By Hayley Bukhamsin
As children learn to sleep, they learn to liveDr. Sears
Healthy sleep. It’s SO important for a happy, functioning family, but it’s also an elusive unicorn concept for many.
As new parents, it can feel daunting even knowing where to start with sleep: How many naps? Am I creating bad habits? How do I set up a good routine? The list of questions is endless, and all parents have been there at some point.
But, there are some key strategies that you can get started with right from day one (and even before), that will help you start things off right with your little ones, to ensure healthy sleep for all of the family.
These are my five guiding principles:
1. Be familiar with their cues
Spend some time getting to know your baby’s cues for sleep, rather than focusing on a schedule. (And ditch any books/advisors that tell you to stick to a timed schedule. Buh-bye Gina Ford!)
As they grow, their natural sleep schedule will fluctuate.
Knowing their cues will prevent the stress of trying to get them to sleep when they’re simply not tired.
The no-nap rage is real: that feeling of frustration and loss of control, when you realise your little one is going to skip that nap you’ve been hoping to use to do EVERYthing else. By listening to their cues and ignoring the clock, the no-nap rage won’t even be a factor for you!
2. Be Flexible
Often, our expectations of infant sleep don’t match the reality. In fact, generally there’s a huge gap between our expectations and the reality.
They refuse to sleep in that beautiful, carefully selected cot, or can’t stand the fancy white noise machine you bought, for example. Be flexible, do some trial and error, and you’ll find their sleep becomes far less of a stress factor.