Babies

Newborn Sleep Tips

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     You are a new parent and are having trouble with sleep. Your not alone, sleepless nights in the first few months are normal but there are a few ways you can help create a better routine for your baby. I don’t generally start working with families until their little one is at least 4 months (adjusted). This is when babies will start to string sleep cycles together as weight gain has been established and risk of SIDS has started to reduce.

Here are some Tips:

  • Work on Healthy Sleep Habits
  • Keep wake times short those under 4 months …. (45 minutes to 1.15 hours) 
  • Put baby to sleep awake but drowsy
  • Try to limit the feeding to sleep. Move the last feeding before bedtime to earlier in the bedtime routine. 
  • Create short routines throughout the day. Wake, eat, play. This creates a pattern that you will find easy to reproduce over and over again.
  • Around 2 months start to create “day and night distinction".
    • Day (7 am - 7 pm) happy cheerful voice, lots of light, change to daytime outfit (this can just be clean Pj’s)
    • Night (7 pm - 7 am) calm, dark, quiet.
  • Start a short soothing bedtime/nap time routine. This is more for the parents at this  stage but helps create the relaxed environment conducive to sleep.
  • Asking for help at night is okay. Split the night and take shifts. You wake to feed and your partner deals with the other waking but do what works for your family.
  • New borns will typically sleep 16 - 17 hours in a 24 hour period.

It’s really hard with young babies not to compare your child's sleep with others the same age, live your reality and don't feel unnecessary pressure to get your baby to sleep through the night.  Once your baby reaches 4 - 6 months they should be able to get 8-12 hours stretches. Sleep is a really big deal for most new parents. Take the time and ask for help when you feel ready.  

I'm always happy to help 

Happy Sleep

Alison

 

How to Ease Children into the Fall Time Change

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November 5, 2017 at 2:00am, is the end of daylight savings and the joyous day of the year that you get an next hour of sleep…. Do you remember those days? They are a distant memory … Just like sleep, sleeping past 7am on the weekend for me.

The time change happens twice a year. If not prepared it can mess with everyone's sleep, especially childrens. We work so hard to get our children good quality sleep (night time and naps) along with a good routines. Changing sleep patterns, even by an hour can create challenges for your children.  

Adults usually take 1 day per hour of change while children can take a couple of weeks.  Even if it takes that long remember you will slowly get back into the routine.

The time change affects much more than just sleep. Our internal clocks take a few days to make the adjustments because our bodies are so complex. Sleep has a role in appetite, drive for rest, moods, emotions, immune system, stress, memory, learning and the list goes on.

#1 - Be prepared -understanding the complexity of sleep and creating a plan to systematically guide your children through this time change will help everyone. It will take a little work, but once they adjust they will be back to normal sleep patterns.

#2 - Learn from our children's past (if applicable) -  How have your kids adjusted to time changes? Have you tried to handle it cold turkey and run into problems? Have you had success with a gradual transition? If something has worked for your child this is a great starting point.  Building on your past experiences can help you create a plan for this year.

#3 - Use your current routine Your current sleep routine provides sleep cues for your children and helps them know it’s time to relax and sleep. Continue to use what they know and understand.

#4 - Give yourself time to make the time change adjustment A week to 3 days will help to make the change gradually and thus have less of an impact on your day to day life. See the examples at the end of this post.

#5 - Everyone is different Every child is different. Some kids are hardly bothered by the time change while other kids can be thrown for days. Try not to plan very busy days or important activities. Relax and let them adjust.  Follow your kids’ lead and watch for the sleep signs. (extra cranky and rubbing eyes).

#6 - Have a plan Just like sleep training by having a plan you have an increased chance of staying on track. You know what to expect with early wakings and when naps should be each day. Being organized really helps everyone adjust to make this a straightforward transition.

Conclusion
Be prepared, have a plan, start early, relax and continue to believe that you will get through the transition.

If you miss the boat entirely and all hell breaks loose for your family you can slowly adjust bedtimes after the time change.  The time change can be hard on everyone.

I’m always here to help. Feel free to leave a question on my Facebook page @cheekysleeper or email me at alison@cheekysleeper.com

xx Alison
 

Gradual bedtimes the week leading up to a time change to allow for a gradual introduction of adjusting bedtime.

Sunday Bedtime : 7:00 pm
Monday Bedtime : 6:50 pm
Tuesday Bedtime : 6:40 pm
Wednesday Bedtime : 6:30 pm
Thursday Bedtime : 6:20 pm
Friday Bedtime : 6:10 pm
Saturday Bedtime : 6:00 pm
Sunday Bedtime : 7:00 pm

*All naps and wake ups should be adjust approximately 10 minutes.
** If you start on Wednesday adjust 15 minutes a day for both naps and bedtime

Safe Sleep 101

I have started and re started this post and although I have been interrupted a million times I am determined to share  this important information.  

I summarized two great articles about the basics of safe sleep and prevention of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The first is Recommendation for a Safe Sleep Environment by the American Academy of Pediatrics from October 2016. The second article was by by the Safe Sleep for Babies by the Canadian Association of Paediatrics.  I used this information to compile the following list of information.

As parents SIDS is a scary thought and it’s heartbreaking to even think of. As a sleep child consultant I feel my role is to educate the public on safe sleep.  Reducing your risk factors will add to your child's safety and your peace of mind while they are sleeping.

  1. Babies should always sleep on their backs until the age of 1 year old. Once they start moving please let them sleep as they are but alway put them down on their backs.  

  2. Room Sharing - allowing your child to be close for easy feedings, changing and the feeling of closeness up to 6 months to 1 year of age.

  3. Alone - Always place your child to  sleep alone in an approved crib. The crib should include only your baby.

  4. A firm approved mattress is also recommended.  A soft mattress could develop indentations that could be problematic to your child's health if they get trapped.

  5. The mattress should be covered with a well fitting sheet (ideally a fitted sheet) and there should be nothing else in the crib.  This means NO bumpers, pillows, blankets, toys, stuffed animals or anything else that might suffocate, entrap or strangle the child.A wearable blanket is perfect for keeping your child warm as it reduces the risk of covering the baby’s head or causing entrapment.

  6. Keep the bedroom dark. You might only have a nightlight for you to see by. Room darkening curtains are very helpful to create this environment.

  7. Keep the room cool (18-20 celsius or 68-72 fahrenheit) and be careful not to overheat your child. Signs of overheating including sweating and/or the child’s chest feels hot to touch.  If your child falls asleep when you are out please also be careful using carseat and stroller covers as these can reduce airflow and increase the risk of overheating.

  8. Avoid exposure to smoke or secondhand smoke during pregnancy and postpartum. Avoid drinking alcohol and using illicit drugs. It is especially important to not consume alcohol or drugs prior to bed sharing, as any impairment of the adult greatly increases the risk of SIDS.

  9. Breastfeeding is recommended in reducing SIDS risk. This isn’t to say that bottle feeding is dangerous. I always say fed is best whatever the method. I have a formula fed and breastfed baby so fully understand both sides.

  10. Using a soother has also been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. This includes when a baby is sleeping and the pacifier falls out.  A pacifier should not be attached to a string or your child or propped to stay in your child's mouth as any of these can increase the risk of suffocation or strangulation.  If your child will not take a soother early on try again when your child is a little older. It is recommended to wait until breastfeeding is established before introducing a soother. Evidence is insufficient on the effects of thumbsucking and the reduction of SIDS.

  11. Consistent prenatal care is an essential component of having a healthy baby as well as regular medical checks with your health care practitioner.

  12. Immunize your child as per the guidelines.  This also reduces the chance of SIDS as many of these visits also include health checks and information on the well being of your baby.

  13. Skin to skin contact is also important to relax the baby before putting them in the crib. I often did this in the morning when we woke up. It used to be my favourite time of day. Those moments were so special. But if you are about to fall asleep please place your baby in their crib. Another risk for SIDS are children sleeping on sleeping parents chests on chairs and couches.  

Here’s to safe sleep for you and your family.

Xx Alison