Let’s face it, we’re all creatures of habit! This is especially the case when it comes to sleep. We all have our own bedtime routines. We have our special sheets and favorite pillow. Some of us like our feet tucked in and some like the blankets loose. Others want a pitch dark room.
However, some parents worry about using comforting sleep cues for their infants. They’ve heard that using swaddling or a white noise CD will create a bad habit, or even an “addiction,” that their baby will never be able to shake.
In truth, rocking your baby to sleep each night (or feeding her into slumber) delays her learning to self-soothe and put herself to sleep. But, on the other hand, these rituals remind her of life in the womb. They comfort and calm her! She, like the rest of us, drifts off more easily with familiar and favorite cues. So there is definitely an upside. Your goal is to get her sleeping, right?
How can you tell a good sleep cue from a bad one? It’s this simple:
- Bad sleep cues are inconvenient, demanding on you, and hard to wean.
- Good sleep cues are easy to use and easy to wean.
For example, if your baby needs thirty minutes of bottom-patting each time he rouses, or demands that only mommy can put him to sleep (and screams if Daddy, Grandma, or anyone else steps in), it’s pretty clear you’re looking at a bad bedtime routine.
During the first few months, I recommend the following to signal it’s time for some shut-eye:
Simple Naptime / Bedtime Routine
- Turn on some rumbly white noise.
- Do a snug swaddle (arms down).
- Give your baby a breast or paci to suck on.
- Enjoy some sweet rocking as you ease your baby into the sleepy zone!
As you can see, this bedtime routine has fairly undemanding steps that won’t lead you down the road to disaster. To further ease parents’ concerns of “addiction,” I invented SNOO smart sleeper, a crib that uses smart technology to respond to your baby’s needs and automatically and gradually weans her off white nose and sound. Parents can also begin teaching your baby to put herself to sleep by learning my “wake and sleep” technique. Be consistent with the routines, and your baby will be on a great path for good sleep!