Sleep training, I get lots of questions about this!
As a NICU nurse of 20 years, taking care of up to 3 or 4 babies at a time with alarms and noise all around, these are the tried and true guidelines I use. One of the highest priorities: sleeping. Sleep is so important and it all starts with routines! Some of the babies would stay for several months in the NICU. When they went home, they all had their sleep routine established and the parents just continued it.
Remember, the routine that you start them with as an infant is what they are used to. If you love to rock your baby to sleep, just know that will be their routine and they will expect it.
Bath time and a baby massage is a wonderful way to relax your baby, use a warm towel and warm lotion.
If it's not a bath night, then dim the lights and put on calming music or a lullaby show, 10-15 minutes for babies and no longer then 30 min for toddlers, follow with bedtime. If they start to show signs of sleepiness, yawning and slow blinking then it is bedtime already. As they get older, they know when the show is over, it's bedtime. This is their routine!
A calming environment helps relax the baby. When it is bedtime remember a dark room is best and only use a very small night light that is not in their view, if you need it for checking on them.
Make sure your baby has eaten well before bed. If your baby has reflux, the upright position for 30 min during the quiet time will help.
If your baby wakes in the night for a feed, be mindful not to run in to check on them immediately. They might go back off to sleep if you give them a few minutes. As your baby gets older, the feeds will space out during the night as their tummy can hold more milk. Avoid snack feeding at night, they will get used to it and again expect it.
As your baby grows into a toddler, the sleep time routine has already been in place. The hardest part is sticking to it.
Every baby is different and so is every parent's preference.
Establishing your sleep routine for the baby, whatever it is, just know it is something that will continue. If you are having issues with sleep routines, we can discuss your options that would work best for your baby.