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Newborn Sleep: The Secret Behind it

All you need to know about  Newborn Sleep

There is nothing more incredible than the moment you are handed your newborn baby even though your are aware that your know very little about them let alone what to expect when it comes to newborn sleep, it is a moment of pure joy, of pure intoxicating love.

This little person who you have been carrying round in your womb for the last 9 months is finally here.

Discover my top 7 tips when it comes to Newborn Sleep

You may have spent the last forty weeks trying to discover as much as you can about how to care for your newborn but, however much you try and learn, nothing can really prepare you for that moment. Suddenly you have a little person who is totally and utterly dependant on you in every possible way. For many Mums this can be totally overwhelming and can often leave you feeling quite anxious at times. Not only are you left trying to work out how on earth to feed your new bundle of joy but how to comfort them and settle them to sleep.

 

 

Sleep and the First Few Weeks

In the very early days it may seem like your new baby has their days and nights muddled up and this is more than often because they do! While they are in the womb they borrow their mother’s circadian rhythm but once they are born they don’t have one of their own.

Setting their  24-hour clock so it becomes more like yours will enable them to distinguish the difference between day and night.  A good way to do this is by exposing them to plenty of sunlight during the day  and  at night time ensure that the lights are dimmed and noise is kept to a minimum.

In the first weeks and months of your new baby’s life they will spend most of their time asleep unless they are being fed, winded or changed. As a gentle guideline, I always suggest to parents that their new baby is awake for no longer than 45 minutes to an hour at a time.  Your baby really doesn’t need to be stimulated by anything other than the cuddles and gentle interaction that they already enjoy with you.

It is also important, not to have any expectations of your newborn when it comes to their sleep. Anatomically babies have very small tummies, only allowing them to  feed little and often so will sleep in small two to three hour stints with slightly longer periods at night .As they grow and become stronger towards the end of the first six to eight weeks you will notice that the time they are able to sleep overnight increases. This is  primarily  down to the fact they now have bigger stomachs and can now produce enough melatonin to enable them to sleep for longer periods of time at night.

 

Your Sleep during the early weeks

Sleep deprivation is unfortunately inevitable when your new baby arrives.  As much as you might feel like you need to get household chores done when your new baby sleeps, don’t!  You must try to sleep during the day when your baby sleeps.  These small cat naps will increase your power and energy to do your daily activities.  ( Martyrdom doesn’t quite help in these situations , so don’ t try and be the perfect wife and mother so soon!) If you have a partner who can give baby their feeds, it is helpful for them to give the first night feed, allowing you to have a longer rest before the next feed.

If for some reason you are unable to sleep during the day, then you can try this exercise which is used by world leaders and CEO’s. The effect is said to feel like the equivalent of having one and a half hours sleep!

Lie down on your back, knees bent, arms out to the side and breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth remain in this position for 10 minutes.

What To do If your Newborn is not Sleeping 

(My Top 7 Tips to Help Them Sleep)

If you baby is feeding well at the beginning and is not unwell or suffering from other health issues, then they should be able to fall asleep and stay asleep for several hours. If, however they aren’t  and are only sleeping for 15 minutes stints then are several things that you can do to try and improve the situation.

1.Firstly, it is important to ensure that your baby is getting adequate milk. It does take roughly 6 weeks to establish your supply of breastmilk.  Eating a well balanced diet is crucial for a good supply of milk, so it is important to look after yourself during this period.

There are various remedies to help  if you think your milk supply is low. One commonly used one is  the Alfafa complex tincture. This can be purchased  from any  Organic Pharmacy although it is important to speak to your doctor before taking any herbal remedies. If you are bottle feeing your baby and you think that they are not getting enough food, you may want to consider switching them onto another more filling formula.

2. As well as ensuring your baby is full after every feed so that they are able to fall asleep, it is also important to ensure the environment in which your baby sleeps is conducive to sleep. Sensory overload and over stimulation during the day and at night will prevent your baby from falling asleep.  This inability to sleep because of the overload  is often mistaken for colic.

3.One of the best things you can do to help to calm your new born baby it is to swaddle them as this helps to recreates the cosy space that they had in the womb. Swaddling also helps prevent the startle reflex which is often the reason why they wake up suddenly after 15 minutes.

4.During the first three months touch is also a very powerful calming tool.  Holding and touching our babies and recreating the skin to skin contact that they had at birth , or allowing them to touch/ suck themselves at night time we help to stimulate the release of oxytocin hormones which has a calming effect and puts them in a good mood. It also  helps to build up tolerance to stressful situations.

I recommend touching more firmly or patting  as a hand on a fractious baby who seems to be fighting sleep. is often successful as it helps to make them feel contained. You may also like to cup their face with your hand and you can also put your check against their face too.

5.Sound is another powerful settling tool as your baby can hear even before they are born, and they are used to hearing the swishing sound of the blood running through your arteries. This noise is the equivalent to pink noise and there are lots of amazing apps and gadgets which you can use to recreate this noise to help your baby settle.

My favourite is the Whisbear ,which not only mimics the sounds they would have heard whilst in your womb but it also has a cry sensor that comes on every time you baby cries effectively helping him transition to the next sleep stage. Your voice is also equally powerful as they would have a heard this while they were inside your womb  along with any soothing music that you may have been listening to whilst pregnant.

One thing is certain though your baby prefers the human voice over all sounds and most of all yours. So, when your newborn is struggling to settle it can be very effective to sing to them or talk to them in a calm and understanding way.

6.Your smell is also very effective when it comes to soothing them and inducing sleep. I often used to place a small amount of breastmilk on a muslin and place it in my babies’ cots. If you aren’t breastfeeding, then you can transfer your own smell by sleeping with a muslin in your bed for a few days or wearing it next to your skin under your top.

Did you know that your newborn baby can recognise your face an hour after birth? This  means that they are able to see your facial expressions from day one. With this in mind, it is important to remember that you are your babies mirror, so you need to be demonstrating to them that you are calm and happy as opposed to distressed and anxious. If at any time when calming your newborn, you feel these emotions either hand them to someone else or leave them safely in their cot and take a moment to go out the room – pause breathe and gain your composure before coming back into comfort them.

7.Movement is also a wonderful calming tool and can be used to help your newborn sleep. During the day it is a good idea to take your baby out for a stroll in their pram or in the baby carrier.  If your baby is fighting sleep in their cot, one way to try and calm them is to pick them up with one hand under their bottom and gently rock them from side to side.

 

And finally, …

Remember each day will be different as you get to know your baby. Don’t hold back on touching and holding them close during the first months of their life.  It is important that you demonstrate to them that they are loved and are safe.  All babies are born with the ability to self soothe so if you do see them reaching for the fingers or thumb to use before settling to sleep try and encourage it as it will only help you later.  Most importantly ensure that you don’t overstimulate your baby, feeding, and sleeping are really the most important thing for them to be doing during the first weeks of their lives.

Enjoy this special and magical time and please try to relax as much as you possibly can. You deserve it after all your have been through!

If you would like any more baby sleep tips and suggestions, please do get in touch for your free 15-minute chat with me.

 

 

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The Top 10 Golden Rules to Tackle an Early…

The Top 10 Goldent Rules to Tackle an Early Riser

Do you have an early riser?

Waking early is a clear sign that your little ones sleep cycle is set to wake and that they think that this is an acceptable time for them to start the day.

Unless you are a particularly early riser yourself it is likely that you will have other ideas!

So what can you do if your child is waking at 5 am everyday.

The good news is that you can reset their cycle and that they can be restful for an hour or two more.

Here are my 10 golden rules to tackle an early riser.

1.Do not what ever you do start your day at 5AM.

2Do not leave your child to cry for a long period as this will teach him that to begin the day he will need to cry but rather go in and quietly and calmly see to their needs be it to change their nappy give them
a drink or if they are still having a feed, feed them.

3.Match your level of response to their level of response but try to avoid picking them up as they will only become more distressed when you place them back in their cot instead use your presence, voice and touch and deep breathing  to soothe them.

4.Your first aim is to get your child to be happy in their space not for them to go straight back to sleep – this is often a time of day your child’s body temp will have dropped so you want to ensure they are warm too.

5.Pick a time of day you want to start the day and stick to it.

6.Once your child is calm and happy it will be much easier for them to go back to sleep as there are no other cues or stimulants

7.Try not to engage with them verbally

8.Start by leaving them for 10 -15 minutes once they are calm and gradually increase this time over several days ( with children under 12 months you might prefer to stay with them and lie down so they can mirror your actions)

9.Place pictures of you and your family in their line of vision so they feel like you are still in the room with them.

10.Try putting them to bed by 15 -30 minutes earlier for a week. This might sound crazy but more sleep actually promotes sleep!

So there you have it my top ten golden rules to helping your child to gently reset their cycle allowing you and them a more restful morning.

If you would like any more suggestions and tips please do get in touch for your free 15 minute chat with me.

Bedtime resistance after holidays Baby Sleep

Post-holiday sleep routines- my tips for how to get…

Holidays with our children are a wonderful thing, I love the freedom and the flexibility that comes with them.

Often this sees our little ones staying up later than normal as well as sleeping in later. This may well be fantastic while you are away, but more often than not, a small shift in our children’s daily routines can create problems on returning home.

However short the holiday was, they will expect the same relaxed approach on returning home. If they find that they can no longer share your bed or stay up late, they might have something to say about it. Children can resist returning to their pre-holiday routines, which can end up with tantrums at bedtime, night wakings, early risings and more.

The problem is our children crave routine.  So what can you do to make your homecoming as easy as possible?

5 KEY TIPS ON HOW TO REDUCE SLEEP PROBLEMS WITH CHILDREN AFTER HOLIDAYS

Be clear about the rules

Once home, let your children know that being on holiday is a special treat and now that they are home they will need to return to the normal rules that you had before you went away.

Don’t plan too much for the first week

If possible try and keep the days after you return home as clear as possible.  Aim to keep things simple and stay close to home.  This way you can ensure that your evening routine is calm and unrushed and you can get your kids to bed on time. If your kids have been used to going to bed later on holiday it can help to bring their bedtime forward by 15 minutes over a few days so their body clock can gently adjust.

Focus on your bedtime routine 

There is a chance that while you were on holiday your routine was different to normal.  When you get home make your you stick to the bedtime routine you had in place before you left.  Try  to stick to it as closely as possible for a least a week or two after the holiday. With your younger children it is also important to make sure that their nap schedules are back on track.

Don’t forget to use positive language about being home; for example you might like to tell them how wonderful it is to be back with all their animals. It might also help to give your child a reward when they get it right, if they are old enough.

Be extra attentive 

While you have been away it is very likely that your children have had lots of attention from you. When you return home this might not always be possible due to the demands of work and the daily routine. This means that your little ones might require extra attention during the night or at bedtime. To prevent bad night time habits try and spend some focused time with your children during the day, or equally put together a plan to do something special at the weekends.

Don’t worry too much about setbacks

It is very important to manage your own expectations. As your child adjusts to life at home again they may well wake up early during the night or very early in the morning. Be patient with yourself and with your children – it is very likely that if you are still suffering post-holiday blues, so are they!  As long as you follow your daily routine and allow your children’s body clocks to gently adjust and expectations to fall back in to place within one to two weeks things should hopefully have returned to normal.

For further suggestions about how to avoid sleep problems with children get in touch and I’d love to see how I can help.