The impact of Day sleeps on Night Sleeps | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

The impact of Day sleeps on Night Sleeps

There is a true saying that sums up the relevance of day sleeps on nighttime sleep: Sleep Begets Sleep, which literally means the more your baby sleeps, the more he will sleep. A good day sleep routine, made up of regular age appropriate day sleeps enhances night sleep and helps your baby sleep better. The reason is that when babies are sleep deprived and overtired during the day, they become fractious and over stimulated and it is hard to fall asleep and sleep well through sleep cycles when one is overtired. The impact of exhaustion on sleep If you are experiencing any of the following sleep problems with your baby, you need to be sure he is having enough sleep during the day: Bedtime antics – Overtired toddlers and babies become difficult to put to sleep. Due to overtiredness, your baby may become busier and more animated in an attempt to stay awake. This hyperactive, alert state feeds on itself and makes falling asleep difficult. If you have difficulty settling your baby to sleep or if bedtime ends up being after 8pm due to challenging bedtime behaviour, the chances are your baby is not sleeping enough during the day or you are starting your bedtime routine too late. Night waking – When babies are overtired, they may fall asleep with ease and into a ‘dead’ sleep but 90 minutes later wake and then repeatedly wake at night. If you have ruled out other causes of night waking, have a look at your day sleep routine – maybe your toddler is overtired. Night terrors – Babies who scream and cry at night but appear to be asleep and are difficult to soothe whilst screaming are said to be having ‘night terrors’. These differ from night mares as your baby will appear to be fast asleep whilst crying. Night terrors are directly related to overtiredness and are usually seen in toddlers and babies who are not getting enough day sleep or are going to bed too late. Manage day sleep routines to enhance nighttime sleep To make sure overtiredness is not impacting negatively on night sleep, deal with the following day sleep issues: Midday sleep – A good solid stretch of sleep over midday enhances night sleep. A longer midday sleep emerges by 6 months old in most babies. Your baby may sleep for between an hour and three hours at midday, depending on his age and how many other sleeps he has during the day. To encourage a longer midday sleep, try the following: Have a consistent sleep space for midday sleep from a young age. Other day sleeps can be more flexible but the midday sleep should consistently be taken in the nursery. Darken the room with block out lining on the curtains or blinds Play white noise to keep your baby in a deeper sleep during this sleep Have a milk feed before the midday sleep if possible so his tummy is full of nice sweet milk Regular sleep – Clearly the message is not to keep your baby awake all day. Follow the Baby Sense guidelines for ‘Awake Times’ to gauge how long your baby can be happily awake before going back to sleep. Instead of a rigid routine, put your baby back to sleep during the day when his ‘Awake time’ is up and when he signals fatigue. Less than six months of age 3 – 4 sleeps are common. Between 6 and 12 months of age the number of day sleeps reduces to 2 – 3 sleeps and after 14 months most toddlers drop down to 1 day sleep. But this day sleep remains important until the preschool years. Early to bed – Even if you are a working mum or dad, do not be tempted to keep your baby up later than 7:30pm to interact with him. Young babies should be in bed by 6:30 or 7pm at the latest. By keeping your baby up, you will not shift the morning waking and are very likely to face bedtime battles as your overtired baby resists going down to sleep. Furthermore, bad habits like rocking to sleep or feeding to sleep may become entrenched as you have to resort to extensive calming measures at bedtime to settle an overtired baby. Wake from the afternoon nap – The only time when sleep during the day can have a negative effect on night sleep is when this sleep happens too late in the day. Read up on the ‘Awake time’ for your baby’s age in Baby Sense/ Sleep Sense then make sure your baby wakes from his last afternoon sleep that length of time before his bedtime. In other words, if your one year old can be happily awake for three hours before the next sleep and bedtime is at 7pm, you should not let him sleep after 4pm or he will resist going to bed. So if your toddler is asleep at 4pm, wake him up. In summary: Day sleeps are vital for good night sleep habits Watch your baby’s awake times and develop a day sleep routine Do not make bedtime too late Follow these guidelines and you will be that little bit closer to a good night’s sleep! By Meg Faure
Is it possible to teach my baby about night and day? | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Is it possible to teach my baby about night and day?

As Evan woke for the third time that night, his sleep deprived, exhausted mom choked back the tears - is it actually possible that he needed another feed? As she stumbled through the darkness to lift him to feed him she felt desperate. Evan was a good baby actually a very good baby during the day - he slept for four to five hours at a stretch during the day but at night, he turned into a nightmare! He was waking every two hours at night and simply put, his mom was desperate and had no idea how she could keep it up for much longer! It is very common for newborns to have their day and night muddled up and wake to feed more frequently during the day than at night. This can all be switch around very easily following 5 easy steps: Wake your baby as soon as he has been asleep for 3 ½ hours so that he feeds at least four hourly during the day. A newborn can be expected to demand a feed every 2 ½ to four hours during the day. Make the room dark for night sleep - from 6pm to 6am, the room needs to be as dark as possible. Use block out lining or curtains to ensure an absence of light. Melatonin - our sleep hormone is released in the absence of light, which is why we are drowsy at night. Do not wake your baby at all at night for a feed, unless advised to do so by your doctor. Let your little one wake up on his own to feed and feed him when he wakes if more than three hours have passed. If he is feeding well during the day and gaining weight, he will start to stretch this longer and longer at night. During the day your new baby (0-6 weeks) can be awake for up to 45 to an hour at a stretch - do all care during this time and stimulate him for a short period while awake. Do not fuss with or stimulate your baby at night. Try to not even make eye contact or change his nappy unless he has soiled it at night. In this way you won’t wake him fully. Just feed, burp, feed on the other side and put him down to sleep. Mary's problem had suddenly arisen in the past few weeks, Jaden was a good sleeper but now, at 15 months he suddenly had turned into a monster at night! At 2 am for the past week, Jaden would become restless and then call out and eventually start to cry. Going in to him, he would ask to be picked up and want to go out of his room. He simply wanted to go to the lounge, watch some TV and have a bottle there. He would play quietly on the floor for up to two hours before looking drowsy again. His mom was at the end of her tether and was exhausted when having to get up after two hours sleep at 6am to start her day. Occasionally toddlers and even younger babies start to be very awake in the middle of the night. Try these steps to manage your older baby back to a good night sleep: Make sure your little one is not going to bed too late. 7pm is the latest a baby or toddler must be in bed and any later and you could be looking at a little one who is simply overtired. Over tiredness often leads to night wakings and even night terrors. Deworm your toddler if he is over one year of age as worm infestations of the gut can wake little ones at this time and they battle to settle again. Make sure your toddler has a good diet with sufficient protein and iron. Make all interactions between 6pm and 6am muted - calming and not stimulating. Set a boundary, even if your little one goes through a stage of being wakeful in the middle of the night. Set the boundary that he may not leave his cot. Sit with him and offer a sip of water but no feeds and definitely do not leave the room with him. If he is very wakeful, use Rescue Remedy to help him settle a little quicker. By not budging on this boundary the night wakefulness will be short lived. By Meg Faure
How much sleep does my baby need? | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

How much sleep does my baby need?

The expectations of the pregnant woman: ‘My baby will sleep and be awake in equal amounts and we will play and feed and I will have time to do it all, no sweat.’ The mom of the newborn says: ‘Wow my baby sleeps all day and is so good yet I feel like I have got time for nothing – I barely get myself to make a cup of tea in a day.’ Which a few weeks later becomes: ‘Oh my word I can’t get my baby down – he is awake all day, and now I don’t even shower in a day never mind make a cup of tea!!’ So what is reasonable – what should we expect – how much should our babies sleep? Newborns sleep more than most people imagine. I believe this is a coping mechanism to deal with the busy world and in fact works very effectively. You will probably find that in the first two weeks your baby will sleep an enormous amount and may also be very calm. Your sleepy baby may sleep from one feed to the next and often fall asleep during a feed. This is good for your baby so do not follow any advice to wake your baby unless he is not gaining enough weight. The only other exception is if your sleepy baby is going to stretch more than four hours between day feeds. In this case, wake your baby to feed. The newborn needs to go back to sleep after only being awake for 40 – 50 minutes, which means your newborn may well sleep for more than 16 hours a day, being awake only for feeds. 2 weeks – 3 months is when day sleep frustrations raise their ugly heads. Your sleepy newborn may now start to fight going to sleep and may only cat nap when he does finally fall asleep. It is not uncommon for moms to report that their baby is awake most of the day, sleeping fitfully in short spells during the day. These babies classically feed very frequently, have colic in the evening and wake often at night. If you find yourself in this predicament, it is probably directly as a result of a young baby not getting enough day sleep. Your young baby needs to go to sleep after only 45 – 80 minutes of being awake. This will result in around 15 hours sleep a day. 3 – 6 months down the line, you will probably be craving some routine or pattern to your baby’s sleep and may well have a very alert baby who is fighting sleep. During this stage day sleeps are regular and essential and you can start guiding your baby in a little routine. Put your baby back to sleep every 90-150 minutes and your baby will probably start developing a routine of two or three naps plus one longer day sleep. Your baby should be having about 14 – 15 hours sleep in a 24 hour period. 6 months to a year is the time when a proper day sleep routine emerges and your baby should start to link the sleep cycles during one day sleep, resulting in a longer midday sleep. Encourage this sleep and the one or two other naps, as your baby needs to sleep to help his brain process all the exciting information he processes during his waking hours. Your baby sleeps for 14 hours a day, usually 11 hours at night and three hours during the day broken into sleeps and short naps. Toddlers and preschoolers really resist day sleeps and it’s tempting to just ‘let it go’ and let your frazzled two year old collapse at night without a day sleep. The truth is these busy beings really need sleep. The common problems overtired toddlers have are fighting sleep at bedtime, frequent night wakings and night terrors. If you are facing this, you should really focus on having your toddler maintain the good habit of a midday sleep. If your preschooler won’t sleep, just a rest at midday will do. Toddlers sleep 13 hours a day and preschoolers need about 12 hours a day. In summary it is clear that babies and toddlers need a lot of sleep to process the stimulation of the world. The myth abounds that your baby or toddler will sleep as much as he or she needs – it is important to understand that this is not the truth and many babies need a bit of help to make sure they get enough sleep to develop well and be happily awake. By Meg Faure
Awake time influences sleep time | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Awake time influences sleep time

We all know that sleep is vital for our physical and emotional well-being. This is especially true for babies and young children, so it is a good idea to teach your baby healthy sleep habits from birth. This way he will learn the ability to self-soothe, to fall asleep without your presence, and to be able to put himself back to sleep when he wakes in the night. Awake time influences sleep time It is actually the time that your baby is awake that influences how much he sleeps. Knowing how long your child should stay awake before the next sleep is due will help prevent the ‘overtired’ scenario. If he is overtired, he will struggle to fall asleep unaided, and may even battle to stay asleep for any significant length of time. Understand your baby’s sleep cycles A sleep cycle is the process of moving from a drowsy state to light sleep, to deep sleep, and then back into light sleep. An adult’s sleep cycle is 90 minutes but it takes a while for a baby to develop such long sleep cycles. Babies’ sleep cycles vary depending on their age. The younger the baby, the shorter the sleep cycle. Most babies’ sleep cycles are no longer than an hour and may be as short as 30 minutes. A short day sleep may be only one sleep cycle long. At other times in the day (and hopefully at night) the baby ‘links’ sleep cycles to have long stretches of uninterrupted sleep. It is important to help our babies to link sleep cycles. If your baby is a cat-napper during the day, he will not be fully rested after his sleep and will have difficulty sustaining the normal period of awake time after that sleep and therefore need to sleep sooner. For example, if a baby of 6 months old has slept for only 20 minutes, then he will be tired sooner and need to be put down before his allocated 2-hour awake time expires – i.e. he should have another nap in about 1 – 1½ hours’ time. This is quite a novel approach to sleep, and takes some getting used to. However, once you apply the principles of watching the awake time, you will have unlocked the secret to good sleep habits. Plan your life around awake/asleep times Organize your schedule around the times when your baby is awake – and asleep. Unfortunately this is a fact of motherhood. You have to plan your life around your baby’s needs. Problems with routines and bad habits tend to creep in when you try to plan your baby’s routine around yours. Need assistance in implementing Age Appropriate Awake Times? Download The BABYSENSE APP or use our BABY TIME BRACELET! By Sr Ann Richardson
Getting to the bottom of cat naps and unsettled nights | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Getting to the bottom of cat naps and unsettled nights

“Help my baby is a cat napper!” is the common cry from mums and dads. If your baby only sleeps for 20 minutes or less at a stretch during the day and wakes frequently at night, you are justified in feeling exhausted and frustrated. Many babies wake naturally after a sleep cycle – approximately 45 minutes. This is not unusual and it takes time for babies to link sleep cycles. But if your baby consistently wakes only 20 minutes into a sleep cycle or never links sleep cycles at night, you need to urgently get to the bottom of the sleep disruptions. Here are two common causes for catnapping: Startle reflex Waking after only 15 minutes of sleep is actually quite a common problem in the early days. As your baby falls asleep, he is in the light sleep state. In this state his little eyes will move under his eyelids and he is processing all the sensory information he received during the day. As your baby falls deeper into sleep, he experiences a sudden jerk of his muscles, called a hypnagogic startle. Even as adults we experience this jerk but generally sleep through the minor disturbance. Your baby may be woken by this startle as he falls into a deeper sleep state. This is particularly common in newborns but does need to be managed so your little one can sleep for a longer stretch: Swaddle your baby in the uniquely designed Baby Sense Cuddlewrap or Cuddlegrow as this is the best way to inhibit the reflex, as the wrap will contain his arms from shooting out and waking him. White noise such as the Baby Sense Womb to World will help him to sleep a little deeper and he will be less likely to be woken by the movement of his arms. Leave your hand on him until he has passed through this startle and settles into a deeper sleep state. Reflux Many babies posit or bring up milk curds after a feed. There is nothing wrong with this and is in fact more common than one would know – we call these babies ‘happy pukers’. However, for a small percentage of babies, the regurgitated milk curds burn the oesophagus and cause an irritation whenever the stomach contents rise up the pipe. We call this oesophagitis. This irritation will cause your baby to fuss when she feeds and to be woken when lying on her back for too long, which is why they become cat-nappers. To manage this: See your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. You may be prescribed medication to neutralize the stomach acids or to decrease the regurgitation. Raise the head of the mattress that your baby sleeps on so the milk does not lie for lengths of time on the oesophagus. By Meg Faure
Sleep challenges in the first year | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Sleep challenges in the first year

At specific ages in the first few years of life, day sleep issues arise that are common among most babies. We look at the common problem for each age group and suggest solutions. Day sleep challenges in the first year At specific ages in the first few years of life, day sleep issues arise that are common among most babies. They are not related to illness, nutrition or habits but are simply reflecting a shift of sleep needs as your baby matures. 1 – 4 months – Can’t settle to sleep Problem – For the first few weeks, your newborn seems to sleep for long stretches and getting her to sleep is not an issue. Then a few weeks down the line, every time you take your little one to sleep, she appears to fight sleep. Babies need to sleep regularly – more often than you would imagine. If you keep your little one awake for long stretches, she will start to fight sleep and become very difficult to settle to sleep. Solution – Limit your baby’s ‘Awake time’ to the age appropriate time for her age: 0-6 weeks – 45 minutes to an hour awake time 6-17 weeks – One hour to 90 minutes awake time. First three months – Cat napping Problem – Your little one falls asleep with ease, in your arms or lying down. Yet you find that you put her down to sleep and she sleeps for 15 minutes before waking and crying. The reason little ones do this is that shortly after falling asleep, your baby experiences a hypnagogic startle. We commonly experience this as we fall into a deeper sleep and are not disturbed by it. Little ones are disturbed and woken by this startle as it triggers a full startle reflex what wakes them up. Solution – your baby tightly or place your hand on her with deep pressure until this startle passes – usually 15 minutes into sleep. 3-6 months – Short day sleeps Problem – After a period of a few months when your baby sleeps for long stretches in the day, the time will come when your baby seems to sleep much less – only 45 minutes at a stretch. During this period, your baby may appear to never stretch sleeps or link sleep cycles. The reason is that baby’s sleep cycles are 45 minutes long and as your baby comes into a light sleep state (45 minutes after falling asleep) she is waking. This is normal and lasts until around 6 months of age, when you baby can start to link sleep cycles, preferably for the midday sleep. Solution – Firstly, fear not – this will pass. But if you want to try encourage your little one to sleep for longer in the day, use a weighted sleepy sac or white noise to keep her in a slightly deeper state of sleep and thus more likely to link the sleep cycles. Around 9 months – Fighting afternoon nap Problem – After months of a great routine - a morning nap, a longer sleep and a short afternoon nap - you may find the afternoon nap becomes a challenge. Your little one may fight going to sleep, finally falling asleep too close to bedtime and then sleeping for too long so that bedtime is disrupted too. The reason for this shift is that your baby has reached a cusp age, where she still seems to need the sleep but it is starting to interfere with bedtime. Solution – Start to alternate days – some days give her a catnap before 4pm, but be sure to wake her at 4pm so that she will still settle to sleep at bedtime. This catnap may be as short as 15 minutes and may be taken on the go – in a pram, sling or in the car. On the other days, drop the sleep altogether and push through from the midday sleep to bedtime, bringing bedtime earlier to 6pm. 12 – 14 months – Can’t fit in two day sleeps Problem – Another cusp age throws the spanner in the works at around a year. Your baby will have been having a morning and midday sleep and suddenly is fighting both. Once again this is due to a shift in the length of awake time your baby can cope with. As the awake times lengthen, your baby will not want to sleep as frequently and therefore you find yourself trying to fit two sleeps into the day which pushes bedtime out. Solution – Its time to merge the day sleeps. Start by dropping the morning nap and giving a hearty snack or lunch at 10:30/11am. Then put your little one down to sleep between 11 and 11:30. She will fall asleep more easily and will probably sleep for at least 90 minutes. On those days she will be exhausted by 5pm, so after a quick supper, bring bedtime forward to 6pm. By Meg Faure
Changing your baby’s day sleep routine | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

Changing your baby’s day sleep routine

It so often happens that you have just got your little one into a lovely day sleep routine, when suddenly they upset the applecart again and begin to resist day sleeps. If this is your experience, maybe you need to adjust your expectations and work with your baby’s new awake times. Cusp ages – when do they occur and how to know what new routine your baby needs. Awake Times When establishing a day sleep routine it is best to be guided by your baby’s ‘Awake times’ as opposed to a rigid schedule. In this way, you will find that your baby will settle easily to sleep and fall into a day sleep pattern with ease. The norms for the length of a baby’s awake times have been tried and tested and are suitable for almost all babies. Age Time awake 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 – 1½ hours 14 – 18 hours 6 – 9 months 2 hours 14 – 18 hours 9 – 12 months 2½ hours 14 – 16 hours Understand your baby’s sleep cycles A sleep cycle is the process of moving from a drowsy state to light sleep, to deep sleep, and then back into light sleep. An adult’s sleep cycle is 90 minutes but it takes a while for a baby to develop such long sleep cycles. Babies’ sleep cycles vary depending on their age. The younger the baby, the shorter the sleep cycle. Most babies’ sleep cycles are no longer than an hour and may be as short as 30 minutes. A short day sleep may be only one sleep cycle long. At other times in the day (and hopefully at night) the baby ‘links’ sleep cycles to have long stretches of uninterrupted sleep. It is important to help our babies to link sleep cycles. If your baby is a cat-napper during the day, he will not be fully rested after his sleep and will have difficulty sustaining the normal period of awake time after that sleep and therefore need to sleep sooner. For example, if a baby of 6 months old has slept for only 20 minutes, then he will be tired sooner and need to be put down before his allocated 2-hour awake time expires – i.e. he should have another nap in about 1 – 1½ hours’ time. Cusp ages At certain times in your baby/ toddler’s life, he may begin to protest about going to sleep during the day. This often happens because he is on the cusp of being able to do without a certain sleep. At these times, the length of the Awake time in the afternoon simply has to be stretched to accommodate bedtime, which will then be adjusted to an earlier time. These tricky stages (cusp ages) occur around the following times: 9 months – 12 months: Between 6 and 9 months, most babies are having two to three short naps and one longer sleep (depending on how the length of their sleeps). Between 9 months and a year, the shorter late afternoon nap may need to drop away or be shortened if it interferes with your baby settling in the evening. Some babies, however, still need to have a short “power nap” to see them through the evening rituals of bathing, feeding etc. Be sure to wake your baby by 4:30pm if he is having an afternoon nap so that bedtime can be kept between 6 and 7 pm. Towards the end of this stage, this nap will fall away and there will be a longer stretch in the afternoon. When this happens, bring bedtime earlier for a few weeks to help him to adjust. 15 months - 24 months: At a year of age most babies are still having two sleeps a day. But it won’t be long before he starts to resist the early morning sleep (especially if he catches a whiff of activity in the air!) and have one longer sleep instead of two. Shift the morning sleep to 11am, keeping your little one awake for a long stretch in the morning. Give him a good snack or mini lunch at 11am and then straight to sleep. He will probably have a good sleep (1-2 hours). The next stretch to bedtime will be long and your toddler will be exhausted. This can be a tricky time because he can’t really manage with being awake for so long, but won’t settle easily for two sleeps a day. If your toddler is having a good midday sleep but is exhausted with only one day sleep, move your entire bedtime routine earlier, so that he is asleep by 6pm. Don’t worry about this shortening his night too much – in fact research has shown that early bedtimes promote healthier sleep at night. On alternate days try to put him down for two sleeps again and move bedtime to a little later again (between 6 and 7pm). Keep at this until he shows you that he doesn’t need an afternoon sleep for a few days in a row. 2 ½ years to 5 years: Depending on your baby, he will drop the day sleep altogether at some stage. When this happens, the chances are that he is not ready to go through the day with no sleep, but has started to fight the day sleep or going to bed in the evening. Keep giving your toddler and preschooler a rest time after lunch, but accept that if he does not fall asleep within the hour, he has just had a rest and has dropped the day sleep for that day. Usually he will have the sleep the next day and drop it again a few days later. By Meg Faure

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