How to Sleep Train Over the Holiday
We recently wrote about the Top Baby Sleep Tips for Over the Holiday, and now we’re going to discuss what to do if you really want to get serious about improving your baby’s sleep. Well today you’re in luck because we’re going to tell you how to sleep train over the holiday.
How to Sleep Train Over the Holiday
Sleep training your baby doesn’t necessarily mean cry it out. Each baby and situation is unique so that is why it can be so difficult for some parents to really know what to do. Our checklist below will help you get started on the path for more sleep!
Should you Sleep Train Over the Holiday?
First things first, you need to evaluate whether sleep training over the holidays is the right time to tackle your sleep issues. Ask yourself the following…
- Will you be home for a week straight and be able to get baby to bed at a set time (ex: 7pm) each night?
- Will you be able to dedicate your time (day and night) to working on sleep?
If you answered YES to both questions above, then you should be good to work on sleep training over the holidays. If you are not sure what your schedule will be like, it’s best to wait until the holidays settle and you have the time needed to work on it. A lot of parents do prefer doing it over the holidays though as most parents take some time off. I know personally in my household we will be tackling potty training (but that’s going to be saved for a totally different post!).
Holiday Sleep Training Checklist
1. Get baby on a schedule. If your baby isn’t on a consistent schedule, now is the time to establish this schedule. If your baby is waking up too early or going to bed too late then improving this schedule can help. In order to get your baby to sleep earlier try to shift the current schedule by 15 minutes each night until you get to the desired bed time. For example, if bed time is 9pm and you want it to be 8pm, try to get baby down for 8:45pm the first night and then 8:30, 8:15 and finally 8pm
2. Work on nights first. Night sleep is a lot easier to work on than daytime sleep. That’s why a lot of sleep experts recommend tackling night first and then working on daytime sleep. In the mean time, continue to keep baby rested during the day however you can. Even if that means stroller walks or swing sleeping.
3. Try to eliminate night wakings – this is the golden question – how can you do this? I recommend you first get rid of any sleep crutches you may have (rocking to sleep, nursing to sleep, etc). The reason for this is when your baby wakes in the middle of the night and they are not hungry they will cry out to you to help them fall back to sleep again.
The easiest way to do this is by trying to lay them in their crib before bed time drowsy but still awake. This way they can slowly start to learn to fall asleep on their own. It can help to “shush” really loudly beside them or pat them gently to help them fall asleep. If it doesn’t work the first night, keep trying. It may take a few times before your baby is comfortable falling asleep without their crutch. Obviously every baby is different and some will take to this method easily and some won’t.
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4. Don’t rush in – The second way to help eliminate night waking is to not rush in. We are too connected these days with our video monitors we hear every little sound that our babies make. “Back in the day” as my mom would say it, their monitor was leaving the door open so they could hear you. That meant they only really heard you when the baby needed you. Now that we hear every little sound we rush in and assume the baby needs you. In fact, sometimes you can be disturbing or waking baby up when they just needed a little time. Yes babies can cry in their sleep! Try setting a timer like 2 minutes or 5 minutes and wait that allotment of time before going in. You may be surprised that your baby will fall asleep before you hit that timer! Mine has multiple times!
5. Time to pass on the pacifier? The pacifier can also be a crutch or it can be helpful with sleep training. All babies are different! My first slept worse with a pacifier and my second baby it actually helps her fall asleep. For my first baby, he would cry out in the middle of night to replace the pacifier for him. This obviously was counter productive as he wasn’t hungry. It took two awful nights but we ditched the pacifier and he slept so much better after that! My second baby we haven’t had that issue. The pacifier actually helps her fall asleep on her own and she sleeps a solid 7-8 hours no issue.
These are just a few of my tips for how to sleep train over the holiday. I hope one of these methods works for you. Be sure to leave a comment letting us know how it goes!