If you’re experiencing difficulty getting your baby to sleep, think about the routine you’ve established…
Every tired parent is looking for baby sleep hacks. Shortcuts to a full night’s sleep. A magical solution that will “fix” your baby sleep problems.
While these baby sleep hacks may not be quick fixes (tip: there are none!), these surprising tips may help you find your path to establishing healthy sleep habits in your baby.
It’s natural to worry if your baby does not seem to be hitting milestones according to what you’ve read or what others are saying.
You’re told what they should be doing or not doing by a certain age, and if you’re not seeing it, panic sets in.
Don’t get too stuck on the “instruction manual” or the comparisonitis of what you hear other parents saying. Babies definitely do all develop at different paces. I can tell you this after seeing hundreds of babies over 20 years – they pretty much all catch up.
How is this a sleep hack?
Your anxious energy around challenging sleep experiences can easily pass on to your baby at sleep time.
Your baby is mirroring you, taking cues from you to understand how to be in the world. If you are tense and uptight at bedtime, trying to force things or sending out negative energy every time you approach the crib, it’s possible you are creating a habit of sleep resistance in your bub.
This anxiety is never easy to just drop. But try some calming techniques on yourself before beginning baby’s sleep routine, such as a soothing Yoga Nidra (body scan meditation), some breathwork or reading a few pages of a novel.
Imagine that your best friend has just stopped by for a visit, and she’s upset. Something about her day went wrong and now she’s experiencing the emotional consequences.
What do you do?
You let her offload. You tune in, offer an ear. You might say “Okay so then what happened?” You might give her a cuddle or soothe her with touch.
What you don’t do is say “Hey, that’s enough – stop that crying now.” You don’t run off and fetch props or things to hand to her in the hope that they will stop the crying. You don’t pop something into her mouth (ok, maybe a bottle of wine…) or tell her to shush.
Yet, this is often our reaction when our babies cry at bedtime. We try to hush them, give them a dummy or a boob, hand them a solution or an answer to shut their voices down.
What your baby needs is exactly what your friend needs. A sympathetic ear, space to express themself, validation of these intense and complex experiences going on inside their little mind.
The reassurance of your voice when you speak to them in normal tones (just like you would speak to your friend if you met her on the street) is the most soothing thing for your little one. Not the dummy. Not the boob. Not being rocked or rattled at or hushed.
Try talking to your baby exactly as you would to your best friend, and see if it helps with settling. (Leave a comment for me on this post and let me know!)
For an in-depth read on fostering your baby’s natural abilities and encouraging healthy development, I highly recommend Your Self-Confident Baby by Magda Gerber.
Helping your baby develop their own innate capabilities not only helps them to reach developmental milestones and flourish into a healthy child and adult, the process also strongly contributes to healthy sleep habits.
What I love most about Madga’s philosophy is that she views babies as whole, complete beings from birth. Babies come pre-programmed with their own special intelligence and wisdom. Your job as a parent is to encourage and enable their own innate potential.
Busy mums and dads will love the free audiobook version that you can claim on an Audible trial. Get your free audiobook here – you can keep it forever with no obligations.
I may be biased on this one. But from my 20+ years of experience as a maternity nanny and parent mentor, I have seen so many desperate parents experience deep relief after enlisting professional help that I had to mention this option here.
Often we resist seeking help from a professional because we believe that we can read books, search the internet and use trial and error to get the results we want. But how quickly can you get yourself there? And don’t you need help, like, yesterday?
Getting professional help from an infant sleep and wellness mentor can save you weeks or months of heartache and lost sleep, and can help set up your baby’s future development in a healthy, holistic way.
Take a look at my baby sleep success stories. I’m here to help if you need me.