It’s part of parenthood right, to be up in the night, changing nappies, feeding, pacing the floorboards, rocking back to sleep, “enjoying” those moments while the rest of the world out there sleeps!
I remember when my daughter, Chloe was born my friend had her son at the same time, we would always send each other a few texts in the night during these waking hours to see if we were up at the same time and what feed they were on..1 or 10! The following morning I would tell my husband a few stories and he would always ask me where I got all this information from as it was only 6am in the morning and it was basically night time…he had no idea that while he sleeps there is a whole other world out there awake…and surviving…mostly feeding parents and breastfeeding mum's who are awake…chatting away to help each other through the night…..!
So here in this blog I wanted to explain how you can maybe determine what is “normal” when it comes to night waking. Help you find some reasons and solutions as to why your Little One is waking.
Let me start off by saying, just like us adults all and every child wakes in the night. It is normal for a child to wake between 3 and 6 times a night. Even if it is just to turn over and re settle themselves, kick and flail about or to ask for a feed. But when and how do we know when to respond to these waking’s….and what is “normal”?
The New born stage. The biggest change in your life has just happened and for many of us we are under prepared for what exactly has just happened and about to happen…we arrive home from the hospital, sit down (if at all we can still sit without being in so much pain we feel our lower body has just been ripped to shreds!) and we say..Ok...now what..? A lot of us actually have no idea how to navigate our way through each day or really what to expect, every day is so different.
At this young new born stage your baby will feed, poop, sleep and repeat. A lot. It’s a turntable of the same most days, like a carousel that just won’t stop! It’s wonderful but it is exhausting and that is “normal”.
Your baby will be feeding every 2-3 hours or so. Don’t forget breastmilk is digested much faster than formula milk so you may find your baby feeds more often in the night than your friends who is formula feeding. This is normal and whichever way your feed your baby they are being nourished and loved and you are meeting their needs. Fed is BEST!
At this young age it is also way too early to start any sort of sleep shaping with any methods as such however what you can do is introduce positive sleep associations that will stand you in good stead for the future.
Change and feed during the night in a dark room, use a red light instead of the usual bedside lamp you have as the red light wont interfere with the levels of melatonin in your baby’s body. Stay in the same room as to avoid temperature changes which can wake a baby up. Minimal stimulation. It’s not party time it is feed and sleep time! Keep your nights calm and consistent. Make sure your baby is winded before you lay back down in their sleep space.
If you are experiencing multiple waking’s say every 1-2 hours through the night there may be something else that is hindering longer periods of peaceful slumber between feeds such as tummy pains from over feeding or overtiredness. It is worth exploring these other possibilities and if you feel you would like some help in solving this I am very happy to have a chat with you and put you at ease.
This age is a very impressionable age. Your little one will be changing a lot during this time, cat naps may start to occur, solids will be introduced and play time becomes more fun! And sleep changes.
Your baby’s sleep cycles at this age change and during the night become longer, 2 hours long so you may experience waking’s every 2 hours. It is very unlikely your baby needs fed every 2 hours at this age so it is worth exploring why this is happening.
You may find the issue is a self-settling problem, or perhaps your Little One is over tired from minimal sleep the previous day. It is impossible for me to say exactly what the problem is without having more in depth knowledge about your child’s world of sleep.
Around 4 months, the sleep “progression” will occur, you’re Little Ones’s brain is progressing and developing and their sleep cycles become like an adults.
When this “progression” has passed it will be the perfect time to start any sort of sleep shaping, be it form a schedule in the day or try to teach your Little One to sleep independently. You can really start to work on those naps and sleep associations.
You may even be getting 1-2 feeds a night with around 11-12 hours sleep!
Imagine that! Continue with the positive sleep associations you have been using and for every sleep. You may start to see a pattern in your days and find a routine that suits your family. This age is the perfect age to start with a gentle routine and this will help consolidate your baby’s night time sleep.
Your baby will be really establishing solids now, go slow and steady. It is advisable to introduce a new food every 2-3 days and at lunch time then if there is any reactions you will have the day to notice and know exactly what food it was. I would also recommend to introduce meat proteins at lunch time only until the age or about 10 months, Meat proteins are hard to digest and can cause waking’s in the night.
Night waking’s should be minimal at this age and if you are experiencing many wake ups and your little one is finding it hard to re settle or they are awake long periods in the night something is not on the right track here. Perhaps day time naps are off track, too much day time sleep can also hinder night sleep. Perhaps your baby has a sleep association and needs you there to help them back to sleep… all the time…
Do a bit of trouble shooting, look at their awake windows during the day, are they getting enough sleep and at the right time of the day? How did they fall asleep? Are they feeding more in the night than in the day, this is called “reverse cycling”. You will need to adjust naps and feeds during the day to adjust the nights. It’s about teaching your Little One the difference between night and day.
Many babies still require a feed up to the age of 12 months. It is not uncommon and it is also not uncommon for many babies to sleep through the night in this age bracket. Babies are very capable of mastering this awesome skill. If you Little One is still waking many times, again trouble shoot, think about the previous day…
There is a lot it could be. A lot happens at this age and stage of development. They are crawling, learning to pull up and maybe even start walking. Their diet is becoming more established.
If you would like some help in working out the cause of your Little Ones waking’s do get in touch. Sometimes it just takes someone out the box to work out the issue and help you solve the puzzle!
Your FREE 15 minute discovery call to assess your sleep problems is waiting for you and we can see where to go from there and find a sleep solution for you!
So you are here, reading this blog through foggy eye lids held up with match sticks to stay open. You were up every hour last night…and you need to find a solution to this problem. It is just not sustainable any longer for any of your family. And you are right. It is not sustainable for all of the family and your baby needs to sleep long stretches of time through the night for their own health, development and growth. Don’t fear, these waking’s in the night can be a thing of the past and your sleep can be restored.
Firstly we need to do a little trouble shooting here to assess whether these waking’s are normal. Perhaps your baby is still very young, a newborn. It is very common for newborns to wake frequently for feeding especially if they are only taking small feeds. But, what is not normal is if you have say a 6 month or older child and they are waking frequently, every hour or 2 during the night.
Certainly I have found many parents I work closely with say their baby slept well and for long stretches through the night but once 4 months arrived…boom….awake…every 2 hours…And this is because your baby’s brain has matured through the 4 month sleep "progression". This is a great sign your baby is developing and reaching milestones.
Now many babies sleep quite well from bedtime to around midnight, and this is because they are entering the deepest most restorative sleep during these hours and they are not very easily disturbed. They enter the deep sleep phase twice within about 3 hours of going to sleep.
Then you have a baby waking every 2 hours so we need to look at their daily routine, their food intake, there naps, awake windows and how they are getting to sleep. Of course sleep regressions can also be a factor. All these factors have a massive impact on night’s sleep.
Now we need to establish the cause and reason for your baby's multiple wakings of which there may be a few.
Ensure the room is pitch dark, no natural or artificial “blue” light is entering the room. External noises from neighbours (which can be hard to control..!) Use white or pink noise constantly all night.
If baby is only suckling and looking for a comfort feed at these wakings you can be sure they are not hungry. If you know they can go longer during the feeds than 2 hours you will need to encourage them back to sleep without feeding and then feed at the 4 hour mark if that is suitable for their age and stage of development. If you notice that they are not interested in their breakfast feed you can be sure they have had too much through the night.
This is parenthood and it will happen and be tiring. Know it is just a short time and it will pass…onto the next stage…!
So with that said, you can now try a little trouble shooting with your multiple night wakings and if you would like some more help and advice navigating your way through to better sleep in your home do get in touch and we can work together to restore sleep in your home!
Email me on email@example.com
Ouch, staying awake till 10pm I remember being a killer in the early months, I recall going to bed at 8pm, setting my alarm for 10pm to then offer Leo the dream feed in the sheer hope and glory that he would sleep longer stretches at night or even till 7am thank you! Does this sound like you?
There are many conflicting opinions out there towards the dream feed and if you are thinking about or currently are offering your baby this feed you may like to know some facts.
Firstly, it does not work for all babies. Some babies yes it does, like a dream! Others not at all. And in fact it can actually contribute to more waking’s in the night and early rising.
Some parents say they had a hard time dropping this feed and it actually disturbed their baby’s sleep and they had a hard time to get back into a peaceful slumber afterwards. Then it became a habit feed. Baby started to wake for it right on cue. Every. Single. Night. They could set the diary for their child waking for it!
Some parents describe their baby far to sleepy to feed properly, they were just not interested and therefore what was the point spending night after night trying to make it happen when it clearly just was not going to ever happen?
Why might it not work…?
If your baby is in the REM stage of sleep when you rouse them for this dream feed their muscle tone will be very relaxed. More so than during another sleep stage. This means your baby is more likely to choke and be less able to swallow. You may have even had your baby projectile vomit the feed you reluctantly crawled out of bed to offer…I know Leo did on a few occasions!
If you do choose to offer the dream feed it is advisable to wake your baby fully so they have the muscle tone to swallow but of course once baby is fully awake, they may think it is time to party…?
For those who experience more waking’s during the night or even the dreaded 5am early rising, this will be because you have interrupted the night time sleep cycle, the digestion of this “forced” feed is contributing to more work the stomach is having to do and the sensations will be disturbing your baby’s sleep.
How do I know if it is working...?
If your baby is taking a dream feed and still waking around 1 or 2am am then I would suggest it is “not working” and you are best to let your baby wake naturally for a feed. If they sleep for at least another 5-6 hours then the dream feed is working and you may like to continue with it but please remember a baby who is ready to sleep longer stretches through the night will be developmentally ready, not because they got an extra feed at 10pm!
When is appropriate time to introduce a dream feed...?
I would say when your baby is settling to bed around 6 or 7pm. This is a great natural bedtime for many babies around the age of about 12 weeks.
How do I drop the dream feed...?
If you are looking for ways to drop the dream feed, it is best to do around 6 months of age. This is because of the digestion process, contribution to becoming a habit and as I mentioned already the dreaded early rising.
Here is a gradual process to reduce the dream feed…
Say your baby feeds for 10 minutes you would reduce this time by 1 minute every 3 nights.
If you are bottle feeding you can reduce the amount of milk every 3 nights and once down to 1oz... stop!
Don’t reduce the feeds too quickly, your baby will need to adjust gradually by taking more calories in during the day and this will enable the dream feed to be reduced.
You may also like to speak with your health visitor or GP before introducing the dream feed.
If you would like to discuss ways to help wean your child off the dream feed at night do get in touch and we can talk over the best ways that may be appropriate for your baby and family.
Many of us remember waking in the night thinking there was a scary green monster chasing us around the park or that the bogey man was coming to get us…this was us having nightmares. I for one can definitely remember waking up fearing something terrible was in my room and then running to my mummy in tears for comfort. Now your child may be experiencing nightmares and you may be wondering how to handle them.
It is a good idea to learn a bit more about nightmares first and then we can understand how best to “tackle” them.
First of all nightmares are VERY different from night terrors. Nightmares will occur at completely different times of the night to night terrors and you will be only made aware of the nightmare after it has occurred.
Nightmares will occur when the brain is very active, the REM stage of sleep. REM sleep occurs at different intervals during the first 7 hours of sleep. Your child will be asleep, "paralysed" as it were and these nightmares will be recalled by your child. They can be extremely vivid and memorable as we all know. They are extremely normal so don’t be too worried about it. It is a sign your child is showing signs of human survival believe it or not!
A Swedish scientist did a study into nightmares and found they are very “cultural”. His findings found that for example in Japan many children had nightmares about earthquakes and tsunamis and children in the United States of America often had nightmares about guns and shoot outs.
Nightmares can be very short lived and infrequent however, if you find they are often recurring and perhaps have been triggered by a traumatic event you may need to seek professional advice from your GP.
Now when we wake in the night from a nightmare we know it was a nightmare, not real, we may still feel a little “freaked out” by the event and need to switch on a light or snuggle up to our partner but when a child has a nightmare, to them it is real, they may be very confused and depending on the age of your child and their ability to understand they may not grasp that is was in fact a nightmare, a bad dream, not real. We need to comfort them as much as we can, help them back to a state of calm and relaxation whereby they feel “safe” enough to go back to sleep.
Top tips to help your child through a nightmare…
1. Be there as soon as you can to support and comfort your child upon waking from a nightmare. Stay with them until they have fully calmed down and relaxed.
Preventing nightmares can’t always happen but there are somethings we can do to stave them off...
How many times have you heard someone telling you their baby slept so well and now they are waking every 2 hours in the night? I for one can tell you I have heard it many times, it comes with my job! Now this can be very normal especially around the 4 month mark due to the maturation of your baby’s brain in what we know as the four month sleep regression.
You may be asking why your baby is waking so much in the night when they slept so well previously and what can you do to get back on track to you sleep goals? There are definitely things you can do to stop this happening that are perfectly safe and still nurturing your baby's needs.
Firstly we need to take into account your child’s age, weight and stage of development and any medical issues. Of course we would expect a new-born baby to wake perhaps every 2 hours in the night but not a 6 month old or even a 10 month old baby.
Then we need to look at how your baby went to sleep. How your baby falls asleep has a massive impact on their sleep habits. Then we look at how much sleep they are having during the day. These two things will give a huge insight to why you are experiencing many waking’s in the night.
Take a diary over the next few days and just note down how your baby is falling asleep for every nap and bedtime and through the night. You may find a common denominator here…perhaps it is feeding, rocking or even motion in a buggy to sleep. These are the crutches your baby is clinging onto and they only know how to get to sleep by these crutches.
Secondly, take a look at what naps they are having in the day time, times they are and lengths of the nap. An overtired baby will not sleep well at night equally nor will an under-tired baby. If your baby is cat napping or having all their sleep in the morning then they will be overtired come bedtime and this can also be a cause to multiple waking’s in the night.
During the night, sleep cycles slightly differ from the day in that and many babies do wake on the 2 hour mark.
Now, have a think what you are doing when your child is waking every 2 hours in the night? Are you feeding them back to sleep? You may find your child is not taking as much solid food or feeding during the day or indeed at their morning feed and this will be due to the large intake they had throughout the night. This is what is called REVERSE CYCLING. You will need to decrease the feeds in the night and then you will see a difference in the day time feeds.
HOW DO YOU DO THIS?
Well it is easier than you may think but you will need to want to do this and be prepared to take your time and stick at it. There is no quick fix when it comes to sleep shaping, I like to take changes gently and always keep in mind your baby's needs and respond to them accordingly, but once you start and you see results it is amazing and you will surely reap the benefits as will your child.
Firstly you need to ensure your child is the right age, weight and stage of development to be dropping feeds in the night. When your child approaches the two hour mark your child will be entering the lighter stage of sleep, REM sleep. They will be easily disturbed and woken. If they have a strong sleep association in place they will most likely wake and expect the same way to get them back to sleep again.
At this point you will need to pop in place a settling method you feel comfortable and confident to practise. You may like to use your voice, touch or a little cuddle.
When your child wakes again and it has been 4 hours since the last feed you can be assured they may very well be hungry at this point and will need a full feed.
You may start to see a difference in the night feeds now if you have missed a feed at the two hour wake up. The feed may be a little longer and stronger and in turn help sleep more conductively.
If you would like some more help and guidance with your child's sleep book in a complimentary call and we can discuss your sleep challenges.
TOP TIPS FOR A MORE SUCCESSFUL NIGHTS SLEEP
IT’S NAP TIME…
The bain of our lives. Naps…
For some reason your baby is cat napping...10-20 minutes at a time or they are napping for one sleep cycle of 30-40 minutes or perhaps you have a child that just won’t nap unless they are in the buggy, being held or only in their cot restricting you to staying home all day. Perhaps your child that simply does not nap at all is making them grumpy and intolerable and by dinner time a crazed animal, by bath time a scary crying monster and at bedtime where they just crash out in a few minutes..! Does this sound familiar to you?
These short naps will most likely be having an effect on your child’s night time sleep. They may be waking multiple times within the first hour or so after bed time, waking many times before midnight and then boom...its 5am and they are up and ready for breakfast…it seems your days and night are all just one long period of hazy time with no let up.
Some of the reasons for night waking’s and early starts are due to the sleep debt build up from the previous day, the short naps and long awake periods.
A child who is not linking sleep cycles will not be able to consolidate their learning skills, they lose the ability to concentrate, take in information and learning new skills is very hard for them. Why?
Well the first few hours of night sleep they will enter into a deep sleep phase a couple of times. During this phase, experiences and new skills they experienced during the day will be moved from the “short term” memory space to a “long term” memory box, the frontal cortex for those of you looking for the correct terminology! These memories are being stored on an extra hard drive if you like, easily accessible and where we get our memories from many moons ago!
When they start to do this they can learn and remember how to link sleep cycles together and self-settle back to sleep independently and therefore start to nap longer more appropriate times in the day.
Then when this starts to happen ideally you would look for one of your child's nap to be 2 hours or at least 1.5+ hours long. And when that happens amazing things start to happen inside their little body….
So all that said where do you go from here? How can you “fix” this napping issue you are trying to deal with? How do we get babies to sleep longer periods and achieve optimum nap lengths for their age and stage that they need for healthy growth and development?
If you need more help with nap times or information on how to resettle do get in touch with me and I can talk to you in more detail about this subject and what is most suitable and normal expectations for your child depending on their age and stage of development.
Did you know little over 80% of school aged children display signs of night terrors, sleep walking, nightmares or sleep talking? Typically in boys although girls are still prone to night terrors, and aged between 3 and 12 years of age.
Here I will discuss the night terror, it is not to be confused with nightmares as they both show individual signs and are very different from each other.
A night terror will typically occur in the first part of the night’s sleep, the deeper sleep (NREM). This is the Non Rapid Eye Movement.
This would be from bedtime until around midnight.
So how do you distinguish if your child is experiencing a night terror? Well, your child will “wake” very suddenly, almost like a shock to the system, sit bolt upright and wide eyed. You may think they are actually awake because they look very alert and of course their eyes are open. However they are still asleep and in a very deep state of sleep. Your child may scream and it could be a very loud ear piercing scream. The scream may even scare you, and my experience of night terrors it sure scared me. Then what may happen, well you child will probably get out of bed, start running around, start talking, almost in a fit of rage and seem like they are on a serious mission looking for something or perhaps nothing. They can be very forceful and if you are dealing with an older child here they can be very strong and physical, almost aggressive. They may be inconsolable cry loudly and look like they are terrified.
Your child is in a super deep state of sleep. They are completely unaware of what they are doing.
How long will each episode last?
Research tell us about 10 minutes or so.
How should you respond?
It is vital you keep calm yourself and do not wake your child. If you wake them you will only frighten them more. You must calmly and gently guide your child back to their bed. Don’t force them. Don’t wake them. Just offer you love, support and comfort.
What cause’s these night terrors?
Here I explain the reasons and some ways to prevent night terrors occurring,
The best way to do this for preventing night terrors would be to start taking a diary of the times your child is waking with a night terror. You may see a pattern, for example at 10pm every night. It will most probably be in the earlier part of the night. Then once you have noticed a pattern you can rouse your child about 30 minutes before this time. Do this for 7 consecutive night for a week. The following week do it for 6 consecutive nights. The following week do it for 5 consecutive nights and so on…until you get to one night and potentially they may have ceased.
Did you know your child has an 80-90% chance of experiencing night terrors if it runs in the family along with sleep talking and sleep walking?
Seek professional medical advice if you are in any way concerned, if your child is experiencing many night terrors on a regular basis and or several times a night.
Settling your child...
SETTLING YOUR CHILD
All babies respond differently to settling techniques and a lot of this comes down to the temperament of your child. Of course they have to be of an age and stage of development that they are ready for learning new skills of sleeping independently and we need to ensure we have set up the perfect environment for them to sleep in. Have they had the right naps today? Are they going down at appropriate times according to their awake windows, are they hungry, are they too hot or cold….there are a lot of variables to consider.
Of course when settling a child to sleep and indeed encouraging them back to sleep highly depends on what technique will suit them best. A technique that you may have used when they were 6 months old may very well not work when they are 2 years old and may not suit your friend’s child. Even the circumstances have an impact which method you choose to settle your child. Every child is different and we have to come up with a loving, caring plan that takes a holistic look into their world of sleep and their environment.
Up to the age of 12 weeks it is most common and very usual to use a hands on method such as rocking, feeding or motion to sleep. Sucking for young new-borns is also a great technique because that is what they can do best and it is super calming for them. Of course if you can settle them in their own sleep space and not on you or with motion this is amazing and will stand in great stead for future sleep.
When your baby nears 8-12 weeks you may find naps become shorter, maybe even cat napping starts or waking after one sleep cycle (30-40 minutes) or they may be waking every 2 hours in the night. There may be a few different reasons for this and it could be the settling technique or perhaps something different like over tiredness from the previous day is the culprit.
Don’t forget to introduce positive sleep associations for your baby during the New born stage (0-12 weeks)
New-borns may rely heavily on things such as sucking, rocking, and motion to sleep and at this age it is all about supporting to sleep so if you find yourself rocking your New born to sleep go for it. The aim in these early weeks is supporting sleep.
This age is a real game changer. Babies are so impressionable at this age and once through the 4 month sleep “progression” they are ready to learn new tricks and skills! This is particularly so if you are experiencing disturbed nights.
The technique you used when they were tiny may very well not work now. Perhaps they have a sleep crutch such as a dummy or feed to sleep. It may have worked previously but not now. They have outgrown that technique and need a different approach.
6 -12 MONTHS
Your Little One will be going through a lot of developmental changes and if sleep is an issue it is now time to seek solutions on how to help your Little One sleep independently. If you would like your baby to nap well during the day and settle themselves back to sleep in the night the sooner you tackle this the better chance at succeeding sooner rather than later. Of course babies over 12 months can and will absolutely learn how to sleep independently but they have stronger personalities and can push back more.
Children of all ages over 4 months are absolutely capable of sleeping 11-12 hours a night and not require a feed but that statement is very age and stage dependent. Many babies still need a feed until the age of 12 months.
Always bear in mind the temperament and age of your child when deciding what technique you would like to use when teaching your Little One to self-settle to sleep independently back into a peaceful slumber.
If you would like some help and advice with your Little Ones’ sleep do get in touch, your free 15 minute Discovery Call is there waiting for you! I take a loving, caring, in depth, holistic look into your child’s world of and will advise accordingly.
Just when you thought sleep was on track in your home BANG! A temperature rears its ugly head or you are changing bed sheets for the 5th time after they have been thrown up all over…and sleep has gone all out the window! Now what..?
How do we deal with sleep when our babies and children are ill? Here in this blog post I hope to answer that question and help you keep on the right track of great sleep...
You may have noticed your child is a little clingier, a little more whingy, a little off their food and a little less interested in playing and of course their sleep is disrupted.
What I can tell you is if you had a great independent sleeper before your child got sick, then that same great sleeper will return once they are fighting fit and healthy once more as long as you do not introduce any unwanted sleeping habits.
So how do we navigate our way through this illness with disrupted sleep…?
Research tell us and we know all too well from our mums drumming it into us that sleep helps us heal, helps us recover, sleep helps the body to recuperate and builds the immune system back up again and helps fight those bugs and infections coursing around the body. Sleep is a vital part of preventing illness and the healing process. Keep life simple for a few days, don’t overstimulate your child, give them time and space to recuperate. We would do the same right..?! We need to be there to offer more cuddles and kisses, to snuggle up on the sofa together and have a little extra snoozle or two! Keep their special teddy close to them for comfort and just slow down for a few days.
Stick to routine
If you had a great routine before your child fell ill try to stick to that routine as much as you can. Your child will most likely be sleepier and more lethargic and need more sleep during this period so pop them down a little earlier for their nap but try to wake them at their usual wake up time. It’s okay to let them sleep a little extra, after all the body is asking for it and needs it.
Make sure you keep their fluids and calories up
You don’t want them becoming dehydrated especially more so if they are ill with vomiting and diarrhoea. Offer more feeds and water in the day. They may also need it at night as well. If your child is old enough to understand they have a water beaker next to them at night leave it there for them so if they wake thirsty they can reach for a drink. Of course please be sensible about this and follow safe sleep guidelines, you do not want them to choke on water in the night.
Keep their sleep environment consistent
Of course when our child is sick we want to be close to them and especially at night, how those cheeky bugs know to disturb night sleep more is one of their talents…You may be tempted to bring your child to sleep in your bed for the night. Your great independent sleeper will now potentially start to get used to sleeping with you, old sleep habits may return and you will find yourself back in that sleep deprived state again… Equally they actually may not sleep any better in the bed with you. Certainly if they are used to sleeping in their own bed. All that hard work you put into achieving a great little sleeper has come undone.
It would be a better idea for you to move into their room for the short time they are ill. Set up a mattress on the floor or get that blow up bed from under the stairs and spend a few nights in your child’s room. Why? Well simple really, it will be easier for you to leave their room than it will be for you to get your child back into their own room and bed. You want to keep their sleep environment consistent, the same, so don’t disrupt it.
By keeping their sleep environment the same you will be keeping the consistency and familiarity of their bed and room. If you are in their room it may also be easier for you to help them settle back to sleep rather than fighting for a little bit of space in your bed, especially if your child has a high temperature, they don’t need to have extra body heat coming at them from both sides from your partner and yourself. Their bed has the space they need to sleep well.
Give pain relief. Seek professional medical advice and get the anti-biotics that may be needed. Most sniffles and temperatures are sorted with a few days on Calpol. Childhood medication is there to help fight those bugs. Always read the label and follow advice from your GP.
Get back on track
When all is well again and you are confident you have your healthy child back fighting fit, now is the time to return to usual sleep habits. That routine you had before should come back easily and you can slot back into it. Those sleep habits and practices you had before should and will just fall back into place. If you had a great independent sleeper before, they will return and I expect pretty quickly without too much sleep shaping help from you.
If perhaps it was more recently you did some sleep shaping and you are struggling to get back on track again, return using the same method you did previously. You know it won’t take long because they know this game and they know how to play it!
Hang in there. Rainbows will shine bright again soon….
So, do you really know how much sleep your baby really needs? Let’s explore this in this week’s blog.
New-borns, ohh don’t they smell just delicious! When your baby arrives you will see they sleep most of the day away, I remember the midwife coming to visit me and asking it was all going and my response was “this parenthood lark is a breeze, he sleeps all day…”!! Little did I know soon things were about to change and that was sleep! I had no idea how much sleep my baby needed or how fast those needs change. In the early months sleep needs change about every 2-4 weeks so just when you feel you have figured something out and sorted it, bang, and its changes again…!
Up to 12 – 16 weeks sleep will be very much all over the place and disorganised. Every day will be different and exciting, keep your diary flexible and no one will place any expectations on you least of all yourself. You don’t want to burn out before you have even started!
Your new-born baby will require 14-17 hours’ sleep in a 24 hour period. It is not uncommon to wake only for feeding and go right back to sleep shortly after a feed or most commonly during a feed. However, this all depends entirely on your child’s genetic make-up and temperament. Did you know new born sleep is 50% genetic and 50% environmental? As we all know and will never stop saying to each and every baby is different! You may find your baby will have awake times anything from 40 minutes to 1 hour and then sleep for a period of 4 hours straight. This is a good time for you to catch up on some rest yourself, eat and take a shower…or so we are told! Actually doing this is harder in real life right..?!
Many parents I have spoken with feel it is easier to follow awake windows more than counting how many hours they have actually slept or follow a routine and this works super well for them. Here I have made a simple easy to view awake window and sleep need chart below but remember this is just a guide, some babies need more and some need less…
AWAKE WINDOWS FOR NEWBORNS TO 12 WEEKS
0-12 weeks (new-born)
1 hour 25 – 1 hour 30
1 hour 30
1 hour 30 – 1 hour 45
APPROX HOURS OF SLEEP
HOURS OF SLEEP
14-17 hours in 24 hour period
12-15 hours in 24 hour period
11-14 hours in 24 hour period
10-13 hours in a 24 hour period
As you can see the awake windows in the early weeks are not very long and really don’t leave much time owing to relax once you have fed, changed, fed again and no doubt changed another nappy! Take it one day at a time and accept all the help that comes your way!
So, the dummy, the pacifier, what name does “it” have in your home?
Many babies have a dummy and many have had it from a very young age. Having lived and nannied abroad in different countries over a number of years I have seen some countries use it more than others, Spain for example it seems every child on every corner has one, and it’s just part of them. When my son started nursery a few years back now they asked if he had one and I said no, they looked shocked and a little bit confused, but truth be told it was not for want of trying, he just did not want it.
So does it really matter if your child has a dummy? Well, let’s explore its uses and then you can decide, it’s a family personal choice I feel.
First of all, the benefits of a dummy, what are they? Well, some research tells us that using a dummy when you pop your baby down to sleep reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) however it is advised to introduce it once breastfeeding has been established. No one has been really able to tell us exactly what it is about a dummy that may help reduce the risk we can only speculate and ask the researchers their thoughts.
Now it’s recommended to introduce the dummy once breastfeeding has been established as I mentioned and this is due to nipple confusion, although I have yet to meet a mum that has had a problem with this. And which one to use? Again the shelf is flooded with different brands all trying to use cunning words and pictures for us to part with our cash but recommendations say go with an orthopedic approved brand such as NUK or Tommee Tippee. Why? Well orthodontic dummies are designed to prevent tooth misalignment and possible orthodontic issues later in life, as baby teeth come in and eventually give way to adult teeth. And what is different about them to a “normal” dummy, well orthodontic dummies feature a nipple that is flattened on the bottom and rounded at the top.
Some are glow in the dark. My sons was and I remember in the night on the odd occasion I tried to introduce it looking for it was super easy. It shone and I could just grab, plug, go..! But it does not always happen like this, sometimes parents find themselves on the dummy run countless times throughout the night. This is when baby wakes and can’t self settle themselves back to sleep unless they have their dummy in their mouth. Some babies go to sleep with a whole bunch of them, one in two out, four at the bottom of the bed, just in case they need an extra one in the night!
And then it happens, parents become more attached to the dummy than the child and are too nervous to remove it for fear of upsetting their child and the unknown sleepless nights that may lie ahead. In all honesty with the many clients I have worked with who have decided to “ditch the dummy” it really has not been as bad as they had feared. It was easy, quick and painless. Of course it does come down to a few things such as how attached they are to it, temperament of the child and age. Smaller babies in my experience have found it easy to ditch their dummy than the older toddlers.
Do you need to use it or indeed offer it at all nap and sleep times? Do you need to use it when they are not going for a sleep? Well you may find your child is very attached to it and they ask for it or when they are just having a little grumble it’s the first thing we reach for, plug in and BOOM.. baby is calmer. Of course it may help with establishing a good sleep routine, so I guess it is the child’s cues we go with here if they indeed need it at nap and sleep times. Most babies do. Of course do not force them to use it, if it falls out or they spit it out leave it, there is no point forcing a “crutch” on to them if they choose they do not want it.
Now the negatives of a dummy, well it’s a sleep crutch, a sleep association that needs you the parent to give it to the child. And it becomes part of the child, as I mention above many children get very attached to their dummy and take it EVERYWHERE they go! And of course it can disrupt sleep, and that is when you find yourself on the “dummy run”!
There are a few dummy “keepers” as I like to call them out there, one of which is the jelly cat. It has a little clip on it that actually holds onto the dummy so in the night if your child has lost the dummy you can teach them to “seek and find” their jelly cat and in turn the dummy will be there. It’s a bigger item to find in the dark cot therefore easier than feeling about for a little dummy that may have fallen down between the cot bars.
So, how do we cease using a dummy? There are a few ways of course as with anything. Some parents like to slowly cut the end of gradually over the course of a few days, this will stop your child being able to suck it so easily and not be so much “fun” for them. Sometimes you can cut the usage down but this can be confusing for some children and really depends on the age and understanding. For toddlers and older children the dummy fairy may come one day and leave a little star dust and gift in place of the dummy which is super exciting and some parents like to just go cold turkey. Cold turkey is good for young small babies and really is not as bad as you may fear…
so....Is now the time to “ditch the dummy”…? You need to decide and work out why you want to ditch it and your end goal. Go for it…. You may be pleasantly surprised…and better slept for it….!
Good luck guys