As a total SNOO groupie, I am tickled pink to have the man behind the magical sleep, Dr. Karp, share some top-notch sleep tips. Get your pen and notepad ready sleep-deprived parents…
Babies rack up a whopping 14 to 18 hours of sleep a day…but unfortunately for mums and dads, those ZZZ’s are sprinkled throughout the day and night. For the first 2 months, babies need to eat 8 to 10 times in a 24-hour period. That means that in the beginning, the most you can expect is a 4-hour stretch of shut-eye at night. After this (between 2 and 4 months), babies will begin to be able to sleep in longer stretches, but many babies continue to wake frequently through the night. Most babies don’t sleep in 6- to 8-hour stretches (what we consider sleeping through the night) until they’re between 5 to 8 months. But, take heart! Even though this is all normal baby sleep behavior, there are reliable ways to boost your baby’s sleep…and yours, too!
The root of baby sleep woes is when we naively deprive babies of the calming rhythms of the womb. For nine months, babies are cradled in the cozy womb, with constant motion and continuous whooshing (the sound of placental blood flow…which roars as loudly as a vacuum cleaner!). Once babies are born, they have trouble sleeping without those comforting sensations they’re so used to. And those rhythms are much more than a nostalgic reminder of life inside Mum, they actually turn on a baby’s calming reflex, which is like nature’s off switch for crying.
The 5 S’s—swaddling, side/stomach position (just for holding while calming, never for sleep), shushing, swinging, and sucking—flip on that calming reflex. It’s an important tool for parents in those first weeks. Using the 5 S’s to activate the calming reflex curbs persistent crying and helps babies fall asleep faster. The 5 S’s are most effective between birth and 4 months. Sometime around 4 to 6 months, the calming reflex fades away. SNOO harnesses three of the S’s—swaddling, shushing, swinging—to help babies fall asleep…and stay asleep (in fact, in SNOO, most 2-month-olds snooze 6 to 7 hours at a time!).
Follow a predictable bedtime routine.
Routines help your baby feel smart. For an easier bedtime, dim the lights 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime, and keep bright lights (including video screens) away from your baby once you put her down for the night. And, if you can get your lovebug outside for a daily dose of sunlight before noon, it can help get your baby’s internal clock on the right track.
Make white noise part of your bedtime routine.
Beyond Baby’s first 3 to 4 months, parents can continue white noise as a great way to boost sleep for years to come. Think of white noice like an audible teddy bear; comforting and a signal that it is time for sleep. Plus, sound covers over external distractions, like a noisy truck outside or TV playing in the next room. Just keep in mind that some white noise is better than others. Use low, rumbly white noise, and steer clear of hissy fans or ocean waves, which fail to boost sleep because they are too high pitched or aren’t rough enough.
Wake your baby to get more sleep (really!)
Training your baby to self-soothe and sleep through the night is made possible through a technique I call “wake and sleep.” The goal is to teach your little one to sleep without being rocked or held and to develop some self-soothing skills to fall back asleep.
Before laying your baby down to sleep, wrap them in a snug swaddle (note: don’t use swaddling if your baby is starting to roll over), play white noise, offer a feeding, and let them drift to sleep in your arms. But, right after you slide them into bed, rouse your lovebug (tickle their feet, gently scratch their back, etc) until their eyes open. After a few seconds, they should fall back to sleep. If your baby cries, it might be time to eat, so pick them up to feed and settle them, but be sure to wake them again slightly right after putting them back down. I realise this method may sound odd, but trust me: Those few seconds of drowsy waking helps your baby learn how to sleep through the night!
Put (sleep) safety first.
Tragically, SIDS claims the lives of about 130 babies a year in Australia…which is why the most important sleep advice I can give is to make sure your little one is snoozing safely: Alone—bed-sharing definitely increases sleep-related deaths; on the back; and without any loose blankets or cot bumpers, which pose a suffocation risk. And, SNOO has a very special, doctor-designed swaddle that keeps babies safely secured on the back for all nights and naps.
To learn more and get your mitts on the incredible SNOO – click through here.