Can I Sleep Train my one month old baby? The simple answer is no, as Gentle Sleep Coaches we do not recommend formally sleep training your babies until they are at least 4 months old. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics; “Babies do not have regular sleep cycles until about 6 months of age. Therefore, the best age to sleep train is between 6-9 months old, by this age your baby should have developmental skills to learn to sleep independently.
BUT…..we do recommend Sleep Shaping babies from as young as 2 weeks old. In fact it was sleep shaping that got my own 2 girls sleeping through the night by 12 weeks, and therefore I did not even need to Sleep Train them.
So what do these magical words “Sleep Shaping” refer to? Simply put sleep shaping is helping your baby develop healthy sleep habits from the start. Babies who are set up with healthy sleep habits right from the beginning are likely to have the skills to transition into great little sleepers as they grow older.
This is a unique opportunity for you to bond with your baby and while gently introducing bedtime routines. Sleep shaping is very gentle, loving and guided and NEVER is a baby left to “cry it out”. Babies at this age should not be sleeping through the night and most definitely should have feeds during the night.
So here’s what you can do to Sleep Shape your 1 month old:
- Focus on Nightime Sleep
For babies, night-time sleep develops before daytime sleep. Babies usually take their longest stretch of sleep when they are put down for the night. At this time you should have already fed your baby so you know they are not hungry. This makes bedtime the best place to start teaching your child the skill of falling asleep independently. Try use soothing techniques other than nursing such as swaddling, using the pacifier and shushing or using white noise and then try putting your baby to sleep when he is drowsy but still awake. You can even stay with your baby, and give her physical and verbal reassurance, and pick her up to calm her if need be.
- Prevent overtiredness
Many parents think that if they keep their baby up in the day then their baby will sleep better at night. This is is BIG MISTAKE, as you may have heard sleep begets sleep! Babies who sleep well in the day actually sleep BETTER at night. When babies are overtired they get all wired up, and its much harder for them to fall asleep independently and overtired babies usually have more tears. So lets let prevent tears by preventing your baby from being overtired. This means making sure your baby naps well in the day, even if she is napping on you, in the pram, car or in a carrier. At 1 month old, babies should only be awake for 1-1.5 hours before going down for another nap.
- Expose your baby to fresh air and sunlight
This will help regulate your babies circadian rhythm, and help them understand the difference between night and day.
- Feed your baby regularly
Feed your baby on demand, and make sure to wake up your baby for a feed if she has been sleeping for over 3 hours
- Baby-Sleep Environment
In the evening, make the atmosphere quiet, calm and relaxing. Dim the lights and start implementing a bedtime routine i.e. a bath, massage, feed and song.
- Nighttime Feeds
Keep night-time feeds as quick and unstimulating as possible, do not turn on bright lights, try not look directly into babies eyes and do not talk to your baby. This special bonding is reserved for the day.
Be assured that unpredictable newborn sleep is a phase. By about three months your child’s sleep should become more predictable in its timing. For now get some coffee, put on a series, get someone to help you or take a nap in order to get through the exhaustion.