Newborn

  • Is your baby waking up early? Here’s what to do about it.

    Is your baby waking up early? Here’s what to do about it.

    Fun fact: Our drive to sleep is at its lowest in the early hours of the morning! This applies throughout our lives – from infancy right through to old age. If your starting to find your little one is stirring more frequently and wanting to begin their day earlier than you would like, this could very well be why.

    Waking up early can be the last (and most difficult) aspect of your little one’s sleep to resolve, with many parents agreeing that after the pesky catnapping stage B5L1:(read more here on how to handle catnapping), early morning waking is the second top pain point they experience.

    Early riser or rising early?

    Could your little one just be an early riser? How early is too early?

    Well, for a little one on a typical 7am to 7pm schedule, early waking is defined as any wake that occurs between 5am and 6am. If they’re close to the 6am mark, then this is actually an age-appropriate start to their day – so long as they’ve achieved 11-12 hours of sleep overnight. This is the optimal amount of consolidated sleep your healthy bubba will need.

    Why is my little one waking early?

    Just like you, your little one will cycle through a number of stages over the course of the night. When they first go to sleep, they’ll experience their deepest, most restorative sleep. With melatonin being a key driving force for them, that deep sleep stage will last from around 6pm through to midnight. After that, your little one will enter a lighter stage of sleep and, from about 4am, they’ll cycle through shorter and lighter sleep cycles until they wake, ready to begin their day.

    There are a number of reasons why your little one might be waking early, and how you correct this will depend on the reason why they’re waking in the first place. Here are the 6 most common reasons why your little one might not be sleeping, and steps to take to help correct them.

     

    Their hormones are out of balance (aka they’re overtired)

    When your little one gets overtired, their body releases cortisol (a stress hormone) into their system, which then converts to adrenalin. This wires their body for wake ups because it triggers their “fight or flight” response!

    TIP: For more information on how being overtired can impact your little one’s sleep, read my blog on the B5L2:4 most common reasons why your baby isn’t sleeping.

    If your little one is overtired, you’ll probably find that not only are they waking early, but bedtimes are also a battle, and they could be waking a few times throughout the night too.

    The best way to deal with overtiredness is to try and avoid it in the first place. Get your little one into a healthy sleep routine with age appropriate awake times and stick with it as much as possible.

    An external sleep association is missing

    After 4-6 months of age there may be some sneaky little sleep associations coming into play that can either help or hinder your little one’s sleep. These sleep associations could include falling asleep with a dummy that later falls out or being rocked to sleep only to find themselves motionless when they wake in their cot. Your little one may be waking early because, as their sleep lightens in the morning, they become aware of – and unsettled by – the fact that their sleep association is no longer present.

     

    If you think this is the case, help your little one to develop healthy sleep associations that will empower them to resettle Independently.

    Your little one is cold

    When it comes to temperature and your little one, there are two things you need to know:

    1. Just before sunrise is the coldest part of the day, typically between 3-5am.
    2. Children under 18 months of age can’t self-regulate their body temperature.

    Make sure you dress your little one appropriately and keep their room at a steady temperature throughout the night. I recommend keeping their room between 18-20ﹾ over winter and 20-24ﹾ over summer.

    Your little one is hungry

    If your little one is hungry, they’ll be much more inclined to wake between sleep cycles. To make sure they have enough calories to get them through the night, feed breast or bottle-fed babies on demand or at least every 3-4 hours during the day. If your little one is established on solids (usually between 6-9 months of age), make sure they’re eating plenty of complex carbohydrates and protein. You can then expect your little one to reduce their night feeds or even wean off them completely.

    They’re being woken up by the sounds of morning

    If you think your little one is waking early because they’re starting to pick up on morning sounds, white noise could be your new best friend. It buffers them from the outside world and will help them ease through their sleep cycles instead of waking up suddenly if there’s a noise in their otherwise silent room.

    White noise is non-addictive and can be played safely for all naps and overnight sleeps at around 50-60 decibels.

    Their room gets a little too much light

    Having too much light in their room is a prompt for your little one to wake up.

    Your little one will achieve their best in a dark sleep space. The darkness helps their little body to release melatonin – the sleepy hormone. Light, on the other hand, triggers your little one’s body to wake up.

    If morning light is waking your little one too early, block out blinds or curtains will change your life! (Well, at least your mornings anyway!)

    My little one is still waking early – what do I do?

    If you’re still not sure why your little one is waking early, there are a couple more things you can do:

    1. When they wake early, try re-settling them using your usual sleep coaching technique for at least 30 minutes before you get them up.
    2. If your little one is under 6 months and wakes very early (5-5:45am) and you’re unable to re-settle them, you can try using a 10-minute bridging nap at the time you wanted them to wake for the day.
    3. If your little one is still waking before 6am, but only by about half an hour, just get them up for the day and make sure their first nap is as close to their normal nap time as possible. If you put them down earlier, you’ll only be encouraging the early morning wake ups further, and nobody wants that!

    What about oversleeping?

    If you manage to get your little one to stop waking early and stay asleep longer – great job Mumma! Just keep in mind that it’s all about balance. You don’t want to tip the scales in the other direction either – letting your little one sleep in too late can create the opposite effect and encourage long wakeful periods overnight. So, if your little one is still asleep at 7am, make sure you wake them up so their regular and predictable routine is maintained and their circadian rhythm is supported.

    Want some extra help?

    If you’d like some extra help (who doesn’t?!), you can book in for a one-to-one session with me. Together, we can get to the bottom of why your little one is waking early and make sure they (and you!) get back to a healthy sleeping pattern as quickly as possible.

    Booking in is easy – just fill out the form on my contact page and I’ll be in touch!

    With love,

    Kelly Martin Sleep Consultant

    Read More

  • What Is The Solution To Cat Napping?

    One of the most common questions I am asked as a sleep consultant is “Why is my baby cat napping” I want to start by saying cat napping is both very common and in fact biologically and developmentally normal until around 4-5 months of age!  Although this doesn’t make it any easier at the time of experiencing it.  I know this firsthand.

    As parents, there is often a lot of pressure for us to have our babies on a strict schedule from day one. This gives unrealistic expectations as some babies will naturally sleep longer than others. Some babies will have 2-3 hour naps, whilst some babies will have 20-60 minute naps. Some babies will even have a mix of both. All of it is normal and very common.

    Did you know that the first 3 months of your little one’s life is 50% nurture and 50% nature.  This means you can’t “control” whether your little one has a solid sleep foundation right from the beginning or whether you will need to gently work to guide it in the future.

    If your little one is catnapping, I’d love to help! Let’s answer some of your top asked questions together!

    What is a cat nap?

    A catnap is usually a nap that lasts for one sleep cycle – around 20-45mins or less. Often, catnapping babies are unable to join these cycles together for a deeper, more restful sleep.

    While catnapping is developmentally normal, it can be very frustrating for parents. This sleep pattern is incredibly light due to the fact that babies often remain in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and have a difficult time transitioning between REM, light sleep and non-REM, deep sleep.

    What is the solution to catnapping?

    Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple solution to catnapping. There are MANY reasons that could be contributing to your little one’s short naps.

    To find the right solution for YOUR baby, we need to find out what exactly is causing their short naps first.

    These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself to help find the solution for your little one:

    1.    Have I provided a comfortable sleep environment for my baby?

    When creating a comfortable sleep environment for your little one, it is important to create a calm and relaxing space. Their sleep environment can dictate the quality and quantity of sleep that they experience. Some of the key factors that I recommend to ensure a comfortable sleep environment are:

    • A safe sleeping space, free from any blankets, pillows or teddies that could be obstructive to sleep.
    • I mean real darkness! Sleep is additionally calmer and less disruptive when the room is nice and dark.
    • White noise, a simple and effective addition to your little ones sleep routine.

    When we are trying to change your little one’s cat napping pattern, our aim is to have your little one in their cot for at least 1-2 day naps each day. This will help to set up their nap timing and gain consistency with the consolidation of their day-time sleep.

    2.    Do you have a familiar wind-down routine?

    As adults, very rarely would we come straight home from work and fall asleep. Normally, you would have some “wind-down time” before going off to bed. Having a warm shower, reading a book and allowing your brain to switch off before trying to sleep.

    This is no different for babies! The routine can be verbal and non-verbal signals that should last under 10-20 minutes. It needs to be calming and soothing and most importantly unique to your little one. It may involve:

    • Having a nappy change
    • Putting on their swaddle or sleeping bag
    • Reading a story or singing a lullaby

    3.    Is my baby tired enough?

    Being aware of your baby’s awake times will help with knowing when to start looking for tired signs before they become overtired signs!

    A newborn can go from tired to overtired in an incredibly short time! As soon as you start to notice tired signs, you should start their wind-down routine.

    Not sure on your baby’s awake times for their age? You can download my FREE Nap Routines Guide here

    4.    Are you giving your little one the opportunity to resettle?

    Once your baby is over a 3/4 of months of age, I recommend that you give your little one the opportunity to resettle independently if they wake at the 20 or 45-minute mark.

    Ensure that you have chosen a settling technique at the beginning of a nap and work on initially self-settling. This may involve holding them as they cry or fuss or simply staying in their sleep space to soothe them with your presence.

    If your little one wakes early and they are not due a feed, carry on with your chosen settling technique for approximately 20-30 minutes to encourage your little one to return to sleep.  If they have not resettled in this time, abandon the nap with a dramatic wake-up and try again next nap. Trying to resettle after this amount of time it is likely a sign that your baby is ready to get up.

    It takes time!

    Day time naps are harder to achieve than night-time sleep, so if you wanting to extend your little one’s nap time, it could take up to 2-3 weeks to work. You may also experience some night sleep regression, as the day naps consolidate but with consistency and perseverance, the nap times will extend.

    When it isn’t working (and there will be days like this!) get out and about! Remove the pressure from yourself and your little one! Pop them in the pram, carrier or car and let them have that sleep they need. The fresh air will you do you both wonders!

    You will likely find that some tips do work overtime or as your baby grows, their sleep will change. Don’t stress! Just go with the flow in the meantime.

    Want some extra help?

    If you’d like some extra help, you can book in for a one-to-one session. I can give you more great advice on how you can help your little one work through their catnapping stage!

    Booking in is easy – just fill out the form on my contact page and I’ll be in touch!

    With love,

    dd0ed5b6-4aaf-4893-ac71-c5a1590b36a1-1

    Kelly Martin Sleep Consultant

    Read More

  • 3 top tips to surviving the 12-month sleep regression

    Are you pulling your hair out because your almost 1-year old has gone from being a great sleeper to refusing to go down for their nap? Or is your little one now waking up during the night when you thought all of that was behind you? Don’t worry – it’s a completely normal stage of your little one’s development!

    At around 11-12 months of age your little one is well on their way to becoming a toddler. They’re incredibly aware of their environment and, with boundless curiosity, they love nothing more than exploring their world and the role they play in it.

    They’re crawling, pulling themselves up to stand, and are even starting to take their first steps. They’re honing their gross and fine motor skills, and they’re learning how to communicate their wants and needs (very insistently, I might add!) to everyone around them. With so much happening in their growing brains, it’s not surprising another sleep regression comes along at this age.

    My top 3 tips for surviving the 12-month sleep regression

    1. Don’t drop that second nap!

    At around 12 months of age your little one might start refusing their second nap. This is the 12-month sleep regression. Often when this happens, parents take it as a sign that their child is ready to drop that second nap. Don’t do it!

    Most babies aren’t ready to drop their second nap until around 15-18 months. Push through their nap refusal by continuing to put your little one down for their nap just like you always have – at the same time of day, for the same length of time. They might not go to sleep, but keeping the routine is important because…

    2. Consistency is key

    Just like earlier sleep regressions, the 12-month sleep regression won’t last forever – I promise! Every baby is different but as a guide, you can expect your little one to work their way through the 12-month sleep regression in around 2-4 weeks – as long as you’re consistent with your regular settling approach.

    Toddlers thrive on routine and consistency. At this age, when so much is changing for them, one of the best things we can do for them is to try and keep the rest of their world as consistent as possible. If you start doing something different every time your little one wakes, the sleep regression will last longer, they’ll become more resistant to your efforts to return to sleep, and you’ll be in for a much more challenging time.

    If your little one hasn’t been rocked to sleep, had milk overnight (for a long time), or slept in your bed up until this point, now is not the time to start

    3. Remember – your little one is normal

    The last thing you need to do at this stage in your little one’s life is to start wondering if their sleep regression is normal. I can tell you – having worked with thousands of families and having gone through it three times myself – that it absolutely is! Some might feel it more intensely than others, but I promise you – every baby goes through these regressions.

    You’ve got this Mumma!

    Your little one (and you!) WILL get through the 12-month sleep regression stage. That adorable little sleeper you’ve had for the last few months WILL come back and they WILL return to their previously great sleeping habits. In the meantime, be consistent, be persistent, and be patient. You’ve got this Mumma.

    Want some extra help?

    If you’d like some extra help, you can book in for a one-to-one session. I can give you more great advice on how you can help your little one work through their 12-month sleep regression, tailored specifically for your family.

    Booking in is easy – just fill out the form on my contact page and I’ll be in touch!

    With love,

    Kelly Martin Sleep Consultant

    Read More

  • Everything you need to know about the 5 sleep regression stages

    Baby Sleeping On Rug
     
    In the first two years of your little one’s life, you can expect them to go through five different sleep regressions. They’ll all need a slightly different touch, they’ll all ask for you to practice consistency, patience, and persistence (and believe me – at times it feels like you’re getting a LOT of practice!), and – best of all – they’ll all pass after about 2-4 weeks if you’re consistent with your approach.

     

    Here’s everything you need to know about each sleep regression stage. 

    4-month sleep regression

    This will be the first sleep regression you and your little one will work through and oh boy, is it a big one!

     

    At around 4-6 months of age your little one goes through a permanent neurological change in sleeping patterns. They shift from ‘baby’ sleep cycles (up to 6-8 hours) to ‘adult’ sleep cycles (between 2-4 hours). This is why your previously well-rested little one may now begin to wake more frequently!

     

    This is the perfect time to start working on healthy sleep habits. At this age you can start to see how any long-term sleep associations might be coming into play and whether those associations are now helping or hindering your little one’s sleep. These associations could include their dummy falling out, making them unlikely to re-settle between sleep cycles without it, or waking between sleep cycles in a motionless cot when they’d fallen asleep being gently rocked. To put it in adult terms, it would be like us going to sleep in our bed and waking up somewhere else, like on our couch. We’d feel perplexed, frazzled, and unsettled too!

     

    During this time, it’s important to help your little one to develop healthy sleep associations that will empower them to resettle on their own. While it’s completely (and biologically) normal for babies to wake overnight, it’s not beneficial for either you or your little one if you need to get up multiple times through the night to help them resettle between sleep cycles.

     

    At this age, your little one can also start to build up sleep debt. With their circadian rhythm now functioning, they can no longer run on short cat naps throughout the day. They need at least one opportunity for a consolidated and restorative daytime sleep, which will help them to sleep better at night. Without it, the cortisol levels in their body will promote the release of adrenaline, and this will change their partial arousals to full wake ups overnight.

    9-month sleep regression

    Your little one’s second sleep regression will occur at around 8-10 months of age. If you haven’t already heard the term ‘separation anxiety’, it will become a popular phrase at this point.

     

    At this age your little one starts to realise that they are a separate person from you. They begin to understand that you – and the objects around them – can come and go, which can make sleep quite a challenge. As is the case with every sleep regression your little one will go through though, how you approach the separation anxiety stage will determine how quickly you progress back to regular sleeping patterns.

     

    Hint: Help your little one with the concept of object permanence by playing games of peek-a-boo. This will show them what is gone is not gone forever.

    Further disruption to sleep around this time can be linked to new physical milestones, like learning how to sit up, crawl, and pull themselves up to standing. I mean, why should they just lay there and sleep when they can move themselves around like this now?! Fortunately, this too should all pass within a short period of time, and with lots of practice during the day to help build muscle memory.

     

    Throughout this sleep regression remain consistent in your settling approach. Don’t introduce any new sleep props to your little one that you’re not wanting them to keep long-term.

    12-month sleep regression

    When they’re close to celebrating their first birthday, your little one will go through their 12-month sleep regression. This really isn’t surprising, because there’s quite a lot going on for them at this time, from crawling to taking their first steps, and learning how to communicate with those around them!

     

    Often the 12-month sleep regression presents itself as your little one refusing to go down for their second nap, but don’t be fooled! Most babies aren’t ready to drop their second nap until they’re around 15-18 months old, so you’ll need to push through this.

     

    If you’re dealing with a little one going through this sleep regression stage, check out my 3 top tips to surviving your child’s 12-month sleep regression – you’ll find my favourite gems in there on how to handle this stage.

     

    18-month and 2-year sleep regressions

    Your little one will experience additional sleep regressions at around 18 months and 2 years of age.

     

    Both stages are caused by rises in their cognitive development, which is exciting because it means they’re learning and absorbing so many new things in their world!

     

    As you’ve now learned through your little one’s previous sleep regression stages, these final stages are:

           something every child experiences

           completely normal

           best handled with consistency and patience.

     

    You’ve come this far Mumma – keep doing what you’ve been doing and be confident; your little one is just going through yet another change in their development and, just like you did every other time, you’ve got this.

     

    Want some extra help?

     

    If you’d like some extra help, you can book in for a one-to-one session. I can give you more great advice on how you can help your little one work through their sleep regression, tailored specifically for your family.

    Booking in is easy – just fill out the form on my contact page and I’ll be in touch!

    With love,

    dd0ed5b6-4aaf-4893-ac71-c5a1590b36a1-1

    Kelly Martin Sleep Consultant

    Read More

  • 5 easy ways to calm your newborn

    Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful newborn baby! Enjoy this time and that glorious newborn smell. Seriously, there’s nothing better than holding your nose to your newborn baby’s head and breathing in deep – it’s heavenly!

    Now that you’ve got your little one home and are ready to begin the next chapter of your life, I have a little spoiler alert for you… Giving birth was the easy part! As wonderful as it is, having a newborn baby at home, it can also be a little overwhelming – especially in the first six weeks, a time commonly referred to as the fourth trimester when you and your baby are getting to know each other in the outside world.

    To help make the fourth trimester as calm and settled as possible, I want to share with you the 5 S’s – 5 quick and easy ways to calm your newborn, as pioneered by American paediatrician Dr Harvey Karp. These techniques will help you to calm and soothe your beautiful new babe by allowing you to engage their calming reflex – a skill you’ll find invaluable over the coming weeks and months.

    1. Swaddling

    Swaddling is the cornerstone of calming. It’s the first step to helping your little one focus on the 5 S’s and it’s this technique that engages their all-important ‘calming reflex’. Swaddling provides a newborn with the feeling of being back on the womb, where they were warm, snug, and completely safe.

    I recommend using a firm arms-down swaddle. Miracle Blanket and Ergococoon are two great arms-down swaddles, or you can use a flat 1x1m muslin wrap. The swaddle should be firmly wrapped around your little one’s torso, but loose enough over their hips to allow the movement of their hips and pelvis. This will help to protect their startle reflex, which often causes them to become upset and distracts them from your attempts to calm them.

    2. Side or stomach

    By holding your little one—either in your arms on their side or stomach or using your hand to support them to lay on their side in their cot—you will help turn on their ‘calming reflex’ and turn off their Moro reflex.

    The Moro reflex is a normal part of the development of your little one’s nervous system, but it can be unsettling for your newborn. It’s most likely to occur when your newborn is laying on their back (this is when they feel most out of control), so by putting them down in the side or stomach position, you’re helping sooth them and ease them into sleep.

    If you’re holding your little one as they go to sleep, try the reverse-breastfeeding hold, football hold, or over-the-shoulder hold. For more information on these holds, read Dr Harvey Karp’s blog on how to hold a baby.

    Remember though, while it’s safe to settle your baby on their side, once they’re asleep, ‘back to sleep’ is the only position approved by the Red Nose Foundation.

    3. Shushing

    The world your newborn has emerged from – your womb – is louder than a vacuum cleaner! So, when they first arrive into the world everything seems very strange and quiet to them. This can lead to them startling easily from noises.

    When you shush your baby, it helps engage their ‘calming reflex’ by creating some of that noise they were used to in the womb. Make sure your shushing matches the intensity of their crying – it needs to be loud at first to settle them and becomes quieter once they’ve calmed down.

    Playing a deep, rumbly white noise can also soothe a newborn and help them to sleep – as long as it’s played at the right pitch. 50-60dB is safe for your little one’s sleep on a continuous basis. Use white noise for all naps and overnight sleeps. If you then want to wean them off the white noise (preferably after their first year), you can turn the volume down progressively until your baby is used to sleeping without it. This will help them move through the various milestones of their first year.

    4. Swinging

    Rhythmic movement is deeply soothing to your newborn – it reminds them of the daily motion they experienced in your womb as you went about your day.

    Small movements side to side will also switch on the ‘calming reflex’ in a crying newborn. While you swing them, support their head and neck in a way that allows a small amount of ‘head wobble’. Your swinging should match the intensity of your little one’s cry – faster when they’re more upset (quick movements, one-inch side to side) and slowing as they calm.

    5. Sucking

    Newborns love sucking – it soothes and calms them and can provide a distraction if they’re in a busy or unfamiliar environment.

    Infants suck their hands when they’re in the womb but after birth, they lack the coordination. To help them, you can use a dummy once breastfeeding has been established, or from birth if your little one is bottle-fed. And don’t worry – it’s easy to wean your little one off the dummy if it becomes disruptive to their sleep, which can often occur around 3-4 months of age.

    Want some extra help?

    If you’d like some extra help with your little one, you can book in with me for a one-to-one session

    Booking in is easy – just fill out the form on my contact page and I’ll be in touch!

    With love,

    Kelly Martin Sleep Consultant

    Read More

  • The 4 most common reasons why your baby isn’t sleeping

    Are you struggling to get your little one to sleep? Do they go down easily some days but on others you feel like you need the skills of a magician and the patience of a saint to achieve the same thing?

    I feel you Mumma! I’ve been there too. For me, trying to get my second daughter to sleep—never mind stay asleep for any period of time—felt like a very sensitively tuned balancing act.

    I want to help you fast-track getting your little one back to sleep.

    Let’s take a look at 4 of the most common reasons why your little one might not be sleeping well.  Better yet, let’s see how we take these reasons and work them in your little one’s favour from a holistic perspective.

    Your little one is overtired

    If your baby has been awake for too long, their little body will start to have a chemical reaction caused by their lack of sleep. This means they start to produce excess cortisol (a stress hormone) that in turn converts to adrenaline. Now, imagine you were trying to fall asleep while you were in the middle of a ‘fight or flight’ mode experience. That’s exactly the state your little one gets into when they’re overtired, which is why overtired babies are incredibly difficult to get to sleep.

    To make matters worse, even when you do eventually get them to close their eyes, your little one will still wake shortly after their sleep cycle because their body has effectively been tipped over the edge and it will take some time and patience to get them back on track.

    The best way to deal with overtiredness is to avoid it in the first place. Get your little one into a healthy sleep routine with age appropriate awake times and stick with it as much as.

    Download my nap routines guide to help you develop a healthy sleep routine.

    Your little one is undertired

    Say what? Weren’t we just talking about how easily your little one can get overtired?

    Well, yes! But your little one being undertired is also a contributing factor to them being able to sleep – although it is the less likely of the two, especially in younger babies.

    Let’s talk sleep pressure. In order to sleep or nap, your little one needs to build up the right amount of sleep pressure. Sleep pressure is the brain’s desire for sleep, and it builds throughout the day. The longer your little one is awake, the more sleep pressure they’ll experience.

    If your little one is undertired (i.e. they haven’t built up enough sleep pressure), they are likely to take a while to settle. They may be smiling, rolling around, or just having a good old chat with you instead of falling asleep.  Or, they may settle easily for their nap but then wake again after only 40-45 minutes, bright eyed, bushy tailed, and almost impossible to re-settle.

    To make sure your little one is getting enough awake time to avoid being undertired, here’s what to aim for as they grow:

    Birth to 3 months

    At this age you can aim for your little to have around 3-5 naps each day, spaced around 1-1.5 hours apart. Your little one will nap for a total of approximately 4-5 hours during the day and 11-12 hours overnight (broken for feeds).

    3-6 months

    Your 3-6-month-old will need around 3 naps throughout the day, totalling around 3-3.5 hours.  Their awake times will be increasing towards 2-2.5 hours between each nap. They’ll continue to need 11-12 hours of sleep overnight (broken for feeds).

    6-12 months

    At this age your little one will drop towards having two naps (around 7-8 months) a day, and they’ll now need to be awake for anywhere from 2.5 to 4 hours. The great news is, once you settle into this two-nap pattern, you’ll be able to stay there for a significant period of time (until they’re around 15-18 months of age).

    Are they hungry?

    Your little one won’t sleep well at all if they’re hungry. To rule hunger out from the equation, feed breast or bottle-fed babies on demand or at least every 3-4 hours during the day to make sure they’re getting enough calories during the day to sustain them for the longer stretches of sleep overnight. If your little one is established on solids (usually between 6-9 months of age), make sure they’re eating plenty of complex carbohydrates and protein. You can then expect your little one to reduce their night feeds or even wean off of them completely.

    Sleep environment – the trilogy

    There are three key considerations for your little one’s sleep environment – darkness, temperature, and white noise.

    Give your little one a dark sleep space

    I always recommend a nice dark sleep space for babies from three weeks of age.  By putting your little one down for their naps and longer sleeps in a dark space, you’ll be helping them to settle into healthy sleep cycles at an early age.

    When your little one’s in a dark sleep space, their body will release melatonin – the sleepy hormone.  If the room has too much light, it will trigger your little one’s body to wake up fully at the end of a sleep cycle, meaning they’re more likely to get up and play rather than re-settle into their next sleep cycle.

    Hint: Block out blinds or curtains will be your best friend, especially over the long summer months.

    Make sure the room temperature is just right

    Temperature can also play a role in your little one’s sleep.  Children under 18 months of age cannot self-regulate their body temperature and so they rely on us to dress them appropriately and keep the room at a steady temperature. I recommended keeping your little one’s room at 18-20ﹾ over winter and at 20-24ﹾ over summer.

    Use white noise

    The final piece of the sleep environment trilogy is white noise. White noise acts as an additional buffer for your little one from the outside world. Why do they need buffering when they’re trying to sleep? Well, perhaps you have a noisy neighbour hammering away in their backyard or roadworks going on down the street? Or maybe there’s an older sibling in the house who, with their impeccable timing, suddenly start making noise when you’re trying to settle the baby for their nap?

    White noise is non-addictive and can be played safely for all naps and overnight sleeps at around 50-60 decibels. When you’re ready to wean your little one off the white noise, just start turning it down and eventually off over the period of about one week.

    Want some extra help?

    If you’ve ticked off all these boxes but your little one’s still struggling with their sleep, you can book in with me for a free discovery chat.

    During our chat we can discuss how I could work together with you to achieve healthy sleep habits for your little one. After all – your gorgeous little bundle isn’t a robot, so it could well be that they need a tailored sleep solution just for them; one that takes into account their temperament, your parenting style, and your everyday family life commitments.

    Booking a discovery call is easy – just fill out the form on my contact page and I’ll be in touch!

    With love,

    Kelly Martin Sleep Consultant

    Read More