The Gentle Newborn Sleep Guide: Your Top 12 Questions Answered
Those first few months with your newborn are supposed to be a precious time – a time when you can begin to build a lifelong bond with your new child. That’s why I’m often disturbed by some of the misguided sleep advice floating around for newborns.
One of my sleep coaches told me that they were contacted by parents who were desperate for help after trying another sleep system. Their former coach said their newborn needed to sleep more independently or else he’d create “lifelong bad habits”.
By the way… this advice was given when their baby was only 8 days old!
Other sleep coaches recommend methods like “Cry It Out” (CIO), double-swaddling, the Ferber Method, or “12 hours by 12 weeks”…all in the first 2-3 months of life.
The list goes on and on.
Honestly, it’s no surprise many parents are anxious about sleep training their newborns. You have fears of “spoiling” or “creating lifelong bad habits that will never go away.”
The truth of the matter is much simpler and gentler. Today I’ll be sharing the most common questions I get about newborn sleep and my new book!
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Understand How to Shape a Newborn’s Sleep Schedule Right From The Start
I wrote my newest book, The Sleep Lady®’s Gentle Newborn Sleep Guide, to help you with a gentler approach to shape your baby’s sleep.
Get guided through a baby-led sleep shaping approach that takes into account your baby’s unique temperament and age. You’ll understand when it’s developmentally appropriate to coach your little one to learn to fall asleep – and stay asleep on their own. (This is how you “shape” your newborn’s sleep).
No one has written a step-by-step guide like this for newborn sleep. I’m so excited to announce the release of this book on March 21, 2023.
Pre-order the new Gentle Newborn Sleep Guide on Amazon or Target so you can have it as soon as it comes out!
When you pre-order, you’ll be among the very first to get help on sleep starting before birth through 5 months. Using this approach, you take steps based on your baby’s development – never forcing them to do something they’re not biologically ready to do.
Want to learn more about room sharing with your newborn?
READ: What You Want To Know on Room Sharing and Safe Sleeping for Newborns
Let Me Answer Your 12 Burning Questions on Newborn Sleep!
Do you want to know part of my mission with this book? Reduce your anxiety while providing gentle, developmentally appropriate ways to support and build a healthy sleep foundation for your child. Here are some of the most common questions about newborn sleep I answer in detail in my book.
1. Is it true that I have to let my baby cry-it-out at 2, 4, 6, or even 8 weeks old to prevent lifelong bad habits?
No, absolutely not. Please don’t worry about your child forming bad habits when they’re a newborn. They’re just looking for you to be there to comfort and soothe them while their little brains and bodies grow.
The Gentle Newborn Sleep Guide will direct you month-by-month so you can learn how to gently shape better sleep habits using your baby as the guide. With each chapter, you’ll learn about your baby’s development so you can understand what they can and can’t do on their own. Hence why I called it “Baby-Led Sleep Shaping and Coaching℠.”
2. Why does my baby seem to have more trouble sleeping than other babies?
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to helping newborns sleep. Every baby has a unique temperament and reaches milestones at different times. Just because your baby is three months old, it doesn’t mean they’re the same as every other 3-month-old. There are also huge variabilities in baby’s sleep under 6 months!
Factors like temperament, health, and feeding all play an important role. This book helps you build realistic expectations for your child’s sleep, so you can ignore those blanket “rules” and comparisons that cause stress and anxiety. Remember, you should feel empowered to be your own baby’s expert. You know your baby best.
3. Are there options for sleep training other than CIO or waiting until 6 months?
Yes. You can build a foundation for good sleep using Sleep Shaping. As your child develops, you start to use methods like the Switcheroo, Jiggle and Soothe, or the Modified Shuffle to support your baby get comfortable sleeping on their own.
4. Why don’t you recommend the cry it out method?
For newborns (or really any babies or children – but especially not newborns) because they’re not developmentally ready to learn to put themselves to sleep independently. All humans need to be in a calm state to be able to fall asleep, so letting a baby get into a state of hysterical crying (a dysregulated state) makes it almost impossible for them to fall asleep without assistance.
Additionally, regular, prolonged hysterical crying (crying that can be recognized as a call for help) leads to a baby’s stress response system being negatively affected for life. Parents often share their fears that if they soothe their baby rather than letting them cry, they’ll create “bad habits” that will be difficult to break in the future. I tell them not to worry about creating bad habits in the first 6 months.
5. My baby stopped sleeping at night around 4 months old. What can I do?
The 4-month sleep regression can feel like your baby is taking a step back when it comes to sleep. It’s like they’re losing all the progress you’ve made over the past several weeks. But don’t worry!
This regression occurs because your baby is experiencing lots of physical and neurological growth during this month. The Gentle Newborn Sleep Guide walks you through each stage – before, during and after – including how to get back on track after the regression has ended. This way, you can know what to expect and how to guide your baby through what can be a difficult period.
6. What do I do if I have to go back to work but my baby needs to nurse to fall asleep?
The Gentle Newborn Sleep Guide gives suggestions for how to handle the transition back to work. Whether you’re planning to use a stay-at-home nanny or a daycare, the book walks you through important steps for this big change. Baby-led training works on the concept that the caregiver will be able to do less and less to help a baby sleep as the child learns new skills.
7. Will this book tell me how to create a newborn sleep schedule?
It’s challenging to nail down a newborn’s sleep schedule. The Gentle Newborn Sleep Guide focuses on a feeding schedule first because it’s essential to get feeding down in those first few months (it helps with sleep, trust me).
Since your newborn doesn’t yet have a fully developed internal clock they depend on you to help their bodies learn the differences between day and night. Setting a routine for the day will help them create an external clock of their own. This way they avoid day night confusion. Ultimately, your goal is to create a framework and daily routine for your baby – without the need for a strict schedule.
8. What if I’m just too exhausted to do anything?
Each chapter of the Gentle Newborn Sleep Guide includes a section that focuses on a very important person… YOU! I’m sure you’ve heard about the importance of supporting yourself during this time, but you might not have heard why.
I’ve come to understand that doubling down on your mental and physical health is directly connected to supporting, shaping, and improving the sleep needs of your baby. That’s why you’ll want to read these sections of the book carefully.
9. Where do I find the book?
Step 1: Purchase the paperback or ebook using one of the links below:
If you’re outside the U.S., look in your country’s Amazon store or try bookdepository.
Step 2: Claim your book bonuses here.
10. Is the book available as an audiobook?
Not yet. When it’s ready, I’ll let you know by email.
11. Is there guided help available?
If you’re looking to go even deeper, consider enrolling in Gentle Newborn Sleep Solutions e-course.