News - Page 4 of 11 - Baby Sleep Project

SIDS and my tummy-sleeping baby

There are a few parents worrying about the danger of SIDS and their babies sleeping on their tummy. I totally understand where they’re coming from because right from day one in the hospital we get it drilled into us “Do not let your baby sleep on their tummy.” However, when your little one is independently rolling onto his tummy, the SIDS recommendation is actually that it’s fine for him to be on his tummy as long as you have freed up his arms out of the swaddle. So long as he has free use of his arms, there’s no problem with him being on his tummy.

I don’t want you freaking out about it. I don’t want you worried and going in all the time to flip him back over onto his back. It’s totally fine and the line from SIDS and Kids recommendation Australia is if he can roll independently, then it’s totally fine as long as the cot is in compliance with SIDS recommendations. So no soft toys, no pillows, no blankets. Sleeping bag to keep warm, arms free, no problem with him being on his tummy.

 

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Should I ditch the dummy if daycare doesn’t allow it?

What happens if the daycare doesn’t allow dummies, but your baby needs it at home for day sleeps or night-time? Let’s say your little one is a great sleeper – would you want to risk going cold turkey and taking the dummy away?

You need to recognise that not only are day-time and night-time two separate functions but also that younguns are very good at recognising that what happens at daycare stays at daycare and what happens at home is what we do at home. You would be really successful in having her learn to go to sleep at daycare without the dummy and just keeping it at home. It’s not worth it for you to try to ditch it altogether and risk jeopardising your baby’s home sleep

You should just go cold turkey at daycare, to be honest. I feel like I shouldn’t say this because it’s bad, but it’ll be them that has to deal with it and not you. You keep it at home, that’s fine. I actually had this with my third child. They weren’t allowed dummies in a certain room so she didn’t have it but she always had it at home and it was no problem. They do recognise that different strokes are for different folks and things are going to go down at daycare differently than they go down at home.

Don’t compromise your overnight sleep – especially if you’re working. I remember when my middle child was about 2 and he was at daycare and I came at lunchtime and they were patting him to sleep. I was like, “What are you doing? He doesn’t need patting.” They were like, “Oh he always needs us to pat him to sleep.” I was like, “He’s just worked out that you guys do that. He doesn’t get that at home. He gets that at daycare.” When he’s having a nap at home he’ll just go to sleep but if he’s at daycare he’s like, “It’s not going to pat itself ladies, come and pat it please.” He was just used to that.

 

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Managing social occasions and baby’s sleep

My number one tip for managing social occasions through this festive season is to be really freaking choosy and don’t be afraid to say no to events.

The story that comes to mind with this is when I was on a consult once maybe two years ago. Two years ago, I was at a home with this woman and she had this 5-months-old baby who was in actually quite a really good sleep routine and her mother-in-law was really excited for first Christmas with grandchildren.

This woman lived at least 30/40 minutes away from the city. Her mother-in-law wanted her to come to the city for carols. It was at six o’clock at night and her little one was in a pretty good routine, but would only sleep in the bed (which is a good problem to have). The baby would not fall asleep in a carrier or a pram or in someone’s arms.

So this little one was only 5-months-old, in a great sleeping routine and would literally not sleep anywhere else, but this woman was twisting herself into a pretzel trying work out how she was going to get all of this done because she didn’t want to let her mother-in-law down, but at the same time didn’t want to miss the carols. I just said to her “You need to prioritise yourself and your baby’s sleep”.

If your best friend … This is the scenario I use all the time in consults. If your best friend is getting married then yes, you’re going to need to prioritise that social occasion. However, when it’s your mother-in-law saying that she wants to go to carols at forty minutes away, I said to that mom: “Why don’t you just see if there are some carols that are local and see if your mother-in-law compromise and go to those local carols then yes, your baby’s routine might be out by an hour after, later than normal but it’s not a huge one, it’s a bit of a compromise as opposed to driving forty minutes away or half an hour away, finding a park, etc.

My number one tip for managing this festive occasions is to really prioritize them, try to find a compromise when possible, maybe if someone wants to BBQ just say: “Maybe can we make it a little bit earlier or you guys can come here” so that you can try to have that balance between enjoying this season and celebrating it with friends and family but also knowing when it’s just not – when it’s just too much and being okay with that.

It’s not bad to put you and your family first and just say: “You know what, carols a million miles away in freaking South Bank with a 5-months-old who won’t sleep sounds like the seventh circle of hell and I’m not gonna do that”. I hope that helps.

 

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Transitioning from 2 naps to 1

We generally say that a little one is ready to go from two naps to one somewhere around the age of maybe 14 to 18 months. Although there are people who will say that their baby dropped to one nap at 10 months and that’s okay. It’s just a guide – so 14 to 18 months we generally say.

It’s a transition period. What’s important to realise it’s not like when a bubba learns to start walking and one minute they can crawl and the next minute they can walk. It’s not like that. It’s a bit of a process, so it goes over a couple of weeks or even a month where they’re kind of one foot in each bucket. Maybe she’s two naps, maybe she’s only one, and that’s really normal. It is a transition period. It’s not like she wakes up one day and says, “I’m only having one nap today, forever.”

You might find that like six days out of seven she needs two naps, and then one of them she’ll only have one nap, and that’s totally normal. Something to keep in mind is a two-nap bubba generally has a wakeful period of around three and a half hours. Also, wakeful periods tend to extend as the day continues. The first one will be shorter and the last one will be a bit longer.

You might find some days that she manages to get to four hours before her first nap, so it’s somewhere at that 11:00 kind of time, or maybe 10:30 kind of time. This is the thing: they don’t drop naps, necessarily. It’s more helpful to think of it as consolidating the two naps into one nap in the middle of the day. She might nap at 11:00 one day and nap for that full hour and a half, two hours or whatever, and then you might find yeah, she’s okay. She’s still kind of awake at 5:00, so for goodness sake, don’t let her sit on the couch because if you put her on the couch in front of ABC2, what I can guarantee is going to happen is she’s going to fall asleep.

What you want to do is you want to keep her awake. So have dinner at 5:00 and then pop her into bed a little bit early to compensate for the fact that she’s only having that one nap today instead of two. She probably needs an earlier bedtime.

You might find a week later that there are three days that she only has one nap and that’s totally fine. That’s what we do. We recognisee that it’s a process. On the mornings that she is awake and fine, don’t string her out. They’re the words that I hate most in children sleep is “stringing out” a baby – having her stay awake longer than she actually wants to. We don’t want to do that. If she’s fine and she’s not getting over-tired and it’s four hours since she woke for the morning, then that’s totally fine. Pop her down for her sleep and then be ready to put her to bed early so that we’re compensating for the fact that she really needs to go to sleep.

You’re going to make some mistakes and that’s fine. I’ve had multiple children falling asleep on couches because I let my guard down for a second and all of a sudden they’re asleep. That’s fine. I have photos of my first born asleep in the high chair because I left him that’s fine. That’s okay, it’s just all part of it. Just try really hard to bring that bedtime forward. Just pop them into bed earlier and just get through the awkward couple of weeks where they’re transitioning and trying to consolidate their two naps into one.

 

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Help with (twin) toddlers crying at bedtime

This is the circle of hell that a lot of parents are in, including me, when I had a 17-month-old who refused to go to bed. I can only imagine how much harder it would be in a household with twin toddlers. I used to dread bedtime. The night was coming and there was nothing I could do to stop it. It was going to come and everything was going to be awful.

Now I think that you’re probably feeling the same way. What you’d need to do is work out a solid plan – a way you’re going to tackle this and you need to sit down by the light of day. Not on the night when you’re emotional and working.

You might separate them for the purposes of getting this under control. You might keep them together – that’s up to you. I imagine what’s going on is a bit of, “Okay, tonight we’re going to do this” and five minutes in it’s like, “Oh my god I can’t do this anymore. I’m just going to go in.” You offer food, you offer milk, you offer water. You read them another book, maybe give them an iPad – all of these things that we do to try to get them to go to sleep.

You actually need to have a really clear plan. Something you’re going to be doing to reduce the stimulation. If you can do some research and find a plan that you feel comfortable with and seeing it through. All you can do, research and find a plan. Find something that sticks and you think, “Okay I can do that. That’s what I’m going to do from now on. I’m going to follow it and I’m just going to stick to that consistently.” Being consistent and being persistent is the absolute key to solving any child’s sleep problem. It’s about having a clear plan, having your partner on board and seeing it through and getting them settled.

It’s going to take a week of really consistently hanging in there and then you’ll find that things will start to clear. I really hope that helps. I hope that there’s something you can find that you will be able to see through.

 

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The 3 things you need check before going to sleep school

There are three things you need to ask of your sleep school before you book.

Subsequent support

The first thing you need to check is if they provide additional support after you’ve left the sleep school. Something that I’ve heard a lot of parents say that they found surprising or upsetting was there was no follow-up support. They don’t feel like any new issues arising are resolved or worked through with them. There’s not much support. I would encourage you to find out what process they have in place to support you with the program once you return home.

Support person overnight

The other thing I’d check is if they’d let you have a support person there with you overnight. There are a few around where your support person (husband, partner or your parent) has to go home at night time. Only one of you is allowed there at night. I would put it to you that the night time sleep training is probably the most stressful. That’s probably the most important time to have a support person with you. That’s definitely something that you should consider before you go to a sleep school.

Comfort items

The third thing that parents who’ve gone have gotten quite upset about is that any comfort item like a small plush toy, blankie or even a dummy is not allowed in the cot under any circumstances during the sleep school process. This can be quite upsetting for the parent who thought that having a little lovey might be okay and having that taken off the child at the time. If you had that in your head before, I’m encouraging you to ask. Finding that out beforehand is going to help you mentally prepare, if that is their policy.

Those are three things that I want you to look into before you go- the follow-up, the support person being able to stay overnight and if your child will be allowed to have their comfort item from home in the cot with them through the process.


Tips for juggling baby’s nap times and the school run

 

What happens when school pickups or must-do errands interfere with baby’s nap times? Here are some tips on how to handle this.

If life were perfect, we’d all have a nanny to look after our baby while we did the school run or a driver who’d manage the school run while stayed home with the sleeping baby. Here in real life, we know that doesn’t happen or rarely is the case, so we have to do what we need to do and baby is just going to have to fit in with that. Here is a sample scenario – feel free to adjust this to suit your situation.

Mornings:

You have to be out the door by 08h00 to get to school on time, but you know the baby is going to go down at 07h30/07h45 and if you wake her up at 08h00, she is going to be rancid. So! Get the older kids ready by 07h00 or 07h15, get to school early (find a great parking spot), leave the car running with baby sleeping in her car seat and get older sibling into the front seat with you to practise sight words, or reading, or helping with homework.

Maybe you have three children…take turns with who gets to sit in the front while doing sight words/reading and hand the other one an iPad or library book/picture book…whatever you need to keep them occupied for that time until the baby has had enough of a sleep to get them into school on time. Use that time to get some other stuff done that doesn’t need to be done at home, even just reading a storybook.

Afternoons:

If you need to leave by 14h45, but your little one’s going to be needing her sleep by 14h15, leave at 14h00, find a fabulous parking spot and chill with your iPhone or magazine or crossword, while you wait for school to finish and baby to have a decent nap.

That’s my top tip on how to get your little one getting the sleep that she needs around the needs of the rest of the family. I hope that helps. I know it’s not advice that you would find in any baby sleep book, but that’s the advice from real life.

 

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My 20 month old is getting progressively worse at bedtime!

My 20 month old is getting progressively worse at bedtime

If you great sleeping toddler suddenly regresses, well, it’s just a regression. It’s happened for whatever reason and we need to work out what we’re going to do to try to overcome it. I would be making sure I have a nightlight in his room. He may be at an age where he’s suddenly scared of being alone in the when it wasn’t an issue when he was younger.

If there isn’t a nightlight, I would recommend getting one and hopefully one that lights up red or pink because those are the two colours that interfere with the secretion of melatonin least. The next thing I would be wondering is if your little one has a lot of one on one time with you during the day. Sometimes at this age, they can start to resist bedtime because they feel like they haven’t had enough time with you during the day. Then they’re like, “If I act up now, I’ll get the attention that I want.” Make sure you do lots of things with him during the day and lots of one-on-one time, particularly in the time leading up to bedtime.

Another thing would be to create a really relaxing environment with the track that I always recommend for this age. It’s called “Weightless” by Marconi Union. Playing this in the room can lower the anxiety in humans. That might be helpful.

Apart from all those things, I think it’s probably just a case of separation anxiety and he’s just all of a sudden not cool with you not being there. If you’re just walking in and out whilst checking on him, I’d suggest not doing this, because it is probably just going to stimulate him even more and make him more upset and anxious about you leaving again. I would probably advise you sitting there with him because then we know that he knows you’re there and everything is okay. We can rule out fear and anxiety around that.

Sit there with him and then work out a plan on how you can wean off that, whether it’s gradually moving out of the room or spending less and less time there or getting up and pretending to do jobs or whatever. So the key is to ease him off bit by bit, but remain consistent!

 

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Is it worthwhile resettling my catnapping baby?

Yawning babyThere are a lot of other things that I would be changing before then before I tried to resettle to get them to link their sleep cycles. One of them is the appropriate wakeful period. A lot of the time I see cat nappers actually awake way too long between naps. A cat napper is going to be doing that a lot of the time because they’re so over tired. Appropriate wakeful periods is definitely one of the things that we would be addressing first. Sleep environment is the next. Is the room dark enough? Is there white noise on? So that when they come to the top of that sleep cycle, everything sounds the same.

If it was all quiet in the house when they started to go to sleep, but then during their nap you start watching TV while they were then coming to the top of their sleep cycle, then their brain knows that something’s different and they’ll wake up. White noise can be fantastic to help them link those cycles. What I generally say to my clients is that if your baby’s a cat napper and you want to help them to resettle, I would say try resettling for maybe five minutes or so, but if it hasn’t worked in that time, just get out of there.

Honestly, resettling can sometimes just be like the work of the devil. I have so many clients tell me that they’re like, “Oh yeah, so I go back in to resettle after this 40-minute cat nap. I rock and rock and pat and pat and pat and rock and rock and I do all of this stuff. Normally about after 45 minutes or so, I can get them back to sleep again.” I would argue that you probably just spent your whole wakeful period in the room rocking and patting when it might have been more beneficial to have your Bubba come out of the room, sit with you while you have a sandwich and some potato chips and then pop them back in at an appropriate time, ready for that next nap.

I guess my answer is, resettle if you think it might work and you’re particularly good at resettling. If it can work within five minutes great, bonus, that’s awesome. If it doesn’t normally and you’re driving yourself absolutely mental just forget it. Don’t worry about it, don’t twist yourself into a pretzel worrying about resettling. Just pop your Bubba out and adjust the next wakeful period, the age appropriate wakeful period, adjust it to be slightly less until the next nap, on account of the fact that they’ve only had a cat nap.

 

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Strategies to keep your toddler in their bed overnight

When your little one figures out how to escape his cot, it’s probably time to transition him to a toddler bed. Unfortunately, sometimes when they’re too young to understand they need to stay in their room, they will just keep coming out. They won’t understand.

Toddler climbing out of bed

What we need to do is set some firm boundaries and be consistent. That’s it. I want you to think about how you can respond to him in a firm, but fair way.When we’re doing a consult, we bounce off the parents and work out what’s okay for them and what fits in with their parenting styles.

This might not suit everybody and their parenting styles, but for a lot of people, I would suggest turning the room into a cot by putting a baby gate on the door. It’s like, “Okay dude, you know we’re still here, I’m not going to shut the door on you, but I’m just going to put some physical boundary here,” and be like, “Okay dude, this is it, that’s your room, it’s bedtime, that’s what people do. They stay in their room at bedtime, so goodnight, bubba.”

And then, you’re not going to go off and just forget about him. Perhaps you’re going to come back every few minutes and just reassure him. Perhaps you’re going to sit in the room and reassure him, that’s totally up to you.

Think of something that sends the message, “Mummy and Daddy are still here for you. We’re just not doing all of the things we used to do. Yes, I know, you used to come into our bed and cuddle and we’d all go to sleep that way, but we’re not doing that anymore. We’re here for you. I understand that’s very frustrating and it’s going to make you very angry and frustrated and confused, and I’m here for you, but we’re not doing those things anymore.”

There’s got to be a line where you’re like, “Dude, that’s enough.” I would try to think about physical ways to keep him in the room, like a baby gate. I can’t really think of anything else except for shutting the door, which honestly for a two-year-old can really freak them out. So come up with some firm but fair methods where you’re reassuring him that you’re here for him but you’re just not doing all of those things you used to do. Then be super consistent, because consistency is the key.

 

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  • 30 day email access to our team of qualified child sleep consultants as you put it into place
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  • The ONLY online sleep program with a money back guarantee on improvement
  • Implement immediately