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Sleep Training 101

I was blessed that my sisters and my girlfriends had children before I did. They helped me so much in those early weeks and months of motherhood. One thing we discussed a lot was sleep! My sister and two of my best friends had worked with a consultant at Good Night Sleep Site. Yes they have infant sleep consultants! We decided to work with a consultant when Mckenna turned 6 months. Prior to that we had been co-sleeping and we knew that we needed to start working towards better sleep for her and for me. At that age she was still waking about every 2 hours for a feed and we knew it was likely due to us co-sleeping and that I was breast feeding. We were waking each other up all night long.

I know that not everyone agrees with sleep training and what I say to that is, to each their own! I would never judge a mother for not sleep training, so I hope a mother wouldn’t judge me because we did. You need to decide for yourself what works for your family. I will say that sleep training was one of the best decisions we ever made! It was very difficult (more so on me) but we don’t regret it. Mckenna is now an amazing sleeper and sleeps an average of 12 hours a night (7pm-7am) and she still naps (1-3pm) every day. We can’t complain about how well she sleeps, and we owe it to sleep training and working with the consultants that my sister and friends recommended.

With the experience of sleep training I wanted to highlight some of the key things that were game changers for Mckenna’s sleep. If you have more in dept questions about the process or what we did, please feel free to reach out! I’m happy to help.

A Bedtime Routine

This could be different for every family, but I will give you a quick snapshot of our routine. The key is to keep it consistent so that every single night it’s the same and it signals that bedtime is approaching. With Mckenna we give her milk and turn on soothing music, we use this Owl that you can find here. We let her enjoy her milk while we read her several books in her room with the lights dim. After reading we brush her teeth, put her PJ's on and get her into her sleep sack. Now that she’s potty trained we do one last potty break before this step. Then we sing to her, cuddle and then turn out the lights and say good night. We keep it simple, but some people do a bath each night. It’s whatever you decide is best.

Pitch Black Room

This is especially important in the summer months and for daytime naps. When I say the room needs to be dark, I mean you can’t see your hand in front of your face. Zero light getting in through the window. In Mckenna’s room we have garbage bags taped to the window, then blackout blinds, then blackout curtains. When we travel we bring garbage bags and tape. This allows her to fall asleep quicker (particularly at nap time) and stay asleep when the sun rises earlier in summer months.

Sound Machine

This has worked so well for Mckenna that we now sleep with a sound machine. We set it to white noise, and it drowns out all the outside sounds like cars driving by, and people being loud in the neighbourhood. The one that we use can be found here. This is key when we travel and stay in hotels. I highly recommend getting one!

Sleep Sack

This was useful when she was younger as obviously, she couldn’t have blankets yet for safety reasons. Now we continue to use one to discourage her from climbing out of her crib! The one that we use is found here, but there are many options on the market. It keeps her cozy and signifies that it’s bedtime.

Our well rested girl. Love her so much.

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