“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
I know that might sound crazy especially if you have had months or even years of broken sleep and half an hour naps might seem like a fantasy.
The baby might actually sleep too much. The truth of the matter is that 9 times out of 10, there is no such thing as too much daytime sleep. Some babies have different needs than other babies. Some will have a nice two-hour nap, some will do three, some will do fine on an hour. So, I want to relax a little bit around it that there is no magic amount of time that each baby needs. Read more
Today I want to talk a little bit about playing in the cot. If you are a veteran of the BabyWinkz Sleep Sense program, this might sound like something you’ve experienced. If you’re not, this might sound like the craziest thing ever. If you’ve got a child who’s not sleeping well, the idea that they might be playing in their cot is probably pretty crazy to you, but it happens. If you’ve got a child who can sleep well, can sleep independently, feel great about their cot, is happy to go there when it’s sleep time, you will find that there will be periods in your child’s life where they’re having a party in that cot all by themselves.
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.
Question of the week
Today our question comes from Susan and she’s wondering, “when does a baby change from two naps to one?” First of all, I’ll tell you around the age when this tends to occur. I find that a good average age for this, is somewhere around the 13th month.
Now, I have seen babies go as early as nine months, and I’ve also seen babies hang on to two naps a day, until, well into the 17th or 18th month. But if you are looking for an average, I would say 13 months. I’m going to share with you three signs to watch for. Read more
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.
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.
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.
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