Summer is here….Is it messing with your child’s sleep?

Today is the first official day of summer. Hurray! I can hardly wait for the long, warm evenings outside and the lazy days basking in the sun. With the sun rising early and setting so late, it can affect our sleep. We typically sleep less in the summer and more in the winter due to exposure to sunlight. But what does this mean for your little one? We can’t have bedtime at 11pm and morning starting at 4am.

I have three products I recommend that are very useful this time of year to encourage earlier bedtimes and later mornings.

1. The sleep sack is great tool to signal that bedtime is coming and help your baby sleep through the night. I recommend using it starting at three months old when you make the transition from the swaddle to sleep sack. It keeps baby a constant temperature throughout the night and prevents getting tangled up in a blanket or the blanket coming off. During the summer months you can even just put a onesie on your baby with the sleep sack.  Different sleep sacks are available for summer and winter. Use a lightweight one for summer.  If you introduce a sleep sack when your baby is little, they learn to love the sleep sack. And then down the road when your child decides they may want to climb out of the crib, it helps prevent children from doing that.

 

2.  The gro-clock can be introduced around the age of two. This is when most children are able to understand the visual cue it provides. It is brilliant as it provides that concrete visual cue that it is still nighttime or that it is morning and it is okay to get out of bed.  You can set the clock to a pre-determined time to show the sun coming up in the morning. Being consistent and attaching a reward and consequence to staying in bed until the sun comes up in the morning is very effective for toddlers.

 

3. And the third one is the gro-blind. This can be really great to use when you are sleeping away from home. It is a portable black-out blind that uses velcro and suction cups to stick on the window at the cabin, a trailer or even grandma’s house. Exposure to light is what sets our body clock and we all sleep better in a room that is very dark. At this time of year with the sun setting so late and coming up so early, having a very dark room is critical for children to sleep well. I always get an influx of calls this time of year with children who are having very early morning wakings. It’s usually related to just a little bit of light coming in the room.

Click here to see me chatting about these products on CTV Calgary News.

 

Why is my baby waking up so many times during the night?

Having a baby that wakes many times during the night can be really tiring for both mom and baby. And not good for the overall health and development of the baby.

A baby who is well rested is more stable emotionally and better equipped to form bonds and relationships. And truth be told, so is mom.

So why is your baby up so much during the night? You may be surprised to hear that it likely has to do with what is happening at bedtime.

Here is what you can do to get the night wakings to STOP and teach your baby to sleep through the night.

I get it!  Waking up many times a night to feed a baby can be tough.  Especially if your baby is waking more often as they get older, not less, like you were hoping for. 

Have you been reading everything on-line, listening to advice from your mommy friends and even asking your own mom?  And you are still confused if your baby is actually ready and capable of sleeping through the night.  Heck, you are not even sure what sleeping through the night really means.

In this video, I chat about what sleeping through the night really means and how to determine when your baby may be ready to do that. 

No more second guessing if your baby is actually hungry during the night or just waking for another reason! 

Top 3 Reasons Why Mom Needs Sleep

We are always focusing on getting your baby the sleep he or she needs to be happy and healthy.   But what about you?  I know mom’s needs are often put on the back burner.  But they shouldn’t be!

In this video, I will teach you the top 3 reasons why you need to be sleeping well during the night.  I don’t mean to scare you but…..

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

If you want to learn more about sleep, I highly recommend this book called Why We Sleep?  

Travelling with Kids at Christmas

As I drive down the street, I see Christmas trees shining through frosty windows and twinkling lights on houses throughout my neighbourhood.  The Christmas season is upon us. 

And I am sure by this point you have received a call from your mother-in-law asking (or maybe telling!)you the plans for Christmas. 

You fondly remember going to your parents and even your in-laws for Christmas because someone did the cooking for you, you could sleep in and just take in all the season had to offer.  After all, you were on Christmas holidays! 

But the days of staying up into the wee hours of the morning, sipping rum and egg nog by the fire and crashing wherever there was room have long passed.

You have a baby now.  Christmas is such an exciting and magical time with children.   And so many cherished memories will be made during the season. 

But things just got a little bit more complicated!  Suddenly spending 5 days at the in-laws doesn’t sound quite as appealing with a baby in tow. 

Are you worried about unsolicited advice from Grandma?  

What if your baby cries and keeps everyone up all night? 

Where will everyone sleep? 

How do I manage to get my baby to bed on time? 

All these questions are dancing around in your head!

With a little preparation and planning,  your little one can sleep well during the holiday season.

  • Respect your child’s sleep needs and do not over-schedule.  Plan for some down time where your child can have naps that are not on the go.  It is tempting to see as any people as possible, but it will just leave everyone miserable at the end of the day.  You won’t have a good visit with Great Aunt Edna if your baby is crying the whole time or your toddler is having a melt down. 
  • 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.  If that happens, you might start to get very nervous because your baby, who has been happily chatting herself to sleep for weeks, is now crying again, and your mother-in-law is standing outside the door repeatedly asking you if you’re sure the baby is okay.  You may start to give into this pressure and bend your expectations for your baby’s sleep.
  • 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 Christmas 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.
  • If you have to take a 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!

I wish you a season of precious memories, hearts full of love and silent nights!

💚Shan 

 

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.