It’s time to buckle down, put in the hard work, and conquer sleep challenges once and for all.
Throughout this series, we’ll be hearing from Vikki Meldrum. Vikki is a mom who, just like you, came to The Baby Sleep Site® for help with her sweet little daughter Lyla’s sleep challenges. With the help of her sleep consultant, Jen, Vikki was able to solve her daughter’s sleep problems and is now enjoying peaceful nights! Vikki will be chiming in to offer you insights and encouragement as you go through boot camp. After all, she knows what sleep training is like – she’s been there! So think of Vikki as your boot camp buddy – she’s here to cheer you on, and to help you be as successful as possible!
So what are you waiting for? Now is the time to make meaningful changes to your baby or toddler’s sleep – let’s get started!
BOOT CAMP, PART ONE: 5 Things To Do BEFORE You Sleep Train
As eager as some of you may be to get started with sleep training, remember: it’s important to plan first. You won’t make it far without a plan! So, as a first step in planning,we’re going to focus on 5 things parents should do BEFORE they start sleep training. We believe strongly that having a plan can take you far on the road to success; with that in mind, let’s talk over 5 steps to take before you start sleep training.
Catch up on sleep (this means everyone!)
You’ve heard the expression “things will get worse before they get better”, right? Well, that applies to sleep training in a big, big way. When you start sleep training, expect for everyone to lose some sleep before things start to improve. Remember, your child is learning a new skill here — sleep probably won’t come easily right from the beginning! For this reason, it’s critical that mom, dad, and baby be well-rested before starting this process.
Start a sleep log.
You may think you know your baby or toddler’s sleep habits, but try keeping a log, and it might surprise you to see patterns that you didn’t know existed. Logging sleep is also a great way to pinpoint exactly what your child’s “real” schedule is (as opposed to the schedule you’re trying to implement!). We recommend you keep logging sleep all the way through the sleep coaching process, too – it’ll help you keep an accurate record, and it’ll highlight where your little one has made progress. You can read more about how to log sleep in this article about how to keep a baby or toddler sleep log.
Develop bedtime and naptime routines.
Consistency is one of the most important parts of any sleep training plan — the faster your baby learns that the same things will keep happening at the same times, the faster he’ll learn how to break his sleep associations and start sleeping through the night. And routines go a long way towards building consistency.
Start developing small, simple patterns before naps and bed — this could include reading a few books, rocking and singing a song, having a bath, etc. Start on these bedtime routines and naptime routines before you begin sleep training; that way, your baby will already be familiar with them before you actually start the sleep training process.
Make sure your child has a clean bill of health
If you know your baby is perfectly healthy, no reason to make a trip to the doc. But if your little one is under the weather, or especially if you suspect that your chid’s sleeplessness may be the result of a medical problem, consider making a quick trip the doc, just to be on the safe side.
Clear your calendar.
When you start sleep training, you’ll want things to be as normal as possible around your house for at least a few weeks. Consistency is a huge part of sleep training, which is why we don’t recommend that people start sleep training right before a move, before a vacation, before a major surgery, etc. What’s more, if you’re an “on the go” parent, you may need to cancel some of your plans. You’ll probably need to spend your days and nights at home for a few weeks — no all-day errands, no late-night excursions. You want baby to have plenty of time to practice sleeping in crib or bassinette, and plenty of opportunities to adjust to the new schedule and routine.
To put your full sleep training plan into effect, you’ll need at least 3-4 weeks of normalcy. But don’t worry – if you only have 1 or 2 normal weeks available right now, you can start ‘Phase 1’ of coaching, which might mean you work on a few of your smaller sleep training goals.
All this planning ahead may seem like a lot of work, but remember – good prep work is key to success. Here’s what Vikki had to tell me about the prep work she did before sleep coaching Lyla:
“I actually did a lot of prep before we started Lyla’s sleeping training. I read my plan a few times and made notes on how I could apply it to our efforts with Lyla. I also tried to pick good timing to start when we didn’t have a lot of plans or I could easily opt-out of an event in case we were tired or needed to focus on training (so we didn’t skip a nap or change the time we put her down). I also wanted to be mentally prepared. I knew we were about to go on a journey and I wanted to make sure I was ready to start and keep going every day.”
Wise words from a wise mom! So, Boot Camp Part #1 – make sure you’ve covered the 5 bases listed above, and you’ll be ready to tackle the next step (which we’ll share on Friday – stay tuned!)
And remember – as we embark on this month of boot camp, you don’t have to do this alone. You don’t. Sure, you can sleep train on your own – and we offer plenty of resources to help you do just that. But baby and toddler sleep problems can be tough to deal with. Between constant nighttime waking, super-short naps, and an erratic daytime schedule, sleep training may feel downright impossible to you. Not to worry – we can help. Our consultants at The Baby Sleep Site® specialize in creating Personalized Sleep Plans™ that are customized to your own parenting philosophy, and that will NEVER make you feel guilty or pressured. Even better, once you have your Personalized Sleep Plan™, your consultant will walk you through each step of implementing it at home. Think of your consultant as your boot camp instructor, telling you what to do next and providing the constant encouragement you need!
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!
What are you going to do before you start sleep training boot camp?
Boot Camp, Part Two: Making Feeding & Schedule Changes (And An Optional Bonus Step!)
4 thoughts on “Sleep Training Boot Camp, Part One: 5 Things To Do Before You Sleep Train”
@ Sarah Meagher — I’d say hold off on sleep training until you are back from your travels, BUT you can definitely sleep log while you are traveling. You can also work on strengthening your bedtime routine while you’re traveling, too – generally, as long as your bedtime routine isn’t too complicated, it should “travel” well 😉
Let us know how sleep coaching goes once you’re back, Sarah! 🙂
We are trying to do a sleep routine but it has been thrown off the past few nights and I am not sure why. My daughter, 6 months was happily going to sleep with either a bottle from Daddy or breast feeding from me up until this week, and this week has been a mess. I hesitate to do sleep training as we are traveling to my in laws in two weeks and I know that might throw things off. I suppose I will start with the Sleep Log, that might help figure out what her triggers are.
@ Sarah – sounds like a GREAT plan! Good for you for being motivated, for waiting until the optimal time, and to committing ahead of time to stick with it. You have a great recipe for success here!! Do keep us posted on how you’re doing, and always feel free to ask questions or leave updates on any blog article comment section.
Thanks again for commenting, Sarah! 🙂
I’m going to start a bedtime routine. Right now my 15 month old still nurses to sleep at night. I finally dropped nursing to sleep at napbut only by creating a new association..a car our stroller ride our sometimes a quiet movie on my lap. So I Bef a routine we can maintain every sleep time after I break these other associations. I’m also going to write out a plan. Or summer schedule is crazy so I’m not even going to seriously start until all out company is gone in July and my kid will have a bed room again but I am going to try to pick a wake up time and sick with it regardless of how the night went
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