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Sleep

Argh the clocks are changing!

How do I prepare my kids for the clocks changing?

So it’s that time of year again where we are soon to lose an hour’s sleep thanks to Daylight Saving. Hmm thanks for that, as if we are not tired enough already!

Back in the day it used to mean that I had less time to get over my hangover, now it means my kid’s sleep can be affected and sometimes that feels even worse than a hangover haha!

When the clocks go forwards it means that what was a 7pm bedtime is now 8pm and that can have a knock on effect to the following week as you’re starting the week an hour in sleep deficit. Here are my tips to help you through.

What can we do to help our little ones transition smoothly to the new time?

Starting a week or so in advance, shift your routine forwards by 5-15 minutes depending on how sensitive your child is to changes. So move naps and meal times back by 15 minutes every couple of days until you have made up the hour by the 29th!

Some parents like to live life on the edge and just deal with what happens. What losing an hour is likely to mean is that children who are used to going to bed at 7.30pm might not be ready until 8.30pm. No problem at all other than if your little one will find it hard to get up on Monday 30th for nursery/school having had an hour’s less sleep. 

Some children will be absolutely fine with this and will just adjust over the next week or two.

If your little darling is usually up with the larks at 6 am or even earlier, this is a great opportunity to make use of the clocks change and do absolutely nothing meaning that naturally you have ‘fixed’ their early rising! (until October anyway haha)

Broad specutrum daylight is one of the best ways of regulating our circadian rhythm. Getting children out and about in the daylight will not only help with Vitamin D which is distinctly lacking in our bodies in Winter but will help to ensure their body clocks adjust to the new times. 

Exercise is also sleep’s friend, kids need loads of exercise to tire them out, having more time in the day and hopefully better weather is perfect for encouraging us all to get more mobile. 

As mentioned earlier adjusting meal times will help to adjust their internal body clocks. Go a step further by offering sleep inducing bedtime snacks like nut butters on whole grain bread, oats and banana or a cherry smoothie, all rich in tryptophan and natural melatonin.

I harp on about bedtime routines a LOT. I can’t emphasise enough how helpful it is to have a really consistent bedtime routine. Keep it to no more than 45 minutes in length (shorter for younger babies), make it loving and nurturing and calm and most of all the same every night. 

Where possible turn down the lights and keep things as dim as possible a couple of hours before bedtime to encourage that magic melatonin to start rising.

Kids are creatures of habit and love the predictability of a bedtime routine to help slow their minds and bodies down in preparation for bed.

sleeping baby

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If you’re worried about what will happen beyond the clocks changing, maybe sleep is completely out of the window already and you need some help. Take a look at my Sleep Coaching Packages for a range of affordable options to get some hands on support. You can book a FREE 15 minute consultation with me first, just click on the link below and book online.

Categories
Motherhood Sleep

What happens at my house?

I’m a sleep coach so my kids must sleep perfectly, right?

Last night Holly (6 months) woke at 11 for a feed just as I had gone to bed. She then woke again at 1.45 am and I tried to settle without a feed but she drained another bottle at 2.15 am, it took until 3 am for her to go to sleep enough to be put down without crying. Just in time for Max (nearly 3) to start shouting for us, I sat with him from 3 am until 5.15 am as he wanted to get up and go downstairs. I said our sleep phrase “it’s sleepy time Max” and reassured him I would stay with him. He fell back to sleep at 5 am!  Holly then started crying and when I went to her was soaked right up her back with wee so needed a full change, which, of course, meant she was then completely awake 🤦🏼‍♀️

The point of my post is to say I’m not perfect and my kids don’t always sleep all night long. I can’t force them to either, however having the knowledge I have really helps.

What I am able to do (most of the time) is rationalise what’s going on with them which makes me feel a bit better mentally and also enables me to have an idea of what to do tomorrow to try and make tomorrow night better.

For both of my kiddies, they’re suffering from overtiredness at the moment.

It’s partly due to still catching up following Christmas where routine
really went out of the window, and partly due to having 2 kids now and it being
much more difficult to maintain a schedule that really suits them both.

I’m 6 months into being a Mum of 2 and I haven’t managed to get our evening routine quite right for Holly. She doesn’t get as calm and quiet a bedtime routine as she probably needs as I’m also entertaining a 3-year-old. This sometimes means I miss her ideal bedtime window (also the TV is on for Max).

For Max, he’s dropping his nap. Some days he has it others he doesn’t. On the days he has it, he often has too late a bedtime (9 pm or later) on the days he doesn’t it’s 7 pm.

The problem with having no nap is that he’s asleep before his story finishes and crashes into his first sleep cycle. This means he’s restless overnight and wakes really early in the morning.

The problem with the late bedtime is that he still needs to get up at the
same time for us to go to work! This can just mean that the over-tiredness
builds and builds and can really have a big impact a few days down the line.

My plan of action!

I will get them both up 7 am and start our day at the normal time as lying in can cause more issues, a regular wake up time helps maintain the circadian rhythm! Max will probably need a short nap around lunchtime but I will cap it at 30 minutes so he can still build up enough sleep pressure for bedtime at 7.30 or 8 pm.

sleeping baby blissed out babies

Holly’s naps are actually pretty good, they’re about the right length for her and spread evenly across the day. I just really need to focus on giving Holly a calm bedtime routine starting 45 mins before bed and keeping the lights really low. I know these little tweaks make all the difference, just need to practice what I preach!

Part of what I do with my sleep packages is give you a really good understanding of sleep, information, and tools to understand what’s going on so you can tweak your routines when needed to make things better now and with your little one’s changing needs. I support you for as long as you need to put the plan into practice.

If you would like to know more just drop me a line, happy to meet for much-needed coffee!  xx

Categories
Motherhood Sleep

When will my baby sleep through the night?

Being a parent is hard enough without adding sleep deprivation too. Nature is cruel to make us go through the process of pregnancy and birthing our babies (however they arrive into the world) then landing us with this little defenceless human who doesn’t let us have a good rest to get over it!

yawning baby

One of the main questions I am asked as a sleep coach, or in my baby massage classes is “When will my baby sleep through the night”?

It isn’t a question I can ever answer with any accuracy. What I can do though is offer up some facts which might help you understand why your little one isn’t sleeping through the night from 6 weeks old (although if yours is then that’s great :-))

The facts

Studies say that 85% of babies still wake at least once in the night until they are 18 months old. It really is ‘normal’ for your little one to wake in the night. Sometimes it feels like yours is the only child who doesn’t sleep through, hopefully knowing the real statistics you feel reassured that you’re not doing something wrong.

Babies don’t just wake because they’re hungry, it could be any number of reasons. Cold, noise, pain or just because! Babies are also programmed to wake to protect themselves from SIDS.

Babies are unable to self settle / self regulate as their brains aren’t developed enough until 4 or 5 YEARS of age. Knowing this, how can we truly expect our little ones to be able to get themselves back to sleep when they’re in a state of upset or stress? If your little one is crying they literally can’t calm down by themselves to be able to settle off to sleep. They need us to help, this might be by feeding, rocking, patting, singing whatever works.

What can I do?

Don’t expect too much too soon. Be responsive to their needs. You are not spoiling your child by being there when they need you. Studies tell us that a child who has been responded to consistently when they are younger is actually more independent when they are older and NOT the other way around!

Don’t compare your baby to others. They are all different, with different personalities and different needs. Trust me there’s always someone in the baby groups who is loud and proud about their baby’s ability to ‘sleep through’ and that’s great for them, I can assure you that the other 90% in the room is probably in the same boat as you.

Keep breastfeeding exclusively if you can, as these Mums report that they have better sleep than mixed feeding or formula feeding Mums. This is not a judgment (I’m a formula Mum), just what the evidence says.

Try and get at least 4-5 hours in one go, this is the amount of sleep that we feel makes a difference to us. Ask for some help if necessary.

Practical sleep tips

It’s not all doom and gloom though, there are lots of things you can do to make it better and give you THE BEST chance of getting a great night’s sleep.

  • Make sure your little one is getting the right amount of sleep in the day for them, over tiredness REALLY affects nighttime sleep (and early rising!)!
  • Keep the lights low in the evenings
  • Have a calm and nurturing bedtime routine
  • Offer a sleep-inducing bedtime snack
  • If you use white noise play it ALL night long
  • Work with a sleep coach!

Above all remember this is a phase in your life that will pass, this isn’t forever. You can do it.

As normal as it is for them to wake in the night if your child is waking 4/5 times or even more, there is most likely a strategy we can find that will improve that.

If you feel like you’re at the end of your tether because your little one’s sleep is so disrupted and you need help, drop me a line, I offer free 15 minute consultations. My bespoke sleep packages are tailored to you and your family and give you the tools to be able to improve your little one’s sleep now and over the coming years. I am here to support you through the plan for as long as you need it.