If there’s anything that can send your child’s sleep off the rails, if there’s an arch-enemy for sleep training, it is, without a doubt, the dreaded condition of overtiredness.

Kids, as with all people, have a natural rhythm when it comes to sleep. Our bodies secrete hormones to keep us up and running during the day, and different ones to help us rest at night. They’re dependant on a variety of factors, but timing is the most prevalent.

So what happens when your little one stays awake past the time when these natural cues to sleep are activated? Well, the body assumes there’s a reason that it hasn’t been allowed to get to sleep, assumes there’s a need to stay awake, and fires up those daytime hormones again.

And that’s when the trouble starts.

Because once those signals to stay awake get fired up, they’re tough to shut down, and baby’s already tired. So less sleep leads to more daytime hormones, and the cycle perpetuates itself.

So the best way to prevent this situation is to get baby to sleep before they get past that window of opportunity. But babies, especially newborns, are a little bit cryptic when it comes to signalling when they’re ready for bed. However, if you know what to look for, it can work wonders in assessing the right time to put baby down.

There are sleepy signs for you to look out for

Some good signs to watch for include tugging at their ears, or rubbing their eyes and nose, arching their back, and turning their face into your chest.

Now, those are all strong signs that your baby’s ready for bed, but they’re also easily mistaken for signs that your baby’s hungry, so it’s best to combine your keen eye for signals with a keen eye on the clock.

Newborns sleep a lot

Newborns can usually only handle about an hour of awake time in a stretch, so make a note of the time when they wake up and set a reminder or make a mental note that they need to be headed down for a nap around 60 short minutes after that.

They’ll be able to stay awake for longer stretches as they get older, but even toddlers should only be awake for around an hour and a half to two hours at a time, so stay aware of the schedule and error on the side of more sleep, not less.

Toddler sleepy signs to look out for

They have their own quirky little habit when they get overtired. The sudden influx of those daytime hormones can actually make them quite manic, so they might seem to be super happy and giggly for a while; just the opposite of what you would expect from a child who needs to get to bed. But you’ll see before long that their mood will take a big shift into crankiness, and then you’ve probably got a bedtime battle on your hands.

The more sleep, the better

I know that this schedule can sound a little rigid for parents who aren’t used to it. After all, an hour at a time is barely enough time to get a diaper changed, a feed in, and a little bit of playtime before baby’s got to get back into their crib and down for another nap. But I can assure you, no client I’ve ever worked with has ever come back to me after implementing it and said, “I have a feeling that baby’s getting too much sleep.”

So give it a try for a couple of weeks and see how it works. I can almost guarantee you’ll be seeing a happier baby

 

 

 

Is It Too Noisy For Your Baby To Sleep?This week’s question is from Tammy. She writes:

“My in-laws are coming to visit for a week and are under the impression that babies will sleep through anything and that they just need to “get used to” the noise. What are your thoughts on this issue? Is it possible for it to be too noisy for baby?” Read more

When Should I Stop Swaddling My Baby?This week’s question comes from Victoria:

“At what age should I stop swaddling my baby? It is the only way she will fall asleep and stay asleep.”

That is a great question Victoria and it can be a tricky one because I recommend that people swaddle newborns. I think it’s a great tool.

Read more

My Baby Won't Sleep Anywhere but His Cot!Today I want to talk a little bit about getting your baby to sleep somewhere other than their cot. I get emails from parents a lot of times saying, “My baby sleeps so well on The Sleep Sense Program. She takes great naps in her cot, but she really won’t sleep anywhere else.” Read more

Will Putting Cereal In My Babys Bottle help Her Sleep“Cereal in a bottle will help baby to sleep better!

I hear that all the time. I know it’s an old wives’ tale. Your grandmother probably told you, “Oh, put cereal in a bottle with breast milk or the formula, and this baby will sleep all night.” The truth is that is not true.

You want to be very careful and cautious about when you introduce solids to your baby. There’s a lot of evidence that suggests starting solids too early can lead to some allergies in the future. Read more

Sleep Training Twins who Share a RoomThis week’s question comes from Trina and she writes:

I have boy twins who share a room but not the same cot. They are six months old and they wake up two to four times a night. I just do not know what to do. I feel like I cannot let them cry because one is going to wake up the other one.” Read more

BabyWinkz Consultancy - Mother & Baby Magazine - toddler nap

Softly softly approach to a toddler nap

In the May Edition of Mother and Baby parenting magazine, hear two sides of the argument should I drop my toddler nap at 2 years old? My stance is “NO – Children who nap when they need to are much happier”. The other side is “YES – Unnecessary daytime napping can eventually lead to tantrums”.

I take the gentle approach to sleep training, I want my clients to be comfortable about the steps they are going to take in their child’s life. Because we both want what is best for your child with as little stress involved as possible. Read my comments below.

 

 

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BabyWinkz Consultancy - Clocks go forward March 2015Spring forward

When we “spring forward,” on the 29th March 2015, it means the clocks go forward an hour, therefore the start of British Summer Time (BST). Ultimately it means one hour less sleep for you, parents (boo!). I think daylight savings wreaks havoc on our sleep schedules and can increase sleep debt in both kids and adults. There is actually an increase in traffic accidents the day after daylight savings, which just goes to show that it’s hard on people. We are already a sleep-deprived nation, so losing that extra hour only makes it worse (and more dangerous). Read more

Fired Up

Do you want to know something that really gets me fired up?

It’s when Mums (either online or in real life) are talking sleep, and I hear comments like this:

“You should just enjoy getting up to nurse all night – someday he’ll be all grown up and you’ll miss it.”

Or…

“You were the one who decided to have children. Did you REALLY think you’d be getting a full night’s sleep for the next few years?”

Or my all-time favorite…

“Well, you’d better learn to live with it!”

My fingers are starting to burn just writing about this, so I’m going to “fire back” with my top three myths about teaching your baby to sleep well: Read more

When leaving your baby with someone else – Preparation is key!

When you leave your baby with family and friends, the stress of going out and having to prepare all the things that you use on a day to day basis can put you off completely, but as a parent, it’s important that you do try and get a break occasionally. There are so many things that you need to consider but if you plan well you’ll be able to leave your child with someone responsible and be sure that your babysitter has everything they need to hand.  It is worth grouping items into different categories to ensure that you haven’t forgotten anything, so here are some handy tips to make sure you can enjoy yourself without forgetting something essential. Read more