What the Heck is Sleep Shaping?

What The Heck Is Sleep Shaping?

Guest Post Authored by Amanda Hanki, Owner of Easy Sleep Solutions (Certified Gentile Sleep Consultant)

When someone comes to me and sees that I’m a Gentle Sleep Coach, I get the smirks and the “I would never leave my child alone to cry ”, but that is not what I do!

Sleep training typically gets associated with the “cry it out” method but that is the farthest thing from what I would advise. Sometimes a rigid sleep training method isn’t what a family needs or perhaps the timing isn’t right. I always begin with something a little more attainable – sleep shaping. 

tell me more about sleep shaping! 

Sleep shaping is where you gently set your child up for positive sleep habits over a period of time. This includes all factors that supports an infant falling to sleep and staying asleep. Usually, this works for children who are beginning their sleep training journey or children 6 months or younger where sleep training is generally not recommended. The results typically are not something where you will see improvement over the first few nights but it is rather something you gradually work on everyday without adding much stress to your current routine.

Incorporating sleep shaping methods is as easy as looking at your child’s personality, their sleep habits and the goals for your wee one. It can be as simple as unlatching your tot from the breast or bottle moments before they fall asleep. This breaks the association between feeding and sleep, and encourages your child to fall asleep without needing that support. You can start incorporating a bedtime routine that prepares a little one for the long slumber ahead. If your child only falls asleep with motion, begin lessening that movement slowly, one day at a time. When you see your babe dozing off, slowly stop what you are doing and just enjoy your little ones tiny features.  

Going forward, stop that motion earlier and earlier in their sleep time routine until that motion has been completely removed. Co-sleeping and want to change that? No problem! Begin with taking ten minutes out of your day to play with him or her in the crib or other safe sleep space. This will make this space a more comfortable, positive environment and one day, he might just doze off in there.  

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Always encourage active awake times so your child will have the sleep pressure needed to drift off into the next nap at the appropriate time. More often then not, the number one sleep indicator that gets over looked is sleepy cues. Noticing when your baby is beginning to travel down that sleepy path and encourage sleep BEFORE you see those tell tale signs such as rubbing their eyes, yawing, irritability and many times result to a crying and stressful bedtime.  

It really is that easy to change these habits but please take a second to evaluate realistic expectations. It is normal for a child to wake every three hours to feed. It is normal for a child to cluster feed during growth spurts. It is normal for parents to want their newborn to sleep consecutive hours a night because someone once said that their child did that. It is normal for a child under the six month mark to gravitate towards Mom. I mean, they did just spend 40 weeks in your belly so it only seems natural to go to the one human that you were physically connected to for comfort. Trust me. I was there once. This girl – the expert behind sleep. 

For more information on sleep shaping, sleep training or to book your free consultation click here to contact Easy Sleep Solutions! While you are online, don't forget to check her out on instagram too! 

At Edmonton Area Family Doulas, our Postpartum team is here to help you with sleep shaping. Contact us today so you can get some rest!

Authored by Amanda Hanki, Owner of Easy Sleep Solutions (Certified Gentile Sleep Consultant)