- Be sure that you’ve checked off all of the items on our Sleep Coaching Preparedness List (LINK to 10 steps before chart).
- Double check that your baby is definitely at least 2 weeks beyond the end of the 4-month regression.
- You need to have realistic expectations for yourself and expect real change in your baby’s sleep to take 7 to 10 days.
- Once you start coaching, it’s not uncommon to see progress fairly quickly at the beginning of the night, only to have the end of the night be more challenging. Given that your baby is under 6 months, this is normal and expected.
- When you do start sleep coaching, start with bedtime, as it is the easiest time for your baby to fall asleep. Do not worry about nap coaching at this young age, because naps develop after nighttime sleep
- Be sure to start sleep coaching at bedtime after a day of good naps anyway you can get them. You do not want to start sleep coaching with an already overtired baby.
- It’s okay to use a crutch to help your baby get good naps while you sleep coach. In fact, we encourage you to get your baby good, solid daytime sleep any way you can. This means that you should use whatever means you have to in order to help your baby nap: take a walk, wear your baby, use a swing, bouncer, or even let your baby nap on you.
- If your baby has reflux, know that sleep tends to fall into place later. Which means that you may need to do what works awhile longer. Additionally, before you attempt to sleep coach a baby with reflux, please consult your pediatrician and make sure that your baby’s reflux is under control. This means that their reflux is being appropriately treated, medications are working (and the dosage is correct) and your baby’s feeding is not disturbed by the reflux nor is your baby in pain.. Know that crying tends to increase reflux, and it’s okay to wait a bit if your reflux baby is still having trouble.
- Babies who were colicky as newborns may take longer to figure out sleep, similar to reflux babies.
- Know that your baby is going to fuss and even may cry. However, your baby should not be crying uncontrollably or inconsolable. Remember, it’s still considered early to sleep coach most babies. Yes, there are some babies who are ready now, but most will become ready over the next month.
- If your baby doesn’t seem to be making progress with sleep coaching, it’s okay to stop. Quite honestly, it’s better to abandon ship completely and start over in a few weeks than to press on if your baby isn’t ready.
What makes these methods gentle?
The sleep coaching methods presented in this program involve staying with your child and continually responding with empathy, comfort and love. The child feels supported and knows that she is not alone while the parent encourages her to sleep.
These methods are based in behavioral fading, where the child is offered constant consistent support which is gradually reduced as the child learns sleep skills. There is often crying with this method, however, parents have the option to calm children and respond. Sleep improvements are often seen in 3-7 nights for babies under 10 months of age.
So if you are at the end of your rope and need to improve your families sleep, using a gentle sleep coaching method can get you results fairly quickly.
Before starting one of these methods, make sure you have a well-rounded sleep plan that is suited to your child and family’s unique circumstances. You may want to consult with a Gentle Sleep Coach or visit the Help Center.