It takes forever for them to fall asleep

You can definitely use sleep pressure to change how your child falls asleep too! We’ll look at this in more detail in Sleep Strategies, but here’s a brief introduction. Say, for example, you’d like your child to fall asleep in t, rather than in arms. You may have to add in a little bit more support in the form of sleep associations (more about them in the Sleep Strategies module), but some children can actually make the transition easily, if they are tired enough. If you are going to make a change to how your child falls asleep I’d always start with bedtime first (because you have the double advantage of sleep pressure and circadian rhythm), and if you need to change naps, start with the first nap of the day.

You need to make sure your child is tired enough first of all, and then you try to get them to sleep in the new way first (eg falling asleep in the cot). If they either get too upset, or they aren’t falling asleep after 15-20 minutes, you can do a “dramatic wake up”, act like it’s time to get up, so you can go downstairs, do some quiet play, and then try again 20-30 minutes later. You repeat this cycle until sleep pressure kicks in and they fall asleep in the new way. This method minimizes crying, let’s you respond appropriately, and uses sleep pressure to facilitate sleep. After a few days, you have less false starts so eventually they’ll fall asleep in the cot on the first go.

Published by Rebecca Scott-Pillai

Rebecca Scott-Pillai is a paediatric sleep consultant and lactaction consultant (IBCLC) based in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. She lives there with her two kids, two cats and dog! With over 20 years experience working with families, Rebecca uses her knowledge and experience to provide collaborative flexible plans for gentle, responsive families.