The Sandman’s School of Getting Baby to Sleep Through the Night

Mr. Sandman has more than just SAND up his sleeves.

Time to help your baby sleep through the night!

Have you been flunking out in Baby Sleep School? Are you obsessed with getting baby to sleep through the night, but experiencing nothing but failures?

Maybe it’s not you.  (Phew!)

Maybe you’ve just been listening to the wrong teacher. Who could be a better sleep teacher than Mr. Sandman himself?

Fortunately for you, he owes me a favor.

Here are his five simple lessons for snoozing baby all-night bliss. So, class, take out your No. 2 pencils and an extra bag of sleeping sand.

There may (or may not) be an exam at the end. So look sharp!

*rapping on desk with yardstick*  

STOP! Do Not Proceed If…

  • Your baby is younger than 16 weeks.  Newborns 0-4 weeks can focus on finding baby’s natural rhythm, while 2-3 month olds should go with this.
  • If your baby is sick or teething.  Snuggle her through it, and then try these tips when she’s healthy.
  • Your baby struggles with acid reflux.  Get the reflux under control first, then work on sleep coaching.
  • Your doctor has not given you the thumbs up towards sleep coaching.  Keep a 48-feeding log to share with your pediatrician.  He can then decide if your baby is getting enough calories during the day to start night weaning, or if one or two night feedings are still necessary.
  • You are going on vacation later this week.  Especially for the first 4-5 nights, you need a consistent evening at home with no traveling or major transitions.
  • You switched formula this week.  Allow your baby at least a week to get used to the new formula and make sure there aren’t any tummy issues before proceeding with sleep coaching.

Mr. Sandman’s Advice on
Handling Hysterics

At some point, your baby is going to get very VERY angry with you. There is crying…and then there is hysterical crying.

The first is a pout: It’s like he’s saying “I don’t like this”.

The second is rage: It’s like he’s saying, “There’s no way in hellenski I’m going to nod off.  You. Can’t. Make. Me.”

The first one can be overcome with patient endurance, but the second will require an intervention.

Here’s how to handle hysterical crying: 

  • Pick him up until he’s calm, as briefly as possible.  Then put him down again while he’s still awake.
  • Shhhh-shush him and make other soothing sounds.
  • Don’t talk to him too much.
  • If you do walk him around to calm him down, stay in the nursery. Don’t leave the room.
  • When he’s calm, give him a kissy, put him back in the crib and sit down next to him.

If those things aren’t working, sign up for my online Soothing Class. It’s FULL of soothing techniques that you’ve never heard of before. (Guaranteed)

Getting Your Baby Sleeping Through
the Night with the Truffle Sleep Shuffle

(Oh….the truffle shuffle.  Such memories….)

The following steps detail the Sleep Shuffle, just one of the techniques I learned through my Gentle Sleep Coach Certification classes.

This method is one of my favorites because it empowers parents to be parents, while at the same time offers the gentle reassurances that babies need so much.

Here are five steps to get your baby into a regular routine of sleeping through the night.  Usually parents transition to each step every 3-4 days.  However, if your baby seems to be “getting it” a lot sooner, go ahead and move the timetable up.

If you’re following her method, and still struggling to see results, I’d love to meet with you. We can go over your sleep log and help you identify where there may be holes.  OR we can evaluate your baby’s personality and your unique parenting style, and perhaps suggest a different sleep coaching technique that may work better.

What About Weaning Off Night Feedings?

If your doctor has given you permission to wean off some night feedings, you don’t have to cut out those feedings cold-turkey.  There are gentle ways to wean him off those extra feedings. It’s one of the major skills I teach in my Nighttime Sessions.

On the other hand, there’s no requirement that your baby be completely off night feedings in order to sleep coach.  If you decide to keep a feeding or two past 6 months, that’s totally okay.

It’s 100% possible to sleep coach your baby and still keep night feedings.  Sign up for a session and we’ll talk through the process together.

Getting Baby to Sleep Through the Night: Lesson One

For nights 1 -3, follow your regular evening routine using tricks like these, getting him drowsy and sleepy, but not sleep-ing. Then pull up a chair to sit next to her in the crib.  (Right next to the crib.)

Chances are she’s going to fuss about this new arrangement.  So, on occasion, reach over and pat or stroke her through the crib.

The key here is to control the touch – so that she is comforted when you touch her, but doesn’t become dependent on your touch to go to sleep.  If you let her hold your finger while she falls asleep, she’ll just wake up when you take your finger away.

Your assignment is to be consistently present, but completely boring until she has fallen completely asleep.  

Getting Baby to Sleep Through the Night: Lesson Two

On the fourth night (through the 6th night), move your chair halfway to the door.  (If your nursery room is teeny, skip to Step Three.)

Continue with the comforting shushing sounds you made before.  Only get up to stroke him if it’s absolutely necessary.  Picking him up should only happen if he hits the “hysterical cry” stage.

By this point, you should have a better idea of what comforts him, and what stimulates him.  Some babies actually do better if you don’t touch them at all.

Your assignment is to be consistently present, but completely boring until he has fallen completely asleep.

Cameron  & Heather’s Secret Weapon:   When it came to the “I want this and you’re saying no and that makes me upset” kind of cry, we found ear plugs were invaluable.  They took the sharp edge off and helped us stay consistent in our resolve of “I know you don’t like this, but it’s best.”  I recommend these corded ear plugs, they won’t become a choking hazard if left out.

Getting Baby to Sleep Through the Night: Lesson Three

Starting on night seven, move the chair to the dim doorway inside the room, with the door open.  Occasionally shush her as a verbal reminder that you are with her in the room.

Stay until she’s asleep.  Don’t just leave when her eyes close because there’s something else you want to do.  If you leave before she’s asleep you’ll defeat the whole purpose – which is to make her feel calm and reassured while she’s sleeping.

Your assignment is to be consistently present, but completely boring until she has fallen completely asleep.

Getting Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night: Lesson Four

On the eleventh night, move your chair into the hallway now, so he can still see you through the door. Close your eyes so he can see it’s sleeping time.  Shush him when necessary and stay until he falls asleep.

Your assignment is to be consistently present, but completely boring until he has fallen completely asleep.

Getting Baby to Sleep Through the Night: Lesson Five

If she’s still having trouble falling asleep on her own by Night 13, move the chair in the hallway and shut the door almost all the way. You will need to occasionally use your voice to soothe and remind her that even though she can’t directly see you, you are still there.

Pay attention to her cries, but don’t go rushing in at the first sign of a whimper.  If you MUST go in, stand at the door and offer soothing tones, then step back outside.

Your assignment is to be consistently present, but completely boring until she has fallen completely asleep.

How to Handle the Nighttime Wake-Ups

When/if your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, simply repeat the position you had in the shuffle the evening prior.

Do not feed your baby, and do not change his diaper unless you absolutely have to.  (And if you have to, keep the lights low and don’t speak.) Repeat this position every time he wakes up until 6-7 am until it’s time to start the day.

Your Emergency Backup Plan:
A 110% Sleeping Money-Back Guarantee

If you’ve used this method consistently for 5-7 days and you’re not seeing improvement, be encouraged.  This isn’t the only sleep coach method up our billowing sleeves!

Perhaps you just need someone to do it WITH you, teaching you how to make adjustments along the way (and perhaps tackling naps, crib transitions, or early morning wake-ups at the same time!

Sign up here for a Nighttime Session and let us work together to meet your sleeping goals.

Okay Then, Class!
It’s Quiz Time!

What?

You thought I was joking about the quiz?

I never joke about sleeping. It’s just too precious to take lightly.

So here goes!  Fill in the blanks:

Your assignment is to be __________ __________, but completely _____________until he has fallen completely _________.

No looking back and cheating. I see that wandering eye there, Miss Smith!

Did you write down this? Your assignment is to be consistently present, but completely boring until she has fallen completely asleep. 

I would say the most important phrase on that sentence above is CONSISTENT. Don’t try this method for a two days and give up. Trust, me that will make your sleeping struggles worse, because it’s just going to confuse him.

And do you know what confused babies do? They cry. A LOT.

So set your mind to the task ahead, my friend. Stay focused. Stay plugged. And stay encouraged. You know you have a backup plan! 

The Sandman promised to give all his best pupils an extra bag of sand tonight. He’s generous like that. 

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