Sleep regressions – interview with Little Dreamers Academy

Sleep regressions – interview with Little Dreamers Academy

  1. What are the most common causes for sleep regressions?

At Little Dreamers Academy, we like to consider regressions as hiccups with your baby’s sleep that can be caused by a myriad of factors including: developmental progressions, illness, teething, reduced sleep needs, holidays and changes to environment including a new sibling. It can often be hard to pinpoint what exactly has disrupted your child’s sleep as there is always so much going on with children, particularly in their first 3 years where 80% of their brain development occurs. If your little one was not a confident sleeper to begin with, it may feel like a regression pops up fortnightly, or you may be experiencing the aftermath of a regression for months (even years) to come.

  1. Can certain foods promote better sleep for your toddler?

Tryptophan is one of the building blocks for the well-respected hormone, melatonin. You may have heard of melatonin and its role in regulating sleep cycles. Tryptophan is an amino acid that can be found in many foods such as beef, lamb, pork, poultry, dairy. It is found in smaller concentrations in vegetarian options such as nuts, seeds, wholegrains and legumes. However, if there are underlying behavioural issues or a lack of sleep pressure, these foods will not magically assist your toddler to sleep.

  1. Would you suggest scheduling out meal times in relation to sleep times and if so, what would these be?

Feeding times can be highly beneficial in the first 2 years of life, particularly in the first 6 months, as babies have smaller stomachs and therefore hunger can be a cause for waking. In terms of solids, we suggest not feeding a baby solids right before sleep time to aid in digestion and to allow for allergies to be detected in the first few months of solids introduction. We have collaborated with BABLE to create a guide on optimising the relationship between feeding and sleeping. This includes information on when and how to start solids, the importance of solids, portion recommendations from 6 months – 4 years and much more.

  1. Are you a fan of white noise and if so, do you have any suggestions for parents looking to purchase a white noise machine?

At Little Dreamers Academy we LOVE white noise! In the first six months, white noise emulates the sounds of the womb. Beyond six months, white noise is beneficial as it drowns out household or neighbourhood noise that may disrupt your child’s sleep. When choosing a white noise machine, be sure to choose sounds that you enjoy listening to. We love the Euky Bear white noise, night light and diffuser for its multi-modality. Be sure to get a machine that plugs into power so that it doesn’t run out of battery in the middle of the night/nap. We recommend positioning your white noise machine at least 1m away from baby’s head to protect their hearing.

  1. What would be your top tips for parents dealing with sleep regressions

First and foremost, having clear expectations around the sleep time routine is paramount in dealing with a sleep regression. A predictable routine in terms of both timing and rituals, will mean that when something emerges you have something to go back to, something that feels safe and familiar to your child. If you need to offer more assistance, start with slightly more than usual and incrementally increase as required. Try to be responsive rather than reactive (easier said than done!). Be conscious that depending on the cause, you may need to offer some extra assistance temporarily, but it’s helpful to have a plan on how to return to the norm once the dust settles. Be sure to eliminate a medical cause such as an ear infection if your baby is waking seemingly in pain overnight.  If sleep has been flipped upside down and you are unsure of your baby’s sleep requirements, book a consult with a trusted sleep professional to help guide you back to seamless naps and nights. 

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