Our aim is to teach babies healthy sleep habits and positive sleep associations.
There are 2 parts to this process.
- Building a bond.
- Building sleep associations.
Build a Bond
We want your little one to love their Riff Raff Sleep Toy like it is an extension of themselves and their parents. In order to do that you may need to play a part in creating that wonderful loveable bond.
- Transfer your smell to the toy by wearing the toy while pregnant or when it arrives.
- Have the toy playing white noise or the lullaby while bub is in your belly or during reading.
- Include in your daily activities like walks in the pram, car trips, play and tummy time.
- Include during your feeds as a cuddle item together. You do not need to have the sound playing while feeding if they just woke from a nap.
- Give the toy kisses and cuddles with your little one during play and nap time. This will build strong feelings of love, comfort and attachment and create positive associations with their friend. We encourage you to allow at least a week of this type of consistent interaction between you, the toy and your little one to start to make a connection. Some children may bond faster, some may require a little longer.
Some signs your little one has a bond forming with their toy can be demonstrated through them reaching for the toy, calming when they hear the sounds or feel the toy beside them, smiling and enjoying the toy with you or hopefully they may already be drifting off to the sounds.
Half the work of building a sleep association has already been completed once your little one has built a bond with a Riff Raff Sleep Toy. However, some may have some sleep habits that need to be gently transitioned into positive sleep associations. Below we detail how to do this with your toy.
Build a positive sleep association
- Consistent Sleep Routines
If you do not have a consistent sleep routine, we encourage you to consider implementing one. A routine is built around ‘repetitive cues’ you use to signal to your baby that it is sleep time. A simple 15 minute routine could include cues like 2 books in a quiet space cuddling up with a parent and their toy. Alternatively this time could be a wonderfully drawn out wind down time that includes several cues like bath time and last bottle. You can decide what works best for you and your family.
You can start to implement a sleep time routine as early as 6 weeks and as late as 4 years. As this is about habit forming it is never too late or too early to create healthy sleep habits.
If you have a routine in place that has some areas you wish to change such as rocking or feeding to sleep, we recommend not changing any of your current bedtime routine. Simply combine their new bedtime buddy into your process.
- Create a positive sleep cue with the music
When cuddling in the final stages of your routine or wind down period, you should have the white noise or the lullaby playing on the toy and combine it into your cuddle so baby can feel or smell the familiar item.
When you move to transfer them to bassinet or cot, the sound is on and the association will grow through repetition that it’s time to sleep. As the bond is established, comfort will be drawn from the toy if you are putting them down and walking away.
Sounds easy right? With repetition your little one should ideally be able to be put down with the music turned on and settle themselves to sleep. This is called self settling and the benefits to children learning this important skill is longer blocks of sleep and less wake ups.
**Always follow SIDS safe guidelines at this stage.
- Slowly reduce rocking, feeding or patting to sleep
These can become problematic over time and the idea of our pal is to reduce the amount of time you spend doing this. We should note that we always encourage gentle sleep guidance between parent and child. If you enjoy this, by all means continue as you are. If you are here because you would like to reduce rocking, feeding or patting to sleep, please read on.
Slowly start removing the undesired support. Shorten this part of your routine a small amount each sleep time until you can comfortably stop. For example if you are rocking for 15 minutes, reduce this to 10, then 5 and then stop. During this time have the sound playing on your Riff Raff Sleep Toy so that something familiar remains.
- The Transfer
When transferring little ones into their bassinet or cot, aim for sleepy but awake and continue to play the sounds while you place your little one down. This can be a well supported transition including one hand on them or sitting in the same room so they know you are nearby.
It is really important that the plan is slow, calm and gentle. This is a positive step in your little ones sleep journey and we want you to have confidence these steps will lead to a lifetime of healthy sleeping skills.
Some notes from us
- Consistency and persistence.
Sometimes things will not go to plan. Tomorrow is a new day to start again, following in the same steps.
The day you see your little one calmly settle to the sound of their sleep toy and close their little eyes, will be so rewarding.
- Lullaby or White noise? Which is best? And what age do you swap to the lullaby?
It is really personal preference but the key to long lasting positive attachment between the pal and your little one is the lullaby. It is for this reason we recommend introducing the lullaby as early as possible. The white noise can be very helpful for newborns, in crib/ pram settling during a restless period.
**Sids and safe sleeping
It is really important that SIDS safe sleeping guidelines are followed and no soft toys should be in the crib with your baby under 7 months of age. Our toy has been designed with a strap which can be used to secure the toy to either the inside or the outside of the crib away from little ones hands. We recommend that this strap is always used with babies unless being directly supervised. They will benefit from the audio and visual comfort when not able to feel the comforter.
It really is never too late.
Building a bond and building a sleep association are both equally as important when introducing to an older child of 18 months +.
Some tips for building a bond with older children:
- Get them to help pick the new bedtime buddy.
- Have them involved in the box opening when their toy arrives.
- Talk them through the purpose of the new buddy. Ie for you to cuddle at night, for you to have a little piece of mummy with you at daycare.
- Include in role plays. Kiss and cuddle the toy together.
- Let them name the toy.
Often after 18 months, the expected average time for a little one to settle into sleep grows to 30 mins, just like an adult. Always factor this into your bedtime routine to ensure you are walking out of the bedroom at an ideal time. We recommend the 40 minute setting for older toddlers.
Our helpful team is available to support you and your little one throughout your sleepy journey.