So, what's the deal with my baby resisting the crib, you ask?
I scoured the vast expanses of the internet and delved into the wisdom of countless mum-centric forums to, hopefully, find some answers. And let me tell you, the answers were all singing the same tune – which I'll happily spill the beans on below (hey, you might just find them handy).
But, here's the twist: I had a heart-to-heart with Andrea, and guess what? She's got some pearls of wisdom to drop on why those crib-averse tendencies happen, both during the newborn phase in the first few months and as your little one transitions into the toddler stage. Thus, let's dive into what she had to say:
I did some research across the internet and peer-reviewed studies and found a list of things that may affect the sleep of our young infants:
My mum, grandma, and all the wise women in my family, along with the ever-opinionated folks on baby forums and the never-ending stream of advice from mum blogs, had their say on this topic. And guess what? The consensus was pretty much unanimous – they all gave me the same advice on how to help my baby to sleep:
I even ventured into the “dark corners of the internet” and dug into the wisdom of old wives to uncover some timeless tips for helping your little one enjoy a good night's sleep in their crib. According to these seasoned sources, here are some of the best ways:
I agree, some of these tips can be quite useful – I'll be sure to try them once I have my turn. But, once again, I've turned to Andrea and got her trusted advice on all these. Thus, according to her, some of the best ways to make your baby fall asleep in the crib are these:
Andrea advises more than 3000 followers on her Instagram channel that having a bedtime routine is of key importance for achieving better sleep in the crib.
Another thing we all agree on is that many babies need an optimal sleep environment. Of course, that can vary depending on the culture. For instance, in some Scandinavian countries, parents believe that sleep training should be performed outside, in the cold. My Balkan-self could never do that. I believe in homemade woollen socks.
Of course, you and your baby do you – but, let me share with you what our expert said about creating a good sleeping environment for babies.
The most important things to consider when planning your baby’s sleep space are:
• The crib or the cot– Following safety guidelines, if a baby is under a year old, the crib or the cot should be clear of any toys, pillows, loose bedding or bumpers. Babies need to sleep on a firm, flat surface, preferably on a firm mattress.
• The lighting – Baby sleeps better in a dark room. This is because darkness encourages the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Having too much light in the room can slow down or stop melatonin production and cause the baby (and parents if sleeping in the same room) to be more wakeful. For this reason, a blackout curtain is a very useful thing and if a continuous nightlight is needed or one to turn on for night feeds and nappy changes, it is best to choose one with a red glow. We know from research this colour of light is “melatonin friendly.”
• The room temperature – 16 -18 degrees C. This might feel a bit cool, but it is a safe and comfortable temperature for a newborn baby to sleep in. If you, like the rest of the parents, are worried about your baby being too cold (or even too hot), consider replacing blankets and covers with a simple baby sleeping bag – as these are the best for regulating baby's body temperature.
• The sound levels – Babies sleep better in a quiet environment. Some parents use white noise machines to blank out sudden background noises and create a feeling of continuity. If sound devices are used, there are 3 golden rules: First, the volume should be 50db or below (that’s the level of quiet conversation or a fridge humming). Second, when a baby falls asleep at bedtime the environment that they are in needs to remain the same until morning. So white noise etc. should be kept on all night at a low level. And, third, if lullabies are used instead of white noise, the tempo should be no faster than a resting heartbeat. Any faster than this and a baby can feel stressed.
This ‘rule' is pretty controversial. People still fight over it – some claim that you should jump and hold your baby whenever it starts to cry in the crib, while others claim that that is terrible for the baby's development and that, instead, we should ‘teach' our babies that crying won't get them out of that crib.
To be honest – I too don't know what to think about this topic.
However, I can share with you what Andrea (and other medical experts have to say about this).
Anyone familiar with sleep training knows about the importance of timing. I, my mother, and all the women I've talked to agree with Andrea:
Okay, let us think that we've all mastered the skill of putting our babies to sleep in the crib. But, what about staying asleep in that crib?
Andrea has written books on the topic of gentle sleep solutions, so I put the question of how to get your baby to stay asleep throughout the night to her;
‘All babies wake up naturally during the night, due to their sleep cycles. ‘The problem comes when they aren’t able to go back to sleep without help. So if babies learn how to put themselves to sleep at bedtime, they are more likely to be able to join their sleep cycles when they wake later.'
When that happens, that is, when we have a baby who's wide awake, Andrea suggests using the so-called ‘Comfort Ladder’ that parents can use to help their baby settle back to sleep once they’ve checked on and attended to them.
Here are the principles of the Comfort Ladder:
Let's not waste words on this one. Instead, just take a look at this chart:
In wrapping things up, it's clear that we all want those blissful nights with our little ones snoozing soundly in their cribs.
Our go-to source, Andrea Grace, a highly experienced and world-renowned baby & child sleep consultant and registered nurse, has provided us with rock-solid guidance you can trust.
Plus, we've scoured the vast realm of online tips and tricks to give you a comprehensive toolkit.
Just remember, every baby is unique, so feel free to carefully experiment until you discover what clicks best for your bundle of joy. Here's to many nights of peaceful zzz's for both you and your little sleeper!