Chrissy Lawler is a mother of four, and founder of The Peaceful Sleeper.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on July 19, 2021. It has since been updated.
If you've been having trouble putting your baby to sleep, here's some tricks and tips from an expert. Say hello to sleep therapist Chrissy Lawler. She's also a mother of four, and founder of The Peaceful Sleeper. According to her website, she says, "I’ve been practicing therapy for 9 years now, and I slowly started to realize that sleep issues were a common thread among all of my clients. So I got some additional training in advanced sleep medicine and learned that many of the mental health challenges we (and our children) face today stem from inadequate sleep. My goal as a baby sleep consultant is to take the stress out of sleep training and get everyone in the family a good night’s rest. I’m here to help you enjoy motherhood–not just endure it."
The therapist founded The Peaceful Sleeper because she realized how critically important sleep is in all aspects of life. The mom-of-four also recognizes how parents are often under-informed or feel unnecessary guilty when it comes to sleep training their babies. So she's stepping in to help because good sleep can affect mental health and happiness. Speaking to Good Morning America, she explains how easy it is to get your baby to bed. It takes just 30 seconds to two minutes! She elaborates that parents should learn to identify their baby's sleep cues, which are more subtle signs that come before fussing, grunting, and squirming. This can help prevent overtiredness. Look for gazing off, sighs, redness around the eyes, and subtle yawns, she says. Lawler points out that sleep approaches between adults and babies are different. While adults get better sleep the more tired they are, babies need more sleep to get better sleep! So don't wait till your baby is all tired out. The more they sleep, the better they will sleep, she says.
The first step in ensuring your baby gets good sleep is to create a good snug-swaddle. Once you get that sorted, they like being on their side before drifting off to sleep. Babies also like gentle bouncy motions while you hold them and soothe them to sleep. Lawler suggests gentle eyebrow strokes help their eyes close. Once they're asleep the best way to NOT wake them up is to lower them on their side when you put them in their crib and then flip them to their back. She says parents will know which of these tips will work best on their babies and leave out whichever they feel isn't best for them.
News 24 reports that a three-month-old baby should only have 1.5 hours of awake time, a six-month-old can stay awake for 2.5 hours, and a 10-month old can manage 3.5 hours. Like Lawler mentioned, babies will struggle to sleep if they are too tired and too stimulated. It's important to establish a bedtime routine for them as well. "Sleep is an essential part of how the human body operates, and it's just as necessary for babies as it is for adults. However, what moms and dads ideally want is for their baby’s sleep pattern to suit the family's routine." says pediatrician Dr. Iqbal Karbanee. Parents must remember that it will take two to three days before a baby starts responding to new changes and that they "must understand that incremental change works best," he concludes.