Baby sleep problems are much more common than what we think! If you have the chance to have a newborn without colics or anything, you are lucky and may be able to have your baby sleeping well fast and more importantly sleep through the night.
Baby sleep problems and how to solve them
If you see your baby having problems to sleep, do not forget you are not alone. Every parent runs into tricky situations with their babies and there are many ways to help you with your baby sleep problems. And when you do notknow what to do to help your baby sleep through the night, you can ask help to a sleep consultant. Therefore, I am really happy to have Kate, certified paediatric sleep consultant at Simple Sleep, answer some questions about her work as a sleep consultant and help parents find solutions against baby sleep issues.
What made you become a sleep consultant?
When my daughter was 5 months old she was not sleeping well. I kept telling myself it was just the 4-month sleep regression! Tiredness was making me forgetful and stressed, and I wasn’t enjoying my time with my daughter. Most of all I was worried that she was becoming overtired and wasn’t getting enough sleep. Something needed to change. Investing in a certified paediatric sleep consultant was the best thing I could have done. Within days of implementing the sleep plan my daughter was self-settling and my husband and I were starting to get a full night’s sleep again, and my daughter was able to cope with her day better than before (as could I). I know only too well that a lack of sleep affects one’s state of mind, feelings, relationships and health. Good sleep is vital to the well-being of the entire family.
What is your background?
I worked as a clinical nurse specialist for 15 years. After having had my baby, I knew it was time for a change but I still wanted to help people and becoming a certified sleep consultant allowed me to continue doing just that. Having experienced paediatric sleep issues first-hand I feel passionate about helping other parents and children.
Why do clients choose you?
The way in which I work is very different from visiting your paediatrician or by reading books on the subject matter. I create bespoke plans specific to your child’s needs and this step by step plan is easy to follow. I then continue to support you until your child is sleeping well. This usually takes up to a few weeks but most of my clients see a significant improvement in just a few days. In order to be flexible and as supportive as possible I also provide assistance at the weekend. I find parents appreciate this especially as this takes into consideration their busy working week days. I offer home visits as well as phone consultations.
5 steps to help get your baby sleeping through the night
Step 1: Choose an early bedtime
An early bedtime is crucial to a good night’s sleep. When babies and young children are overtired, they may have more difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep and will often wake too early in the morning. While many parents think that keeping a child up later at night is better, it’s actually the earlier bedtime that will lead to a more restful sleep and a later waking time in the morning.
Step 2: Nap time
The better a child naps during the day, the better they will sleep at night as they are less likely to be overtired at bedtime. A good nap should last at least one hour. It should ideally be in a quiet, stationary location rather than in a stroller, sling or car, the cot is where they will get the best sleep.
Shorter, more frequent naps are common during baby’s first 6 months. If your baby is in crèche or with a nanny, parents may need to work with their day care providers to establish routines and limits to enable the child to nap for longer.
Step 3: Create a bedtime routine
Routine is very important to babies and toddlers. When they know what to expect at bedtime it makes it easier for them to make the transition from waking to sleeping. I would suggest trying to keep the whole routine under 45 minutes.
Step 4: Put your baby to bed AWAKE!
If you’ve been rocking, nursing, or otherwise soothing your baby to sleep, this is going to seem difficult. It is only by letting your baby fall asleep WITHOUT your help at bedtime that he or she can learn the skills necessary to stay asleep through the night.
Step 5: Night feeds
Through the first 8 months, it is considered normal for babies to feed more than once a night. Some stop much sooner on their own or with a little help. If a baby is feeding more frequently than twice a night or they are older than nine months you may want to consider cutting back (or cutting out) the feeds.
All babies are different and experts disagree as to when overnight feeding should stop. You know your baby best so will be able to judge this. However bear in mind that more than two feeds a night after they are four months old could lead to more wake ups if they develop a feed to sleep association.
If you are having problems with your child’s sleep, Kate offers a free initial consultation.