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.

Baby Sleep Routine & Christmas Travel - Baby Winkz Blog

Are you travelling with your baby this Christmas?

Depending on the nature of your baby, travelling by car is either a blessing or a curse. Some babies do well during holiday travel and others do not. The key to successful Christmas travel with your baby is to plan ahead.

Assessing Baby’s Travel Needs

Does a car ride lull your baby to sleep or does it increase irritability? Plan to bring along comforting and entertaining items to both keep your baby busy and get them to sleep. You will likely need to make frequent stops along the way for feeding and changing, and perhaps just to get out and walk around. For toddlers, be prepared to interact and entertain.

Planning the Trip for Baby’s Sleep Schedule

Planning around your baby’s sleep schedule is a must. For babies who don’t travel well, you may want to start your journey before a long sleep period. You also want to take care not to let babies who are easily lulled to oversleep on the journey, lest their sleep routines are thrown off. It may seem like a blessing if baby sleeps the entire way, but you may pay later when baby wants to be awake when you need to sleep.

Addressing Baby Comfort During Travel

Again, take frequent breaks along the way for feeding, changing and attention. One parent may want to travel in the back seat with baby during waking periods to keep him or her entertained. If you have older children travelling as well, they may be able to keep baby entertained while you focus on directions, driving and the trip itself.

Dress your baby for the car’s interior climate. The back seat gets less access to heat than the front, and your baby will likely need to be dressed slightly more heavily because of that. Avoid the urge to roll down windows, as the airflow may be too much for your baby to handle. Layer your baby so that you can add or subtract blankets as the car warms. Don’t forget the baby window shades to keep the sun out of their eyes!

Entertaining Baby During Christmas Travel

It’s not always easy to keep your baby entertained during holiday travel. It’s a small space and they are confined to their car seat whilst on the road. Keep a bag of toys handy and take them out one at a time, letting baby play with each until bored. Make sure you are playing baby-friendly music or talking to your baby during awake times. Let them also enjoy the scenery quietly for a while if it interests them.

You can also tape bright pictures on the back of the seat your baby is facing or hang lightweight toys from the ceiling of the car with safety pins. Make sure baby cannot pull them down and tear the upholstery and get a hold of the pin.

If you suspect the car ride will be more than your baby can handle comfortably, think about booking a flight. While flying has its own baby issues, the journey is a fraction of the travel time required on the road.

When and how much napping should infants, toddlers & preschoolers have?

Everyone knows that the older a child gets, the fewer naps he or she needs. Yet, few really are aware of just how much sleep a child needs. Additionally, as parents we aim to have our children sleep to our own schedule, which may or may not fit your child’s. Here is some guidance for parents on napping and sleep requirements for children of various ages.

Newborn Sleep (1-2 months)

Newborns seem to sleep more than they are awake. And it seems they like to wake in the middle of the night. This is because unlike adults and older children, a newborn’s sleep cycle operates not on daylight, but on their own internal needs: feeding, changing and love. Newborns actually sleep between 10 ½ and 18 hours per day. They wake for short periods of 1-3 hours only. As parents, we can begin to hope for a more regular sleep routine by exposing our newborns to light, activity and noise during the daytime, and then providing a dimmer, quieter environment during the evenings. However, don’t get your hopes up that they will be sleeping through the night by the end of two months.

Infant Sleep (3-11 months)

Infants sleep between 9 and 12 hours at night and take two naps during the day lasting around and hour to two hours. This is an exciting time for parents, as they finally get some much deserved sleep!

But don’t enable bad infant sleeping habits. A baby needs to learn how to fall asleep on their own, so put them to bed awake. This reduces the incidents of crying at night, as they learn to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own. It is also important that you develop and adhere to consistent sleeping and napping schedules over this period of time, especially at bedtime. Whether it’s a warm lavender bath or music before bed, you want to develop triggers that cue baby to sleep.

Toddler Sleep (1-3 years)

Just when you thought you had the whole sleep issue conquered, suddenly your infant becomes a toddler and the schedule starts breaking down. Toddlers need 12-14 hours of sleep per day, but their nap times will decrease from 2 nap periods to one at around 18 months. This is the time when children begin to develop a resistance to going to bed or taking naps. Nightmares and night terrors may also develop during this time.

Again, consistency and routine are key. As a parent, you will have to set behavioural limits and enforce them. Communication is important, as toddlers develop these skills quickly at this age. Reassure your child without giving into their insecurities. A blanket or a stuffed animal can help them feel secure when you’re not in the room.

Preschooler Sleep (3-5 years)

By this time, children need much less sleep: 11-13 hours each night and no naps after they reach five years old. Preschoolers have many of the same problems as toddlers: resistance to sleeping, nightmares and may even develop sleepwalking habits. Keep a regular preschool sleep routine, especially as they approach school age. Keep in mind they may need to get up earlier and experience a need to nap again if they enter preschool. A return to naps should be temporary and many preschools incorporate ‘quiet time’ into the daily schedule.

Travelling with a baby or child can present some tough challenges for parents. This is especially true when it comes to adjusting to new sleep patterns. Disruptions to your child’s sleep cycle can occur regardless of whether you cross time zones, as many parents encourage sleep during the travel itself, throwing their schedule off. Here are a few tips for managing sleep difficulties during your holiday travels.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Regardless of where you are going, how long you will be gone or how you are going to get there, preparation is key. One of the first things you need to do is call airlines and hotels (if appropriate) to find out their child travel policies. Questions to ask include:

  • Can you board early?
  • Are infant/toddler care seats allowed?
  • Is there a bassinet or other infant sleep accommodations?
  • Is the flight or train booked? (You may request to be put next to an empty seat if not)

Another key to preparing is to consider how long it will take to get to your destination and how long you will be there. You can never truly ‘pack light’ when traveling with a child, but being gone for a few days will certainly require less packing than being gone for a month. Regardless of how you travel, getting into luggage will not be easy. You want to keep a bag of essentials close at hand. Your bag should include:

  • Nappies and wipes
  • Small bag of toys and/or a mini DVD player
  • Snacks, food and drink
  • Change of clothes (at least one; more for an infant)
  • Blankets and perhaps a pillow

Travel Sleep Solutions – The Journey

The big question is whether you allow or encourage your child to sleep during your travels. Whilst a sleeping child on an airplane may seem like a godsend for parents and passengers alike, it can ultimately wreak havoc upon reaching your destination. Some things to consider:

  • How long it will take to get there
  • How long you will be staying
  • Whether you are crossing time zones

If your travel time is long, napping and sleep are inevitable. This is especially true if your child is lulled to sleep by motion, as many are. You may not be able to avoid it. Consider your time of arrival: if you are arriving late at night, a child who has spent the day sleeping (off schedule) will be difficult to manage. Be prepared to entertain your child during the trip. Play games, interact and talk – even if you are travelling with an infant. Babies, toddlers and preschool children all have different activity and sleep needs. The best course – whenever possible – is to stick to regular sleeping cycles and nap patterns.

Jumping time zones presents an extra challenge and needs additional consideration. A dual time watch can help you monitor home time and destination time, allowing you to set up a schedule to help your child adjust his or her sleep patterns during the trip. Incremental adjustments are best, but not always possible.

Travel Sleep Solutions – The Destination

Many children have difficulty adjusting their sleep cycles whilst on holiday for the simple fact that they are in unfamiliar surroundings. Surrounding them with familiar items and keeping on schedule as much as possible minimises the disruption. Take your own infant crib or carrier sheets and your child’s favourite toys – especially those they associate with sleep. Read the same books at night and sing the same songs.

If you have to bunk up with an older child, make sure you explain that it is only temporary and that upon arriving back at home, they will be expected to sleep on their own again. Do this positively and offer a small reward for them to return to sleeping on their own – gold stars, a new book and a lot of praise are good.

Travelling with baby need not be a traumatic experience for either parent or child. Preparing adequately before your journey, asking the right questions and bringing along familiar items can significantly reduce the impact of travel on your children’s schedule and sleep patterns.

 

Bonfire Night : Babies and Sleep During the Celebration - Baby Winkz Blog Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night, as we normally know it, is a great celebration for adults and children alike. Unfortunately, many parents are ready to put their children to bed long before the revelry is over. Here are a few tips on how to enjoy the event and keep your baby’s schedule on track.

Enjoy the Bonfire Night Celebration Safely

There are a number of important baby safety considerations to keep in mind if you plan on getting out to enjoy the fireworks. There are two primary issues with fireworks: smoke and noise. The smoke from fireworks and bonfires not only can be immediately toxic but can cause respiratory problems for days after. Be sure to keep your little ones away from the smoke. This will also help reduce the risk of injury from sparks and fire. Keep in mind that even sparklers are dangerous and should never be given to children under age five. Get educated on important sparkler safety tips as well.

If you are attending fireworks, be sure to provide ear protection, even if you are seated away from the worst of the noise. Noises louder than 80dB can harm hearing development in young children and babies. Fireworks register at 140dB and can cause permanent hearing loss.[1] Proper protection for your children includes earmuffs but not earplugs. Not only are plugs damaging to ear canals, they can be a choking hazard.

Don’t forget to keep baby warm. Layering works best. Make sure hands and feet are not neglected. Remember that temperatures change quickly this time of year and even if the evening starts out warm or slightly cool, it will quickly decline as the evening goes on.

Bonfire Night Bedtimes for Children and Babies

Whether at home or about, Bonfire Night often presents bedtime challenges for parents and disrupt baby routines and sleep patterns. Fireworks are the main culprit, due to the noise that goes on late into the night. Getting babies to sleep on this night can be very trying for parents.

If you are out and about, be sure that you have a place where baby can sleep away from the worst of the noise from the crowds and fireworks. Take turns with your partner staying with baby in the car or, if you are with friends and family, inside in a quiet room. Babies and toddlers may react to the noise with fear or panic. Be calm and reassuring with your child. A familiar voice and presence is more helpful than an outside care provider in these circumstances.

A late nap can help with babies and children who will be staying up past normal bedtimes to celebrate. It’s important, however, not to force children to stay awake. Always have a back-up plan for tired or grumpy children or those who become afraid.

If you are at home and plan to forego the festivities, you can still give your baby a good night’s sleep with ear protection. Depending on the noise level and activity in your neighbourhood, a knit cap may be all that is needed to do the trick. For those with noisy surroundings, try nursing pads over the ears or cotton wads in the outer ear secured by a cap or bonnet. This will help protect against the worst of the noise. You may even consider relocating your child’s crib for the evening to a room away from the noisiest of the festivities.

Bonfire Night can be a fun and exciting time for the entire family. You can keep the disturbances to baby sleep patterns and baby schedules to a minimum with a just a little thought and preparation. Getting babies to sleep need not be overly difficult, and baby’s bedtime can stay on track if you think ahead.

Fantasy and Reality Children Can Not Tell the Difference

Halloween will be celebrated very soon, October 31. During this time of year it’s up to parents, caregivers, friends and family to keep Bogeyman / Boogieman at bay from young children.

Not many people know why we dress up every Halloween and terrify each other. Let me explain, Halloween originates from pagan festivals held annually around the end of October in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Many people believed that during this time, the spirits of the dead would come ‘alive’ and walk among the living. They thought in order to avoid being harmed, it was important to dress up in costumes to “blend in” with the spirits or mimic them.

If your child under 7 years of age is afraid of people wandering the streets dressed as ghosts and goblins.  Do not worry, you are not alone. Up until this age, their brains can not distinguish between fantasy and reality. They have not yet developed Cognitive Developmental reasoning; therefore they can not grasp concrete logic or mentally manipulate information. So if they see a person in costume dressed as a monster, they see a monster not the person.

When your child has experienced Halloween and the outcome of it was frightening and scary for them. The likely result at bedtime will be a nightmare, which are unpleasant and terrifying dreams. Nightmares occur during the second half of a night’s sleep, when REM intervals are longer. (REM known as Rapid Eye Movement because the eyes are rapidly moving beneath closed eyelids.) As soon as your child wakes they can remember and describe the dream, so it is understandable for them to call out for comfort, want to sleep in your room or need an object of affection which makes them feel safe.

 

How do I handle my child’s nightmare?

From personal experience, last year Halloween (October 2011), my husband answered the door to trick or treat children who were dressed up as ghosts and scary monsters. Unfortunately our Daughter was behind him and saw them, she was very frightened and witnessed this just before her bedtime. So you imagine what her night was like! Everyday for the remainder of the week she would run away and hide every time the door bell rang.

 

Nightmares are scary and are very uncomfortable for children, but they preventable. After a nightmare your child may or may not go back to sleep easily depending on their age and how scary the dream was. To help them relax and associate bedtime with safety and comfort, please follow the advice I used for my own daughter:

 

  • 2 Hours before bedtime – Do not let your child watch, read, listen or participate in activities which will disturb them or get them over excited, as this will form the basis for their night’s sleep.
  • Preparation for bed – Ensure your child is comfortable and relaxed, not highly stimulated. Talk about pleasurable and happy topics such as holidays or things they like to do. As part of my bedtime routine with my daughter, I twirl like a fairy and sprinkle magic fairy dust all over her. This reassures her and lets her feel protected against her nightmares.
  • After a nightmare – Listen to what your child has to say when they explain the dream and tell you about the monsters. Acknowledge their fears let them know you believe and trust them. Console and comfort your child, make them feel safe by telling them something like “the monsters have gone away now, they are on holiday.” If necessary check the wardrobe and under the bed, let them know their room is clear and harmless to sleep in.

 

Night Terrors

Night Terrors are very different from Nightmares.  Every child’s experience of a night terror differs, but usually they can not be woken from sleep, they may scream, thrash about, sit bolt up right in bed, sweat, act upset and may not recognise you when trying to comfort them. Do not fret or worry, so long as your child is in a physically safe environment they are not in any danger or harm and will not have any memory of their behaviour the next morning. It is far more frightening to witness, as the parent or care provider, you are unable to help or stop what seems like torment for your child.

Night terrors occur when a child’s sleep transitions from the deepest phase of (non-REM) sleep to lighter (REM) sleep, a phase where dreams occur. Between sleep cycles your child wake’s briefly, then usually self settles and goes back to sleep. The night terror is when their mind is trying to go back to sleep, but part of their mind is trying to wake up, both trying to win.

The reasons or triggers for night terrors can be due to:

  • Over tired
  • Fatigued
  • Illness
  • Reaction to new medication
  • Excitement
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeping in a new environment or away from home

How do I handle my child’s night terror?

  • Prior to bed time – Same as the nightmare preparations, ensure your child is relaxed and stress reduced to minimum.
  • Bedtime – Your child should not be over tired, fatigued or have stayed up to late.
  • During/After the night terror – Do not try and wake your child, as it can be distressing for you when they remain in the same state. If you are able to awaken your child, they are likely to be disoriented and confused, therefore taking longer to settle down and go back to sleep.
  • Repetitive night terror – If the night terrors occur frequently and at the same time every night, you may find that waking your child breaks the cycle. This can disrupt their sleep pattern enough to stop the attacks without affecting sleep quality.

For most children, nightmares and night terrors happen only now and then so there is no cause for concern. If you need further help, I encourage you to download my comprehensive guide “The Five Steps To Getting Your Baby To Sleep Through The Night!” You can also contact me.

On Sunday 28 October, 02:00am, clocks go backwards by 1 hour, so we get an extra hours sleep…supposedly. Changing the clocks twice a year, has an affect on us all and can increase our sleep debt. It it especially noticeable in babies, toddlers and young children as they tend to have a structured sleep pattern, going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning.

Split The Difference Routine

Many of you have worked extremely hard to get your baby to sleep through the night. Any disruption to baby’s sleep pattern will be temporary and they will adapt to the new time. The best way to handle them is to use the “Split The Difference” routine.

  1. Leave the clocks alone on Saturday night! So it’s not psychologically upsetting for you and your family that a big change is underway. Just get up at your usual time and start the day. After your breakfast go around and change the clocks. Everyone will be more relaxed.
  2. Morning / Afternoon Nap – Keep the same napping frequency but adjust it by 30 minutes for 3 days after the time change. For example if morning nap is 9:30am, you adjust this to 9:00am. If an afternoon nap is 1:00pm you adjust this to 12:30pm.
  3. Milk and food – Adjust these accordingly.
  4. Bedtime sleep – Adjust this also by 30 minutes for 3 days after the time change. For example if bedtime sleep is 7:00pm, then put your child to sleep at 6:30pm.
  5. This will mean that your baby is going to bed a little earlier or sooner than the normal wait between sleeps, but again it’s not so much so that it’s going to interfere with their schedule too much. It may take your baby a bit more time to fall asleep as he/she may not be as tired, but in a week’s time he/she will be back on track again.
  6. If you have children over the age of two, you can put a digital clock in the room and put a piece of tape over the minute numerals, so that they can see if it is 6:00pm or 7:00pm, but they cannot see the minutes, which often confuses toddlers. I would just set the clock forward half an hour so that at 6:30pm, it reads 7:00pm and I would let them get up a little earlier than normal, knowing that by the end of the week, they would be back on track and sleep until their normal wakeup time.
  7. If you are dealing with a baby, you cannot do that. Do not rush in as soon as you hear your baby waking up, because you do not want to send a message that getting up at 6:00am is acceptable now. So your baby normally wakes at 7:00am, but is now up at 6:00am, you will wait till ten after on the first day, and then twenty after the next, then 6:30am the next day and, by the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and waking up at their usual hour.
  8. On the 4th night, get in line with the new time. So your baby is having morning naps, afternoon naps and bedtime sleep at their usual times.

Please do not worry if your child wakes up at the old time in the morning, it can take up to a week to two weeks to establish a new sleep pattern. After all the hard work you have put in, do not fall back in to bad habits. Such as letting your child sleep in bed with you, giving them a dummy or feeding them milk, this will work in short term but will cause problems in the long term.

I would love to hear your feedback regarding your sleep routine