Healthy Sleep Habits = Happy Child

5 Tips for Healthy Sleep Habit

5 Tips for Healthy Sleep Habit

Whatever the age of your baby or child, they need plenty of sleep to help them be healthy and happy. Parents need their sleep too, so establishing a regular bedtime routine is really important. Young babies tend to sleep when they need it, and as they get older they should develop their own regular sleep pattern, but problems can occur if your baby won’t sleep. Here are 5 tips for healthy sleep habits and a happy child – and they are equally relevant for younger babies and toddlers too.

1. Know when your child is tired

Often your baby or child won’t sleep simply because they have become overtired. Learn the signs that your child is beginning to tire – such as grumpiness, drowsiness or a lack of interest in people and toys. If your child regularly experiences difficulty getting to sleep try bringing bedtime forward as they may be too tired to settle.

2. Introduce a bedtime routine

By introducing a routine when your baby is quite small you can help them develop healthy sleep habits and learn when it’s bedtime and what to expect. Start with activities such as a bath, change of clothes, feed and cuddle. Some people find baby massage is a useful thing to try at bedtime, as it relaxes your baby and helps them to settle.  As your child gets older keep the routine but add extra activities, such as brushing their teeth, reading a story or singing a song. Wherever possible be consistent with the routine and the time your child goes to bed.

3. Create a relaxing environment

If you child or baby won’t sleep it could be because they are not comfortable. Keep the bedroom temperature cool (but not cold), close the curtains and turn off the lights – or use a dimmer switch or night light if your child doesn’t like the dark. In contrast, in the morning open the curtains to let plenty of light in, and keep the house warm and bright – this will help your baby learn the difference between night and day.

4. Make some noise!

Babies and children can sleep through noise, so don’t feel that your house needs to be silent at bedtime. Remember that your baby spent nine months in the womb hearing everything that was going on around them. You may even find that being able to hear the sounds of people moving around, the hoover or the TV can be reassuring as your child knows you are nearby if they need you. “Womb music”, lullabies or white noise can also help a baby to settle, while an older child may like to listen to nursery rhymes or a story before they sleep.

5. Be consistent – and realistic

There are as many different sleep methods as there are baby experts, be consistent and stick with it for at least a couple of weeks. Your baby needs to know what to expect from bedtime and if you chop and change their routine they are more likely to become unsettled, which will cause even greater issues with sleeping. Above all else, be realistic. All babies are different, so don’t measure your baby against another, and if something doesn’t seem to be working as well as you expected, don’t give up hope – your baby will settle into a good sleep pattern in their own time.

Follow these tips and you’ll help your child develop healthy sleep habits and be a happy child!

Help My Baby Won’t Sleep - Importance of Self Soothing

Happy Christmas

“My baby won’t sleep” is a typical comment from lots of parents. However, all babies are different and sometimes the unintentional behaviour of parents can make it difficult for babies to learn self soothing techniques. As babies get older they begin to self soothe at night – that is, they settle back to sleep on their own. In this article we’ll look at the importance of self soothing and offer some tips to help your baby learn to self soothe, giving you all a better night’s sleep.

The Importance of Self Soothing

For newborn babies the world is a scary place and our job is to reassure and comfort them. Tiny babies often fall asleep during a feed but when they wake they can be distressed and we soothe them back to sleep, perhaps by singing, cuddling or rocking them.

Around the age of three to six months many babies begin to self soothe. They still wake at night, perhaps several times, but they realise they are in familiar surroundings and settle quickly. It’s been found that self soothing babies generally sleep longer each night, and get longer unbroken periods of sleep too, so helping your baby to self soothe is really important when it comes to regulating baby sleep patterns.

However, when a baby cries at night and is immediately picked up and cuddled, they don’t get the chance to learn to self soothe, and this results in endless broken nights for parents.

Tips for self soothing

Self soothing isn’t something you can teach your baby but you can help them learn this important skill.

Regular bedtime routine

A regular bedtime routine is really important when trying to establish good baby sleep patterns. Be consistent with bedtime, and include three or four soothing activities, such as a bath, a feed, a cuddle and a story or song. Keep the lights in the bedroom low and place a special toy or comfort blanket in the cot at night. This will create a unique atmosphere that your baby will soon associate with bedtime.

Don’t rock your baby to sleep

Many parents enjoy the closeness of a cuddle and feed at bedtime, but if you always put your baby to bed once they are asleep they’ll never learn how to self soothe. Try putting baby to bed when they are still awake, being aware of their surroundings will help them to self soothe when they wake at night. Many babies grizzle when you put them to bed – don’t immediately lift them from the cot, but give them a few minutes to settle on their own.

Waking at night

If you know your baby is not hungry or distressed leave them for a few minutes to see if they will settle themselves. If you need to comfort them, trying patting them or stroking them rather than lifting them from the cot. If they learn to settle without being cuddled they will find it much easier to self soothe in future.

What to do if your baby won’t self soothe

Sometimes babies are overtired at bedtime and they find it impossible to settle on their own, so it’s worth bringing bedtime forward by half an hour to see if this makes a difference. But ultimately self soothing is just another stage of a baby’s development. Just as babies learn to crawl and walk at different ages, they learn to self soothe at different times too. If your baby is not able to self soothe now stop and try again in a week or even a month’s time.

As this is the last post before Christmas, I hope you, your family and friends have an enjoyable and festive day.

regards

Judy

Baby Won’t Sleep Cause of Sickness?

As parents we want to see our children healthy and happy. There is nothing that grieves you more than when your child is in pain and you can not do much to help. My daughter Chloe suffers from Asthma and has done since she was born, she has a constant cough and in the winter a continuous cough, which carries on throughout the night. The nights I have had to tend to her and give her medication, she takes it and always goes back to her cot with rarely any fuss. But it is upsetting to see her this way.

When your baby is ill, they are often fussy, uncomfortable and have difficulty sleeping. The regular night time routine will be flipped upside down and previous soothing techniques will not work. For example your baby who has started sleeping through the night may suddenly start waking up several times or a baby who loves the car may scream all the way home.

Colds, diarrhoea, fever are just a couple of illnesses that can be caused by harmless viruses and tend to go away on their own. Babies are born with some of their mother immunity to illness, further enhanced by breastfeeding; they are not immune to ever changing viruses. If you are unsure or worried about your baby’s health do not hesitate to check with your physician.

When a child is sick, sleep is a key ingredient for their recovery. When you have visited your physician / doctor when ill, after prescribing medication they always advise you to get plenty of rest and sleep, this same principle applies to children.

Here are some useful tips to help you deal and prepare with your infant during illness

1. Monitor

To understand when your baby is sick, you have to understand what they are like when well and that is what a parent knows best. No body understands their child more, than the parent or primary child career. To understand if your child is ill or if they are recovering, monitor daily their temperature, behaviour, temperament, intake of food and liquids, interactions with others and sleep patterns. These indicators are the best tell tell signs.

2. Medication

Depending upon the age of your infant, there are only a few over the counter medicines allowed, consult your physician and /or pharmacist to ensure you are prepared and fully stocked. Some parents prefer the “Ole Wife’s Tale” style of medicine which is the use of only natural products such as a teaspoon of honey. Do your research and consult a medical professional first, as these could be harmful if incorrect dosage is administered or the child is not the correct age to be consuming the ingredients.

3. Thermometer

There are various locations where the temperature of a child can be taken and internet research can give lots of different answers all citing to be the correct “average” temperature of your baby. As a general rule, a temperature of over 37.5 (99.5F) is a fever. The word “fever” can scare and petrify the hearts of any parent. It means “an elevation of body temperature above the normal and is a sign of illness,” such as viral, bacterial or other type of infection. A fever is not an illness on its own.

There are now various thermometers available on the market and can be very baffling.

Digital thermometers – Digital thermometers are quick to use, accurate and can be used under the armpit, mouth or rectum.

Ear (or tympanic) thermometers – They are put in the child’s ear and can be very annoying and unpleasant for the child.

Digital pacifier/dummy – This is less irritating than an ear or rectal thermometer, it is fast, convenient and non-invasive. It can also be pleasant if the child is used to a dummy.

 Strip-type thermometers – Strip-type thermometers, which you hold on your child’s forehead, are not an accurate way of taking their temperature. They show the temperature of the skin, not the body.

Infrared thermometer – No contact thermometers. The laser is pointed at the child’s forehead and provides accurate reading on a digital screen. It is quick, accurate and can be used on a fidgeting child.

Mercury-in-glass thermometers – Mercury-in-glass thermometers haven’t been used for some years. They can break, releasing small shards of glass and highly poisonous mercury.

4. Room temperature

The ideal room temperature is 16-20ºC.  18ºC (65ºF) is perfect. An infant sleeping in a room that is too hot has an increased risk of Cot Death and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It can be very difficult to estimate the room temperature, so use a room thermometer in the rooms where baby sleeps and plays is best. To help cool a room, open a window and close the curtains or use a fan, but do not place it directly onto your baby.

Use sleepwear for babies and not t-shirts or other daytime clothing, as baby sleepwear should be fire-retardant. They should never be sweating or hot to the touch, especially in the hands. If you use blankets, loose or soft bedding, tuck it snugly along the sides of the mattress. But not any higher than chest level and a baby’s face should never be covered during sleep. Be sure that you do not tuck blankets so tightly that the baby cannot move. The most appropriate covering is a “Baby Sleep Bag,” they are wearable blankets with armholes and neck openings.  They help the baby stay at the right temperature through the night without the problem of traditional blankets and sheets being kicked off or getting tangled up.  There are various sizes according to your child’s age, weight and length. Available in various designs and Tog ratings (describes the level of warmth in a product) and can be worn throughout the year.

5. Food and drink

A child may not have much of an appetite when sick, so increase their fluid intake to prevent dehydration and constipation. Avoid undiluted sugary drinks such as juice and carbonated drinks, as these can worsen digestive illnesses. Keeping your baby hydrated is very important as dehydration can cause complications and may result in hospitalisation. Monitor for decrease in urine production, lack of tears, dryness in the mouth and sunken eyes as these are indicators of dehydration.

Once your child has started to recover return to the bed time sleep routine, it is a benefit for the whole family. Continue to monitor your child, give them medication as and when needed and watch their temperature. Every child needs consistency, rules and expectations to live by, so they know what is expected of them on a daily basis. They will grow learning responsibility and understand consequences, therefore less likely to push boundaries.

Baby Sleep Routine - Stress free holiday shopping - Baby Winkz Blog

Stress free holiday shopping

We’ve all seen those mothers with children in tow, ready to pull their hair out with one more grumpy temper tantrum. Holiday shopping is stressful enough without having to bring your baby along for the ride. Whilst you can cajole and threaten toddlers and older children, your newborn or infant simply can’t understand the situation. For those who can’t get a carer to sit with their child, here are five tips to get you through the experience.

1.  Prepare to Shop!

Preparation involves a basic understanding of your child’s needs. Babies get cranky when those needs aren’t met. They need food, a clean nappy, attention and entertainment. Shopping makes it difficult for parents to address these needs adequately. So the first rule of thumb is to plan for extra time to get your shopping done. You’ll need to bring along all the necessities for your infant: bottles and food, changing supplies, toys and some type of carrier. Keep in mind it will be difficult to warm food and bottles whilst out, but don’t be afraid to approach food shops with a request for a large glass of hot water.

2.  To Carry or Not to Carry?

Many parents love the baby slings that allow them to keep baby close to their hearts. Slings also help soothe your infant amid crowds, loud noises and bright lights. Unfortunately, they aren’t always the best choice for shoppers. Remember, if you are making numerous purchases, it may be much more convenient to bring along a stroller to free up your hands from both your baby and your packages if you want to continue shopping more easily. Otherwise, you may want to bring the other parent with you to act as baby carrier.

3.  Relax

Going into the shopping experience under stress will set a bad tone for your baby. He or she will pick up on your attitude and likely mimic it back to you, adding to the stress. Holiday shopping should be a fun time and you want your baby to think of it as an exciting and pleasurable outing, too. If things get too hectic, have a sit on a bench and take some time out to relax and enjoy some time with your infant.

4.  Have a List

Knowing what you want before you head out saves a lot of time and stress whilst shopping with your baby. If you don’t have a clue what to buy, you can inadvertently become frustrated and pass that feeling onto your baby. You don’t have to have all items filled in, but knowing which stores to visit will help you maintain your holiday sanity.

5.  Baby Sleep Time

Some babies will do well sleeping in either a sling or a stroller, despite all the activity around them. However, there may come a moment when you just know your baby is done, even when you are not. At that point, it’s best to go with your baby’s needs and put off shopping for another day. If shopping significantly throws off your baby’s nap time and he or she refuses to sleep, it’s time to go home, put your feet up and start wrapping presents while your baby gets a good, sound nap.