10 Sleep Secrets from the Baby Sleep Consultant team
Sleep is a learnt skill
Your baby is not born knowing how to sleep just like they don’t know how to walk! Both are a skill your baby will learn with your encouragement and support. So don’t feel frustrated that your new-born needs your assistance to get to sleep, this is normal! Once your baby is 4 months + you can begin to help teach her to sleep. If you need help from a baby sleep consultant to teach your baby this skill, check out the form below for a free chat.
Over tired babies become hyperactive not sleepy!
If you miss your baby’s tired signs, or sleep window, they don’t become easier to settle, they become harder! How unfair is that, but it’s a good reason to clock watch and baby watch so even if you don’t see a tired sign and your baby has been awake over 2 hours they head off for a nap!Babies have 3 biological sleep windows once they are 4 months old:
These windows are natural dips in their energy levels and if you can manage to start a nap or their night sleep in these windows they will be easier to settle and less likely to cat nap. These windows are 9-10am and 12-2pm, then 6-7pm. This also explains why your late afternoon naps are near on impossible!
Circadian rhythm helps your baby sleep at night
Your baby’s naturally occurring circadian rhythm (internal biological clock) is controlled by hormones and body temperature. A huge rise in Melatonin and a drop in Cortisol mean there is a huge drive or pressure to sleep at night. This means you will probably have success sleep training at night first.
Circadian rhythm makes your naps more difficult
Due to the lack of sleep hormones you will probably find consolidating your babies nap much harder than their night sleep. Don’t give up! They definitely need at least 1 nap a day longer than 45 minutes for proper restorative sleep. But its normal for them to need more props or associations than they do at night.
Your babies temperament affects their sleep
Just because the women in your coffee group have a baby who will happily sleep in their capsules for 2 hours while your baby cries when exposed to new faces, or hates her capsule, or is easily over stimulated when out of routine, doesn’t mean your baby is a broken. Every baby has a different temperament and definitely a different sleep temperament. Get to know your babies sleep temperament and try to cater to them. Maybe they prefer to go for a nice relaxing walk after coffee group, or they need to nap before coffee group, or they prefer to be in the front pack for security.
Sometimes your efforts are too much
Us mother’s love it when out babies sleep, and sometimes we place too much emphasis on them either going back to sleep, or going to sleep. If your baby is happy in their bed, or just grizzling and having a whinge, don’t escalate your efforts to get them to sleep. See if they just need some space to try to self-settle. Often we switch between settling modes so quickly in an effort to quickly get our baby back to sleep at 3am, that we actually over stimulate them and keep them awake until 5am!
Hungry babies don’t sleep
If your baby is following the same growth curve they were born on, they are thriving and healthy, even if it’s the 9th percentile not the 90th! If they are dropping or straight lining on their growth curve, this could be a reason they are not sleeping well. Conditions like tongue ties, or cow’s milk protein intolerance are some reasons babies don’t thrive and gain weight, so if you are struggling with sleep and your baby is not tracking well, see your GP before you call a sleep consultant.
Sleep is a physiological need not a luxury
Some parents see sleep as optional, a little bonus like jolly jumper time. It is in fact as important physiologically for your child’s wellbeing as food. Once we treat it like food we treat it with the respect it needs. You wouldn’t make your baby wait until Dad came home at 7pm to have a breastfeed, so don’t make them wait to go to bed if they are tired. The same applies to you as their parent. You do not need to survive 1-2 years of no sleep just because you are a parent, your physiological and even psychological need to sleep is just as important.
You are not ruining your baby
Lots of mums come to us and say “I rock my baby” or “I feed my baby to sleep”, I know its my fault, I have ruined their sleep. You have not ruined their sleep! It’s not your fault, as you have done nothing wrong! You have simply done what was right at the time for you and your baby, and you have decided to change the situation. Simple as that! Ditch the guilt, you have nothing to be guilty for! You loved your baby, you put your baby to sleep, now you are ready to teach them to self-settle. Great! Give us a call.
Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant, Happiest Baby on the block educator, Owner of Baby Sleep Consultant NZ, and Australia, and international educator for sleep consultants.