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3 Products Advertised to “Help Baby Sleep” That Actually Don’t

Most parents coping with young kids and sleep issues are desperate for any solution to their nightly trials, and there are countless tinctures, sprays and salves that promise to soothe your child into a peaceful slumber.

To me, this is not unlike to the staggering number of natural weight-loss products on the market: there is no shortage of companies trying to make big bucks selling “quick fixes.” But do they really work?

Not often… and not long-term.

In order to lose weight and keep it off, you need to change your lifestyle, your diet and your way of thinking about food in order to keep off the pounds.

The same goes for sleep. To truly foster a healthy relationship with your child and his sleeping habits, you need to be disciplined, have a plan and change the way you structure bedtime.

I think it’s fair to say that some of these sleep-aid products for children, such as the popular Valerian Super Calm, Lavender Spritz and Badger Balm might provide some short-term relief, but they are certainly not going to solve your child’s issues with night-waking or the need to be rocked or fed to sleep.

Let’s say you’re at your wit’s end with a fussy baby one night and you decide to use one of these products.  Miraculously, your child stops crying, calms down and goes to sleep.  That’s wonderful, and you might think you’ve found your cure, but the problem is, you still haven’t addressed the core issues and taught your child to sleep on his own.  Chances are, he will wake up again in a couple of hours and need you to come and soothe him back to sleep. And then he’ll wake up two hours later, and two hours after that, and on and on it will go.

The only way to get a baby sleeping well is to teach her the skills by creating a system that will promote sleep independence.  Believe it or not, once your baby is no longer a newborn, your baby truly is capable of sleeping on her own without too much help from you or anything else.

Here are the basic steps for helping set up a lifetime of healthy sleep habits:

Establish an early bedtime and stick to it, even during holidays or when friends come to visit.  Young children thrive on routine, especially when it comes to sleep.

Have a bedtime ritual that you don’t stray from.  This could mean bath, book, five minutes of cuddles, then lights out.

Create a dark sleeping environment with no blinking lights from electronics, nightlights, or distracting overhead mobiles.  Remove toys that sing lullabies or illuminate images on the walls, they do not promote consistent sleep.

As relaxing as store-bought sleep products, aromatherapy oils or herbs might be, if a child hasn’t learned to self-soothe, all the lavender in the world isn’t going to help long term.  Instead, develop your plan, stick to it, and before you know it, your child will be sleeping well!

About the author

Shannon Glenn

Shannon Glenn is the owner and founder of Sleep Well Children Consulting and a Certified Pediatric Sleep Specialist. She is dedicated to helping parents assist their children and babies in developing healthy sleep habits. With a B.A. in Psychology, Shannon has worked extensively with children and their families for over 15 years in a variety of settings.  She has been offering sleep solutions for over six years.  

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