Sleep Prop? Lots of parents, including myself, have had no idea that their child is dependent on a prop to go to sleep or stay asleep.
A sleep prop is an object, action or person that a child requires in order to go to sleep. Your child is dependent on a sleep prop if you find yourself getting up many times to replace a soother, rock a child, go for a car ride, or feed your child.
Here is a list of some common sleep props:
- rocking to sleep
- car ride
- feed (bottle or breast feed)
- person (mom, dad, or
other care provider)
Now should you dump all props immediately? It depends on the age of the child.
The first three months can be difficult for a baby to sleep, so you do what you can. There will be a few times that you will use a sleep prop, don’t beat yourself up for it. Your baby needs rest, end of story
In my opinion, the key is to eventually reduce or eliminate your child’s need for a prop. Once your child learns to put themselves to sleep without a sleep prop it is an amazing moment. You and all other family members will actually get a half decent sleep – it really does happen.
Now that our youngest is two years old, the first few months are a blur; however, I remember being very sleep deprived and frustrated with his lack of napping. I felt for him and I could tell he was exhausted (crying, easily frustrated, rubbing his eyes, etc).
I took a look at his sleep and environment. We were rocking him while giving him a bottle before he fell asleep. Every time he woke up he required a feed in the rocking chair to go back to sleep. The kicker with our boy was that after every feed he had to be held upright for 20 to 30 minutes to prevent him from throwing up his feed. (Acid reflux is not fun.) It was near impossible to keep him awake. He then became dependent on a person to hold him. Yikes!
With time and patience, he was able to sleep on his own. He did have to be taught to sleep without a prop and we had to remain calm. The first few nights our little man slept on his own, I woke up wondering if everything was okay. It was beautiful to hear him sleeping so peacefully.
Your child can be an amazing sleeper as well. We can work together to discover your child’s sleep prop (it’s amazing what a prop can be) and teach him or her how to sleep without it.
Happy sleeping, everyone!