New parents these days are often hiring sleep coaches to help their babies sleep better. Fees range on average from $100 to $1000, but can even be more expensive than this! It’s a trend, because it works. But, I’m here to tell you that you have all of the resources at your hands that sleep consultants do. You do not need to spend one cent hiring anyone to help your baby and family sleep longer stretches at night. Seems too good to be true? It’s not.
Sleep consultants recommend a few basic ideas.
They put their own spin on it, and they offer individual support, but the message remains the same:
1. Get your baby on a schedule that makes sense
2. Use routines with your baby
3. Promote good sleep habits by removing any bad sleep habits (nursing to sleep)
4. Use some form of sleep training to get your baby falling asleep on their own (without your help)
I know that may sound hard. But it’s not. And, you have a ton of resources at your fingertips to help explain those concepts.
First, let me give you the basic concepts here. Then, let’s talk about those resources and how to get even more information.
Schedules work, because babies need a certain amount of sleep. They can’t get too much OR too little. Both scenarios result in a baby that can’t sleep well. If you get your baby on a schedule that works during the day, night time sleep falls into place pretty smoothly. You can take a look at all of our schedules by age on this schedules page.
Routines do a couple of things. First, they let your baby learn what is coming next and be mentally prepared. Second, they promote good sleep habits (if you use the right ones). The most common routine that is recommended is to do an eat, wake, sleep cycle throughout the day. This basic routine, prevents your baby from learning to fall asleep after eating. In other words, they won’t be relying on boob or bottle to sleep. And that’s a plus for you! Other big routines that are helpful to use, are having bedtime routines in place to signal to your baby that it’s sleepy time.
Guess what!? If you are doing schedules and routines, you are WELL on your way to good sleep habits. In addition to those suggestions, sleep consultants will recommend removing sleep props, and refraining from rocking your baby to sleep.
Sleep training isn’t always just letting your baby cry it out for hours on end. There are all sorts of methods, but the general goal is to get your baby falling asleep on their own, without your assistance. It’s HUGE in the long run to gaining more sleep at night.
If your baby wakes in the middle of the night, and they know how to put themselves to sleep… they won’t be calling you back in. But, if they don’t have those skills in place, they’ll be crying for you. Your baby will lose a lot of sleep as a result, and so will you.
Sleep training helps the whole family get more sleep. There are methods that use intervals, and extinction routes, and gentle sleep training methods. Just choose the one that fits your family the best.
Ok, sounds good on paper, but what resources do you have to help get you on the right track? SO MANY!
Resources You Have Already:
1. Use the Village
There is a reason we have all heard the phrase “it takes a village”. Use the village. There are blogs like these written by moms that want to help other moms- with a plethora of information! There are mom groups on facebook- with their sole purpose dedicated to helping moms get their baby sleeping. There are moms in your neighborhood- and every single one of these moms goes through the baby phase. Every mom has experience to offer. So ask. Listen. Try things.
2. Spend a few dollars on a book
Go to amazon or go to your local library. Buy or check out the Babywise book. What is the Babywise book? It is a book that explains the eat, wake, sleep cycles in detail. It is a book that has baby schedule recommendations for each week and month of a baby’s life. It is a wonderful resource. And there is so much more to the book than just those two things. The book will show you how to promote good sleep habits. It is the best resource for getting on track fast.
Books I recommend:
3. Research Sleep Training and Decide Which Method (if any) is Right For You
Seriously consider sleep training. But this is your last resort. You may not have to do any sleep training if you do the schedules, routines, and sleep habits right. So, while you are implementing schedules and routines, just be researching. Use blogs like this one to see personal experiences. Join the sleep training groups on facebook. Wrap your head around it. After a few weeks of implementing schedules and routines, come back to this if you need to. But don’t start here. You have to have a good foundation in place for sleep training to even work.
You’ll have to put work in no matter what. Whether you hire a sleep coach, or go it alone, or use the village. It’s tough. Parenting is hard. Figuring out babies is difficult. Getting them to sleep can be daunting. But it’s doable. You can do it without spending a fortune, and there are so many of us here ready and willing to help you in this journey. Save your money, Mama- and don’t be afraid to reach out to that village.