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  • What to do about sleep when holidaying overseas with your baby. Sleep tips for parents to transition time zones.

    After a two year hiatus, family overseas holidays are back but what do you do about sleep when holidaying overseas with your baby or toddler? In this blog we share baby sleep consultant tips for parents transitioning to a different time zone.

    With the world opening up, families are looking to head overseas again. Everyone wants to catch up with extended family and create new memories. But before you pack your bags, let’s look at some baby sleep consultant recommendations to encourage sleep whilst travelling overseas.

    Preparing: Before you leave home

    In parenting, preparation is often key so before you switch into holiday mode, consider the following:

    • How long are you going for?
    • Where are you heading?
    • What is the time difference?
    • Are the clocks going forward or back?

    The answers to these questions will help you recognise how significant the time change will be and if you’re staying less than 3-5 days it may even be best to stay on your regular time zone.

    For a getaway that’s more than 5 days you could meet half way with your normal routine or adjust to the new time zone on arrival. (Note: this will depend on your baby or toddlers age, general adaptability and the time difference).

    Expert Tip: Although tempting, resist the urge to “prepare” your baby by shifting their body clock prior to leaving for holidays. Leave this for arrival and see how they travel. There’s no point stressing before the holiday has begun, instead, look at the things you can do beforehand.

    Top two ways to help your baby sleep better when you get to your destination:

    1.  Ensure a well-rested baby – An overtired baby will find it harder to adapt and adjust to new situations and the inevitable change in routine. Continue to focus on your baby receiving age appropriate awake times and the rest they need before you leave.
    1. Plan and prepare for accommodation – Consider whether your baby will have a room of their own or will you be room sharing? Will your baby have a port-a-cot? Are you staying with family? How will you navigate sleep arrangements that promote sleep for the whole family?

    Expert Tip: Having realistic expectations and mentally noting how sleep may be impacted whilst holidaying means we can arm ourselves with knowledge and tools to troubleshoot if the worst-case scenario occurs.

    How to help your baby sleep on a plane

    Getting your baby to sleep whilst flying may seem like an impossible task but there are some simple tips to help create an environment they’re more likely to fall asleep in.

    • Book the longest transit stretch overnight – It’s not always possible to book an overnight flight but if you can, it will mean flying when the body has its natural and highest sleep pressure (AKA melatonin) at night.
    • Pre book a bassinet- Depending on your baby’s age and or weight, you may be able to pre-book a bassinet on the plane. These are limited in availability so ask your travel agent when you book the holiday.
    • Bring sleep associations from home – For familiarity and predictability, use your baby’s regular sleep associations to your advantage. Think PJ’s, sleeping bag, white noise machine (there are lots of small portable options) and don’t forget the dummy and/or comforter. Read more about sleep associations here.
    • Stick with your regular wind down/bedtime routine – This may need to be adjusted to suit the final awake window so modify as needed (no bath time option here!). But change your baby into their PJ’s, read 1-2 books, pop into a sleeping bag and use your regular sleep phrases to cue sleep.
    • Expect it to take your baby longer to fall asleep – FOMO may be strong with your baby wanting to stay up to people watch. Be patient and don’t try to “force” sleep. We can only provide the opportunity to sleep.

    Expert Tip: The plane ride over and back is all rules out the window. It’s where our 80/20 rule of consistency comes in. Just support your baby the best you can and accept any offers of help. We can be flexible and adaptable (it’s why we’re going on holidays after all). Your baby may wake more often, need an extra feed or hands on settling. This is all A-ok.

    Arrival – How to get your baby to sleep at your holiday destination 

    Adjusting a baby’s sleep routine to a different time zone can be done. Use the following baby sleep consultant tips to reset on arrival at your destination.

    • Sunlight – Serotonin is the precursor to melatonin which is produced in the daylight hours. Expose yourself and your baby to morning sunlight to help reset the Circadian Rhythm. This can mean opening the blinds and spending time outside in the morning and then “turning down” (dim lights, draw blinds) at your accommodation as the day comes to an end.
    • Wake between 6:00 – 8:00am local time – This ties into the point above. Have a predictable time to start the day and continue regular awake windows as well as capping naps. You don’t have to follow a strict nap routine on holidays, but try to apply your baby’s regular age appropriate awake times and sleep structure.
    • Be sure not to exceed total day sleep – This is especially important when transitioning significant time zones. It’s likely your baby will have some wakeful periods overnight as they’re body clock adjusts to the new time zone and experiences the strong pull to wake up at 2:00am (they’re still on home time).

    With this in mind, look to cap a single nap at 2-2.5 hours. You can find out more about the nap routines I recommend with my comprehensive Nap Routine Guide offering 35 pages of sleep routines from 6 weeks to 4 years. Download Nap Routines.

    • Maintain bedtime routine – Just like on the plane, keep to your regular sequence of events to cue sleep time and try to replicate their sleep environment as best as possible.

     Expert Tip: Bring the sheet from their cot at home for a familiar smell.

    • Physical activity – Get outside and be active. Give your baby lots of physical active play time. Often if they’ve been strapped into the baby carrier, pram or car for long stretches of the day, they won’t have had the same opportunity for physical activity and this can lead to shorter naps or more nap resistance.

    Coming Home- How to get your baby back into their sleep routine after a holiday

    When you arrive home from your holiday, you’ll probably be eager to get your baby back into the swing of all things sleep.

    Here’s two important pieces of baby sleep consultant advice for returning home: 

    1. Jump straight back onto local time – Rip the band aid off straight away and get back onto local time. This may mean an earlier bedtime or an extra nap depending on the time of day you arrive home.

    Also be aware that coming home is always harder for the body to adjust to so don’t plan to get back to work or regular activities for at least 3 days.

    As your baby readjusts at home, you may experience some wakeful periods overnight so for the first night keep wake ups very low stimulation such as books and quiet play. Encourage returning to sleep within 1-2 hours and then continue to wake up at 6:00-800am in the morning. This should reduce the night time parties over a few nights and return your baby back to a normal time zone friendly sleep rhythm.

    1. Get back to basics- What happens on holidays stays on holidays so focus on sleep environment, age appropriate awake times, wind down cues, nutrition and then work on that exit strategy to reduce any extra hands on assistance that was being offered whilst away.

    In practical terms this might look like:

    • On holidays your baby was waking up before dawn – It’s now time to once again resettle, resettle, resettle!
    • Your baby grew accustomed to only napping in the baby carrier or pram? —Time to readjust to naps in the cot.
    • Your baby was feeding to sleep or being rocked at bedtime whilst away— Return to placing your baby in the cot and self-settling.

    Babies and toddlers are adaptable little creatures, but they won’t voluntarily give up that extra support – who doesn’t love a little extra night time cuddles. Be confident and consistent in your approach and know you haven’t lost your healthy sleep foundations.

    Happy holidaying and enjoy making all those new memories and reconnecting with the most important people in your world, your family.

    Want some extra help?

    Need more tailored advice on how to navigate your travel plans or don’t have a strong sleep foundation prior to leaving? Booking in a 1-1 consultation to discuss our options for working 1-1 together. View Packages

    With Love,

     If you’re a camping family, I have a blog dedicated to all things camping (including a list of everything you must take to aid with baby and toddler sleep). Find the blog Top 10 sleep tips for camping with babies and children here

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  • The two to one nap transition for toddlers. When is it the right time plus tips for a smooth transition from a baby sleep consultant.

    Would you recognise the tell-tale signs that it’s time to transition your toddler from two to one nap? Let’s take a look at the common signs plus how to minimise disrupting healthy sleep foundations whilst transitioning from two to one nap.

    We can often feel clueless when it comes to knowing the right time, how to approach the 2-1 nap transition and how to help our baby through this sleep shift.

    This is a big change for everyone and requires parents to be confident as they support their baby or toddler through the next stage of development.

    As we know, our babies are not robots. They don’t always understand time and age appropriate expectations and sometimes despite our best intentions, march to the beat of their own drum.

    This being said, you’re not alone in the transition. The guess work is removed right here. As your baby sleep consultant, I’m here to guide you through.

    What should you do before you commence the two to one nap transition?

    Before trialling the one nap transition (especially prior to 15 – 18 months of age) you could first consider the following nap planning options to keep the two naps going for just a little longer.

    Sleep tips to keep the two naps a little longer

    1. Start your day a little earlier – This would look like a 6:00/6:30am wake up to give your toddler closer to a 13 hour day, making it possible to still fit in two naps. As long as we’re still achieving 11 hours consolidated sleep overnight, this can assist with holding onto two naps for an extra 1-2 months if needed.
    • Cap the first nap – If you’ve downloaded my Nap Routines already you would know I’m a big fan of a Short-Long Nap Routine, especially from 10-14 months if the second nap is proving more difficult to achieve. The first nap could be as short as 20-30 minutes.
    • Increase awake times throughout the day by 15-30 minutes – This can be really important between nap one and two and again between nap two and bedtime to rebuild sleep pressure. Between nap one and nap two the awake time could be closer to 3 – 3.5 hours and then 4 – 4.5 hours at the end of the day between nap two and bedtime.
    • Move bedtime later – If your baby or toddler is sleeping until closer to 6:30-7:00am then we may need to push bedtime a little later to 7:30pm. We’re aiming for your baby or toddler to receive 11-12 hours overnight. Whilst later bedtimes rarely equal a later sleep in, if your baby is achieving their optimal 2 – 2.5 hours total day sleep then they may temporarily drop a little sleep overnight in order to hold onto two naps.

    If you’ve run through the above suggestions and your toddler’s sleep hasn’t improved, it’s time to consider the 2 -1 nap transition.

    What are the common signs a toddler is ready to drop from two naps down to one daytime sleep?⁠⠀

    •  Your baby is between 15-18 months old – (as an age guide).⁠ Don’t be tricked by the 12 month sleep regression (3 Top Tips to Surviving the 12 month Sleep Regression can be found right here) which can often raise a false alarm for 2 – 1 nap transition. Try capping the first nap back to 20 – 40 minutes to promote sleep pressure on the second nap. Most babies aren’t truly ready to transition to one nap until closer to 15 -18 months.
    • Your toddler struggles to sleep at either nap one or nap two – You may notice you start to receive significant resistance to naps which presents as long times to settle in the cot, often not unhappy, just very awake and playful and sleep is pushed much later. ⁠
    • Nap two is causing bedtime to be pushed back too far – On a standard 7-7 schedule I would consider bedtime going past 7:30-8:00pm to be too late so it would no longer be beneficial to keep two naps, especially if we are dipping below 11 hours of consolidated sleep overnight. ⁠⠀
    • Your toddler is rising too early⁠ – This is often between 5:00-6:00am. Characteristically they’re happy being awake in the cot and don’t mind being left for a while to play independently before becoming frustrated to get up and start their day. They can then comfortably stay awake for their regular first nap timing around 9:30/10:00am. This indicates a loss of sleep pressure for the early hours of the morning.⠀⁠

    If your baby or toddler is showing any or several of these signs where do you start with the 2 – 1 nap transition?⁠

    There are a couple of approaches for the 2 -1 nap transition and I encourage you as the parent to consider the methods and decide on the best approach for your baby and the needs of your family.⁠

    Keep in mind this is a big jump in awake times. In an ideal world when transitioning your baby, they’d receive roughly 5 hours awake time with a 2 – 2.5 hour nap and a further 4.5 – 5 hours awake time at the end of the day.

    During the process of transitioning, it can often result in your toddler becoming overtired so I recommend taking it slowly with a little back and forth in your approach depending on how your individual baby is responding.

    How to transition your baby from two naps to one daytime nap

    Approach 1. Push your baby’s morning nap back

    To do this, you first begin by pushing the nap back by 15 – 30 mins every few days until the first nap starts at around 11.30am – 12:00pm.⁠ This may mean the second nap becomes a short power nap of 20 – 30 minutes and could be assisted in the car or pram around 3:00/3:30pm to get them through, especially if their nap finished around 12:30 or 1:00pm

    Approach 2. Offer alternate days

    Introduce one nap every other day as needed to test if your baby can gradually make it to midday. This is a great option for toddlers already in a short-long nap pattern as your baby slowly eases into the new routine. To do this, you skip your morning nap one day and then offer two naps the next day. This is done over the span of one week. Week two you then skip one nap for two days etc. This can often occur when your baby attends child care where they may transition to one nap earlier than at home or vice versa. Check out the blog How to handle sleep routines when your baby or toddler attends daycare here

    Approach 3. Transition straight away

    This plays out by drawing a line in the sand and choosing the day you’ll begin to only offer one nap each day. This is most suitable for babies that have already been showing resistance for more than 3 weeks. Your toddler’s nap time will now fall at 11.30am or 12:00pm⁠. I have to acknowledge this is my least favourite approach as it often results in an overtired baby due to the sudden and dramatic increase in awake times, however, as always you can decide the approach that is best for your baby and family.⁠

    Now you have a plan to follow, how can you help your baby during the transition?⁠

    Tips to help your baby throughout the 2 -1 nap transition

    1. Bring your baby’s bedtime forward – To compensate for the longer awake times, allow time for your baby to adjust with an earlier bedtime. ⁠This could be as early as 6:00pm or 6:30pm or alternatively pushed out as late as 7:30pm on two nap days so that your baby ultimately stays with a 7-7 schedule long-term.
    1. Keep your routine – As your toddlers adjusts to their new nap schedule, help them remain rested by not making any huge alterations to their schedule at the same time⁠. Predictable wind down routines are a safe and secure option for our babies who thrive on routine and consistency to develop patterns of repetition of events, especially when it comes to their sleep expectations.⠀⁠
    1. Replace some of their nap time with a period of ‘quiet time’ – This is where your baby has the chance to rest even if they’re not sleeping.⁠ If your baby is refusing the morning nap, but you’re unsure if they are truly ready to drop it, plan a short pram or baby carrier walk or run an errand in the car at this time for 15-30 minutes. If they don’t sleep this is still low stimuli time and gives them an opportunity to rest their body.
    1. Patience and Consistency – This is my final parting piece of advice to you mumma! Approach this time with patience to accept this process will often be two steps forward and one step back but have faith, as this is the last big transition before saying goodbye to naps altogether at around 2.5-3 years of age. Check out the blog How to know your toddler is ready to say goodbye to naps here.

    When it comes to consistency, have a plan and back yourself. Don’t panic or start introducing sleep props that weren’t there before or ones you worked so hard to wean out.

    It’s no secret toddlers can be tricky and this transition, don’t be fooled, can be a doozy and often takes 2-6 weeks of a little back and forth in approach. As parents we need to be prepared for a little unsettled sleeping patterns and daily unpredictability of 2 naps or 2 nap days.

    Want some extra help?

    Do you have a younger baby and not sure when to transition their naps? The Nap Transition Blog will guide you from 4-3 naps, 3-2 naps and 2-1 naps. Read it here For a comprehensive guide to nap routines Download my Nap Routines here.  

    Work with us 1-1 with a phone consultation package. Available around the world with tailored advice and support to develop healthy sleep foundations from a holistic and evidence based approach. View Packages

    With Love,

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  • Day time nap tips from a Baby Sleep Consultant

    How to make them work for you and your family and the different nap types you can try.

    Parenting means spending lots of time planning life around daytime naps for your baby or toddler. Every parent wants to win in the nap department and this blog provides hints and tips to help you successfully achieve sleep for your baby during the day, even if this means on the go!

    In this blog we take a look at the different ways your baby or toddler can achieve regular day time sleep seven days a week. You’ll feel informed about how different naps work so you can pick and choose what will work best for each day’s differing schedule.

    For most families, no two days are the same and we want to help you continue to respect your baby or toddler’s sleep needs whilst not becoming housebound 24/7.

    Types of Day Time Naps For Your Baby or Toddler

    Bridging Naps

    Bridging naps are most successful for babies under 5 or 6 months of age and are generally reserved for an early riser (prior to 6:00am) and where a re-settle was unsuccessful.

    Whilst your baby may be tired, we don’t want to start and finish their first nap all before 9:00am in the morning, especially if they are over 4 months of age.

    Enter the bridging nap, a wonderful way to provide a quick reset to get you back on track for the day ahead.  Whilst this nap is limited to a very short 10-15 minutes in duration and is an assisted nap (more on assisted naps in the next point) it can be a lifesaver for those early starts.

    Bridging naps are often achieved in the pram, car, baby carrier or simply rocked in your arms and held for a power nap. You then gently wake your baby after 10-15 minutes to get you back on track for your baby’s normal nap routine for the day.

    Assisted Naps

    Assisted naps commonly take place in the following ways:

    • Pram
    • Car
    • Baby carrier
    • In your arms

     As the term ‘assisted naps’ suggests, your baby is assisted to sleep by motion and/or close proximity to you.

    Expert Tip: Assisted naps can be really important in young babies who become chronically overtired. If you feel your baby’s stuck in an overtired loop, a few days of assisted naps can help provide a circuit breaker to “reset” and catch up on sleep debt.

    At this point you might think assisted naps sound counterproductive and will set you back with all the healthy sleep foundations you’ve implemented.

    Surprisingly they don’t undo your previous hard work of adjusting your baby to mattress settling. Instead, they provide everyone with a physical and mental break to focus purely on age appropriate awake times, wind down cues and optimal sleep environment (without the pressure of independent sleep).

    Once your baby isn’t so overtired and their hormones are better balanced, the process of transitioning back to independent sleep is much quicker and easier. This is also a great opportunity to focus on improving night sleep for your baby as thanks to melatonin AKA our sleep hormone this time of day is when we have the strongest physiological drive for sleep.

    Expert Tip: Have a time frame in mind for assisted naps. For example, 1-2 days so it doesn’t become a long-term habit where we’ve accidentally swapped one prop for another. 

    Naps On The Go

    Naps on the go are inevitably going to occur for your baby and toddler. We need to get out and about after all so there are ways to respect your baby or toddler’s sleep without needing to stay home all day, every day (especially when juggling multiple children).

    Some ideas for naps on the go are:

    • Plan your road trip – Leave at a set time in line with your baby’s normal nap times so they can sleep in the car.
    • Take the longer way home – To allow your baby to finish their nap, go down side streets or via the scenic route. We all know transfers can become less successful as babies grow but you can dump that sleep pressure with even just a sneaky 5-10 minute power nap.
    • Pack the pram and go for a walk – I recommend the Snooze shade cover which blocks harmful UV rays and minimises external distractions.
    • Baby carrier – This provides you with versatility to keep both hands free, manage different terrains and keep your baby close. My recommendation for a baby carrier is Tula

    Newborn Naps

    By nature newborn naps can be sporadic and disorganised so this is not the time to focus on a set sleep schedule (save this until closer to four or five months).

    A newborn’s circadian rhythm doesn’t develop until around 12-16 weeks so trying too soon to focus on a set sleep schedule can put undue pressure on parents to control their newborn’s sleep.

    Instead, focus on awake times and getting sleep rather than no sleep. You can’t form any “bad habits” read my debunking newborn sleep myths blog and your newborn will require close proximity to you in the fourth trimester as they transition from womb life to room life.

    Feeding, rocking and holding are all great ways to stay close and you can work from completely asleep, to drowsy, to calm and finally begin to transition to mattress settling over a period of time.

    Depending on your baby’s temperament and your commitments here is a guide to newborn awake times:

    Newborn Awake times:

    • Birth to 3 weeks – 45 minutes
    • 3-6 weeks – 45-60 minutes
    • 6-9 weeks – 60-75 minutes
    • 9-12 weeks – 75-90 minutes
    • 3 months – 90 minutes

    For more in depth information on newborn sleep you can check out my detailed blog on Realistic Expectations For The Fourth Trimester.

    Catnapping

    Catnapping is developmentally common until around 4-5 months of age when a full sleep cycle is about 40-50 minutes.

    Top sleep tips for conquering catnapping:

    • Optimal sleep environment – Dark room and white noise- this minimises distractions and provides a consistent buffer from the outside world.
    • Correct awake window – Knowing about and being aware of age appropriate awake windows can make such a difference. Learn more about age appropriate awake windows in my blog about Nap Routines.
    • Wind down routine – Being consistent by following the same wind down steps each time your baby is getting ready for sleep provides your baby with predictability in a sequence of verbal and non-verbal sleep cues.
    • Practice initially falling asleep in the cot – We want our baby to wake where they initially fell asleep. Mastering this is the first step to then mastering re-settling, although expect this part to take 2-3 weeks with our bodies lower sleep pressure during the day.

    Re-settling Opportunity – choose 1 or 2 naps a day where you focus on re-settling for 10-20 minutes meaning you don’t automatically rush in. This is a time dedicated to giving your baby the benefit of the doubt to try to independently resettle and go back to sleep (even if it’s just for a few minutes before providing hands on assistance). If you have a catnapping king or queen read the Catnapping Blog dedicated to helping you manage catnapping.

    Babies need lots of sleep, especially in the first 2 years of life. This is often broken down into various naps across the day depending on their age. For guidelines on sleep routines from 6 weeks right through to 4 years Download the Infant & Child Sleep Routine Guide 

    Want some extra help?

    Does your baby wake early? How early is too early? There are some common contributors to early rising which are easily addressed. For tips to combat the crack of dawn wake ups check out the blog on all things early risers here

    With Love,

    Work one on one with our team to receive tailored advice and support to meet the needs of you, your baby, your family and your lifestyle. No two babies or family are alike so we’re here to listen to your needs and work through them with you. Start here

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  • What are false starts at bedtime? 5 common contributors to baby waking within an hour of going to sleep at night.

    The term ‘false starts at bedtime’ may be new to you however you may have encountered them or experience them regularly with your baby. This blog details the 5 common contributors to baby waking within an hour of going to sleep at night and what you can do about it.

    Let’s kick things off by asking what is a false start at bedtime?

    What is a false start?

    A false start at bedtime is when your baby most commonly wakes around 30-50 minutes after their initial bedtime settle, ‘Surprise I’m not really down for the night!’.

    As parents we can mistake this as a “final nap” which is discussed below, but most commonly it is linked to 2 common themes – your baby or toddler’s day sleep structure and how they are falling asleep initially.

    As melatonin (our sleep hormone) pumps through the body from 6:00pm to midnight, the early to late evening should be your baby’s deepest and most restorative sleep for the night, even if the rest of the night gets harder.

    Waking in the first part of the night has a number of common causes and we will troubleshoot these below:

    Why does my baby wake in the first part of the night?

    5 Reasons false starts occur at bedtime:

    1.  Baby is under 2-3 months

     Your baby treats the 7:00-8:00pm bedtime as a final power nap. Biologically younger babies will often have a later bedtime closer to 8:00-10:00pm. If a late power nap is followed by a nice long stretch of sleep (3-4 hours +) then the later bedtime is currently working for them.

    After their late power nap, your baby can be up for another stretch of awake time and then commence their bedtime routine a little later. You’ll notice that as their awake times lengthen in the following weeks to months their sleep structure will naturally bring bedtime back towards 6:00-7:00pm.

    Expert tip: Did you know our Circadian Rhythm (the body’s internal body clock) doesn’t start to develop until closer to 8-12 weeks of age. This is why achieving a predictable routine can be difficult in young babies and why I recommend sleep based on awake times as your best guide.

    1. Baby’s last awake window in the day needs tweaking

    If your baby is overtired or under tired in the evening this can play a role in false starts at bedtime.

    Overtired vs under tired is such a fine balance parents try their best to keep in check. Here’s some signs to look out for.

    Why do false starts occur in overtired babies?

    We know overtired babies wake frequently overnight and this is due to their cortisol level being raised and subsequently releasing adrenaline. Adrenaline triggers the fight or flight pattern and makes it not only hard to fall asleep, but also stay asleep.

    Overtired signs in a baby include:

    •  Late tired cues for sleep
    • Longer than average awake times
    • Frantic or distressed crying
    • Rigid and stiff body or pushing away
    • Waking after 20-30 minutes upset and tired

     Why do false starts occur in under tired babies?

    On the opposite side, an under tired baby is tired for a short nap but not tired enough for a longer sleep. Their sleep pressure isn’t high enough and causes them to wake earlier than anticipated from a nap or at bedtime.

    Under tired signs in a baby include:

    •  No tired cues before sleep
    • Shorter than average awake times
    • Fights nap time and is happy, alert and playful
    • Wakes after a full sleep cycle (around an hour) happy, alert and playful

    Let’s consider age appropriate final awake windows (the awake time at the end of the day) for different baby age groups.

    Note: These are not absolute and can be tweaked to your individual baby +/- 15-30 minutes.

    • 4 – 8 weeks – 40 – 75 minutes
    • 8 – 12 weeks – 75 – 90 minutes
    • 3 – 4 months – 1.5 – 2 hours
    • 5 – 6 months – 2 – 2.5 hours
    • 7 – 10 months – 3 – 3.5 hours
    • 11 – 15 months – 3.5 – 4 hours
    • 15/18 months – 2.5 years – 4.5 – 5.5 hours

    Find out more about the sleep routines I recommend with my comprehensive Nap Routine Guide – 35 pages of sleep routines from 6 weeks to 4 years. Download Nap Routines.

    1. Zoning out and resetting

    Bub gets too drowsy during their final milk feed at the breast or bottle and takes a quick micro nap. This could be as little as a few minutes, but can often be enough to dump their tired tank and give them a second wind.

    Have you ever fallen asleep watching T.V in an ad break, then woken and taken yourself to bed as you’re obviously tired, only to then stay awake for ages and should have just got up and finished watching your show anyway?

    This is similar for babies who have a second wind after their power nap and now they have another 30-60 minutes of energy to resist sleep. This can happen in the lead up to sleep or with babies waking after their first sleep cycle at night.

    Expert tip: Move your final milk feed to earlier in the bedtime routine and focus on this being a wide awake feed, ideally 20-30 minutes before bedtime.

    If your little one is getting a second wind of energy, try using gentle engagement to keep them alert.

    You may look to create a bedtime routine that includes:

    • Bath
    • PJ’s,
    • Milk feed
    • Sleeping bag
    • Books
    • White noise
    • Lights off
    • Cuddles and sleep phrase
    • Settle into the cot calm and awake
    1. Start of the day

    Is your little one creating a predictable 24 hour rhythm for sleep?

    Most babies will biologically rise and fall with the sun meaning a 7:00-7:00 schedule is ideal. This can naturally move a little earlier or later depending on your family but it is easiest to explain on a standard 7-7 schedule.

    This also aligns with our bodies biological sleep rhythms where we have a hormone and temperature dip to encourage sleep rhythms throughout the day.

    Babies and toddlers typically need a 12-13 hour day to rebuild sleep pressure for the right balance across a 24 hour rhythm. This provides the best opportunity to achieve 11-12 hours sleep overnight (broken for age appropriate feeds). So if they sleep in, we want to ensure they then have sufficient time to rebuild sleep pressure for the night ahead.

    Expert tip: To encourage night sleep consolidation, wake your baby at a predictable time each morning (within 30 minutes), even if sleep has been difficult overnight.

    1. How did your baby fall asleep initially?

    When you stepped out of the room was your baby drifting off? Were they drowsy? almost asleep? or completely asleep? After 4-6 months of age we go through a permanent neurological change in sleeping patterns known as the 4 month sleep regression. For all things 4 Month Sleep Regression check out our detailed blog providing tips on what to do to promote healthy sleep habits. Read it now.

    Babies surface between sleep cycles around 45-60 minutes and 2-4 hourly overnight. As your baby reaches the end of their sleep cycle, they are likely to wake and become upset and frustrated if the circumstances have changed from when they initially fell asleep.

    What exactly does this mean and why does this occur? In short, they’re likely missing an external sleep association. Learn all about sleep associations in the blog What Are Sleep Associations.  This could be rocking in mum or dad’s arms, no longer being at the breast or their dummy has fallen out and they can’t find and replace it independently. This is why we encourage falling asleep independently as the first priority to developing long-term healthy sleep foundations.

    Want to learn more about developing healthy sleep foundations? Let’s chat about working 1-1 to provide you with tailored advice and support for your individual family. View Packages.

    Want some extra help?

    Looking for more information on nap routines and daily sleep structure with realistic expectations from 6 weeks through to 4 years? Check out the blog Baby Nap Routine Tips And Guidance.

    With Love,

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  • Tips to help your baby sleep when daylight savings ends

    The biannual calendar event of daylight savings affects families across several Australian states; when those without children celebrate the extra hours sleep, but for those of us with little ones, we question the conspiracy of the world to mess with our sleep routines!

    In this blog we’ll look at how to help your little one transition during daylight savings and provide tips to help your baby sleep when the clocks turn back 1 hour.

    The date to mark in your diary as the end of daylight savings is Sunday, 3 April, 2022 (QLD, WA and NT this won’t affect you) and don’t worry if you forget, your phone will automatically update the time.

    For those worried about early rising, I want to reassure you that early rising doesn’t have to become the new ‘norm’ in your household and daylight savings transitions don’t have to impact the family long-term.

    There are ways to achieve a smooth transition.

    This being said, due to our body’s lower drive to sleep in the morning, early rising is one of the trickier sleep hurdles. Sometimes it simply takes time to restore the sleep pressure and shift the body’s “wake up time” to a more appropriate time (generally between 6:00-7:00am on a ‘standard’ 7:00am-7:00pm schedule.

    For most parents, there will not be a ‘bonus sleep in’ come daylight savings, but this clock change doesn’t have to mean the beginning of months on end of early rising.  If anything, we can take this opportunity to finally work on early rising once and for all with an extra hour to persist with re-settling – the goal isn’t necessarily returning to sleep…at least initially.

    For now, the best thing you can do to ready yourself for the transition is to have a plan, either proactive or reactive (we’ll talk about this more) and as always, consistency is key to guiding your little one through this time.

    How do you help your little one transition during daylight savings?

    1. Firstly, we need to understand how our circadian rhythms work.

    The circadian rhythm is the body’s internal biological sleep clock and it is set by food, light and social interaction. These external factors are like data being provided to the body, which is sending clear messages to signal when it is awake time and when it is sleep time.

    It should also be noted that serotonin (happy hormone) is produced during the day and converts to melatonin (sleepy hormone) at night.

    The body clock can be shifted simply by moving, adding or omitting the elements of food, light and social interaction. This is where your little one’s routine comes into play and can be used to transition their circadian rhythm.

    Which leads me to the next point

    2. Have a plan –

    There are two common approaches to making the clock work in your favour. These approaches are called Proactive and Reactive.

    Proactive – This is where, in the 5-7 days prior to the time change, you progressively shift your routine by 15-20 minutes; meaning every step in your routine happens just that little bit later.

    For example: if you usually run your little one’s day between the hours of 7:00am – 7:00pm, in the week leading up to daylight savings you’ll be aiming to progressively move towards an 8:00am – 8:00pm routine by the end of the week.

    By progressively shifting to the 8:00am – 8:00pm routine, by the time the clocks wind back on Sunday morning you’ll have already transitioned your little one’s sleep routine and they’ll now be back on a 7:00am – 7:00pm routine.

    Expert Tip: Remember everything is moving to a slightly later time. Always start at the beginning of the day and push out meals and snacks consecutively to achieve the later bedtime.

      Days 1-2 Days 3-4 Days 5-6 Days 7-8
    Start of the day 7:15am 7:30am 7:45am 8:00am
    All Naps 15 minutes later 30 minutes later 45 minutes later 1 hour later
    All Meals 15 minutes later 30 minutes later 45 minutes later 1 hour later
    Bedtime 7:15pm 7:30pm 7:45pm 8:00pm

    This will then “switch” you back to a 7:00am-7:00pm routine come Sunday morning.  Don’t worry if you start late or only get half way by the Sunday.  It’s a guideline to work towards not a deadline.

    Reactive: The alternative to a proactive approach is a reactive approach which is the same method as the proactive approach only it’s implemented after daylight savings ends i.e. after the time change.

    If we use the example of having a 7:00am – 7:00pm routine, once the clocks go back this will now be a 6:00am – 6:00pm routine and the idea is to get your little one back to 7:00am – 7:00pm.

    How’s it done? Over a few days you’ll move your routine 15-20 minutes later which progressively retrains your little one’s body clock to adjust to a 7:00am – 7:00pm routine on the new time.

    As with the proactive approach, always start the process at the beginning of the day and push out meals, snacks and naps consecutively to progressively shuffle to a later time.

      Days 1-2 Days 3-4 Days 5-6 Days 7-8
    Start of the day 6:15am 6:30am 6:45am 7:00am
    All Naps 15 minutes later 30 minutes later 45 minutes later 1 hour later
    All Meals 15 minutes later 30 minutes later 45 minutes later 1 hour later
    Bedtime 6:15pm 6:30pm 6:45pm 7:00pm

    3. Consistency

    When it comes to our little one’s sleep habits consistency will always be important. The daylight savings clock change is the time to be consistent and is not the time to change your approach with settling and re-settling. During this time be especially cautious to ensure you don’t add any new sleep props that you don’t wish to retain long-term.

    Expert Insight: Younger babies (4-12 months old) will be more sensitive to this change whereas with your newborn-3-month-old you can simply follow awake times and add/drop a nap to get them back on track.

    Older babies/toddlers you can gently adjust by pushing towards their “regular” day to day nap schedule and bedtime and their bodies will catch up over 5-7 days.

    Remember- No matter what happens, the best thing you can do is allow your bub the opportunity to transition and the above suggestions will help to do just this.

    Expert Tip: Once the change happens avoid thinking “old time vs new time” and just go with the actual time, pushing forward with where you want to get to as you’ll constantly confuse yourself going back and forth. One hour is not hugely significant, especially for older children and thankfully we are not crossing significant time zones.

    Any changes from daylight savings are commonly sorted within 5-7 days.

    Early rising can be a kicker but don’t let it stress you out. I encourage you to view this time through the lens of opportunity and a chance to work on minimising early rising in your little one (especially if early rising was already a common occurrence). Having the extra hour to work on re-settling before starting the day is in your favour mumma.

    Try to remember that as a parent, it is not our job to “force” sleep, rather offer the opportunity and if they are awake earlier than ideal, we don’t automatically need to get them up and start the day, rather try to keep them in their sleep environment (with as little interaction as possible) to “bore” them back to sleep rather than be too hands on with our approach. 

    Expert Tip: Early rising can take 2-3 weeks to resolve, hence the need to be patient and consistent.

    Want some extra help?

    Check out the early rising blog for extra hints and tips to beat the early wake up calls from your little one.

    For more healthy sleep hints and tips Follow me on Instagram

    With Love,

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  • How sleep associations can impact your baby’s sleep routine

    Are sleep associations bad for your baby? Maybe you’ve been wondering are sleep associations wrong altogether? Let’s take a closer look at the role sleep associations play in your baby’s sleep, both short term and long term.

    I want to start this blog by saying no sleep association is “bad” or “wrong”, let’s get that heavy hand off our chest.

    If you came to this blog worried you were about to discover your baby or toddler’s sleep is doomed, this is not the case. Hand on heart I wish to reassure you sleep associations are ok and as parents we just need to find a way to make them work for not only our baby, but for the whole family.

    My philosophy has always been, “It’s not a problem unless it’s a problem for you” BUT I’m also of the belief that whilst something may work at one stage of your little one’s life, it may not be as effective as they get older, or it may even become unsustainable too.

    It’s also ok to WANT and NEED change to support your baby or toddlers sleep foundations for the sake of everyone in the family unit. You’re not selfish for wanting more sleep for yourself or your baby.

    Sleep is a biological necessity, it’s not a luxury and “surviving” simply isn’t the same as “thriving” in motherhood. No mama should wear sleep deprivation as a badge of honour in early motherhood, there are no winners here.

    Let’s take a look at some ways to positively introduce sleep associations for your baby or toddler’s sleep. These can be formed early in your little one’s life and will create long-term positive associations for your baby’s sleep:

    Ways to include positive sleep associations into your baby or toddler’s sleep

    • Darkness

    From around 3 weeks of age (after any day and night confusion is corrected) I recommend a dark sleep environment for sleeping at home in their bassinet or cot and right throughout childhood.

    A darkened room helps the body to block out interaction and external stimulation and switch down a gear for sleep. Babies can often be distracted by the simplest things such as shadows on the walls or ceiling and even patterns on their sheets. We may not be able to “force” our babies into falling asleep, but we can “bore” them to sleep with a darkened room.  This also allows the body to release the sleep hormone melatonin.

    To create a dark room, block out blinds or curtains are ideal. I recommend Easy Night Black Out Blinds which are available through Sleep Tight Babies Discount CodeBSC10off

    Expert Tip: Did you know babies don’t develop a fear of the dark until closer to 2 years of age? The darker the better for babies so no need to introduce night lights including red lights for sleep.

    • White noise

    White noise is a positive sleep association. When your baby is born, they’re often startled by the silence of the outside world and the intensity of start and stop noises in our day to day lives.

    Did you know it was as loud as a vacuum cleaner in the womb? White noise provides a consistent buffer from day to day household noises like older siblings, dogs barking, door knockers and traffic.

    White noise is ideally played continuously for day sleep and overnight so that each time they rouse between a sleep cycle it’s playing at the same spot.

    White noise can be safely played long term at around 50-60 decibels without damaging their little ears and you can wean white noise from your little one’s sleep routine between 1-2 years of age by simply turning down and off over a one week period.

    Expert Tip: My personal favourite is “pink noise” which is a little softer than traditional white noise. White noise is considered anything consistent so we can use sounds such as rain, hair dryer, white noise, waves etc through either a wall plug in device or even downloading an App on a spare mobile phone or tablet. Avoid melodies and lullabies as they rise and fall between tracks and can engage the brain between sleep cycles.

    • Swaddle

    I recommend swaddling your baby until between 4-6 months of age. Swaddling can help protect your baby from waking from the moro (startle) reflex in the early days.  This will give your baby a more restful sleep as they transition between sleep cycles.

    Arms down swaddles are my first choice as they buffer the moro. My choice of swaddles are the Miracle Blanket for Newborn to 10-12 weeks and Ergococoon for 2-3 months up to 4-6 months when your baby transitions to a sleeping bag.

    For the when, why and how of unswaddling check out the blog on transitioning from swaddle to sleeping bag

    • Sleeping Bags

    Sleeping bags are the next step up from swaddling once your baby is on the move. They’re a positive non-verbal cue for sleep and ensure your baby is sufficiently dressed for sleep with optimum temperature regulation.

    I recommend the use of a Thermal Overall Grade (TOG) rated sleeping bag. The lighter the fabric the lower the TOG rating, the higher the rating, the more padded and insulated your little one will be.

    Expert Tip: Always choose brands with a TOG rating as these are made from cotton or bamboo breathable materials. Other brands will often use cheaper polyester fillers which can cause your little one to sweat with limited ability to wick away moisture and can cause your baby to overheat.

    • Comforters

    Comforters are safe to introduce from birth to create familiarity. You can sleep with it or wear it down your top for 1-2 nights to allow it to gain your scent and then begin to introduce it to your baby. You can do this this by placing it between you when feeding and show to bub during awake times.

    Red Nose Guidelines recommends not leaving the comforter unattended in the cot with your baby for sleep until 7+ months of age.

    A comforter acts as a transitional object for sleep and assists with object permanence AKA separation anxiety which often occurs around 8-10 months of age. For ways to ease separation anxiety check out the blog here

    Expert tip: My personal favourite comforter brand is Kippins – Made from a cotton organic material, which also meets Red Nose Guidelines for size. Ensure you grab two so you can regularly rotate and have a back up just in case you lose it or it needs washing.

    What about other baby sleep associations?

    When you began reading this blog you might have thought we would kick things off with sleep associations such as:

    • Feeding – bottle or breast
    • Rocking
    • Holding

    These are all considered sleep associations too and whilst I don’t like to group them under a “negative” banner, they can definitely play a parent dependent role in your baby or toddler’s ability to fall asleep initially and then consequently flow on to re-settling between sleep cycles.

    Babies thrive on patterns of repetition of events.  These create a secure foundation in their expectations of how they fall asleep and re-settle again between sleep cycles.

    Let’s consider this from an adult perspective – If we initially fell asleep in our bed, only to wake a few hours later in the laundry, would we roll over and go back to sleep or would we panic and want to go back to our own bed?

    This is how our baby can feel when they fall asleep with one set of circumstances, but wake with another. They’re not being manipulative or stubborn. They’re simply trying to re-create the way they initially fell asleep. Sounds so simple right?

    The way our baby falls asleep initially creates an imprint and expectation for sleep.  When I’m consulting with my one-on-one clients we first focus on assisting a baby to learn the art of self-settling, before looking at any opportunity to learn re-settling as this sets the expectation up at the beginning of sleep rather than starting on the back foot with resettling.

    If we can give our babies more than one method of settling to sleep in their sleep tool kit, it makes sleep associations more sustainable long-term. This may look like feeding, rocking or holding to sleep one nap, but bub self-settling in the cot for another nap and at bedtime. 80/20 is the rule of flexibility and consistency.

    This also means we don’t have to be home for all naps and can achieve sleep on the go too. No-one wants their baby to only know how to sleep at home, in a dark room with white noise.

    You’re probably wondering about the role of dummies as a sleep association?

    Depending on your baby’s age and stage, the dummy can play a significant role in your baby or toddler’s sleep also.

    For newborns, a dummy can be extremely helpful and won’t necessarily impact their ability to fall asleep or sleep longer stretches when it falls out between sleep cycles, especially overnight as their sleep cycles are immature and they spend time 50/50 light and deep sleep.

    This often changes around 3 or 4 months of age and can begin to provide sleep challenges if the dummy falls out frequently and requires replacement when they can’t yet physically do it themselves. For more information on the pros and cons of dummies and to see how it may be impacting your little one’s sleep – read the Dummy Dilemma blog

    Don’t ever think you can’t feed, rock or hold your baby to sleep. These times are to be treasured and we all enjoy a sleeping snuggle with our baby or toddler, they grow up so quickly.

    I have cuddled and fed all three of my babies to sleep at different times in their lives whilst ensuring it wasn’t the ONLY method to settle them to sleep and this is the basis of healthy sleep foundations rather than labels of “positive” or “negative” sleep associations.

    Want some extra help?

    Feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start to change your baby or toddlers current sleep associations. Want to explore a way that doesn’t involve leaving your baby to cry on their own. Book a Discovery Chat to discuss how we can work 1-1 together to develop healthy sleep foundations from a holistic approach that meets your baby where they are at developmentally and doesn’t compromise your parenting style. Book Your Free Discovery Call

    With Love,

    P.S Can your baby or toddler self-settle to sleep but you’re struggling with short naps? If you have a catnapping king or queen on your hands then check out the blog on all things catnapping here

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  • Top 5 tired signs for newborns and debunking newborn sleep myths.

    Newborn sleep is a hot topic amongst new mums and mums to be but what is actually realistic when it comes to newborn sleep?

    In this blog we’ll cover off how to know if your newborn is tired and the top five tired signs you can look for so that you can feel empowered and educated.

    If you’re pregnant or have just given birth to your precious newborn, congratulations! Welcoming a new life into the world is a momentous occasion and perhaps you’ve had the realisation, ‘I’m not sure what my newborn baby NEEDS from me’.

    As your baby is too little to send a clear message (they are newborns after all) and have just made the big transition from the comfy womb to our big wide world, we need to do our best to notice their newborn sleep cues.

    We know overtired babies are cranky, unhappy, unsettled, fussy babies who often won’t sleep when they need it and at times newborn tired signs can be subtle or hard to read. This is why being aware of our baby’s awake windows combined with tired signs is our best indicator.

    Let’s start with awake windows for newborns, keeping in mind newborns are tiny and often sleep, eat, poop on repeat with very little actual “awake time” to play and engage.

    A guide to awake times for babies from newborn to three months

    • Birth – 3 weeks – 45 minutes
    • 3-6 weeks – 45-60 minutes
    • 6-9 weeks – 60-75 minutes
    • 9-12 weeks – 75-90 minute
    • 3 months – 1.5-1.75 hours

    Use the above awake times to guide your days and weeks ahead in the ‘fourth trimester’. This is the first 12 weeks of your baby’s life in the outside world. They’re not set in stone and may vary +/- 15 minutes but you can use them in combination with the next point… signs of tiredness in newborns.

    Top 5 tired signs in newborns include:

    1. Redness around the eyebrows

    Just like when you and I get tired, we might rub our eyes. Our little one’s eyes can become sore/tight and become a little red. Look for the little red “M” between their eyebrows as a tired cue. 

    1. Jerky body movements

    Newborn movements are unpredictable as their little parasympathetic nervous system hasn’t learnt to relax through these motions. Watch your little one and notice their movements during their awake times and how they change towards the end of their awake period. Do their movements become more erratic?

    1. Can’t hold a gaze

    For a newborn their “play” is watching you. They observe you, watching your facial and body movements. When they are no longer able to maintain your gaze, they will turn away. This can be a sign of everything becoming too much for them and they are growing tired. They can also become over-stimulated and turn away, especially if a loving relative is being a little too in their face with loud noises and big facial expressions.

    1. Yawning

    This can be a tricky tired sign. Some babies yawn after a good sleep or it can be a sign of boredom and needing a change of activity. Watch for yawning accompanied with other tired signs in order to recognise your newborns unique combination.

    1. Grizzling and crying towards the end of awake window

    Crying is our newborn’s only way of communication, so this can also mean tired, hungry, bored or overstimulated. It can be tricky and a little trial and error at the beginning.

    Expert Tip: A good rule to determine whether your newborn is ready for sleep is to look for 3 tired signs over a 10 minute period in combination with age appropriate awake times.

    At the start of this blog I mentioned newborn sleep is a hot topic and because it’s such a hot topic it can become a little overwhelming. Let’s now take some time to check in on newborn sleep myths.

    Debunking common newborn sleep myths….

    1. Spoiling your baby will create a “rod for your own back”

    Closeness and proximity is an essential requirement of the fourth trimester. If we look at the “womb life to room life” transition we will note that in utero our baby has known nothing but a continuous supply of food, feelings of security in a swaddle- like environment that’s temperature controlled and has regular movement/swaying.

    Is it any wonder our newborns love us to replicate all these things once they’re earth side? As a mum and professional who helps families every day, I can assure you that any external support provided to your newborn in the fourth trimester can be weaned off, if or when you and your little one are ready.

    The newborn days go so quickly so my best advice is to soak up these precious snuggles, get comfy and watch some Netflix if they are struggling to settle in their bassinet during the day. Nothing is forever and we can ALWAYS change something that no longer becomes sustainable in the long-term

    1. Teach a newborn to self-settle from the beginning

    This is simply not age appropriate. Whilst there are some babies who can be placed in the bassinet or cot and fall asleep independently, this is not the case for all babies and your baby certainly isn’t broken if they need more hands on assistance to transition from awake to sleep.

    Assistance could be in the form of sucking at the breast/bottle or dummy or could be in the form of hands-on assistance such as rocking, holding or patting. When it comes to putting a newborn down to sleep you can choose whether you focus on settling to sleep or settling until drowsy.

    Give yourself permission to meet your little one where they’re at developmentally in their newborn weeks and months and then begin to reduce intervention around 3-4 months (or as you and bub are comfortable).

    Expert tip: When it comes to hands-on assistance, I hold the motto of “it’s not a problem unless it becomes a problem for you”. Hold onto this thought when you receive (often unsolicited) well-meaning advice from others.

    1. Start a strict routine from the beginning

    Newborn sleep is unpredictable. They don’t have a functioning circadian rhythm which makes any sleep schedule unrealistic in terms of predictability prior to 12-16 weeks of age.

    Strict sleep times will often lead to stress and frustration and make you feel like a “failure” before you’ve even started. Whilst sleep rhythms and patterns are important, especially when you consider awake times and tired cues, trying to impose strict sleep times is unrealistic. It’s these unrealistic expectations of sleep that can steal the joy of motherhood, especially in the newborn days.

    Expert tip: You can work towards a feed/play/sleep routine as a guide, but don’t hold your baby out for feeds/sleep due to a set sleep schedule. Your baby doesn’t understand the clock and this can have negative impacts on establishing your supply in the early days and weeks of breastfeeding!

    1. Feeding on demand

    A newborn’s tummy size is TINY!

    •      Day 1 – size of a cherry
    •      Day 3 – size of a walnut
    •      1 Week – size of an apricot
    •      1 Month – size of an egg!

    Did that just blow your mind on WHY newborns need to feed more frequently? Whilst breast milk is additionally easy to digest, this does not mean switching to formula will make your baby sleep longer by “filling them up”. There’s been countless research studies to dispel this sleep myth. Feed on demand, not to the clock. Your baby does not know time, only their hunger.

    It’s easy to get caught up in all the opinions and advice available which is why knowing realistic expectations and signs to look out for can help prevent the dreaded overtired cycle.

    Looking for more tips on newborn sleep? Check out the blog 5 Quick And Easy Ways To Calm Your Newborn to help relax and soothe your baby.

    With Love,

    If you’ve just had a baby (or about to bring your newborn into the world) the first 12 weeks after birth will see you experience the fourth trimester. I want to be there for you during this time and help you feel more confident with your baby.

    My Fourth Trimester Guide is designed from birth to 12 weeks and is filled with easy-to-read information on what’s needed to establish gentle and healthy sleep foundations. In the downloadable guide you’ll find details on popular newborn topics such as setting up an optimal sleep environment, feeding, awake times, swaddling and much, much more. Find the Fourth Trimester here.

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  • Toddler sleep training. How to know when to drop that final nap!

    Dropping the final day sleep.

    You might’ve thought the day would never come, but your little one’s daytime napping will one day sadly come to an end.

    Dropping the final nap is both a joyous and sad time for parents. It opens up a world of no longer having to work around nap schedules – hallelujah! But it also means parenting for a full 12-13 hours throughout the day (made trickier if you’ve had a second baby and were counting on some downtime …. HELP!)

    So at what age can you expect your child to drop their last day time nap?

    Children most commonly reduce and phase out their day nap between 2.5-3.5 years of age. In saying this, every toddler is individual which is why there’s such a varied response as to whether your little one is ready to drop their day nap when compared to friends, your niece, your neighbour or even your OWN children!

    Rest assured your toddler will provide a number of signs of readiness to transition out the day nap although some signs are easier to recognise than others.

    Here is a list of the five most common signs it’s time to drop the final nap:

    • Your toddler is between the ages of 2.5-3.5 years.

    Obviously there can be variances with this guideline and we’ll discuss this more in the points below.

    We know balanced sleep throughout the day and night is important to regulate a toddler’s emotions and appetite and to allow their bodies to rest for optimal growth and development.

    Total sleep requirements for this age group can vary between 11-13 hours (noting all children can be +/- 30-60 minutes). However, consolidated sleep is more important than a set number and research shows that for little ones over the age of 2 years, night sleep is a higher priority for the body.

    Did you know we achieve our deepest and most restorative sleep prior to midnight? This means it’s counter productive to keep a day nap if your toddler is up until 9:00/10:00pm at night.

    We don’t want to keep a day nap at the detriment of achieving consolidated sleep overnight, especially if this is dipping below 10-11 hours.

    Expert Tip: If your little one isn’t refusing their day nap but you believe their night sleep is being impacted, start by shaving 15-30 minutes off their current nap length. Reassess after 7-10 days and then reduce again if needed until you find their “sweet spot”.

    • Your toddler takes a long time to fall asleep at nap/bedtime.

    If your child is genuinely not tired at sleep time, this is when we can shift to offering a “window of opportunity” for day sleep to occur.

    Rather than a set nap length that doesn’t occur until 3:00pm in the afternoon – (hello “danger nap” which causes delayed bedtime), offering your toddler a window of opportunity can make a huge difference and relieve pressure on you as a parent for trying for too long and getting stressed.

    For instance, you might choose to allocate between 1:00-2:00pm as the window of opportunity to fall asleep each day. I would then recommend waking your little one from their day sleep no later than 2:00/2:30pm regardless of how long they have slept in this timeframe.  As a rule of thumb, most children need between 5-5.5 hours of awake time before bed when having a day sleep. This ensures bedtime doesn’t slip past 7:30/8:00pm at night.

    Expert Tip: If they don’t sleep in the above scenario, just remember we can offer the opportunity for sleep but we CAN’T force it. If there is strong resistance to sleep, switch to quiet time or abandon the nap completely after 30-60 minutes.

    Quiet time ideas might include:

    • Laying your little one in their bed/cot for 30-60 minutes
    • Reading/listening to audio books
    • Puzzles
    • Movie time
    • Set up a “quiet activity” box that only comes out during quiet time.
    • You experience bedtime battles when your little one has had a nap.

    This is referring to stalling tactics being levelled up by your toddler at bedtime because they’re genuinely not tired. Think of a scenario where a child plays happily in their cot/bed in excess of 30-60 minutes before they fall asleep.

    Note: Don’t confuse this with your little one gaining a second wind in the lead up to sleep time. This commonly occurs after too much wind down. Toddlers don’t need extensive bedtime routines, short and sharp is preferable. An example can be watching electronic devices in the late afternoon/before bedtime where they zone out and reboot.

    Expert Tip: Ideally, we would eliminate screen time in the 3-4 hours prior to bedtime. The blue light emitted from electronic devices such as TV, I-Pad and mobile phones blocks our body’s melatonin and can also cause our toddler’s little minds to run wild. This makes winding down for sleep much harder to switch off.

    • Your toddler skips their nap more than they take their nap.

    A good rule of thumb here is if the nap is being skipped at least 3 days a week over a 3 week period then your little one is preparing to say goodbye to their daytime nap.

    Another great way to know if they’re really ready to drop the nap is taking note when they’re in the car or pram and stay wide awake on the trip home.

    Be mindful of keeping an eye on your little one in the late afternoon though as the “danger nap” mentioned above can strike at any time.

    This is when your toddler goes suspiciously quiet because they’ve curled up and gone and put themselves to sleep at 4:00pm in the afternoon! If this happens, give your little one 10-15 minutes and gently wake. It may not be pretty, but ride the emotion and expose them to fresh air outside to shift the mood. You’ll be thankful later when they are settled into bed at a reasonable time.

    Expert Tip: Don’t be fooled by the 2 year sleep regression with nap refusal, keep offering the day nap and 9/10 times the nap will come back in some capacity. You can read more about sleep regressions here  

    • Your child is early rising, waking overnight or staying awake for long periods during the night.

    Another strong sign it’s time to reduce or drop the day nap is a sudden onset of night waking. This can include your toddler being wakeful for long periods overnight creating a split night or early rising where they’ve genuinely run out of steam for sleep.

    Sleep pressure is highest at the beginning of the night meaning bedtime can sometimes come easily but they’re wide eyed, awake and playing at 4:30/5:00am in the morning.

    If they’re ready to drop their day nap, you’ll notice that despite the early wakeup, they stay awake with no excessive meltdowns until their regular “day sleep”. This shows loss of sleep pressure in the early hours of the morning.

    Expert Tip: The only way to shift sleep into night is to reduce/eliminate day sleep. This means battling through some extra emotions as we take away the bodies safety back up and reconsolidate night sleep.

    Now that you know the 5 common signs, do you think your child is ready to drop their final day nap?

    If your child is coping well and happy throughout the day as well as achieving consolidated sleep overnight, all you can do is offer the opportunity for sleep. We can’t force it and need to release the pressure.

    Saying goodbye to the final daytime nap is rarely a quick and smooth process and often comes over weeks and even months with a reduction of the length of nap and then offering alternate days on an as needed basis.

    With Love,

    Want to know more about nap transitions and when they occur.  Check out my nap transition blog HERE .

    You can also download my FREE Toddler Bedtime Routine Chart  to create a positive relationship with the lead up to sleep whilst staying on track and discouraging stalling tactics.

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  • Baby sleep tips for summer! And how to manage your baby’s sleep routine through the warmer months.

    Longer summer days are here, which inevitably means more hours of daylight. The good news is your summer plans don’t have to throw your little one’s sleep routine out the window.

    This blog covers off five helpful tips that will see you confidently manage your child’s sleep throughout summer. 

    With the festive season and sun-soaked days seeing you out and about more (and invariably out longer), there are ways to ensure you step into the season feeling more organised for how to handle your little one’s sleep routine.  

    Yes, sleep might look a little different in summer but that’s ok. I encourage you to still visit family and friends and enjoy the delight of late sunsets and extra hours of play following my 80/20 rule for routine and predictability without completely derailing your little one’s healthy sleep habits you have worked so hard to achieve.

    This blog will reassure you that you can be flexible with your little one’s sleep routine and still maintain healthy sleep habits.

    What does this look like?

    Mostly it’s a balance of respecting both your little one’s need for sleep and the need to get out of the house.

    Summer Sleep Success Tips – Practical tips to navigate sleep routines on longer summer days:

    1. Keep It Cool – Babies struggle to self-regulate their body temperature, this coupled with their inability to add or remove blankets means it’s up to you to control the external temperature as much as possible. 

    Expert Tip: There’s no perfect room temperature recommendation from Red Nose Guidelines as they encourage you to dress your baby appropriately for the temperature of the room.  In my experience, around 20-22 degrees Celsius is considered ‘comfortable’ for summer; keeping in mind your location needs to be taken into account as elements like humidity can also be an influencing factor.

    2. Strip Down- Check the TOG rating of your swaddle or sleeping bag for your little one. Remember to only use cotton or bamboo-based materials for sleeping as these are breathable (this includes baby’s bedding too). 

    My Choice: Ergopouch is my go-to for breathable baby sleepwear and sleepsuits. 

    3. Block It Out- If you’re at home, block out blinds are your best friend throughout the longer summer days/nights as they encourage the mind to think it’s dark outside. Remember our circadian rhythm (body’s internal biological sleep clock) is influenced by food, light and social interaction.

    My recommendation: Easy Night Baby Black out Blinds available through Sleep Tight Babies

    4. Don’t Be Tempted To Miss Naps- This always leads to an overtired and grumpy baby or toddler. Naps may be shorter on the go, but try your best to accommodate their regular nap routine and buffer with an extra nap or earlier bedtime to compensate for lost day sleep from the day.  This will equal a happier baby and allow them to get back on track sooner rather than later. 

    Expert Tip: Avoid planning too many days out in a row as we need to respect our little one’s need for sleep – even if it is a little inconvenient.

    5. Keep Your Regular Wind Down Routine- Although tempting when everyone’s had a big day (including mum and dad), don’t try to skip or rush the bedtime routine, especially if your little one has had a big day socialising, interacting and being more physically active. 

    Expert Tip: Remember to “turn down” the house in the hour prior to bedtime to signify to your little one’s body that night sleep is approaching.

    Approaching this season with a balance of equal parts calm and commitment to your baby’s sleep routine is a fantastic way to enjoy the best of both worlds throughout the warmer months. 

    Want some extra help?

    Looking to learn more about making a routine work for your baby? Take a look at my package options to find the level of support that works for you and your family.

    Enjoy your summer. 

    With Love,

    Check out additional resources with my Holiday blog here and camping blog here. 

     

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  • How to have fun on holiday whilst still planning for your baby or toddler’s sleep.

    Pack the bags, pack the car, it’s time to head off on a family holiday. Before you begin your travels, here’s ten sleep tips to help ensure your baby or toddler receives the sleep they need whilst travelling, plus we look at how to smoothly return to your normal sleep routine once home again.

    Whether you’re the parent who plans a full itinerary for every day of your holiday, the go with the flow parent or one who falls somewhere in between, we can all agree sleep can be unpredictable when holidaying with babies and toddlers.

    With a different environment and the weekly routine thrown out the window it’s enough to make some babies and toddlers lose their sleep rhythm.  We know that babies thrive on routine and consistency but this doesn’t have to come at the cost of missing out on opportunities.

    Thankfully with a little bit of awareness and education as well as bringing along some handy sleep aids, holidays don’t have to make your baby or toddler totally sleep deprived for the long-term.

    Here’s a list of Ten Sleep Tips To Enjoy Holidays whilst still respecting your little one’s need for sleep.

    Pack positive sleep associations from home

    • A white noise machine– a great way to buffer all the extra activity in and around accomodation. My recommendation for white noise machine
    • Your baby or toddlers sleeping bag, don’t forget to pack different TOG for the weather
    • Port-a-cot – separate safe sleep space for your baby or toddler
    • Pram sleeping bags can be safely used with a 5 point harness if they have legs or a seatbelt hole (be mindful of using a lighter TOG rating)
    • Comforter – a familiar sleeping companion and positive sleep association, my favourite – Kippins
    • Dummy for security if they are already using one

    If you’re going camping, I have a blog dedicated to all things camping (including a list of everything you must take to aid with baby and toddler sleep). Find the camping blog here 

    If travelling by car, time the trip to coincide with nap time

    Whether driving to your destination or heading out in the car whilst away, use the car ride to work in your favour. This may mean leaving a little earlier or later to accommodate your little one’s regular sleep schedule.

    I recommend leaving around 10-15 minutes before the nap is due and work around how you can maximise this time on the road – do you need to do a drive through coffee on the way, take the scenic route or pull up and park in the shade with the engine running to enjoy a moment’s peace so they can also finish their nap.

    Sleeping away from home in the port-a-cot

    I recommend Snooze shade port-a-cot cover or block out blinds depending on your accommodation. In summer, the days are much longer and it can make it harder for your little one to wind down and switch off. Your little one will also be adjusting to a new environment with extra stimulation, especially if staying with family and friends or noisy neighbours close by.

    Plan one nap at your accommodation

    If your baby is on two or more naps a day, focus on one nap occurring in the port-a-cot where you’re staying. You can change between the first and second nap depending on your planned activities for the day, but this gives your baby at least one opportunity for a longer and more restful sleep each day. This will assist to balance their sleep hormones over a 24 hour period and reduce the opportunity to get overtired and release excess adrenaline fuelling those dreaded night wakes.

    Wind down routines are important

    Try to remember to still allow time for your normal bedtime routine to occur. This means stepping away for 5-10 minutes for naps or 20-30 minutes at bedtime to help your little one shift gears ready to prepare for sleep. They need time and verbal and non-verbal cues for sleep too.

     Bedtime timing

    If you’ve had a big day out, don’t be afraid to bring bedtime forward to compensate for lost sleep. A good rule is half what your baby lost. So if they lost 1 hours total day sleep this may mean 30 minutes earlier (I wouldn’t go earlier than 5:45/6:00pm).

    For babies under 6 months, add an extra power nap to get them through to bedtime. And one myth you may have heard is earlier bedtimes equals an earlier rise, but this is not necessarily the case when your child has missed their regular day sleep.

    Expert Insight: Overtired babies release adrenaline which makes it harder to go to sleep, but also to stay asleep.

     Offer additional support if needed

    Whilst I definitely encourage you to give your baby an opportunity/benefit of the doubt with their regular settling for sleep, don’t panic if you need to offer some extra assistance, especially on the first night.

    It can be overwhelming for them to settle in a new sleep environment, but to maintain healthy sleep foundations we just want to keep on top of sleep debt whilst we enjoy being away and get back to basics when we get home again.

     Have fun

    Flexible routines on holidays are important, they are holidays after all.  Try not to skip naps, but know that they may take a little longer to fall asleep or naps may be shorter in duration. This won’t be the undoing of all your hard work.

    What happens on holidays stays on holidays

    Have a “rule” that once you get home you go straight back to the regular routine and settling. This ensures that you don’t give your baby 2-3 days to adjust and then it’s harder to transition back to independent sleep as they have now become accommodated to the new extra support.

     Get back to your regular routine

    I have a comprehensive nap routine guide from 6 weeks through to 4 years to provide you with age appropriate nap expectations including awake times, sleep structure, milks and solids timings and two different nap routines to work with your individual family. Download your copy here

    When it’s all said and done, holidays are those unique times where so much life is lived in the space of a short time. These are the times you will look back on affectionately and life will go back to normal when you get home so make the most of enjoying yourself and being that little more flexible and relaxed when sleep doesn’t go exactly as planned.

    Want some extra help?

    Are sleepless nights the norm in your home? Does your baby or toddler have you up all night and you’re unsure how to navigate through it. Or maybe you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you’ll never sleep again.

    You and your baby CAN start getting more of the quality and consolidated sleep you need right away. Let’s arrange a time to talk about how I can help you help your baby with sleep. Say hi here.

    With Love,

    The festive season is fast approaching. Check out my festive season sleep tips to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. After all the silly season leaves as quickly as it arrives so let’s make the most of it. Read the blog here

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