NORTH DAKOTA, N.D. (KXNET) — It’s not as easy as 1-2-3, it takes a few tips and tricks to actually nail it.
“Sleeping can become very frustrating for new moms, for old moms because not every kid is going to do what you want when you want them to do it,” said Sanford Pediatrician, Dr. Evan Rogler.
Welcome to the Baby Beat, where KX will be discussing all things baby to help answer those back-of-the-mind questions, provide local resources, and more.
For our first beat, we are talking about sleep training.
Though it is hard to actually establish a true routine so young, it is important to at least try so the entire family can catch some z’s.
“When a baby is say two months old, there isn’t much training involved, but you do, as a parent, need to teach your baby that there’s a routine, that there’s a structure, and a schedule to their life and so putting that baby to bed every single night at the same time let’s say 6:30 or 7 o’clock is the perfect way to start training or teaching that baby what it’s like to go to bed at the end of the day,” said Dr.Rogler.
But sleep training is not just important for babies, it can be a hassle at the toddler stage as well.
So what’s a parent to do?
“As they get older, you definitely want to be a little more involved in terms of teaching them how to stay asleep and teaching them that maybe they don’t need to wait to eat or drink throughout the evening hours,” said Dr.Rogler.
“As a toddler, we got a thing down where if she takes a nap in the morning she’ll go to bed at 7 o’clock at night, but if she were to take one in the afternoon she’d be up till like 10 or midnight and that just didn’t work for us, obviously because of work and stuff, so we tend to stick to the morning routine naps. And we found it easy,” said Bismarck mom, Victoria Bellon.
Dr. Rogler shares that sleep training is so important because night sleep and day sleep are very distinct in their functions.
He says a lot of growth and development happens at night while they’re sleeping so, in order for a baby to learn certain things and grow the way they need to, they have to rest, and the body needs to get that time to recover and recuperate.
But, how do parents go about this?
“It’s OK to be firm. It’s OK to make your baby learn self-soothing and self-calming behaviors, even if that means that they have to cry a little bit or they have to be upset at you for not giving them that bottle or feeding them now. I do not promote leaving them there for two or three hours to scream it out. That’s not healthy, that’s not good for baby, but to let a child fuss for 10 or 15 minutes at a time while they try to figure out what it means to put themselves back to sleep is OK, it’s safe,” said Dr.Rogler.
Bismarck momma, Victoria Bellon, says if that doesn’t work, her mom shared a neat hack with her to help.
“Take your baby and swaddle them up and put them over your bed, so they’re safe just in case you lose grip or whatever. You take them and go head over heels with them and then you do that three times, and in two to three days, it’s supposed to reset their inner clock and if it doesn’t, you can do it again but then you go backwards and eventually they’ll get their day and times figured out and they’ll be more active during the day and they’ll sleep more at night for you and that’s one of the things that we did and it worked and it was nice,” she said.
Momma Bellon says her little one actually laughed as she was turned around, and wasn’t scared at all.
Dr. Rogler says the logic behind a tale like this may be as simple as, if a baby is always looking to the right while they’re sleeping, the back of their head can get flat, which is a problem and the muscles on their neck can get tight and that’s also a problem.
So there are definitely some benefits from either changing which side of the bed they’re sleeping on or where their head is in comparison to their feet.
Now, before we close out the baby beats we will always leave you with some wise advice.
“They need to be in a very, very quiet, dark, environment, and they need to be comfortable. They need to have warm clothing on, but not too much to make sure that they’re not overheating. They need to be in a firm on a firm surface flat on their back no stuffed animals, no extra blankets, no pillows those will just get in the way and make it dangerous for a baby, and definitely 100% no co-sleeping no sharing a bed with mom and dad,” said Dr.Rogler.
“I would start with the nap thing, especially with toddlers, do it in the morning because then they’ll run all their energy off through the rest of the afternoon into the evening and will be tired and will just go to bed super easy. Then for babies, it’s just a hit or miss, make sure you’re switching on and off with your partner making sure they come up with you and support you while the baby isn’t sleeping through the night,” said Bellon.
There are also hotlines you can call at any time of the day if you need new ideas or just a listening ear.
Remember mommas, dads, and caregivers, you are not alone.
According to the CDC, children who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk for many health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, poor mental health, and injuries.
They are also more likely to have attention and behavior problems.
For help and information on sleep training, visit this website.