As a first time mom, I didn’t know my baby was relying on a prop (his pacifier) to fall asleep and stay asleep.
What is a sleep prop you ask? It’s basically anything, such as an object or movement your baby needs to fall asleep. Here are some common sleep props:
- feed (nursing or bottle)
- white noise
Having a sleep association isn’t necessarily bad as it’s normal to have something you use to fall asleep. Can you think of something you use or do to help yourself fall asleep at night? I personally use white noise (Dohm machine) to help me drift off into dreamland as it blocks out noise from our busy street. A sleep prop or sleep association becomes a problem when your baby relies on it to fall asleep and thus, needing it to get back to sleep when they awake.
Does your little one wake up multiple times during the night, have short naps, or have early wake-ups at 4 or 5:00 AM? If you answered YES to any of those questions, that’s why your baby is experiencing disrupted sleep. Your baby is relying on a sleep prop. Makes sense right?
If you have a newborn baby, their sleep is very erratic. You will probably find yourself using some type of sleep prop or two to get your baby to sleep. It’s okay, I did it! It’s essential for your newborn baby to get sleep period. Keep in mind you should always have your baby in a safe sleeping space as I follow the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP created an acronym ABC’s to help remember safe sleep – alone, on back, in crib or bassinet.
Research shows that major restorative functions in the body (tissue repair, muscle growth, growth hormone release) occur mostly during sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Every living creature needs sleep. It’s the primary activity of the brain during early development.” The AAP also states, “…adequate sleep duration for age on a regular-basis leads to improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health.”
Once your little bundle of joy grows to be an infant (3 months), I suggest to reduce or eliminate your baby’s negative sleep props (i.e., bouncing, rocking, nursing or bottle to sleep), and initiate positive sleep associations (i.e., simple bedtime routine, a darkened room – Blackout EZ window covers work great, white noise, lovey). You can also follow eat, play, sleep routine for your newborn and activity, eat, activity, sleep routine for your infant.
Commitment and consistency will be the keys to success. You will be surprised with the results when using positive sleep associations and reducing or eliminating negative sleep props. Your baby will become an independent sleeper, which means Mommy and Daddy get restful sleep! You will help create good sleep habits for life for your little one.
Getting proper rest is essential for our health and well-being. My husband can attest to this as he is one cranky Dad if he doesn’t get sleep. Every night we dream sweetly and sleep peacefully! (I swear!).
If you need more assistance with your baby or nothing you’ve tried seems to be working, I am here to help! Contact me for a personalized and detailed sleep plan. I will address the problems with your child’s sleep and give you guidance and support to help you implement your sleep plan.
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