Sleep Routines with Anna McMillian

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Sleep Routines with Anna McMillian


Sleep Routines vs. Sleep Training

When we are talking about sleep routine vs. sleep training we are discussing totally different choices. You've got to look at the foundations because if you are going to sleep train and you don't have your foundations sorted- it's not going to work anyway. There are things that need to be in place regardless of how a child gets to sleep. So sleep training is looking at how the child is getting to sleep. This is what I need to go to bed. For an adult that might be like turning off the lights, locking the front door, brushing your teeth. When we look at a child's sleep routines and health what we're looking to do is actually set up healthy habits.

If you think about the habits that are gonna last a lifetime, those are the things that we really want to concentrate on as a newborn. We're looking at how we are communicating with our baby? How are they communicating with us? They're actually trying to tell us an awful lot. Babies are born with 12 to 15 different cries. And if we answer the same time with everything, they actually narrow that down. We want to have our baby feel like they're able to communicate what is happening to us. We're able to listen to them and then those communication tracks really go together. So if they signal that they are tired, you're then having a routine that you're able to communicate back to them.

It's opening up those communication lines. It's looking at those sleep hygiene hygiene. And also setting up those realistic expectations, even for yourself as a parent, what is healthy sleep hygiene? The bedtime routine having pajamas is a good sleep signal for a baby to know it's sleep time. For routines we're looking at those things that help a child communicate, feel safe, and that signal that sleep is coming. When we look at sleep training we're helping them shape how they want to get to sleep. We want to make sure that they feel comforted and safe.When we have really good foundations the baby feels competent and safe in expressing their need for sleep.

The need for sleep training doesn't always arise because we're able to make sure that everything is in line. When a baby has great communication skills you have a jiving between parent and baby from the beginning where a baby is able to cue their need for sleep and the parent is able to respond appropriately to the sleep cue to support the baby.

What to do if you already have bad habits in place?

There's no reason why you can't adjust your sleep routines that are going to be really healthy shifts that are not, that are not kind of brutal. It doesn't need to be like, cry it out and really tough. Yeah. It needs to be focused and strategic, but that's why we have healthy sleep routines right from the beginning. And that's why when you change, sleep for babies, it needs to be, you need to have a plan about how you're going to do it and we need to do it strategically and consistently. So that then baby is like, I know when mom or dad makes a change that this is like, I can trust that I can lean into it.

Then they're able to lean into those sleep skills that they already have, because there's no such thing as like a good or a bad sleeper. There's no such thing because to be honest, 25-50% is genetic. That means 50-75% is learned behavior. So that is the portion that we need to focus on. This is how we can set them up for success and really do it in a way that your child's feeling confident and safe.

Why your baby needs routines

  • - They need to start understanding day and night. The way they do that is by having day and night routines that differentiate the two.
    • - Ex. It is nighttime and when it is night we: do a bath, we do our pajamas, we do a feed and we also do a dark room.
  • - They need to have quality awake time during the day. And this is different during the night. We want to have these routines because they need to understand how to know that their body is tired. It is super stimulating for them to be awake in the early weeks of life and we need to help direct them to sleep to avoid overtired and over-stimulated babies. This helps them to work with sleep pressure instead of against it when they are over exhausted.
  • - We need to communicate with our babies. By consistently using these routines, your baby will know when it is bedtime after a few weeks exactly how they know it is time to feed when you grab the bottle, grab a nursing pillow, etc. These routines help you to communicate with your baby to support their expectations of what is happening.
  • - Routines will help you to support a healthy sleep foundation for your child and allow you to spend less time as a new parent stressed about sleep.

Follow along with Anna for more tips! Check out Little Winks Sleep Courses here and follow along on Instagram here!

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