Tips for Establishing a Good Sleep Routine in Newborns

What to do initially to get babies sleeping.  How sleep specialist help to get kids sleeping through the night.  Is it too early for sleep routines?

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Episode Transcript

Welcome back to first breaths to first steps today, I have Lindsay Burchfield joining me from Columbine sleep solutions. She is a sleep specialist, works with. Parents and families as well as babies, from prenatal period, all the way up through early childhood. To help kids and parents be sleeping through the night. We both agree that this is super important to get established rested parents, rested babies, definitely makes home life, family life so much better. So I’ve had the pleasure of working with Lindsay in my practice and with her family.

So welcome today, Lindsay. I’m happy to have you. Thanks. Bev I’m excited to be here. I appreciate the invite. Today, we’ve titled our podcast. Baby is here and what is the role of a sleep specialist after arrival? Let’s start off with asking, how did you get your training in this specialty area of sleep coaching?

Absolutely. I actually have my training through an organization called Sleep Sense. Sleep sense is a sleep methodology that was developed by Dana Obelman over 17 years ago. I went through a certification process with her. I was actually trained by her in person and I have been kind of under that umbrella for the last almost year and a half now.

After my training in person, I had a practicum period where I worked with several experts, to kind of grow my knowledge in the space. Now I’m part of a larger sleep sense community where we are constantly learning about new and evolving topics in sleep I’m constantly learning more to bring all of those specialty areas to my clients. What motivated you to pursue a career in helping children sleep? I actually love this particular question. Two and a half years ago, I had my first child, her name is Riley, and I consider myself very type a person.

I’m one of those people that always want to educate myself and be fully aware of what’s to come. When I was pregnant with her, I was trying to read every single book and I was trying to prepare myself the best that I could. What I learned obviously is nothing can really prepare you for having a child, but I was trying to do the best that I could at the time.

When she arrived, I had read a lot of books and actually taken several courses on sleep. I started to implement those different tactics and tips that I had learned. What I found was that she took to those very well. By eight weeks old, she was actually sleeping 12 hours through the night.

In fact, she’s a child who I can say is probably not woken up in the middle of the night, more than maybe 10 times in the entire two and a half years that she’s been alive. So she has a great sleeper, but nonetheless. I did help her to learn some of those skills. Once I started sleeping through the night again, after being a sleep deprived, newborn mom, I realized how much sleep was impacting my experience in motherhood.

I didn’t realize I was really just getting through the day to day and that the sleep deprivation was a big part of that. Once I did start to sleep through the night, I started to enjoy my child and enjoy motherhood so much more. I realized that sleep was not something that you had to wait years to have your child do well, but it was something you could help them to do early on. And in fact, it was a learned skill. I started wanting to help other moms and sleep deprived parents get their children sleeping well. I believe that in our society, there’s this myth that you are going to be sleep deprived for so many years, once you become a parent and that is just not true. I just don’t want a bunch of parents out there being tired and sleep deprived when they don’t have to, because there’s absolutely a solution to that. And we can absolutely get your children sleeping through the night much earlier than you might think.

I completely agree. I think that parents have this preconceived notion that I’m just never going to sleep again. That should not be your goal. Let’s get you rested. So that you’re enjoying Parenthood Whether it’s mom, dad, birth partner, everyone needs to be rested, but I think it really does bring to mind that you really don’t know how tired you are until you start getting rested. And you really don’t know how much you enjoy parenting and being with your child until you’re rested and not so over fatigued.

What does the sleep specialist do after a baby is born? It’s going to totally depend on when you would come to see a sleep specialist on how we would address your needs. If you’re coming to a sleep specialist and those first three months of a baby’s life, we’re really going to be working on laying some healthy foundations for sleep.

That means we’re going to make sure that your baby is sleeping in a very safe way that you’re doing things like bedtime and nap time routines, that you’re really being aware of appropriate age awake windows. So your baby’s not getting over tired and really just making sure to. Try and give your child some opportunities to fall asleep independently.

If you were to come to me after that particular newborn phase, then we may be starting to look more into a traditional sleep training methodology. This may be where we would start to teach your child that skill of independence sleep. That would be done through a program, traditionally 10 days of training and then a couple of weeks of long-term contingency. Once you get to me around that three or fourth month, then we’d be looking at actually a more solid. Sleep training methodology. In the toddler years, I use a similar training , but I’m also going to start helping you on some behavior modification tools as well. We often find in that toddler space, a lot of boundary pushing and behaviors that sometimes are a bit disliked from parents. Along with helping to get sleep organized, I also help parents with some behavior modifications so that we can get those in line during the day as well as at nighttime.

Completely agree. I love that you are willing to coach and get into that topic even beforehand. I think that sometimes new parents don’t know that things are going to be a problem until they’re a problem. When we can identify and set up we may start to see some issues around three to four months of age for a newborn I think it kind of sets an expectation so that you’re not caught off guard. You’re not surprised or feeling like you’re failing in some way. I love getting that educational piece about sleep and setting up good routines and boundaries ahead of time. Is really helpful in getting that mindset of a confident parent. Someone who always being with their baby.

Do you think that sleep training can be taught in this online platform? I have really worked hard in trying to get FB 2FS in an online platform so that I can reach people conveniently. Do you feel like reaching your clients online is just as successful versus doing things one-on-one in person face-to-face.

Absolutely. In fact, most of the clients that I do work with are actually not located in Colorado, where I reside. Most of the work that I do is virtual. I believe that a vast majority of what you need to know can be learned in an online platform, either through a one-on-one coaching session or even through videos or content that’s delivered in that manner. Additionally, The other thing about sleep consulting that I think is so key is the opportunity to pick our brains as you were going through the sleep training process. The great part is that you can get all of that information remotely or online, to learn about the approach and how you’re going to actually do the sleep training. Then actually connect with me or another sleep specialist via an online platform like zoom or through an app, like Voxer that I use with my clients. As much as we like to be face-to-face sleep training is something you can absolutely do in a remote, online setting. It’s actually the way that I do most of my work. I think it’s great that your platform is an online service because in a world where we’re bouncing from place to place. And we don’t know, you know, if we can even meet in person, sometimes I believe that all of this information can very easily be transmitted online .

The cool part too, is that you can have one-on-one meetings even in an online way as well. Right. And I feel like too, sometimes in the comfort of your own home , it’s a little bit easier. You’re not having to pack up this baby, pack up this toddler, get them somewhere to meet somebody. I also feel like you in particular, your breadth of reaching clients can be so much greater with that type of approach online. I always joke that, you are way younger than me, my kids are in college, but I think your generation of young moms and young parents are really seeking to get information somewhat in a way that it’s good for them. On their time, wherever they are and most conveniently. I agree with whether it’s new parent coaching, sleep coaching that an online platform is, super convenient and I think a really great way to get information out there..

Ending up, what would you say is your best advice for new parents to set them out on the right foot in sleeping for their newborn baby? There’s a lot of different things that we can do to help set a healthy foundation for sleep with our newborns. When I’m working with my prenatal clients, one of the first things that I like to do with them is help them establish a sleep goal. The sleep goal in this first few months of life, I always say is to help our child get to sleep independently for some Sleep experiences. In those early months, your baby is not going to be able to fall asleep independently all of the time with no type of sleep association, that’s something that we’ll develop and we can work on later on in life. If you give your child some opportunities to be falling asleep on their own in their bassinet or crib, that’s going to only help them to hone that skill for later on in their life.

That’s the one goal that I always give my new parents is that let your child fall asleep independently, sometimes. It’s not our job to get our children to sleep, it’s actually theirs. So just let’s give them the opportunity of doing that. The other thing is in the early months, I like to recommend, , trying to do the best to just follow awake windows that are age appropriate, avoid the over tiredness that can happen so easily in newborns.

There’s really nothing that can be more challenging than dealing with a over-tired newborn, especially when you’re exhausted yourself. Then also starting things like bedtime routines very early on. There are things that we can do to just help our child more easily fall asleep, and then give them those opportunities to fall asleep unassisted from time to time , with the hopes that eventually that’s the way there’ll be falling asleep at all asleep situations as they age.

You bring up a great point. I think you’ve probably even heard me say this with you and your family, but I really like kids being put down drowsy, but not completely asleep. I think that window of learning I’m tired. this is what I feel like when I’m getting ready to fall asleep and actually being able to do it themselves is time really well spent.

Like you said, not everything’s going to be perfect at birth and even different mom, baby combinations.

I also do like setting up some, routine. Not that it necessarily has to be rigid, but I think you do get freedom in knowing. This is how the day is going to lay out. And maybe these are some times where we’re going to orient to being awake. And these are some times we’re more going to orient to being more quiet and sleeping and resting. I always feel like establishing day and night is probably the second most important time, well spent as far as laying down good sleep foundation.

It was nice to hear from the young well-educated sleep specialists that maybe I’ve been coaching in the right direction .Yes, you certainly have Bev.. I know that I’ve taken all of that to heart I love talking to you and I’m learning even more every day.

Well, perfect. Well, thank you for your time tonight, Lindsay. I really appreciate it. If listening, you guys have found our information helpful, you can go to the bottom of the description of this podcast and click on a link to get a PDF that will review the notes of what Lindsay and I discussed this evening. Also, if you’re interested in reaching out to me, Bev Garrison, at first breaths to first steps, you can also click on that link until next time. Be well.