18 Jul Is your baby struggling to sleep through the night?
Posted at 02:35h in Blog
|We are excited to be joined by Lauren, a Gentle Sleep & Conscious Parenting Coach, shedding some light and wisdom on some of our biggest questions when it comes to our babies sleep!
Realistic expectations of when parents can expect babies to sleep through the night
Prevent babies from early rising
Thoughts on white noise
Interview with Lauren
1) What is a realistic expectation of when parents can expect babies to sleep through the night?
Realistic expectations for when babies sleep through the night is so varied but typically by 12 months of age it is a lot more common, however, some babies are capable from 5-6 months and some even younger. More so than “sleeping through the night” I prefer to focus on the foundations and structure of a baby’s sleep to evaluate if there are opportunities to improve their sleep so when they are developmentally capable to sleep through the night they do! Many of my clients start with a goal of reduced night wakes to 1-2 and we end up with no wakes because their baby is ready but some of their sleep foundations were misaligned. Areas I will look at include sleep environments, routines and rituals, day/night sleep structure and schedule, settling and resettling and feeding nutrition. All of these area’s build the foundations of sleep that support optimising sleep for each baby as an individual.
2) What are your thoughts on sleep training?
There is such a stigma around sleep training!! The way I work with “sleep training” or optimising sleep is definitely not in the traditional way. Sleep can be optimised and improved through connection and support to develop healthy sleep habits without impacting attachment or causing stress to the child or family. Sleep needs to be viewed through a holistic lens because there are so many elements that can play a role in sleep. With all we now know about the importance of a secure attachment and responsive parenting I believe non-responsive sleep training is quite outdated and unnecessary. In saying that, my hope is to help parents know there are ways to have both securely attached relationships AND healthy sleep foundations because sleep is vital to our overall well being.
3) Early rising is a common issue amongst many households, what can parents do to prevent their babies from early rising?
Early rising is such a common and frustrating issue in many homes. Some children are naturally early risers or their tendency is to rise early when their sleep routine isn’t aligned to their needs, which can be really challenging.
Common areas to look at are:
Temperature – the coolest part of the night is between 3-5am and particularly during these winter months it’s important to make sure your little one is dressed for the coldest part of the night or adding some safe heating to regulate the room temperature. If you suspect your little one is cold, feel their chest or back of their neck to check core temperature and if they feel room temperature or cooler then they are probably cold which could be causing their early wakes.
Nap Routine – early risers can get caught in a cycle of waking early and then having their first nap early which can reinforce the cycle. Either pushing back or shortening the nap can help resolve this. It may also be a sign your little one needs to drop a nap to be able to consolidate their night sleep again. This can also be a sign your baby needs a later bedtime if they have simply finished sleeping. E.g. if your baby went to bed at 6pm by 5am they may be done after 11 hours , so helping the nap routine shift and allow bedtime to be pushed back can be the right approach to resolve early rising,
Overtiredness – quite the opposite of early bedtimes, having a bedtime that is too late or the period before bed is too long can increase cortisol levels which can result in your baby hitting “wake up” levels too early in the morning. Having an appropriate awake time before bedtime can help your little one sleep soundly overnight and reduce early rising.
Response – If your little one always wakes up then gets up early and starts their day it can start regulating their circadian rhythm to recognise and continue to wake early. Treating an early rise like a night wake and delaying the introduction of food, light and social interaction to later in the morning can help signal to their body clock “wake up” time is late.
Hunger – making sure your little one is consuming enough calories during the day so hunger isn’t waking them too early.
4) What do you think of applying white noise in my baby’s room?
I absolutely love white noise for a couple of reasons!
1. It is a positive sleep association that can provide an external signal to your baby’s brain that sleep time is approaching to prepare for sleep and provides the continual signal that it is still sleep time meaning when your baby wakes between sleep cycles the sound continues, providing security that nothing has changed and can continue into the next period of sleep.
2. It is a buffer to external noises!!! In most homes this is absolutely needed with toddlers running around, dogs barking, the neighbour mowing the lawn right on nap time but even the smaller household noises which are unavoidable and can easily wake your baby when they are in a light phase of their sleep cycle.
3. It is portable so when you are having your baby sleep away from home you can take it with you to create more familiarity in their environment. This can be helpful for pram naps also, particularly if you have a baby who is easily distracted by their surroundings.
I recommend using a medium level white noise (up to the level of a running shower which is around 50dc) placed at least a metre from the cot and turn it on during your wind down before bed and off when your baby’s sleep has finished.
If you need help with your little ones sleep and want to be able to understand what is happening and help them in a responsive and holistic way, please get in touch via Instagram @littlebo_sleep or email firstname.lastname@example.org or view package options at www.littlebosleep.com.au