Since having my second child I have faced many nights of sleep disruption and lack of sleep either just because I can't get to sleep or because my "Tink" isn't sleeping. Either way we have had a few nights of struggle especially since she turned a year old. Having the knowledge is a great start to getting more sleep;for the whole family. One of my great clients is a sleep expert and she helped answer of few of my tough questions. If you are struggling with sleep with your Baby/Toddler, I would suggest you check out this great tips from Amanda at Happy Little Sleepers.
1. Can I improve my child’s sleep and Co-sleep at the same time?
Yes, you absolutely can! Parents become co-sleepers for many different reasons. For some it is a decision that is based upon their parenting philosophy for others they become reactive co sleepers. Meaning that they fall into to co sleeping out of necessity. As a parent you will know that sleep deprivation can feel emotionally and physically exhausting. Sometimes we just need to get sleep any way we can! I work alongside families helping them decide if co-sleeping is working for them and is a long term goal or whether it is time to begin the transition for their child into their own sleep space. Where you and your child sleep is a very personal choice, not my choice but yours. Co-sleeping babies can sleep well too :)
2. What is considered a “good” amount of sleep for babies during the night ages from birth to year?
In 2015 the National Sleep Foundation revised their sleep duration guidelines widening the recommended window. As a guide they suggest that babies between the ages of 4-11 months sleep between twelve and fifteen hours within one twenty four period. They state however that it may be appropriate for some little ones to sleep anywhere between 10-18 hours. Now that’s a huge variation for parents to take in.
My advice is to take these recommendations on board but don’t be driven by them. Be guided by your child not a chart you find on the Internet. Ask yourself “Does my child wake up happy and well rested in the morning? Does my baby cope well between naps? Am I happy with the amount of sleep my child takes? If you can answer yes to these questions then rest assured you are doing a great job.
3. What are some gentle alternatives to getting my baby to sleep without having them “cry it out”?
There are various different methods that can be used or modified to reduce tears and support a child appropriately during sleep coaching. Fading techniques like ‘The Sleep Lady Shuffle’ are worth considering as they allow the parent to stay with the child while they learn this incredible life skill.
Each one of our children is unique and as such some may cry even when we use a gentle method. However they will not be tears of fear, or despair. As a mother of four and a Gentle Sleep Coach I understand how important it is to be able to respond appropriately to our children’s tears. You may hear tears while your child protests change but with your hand on their back and a gentle word in their ear your child will not be scared or afraid.
Rest assured breast-feeding moms, you can have babies that sleep over night too!
Not sure which sleep coaching method may be right for you. Check out my Blog http://happylittlesleepers.com/sleep-training-methods-how-to-choose/
4. When should I start a bed-time routine with my baby (how many months)?
I recommend that parents begin to create a simple bedtime routine for babies from about 3-4 months. Children need a flexible but structured routine. Repeating the same steps before bed every night will signal to your child that bedtime is not far away. Young children love routine as it helps them feel secure and confident in what to expect next. Watch that your routine doesn’t get too long or your child will become over tired before its finished and over tired children can be very hard to settle.
5. My struggle is with night waking and breast-feeding – when do babies start sleeping through the night and not require the breast/ soother to sooth them back to sleep?
When do babies sleep through the night? The eternal question! Are there some babies who sleep through the night from a very young age? Yes there are and we all hear about them and wonder what is wrong with our baby that they aren’t doing the same thing!
Young babies need to eat over night, period. This is normal and some infants need to eat for many months. However as babies get older some become very emotionally attached to feeding and begin to associate nursing or sucking with falling asleep. These little ones will look to feed over night every time they transition between sleep cycles. This may be the only way they know how to fall back to sleep.
If multiple waking and feedings are no longer working for you or your child now may be a good time to considering how your baby falls asleep at bedtime. Bedtime is often the key to a great nights sleep. Begin to empower your child at bedtime by teaching them how to fall asleep with less and less support from you and often they will begin to transfer that skill to those challenging night wakings.