Solutions for babies that are early risers - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

Solutions for babies that are early risers

Remember back to the days of waking when, well – whenever you woke? These days long gone, as parents we face early morning wakings as a matter of routine. When your baby wakes at 6am, you reluctantly get out of bed and greet the day. But when your baby thinks the day starts at 4 or 5am, it’s not as easy to happily greet the morn! Meg Faure, co-author of Baby Sense looks at strategies to deal with this bleary issue. The first step of dealing with the issue of early wakings is managing our own expectations. Babies and toddler do wake early - it is part of the deal. If your baby is over 6 months of age and goes down at 6 or 7 pm you can expect a wakeup call 10 to 12 hours later. This means that your baby could wake at between 4 and 7am. This does not mean you need to be up for the day at 4 and we will look at strategies to get an extra hour sleep later in the article. Factors affecting wake up time Bedtime: The perfect for your baby’s bedtime is between 6 and 7 pm. Do not be tempted to put her down later in an attempt to get her to sleep later, it generally works the opposite and can disrupt her sleep more. With that in mind it does need to be said that if your baby is younger than 6 months and has slept for 10 straight hours, she may well be waking because she has almost had enough sleep or is hungry or thirsty. Day sleeps: You need to make sure your baby has regular day sleeps, putting her down according to her awake times each day. Remember sleep begets sleep, so the more she sleeps in the day, the better she will sleep at night. However, if your baby is over 18 months and is waking very early in the morning, you can try to move her morning wake up time by limiting her day sleep to one hour instead of two hours. If she is grumpy and not making it to bedtime happily it will indicate that she was not ready for the limited day sleep. But often when toddlers get to two years old they don’t sleep a full 11 or 12 hours if their day sleep is too long. Sleep comfort: To prevent early morning wakings, make sure your baby’s room is very dark as early dawn light maybe indicating to her that its morning. Also make sure she is warm enough by putting her in a sleeping bag, as our body temperature drops in the early hours of the morning. Use very good quality night nappies so that you know she is dry and her nappy is not too cold. Finally be sure that she has a sleep blanky or security object to help her resettle. If she still wakes, there a few tricks to help her resettle until later: When you hear her cry after 4am, listen for 5 minutes, in case she re settles herself, which she may well start to do as she gets older. If she has been fussing for 5 minutes, go in and offer her her sleep blanky and gently tell her to go back to sleep. This probably won’t work, but it sets the expectation, which is important as she gets older. If that doesn’t work you can break the night rules in an attempt to get her back to sleep: Offer a warm bottle in the dark with no eye contact and do not change her nappy. This signals it’s a different feed from morning. Do not offer milk before 4am – rather offer cool boiled water. If she still won’t settle, take her into your bed and try go back to sleep with her. Don’t worry about habits – at this time of day, good sleepers don’t start to expect this at night If all of this does not work, we suggest you and your partner take turns to do the early mornings. There is no point in having two tired parents. And finally know that you will be battling to get her up in time for school in 6 years time, so this doesn’t last forever! By Meg Faure
Sleep safety for your baby - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Sleep safety for your baby

Sleep is most parents’ first separation from their baby. And for many this elicits anxiety. I am sure the scene of a mother crouching over her sleeping baby to hear if he is breathing is familiar to most parents. We do this because of the terrible scare of cot death. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the shocking circumstance when a parent finds their sleeping baby dead and medical science can offer no reason for the death. It leaves parent’s grieving and seeking answers for their entire life. Until recently in the developed world, SIDS was the leading cause of death in healthy babies under a year of age. Since 1983 the number of deaths due to SIDS has halved to around 2500 deaths a year in the USA. Even though the odds of a cot death are low, it is wise to put your baby to sleep safely to limit the chances of SIDS. Where should your baby sleep? The debate on co-sleeping rages on, with options polarized on where the best place for babies to sleep is. A significant body of literature indicates that co-sleeping is associated with an increased risk of cot death. This research has shown that there is an increased risk of cot SIDS when parents sleep with their baby in their bed. On the other hand, there is also a very vocal body of parent advisors who advocate co-sleeping as the natural and safe place for a baby to sleep. This research shows that there is a greater chance of breastfeeding being well established with co-sleeping and that babies do well not being separated from their mother. What is clear is that if you choose to co-sleep with your baby, you must do so safely. Co-sleeping safely: If you choose to co-sleep, follow these guidelines to limit the risk of SIDS Your baby must sleep on her back. Do not have a pillow near your baby. Do not cover your baby with your duvet, or use an electric blanket or hot water bottle. Place your baby on the outside of the bed next to you, not between you and your partner. Have a sleep nest that creates a space for your baby in your bed. Do not co-sleep if your baby is exposed to cigarette smoke during the day. Do not drink alcohol or take any form of pain medication before bedtime. If you have had a Caesarean section and are taking painkillers it is wiser to let your baby sleep next to you in a crib. Sleep Sense, 2007 The best option is probably to have babies less than three months of age in your room, next to your bed in a co-sleeper cot. After four months, babies should be moved into their own room and will sleep better and longer in this way. Features of a safe sleep space: The most critical aspects of a safe sleep zone are that there is no risk of overheating or suffocation. Follow these guidelines to decrease the risk of SIDS: Your baby must sleep on his back or on his side with a wedge. A sleep wedge prevents babies from rolling onto their tummies. The only time a baby should sleep on his tummy is with severe cases of reflux and certain airway malformations, such as Robin syndrome. The ‘back to sleep’ position is particularly important for the first 6 months. The mattress must be firm and NO pillows or blankets or duvets should be in the cot at all for the first year. Loose blankets and pillows provide a risk for suffocation if they cover the baby’s face. Under 4 months, firmly swaddle your baby and after four-five months, the only safe cover for a baby is an infant sleeping bag. Do not overheat your baby’s room or over cover your baby. The perfect temperature for your baby’s room is 21 degrees Celsius. If the room is warmer, don’t cover your baby with extra blankets. DO NOT use polyester or synthetic fabrics or sleeping bags filled with polyester as these fabrics and fillers do not allow regulation of body temperature. By Meg Faure
Sleep routines for your baby - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

Sleep routines for your baby

Guidelines for different sleep routines at different ages. Every mom and baby is different and a routine that proposes to be a one fits all is not realistic. Here are guidelines for different routines at different ages: Routines for newborns Your newborn is too little to have a fixed routine and routines at this age generally do more harm than good. Here are the principles: Don’t aim for routine at this stage Feed on demand Expect your baby to wake as frequently day and night • Aim to settle your baby to sleep after an hour of awake time during the day Routines for 2 – 4 months Patterns begin to emerge, with your baby guiding the way; a routine may be possible in this age band: Feed 3-4 hourly At nights your baby will begin to stretch the time between feeds Put your baby to sleep during the day after 1 ½ hours of awake time Read more about awake times Routines for 4-6 months Routines begin to emerge in earnest and most babies do well with the predictability of when to sleep and when to feed: Feed on schedule with flexibility – 3-4 hours between milk feeds. Solids may be introduced during this time, if your baby needs solids Read more on introducing solids Introduce a consistent bedtime routine that calms your baby for sleep. Do not leave your baby’s bathroom and room during this time Suggested day sleep routine: Wake between 5 and 7am Wake +1 ½ hours = morning nap – 45 minutes Wake +1 ½ hours = late morning nap or sleep If this sleep short – wake +1 ½ hours = afternoon nap and another cat nap at 5pm (4 sleeps) If this sleep is long – wake + 2 hours = afternoon nap Wake from naps by 5pm Bedtime routine starts 1 hour before bed Bedtime by 6:30 Routines for 6- 9 months At this age, routines can make the difference between a good eater and sleeper or poor habits: Day sleep routine: Wake between 5 and 7am Wake +2 hours = morning nap – 45 minutes Wake +2 hours = midday sleep Wake + 2 ½ hours = afternoon nap Wake from naps by 4:30pm Bedtime routine starts 1 hour before bed Bedtime by 6:30 Routines for 9-12 months A good day sleep and feeding routine assists good night sleep habits: Day sleep routine: Wake between 5 and 7am Wake +2 ½ hours = morning nap – 45 minutes Wake +2 ½ hours = midday sleep From 9 months - drop afternoon nap Wake from naps by 4pm i.e. very short cat nap if needed Bedtime routine starts 1 hour before bed Bedtime by 6:30 Routines for toddlers By now a routine should be a way of life and will free you up in many ways: Day sleep routine: 6-7am Wake 11:30 lunch 12pm – one midday sleep Wake from sleep by 3pm Bedtime routine starts 1 hour before bed Bedtime by 6:30- 7pm Routines are not a priority If you are a go-with the flow, laissez-faire type person you may not want a routine at all and that is perfectly good, particularly if you have a settled baby. Read more about baby personality By Meg Faure
Sleep myths - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

Sleep myths

When your baby isn’t sleeping through the night or is resisting falling asleep, you will find yourself grasping at any clue as to why your little one doesn’t sleep ‘like a baby’. The first and possibly greatest myth is found in that little phrase: ‘sleeps like a baby’. The reality is that babies aren’t naturally great sleepers. In fact more than 50% of babies will experience sleep disruption before the age of two years old. You may find sleep evades you in the early days and that the first six months are a haze of exhaustion. Other newborns settle quickly into a good sleep routine only to start waking at around a year or in the toddler years wander through to your room. The bottom line is that babies and toddlers are not great sleepers and to get a good night’s sleep requires a little work on your part as you facilitate your baby to develop good sleep habits. The second sleep myth has to do with teething. When your baby is waking at night or a goes through a miserable patch, it is easy to blame everything on teething. The truth is that teething does not cause sleep problems. At most, teething can be blamed for two or three unsettled nights, but not months of wakefulness. The vast majority of babies get their first tooth between 6 months and a year of age. It is exceptionally rare to teethe before four months or get the first tooth in the toddler years. When your baby is teething, you can expect some irritability and a change in bowel habits for three days around the eruption of the tooth. Do not blame poor sleep on teething unless: Your baby is mouthing everything day and night and drools excessively Your baby is slightly more irritable and may go off her food Your baby’s poo’s begin to smell a little acrid and this may cause a mild nappy (diaper) rash. You can feel and probably see a little white tooth below the gums. This is the hallmark feature of teething and if you cannot see or feel a sharp white edge, your baby’s sleep cannot be blamed on teething. The third myth - that the later a baby falls asleep the later she will wake in the night or the next morning can actually cause sleep disruptions. The reality is that babies need to go to sleep early in order to sleep well and late. Overtiredness results in overstimulation and in an over stimulated state your baby may be very difficult to get to sleep. This can result in you having to use extensive measures to help your baby fall asleep, such as rocking or feeding to sleep. This can result in poor habits in the long term. In addition, babies to who are overtired at bedtime are more likely to wake at night and may experience night terrors – screaming at night as if having a bad dream. Finally, there is no evidence that a late bedtime results in later waking. The myth that can cause a lot of stress for moms and dads is that their baby should fit into a prescribed day sleep routine. Every baby is different and can cope with different levels of stimulation and last for different lengths of time before the next feed. The idea of a four hourly feed routine and three evenly spaced sleeps each day is not necessarily the reality for most babies. Instead of watching the clock and putting your baby to sleep at 9am regardless of her age and feeds, be sensible. The best way to develop a day sleep routine is to follow your baby’s lead and watch her AWAKE times. There are many myths that go with parenting and these are a few of the most common. To finish off, here are four truths you can cling to: Your baby has the ability to sleep well, it may take a little work but you can get there In order to develop good sleep habits, babies need to learn to self sooth to sleep at night and can do this from about 4-6 months of age Good day sleeps are directly linked to good night sleep. All babies can do well in a routine but it needs to be centered on your baby as an individual. By Meg Faure
Sleep for the first 4 years summarized - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Sleep for the first 4 years summarized

Herewith, an easy to use table outlining your little one’s sleep for the first 4 years covering hours of sleep required, number of day sleeps, and common problems to rule out. “When will my baby sleep through the night?” “Why is he waking at night?” “When should she sleep during the day?” These are just a few of the very common questions I am asked each month. I have come to realize that possibly the one thing every parent wants is a guideline for what they can expect when it comes to sleep. Although every baby and mum is different, there are simple guidelines that can be generalized to most babies. Herewith, an easy to use table outlining your little one’s sleep for the first 4 years. By Meg Faure
The basics of a good night’s sleep - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

The basics of a good night’s sleep

Ever wondered why sleep deprivation is so devastating and why it is that you battle to make decisions, cope with a crying toddler or recall vital information when exhausted. It has something to do with the roles the different sleep states have with regards to our brains. The roles of each sleep state Cycling in and out of sleep states has been understood for years but very recent literature reveals a new hypothesis of why each state is vital for our health. The effect of sleep on our health has largely to do with its effect on the brain. On the day your baby was born it may surprise you to know that he had more brain cells than on any other day in his life and that it is an important task of the early years to make connections between the brain cells. It is these connections that ensure brain cells are not lost but used and become functional. Sleep impacts on the development of neural connections and thus the acquisition of skills. REM sleep is the light sleep state you will recognize when your baby twitches and moves in his sleep. This is the sleep state in which we make vital connections (synapses) between brain cells as we process what we experienced through our senses during the day. For instance, the sound of your voice is programmed into your baby’s brain with all the positive feelings he associates with you, while he sleeps. And while your toddler dreams about crawling up the slide, his motor cortex in the brain hardwires the memory of climbing which will benefit him the next time he plays on a slide. The fact that sensory input is processed in the brain and connections between brain cells are made in REM sleep explains why your baby’s sleep is made up of so much REM time compared to your sleep. Infancy is the stage when your baby’s brain is making connections and learning so much! Non-REM sleep, on the other hand, is just as important not for the forming of connections, but for the opposite: breaking or pruning the connections! As strange as this sounds pruning synapses in the brain is also vital for us to cope. By doing so, we process and memorize only the essentials of our daily experiences. Each day we process so much sensory information that we would be unable to cope with the energy requirements our brain would have if it just kept growing. We would also be susceptible to overload if our brain became a mesh of synapses or connections. So during non-REM sleep, we prune the branches or connections that are not useful. This is why falling into good deep sleep states is vital for you and your baby. Broken sleep never allows you to fall into deep sleep leaves you feeling over loaded and fractious. Reference: Faure M & Richardson A. Sleep Sense. Metz Press 2007 Gorman C. Why we sleep. TIME magazine. Jan 24, 2005
How being sick affects your child’s sleep - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

How being sick affects your child’s sleep

Illness can affect your child’s sleep, so Ann Richardson gives ideas on getting your baby through the night. It is a fact of parenting that somewhere along the line your little one will come down with a cough and a cold (commonly called “the flu”). Most of the time it will simply be a viral illness which will most likely manifest itself in the form of a head cold, often associated with an infected throat or infected ears, and coughing. If you are really unlucky, your baby may end up with an ear or chest infection requiring medication, and in some cases, hospitalization. When it comes to sleep, coughs and colds can play havoc with a well-established sleep routine, or they can have the opposite effect, where your little one is feeling so poorly that they seem to do nothing else but sleep! Certain decongestant and fever reducing medications may also make your baby drowsier than normal. If this is the case, ensure that your baby is drinking sufficient fluid (especially if she is running a temperature), as she will most likely have no appetite for food, and will appear to sleep her day away. However, should your little one be suffering from a rotten cold, she will most likely be miserable, clingy and will wake frequently during the night. The most common reason for frequent night waking in this case is due to the fact that she may be feeling achy and sore all over, coupled with excessive mucous production (the body’s natural defense mechanism with a cold), which may be blocking her nose and sinuses, making it difficult to breathe easily. Her mouth and lips will be dry and parched, and her throat will most likely be feeling like she has swallowed a box of razor blades! Small wonder that she is restless and fretful during the night. Expect many disturbed nights whilst the cold runs its course, so try and cancel any unnecessary outings or events during this time, and do your best to keep your child well-nourished and hydrated. If your baby is eating solid food, she will probably be off her food, so try to stick to small, frequent, nutrient dense foodstuffs such as chicken or meat broth, veggie and fruit puree or egg. Encourage plenty of fluids. If she has tonsillitis or a bad throat, offer her smoothies in place of solid food. Keep up with pain and fever- reducing medication as prescribed by your health care provider – think about how grotty you feel and how your body aches when you have a bad cold! Bath your baby twice a day, especially if she is running a fever – this will help to cool her down and will help her to settle for the night. If she is very bunged up in her nasal and sinus passages, keep a humidifier in her room and put her to sleep in an upright position to help the mucous to drain. Keep her lips moistened with a bit of Vaseline or lip balm. Offering her frequent sips of water (add a bit of honey and lemon if she is older than 1 year) will help to alleviate an irritating cough. Your baby may need to be with you in your bed if you are worried about her breathing, and if she has a very high temperature. For older babies (over the age of two), a cough suppressant may be advised if there is no chest congestion, but please ask your health care provider first before giving this to your child – this may help alleviate that irritating tickle throughout the night which may be keeping the household awake. If your baby has croup (a viral infection of the larynx, or wind pipe), this is usually worse at night. Running the hot water tap on full in the shower and sitting in the steamy bathroom area (not the shower!) with your child will help alleviate the spasm. If it does not help, seek medical attention immediately. The good news, however, is that coughs and colds do resolve within a few days. You may well spend a few nights patrolling the passages, dispensing medicine, wiping snotty noses and dishing out many hugs! The important issues are to keep your baby hydrated by offering small, frequent feeds – don’t stress about solid food at this stage use medication strictly as prescribed by your health care provider treat a high temperature (anything over 38 o c ) with paracetamol and tepid sponging down – seek medical help if these measures are not effective within ½ hour seek medical attention immediately if your baby is having difficulty breathing, or if her general condition deteriorates rapidly You will know when your child is well again, so if sleep habits have shifted enormously, it may well be time to revert back to your previous tried and tested routine and boundaries regarding sleep. By Meg Faure
When and how to put your baby to sleep - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

When and how to put your baby to sleep

‘Put your baby down to sleep awake’ is common advice and very frustrating for many parents. It is frustrating because many babies just begin to cry when they are put down awake and it is just easier and shorter if you rock your baby or feed your baby to sleep. Try to imagine that you are told to go to sleep, 3 minutes after an exciting sports game or in the middle of a birthday party. The chances are that you would battle to fall asleep, just as you do when on a long distance flight abroad. The fact of the matter is that the how and when of sleep are so important that unless they are focused on your baby will not just drop off to sleep. When: Your baby is most likely to fall asleep during her natural dip in alertness. Just as you have a natural dip in alertness in the early afternoon, your baby has similar but more frequent dips. We call these periods of time awake times. By watching how long your baby has been awake, you will know when you should put your baby down. Watch for your baby’s signals of tiredness: Rubbing eyes Looking away Grimacing Sucking her hands in attempt to self sooth Busy and irritable How: Once the awake time is up, take your baby to her room and enact a bedtime routine to help her go from alert and awake to drowsy and ready for sleep: Dim the room Lack of light stimulates the release of melatonin, our sleep hormone, prepping your baby for sleep Change her nappy Make sure she is dry and comfortable for sleep Swaddle your young baby or wrap your older baby with hands free Hold her calmly in your arms and rock her gently humming a lullaby or use white noise Rock her until she has a double long blink – in other words she shows you she is really drowsy Put her down to sleep Keeping her swaddled and without dipping her head down, lower her into her crib. Troubleshoot If she starts to cry immediately, keep your hand on her and rock her gently or pat her until she settles. If she cries really hard, pick her up and start the process of getting her into a drowsy state all over again.These little tips will work well for most babies. If you still are battling, get hold of our bookSleep Sense which deals with the problems of sleep and babies and toddlers in great detail. By Meg Faure
How to sort out sleep problems - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

How to sort out sleep problems

At 2am as 9 month old Amy cries out for the fifth time that night, her mum staggers down the passage, her mind dim with sleep and feels around in Amy’s cot for her dummy, wishing that just once, she could sleep for longer than 3 hours at a stretch. She is baffled by her little one’s nighttime antics and wonders where to start. The answer is simply to start with the basics. Amy at 9 months old is likely to be waking from one of the five reasons below. To being the process of sorting out sleep problems, start here: Teething – Almost every mother has at one time or another blamed her baby’s poor sleep on discomfort from teething. But the reality is that teething and sleep are not so intertwined. The eruption of a tooth only disrupts sleep for a night or two. The idea that teething affects sleep before six months of age is highly unlikely because teeth erupt in most babies between 6 months and a year. Try to decide if your baby is teething during daylight hours (not in the blur of a night waking). To know if your baby’s teeth are disrupting his sleep, watch for these signs: He has a lot of mucous and drooling His poos smell acidic and vinegary and may cause a mild nappy rash He is gnawing on non food objects (not related to self soothing or tired signals) You can FEEL and SEE a tooth under the gums If you find these symptoms, you should use teething powders when your baby wakes and if he is sore and miserable give him an appropriate dose of Paracetamol. Hunger – Another common question is whether your baby is hungry. A hungry baby can and will wake at night. Not all babies sleep through the night at 6 weeks, never to have a nighttime feed again, in fact most do wake for nutritional reasons long past the six week mark. The classic nutritional needs arise at: 0-6 weeks – your baby will need a feed almost as often at night as during the day initially and by 6 weeks should be stretching a little longer each night. 6-17 weeks – your baby may start to regress and wake more often due to growth and nutrition requirements. He is not being naughty – he is simply needing a little extra food – you should not introduce solids at this age – rather increase the day feed frequency a little, offer an evening cluster feed and expect a slightly shorter stretch of sleep. 17 weeks – 6 months – if your baby was sleeping well until this stage and he starts to wake more often, he may be needing some extra sustenance in the form of solid food. Introduce solids when you feel he is ready. After 6 months and into the toddler years – night waking may become an issue if your baby is not getting all the protein, essential fatty acids and iron he needs. Address these areas if he wakes a lot at night. Separation – Separation anxiety and just needing to see mummy or have her close is typical around 8 to 10 months of age. If your little one cries when you leave the room during the day and wakes needing a little pat at night, this may well be the cause of the night waking. Give him loads of love, be understanding and make sure he has a ‘doodoo’ blanky or security object to comfort him in the night. He will learn to reach for the blanky instead of calling for you. Illness – Make no mistake – a sick baby sleeps badly! From coughs and colds to gastro and ears, any sickness will probably affect your baby’s sleep. Use your gut feel and see a doctor if you are worried. Habits – Finally the dreaded habits! These usually arise because you have resorted to certain measures to get your baby to sleep, such as feeding to sleep; rocking to sleep or pushing to sleep. Habits only become entrenched after 4 months of age and from this age, you need to encourage your baby to fall asleep with less assistance. So we have briefly looked at five causes of night waking that can be sorted out. Try to identify if any of these are the reason and go from there. By Meg Faure

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