Monthly Archives: July 2016

Babies Literally Wake All Night

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How many times has has someone told you “I hope you sleep like a baby tonight”?

Well…I personally would like to sleep like my husband…not a baby.  Babies wake up all night long because of their short (approximately 45 minute) sleep cycle.  If you are struggling with sleepless nights, it is important to know when your baby is crying because he needs you and when he is making noise in his sleep.  This helps you know how to respond so that you do not create unnecessary wakings.

Today’s technology allows us to see every movement and every whimper without entering the room.

Assuming your child is four months or older and eating well during the day, I encourage my clients to analyze the sounds they hear at night before going in.  Where are they in the sleep cycle?   What kind of cry is it?

What sounds does your baby make at night?  Crying? Groaning? The I-can’t-handle-life scream? Whimpering? Fussing? Snivel? Grunt? Moaning? Toot?

As adults, we briefly wake to reposition ourselves and go right back to sleep.  We get up and go back the bathroom and go right back to sleep.   Babies do the same thing, but as parents we are so programmed to respond and meet their needs when we first bring them home, we loose sight of the fact that they have grown and develop and begin to need longer stretches of sleep around three to four months of age.  Parents might be entering the room at the first sign of a whimper with the good intention of avoiding a full crying session but over time might be unintentionally creating an added wake up.

Babies wake literally all night long.  Often every 45 minutes.  There might be times where they are quiet and awake in their crib.  Babies wake to reposition, toot, fuss, and go back to sleep.

But how do I know if my child is ready to sleep longer stretches at night?

Your baby is taking the majority of their calories during the day.  Check with your pediatrician.

Your baby knows how to self-soothe.

Your baby is taking naps during the day and is not overtired at bedtime.

Your baby goes down drowsy but awake.

If your baby has many night wakings.  Reflect on their needs…  was that a whimper or a fuss  OR was that a hunger cry?  You will know which wakings you can phase out and which wakings to respond too because you know your baby best.

Looking for help with your baby’s sleep?  Or maybe have a few more questions that this article did not answer?  Give me a call today at 214-865-0341, I would love to hear more about your sleep struggles and tell about my services that can help your family sleep happy.

 

 

What is My Baby Saying?

 

Learning to Read CriesFiguring out what your baby is saying is all you do when you first become a parent.   Your life is shaken up by this new life or in some cases two new lives that fill your days with love, amazement, squirt poops, endless feedings, and sleepless nights.   Your baby continues to cry and nothing is working. The helplessness you can feel.  The self-doubt.  Why is she still crying?  Is that cry different, is something else wrong, no it sounds the same.   The frustrations, the exhaustion, the newness of it all.  It  is messy and confusing and overwhelming.  If you struggled like I did with my babies, this will change your life.

I sat with a book open to the page on reading baby cues on our couch with my first child.  Day after day I referred to that book when she made a sound.  Reading her body language and her cries was confusing at first.  I had the same fears, frustrations, and tears as most parents.  Over time, I got to know Madeleine and I learned how to meet her needs which led to less crying…most of the time. Boy oh boy, I would have rather watched a video that illustrated the descriptions in my books.  Lips pursed, curled tongue.. was so hard to figure out.

Fast forward twelve years and in my practice as a sleep consultant, I talk about sleepy cues and hunger cries on a daily basis.    Parents are often amazed during a home visit when I point out a sleep cue like the ‘seven mile stare’ (eyes wide with no blinking) or uncoordinated kicking.  But what most parents ask is, “how do I ready my baby’s cries?’  I usually try to explain the different sounds, this mom is a genius.  She created the visual aid I was looking for.

Reading you baby’s cries can be life changing.

That’s where Priscilla Dustan comes in.  Priscilla used her unique ear for sound that made her a music prodigy at a young age to decipher a the universal code babies use to communicate.  Priscilla states that there are 5 universal sounds that babies all over the world use to communicate their needs.  Her videos are simple and illustrate quickly what to listen for in your baby.  Watch her video below to learn more about her discovery.

What do you think of Priscilla’s discovery?  How did you learn to read you baby’s cues? Have your child’s cues changed with time?

 

 

Nap Time Struggles

Nap Time

As babies grow and develop, so do their naps…just when you think you have sleep routines in place, your baby goes and grows and develops and naps are all out of whack.

Tips to Help Your Child Sleep Happy at Nap Time

Read Sleep Cues  

Is your little one no longer showing sleepy cues after his normal awake time?  Is your child sick or teething?  Have you been off schedule for a few days?  If your child is sick or teething or off schedule, give it 1-3 days to see if he or she goes back to their regular schedule.

If your child shows his sleepy cues 15-30 minutes after he usually shows cues, then put him down at that time for nap.

How long is it taking your baby to calm to sleep? 

Less than 15 minutes, you are in good shape, don’t change anything.

More than 15 minutes with lots of playing and/or protesting, but takes at least a 45-60 minute nap and wakes up happy?  Push nap back 15 minutes.

Falls asleep quickly, but then takes a short nap, less than 45 minutes? Move nap up 15 minutes.

Watch Awake Times

The awake times for 6 month olds are not the same as 12 month month olds.  Newborns have a small window of awake time and as they get older that small window stretches into up to four hours around 12 months of age.  Are some babies are not affected by awake times?  Yes.  If your infant can be awake 6+ hours and then sleep long stretches at night then you are in good shape.  If you see that your child is grumpy and fussy, maybe not eating well during the day and wakes frequently during the night, then watching awake times is a tool you can use to get better sleep.

Maybe last month they were taking a good nap after being awake for 2 hours, but now they are happy for 2.5-3 hours.  This is normal.  If your baby is not napping well, watch awake times, and stretch them 15-30 minutes to see if this helps your child sleep a full sleep cycle or more at nap time.

Dropping a Nap:  3-to-2 Transition and 2-1 Transition

Around 8-12 months babies can drop their third nap.  This transition happens when awake times stretch between naps and children no longer need that third nap to get them until bedtime without being over tired.  When little ones  can tolerate a 3-4 hour awake time, they are ready to eliminate the third nap.  When little ones fight the third nap, they may be ready to drop it.  When the 30-45 minute catnap begins to be a fight to get 20 minutes of sleep, your child is ready to drop the late day nap.  If your child is experiencing early wakings…4:30-5:30 am, you may need to adjust their day time sleep to help stretch their night time sleep.

When you begin the transition of three naps to two, you may need to have a temporary early bedtime until your child settles into the new routine.

Around 14-18 months toddlers can drop to one nap.  Is your toddler fighting morning nap? Is it suddenly easy to get your child down for one nap but not two?  Is your child being starting daycare where they only put them down for one nap a day?  Is your child for 5-6 hours straight without a nap?  Then you maybe be ready to drop to one nap a day.  Moms everywhere do a little dance at this stage!

Assuming your child wakes at 7 am and goes down for their first nap at 10 am, try moving morning nap to 11 the first day.  Slowly moving the nap down to noon or after, depending on your family’s schedule.  Ideally your child will start to take a 1.5-2 hour nap in the afternoon.  In rare instances, 3 hour naps do happen and you will feel like you are in paradise.  It is okay to wake your child from nap to protect bedtime.  And if during the transition, your child has short naps that end early in the afternoon it is helpful to move bedtime up to keep them from being overtired and disrupting night sleep.

When in doubt, remember you know your child BEST.  Give yourself 5-7 days to try any techniques.  And remember, consistency is key.  If you need support, contact a sleep consultant.

What sorts of tips have worked for your child?  I would love to have moms share other tips that might be helpful to another mom experiencing the same thing.

Is your child not putting themselves to sleep for naps or waking frequently at night?  Does your child seem overtired during the day?  Sleep Happy can help.  Contact Jessica today at 214-856-0341 for a Free 15 Minute Consultation to see how Sleep Happy services can meet your needs.