“Dr Linda, my baby is a year old but I still have to nurse him to sleep. It is exhausting!
I have heard this scenario over and over, can you identify?
Teaching your baby to fall asleep takes time, consistency and patience.
Some babies learn to sleep easily, especially if you start when they are very young. Others can be more challenging, especially if they are older when you first start.
The earlier you start to teach your baby to fall asleep on his own the easier it will be, doing it when the baby is older will take more time, persistence and patience.
The first 2 steps on this journey are: (See last week’s blog):
- Learning your baby’s sleep/awake cycles.
- Learning your baby’s sleep cues.
- The third crucial and often neglected step is:
Take care of how you feel before you try to teach baby to sleep.
As a mom, you already realize that you have little control over what your baby does. You do, however, have complete control over how you feel and act. This is important because how you feel and act has a direct impact on how your baby feels and acts.
If you are tense and worried your baby will have great difficulty calming down and falling asleep, if you are calm and relaxed your baby will be better able to relax and fall asleep, even if he doesn’t, you will feel better, more in control and you will both have a much better experience.
Since teaching your baby to self soothe and fall asleep on his own is so important, you want to show up at every nap time and bedtime as your calmest, most patient, and, most focused self to maximize your success.
Here are three very quick ways to calm and focus yourself easily:
Take three deep abdominal breaths:
Breath in slowly through your nose to a count of 4 filling up your belly with air, hold your breath to the count of 6 and then let it out to a count of 8 as you empty your abdomen out completely.
Change your posture:
Stand or sit up straight in a comfortable position. When you stand, or sit hunched over your breaths are more shallow, you feel heavier and more closed down. Straightening your back, pulling your shoulders back, and lifting your chin will make you feel more open, empowered and more capable.
Enjoy the aroma of Lavender essential oil.
Inhaling the smell of Lavender oil is known to be very calming and relaxing to both you and baby.
The more comfortable and focused you are, the more secure and relaxed baby will be. He will learn faster, you will be a more patient and focused teacher, and you will both enjoy the process so much more.
Next week I will be giving you more specific tips on how to teach baby to fall asleep on his own.
I hope you find the skills in this blog helpful. I would like to hear about your successes and challenges using them, please post them in the comments.
To your holistic health,