Useful Sleep Training Techniques from your favourite award winning Newborn Photographer

15/04/2024

Welcome all new parents, and congratulations on this glorious new time in your lives.  Well, let’s be honest sometimes this new time leaves us with no time when it comes to newborn sleep!  As an experienced newborn photographer at Niki Sprekos Photography, capturing  precious early moments of slumber, I understand the challenges that come with helping your little one settle down for some well-deserved rest. But fret not, because today, I’m thrilled to share with you my expertise and insights gained from years of working closely with newborns and their families.   I will share some of my sleep settling techniques and gentle sleep training to help you and your baby enjoy peaceful nights and rejuvenating naps.

  1. Safe Sleep Environment.  Ensure your baby’s sleep safe is safe with no loose bedding or toys.  Opt for a firm mattress with a fitted sheet and a sleep swaddle or sack to keep them cosy without any risks.
  2. Embrace the Power of Swaddling: Ah, swaddling – a timeless technique that works wonders in soothing newborns. As I’ve discovered through countless photo shoots, swaddling recreates the comforting embrace of the womb, providing babies with a sense of security and tranquility. Mastering the art of swaddling involves ensuring that your baby is snugly wrapped but not overly constrained. Opt for breathable, lightweight swaddle blankets and practice gentle wrapping techniques to create a cozy cocoon for your little one. Not only does swaddling curb the startle reflex, but it also fosters a serene sleep environment conducive to uninterrupted slumber.
    If your baby doesn’t like a swaddle or they are great little escape artists, no worries, there are a number of sleeping bags that are available as well.  There are swaddles on the market that enable your baby to sleep in a more natural arms up position designed to help babies learn how to self soothe without having their arms hit their face.
  3. Establish a Soothing Bedtime Routine: Consistency is key when it comes to coaxing your baby into the land of dreams. Drawing from my experiences behind the lens, I encourage you to craft a bedtime routine brimming with calming rituals that signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down. Whether it’s a warm bath, a gentle massage, or a lullaby serenade, the goal is to cultivate a tranquil atmosphere conducive to sleep. Stick to the same routine night after night, allowing your baby to gradually associate these soothing activities with the onset of sleep. With time and patience, you’ll witness the magic of a well-established bedtime routine in action.
  4. Create the Perfect Sleep Environment: Crafting the ideal sleep environment is crucial for fostering healthy sleep patterns in your baby. From my experience during photo sessions, I’ve learned that factors like lighting, temperature, and ambient noise play pivotal roles. Strive for a softly illuminated nursery with gentle lighting that promotes relaxation. Ensure a cozy temperature range of 20 to 22 degrees celsius, and consider incorporating white noise or soothing lullabies to mask any disturbances. By cultivating a tranquil sleep space, you’ll pave the way for rejuvenating sleep experiences that rejuvenate both you and your baby.
  5. Practice Responsive Sleep Techniques: In my journey as a newborn photographer, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of responsive parenting in nurturing healthy sleep habits. Tuning in to your baby’s cues and responding promptly to their needs fosters a deep sense of security and trust. Whether it’s offering a reassuring touch, a soothing word, or a comforting embrace, responsive sleep techniques prioritise your baby’s emotional well-being while instilling confidence in their ability to self-soothe. Remember, each baby is unique, so approach sleep settling with empathy and understanding, honouring your baby’s individual temperament and needs.
  6. Introduce Gentle Sleep Training Techniques: As your baby grows, you may contemplate gently introducing sleep training techniques to encourage independent sleep skills. From my vantage point, I recommend approaches such as the “Pick-Up-Put-Down” method or “Fading” method, which gradually reduce parental intervention while nurturing self-soothing capabilities. These gentle techniques emphasise consistency, patience, and responsiveness, allowing your baby to learn the art of falling asleep independently while feeling supported and comforted. Embrace flexibility and adaptability as you navigate the nuances of gentle sleep training, trusting in your instincts and your baby’s unique journey towards restful sleep.

    Gentle sleep training is a method of teaching your baby to sleep without resorting to leaving them to cry it out. It involves creating a consistent sleep routine, providing comfort and reassurance, and encouraging self-soothing. The benefits of gentle sleep training include reduced stress levels, better sleep quality for babies, improved mood, and improved parent-child bonding. There are several gentle sleep training techniques that you can use to help your baby learn how to sleep independently. It’s important to be patient, consistent, and seek support when implementing gentle sleep training. With time and patience, your baby will learn how to sleep peacefully through the night.

  7. Seek Support and Guidance: Finally, a reminder to parents that it’s okay to ask for help and seek support when needed. Whether it’s reaching out to a trusted paediatrician , joining a parenting group, or consulting with a sleep specialist, don’t hesitate to seek guidance if you’re struggling with sleep settling or sleep training. Parenting is a journey filled with challenges, and it’s important to lean on your support network for encouragement and advice along the way. Together, we can support each other as we navigate the joys and challenges of parenthood.  I myself went to sleep school when my firstborn was 5 months and it was the best thing that I did to help me and of course get everyone back on track and having a well rested nights sleep again.

TOP TIPS

Be patient: Seep training takes time and patience. It’s important to stick with it and not give up too quickly.  Also if you are not well rested it is not the time to try something new, you will not have patience if you yourself are tired.

Be consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to gentle sleep training. Stick to the same routine every day, and your baby will learn to adapt to it.

 

Communication: It’s important to communicate with your partner about your sleep training plan and to work together to implement it.  Also if you have others helping you communicate that with them too.  This could be grandparents or friends as well.

Seek support: Gentle sleep training can be challenging, and it’s important to seek support from friends, family, or a support group if you need it.  Ask for an afternoon off or have them cook you some meals so its one less thing for you to worry about.

Be flexible: Every baby is different, and what works for one baby may not work for another. It’s important to be flexible and adapt your approach to suit your baby’s needs.

 

 

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