When will my baby sleep through? | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

When will my baby sleep through?

The golden question: “When should my baby sleep through?” is one that needs answering as it determines what is reasonable to expect from your baby. Sleeping through is not just a luxury, it’s a developmental necessity. Both for you and your baby, a good night’s sleep is important. Firstly, it needs to be pointed out that sleeping through constitutes sleeping 10 or more hours at a stretch. This would mean that if your baby’s bedtime is between 6 pm and 7pm (as it should be) that could mean a waking at 4 am to 5 am. Many babies will go back to sleep after this time with a feed or a cuddle. If your toddler wakes for the day at this time, keep interactions muted and take him quietly into your bed with you and see if he will fall back to sleep. Under 6 months of age babies have nutritional needs at night that systematically decrease as the baby gets older. Having said this, some babies sleep do through the night as early as 3 months of age but many of these will experience disruption once again between 4 and 6 months. Most babies should be expected to sleep through the night by seven months old. Like other developmental milestones, sleep has certain norms that obviously are flexible as with any other milestone. The following are the norms for sleep at night: 2 – 6 weeks – one 4 – 5 hour stretch between night feeds and 3 hourly thereafter 6 - 12 weeks - one 6 – 7 hour stretch between night feeds then 3 hourly through the night 3 – 6 months - 10 – 12 hours at night 6 – 12 months - 10 – 12 hours at night 3 – 5 years old 11 hours per night as day sleep is dropped If your baby is ill he will not sleep through and will wake for comfort. If you have a low birth weight, premature or a baby with failure to thrive, he will not sleep through until later than other babies. If your baby learns to self sooth for incidental night wakings, i.e. those without organic causes such as hunger or illness, he will be a good sleeper. Even good sleepers who are sleeping through by 6 months old will occasionally suffer disrupted sleep for a few nights, but after the cause such as teething, hunger or illness is resolved, will return to being good sleepers. Broken sleep is debilitating but if your baby is young, hang in there it won’t be long before you see the light. If your baby is older and is not sleeping through you need to go through the process of elimination to establish why your baby is waking. Thereafter you may need to help your baby learn strategies to fall asleep independently so you can get a good night’s sleep. By Meg Faure
Typical nighttime hiccups for every age group | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Typical nighttime hiccups for every age group

Just as you get it all right and think you are on the track to having a baby who sleeps through the night, you get one disturbed night of sleep and it sets you back big time! The question is: are there typical times that you should expect nighttime hiccups? Sleep and your newborn baby In the early days, most babies wake two to four hourly for feeds at night, especially breastfed babies. The night wakings gradually reduce and within a few weeks (usually at around 6 weeks of age) your newborn should start to stretch for one long stretch of five or more hours once at night. Usually the first stretch to develop will be from bedtime to around midnight, as your baby drops the late evening feed first. Don’t be tempted to wake your baby up earlier, to feed, in the hope that it will do away with the 2 am feed - they are usually too tired to feed efficiently and this can cause longer-term sleep problems! If you are having sleep problems at this age it is usually one of the following issues: Your newborn may have their day and night muddled up. Newborns can be too sleepy to feed well, fall asleep at the breast and therefore need to feed more frequently At 2-6 weeks, many newborns become more wakeful and hard to settle to sleep, especially during the afternoon and early evening. 4-6 months old From birth your baby will slowly and steadily begin to sleep for longer and longer stretches at night and you will have the satisfaction of the occasional longer period of sleep. But just as your baby pieces it together and is almost ‘sleeping through’, he will start to wake more frequently again. This happens as your little one begins to require extra nutrition at night, the milk feeds that used to sustain him are no longer doing so and you have three choices: Your baby needs nutritional support at night, so feed him when he cries if three or more hours have passed. Don’t be tempted to ‘dummy’ him because it will impact on sleep later if habits develop. In this way your little one will go back to sleep and wake again in 4 hours for another feed. This is a good idea if Your baby is less than 17 weeks You or your baby have confirmed allergies (in which case you should delay introducing a formula or solids) Offer a top up bottle at bedtime or if he wakes shortly after going down Introduce solids Give your baby a top up feed of formula or expressed breast milk in the evening. Treat this as a cluster feed just before bedtime Start looking at introducing solids – look at simple single grain and yellow veggies.8 months old At around 8 months old, your baby will start waking due to separation reasons or plain old habits. At this age your baby is working hard to establish object permanence – the awareness that you exist when he can’t see you. To decrease the effect of this milestone on sleep: Encourage a sleep soother such as the Baby Sense Taglet or dummy that can be used independently. Play separation games during the day – ‘peek a boo’ or hide and seek. Listen to your baby at night before going to him and see if he resettles on his own. If he cries, go to him, give him love and help him settle on his own with a doodoo blanky. Do not be tempted to feed him at night before 2am as this can lead to habits developing. Sleep and your baby 6m - 12m From 6 months, if your baby is on a full solids diet and has learnt to self-sooth, he can be expected to sleep through (10-12 hours without waking for a feed). After 6 months of age obstacles may presents themselves: If your baby is still waking is may be because he has developed a habit and expects to be resettled in the night in the same way as he falls asleep at bedtime. Alternately night wakings can be due to nutritional needs - your baby now needs specific essential fatty acids for brain development. These nutritional essentials are found in the fats in proteins. So now is the time to introduce protein in the form of dairy, meat, beans and chicken to your baby’s diet. At this age, teething can also disrupt sleep for a few nights. If your baby is definitely teething at night – and make this decision during day light hours when you can actually see the tooth. If there is evidence of teething, use teething powders or painkillers as necessary. Remember though that we tend to blame teething far too quickly and the reality is that it is rarely teething that is the problem and if so only for two to four nights as the tooth erupts. Separation anxiety also affects sleep especially around 8-10 months – as your baby develops object permanence, he may become insecure when you are not around. To decrease the effect of this milestone on sleep: Encourage a sleep soother such as the Baby Sense Taglet or dummy that can be used independently. Play separation games during the day – ‘peek a boo’ or hide and seek. Listen to your baby at night before going to him and see if he resettles on his own. If he cries, go to him, give him love and help him settle on his own with a doodoo blanky. Do not be tempted to feed him at night before 2am as this can lead to habits developing. Toddler years Toddlers are notorious poor sleepers. Your toddler will wander at night and come through to your room. In fact more toddlers co-sleep than newborns, according to recent research! Toddlers call for their parents at night due to night fears and boundary issues. To address this, leave a night light on and encourage your toddler to use a comfort object instead of coming to you. If your toddler repeatedly wanders into your bed at night you have three choices: Repeatedly walk him back to his bed – while this will be exhausting initially, your toddler will eventually learn that night wanders brings no joy. Let him climb into your bed and share a bed with him Find the sense-able middle ground – have a mattress under your bed that he can pull out and sleep on at night – this means your bed remains your own but your toddler has access to you at night. By Meg Faure
Top 10 Baby Sense sleep tips | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Top 10 Baby Sense sleep tips

Helping your baby to sleep through the night is a goal for most parents. Sleep disruption is so distressing for most mothers that the sooner your baby sleeps through the night, the better. The tips below are in no particular order but by implementing them all you should be in for a better night’s sleep soon. Safety Put your baby on his side or back to sleep on a firm mattress without any pillows or duvets to limit the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome/ Cot death). Do not use duvets or blankets, rather keep your baby warm with a baby sleeping bag for safety and convenience. Sleep environment For good sleep habits try having your baby in his own room (if possible) by three months, as you will both have more rested sleep in your own rooms. Make sure the room can be darkened for day sleeps and morning lie-ins by putting block out lining on the curtains or blinds. Use soft linen in the cot and for cool nights, warm the room up a little, without over heating your baby. For the slightly older baby (after 4 months) use a sleeping bag to keep your baby warm to prevent the classic 4am night waking due to kicking all the blankets off. Under three months If your baby is very colicky in the evenings and you find bedtime is delayed to late due to fussing and crying, try to limit handling after 4 pm. Swaddle your baby in a 100% cotton, stretchy fabric such as the Baby Sense Cuddlewrap to help calm them and to limit night wakings due to uncontrolled body jerks. Bedtime routine Have a consistent time for bed with a predictable routine leading up to bedtime. Between six and seven in the evening is an appropriate time for babies and toddlers. Start the evening routine with a soothing warm bath followed by a calming massage (for babies not suffering from colic – colicky babies do better having the massage in the morning). After bath, don’t leave your baby’s dimmed room and keep all interactions in the room calming with less handling and stimulation. Evening feed Feed your baby as much as he will take before bedtime. If your breast milk supply seems low in the evenings, offer your baby a supplementary or top-up feed of expressed breast milk or formula milk before bed. Put your baby to bed awake Rouse your baby after the last feed so that he has to fall asleep without the aid of props such as bottle or breast. The way in which your baby falls asleep in the evening will be what he expects in the middle of the night, i.e. bottle, breast, dummy/pacifier, rocking, etc. Handling fussing at bedtime After three months, expect a little fussing as your baby settles himself to sleep. To manage this, without developing habits, leave your baby in his cot but sit with him, with your hand on him and encourage him to fall asleep after a little fussing. Night feeds Never wake your baby at night for a feed, unless your paediatrician has instructed you to do so because your baby is ill or very underweight. Wait for your baby to signal that he is hungry at night. Calm night feeds Keep the middle of the night feeds strictly business affairs – with no stimulation: keep the room dark, using a passage light to see for feeds. Don’t change your baby’s nappy or diaper at night feeds unless it is soiled or your baby has wet through the nappy. Limit the time for burping, your baby will settle best after a night feed if he is resettled quickly. Sleep coaching Sleep coaching starts from around 4 months of age when you can start encouraging your baby to self sooth instead of relying on you to put him all the way to sleep. This is not sleep training or letting your baby. It is gently encouraging him to find his hands, fuss a little while he settles himself or allowing him to access other strategies. Only sleep train your baby after six months and then only after ruling out all other causes for night wakings. To sleep train your baby – give him the opportunity to self-calm by not responding immediately when he cries at night respond once your baby is really crying or within 5 minutes do not lift your baby from the cot, rather sit with him and encourage him to self-calm as hard as it is, sit with your baby for as long as it take for him to resettle. In this way your baby does not feel abandoned but get the message that you are there but he must go to sleep. By Meg Faure
Toddler bedtime mistakes | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Toddler Talk>Sleep

Toddler bedtime mistakes

Many of the common baby bedtime mistakes parents make, are carried through to toddlerhood. Whether your toddler’s sleep issues have always been there, or whether they are a new phenomenon, with a bit of work and perseverance, they will soon be a distant bad memory! Ann Richardson, author of Toddler Sense, discusses the common bedtime mistakes we make when our children are toddlers. The toddler years are fraught with sleep disruptions. If you are battling to get your toddler to settle at bedtime you are probably making one of the following bedtime mistakes: Extended awake times and misinterpreting your toddlers’ signals. Just as babies get over stimulated with too much input into their sensory system, so do toddlers. When your toddler is exposed to stimulation (sensory input), her behaviour will vary depending on how her nervous system interprets the input, as well as how much time she has spent awake since her last sleep. Telltale signs that your toddler is reaching overload and is ready for a sleep include: finger, hand or thumb sucking decreased eye contact with you excessive mouthing on objects nose picking, fidgeting, plucking at clothing whining wanting to lie down These signs are often misinterpreted as bad behaviour or naughtiness, and are easily missed. Monitor how much time your toddler spends awake between naps during the day, and facilitate a sleep when that time is up. (see table below). GUIDELINES OF APPROXIMATE AWAKE TIMES AND AMOUNT OF SLEEP NEEDED AGE AWAKE TIME BETWEEN SLEEPS AMOUNT OF SLEEP NEEDED IN 24 HOURS 0-6 weeks 40 – 60 minutes 18 – 20 hours 6 – 12 weeks 60 – 90 minutes 16 – 18 hours 3 – 6 months 1 – 1 ½ hours 14 – 18 hours 6 – 9 month 2 hours 14 – 18 hours 9 – 12 months 2 ½ hours 14 – 16 hours 12 – 15 months 3 hours 14 – 15 hours 15 – 18 months 3 – 3 ½ hours 13 – 15 hours 18 – 24 months 3 ½ - 4 hours 13 – 14 hours 2 – 3 years 4 – 5 hour 13 – 14 hours 3 – 4 years 5 – 7 hours 13 – 14 hours 4 – 5 years 7 – 12 hours 13 – 14 hours Not putting your child to bed in her ‘sleep zone’ Toddlers need to have their own space, and sleep space is interconnected with physical and emotional boundaries. Encouraging your child to foster some independence from you in the sleep zone paves the way for a sense of security with his own separateness. It is a good idea to separate your child’s’ play zone from his sleep zone so that he does not get confused. Even if you choose to have your toddler sleep in a ‘family bed’, be sure it is calming and consistent. Not sticking to a bedtime routine Toddlers thrive on routine, so having the identical bedtime routine every night will soon become a trigger to him to start shutting down to a calmer state. Try to keep this time of the day calm and quiet. Keeping her up too late Keeping your toddler up late at night in the hope that she will be so tired that she will sleep better is a recipe for disaster. We already know that overtiredness and sensory overload impact on her ability to shut down effectively without assistance. So, it’s early to bed (between 6 & 7 pm). Staying with your toddler until she falls asleep If your toddler is unable to go to sleep by herself at bedtime (and is unable to put herself back to sleep when she wakes in the night) and expects you to interact with her by tickling, stroking, or lying with her, this behaviour may soon take its toll on your family life. As long as you continue to do what she wants, she will never learn how to self calm and put herself to sleep without help. Follow these simple strategies: Take control of the situation – set clear boundaries about sleep time. At bedtime, always tell her that she is safe and loved. Re-enforce a ‘sleep friend’ such as a security blanket or soft toy – remind her to seek comfort from this object should she wake in the night. Keep a dim light in the room so that she is able to recognize her sleep zone. If she is still in a cot, adopt the controlled crying strategy If she is able to talk, it is then easier to negotiate with her about sleep time. Try the following strategies: always acknowledge how she feels (say “I know you want me to lie with you”) then “mirror” the feeling (say “I would like to lie with you too”) then give her a reason for your decision (say “I can’t lie with you, I have a sore head”) Offer an alternative solution such as saying to her “I know what: I will sit on the chair next to your bed”. Gradually wean yourself away from her by moving further away from her, then start to pop in an out of the room (always come back though). If she pushes beyond the boundary that you have set, by arguing and crying, move to the next stage which is to threaten to leave the room unless she stops arguing with you. If she complies, stay with her and give her an extra hug, but then try to leave again after a minute or two. If she persists in her arguing and crying, walk your talk and go! Go back and reassure her after a minute or two, then repeat the process. Gradually extend the amount of time spent out of her room, so that she is on her own for longer and longer periods of time. Go at your own pace, but be consistent in your approach so you don’t confuse her with mixed messages. Offering night bottles If your toddler is healthy and thriving, she will not need any feeds in the night. Many toddlers cannot put themselves back to sleep in the middle of the night (should they wake) unless they have a bottle of milk, juice or water. Apart from the disruptive sleep for all, frequent night feeding at this age can cause teeth decay, ear infections, and delay potty training. A sodden nappy from excessive liquid intake can also cause night wakings. All good enough reasons to stop night feeds! Try these strategies: remove the expectation of this middle of the night “event” by not offering any further night feeds, and with time, your toddler will no longer wake for it. It is important to implement sleep training as discussed above at each waking session, no matter how much she protests. (controlled crying and some negotiation). Have a cup of water on her bedside table, and tell her at bedtime (she can help you fill it up at the tap as part of the bedtime routine) that it is there for her should she be thirsty in the night, but that she needn’t wake you to tell you! Offering foodstuffs containing stimulatory chemicals Offering sweets and chocolate after supper, as well as sugary drinks may cause your toddler to become hyped up at the very time you need her to be calm and quiet! Take extra care of what she eats at suppertime. The toddler years are trying for many reasons and being tired makes it harder to manage their labile mood and temper tantrums during the day. Setting the stage for sleep and addressing bedtime mistakes will go a long way to improving you and your toddler’s sleep and mood. By Ann Richardson
How to deal with a toddler roaming at night | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

How to deal with a toddler roaming at night

As soon as your toddler outgrows his cot, and makes the transition into a ‘big bed’, there may be some high jinks at bedtime. Most parents do want to foster night-time independence in their toddlers, and really do feel quite desperate at the thought of another night spent negotiating with a roaming toddler. Some children simply find that this new found freedom is a wonderful excuse for prolonged bedtimes, plus frequent visits to mom and dad’s bedroom throughout the night! If you have no issues with this, and love having your toddler sleep with you, read no further! Seriously though, before looking at bedtime and sleep itself you need to be sure your toddler is primed for good sleep habits. A clean bill of health is a good start, as is a sleep zone that supports sleep. Make sure his room is entirely safe so that he cannot harm himself. At this age, he already has deeply entrenched expectations and associations related to where and how he goes to sleep, and you can use them to your advantage Keep the light very dim and muted or use a night light, so that your toddler is never left alone in the dark. His imagination is developing at this age, which might make him fearful of dark shadows. By now you know the importance of a regular day sleep routine, but a regular bedtime routine is just as important. Bedtime is often the period of time when your little toddler is at his most unsettled. If there is no pattern to his bedtime rituals such as a quiet bath, followed by the last drink of the day (that’s milk, not wine!) in a calm sleep zone, your little toddler will not begin to recognize the necessary sensory cues that prompt sleep. Remember separation anxiety is real, and a normal phase of toddler development that may affect sleep. This phase will pass, but while it lasts, to avoid long term bad habits developing, be firm about not falling into the trap of feeding, rocking or co-sleeping if these are habits you do not wish to encourage. At this stage your toddler may become anxious at bedtime, and may call out to you frequently during the night, or come through to your room due to fears of being alone. This is typical at this age, as your toddler is developing imagination and may begin to suffer from nightmares and imagined ‘boogymen’. Use strategies to normalize separations for your toddler by playing games during the day such as peek a boo and hide and seek. Every toddler is different and the degree to which yours will be affected may vary substantially from other toddlers you know. When you are ready to tackle the situation, bear the following in mind: Boundaries need to be clearly set, and negotiations can happen within these predetermined boundaries. Your toddler needs to understand clearly the sleep boundaries you have for him. All the role players in the care of your toddler need to agree on sleep boundaries. Keep a night light on in his room or in the passage or bathroom, so that he is not in the dark should he wake. Limit television completely for at least two to three hours before bed as this has been linked to fears and increased nightmares. Encourage the use of a comfort object such as a blanket or a soft toy, and keep it in his bed so that bedtime holds that attraction of his special sensory comforter. It will also be available for comfort when he wakes in the night. Let’s do it At bedtime, if your toddler begins to negotiate or protest or jumps out of bed within minutes of you leaving the room, he needs to be taught how to put himself to sleep. This is what you must also do when he comes through to you at night. At some stage (yes, it will happen to you) many toddlers wake up and wander through to their parent’s bedroom. Begin by instilling a boundary and consistently lead your toddler back to his bed when this happens. The goal is to have your toddler sleep in his bed. Walk him back to back to bed, without admonishing him or raising your voice. Stay calm, confident and focused and encourage his comfort object. Respond by acknowledging his request: Say to him “I know you want me to stay with you Empathise so he feels understood by mirroring his request: Say to him “I would love to stay with you” Give a reason: Say to him “But I can’t because it is time to sleep” Offer an alternative solution. Say to him “ Why don’t you rather lie here with your special teddy, and I’ll sit on the bed next to you” Set a boundary: Say to him “If you lie down and go to sleep, I will sit with you until you fall asleep” Give a consequence: Say to him “If you get up again, I will have to leave”. For as long as your toddler stays in bed and makes an effort to be quiet and go to sleep, sit with him until he falls asleep (no matter how long it takes, so be prepared for this). You must stick to your end of the deal if he sticks to his. If he breaks his end of the deal, by getting up, you must remind him about the deal you made, offer him a chance to try again, but if he resists, then get up and leave the room and close the door so that he can’t follow. It is important that he remains in his room so if he is able to open the door himself install a latch. Don’t worry about leaving him behind a closed door. You are simply making sure that his room is containing him much the same as he was contained in his cot before. This is why it is important to have a night-light on and to make his room a safe environment for him. From outside the room, tell him you will return when he gets back into bed. As soon as you see/hear him get onto his bed, OR after one minute of crying (whatever happens first), go back in to his room quietly and calmly. Resist the temptation to raise your voice. If he is crying, calm him down with a hug, encourage his comfort object, wait until he has stopped crying, then re-negotiate with him. (Remember to acknowledge and empathise with his request, then give him a reason, a boundary and a consequence). Leave the room if he does not comply with the boundary you have offered him (which is to stay with him until he falls asleep provided he lies in his bed). Close the door. Return immediately to him if he does get back into bed, and praise him for listening to you. Reward him by staying with him until he falls asleep. If he cries and bangs on the door, wait for two minutes before you return to re-negotiate with him. Remember to stay calm and focused, never raise your voice and offer him lots of calming stimuli such as a hug and his comfort object. He needs to be calm again before you can re-negotiate with him. Be prepared for this to take some time. Keep going in this manner – return to him as soon as he is back in bed, OR if he will not stay in his bed and bangs on the door, increase the period of time before you respond to him by one minute each time until he eventually falls asleep. Repeat the procedure each time he wakes during the first night. If he complies with your boundary (by staying in his bed) always reward him by staying with him as you have promised (no matter how tedious you may find this in the middle of the night) until he falls asleep. If he will not comply (by jumping out of bed and running away), leave the room, close the door and leave him for one minute until you return quietly and calmly to re-negotiate! If you do have to leave the room, increase the period of time by one minute each time, until he eventually falls asleep. By the second or third night, your toddler has probably realised that if he does as you ask him (which is to stop the high jinks at sleep time), you will sit with him on the bed until he goes to sleep at bedtime, and if he wakes during the night. When this is consistently happening, it is time to move to the next step. Be patient, it may take time to get to this step. Begin bedtime in exactly the same way, but tell him (by acknowledging empathizing and reasoning with a boundary and a consequence) that you will no longer be sitting on the bed with him, but will rather be sitting in a chair alongside the bed. As before, complete your negotiation with him. If he complies with your boundary (which is to stay in his bed and go to sleep) you will stay in his room with him, but you will be in the chair. If he does not comply with your boundary, then follow the same procedure as before by going out of the room and closing the door. Continue with the programme as you did before, until he falls asleep. When he is happy to stay in his bed and go to sleep as long as you are sitting in the chair (at bedtime and when he wakes in the night), move to the next step. Bear in mind it may take you a few nights to achieve this – be patient, loving and consistent. Move the chair away from his bed to another part of the room as close to the door as possible. Repeat the sleep modification steps as above until he is happy to go to sleep in his bed with you sitting in the sleep zone apart from him. The next step is to move the chair out of the room (tell him that you have given it to the poor children). At bedtime, simply ‘linger’ in the room, maybe even stepping into the bathroom for a second or two (always reassure him that you will be back) before returning to ‘linger’ once more. Repeat the sleep modification steps as above until he is happy to go to sleep in his bed as long as you are ‘lingering’ around. The final step (this step may have taken you as little as a few days to reach, or it may be a week down the line by now), is to tell him you need to leave the room for a minute to perform a task. Reassure him that when you are finished your task you promise to return. Do as you have promised and return. Don’t forget to praise him each time you return if he has stayed in his bed. Keep popping in and out, but gradually increase the amount of time you spend out of his room. Repeat the sleep modification steps as above until he is happy to fall asleep in his bed as long as you continue to pop in and out. After a few nights of this you will return after your first absence to find him asleep. At last! Your toddler has learnt the new technique of falling asleep independently. Once your toddler is generally sleeping in his bed, you may still find he has the odd night when he is very distressed when he wakes. These are the times when he may be distraught due to a nightmare and imagination fears or separation anxiety. When this happens you may need to allow him to sleep next to your bed. By not allowing him into your bed and not making his makeshift bed too comfortable, you will not instil long lasting habits. Know that it will not last forever and is usually a passing stage. However, if it becomes a nightly occurrence and is a problem for you, start to make it less easy for him to do. Always take him back to his room first. If he insists on returning to your bedroom let him carry his own bedding and settle himself. Allowing your toddler to sleep on the floor next to you whilst you are undoing the unhealthy sleep habit of having him in your bed, may be a necessary process you will need to undertake whilst you foster confidence in him to become independent. However, if your toddler is persistently coming through to you a night, and insisting on getting into your bed, this again is a scenario that you could leave as it is if it is not an issue with you. When you are ready to reclaim your sleep space, allow him to sleep on a mattress or some continental pillows next to your bed to help him with the transition to his own room. Remember to always acknowledge his feeling: “I know you want to be in the bed with me.” Then mirror the feeling by saying “I love having you in the bed,” Then give a reason why he can’t be in the bed with you “This is my bed, and there is too little space now that you are bigger” Offer an alternative: “Why don’t you lie on the floor next to me and I’ll hold your hand” You will need to follow through on this boundary and be firm about him not getting back into your bed. If he will not lie on the floor next to you, take him back to his bed. At this point, you may have to start adopting some sleep training strategies as mentioned above. Useful tips: If your toddler voices a fear about ‘the bogeyman’, a very useful trick is to buy a plastic spray bottle from the supermarket. Fill it with coloured water, and label it ‘bogeyman spray’. As part of his bedtime ritual, allow him to spray his bed and around his sleep zone with this solution. This empowering gesture will help him to feel in control of his fears. Reassure him that he can use it again should he wake in the night. Teach your toddler these sleep rules early and repeat them often: At bedtime we stay in bed close our eyes stay very quiet and go to sleep By Meg Faure
The trauma of nightmares and fears | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Toddler Talk>Sleep

The trauma of nightmares and fears

There is nothing more blood chilling than your baby waking abruptly screaming. As you bolt awake from a deep sleep, the thoughts racing through your mind will include what bad dream has she had now and how can I comfort her. The question is when do nightmares start and are they traumatic for your baby? Nightmares Before a year of age your baby does not have language with which to label the visual images in her mind. For this reason imagination is thought to only really develop after eighteen months, when language is exploding. At this age, your toddler’s imagination can become overwhelming, as the concept of fears and boogey men arise. Your toddler may start exhibiting nightmares, which are a normal part of her development. Nightmares are part of normal sleep, occur during the light sleep phase, and are not necessarily associated with any specific emotional problem. Because your toddler is in light sleep when the nightmare occurs, she will wake easily and be able to remember what happened in her dream. You will be able to console her and re-settle her back to sleep when she is feeling better. Coping with nightmares: Respond with love and cuddles when she has a nightmare. Keep a night-light on in her room, or leave a bathroom or passage light on at night. After your toddler has experienced a nightmare, she may be frightened and not want to separate from you. Keep a small mattress or some continental pillows next to your bed, so if she comes through to you after waking with a nightmare, she can sleep next to you for the rest of the night. Stop all TV viewing as at this age your child cannot separate TV from reality Deal with fears of separation verbally during the day. Night terrors Night terrors are different to nightmares as your child does not always wake up but screams in a terror. She may well show physical signs of physical distress such as sweating, rapid heart rate or bulging eyes. The worst part is that she may not respond to you, or be aware of anything else in the environment. This can be very disturbing to you, as a night terror may last a long time, and your child may even strike out at you when you seek to comfort her. Different from nightmares, night terrors can be seen in young babies (although the most common age of occurrence is between 2 and 5 years old) as they are not due to imagination and therefore not dependant on language development. Night terrors are not bad dreams, and actually occur when she is sleeping deeply. They usually occur within the first part of the night, within 1 – 3 hours after she has fallen asleep. At the end of her deep sleep cycle (as she enters REM sleep), one part of her brain wakes up, but another stays in a deep sleep state (this is due to an immaturity of her nervous system). This results in a ‘night terror’ when she is seemingly awake, but is actually in a deep sleep. The brain is likely to associate fear with the physical symptoms of the night terror such as rapid heart rate and sweating, and this is why your child may cry and scream during an episode. In some cases high fevers can cause night terrors due to disruptions in the sleep cycle. Night terrors are seldom caused by psychological trauma, and most children return to sleep easily once it is over, and have no recollection of the episode the next day. Coping with night terrors There is not much you can do for your child when she is having a night terror, other than holding her tightly and reassuring her that you are there. Sometimes touching her may cause unnecessary stimulation, making it worse, so you may have to simply wait it out whilst keeping her safe. Research has shown that night terrors are common in children with abnormal sleep schedules and fatigue. By sticking to the awake times and implementing a regular day sleep and bedtime routine you can avert night terrors. If your child is experiencing night terrors, try to encourage a daytime nap, move her bedtime earlier and avoid excessive stimulation and sensory overload during the day, particularly before bedtime. If your child is experiencing frequent night terrors, it is sometimes useful to try waking her 15 minutes before you know it is going to occur ( you will have to ascertain this time by keeping a sleep diary for a few nights). Keep her fully awake for about 5 – 10 minutes, then re-settle her for the night. Do this for 7 – 8 consecutive nights, then stop waking her. The ‘fault’ in her deep sleep phase should have corrected itself by then. Nightmares and night terrors are as traumatic for you as they are for your child, respond with empathy and care and know that this phase will pass. By Meg Faure and Ann Richardson
Choosing and introducing a security blanket | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

Choosing and introducing a security blanket

Whatever you call it; security blankets (baby comforter) are the best sleep tool a weary mother could wish for. The basics of choosing and introducing a security blanket. Why: At around 7 months of age separation anxiety emerges and night time sleep can be negatively affected by your baby waking to call you back for comfort. By introducing a sleep blanket early on (soon after 3 months) you encourage your baby’s need for comfort to be transitioned from you to a blanket. Of course you are still essential when a real need such as pain arises, but when your baby wakes in the middle of the night just to be soothed back to sleep, a security blanket makes a good second best. If better sleep is not reason enough, research has shown that babies who have soft security objects are better adjusted on temperament measures, such as happiness, attention and impulsivity than those that have no attachment object. So not only will your baby sleep better but in the long term she will be a better adjusted child. What: The following principles are essential for choosing a security object for your baby: A good attachment object has sensory soothing qualities, such as soft fleece, smooth satin or comforting soft fabric Choose something small enough that the smothering risk is limited. Make sure it is something that is readily replaceable! Don’t use that precious limited edition bunny you found abroad. Examples include a soft toy, blanket, burp cloth or the unique and optimally designed Baby Sense Taglet How: To help your baby attach to a security object choose one only and offer it to your baby along with your comfort. Whenever she cries from about 3 months old. If your baby is tired or over stimulated or has hurt herself, place the blanket or soft toy on your shoulder so that as your baby cuddles in to you, she receives comfort from the object too. A security object is the best bedtime buddy system and one that is easy to manage. Make sure your baby has something comforting at night when she goes to bed. Reference: Lehman, Elyse Brauch et al. Temperament and Self-Soothing Behavior in Children: Object Attachment, Thumbsucking, and Pacifier Use. By Meg Faure
Facts on teething and the effects it has on sleep | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

Facts on teething and the effects it has on sleep

Image Source: finds.hellobee.com Why is it that just when your baby is able to start sleeping through the night, and may in fact, already have started doing so, that teeth decide to make an appearance! Ann Richardson looks at the effects of teething on sleep. Teething, per se, does not cause a sleeping disorder. Rather accept that when your child is teething, sleep may be disrupted temporarily. Avoid falling into the trap of blaming “teeth” for bad sleeping habits that never seem to go away. It is important to recognize some important facts about teething, so that you can have a clear understanding of what your child is feeling when he is cutting his precious new teeth. Teething, by definition, is when the actual tooth cuts through the gum and appears in your baby’s mouth. This may occur anytime from 3 months of age (very unusual) up to 1 year of age. Early teething (in babies younger than about 7 months) usually follows a family history of early teething. Late teething (after one year of age) is also unusual, and also follows a family history. Check with your parents when you cut your first tooth, and invariably, your child will follow suit. On average, most babies cut their first tooth at around 7 months of age. However, it is not unusual for your baby to celebrate his first birthday with no sign of teeth! This actual “cutting” may be preceded by a period of discomfort (may last weeks) as the teeth settle into the gums and prepare to start pushing upwards. This is usually when your baby drools excessively, and loves to chew and bite down on objects. This period is seldom characterized by fever, loss of appetite and other illness such as diarrhea and ear ache. If your baby is 15 months or older with no sign of teeth, consult your Dentist who may want to X ray his mouth to check that his teeth are present. Signs that your baby may be ready to cut his first tooth include the following: Excessive drooling and biting down on objects Loss of appetite, especially sucking on the breast or bottle A low grade fever, or periods of intense fever A red and spotty rash around his mouth Nappy rash – may be severe Frequent, loose stools A runny nose Ear ache There is a theory that teething may “weaken” your baby’s general immune system and make him more susceptible to illnesses such as otitis media (ear infections), bronchitis (chest infections) and tummy upsets. This, however, has not been scientifically proven. Many parents confuse normal developmental milestones (such as chewing on fingers and hands, and blowing bubbles) with teething. Remember that at around 3 months of age, your little one will find his hands (Oh joy!) and chew excessively on them, creating plenty of drool and bubbles! Don’t confuse this exciting developmental milestone with teething or hunger! If your child is feeling unwell whilst teething, please treat him with teething medication that is available from your pharmacy. Do you remember when your wisdom teeth started appearing? This is what your little one is experiencing whilst he is cutting his teeth. He may have a headache, and have a sore mouth, especially with eating. If your nights are becoming difficult, medicate with the prescribed medication at bedtime, and repeat the dose at prescribed intervals during the night if needs be. Keeping your babies dummies and teethers in the fridge is also a good idea, as the coolness helps to soothe inflamed gums. Accept that teething is a normal part of your baby’s development. You (and your baby) may be lucky and sail through the teething stage, or there may be some seriously wobbly days (and nights) ahead. Either way, rest assured that teething is a temporary phase, and that peaceful days and nights will occur again! By Ann Richardson
10 sleep tips for your baby by Sr Ann Richardson | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

10 sleep tips for your baby by Sr Ann Richardson

Create a sleep zone and stick to it. This may be in her own room, or in your room. It doesn't matter where it is, as long as it is a 'zone' where sleep happens - she will learn to recognize it as such. At sleep time, put your baby to bed. Try to avoid letting her fall asleep where ever you may be at sleep time such as on the couch, in your arms or in the car. Obviously there will be times where your baby will fall asleep out of her bed, but try not to make it the norm. Watch awake times. It is the time spent awake between sleeps that drives your babies sleep. This is absolutely vital to ensure healthy sleep habits. Follow the guidelines of "awake times" from Baby Sense and Toddler Sense, and allow your baby to fall asleep then. Don't wait until she shows signs of over tiredness before trying to put her to sleep. Put your baby to bed "happily awake". Watch for her signals to indicate to you that she is getting tired (not is already tired!) These signals may be a simple sneeze or a hand on her face. Read Baby Sense to get familiar with your baby’s signals. Modulate the environment to promote sleep. Switch off loud, jarring music or sounds such as a lawnmower at sleep time. For day sleeps, cut out glare by closing curtains and dim lights at night. If you are out and about, cover the pram with a cotton blanket to block out sunlight and noise. Remove all stimulation from the immediate sleep zone. Remove mobiles, toys, activity sets and stimulating bumpers from your baby’s cot to prevent over-stimulation at sleep time. If she is over stimulated, she will be unable to fall asleep easily. Encourage a sleep comfort or doodoo blanket. The Baby Sense™ Taglet, a soft cotton toy or blanket will comfort your baby at sleep time. It will also act as a memory trigger to help induce sleep. Accept that babies don't sleep like we do! This acceptance goes a long way towards helping you cope with sleep deprivation in the early days. Expect not much sleep for the first 3 months at least. Have faith though; babies usually start to sleep for longer periods at night from the age of 12 weeks (even earlier if you are lucky!). Stay calm. Your baby will pick up any anxiety from you, and will be even more unsettled. Try not to get too bogged down in the moment, and focus on the good things about your baby such as her smile or her dimple. Have a sense of humour. If all else fails, laugh - after all it is the best medicine around! By Sr Ann Richardson

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