby develop health sleep habits. This method may not suit all families. Before I knew anything about baby sleep we attempted this method for about 10 minutes and gave up. Now I know that there are better ways to help a child, but if you do use this method, be sure that their room is set up for sleep and they have a consistent routine in place before sleep.
This is the complete opposite of the cry it out approach. As soon as your baby cries, you should comfort and soothe them immediately. The problem you may find is that some babies tend to be more attention seeking than others. If your baby knows you will come if they cry, training them to sleep could be a long process. You will need a lot of patience and time with using this method. I find this method to be very difficult because it takes a very long time to see results. Maybe your baby isn’t crying but you are because you are so tired. I also tried this method and it was too exhausting to continue.
This method of baby sleep training is popular with a lot of parents and one that has a nice balance of learning and love. It involves moving further away from your child’s crib each night as they fall asleep. They get used to you being at arm’s length and then not being in the room and it’s a gradual process. Fading also involves checking your baby but making it less obvious over time so that eventually they are not even aware of your presence. This is what I base my sleep plans and support on and think that parent assisted changes make for the perfect balance between loving boundaries and loving support from you.
You may need to try different methods to find the one that works best for your baby and for you. Do not simply expect that what worked for a previous child will work with the baby you are currently training to sleep. Be prepared to adapt and change routines and methods until you settle on what works the best. My best tip is to decide on a method, make a plan, try it for one week, take notes to see any positive changes (even small ones), and then decide if it’s working for you and your baby.