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All babies are different, so naturally it is possible that some babies may no longer need night feeds at 6 months and will sleep for longer consolidated periods. However, many other babies will still need night feeds and wake several times during the night well into the second even third year of life. Nap time may even improve night-time sleep. Though this might seem counterintuitive, naps sometimes make it easier for your child to fall asleep and sleep well at night. For example, napping during the day can help prevent your child from being overtired just before bed. You can control your own reactions to a situation. You can’t control how your baby reacts. Use discernment about advice that promises a sleep-through-the-night more convenient baby. These programs involve the risk of creating a distance between you and your baby and undermining the mutual trust between parent and child. Put your baby down for her nap or bedtime when she’s tired, but not too tired. When you start to spot signs that she needs a rest like rubbing her eyes, yawning, looking away from you or fussing a lot, that’s your cue to get her into her crib or bassinet. Of course everyone has an opinion on babies and sleep - you’ll be told you’re spoiling you're child, not to rock them to sleep, to co-sleep or not to co-sleep, to put baby to bed earlier/later/offer a dream feed/don’t offer a dream feed. The mix of advice can be more exhausting than the tiredness itself. Inevitably trips to the supermarket, the school run and the in-laws have to be taken and the soothing lull of the car engine is often enough to send even the most alert baby into dreamland. Many new parents worry about their little one nodding off.
Follow the ABCs of safe sleep to help you rest easy. Baby should be Alone, on their Back, and in a Cot. There should be no bumpers, toys, pillows, blankets, positioners or baby nests. The cot should be empty other than a tightly fitting mattress sheet. This is the most safest sleep environment for your baby, which will help you have peace of mind. Babies tend to have the same sleep patterns day and night in the first 2-6 weeks with sleep in blocks of 2-4 hours. Between 6-12 weeks they may start to sleep a little longer at night and have longer times awake in the day. By 6 months babies are able to sleep up to 6 hours, just not every night and this is considered to be ‘sleeping through’. Your baby was used to constant sound when in the womb – your heart beat, stomach gurgles – so you may find that noise will help to settle them - you could try playing them white noise. Over time these will become familiar and your baby will come to associate them with sleep. Daytime sleep training should begin about two weeks after your baby is consistently sleeping through the night. At that point, you can observe your baby’s natural sleep pattern during the day. You will then use this pattern to help set the naptimes. The baby should take about a one-hour nap in the morning and a two-hour nap in the afternoon, occurring at about the same times each day. Sleep consultants support hundreds of families every year, assisting with things such as sleep regression using gentle, tailored methods.
Early Bedtime Is Better
Ambient sounds can lift us completely out of the sleep state and into the wakeful state. White noise engages the brain’s attention but doesn’t cause it to wake up, helping it tune out any distracting sounds. An adult can usually put herself back to sleep fairly easily when woken by a loud sound, but babies are often resistant to going back to sleep, especially in the early morning. Unless your baby is an absolute mess, skip middle-of-the-night changes if possible, since they'll probably wake him up. If you really need to change his diaper overnight, do it with the lights dimmed and as little talking as possible. Younger infants up to 6 months tend to sleep on and off around the clock, waking every 1–3 hours to eat. As they near 4 months of age, sleep rhythms become more set. Most babies sleep 9–12 hours at night, usually with an interruption for feeding, and have 2–3 daytime naps lasting about 30 minutes to 2 hours each. Your infant may have trouble falling asleep because something’s bothering her. It may be outside her body (like noise, bright lights, bad smells, or a room that’s too hot, cold, or stuffy) or inside (like hunger, a stuffy nose, gas, or sore gums). Where should your baby sleep? Having a baby is a steep learning curve and aspects such as gentle sleep training come along and shake things up just when you're not expecting them.
Many babies are easily stimulated. Just meeting your baby's gaze can engage their attention and signal it's playtime. Try not to engage too much with your baby when they wake up – this could inadvertently encourage them to snap out of their sleep zone. The more you interact with your baby during the night, the more they're motivated to wake up. Parenting is full of surprises, and your baby’s sleep schedule is no exception. Your little one likely won’t start to establish a regular sleep routine until around 8 to 12 weeks of age, and even then her sleep schedule will probably change, thanks to developmental milestones, travel and other common disruptions. When coaching parents who are shifting from bed sharing to putting their baby in the crib at night, it’s important that they see the entire picture. Sometimes a parent needs to keep some sleep associations in the beginning of coaching (e.g., feeding to sleep), and then once baby is finally sleeping in the crib, they work on less night wakings. No two babies are exactly alike, and there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to how to get baby to sleep at night. Nevertheless, there are some general recommendations that will help at least set the stage for good sleep. If you are stressed about your baby not sleeping, many experienced mothers would say ignore the mind-boggling sleep charts and programs, and just do what feels right for you and your baby—whether that involves a bout of controlled crying or bringing your baby into bed. As long as you are satisfied that she is safe, dry, full, and healthy, you are not going to introduce any long-term negative effects through your choice of sleeping method. There are multiple approaches to ferber method and a sleep expert will help you choose one that is right for you and your family.
Whatever Gets You Through The Night Is Alright
If it seems like you and your newborn are operating on opposite schedules, it's probably not your imagination. But don't bother trying to establish a soothing routine right away — you both need a little time to adjust to your life together. Give your baby time to settle down. Your baby might fuss or cry before finding a comfortable position and falling asleep. If the crying doesn't stop, check on your baby, offer comforting words and leave the room. Your reassuring presence might be all your baby needs to fall asleep. Our homes are busy at night, filled with bright light, noise, and lots of activity. All this can overexcite nosy little infants. No wonder they put up a fuss when they’re suddenly put in a dark, quiet, still room all alone. If you're reading this through bleary eyes and the fog of fatigue, try to be patient with yourself and your little night owl. It's a good idea to sleep when your baby sleeps if you can and get help from loved ones to prevent extreme exhaustion. It’s possible for babies to sleep too much — and it’s definitely not recommended early in infancy. Remember, at 1 month of age your baby should feed at least eight to 12 times in the span of 24 hours, so letting a newborn sleep "all day" or more than the upper limit of 17 hours can mean she’ll miss out on the nutrition she needs. A sleep expert will be with you every step of the way, guiding you on how best to find a solution to your sleep concerns, whether its 4 month sleep regression or one of an untold number of other things.
Unlike adults, newborn babies are unable to regulate their temperature by themselves, so ensuring your baby isn’t too hot or cold is important for ensuring both safety and comfort. Health professionals recommend maintaining a comfortable room temperature of between 16-20 C° (61-68 F) as the ideal. Therefore, it’s generally good practice to monitor the temperature of your baby’s sleep environment by way of thermometers. Early bedtimes can also cause problems. If your little bug falls asleep at 7 P.M., it’s unlikely that she’ll sleep all the way to 7 A.M. Instead, she’ll probably wake for a couple of hours of play around 2 A.M.! Initially, your baby will wake up, requiring feeding, changing or attention on a frequent basis. Try and put your baby down as soon as they’ve been fed or changed and avoid playing with your baby in the night – they will gradually learn that night-time is solely for sleeping. For feeds and changes, try to keep the lights dimmed to keep this time as relaxing as possible. To help your baby doze off easily and sleep soundly, white noise is a must. The best white noise for sleeping mimics the sound babies hear in the womb. White noise should not be used twenty-four hours a day. You’ll want to play it to calm crying episodes and during naps and nighttime sleep (start the sound quietly in the background during your sleepy-time routine, to get your sweetie ready to glide into dreamland). A younger baby’s natural bedtime will be similar to the mother’s and he/she may stay awake for a longer period in the evening, perhaps wanting to feed almost constantly during this time. The gentle approach and caring manner of a baby sleep expert allows them to assist you in the most preferable way to deal with sleep training and to assist you and your family in any way possible.
Give Plenty Of Support
Think about what kind of day they’ve had so far: have you had lots of face-to-face contact with your baby, have you talked lots to them, have they had some fresh air, have they played/sat up/practised their new skills? It may be you’ve both simply had too quiet a day! You may be tempted to take your baby for a drive or a walk around the block to lull them to sleep. It does work, but be warned, if you do this regularly your baby will come to expect it and it could become a hard habit to break. Sunlight triggers cortisol which keeps us alert. Therefore we recommend blackout blinds as they are useful for spring/summer months with their light evenings and early mornings. They are also useful for naps during the day. Find more insights about Baby Sleep Trainers in this NHS link.