Bedtime for the newborn is naturally late- often as late as 11 pm! As your infant grows, he develops the ability to consolidate night sleep. (He learns to sleep more at night and less during the day.) One crying-it-out type of sleep training is the well-known Ferber Method, also known as "Progressive Watching" or "Graduated Extinction." The goal is to teach your baby how to sleep on their own and put themselves back to sleep if they wake up during the night. Many parents find the idea of co-sleeping (keeping your baby in bed with you while you both sleep) appealing, and feel that it provides comfort to the baby and helps both mum and baby get more rest. It is, however, associated with a higher risk of SIDS (although the risk is very low). Before you became a parent you'd be forgiven for assuming all babies sleep in cots, just like those cute and cosy images you see everywhere. In fact, we're so used to seeing images of cheerful, obedient babies who quickly doze off in their cots seconds after being set down on their backs, it's easy to fall into the trap of feeling like a failure when your baby simply refuses to sleep in his cot. There can be downsides to baby's unexpected snoozes. For example, your baby might overheat if they’re dressed for the cold outside but then they’re moved inside. Remember to remove any extra layers if that happens and choose outer clothes with zips to make this easier. Eye rubbing, yawning and some fussiness are all classic signs your baby is ready for bed. She might also suck her thumb or pull on her ear.
The number one cause of night wakings in babies is a feed-sleep association. How would you feel if you fell asleep on your pillow and woke up in the middle of the desert – you might scream too! Well, the more you feed your child to sleep, the more they need food to fall asleep, anytime they wake up. The best way to make sure your baby sleeps on their back is to do this from day one, and keep putting them to sleep on their backs for every day and night time sleep. Your baby will usually let you know they’re ready to sleep by fussing, crying, yawning, or rubbing their eyes. You can use these cues to establish a schedule that works for them. Deviating significantly from these recommendations may have adverse effects on your baby’s health or indicate an underlying problem. Some parents claim that a ride in the car is a sure-fire way to induce sleep. In desperate times it may be tempting to buckle baby in the car seat and drive around the block. For sleep training guidance it may be useful to enlist the services of a sleep consultant.
To support longer consolidated periods of sleep overnight, your infant’s sleep wake homeostasis needs to reduce. taking away the need for daytime naps. It can be that your child is closer to 3-5 years that daytime wakefulness is sustained without a nap, leading to an increased sleep drive by bedtime. There are several age-appropriate activities you and baby can do together as part of their bedtime routine. As your child grows, you’ll likely restructure the activities you do based on their age and development. We recommend a hands-on settling technique for an upset child. Never leave a crying child. Stay with them so they know that they are safe and help support them to sleep. One or two daytime naps – short period of sleeping during the day – are often needed for a few years until your child grows out of them. It’s common for this to happen around the age of 3 to 4 years old, although some children may keep on napping until they’re older than this. With plenty of sleep training methods to choose from, you’re sure to find one that’s suitable for your child and fits in with your parenting style. Ask your health visitor for personalised advice if you need it. There are multiple approaches to ferber method and a sleep expert will help you choose one that is right for you and your family.
A baby falling asleep in your arms can become a 'problem,' so to speak, if that's the only place they'll sleep for all sleep, and there are some babies who have a very hard time sleeping elsewhere for a variety of reasons. Whether sleep training or not, almost all women go through a period of time (usually around four to six months) during which they are all but certain their supply is diminishing. That’s usually when the mother’s body acclimates to her milk production and her breasts stop feeling full nonstop, like they do after birth. Put your baby to sleep in his own crib or bassinet. It’s good to share a room with your baby, but don’t share a bed. Go with your baby on this, they are stocking up for a longer period of sleep at the first part of the night and it is a good idea to go to bed when they do, as the first stretch of the night is often the longest. Extreme tiredness can be very hard to manage. If you are struggling with lack of sleep it may help to reach out to others for support. Sometimes it can feel uncomfortable asking for help but we aren’t meant to do this alone and people are often willing. If a trusted friend, family member or even a neighbour is able to watch the baby for an hour or so while you catch up on sleep it can make a difference. A sleep consultant will take a holistic approach to create a sleeping system that you can manage and one which takes into account gentle sleep training as well as the needs of the baby and considerations of each family member.
Sleep Deprived? You Aren’t Alone
It may help to remember that all babies over 5 months of age wake 4-6 times during the night, as they come to the end of each sleep cycle. This is normal, and also occurs with older children and adults. It's the falling back to sleep that can be difficult. Look out for your baby or toddler’s sleep associations such as needing to be rocked to sleep or fed to fall sleep. Once you’re aware of what they are, you can help to encourage them not to depend on them to fall asleep by gently removing/stopping the association when you notice the signs of them getting visibly sleepy. If you're travelling, make sure your baby is wearing something comfortable such as a soft one-piece suit with popper fastenings. And have a change of clothes ready in case of any accidents. Check in your pram or pushchair as late as possible before boarding so that your baby can use it for napping in while you wait. Babies who are able to soothe themselves back to sleep (“self-soothers”) awaken briefly and go right back to sleep. In contrast, “signalers” are those babies who awaken their parents and need help getting back to sleep. Many of these signalers have developed inappropriate sleep onset associations and thus have difficulty self-soothing. Even though some babies can doze off anywhere, it’s probably better to dim the lights and create a dark, sleep-inducing atmosphere. The faster your baby learns that darkness signals slumber, the sooner he’ll start sleeping through the night. Having a baby is a steep learning curve and aspects such as 4 month sleep regression come along and shake things up just when you're not expecting them.
Your baby might object to being on his back. If that’s the case, swaddle him before putting him down or let him get drowsy in your arms first before putting him in the crib. Avoid rocking or holding your baby until he’s completely asleep, though. This could make it harder for him to go back to sleep on his own if he wakes up during the night. Intentionally waking your baby is an essential step in teaching her the skill of self-soothing (falling back to sleep on his or her own after being jolted awake by a ringing phone or passing truck). And don’t worry. You’ll be able to help her slide back into sleep in no time even before she learns self-soothing once you master the skill of turning on her calming reflex. If you decide to do the longer-and-longer sleep training, don’t be shocked if on the first night, your little lovebug screams louder and harder than he’s ever screamed before. In fact, this escalation is totally normal for one to two nights. Unfortunately, like many other things baby related, this belief that night weaning will automatically lead to your baby sleeping through the night is not only a myth, but it is also inappropriate advice to be doling out, especially in the context of babies 12 months and under. If baby seems very upset, try cuddling your newborn skin-to-skin against your chest; soothing them really can help work wonders in those early weeks. Most babies have their day and night time differences sorted by around 3 months. So in the meantime do let yourself nap in the day to get yourselves through the nights. Ask for help from family and friends and do not worry about these erratic patterns as your baby is showing normal newborn behaviour. 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 regression and to assist you and your family in any way possible.
Nobody Can Do This Alone
Research shows a clear link between overheating and an increased risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy, so it is important that parents and carers know how to dress baby for sleep. If it’s possible, it might be a good idea to put baby's cot in your room so you can get them used to sleeping in the cot while still having the familiarity of your room it may help to get them used to the change more gradually. Young babies wake and feed frequently in the night and that this is normal and not modifiable, as young babies are not capable of ‘learning’ to defer their needs. Accepting this reality can be helpful, as parents are reassured that their baby is normal and they aren’t doing anything wrong. It can also relieve the pressure to find ‘solutions’. One can uncover more intel regarding Sleep Consultants on this Wikipedia page.