As a future mother, my friends and familly keep telling me to sleep the most I can now, because when the baby arrives, it won’t be that easy. And I have to admit, I’m a little worried about it. Maybe you’re facing the situation right now: you only have a little time to sleep because your child is sleeping by interval. So in order to make things easier when baby arrives, I spoke to Tracy Braustein, a sleep consultant for children, about sleep routine. She aswered my questions and gave simple and effective tips to help your little one sleep more.
What is the ideal environment for children to fall asleep peacefully?
Babies and children sleep best in a room that is very dark, cool (ideal temperature between 19-22 degrees depending on how your baby is dressed) and either quiet or with the use of a white noise machine.
When we talk about sleeping routines, at what age can we start imposing one to a baby?
A good age to get more serious about your bedtime routine is around 5 or 6 weeks of age, or when your baby starts to smile socially (and not just gas smiles). This tells us that baby is now starting to make associations and so it’s a great time to establish a consistent bedtime routine.
What are some important elements of a sleeping routine?
A bedtime routine can be simple. The important thing is that it is consistent and that the steps are happening in the same sequence every night and for every nap as well. A nice bedtime routine can look something like this:
- Warm Bath (except for nap time)
- Baby Massage (in their already dimly lit room )
- Pyjamas (sleep sac)
- Feeding with a story or lullaby (feeding right before bed is optional)
- Placing baby down to bed in a drowsy yet still awake state
What is a frequent error parents make when their kid doesn’t sleep enough?
If I had to choose the most common errors that I see in my practise working with families is that they are placing babies down fully asleep, or the equivalent with older children would be lying down with them until they are completely asleep (and then sneak out of the room). The abililty to self soothe is a valuable life skill and a key component to having healthy sleep habits.
The other thing would be that so many children go to bed too late, which can contribute to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, frequent night wakings, night terrors and early risers.
Up to what age should kids nap during the day?
There isn’t a set age that all children should stop napping. It is a wide range and usually we see the nap drop anywhere between 3 or5 years of age.
When should parents start seeking help from a sleeping expert? Right when the baby is born or only when the toddler has problems sleeping regularly?
I think the ideal scenario would be for parents to attend a seminar or read a little on the basics of establishing the foundation for healthy sleep habits before baby is born. That way, that they have some underlying knowledge, clear and realistic expectations about what to expect in the first few months. Then when they want to start any sleep training, a certified sleep consultant can easily guide them through the journey.
Tracy Braunstein is a sought-after pediatric sleep consultant that has become a preferred media guest speaker sharing her expert advice on BT Montreal, Global Montreal Morning News, CJAD 800 News Talk Radio, Ricky Martin’s Piccolo Universe, as well as Montreal Gazette and Oh Baby! Magazine. She works with babies and children of all ages and uses various sleep training methods. Click here for more information.