Newborn

  • How and when to reduce nap times for your baby. What you need to know about successfully dropping day time sleep.

    Naptimes rock our little one’s world (and our world too) but how do you know when to say goodbye to a nap? How and when do you transition your baby to less day sleep?

    This blog is your guide to reducing daytime sleep from babyhood right through to preschoolers.

    We can often feel clueless about this topic, but it’s a common question that lots of parents ask, which is why knowing the signs will help you confidently navigate the right time for a nap transition for your little one.

    When should you reduce nap times?

    Check out the handy Baby to Preschooler nap time transition plan below. You will find it useful for dropping naps within an age-appropriate time frame.

    Baby to Preschooler nap time transition plan-

    4 naps → 3 naps: 3 to 5 months

    3 naps → 2 naps: 6 to 8 months

    2 naps → 1 nap: 15 to 18 months

    1 nap → 0 nap: 2.5-3.5 years

    Now that we have a plan to follow, you’re probably thinking what are the signs that it’s time to drop a nap?

    • Bedtime delay – baby used to settle quickly and easily but now rolls around and/or gets frustrated.
    • Taking a long time to settle at normal nap time.
    • Settling well but waking early from their regular nap.
    • Settling well at one nap but not tired/sleeping well at the next nap.
    • Settling/sleeping well at naps but taking a long time to go to sleep at bedtime in the evening.
    • Waking overnight multiple times or waking and staying awake for long periods.
    • Waking in the early morning (before 6:00 AM) and not resettling back to sleep.

    What can I do to help my child during the transitions?

    • Bring bedtime forward- Once you’ve dropped a nap, bringing bedtime forward a little will help to compensate as they adjust to the longer awake times being experienced with the changes.
    • Keep routine- As your little one gets used to the longer awake time, help them remain rested by not making any huge alterations to their schedule all at once.
    • Introduce quiet time- You can replace their nap with a period of ‘quiet time’ where your little one still has the chance to rest even if they’re not sleeping.

    To set yourself up for success it’s important to remember an appropriate sleep debt needs to be re-built between the last sleep of the day and going down for night sleep. Following this, it is important to note that we experience our deepest and most restorative sleep prior to midnight (which is a great motivator to ensure bedtime doesn’t drag out past around 7:00/7:30pm).

    Expert Tip: If you already have a good sleep routine in place, you’re more likely to notice any changes in your baby’s nap routine and can begin preparing for a successful transition in a short succession of time and with less doubt as they will show clear signs of readiness.

    What to keep in mind

    • I encourage you not to rush the process of transition and to ensure the guidelines you follow are age appropriate. Young babies’ sleep needs are very different to toddler needs.
    • Before you transition and drop a nap altogether, try stretching out the time between naps by 15 minutes. Dropping a nap entirely can be a big jump and often requires some back and forth for a couple of weeks.
    • If your baby is showing signs of dropping the last nap of the day, a great alternative prior to the transition is to provide an opportunity for a motion assisted nap – i.e. think pram, car or baby carrier as an extra resource when you are getting ready, but can’t quite make it through. This is especially important when reducing from 3 to 2 daytime naps.

    Want some extra help?

    Book a one-on-one discovery call and we’ll work out what package is just right for you. 

    With Love,

    For more hints and tips on transitioning to less naps follow me on Instagram.

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  • 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 (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 7:00am to 7:00pm schedule, early waking is defined as any wake that occurs between 5:00am and 6:00am. If they’re close to the 6:00am 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 6:00pm through to midnight. After that, your little one will enter a lighter stage of sleep and, from about 4:00am, 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 4 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 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 3:00-5:00am.
    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 16-20ﹾ 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 (5:00-5:45am) 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 6:00am, 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 7:00/7:30am, 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,

    Follow me on Instagram for more hints and tips for healthy sleep habits.

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  • 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,

    For more hints and tips on healthy sleep habits from a holistic approach follow me on Instagram

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  • 5 Quick and Easy ways to calm your newborn

    Now that you’ve got your baby 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 (check out my fourth trimester blog here) 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 baby – 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 baby’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 (anytime 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,

    For more hints and tips on healthy sleep habits from a holistic approach follow me on Instagram

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

    Are you struggling to get your little one to sleep?  Have no idea why, some days it comes so simply and other days you feel like you need to do handstands underwater to achieve this for your little one?  I have been there too and it can feel like such a fine balancing act trying to get your little one to sleep, never mind stay asleep for a period of time.

    Let’s take a look at 4 of the most common reasons why sleep may be opposing your little one’s system.  Better yet, let’s see how we can change these to work in our favour from a holistic perspective.  No sleep training method alone will “fix” your child’s sleep if you are always out of sync with their bodies hormones and not addressing possible environmental factors that could be influencing their sleep or lack of.

    Overtired

    We have all been there with an overtired baby.  I understand just how difficult it is to get these little one’s to sleep.  The reason a baby doesn’t sleep “better” or “longer” if they have been kept awake for a longer period of time is that their little bodies simply cannot handle it.  They start to have a chemical reaction due to this lack of sleep.  This means that they start to produce excess cortisol (stress hormone) and this converts over to adrenaline.  As we all know, once adrenaline is in our system it triggers that “fight or flight” mode and makes it tricky for a baby to unwind and slip into sleep unaided. 

    Now, despite the battle of eventually getting them down for their nap or bedtime is over – they will still wake shortly after a sleep cycle as they have effectively been tipped over the edge and are plummeting back down the slippery slope.  To avoid this over-tiredness, download our nap routines and use this as a guide for when your little one could be settling for sleep and how to prevent over-tiredness becoming a regular occurrence for your little one’s sleep.    

    Under-tired

    Say what?  I thought you were just talking about how babies can so easily get overtired.  Under-tired is also a contributing factor to sleep – although it is the less likely of the too, especially in younger babies. 

    Under-tired represents if a child has not built the right amount of sleep pressure to influence a naps length.  Sleep pressure builds throughout the day and can either be levelled off with a longer nap or provide a small speed bump with a shorter nap.  If your child is under-tired, they are likely to take a while to settle – may be smiling, rolling around or just having a good old chat.  Or they may settle easily for the nap, but then wake after 45 minutes bright eyed and bushy tailed and feel near impossible to re-settle.

    If you baby is over 3 months of age, we are aiming for around 1-1.5 hours between naps and around 3-4 naps totalling 4-5 hours during the day and 11-12 hours overnight (broken for feeds).

    If your baby is between 3-6 months of age.  Their awake times are moving towards 2-2.5 hours and around 3 naps a day, but the amount reducing towards 3-3.5 hours and 11-12 hours overnight (broken for feeds).

    If your baby is between 6-12 months of age, we move towards a 2 nap pattern and your baby can be awake for up to 2.5-4 hours.  The great news is once, you settle into a two nap pattern you stay there for a significant period of time, ideally until between 15-18 months of age.

    Hungry

    Babies don’t sleep well if they are hungry.  To rule out hunger from the equation, I would suggest that until a baby is established on solids – breast of bottle can be fed on demand or minimum every 3-4 hours during the day to ensure that they are receiving enough calories during the day to sustain them longer stretches overnight. 

    Once your baby is established on solids – generally anywhere between 6-9 months of age and eating plenty of complex carbohydrates and protein, we can expect them to reduce their night feeds or even potentially look at night weaning.

    Sleep environment

    I always recommend a nice dark sleep space after 3 weeks of age, for naps and night sleep.  This will be more conducive to your little one’s sleep and assist them to settle and link their sleep cycles at an earlier age.  When we are in a dark sleep space our body releases melatonin – the sleepy hormone.  If the room has too much light, it will likely trigger the body to wake up fully at the end of a sleep cycle and encourage your baby to want to get up and play rather than re-settle into the next sleep cycle.  Block out blinds or curtains will be your best friend, especially over the long summer months.

    Temperature can also play a role in your little one’s sleep.  Children under 18 months of age cannot self-regulate their body temperature.  They rely on us to dress them appropriately and keep the room at a steady temperature.  I recommended between 16ﹾ-20ﹾ over winter and 20ﹾ-24ﹾ over summer.

    The final piece of the sleep environment trilogy is white noise.  I absolutely love white noise.  This acts as an additional buffer from the outside world.  Think older siblings that have impeccable timing right when you are trying to settle for a nap!  It is additionally great to buffer from day to day household noises or noisy neighbours.  White noise is non-addictive and can be played safely for all naps and overnight at around 50-60 decibels.  Download a free app through your phone, I-pad, tablet or use a specific white noise machine.  When you are ready to stop using it – turn it down and off over a one week period.

    If you think you have ticked off all these boxes, but your little one is still struggling with their sleep.  Please do not hesitate to contact me for a discovery chat.  This will give us an opportunity to discuss how working one-on-one from a holistic perspective will help you and your family to achieve healthy sleep habits.  Your baby is not a robot, I will tailor a sleep solution for your circumstances taking into account your child’s temperament, your parenting style and of course your everyday family life commitments.

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