Is sleep training a deaf baby more challenging than sleep training a baby without a hearing loss? It doesn’t have to be! Here are 7 tips to help you.
Here’s a fact: ALL babies cause their parents to lose sleep, regardless of the baby’s actual hearing level.
If you are the parent of a deaf baby, the challenge of putting your baby to sleep can seem even more daunting.
We have compiled this guide for parents who are looking for help or those who want to learn more about the process of sleeping training a deaf baby!
Let’s dive in!
How to get a deaf baby to go to sleep?
The good news is that there are a few tricks to help your baby establish healthy sleep patterns.
Bear with me as we go through these tips for sleep training a deaf baby one by one:
Follow a consistent bedtime routine
News flash: all babies respond well to a soothing nighttime routine – including deaf children.
A soothing bedtime routine can help soothe and calm your child, so she’s ready for sleep. What’s more, it can also help teach your baby good sleep habits that will stick for a long time.
The best bedtime routine for your child depends on what she prefers. You can start by giving her a warm bath before laying her down. Swaddling is another excellent way to calm your baby and help her feel “grounded.” Children who are swaddled can sleep for longer periods of time with fewer awakenings than children who are not being swaddled.
Sometimes a nice, relaxing massage works, too. Simply place your baby on her back and begin by slowly rubbing each tiny body part.
Sing her a song
If your baby is having hearing difficulties, why not help her sleep by engaging her other senses?
One idea is to place your baby chest to chest with you while you sing her a song. She will feel the vibration of your voice which she will know from all that time she spent in your womb.
After all, even hearing babies can’t understand what you’re saying. It’s not the words that matter, but sometimes, what’s even more important is the attention you’re giving her. What’s more, eye contact can be quite calming.
Have a night light in her room
Turning off the lights leaves deaf children with minimal sensory input, which can be frightening. What’s more, many deaf children rely on their inner ear and their vision for balance, and they may feel quite disoriented in the dark.
One great trick is to have a night light in her room. She might like the reassurance that small light gives her and will feel safer going to sleep.
Make the crib smell like mom
According to studies, babies learn to recognize their mother’s smell early in life, and the smell is wired into their brains.
And it’s the smell that newborns love most. Babies are very attracted to their mother’s unadorned body smell, so why not use it to your advantage?
Put something that smells like you in the crib to help your little one go to sleep better.
One idea is to get some muslin security blankets and transfer your smell onto her. At night, swaddle your little one with the blanket so that it calms her down. If you’re not swaddling your baby and she’s old enough to sleep with a toy, get your scent on her favorite toy.
Drowsy but awake
Rocking your baby to sleep or letting her fall asleep in a swing may feel warm and comfortable, but when she wakes up and finds that you’re not there, she will get upset.
But by putting her in her crib while she’s drowsy, you’re teaching her to fall asleep independently and soothe herself back to sleep when she wakes up at night.
Reminder: If she’s older than four months, then she has to be put to sleep awake and not drowsy.
Resisting the temptation
One of the hardest parts of sleep training a deaf baby – or any baby – is listening to your child cry in the middle of the night and resisting the temptation to pick her up.
If you find yourself in this situation, remember that a disciplined parent is key to teaching your baby to sleep through the night.
Hire a sleep trainer
Sleep training a deaf baby can get challenging for the parent, and you may need help from an expert to get it done right. An experienced sleep trainer can make the process easier for both the parent and the child.
As an expert in this field and someone who’s had great success using these techniques myself, I recommend sleep training to all parents struggling with their child’s sleeping habits. Sleep training has been proven to help babies learn how to self-soothe on their own after a few weeks of consistent instruction from the parent.