We took some time to chat with Joanna Silverman, Pediatric Sleep & Parenting Consultant at Early Parenting Partners, to save you the trouble of those sleep training 3am google searches.
Joanna has 15 years experience in the field of child development and behavior and has spent the last four as a parent consultant – its’ safe to say she’s seen everything from babies who won’t nap to toddler sleep regressions – and we wanted to know her tips and tricks for life in the city with little ones. Tight quarters…traffic noise…street lights…you know the drill.
Setting the Scene for a Good Night’s Sleep
Our first question was what city moms can do to create the best environment for good naps and night time sleeping, and Joanna had some great advice. “White noise machines are our number one recommendation as well as black out shades. In a pinch you can even use trash bags.” If the white noise machine isn’t cutting it, then she suggests a box fan placed between the window and where the baby sleeps to cut out all street noise.
Routine is Key
What about when you have a toddler and a baby sharing a room? Joanna suggests concentrating on sleep training your baby before introducing them to their new roomie. This can help avoid adding in a toddler sleep regression to the mix. So how do you get baby into a good sleep pattern? Joanna’s advice centers on the importance of teaching your baby to fall asleep on their own before they hit the four month mark. This means putting them down drowsy rather than asleep and making this a habit. As baby grows, they will remember that they have fallen asleep independently before and it won’t be so scary. Another big tip is to stick to a routine as vigilantly as you can once they’re older than four months.
Napping on-the-go is tempting, especially for city moms who want to get out of their smaller apartments, but this can have a knock-on effect on sleep quality and how easily your baby will fall asleep at home.
Mama Knows Best
The biggest emphasis Joanna and the team at Early Parenting Partners put on successful sleep training is that one size does not fit all. Their holistic approach takes into account temperament, personality and how developed the baby’s nervous and digestive systems are. She says parents often read a book or hear from friends and pediatricians that their baby should be ready to drop a feed or sleep through the night, but it’s better to take a slow approach to weening down rather than hitting an age milestone and deciding it should happen – literally – overnight.
Good habits should start early, giving your baby a rhythm and predictability to their day that will hopefully give you some predictability at night.
Good luck mamas, you’ve got this.
For more information, check out Early Parenting Partners sleep workshop at Little Lovage Club.
Photo Credit Katy Doyle Photography