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Welcome To The Members Area! Forums Baby Sleep Help New to program, help getting started with 5 month old Reply To: New to program, help getting started with 5 month old

  • Emma

    Administrator
    March 27, 2024 at 10:53 am

    Hi Nikki,

    It’s so lovely to hear that you’ve found the YT videos helpful.

    I’m sorry that the past month has been difficult for you and your family. A few contact naps can be nice, but all day can be so exhausting! I hope you’re okay!

    Hopefully, my answer below can make the days go a little smoother and help you settle your little one in the crib so you can have some hands-free time.

    Your plan to attempt the naps first and then tackle nighttime sleep sounds great. It’s even more impressive that you’ve been able to start using the settling pyramid during the day already.

    I do recommend you keep going with it, as I expect your little one will take a while to learn this new way of falling asleep. For the past four weeks, he has gone to sleep in your arms while you bounced or fed him to sleep, so there will be a learning period.

    However, I understand that implementing the settling pyramid can be challenging. So here are some gentler steps you can do in the meantime.

    1. It sounds like he is currently feeding to fall asleep. So it would be good to separate the feed from the nap, if possible, by adopting the wake, feed, play, and then sleep pattern during the day.

    2. Make sure he is genuinely tired when you offer a nap. Every baby’s sleep requirement over 24 hours differs, so following wake windows alone isn’t always accurate. So remember to combine age-appropriate wake windows with your baby’s tired signs and the general pattern to help you figure out when he needs a nap. I often find that ‘tired’ signs look very similar to ‘I’m bored’ signs. So, it can be helpful to switch up the activity or the scenery when you first see the ‘tired signs’ to help you figure out if he is tired or just bored. If he continues to fuss/complain after you have made these changes, then it’s a sign he is tired. If he stops fussing, it’s more likely that he was bored.

    3. When he is tired, and it’s time to help him fall asleep during the day, have a consistent nap routine that you do. Do this nap routine even if you plan to have him sleep on you, in the pram, or a baby carrier. A quick and consistent nap routine will signal that sleep is coming and it’s time to wind down. This routine will become a sleep cue that you can use when you’re ready to attempt naps in the crib. Also, ensure the last activity in this routine is calming. For example, your baby’s nap routine could be: change his diaper, put on a sleeping bag, go into the bedroom, close the blinds, turn on the white noise machine (if you want to mask environmental noises), turn off the lights and then sing him a lullaby while you rock him in your arms.

    4. When it’s time to settle him to sleep, if you have the energy, use the settling pyramid (as this gives him a chance to practice falling asleep in the crib with your support). If you need to climb to the top of the pyramid and pick him up, check your energy levels. If you have the time and energy, you can settle him back down, and when he is calm, put him back in the crib and descend the pyramid following his cues. If you don’t have the energy or time, or he is too distressed, settle him to sleep in your arms. I would try to avoid feeding him off to sleep, as this is a challenging sleep association to break. Instead, rock or bounce with him in your arms. But gradually reduce the amount of hands-on strategies you’re applying while he is in your arms. For example, when he is lying in your arms, rock him, as you gently pat his bottom and ‘shush’ him. Then, as he settles down, stop rocking him (so stand still) and continue patting his bottom and shushing. If he remains calm, stop patting him and continue shushing. Then stop shushing, so that he falls asleep in your arms, while you’re standing still. Then, place him in the crib. By stopping the rocking and patting before he falls asleep, you’re helping him become comfortable with falling asleep without movement (so he is not reliant on movement to fall asleep). This will make it easier to move to using the pyramid technique when you’re both ready.

    5. If you don’t have the energy or time to apply the settling pyramid for every nap, just use it for the first nap of the day. Babies tend to find it easier to fall asleep for this nap, so you’re more likely to have success.

    Remember, at this point, if he stays calm in the crib for any amount of time, it’s a win. And if he gets any sleep in the crib it’s a huge win!

    I hope this helps,

    Emma