Infant

How to get back to your families’ sleep routine after a sickness or other interruption?

 It’s so hard having sick kids but you will get your independent sleeper back.

It’s so hard having sick kids but you will get your independent sleeper back.

You have worked so hard at making sure you have a great family sleep routine, perfect sleep environment and finally figured out your kid's sleep. Once everything is in place you get hit with - a cold or flu hits your family. (This could also be vaccines, unexpected late nights or travel) We've all been there.

No one is sleeping well. You are busy caring for your kids, and you might be fighting the same cold, or up worried.

My rules for sick kids or other sleep interruption - try and relax, do what you need to allow you to protect your kid's sleep and get them to sleep. Techniques can include extra cuddles, naps, extra drinks in the middle of the night or even crawling into bed with you.  I always tell parents to fill your kids with love and let your gut lead you.

Remember it can only take as little as three repeated reactions to create a new habit for your child. It could be that you go in and check extra times at bedtime with your 3-year-old or you go back to nursing your 6-month-old at every night waking.  (I've done both more than once) or your 18 month old is sleeping in your bed. Either way, they were sleeping through the night or at least sleeping independently.

Once everyone is feeling better it’s time to get back to our normal sleep patterns but HOW?

Look at how you got them to sleep independently the first time.  Whatever method you used that will be your starting point.

It could be using the chair method, check and console or "good night/good morning" (what I like to call extinction). Regardless of the method, it's time to retrain your child.  Don't panic. Your child learned to sleep once so they will sleep independently again.

It won't necessarily be easy, but they will remember what to do. You need to bring out the sleep plans, start being consistent and predictable with an early bedtime, and use your sleep cues and routines.  You can do this.

I like to modify when possible shortening the method. Instead of making a change every three days start making one every 1 or 2 days.  As soon as you begin to see improvements run with it.

If you used the chair method, you might start by moving the chair every day.

If you used 'check and console' skip to checks every 10 minutes.

If you used extinction/ 'goodnight/good morning' jump right in.

Remind yourself that they did this before, you did this before, and you will all  get back on track quickly. The longer you were off your routine, the longer it will take to get back.

Until you are back to your regular schedule.  Try an extra early bedtime and give yourself a break.  It will be worth the hard work when everyone is sleeping better again.  

If you have fallen off your sleep routines and need help getting back to your happy place get in touch.

Happy Sleep

Alison

 Mom’s get sick too - take care of yourself

Mom’s get sick too - take care of yourself

Parents remember after a cold or flu has made a pass through your house it is also important you get extra sleep. Try adding a nap and/or an early bedtime will help you recover a little faster.

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

 

10 Holiday Sleep tips for you and your family.

I had a great plan to post this a week ago... This is when being a mom and a business owner is hard. The worst flu, that has ever been through our little house. The girls are both better but as I sit here posting this, I have an awful sore throat, the chills and am counting the moments before I can crawl into bed. Enjoy these holiday sleep tips:

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  1. Involve others. My kids love nothing more than having a favorite Uncle, Cousin or friend puts them to bed or help give them a bath. This will be a treat for your children and give you a night off.
  2. Think twice if you make huge changes in your children's routines, bedtimes and even toilet training. You might have the time off for the short term, but to see long-term success consistency is needed.
  3. Quiet time - on those busy days, everyone will need some down time. For younger ones, this might be a nap or a quiet snuggle. For older, maybe reading a new book. Take time to recharge.
  4. Protect your Child's sleep as much as possible. Being late because your child needs to finish their nap is a great reason for being late. 5.Benefits are twofold...your child will be happy with reduced chance of a meltdown and you can stay longer if you’re having fun. Put your child down ready to go out so all you have to do when they wake up go to the party. If you are traveling try leaving slightly earlier (30 minutes) and f you arrive early you can sit in the car while your child finishes their nap.
  5. Maintain consistent bedtimes. Try to keep bedtime consistent as much as possible. If a nap has been skipped try an earlier bedtime.
  6. Travelling- take your sleep environment with you. Pillow, noise machine, favourite story, night light if needed and anything else you think would help your child feel comfortable sleeping away from their bed.
  7. Try to plan a quiet couple of days after a busy day. This will allow some time to get back on schedule before the next event.
  8. Play host. If you are invited out for a drink ask if they would instead like to come to you.
  9. Watching the magic of the holidays with your kids is amazing and less is sometimes more. They might have fun at one party, but 10-holiday parties might be a little too much. Get a babysitter or kindly decline.
  10. Start some new holiday traditions for your family such as a pajama car ride to see the Christmas lights or new book for bedtime stories every night of advent or even a toy or game to do as a family on a quiet day.

A well-rested child is a blessing and helps to reduce the number meltdowns. If sleep gets interrupted not to fear. A couple of days back home on your Child's normal routine will help them reset their internal sleep clocks.

I am wishing you a very merry holiday season full of fun and happiness. If you do need help getting a better sleep routine, please contact me, I'd love to help.

xx Alison

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