Sleep Associations – A must to help your baby sleep
Let’s talk sleep associations…
When parents first bring their newborn home from the hospital a lot of them wonder what they can do right from the start to help get great sleep habits in place.
The answer is quite simple. That is to start creating sleep associations.
When your baby is brand new you will be the sleep association. That is completely appropriate and expected. But, once your little one is about four weeks of age it is appropriate to start creating sleep associations other than yourself.
One easy way to create sleep associations is to let your baby see how you create a sleep friendly environment. Of course you will be turning off the lights, turning on the sound machine and closing the blinds, but an additional step you can take is telling your baby what you are doing.
It may sound funny, but your baby’s receptive language develops much faster than expressive language. So as you are creating this sleep friendly environment, tell your baby what you are doing.
“Mommy is turning off the light, it’s almost time for bed “
“Daddy is turning on the sound machine, we are getting ready for night night.”
“Mommy is closing the blinds, it is time to go to sleep.”
If you incorporate these cues consistently into your bedtime routine your baby will know from a very young age what to expect, and the more your baby knows what to expect the better.
Another great Sleep association is a lovey. The way that you create a sleep association with a lovey is by placing the small item in between you and your baby while you feed. This lovey will now smell like you and your breastmilk/formula and will also remind your baby of a very comforting activity.
The next sleep cue that is incredibly helpful is to cue your baby when it’s time to wake up. I find that this step is very often overlooked, and is incredibly important.
When it is morning and your baby is waking up for the day it is very easy to pick them up out of the crib and immediately begin to nurse or bottle feed. A great habit to get into is to make a huge deal about it being morning. I like to call this a dramatic wake up.
You want your child to know that it is time to wake up. You can do this by not only creating a wakeful environment but by also telling your baby what you are doing, the same way you created a sleep environment.
For example when your baby wakes up, the first thing you should do is greet them and turn on the lights.
“Good morning baby, it is time to wake up!”
“Mommy is turning off the sound machine, it is time to get up.”
“Daddy is opening up the blinds, it is morning!”
“Daddy is changing your diaper, we are ready to start the day!”
This step is so helpful because your child will know what happens right before he comes out of the crib. Your child will only expect to come out of the crib when you first do this sequence of steps. So when your baby wakes at 2 o’clock in the morning, he will not expect to come out of the crib because you are not cuing him that it is time to wake up.
If you incorporate these cues into your daily wake up and bedtime routine you will notice that your baby knows what to expect which is very helpful. By the time your baby is about 9 months and can point, you will see that he may be telling you what you should be doing next. It is amazing how much little ones thrive on routine!
Your Sleep Bestie,
AM Smiles is a highly effective baby sleep coaching service designed for busy families.
I help you harness the power of sleep training to improve the spirits and lives of you and your family through proper rest. I’d love to talk to you about your little one and help you get back to living life well rested! ❤️