Fall Behind: What does this mean for your baby?

Most adults love the extra hour of sleep in the fall and despise losing the hour in the spring. With children that all seems to change. The extra hour in the fall now means that baby is waking at 5am instead of 6am. Rest assured, within a week, you can reset your child’s body clock to adjust to the new time. And here are some tips to make it easier!

Get up at your usual time and start the day. Once everyone has had breakfast now go and change your clock back one hour.

The best way to make the transition to the new time is to split the difference.

If for example your little one usually takes a morning nap round 9:30, you will adjust this to 9:00 am for the 3 days after the time change. It will be a bit of a push for your child because it will actually feel like 10am, but not so much that it will disrupt her overall schedule. Do the same for the others naps.

Let’s say your child usually goes to bed at 7 PM, I recommend putting that child to bed at 6:30 PM for the first 3 days following the time change. (This will FEEL like 7:30 to your child.) And it will take about a week for your child’s body to get used to this.

If you have children over the age of two, you can put a digital clock in the room and put a piece of tape over the minute numerals, so that they can see if it is 6 o’clock or 7 o’clock, but they cannot see the minutes, which often confuses toddlers. I would just set the clock forward half an hour so that at 6:30, it reads 7:00 and I would let them get up a little earlier than normal, knowing that by the end of the week, they would be back on track and sleep until their normal wakeup time.

If you are dealing with a baby, you cannot do that. Do not rush in as soon as you hear your baby waking up, because you do not want to send a message that getting up at 6 a.m. is okay now. So if she normally wakes at 7:00am, but is now up at 6:00, you will wait until ten after on the first day, and then twenty after the next, then 6:30 the next day and, by the end of the week your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and she should be waking up at her usual hour. On the fourth night, just get in line with the new time. So your baby is back to going to bed when the clock says 7:00 pm, and adjust naps to the correct time on day 4 as well.

Everything you wanted to know about number of naps for your baby.

How much sleep should your child be getting in a day?

  0-3 months 

18-20 hours per 24 hour period

4-6 naps a day

45 min of awake time between naps

 

3-4 months

17-18 hours

3-5 naps a day

1 hour – 1.5 hours of awake time
5-6 months

15-16 hours

3-4 naps

2-3 hours of awake time
7-13 months

14-15 hours

2 naps a day

3-4 hours of awake time

 

14 months-3 years

 12-14 hours

 1 nap a day

 

The average age to drop nap is 2.5 years old.

Spring Forward: Turn Clocks Ahead 1 Hour This Weekend

Long, lazy summer evenings, the smell of BBQ in the air, the feeling of the sun warm on your skin can only mean one thing……….  We turn our clocks ahead one hour this weekend.

This time change is a pretty easy one on families.

Get up at your usual time Sunday morning, turn your clocks ahead one hour and start the day. The bonus…”Your perceive your little one is sleeping in an hour later.”  And that is a good feeling for everyone.

The best way to make the transition to the new time is to split the difference.

If for example your little one usually takes a morning nap round 9:30, you will adjust this to 10:00 am for the 3 days after the time change. This will mean that your baby is going to bed a little earlier or sooner than the normal wait between sleeps, but again it’s not so much so that it’s going to interfere with her schedule too much. It may take her a bit more time to fall asleep as she may not be as tired, but in a week’s time she will be back on track again. On day and night 4, move to the correct time on the clock again.

I know I am excited for more sunlight in the evening!

 

Going on a winter vacation with the kids?

 

You must read this before heading out on vacation.  Good sleep can make or break your vacation!

  • Respect your child’s sleep needs and do not over-schedule.  Plan for some down time in the afternoon where your child can have a nap that is not on the go.  It is tempting to do as much as possible, but it will just leave everyone miserable at the end of the day.  Remember, you are travelling with kids in tow! One of my husband’s favourite memories from a trip we went on when our kids were little, was sitting on the patio overlooking the ocean, reading for a few hours in the afternoon, while the kids and mom took a nap!
  • An occasional car nap or slightly later bedtime is okay.  Most children can tolerate this without too much disruption to their overall sleep patterns. However, consecutive days of naps on the go and later bedtimes will wreak havoc on their sleep.   You still want to aim for no more than 20% of naps out and about.
  • Your child may test the boundaries and protest more in their new sleep environment until they get used to it.  Deal with it the same way you would at home by going in and out of the room every 10 minutes and provide some quick reassurance.  Be very consistent for the first few days and nights and your child will be used to their new sleep space and go back to sleeping well, which will make for an enjoyable vacation for everyone.
  • Bring your child’s blankie or stuffie, sleep sack and white noise. Set up a sleep space that is dark and separate from you.  Hallways, bathrooms and closets can work well to set up baby’s temporary room.  There is a great product out there called the SnoozeShade that fits over most playpens. It is a breathable, blackout cover that works great for blocking out light and providing some separation from your baby if you happen to be sharing a room.
  • As tempting as it might be to bed share for a few nights, it is not a good option. Often your child will decide this is his new preferred location to sleep and you may find yourself back to square one when you return home.
  • For the plane ride, it is best to plan ahead and do whatever you need to do to keep your child comfortable and occupied for the journey. He may have a nap in your arms and that is okay.
  • If you are doing a driving trip, planning to drive during nap time works well. It is just best to ensure that all naps are not happening in the car. And stop and take breaks to eat and stretch!  Your child needs this too!

How to get started?

 

Start on night one with implementing your new bedtime routine, ensuring your child stays wide awake until going into the crib.

Night one can be a tough night as it is the transition night. Do not have any expectations that you will see improvement on night one. You will start to see improvement within 2-3 nights.

And sometimes things get worse before they get better as you are removing props. It is like taking off a bandaid. And this is why I recommend making all the changes on night one. The band aid is taken off quickly and it is not as painful as you thought. You could make one change at a time and take it very slow. But then the process in long, drawn out and way more painful. And parents do not want to wait that long to start seeing progress.

For many parents the anticipation of night one, is much worse than actual completing night one!

Consistency

Consistency is so important here!

If your baby is confused as to what to expect around sleep time, you will get way more crying and see little progress.

If you rock him one night and then expect him to go down on his own the next night, you will get more protest. If you expect her to nurse to sleep at bedtime and then fall back sleep on her own during the night, you will get more protest.

If you start the process of “sleep training” and call it quits half way through the night, then you are only teaching your baby to protest even harder the next time you try.

The best advice is to jump in with both feet, make your baby’s sleep a priority for 2 weeks and COMMIT. Within 2 nights of consistency, you will be seeing improvement!

 

Soothers

 

Can you baby sleep well with a soother?

Some babies that are good sleepers can get away with using a soother. But I have yet to come across a baby that can learn to sleep well using a soother. It is a prop, something external they rely on to fall asleep or stay asleep or even just start their journey to sleep. And because of this, it interferes with the development of their own skills.

What if baby can find the soother on their own? It still interrupts their sleep even if they have to wake up and find the soother. And most babies will still need some help every now then.

So the bottom line is the soother needs to go if you want sleep to improve.

Most parents are nervous to get rid of the soother because it is their crutch too. But within a few days, parents report it is so liberating not having to worry about the soother.

Early Mornings

 

How to deal with an early bird!

You might be surprised to hear it all starts with bedtime.

• Ensure the bedtime feed is before bath or at the beginning of the routine and your little one is wide awake for the feed.

• Ensure baby is going down wide awake all on her own.

• Ensure baby is not at all overtired.

• If baby wakes between 5am-6am it is best to stay out of the room if at all possible. Seeing mom or dad is just too stimulating and now they know you are awake too, so there is usually no going back to sleep. They think it is party time!

• Wait until a minimum of 6am to take baby out of the crib.
• Ensure the room is pitch dark and you are using white noise to drown out all of those early morning noises like Dad getting ready for work.
• It can take 4-6 weeks of being super consistent before your baby’s body clock is reset and he starts sleeping in later.

Night Wakings

 

For all night wakings, even it is feeding time, give your little one 10-12 minutes to try to go back to sleep on their own. Because they went to sleep on their own at bedtime, this is a realistic expectation. If they have not gone back to sleep and it is not feeding time, then use the same strategy your did at bedtime: either come and go or sit and support until they go back to sleep. The first night or two the wakings may be long, but if you are consistent your baby will catch on pretty quickly. You should start seeing progress in 2-3 nights and the average for sleeping through the night is on night 5.

Night Feeds

 

 

Does your baby still need a night feed? The rule of thumb is that babies become metabolically capable of sleeping through for 10-12 hours around 3 months and/or 13 pounds. For babies 3-6 months I take it case by case if we keep a night feed in the schedule. Many babies will start to sleep through the night once they develop the skills to fall asleep on their own.

Between 5-6 months, it is best to start giving your baby that gentle nudge to cut the night feed out if they have not done so already. At this age I find it ends up causing night time sleep to become inconsistent and you can get lots of random wakings with baby wondering if it is feeding time yet. This happens when they are not waking out of hunger anymore, but out of habit.

And the most important part of the night feed is that baby needs to stay AWAKE for the whole feed and go back in the crib AWAKE after the feed.