When babies are born, they have chaotic sleeping patterns. They often wake up several times during nighttime, leaving parents exhausted and bleary-eyed. Well, to tell you the truth, they don’t really care if you have to be at work tomorrow at exactly 7am anyway.
Some parents turn into sleep training training as a (desperate) attempt to get their babies to “sleep through the night”.
Sleep training is exactly what it sounds: Training the baby to sleep on its own. This can start when the baby is around 3 to four months. Sleep training helps teach babies independence while allowing parents to get more sleep. Sounds like a win-win situation, right?
But it’s not as easy as it seems. It is especially challenging for fathers who often don’t know when to step in and how to help. Well, we’re here to help you be the hero that you are by giving you tips on how to improve the sleep situation with your newborn.
Here are five ways new dads can help with sleep training:
- Be patient and consistent
Think you can just “wing” sleep training? Ummm.. no, not exactly.
Lack of consistency and commitment can make the whole process longer and more difficult. It’s important for parents to come to an agreement about what method to use and how to divide the work. Make sure that your partner is on board with you about this one.
When done right, you can sleep train your baby in just a week. But if you keep on changing your methods or if you don’t follow the routine, then you might need to wait for months or even years before you see results!
- Create the right sleep environment
Ah, who wouldn’t fall asleep in a super-super dark, clutter-free room with just the right temperature? Just like adults, babies need the right environment to be able to sleep well. Optimize your nursery to create a more comfortable sleeping environment for your baby.
Before you start sleep training, make it your own personal project to everything in your baby’s bedroom to make it perfect for sleeping. Take charge of removing cell phones and televisions in your baby’s room. You can also make sure that the room is always at an optimal temperature and lights are always out during sleeping time. You can even put up a poster with all the rules (eg. no cellphones in the room at night time) to remind everyone in your home how to create the perfect sleeping environment for your newborn.
- Stick to a sleep ritual
Bedtime routines tell your baby that playtime is over and it’s time to sleep. Create a routine that will help your baby get in a sleepy mood. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. It can be as simple as changing its clothes, reading a book and listening to one lullaby. Do it again and again every night just before you try to get your baby to sleep.
Pro tip: In case you yourself are having difficulties sleeping, sticking to a sleep ritual makes it easier for adults to sleep as well.
- Take charge of bottle feeding
Mom and baby might have a solid breastfeeding routine established but it’s a good idea for dad to be in charge of night feedings. At some point, night feedings will stop once you sleep train your baby, but when you are just starting out, you might have to feed the baby in the middle of the night. Take charge of this responsibility and let your partner rest.
- Support your partner
Mothers often take the lead when caring for a newborn and it can be unbelievably exhausting. As a father, one of the best things you can do is to check in with your significant other throughout the day. Find out what you can do to make her life easier. When you are on the receiving end of her mood swing, just let it pass. You can’t really expect her to be nice to you when she’s barely getting any sleep.
Give mom a break. It will help you be more confident as a father if you are in charge of such an important task like sleep training.