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
Today I want to give you some tips for handling sickness so that you don’t derail all your progress. There’s a few things that you do need to keep in mind.
The first is your baby is going to wake in the night. Anyone who is ill does not sleep as well as they normally do. We tend to have two, five, even more nighttime wake-ups.
It’s realistic to expect that your sick child is going to have some night wake-ups. How you handle those wake-ups will make a big difference. Read more
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.
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. 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.
October is SIDS Awareness Month, it is important to help create widespread exposure about SIDS. As safe baby sleep habits are just as important as healthy sleep habits, detailed in this article are facts about with SIDS facts, risk factors and actions to reduce the risk.
What is SIDS?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, commonly known as SIDS, is the leading cause of death in infants and children age one month to one year. Despite advances in research, the cause of SIDS is still not thoroughly understood. The diagnosis is given to children under one year who die in their sleep without any other known cause. Research shows there is a strong correlation to breathing and oxygen levels during the sleep cycle.
While there is no way to prevent SIDS, there are ways parents can reduce the risk of infant death. Infants who are placed to sleep on their backs are at a much lower risk for SIDS than those placed on their stomachs. Babies sleeping on their backs are in less danger of experiencing restricted air flow.
The crib itself should also be free of anything that might unintentionally obstruct breathing. For instance, stuffed animals and pillows should be left outside of the sleeping environment. Mattresses should be firm and sheets tight. Crib bumpers, while cute, can also pose a risk to your baby.
Your baby’s comfort is also important. Many parents fret over whether their infant is warm enough during sleep and like to pile on blankets that not only pose a danger for restricted oxygen flow, but also make the baby too warm. There are various authorities that state the ideal room temperature for safe sleep is between 18.3 and 21.1 degrees Celsius. In fact, placing a fan in the room may decrease your infant’s risk of SIDS by 72%.
Outside the Crib
There are several other ways you can reduce the risk of sudden infant death as a result of SIDS. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to suffer from SIDS. Good prenatal care is also important and may play a role in reducing risk further.
Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are three times more likely to have infants that die from SIDS. Even passive smoke exposure can double your infant’s chances of death. The top priority is to quit smoking if at all possible. At the very least, refrain from smoking in your home and car, or anywhere near your infant.
Finally, it is vital that all caregivers be aware of the risk of SIDS and understand the necessities of safe infant sleeping. Relatives and daycare providers should all practice safe sleeping procedures:
- Baby should sleep on his or her back
- No smoking in the home, car or immediate area
- No loose sheets, stuffed animals, pillows or blankets in the crib
- Keep baby comfortable and not too warm
- Use a fan in the room if available
Following these important tips can significantly reduce your infant’s risk of suffering from SIDS and make your time with your baby a less worrisome experience.
Early Morning Wakes
It’s that time of the year when early morning wakes seem to be an issue for most parents
I’m not an early morning person!
And for a person who enjoys their lie ins on the weekends, and add a baby who wants to
wake up for the day at 5 a.m, the two don’t match and sets everyone off to a bad start of the day!
That’s why I wanted to give you some tips on eliminating and dealing with early morning wakes:
Here they are:
1.) Make sure your child is not too hot or too cold and is wearing the appropriate clothes dependent on what the temperature is. Getting too hot or too cold will wake cause discomfort and result in a child waking.
2.) Get black out blinds and ensure the room is dark, even a little ray of light could cause a child to wake early
3.) Decide on a realistic time for you to start your day,
keeping in mind that 90% of babies will probably wake up
sometime between 6 and 7 a.m. (I personally decided that 6:30
a.m. was the earliest I could stand to get up.)
4.) If your child wakes up BEFORE you’re ready to start your
day treat it is a night wake.
I am passionate about helping families get the sleep they need to be happy and healthy. I am now a proud mum of two girls exactly a year apart in age.
– Judy Clark