What’s an Independent Sleeper?

Baby Sleep Goals: Creating the right sleep associations

The image most parents have of sleep training is a baby crying until he succumbs to exhaustion and falls asleep. However, sleep training does not have to be like that.

The main goal of sleep training is to help our children become independent sleepers. An independent sleeper is that who falls asleep on his own and puts himself back to sleep when he wakes up.

I would also add that a ‘real’ independent sleeper is so ‘for life’. This means that real independent sleeper will not need to be ‘retrained’ to sleep when he is moved to a toddler bed, starts preschool, is potty training, etc. In order to create a ‘real independent sleepers’, we need to help them establish the right, positive sleep associations.

Our children shouldn’t associate sleep with feelings of abandonment, fear, desperation, anxiety, punishment, excitement, or stimulation. Sleep should be associated with feelings of tranquility, relaxation, love, trust, restfulness, empowerment and peace. Here are some simple tips to help our children create those positive associations:

  • Establish and maintain a soothing and calming bedtime routine
  • Use bedtime for bonding
  • Help your child feel safe, secure and comforted in his crib/bed
  • Make your child’s room a soothing and calming place: dark, quiet, organized and safe
  • Avoid active playing, television, videogames and other exciting activities before bedtime Do not use the crib/bed for time-outs or disciplining

Children model our behavior, so make sure you get a good night’s sleep!

Much love, Diana-

Should We Use White Noise Machines?

We get asked a lot from parents whether they should use white noise machines to help their babies fall asleep.

While white noise machines are great for many reasons:

  • They can help reduce the effects of a variety of disorders including Tinnitus, Hyperacusis, and Meniere’s Disease.
  • They help night workers sleep through the day.
  • They help people sleep alongside partners who snore or use apnea and breathing machines.
  • They cancel out most household noises.

However, we believe in teaching our children become independent sleepers. We want them to be able to fall asleep without our help and without the help of any external ‘aide’ that might no always be available.

White noise machines can help babies sleep better, since they cancel out household noises that might interfere with their sleep. However, after using them, babies might not be able to sleep without them.

Therefore, we wouldn’t suggest the introduction of white noise machines by default. In some specific circumstances we might recommend their use, but certainly not for every child.

Much love, Diana-