So finally part two is up mama’s!! Grab a tea and enjoy…
Ok so going straight into this post with..
Activities and how they affect sleep in our babies –
So this is all information I’ve learned from the amazing book ‘the gentle sleep book’. The book states that sometimes keeping your child more active in the evening can lead to them have disruptive sleep. That seems crazy to me…I would always be taking Jude out to soft play at like 3/4pm and stay there until 6/7pm when it would close in the hopes that Jude would have worn himself out he might actually sleep for more than 1 hour without waking…now I’ve realised that I was doing totally the wrong thing! When I read it I was even thinking to myself ‘this is actually common sense’ but I think as a parent, in your mind you think ‘let’s let them run wild and hope they sleep’ it was actually having the complete reverse effect on Jude. I’ve learned that now. Now, if we go out to soft play or swimming etc then i make sure we have left 2-3 hours before Jude will be going in his bed to sleep (as the book says to do) which is 8pm & the difference is undeniable! I don’t think this would work on a child under 12 months, I’m not too sure though, but it definitely works on 2 year olds!
Day time naps –
I think this one is pretty more like common sense as well. The more your child sleeps in the day the less sleep they will need at night. Jude would nap for 2-3 hours in the day & I LOVED it, I’m not going to lie, I loved having some solitude in the house for a while and having some time to spend with Jesse alone. The book says that children should nap for 1 hour a day and that is all the need. When I read that is says to wake them up after an hour I was actually worried, Jude had always been awful to wake up. It’s like waking up Satan! Anyways I was determined to have sleep at night So I started waking Jude up after an hour (which i hated doing at first) and now he wakes up naturally after an hour & he’s happy! Yes, you read that right…HAPPY! I can’t believe it! It’s like he’s had just enough sleep to be happy and wake up peacefully! I think when he was having 2-3 hours he was having too much sleep, so when he awoke he would feel tired still and be very grouchy bless him. I have seen a huge difference in Judes sleep at night since he started only napping for one hour and I think it’s helped make his bed time consistent as he will ask to go to bed around 8pm as he would have been awake from he nap for 4-5 hours. Also I never let Jude nap past 4pm. 3pm is the latest I’ll let him sleep for 1 hour as if he naps too late he’s whole bedtime routine is off schedule and I really ends up being a bad night.
Diet – lot of people think of you give your toddler a banana before bed they it will help them sleep but that’s actually not true according so scientific research, and my book. Also I don’t believe that toddlers do wake up hungry and I say this because (if you follow me on IG you will know already) Jude doesn’t eat food, barley ever and when he does, it’s enough to feed a baby bird. When he was waking countless time a night for milk I thought it was huger and I would never not give him his milk as I didn’t like the idea of him starving. NOW Jude has the same amount of milk in the day, as he was before when he was waking countless times, and still barley eats anything BUT he wakes up 1-3 maybe 4 times a night. Someone’s he only wakes once! This is what makes me think it’s not hunger. I tried the whole bowl of porridge before bed to fill him up and it never worked. He would still awake a silly amount of times for his milk. I honestly believe it’s all down to routine.
Dreamfeeding – so there is no evidence that says dreamfeeding will keep your baby asleep longer but there is scientific evidence that says breastmilk takes 2 hours to digest and formula takes 4 hours, this is why breastfed babies feed more little and often than formula fed babies and the longer it takes to digest the longer it makes the baby feel full up for. But dreamfeeding is totally down to the parent and there is no right or wrong! If your baby sleeps longer after a dreamfeed and that means you sleep longer then feed the baby, if it doesn’t do anything other than disturb the baby and wake him up, then don’t do it. It’s totally ok to do whatever you, the parent, thinks works.
Swaddling – i personally didn’t swaddle Jude as he hated it but Jesse loved it for the first month or so and now he’s not swaddled anymore. There is no evidence that swaddling your baby helps them sleep but I personally think it does. It replicates them being in the womb which is all they have been used to for 9 months so I think they instantly feel comfortable and content swaddled but it’s totally fine if you don’t swaddle. Many people don’t swaddle. If you do swaddle then make sure to check safety guidelines as it can be risky if done incorrectly.
Baby wearing –
It’s been studied that babies that are worn in a sling or wrap a lot sleep much more better than babies that are in a chair or seat most of the day. So if you haven’t worn your baby then get out there, buy a sling and rock wearing that bubba. If your not into wearing your baby that’s totally fine. Maybe just give lots of cuddles in the day and it might just do the trick.
Lavender oil –
The book says that research has shown that using lavender oil in your child’s night time bath shows that the child spends more time in a deep sleep than for the children who didn’t have it added as it has a calming effect on babies and toddlers as well as mama’s! Also it reduces stress levels so go ahead and treat yourself to a lavender oil bath mama. It should be a medical grade essential oil that is used, not the lander scented stuff you see in the supermarkets. For Jude and myself I use Neals Yard lavender bath salts and lavender essential oil from Neals Yard. I also use Neals Yard ‘night time roll on’ which you roll onto pulse points and I think it works amazing!! You can even use the lavender oil drops in an aromatherapy fan at night time, along side the lullabies quietly playing in the background. Leave the fan on before you child goes to bed so when they get in their room it’s scented and then turn it off when you go to bed.
For a baby under 6 months you can use white noise and this should help. We have the whisbear for Jesse and Ewan the dream sheep for Jude and he’s obsessed with him. He comes everywhere with us and Jude loves the heartbeat sound in the womb and he’s had that since birth.
For older babies and younger children use alpha music (this is what I play on Spotify for Jude every night and I swear by it) alpha music is music that is recorded at resting pulse rate and has been recorded to intentionally be relaxing and calms the brainwaves into what it knows as the ‘alpha state’ of relaxation. Music has been proven to have a sedated effect on newborns to 5 year olds (how amazing is that) and has also been shown to significantly improve the sleep of children.
A good BEDTIME routine established –
Bed sharing / co sleeping – can you co sleep or bed share with your baby or toddler? Can you or your partner sleep in their room on the floor until they are comfortable sleeping in their room?
Expectations – think to yourself are your expectations of your child’s sleep realistic for their age? Are you giving your child the correct amount of ‘down time’ before they go to bed?
Diet – take into consideration the ingredients in the food your child has before bed, check for sugars, additives and colourings. Try giving your child a small supper half an hour to an hour before bedtime. Consider giving your child Omega 3 supplements every day (it helps with sleep problems)
Transitional object – does your child need a comfort object? Maybe an item of your clothing that smells like you.
IT – screen time – does your child spend too much time in front of a blue light? (Causes melatonin not to be released naturally) make sure to stop the tele and iPads and phones etc 2 hours before bedtime.
Me time – time for mama – look after yourself mama’s. get a good support network. Also spend time enjoying your babies and toddlers to get that bonding time in.
Environment – is your child exposed to natural sunlight every day (this helps with melatonin) ? Can you use low lighting in your child’s room and in the bathroom when they are having a bath? Do you spend time in the day playing in your child’s room with them to make them feel like it’s a happy and safe place to be? Do you have ‘triggers’ to let your child become aware that it’s bedtime soon?
When planning your sleep routine you need to consider all of those things to get the best out of a consistent sleep routine.
This by far is THE most important part of the whole 3 part blog! (Yes there is another part coming) I think it will be trial and error and don’t be disheartened when/if one way doesn’t work for you and your baby, just try another way until it does work. What works for you might not work for someone else.
In the book it says it takes 6 weeks for the routine to become a routine. If your not used to a routine then it may take longer or it may not. It will be hard planning your day around your baby/toddlers bed time (especially on holidays) but honestly I wouldn’t change it now. I love our nighttime routine and I love that Jude loves it too. He knows what’s happening from when we start the very first step in the routine and I think it makes him feel secure and comfortable knowing what’s going on. Remember children have no idea what time it is and they don’t know that it’s bed time unless you have ‘triggers’ to let them know. All they know is light and dark.
Here is mine and Jude’s bedtime routine –
B – for us this is co sleeping. If Jude wakes in the night we already have a bed prepared for him on the floor so he’s not in our bed, he’s still in his own bed but he’s right near us so he feels safe and secure. This has worked wonders for us.
E – my expectations of Jude’s sleep were none. I had no hope of this working and me actually getting more than 2 hours of sleep in a row. I think it’s really important to take into consideration your child’s age and how much they ‘should’ be sleeping for their age and work with that but don’t expect too much to quick or it to happen over night. As I said before it takes 4 week minimum to see results.
D – if you follow my instagram you’ll be aware that I’m conscious of what i feed Jude so I know the ingredients of his meals and snacks. I think it’s so important to know what your feeding your kids. It can’t expect your child to want to sleep if after dinner you gave them a dessert full of sugar, colourings and flavourings.
T – this is Jude’s bunny & sheepy (Ewan the dream sheep) they are part of Jude and Jude loves them. He can’t be anywhere without them and they make him feel safe and secure.
I – we now have a ‘no blue light’ rule that after 6pm the tele is off and Jude plays with his toys in his room which is low lighting.
M – this one is so important! I make sure i have me time more often thanks to this book and I actually think it’s done us the world of good. I don’t get so uptight with Jude’s sleep any more and I feel more relaxed about things (might be all those lavender baths haha)
E – this is a real big one too! So when we turn the tele off at 6 (if it’s on) we also then all the lights in the house on low and light candles sometimes instead of having any lighting. Jude also has his candle light bath and then from there goes into his bedroom to have his nappy and pyjamas on and his book read to him. The lights are off in his room and we just have low lights on in the landing so we can still see in his room. When we read we use a little night light. Jude has his alpha music playing through a little portable Bluetooth Bose speaker all night and I think that really helps! Sometimes he has his aromatherapy fan on with his lavender essential oil in it.
I really hope this helps at least one mama out with their sleeping arrangements & if you have anything to add and share then pop it in the comments and let us know what works for you.
Just remember that children want to sleep and there is no such thing as ‘ a bad sleeper’ children aren’t programmed like us yet and they are just figuring out the world and what it’s all about. They aren’t supposed to sleep 9-10 hours straight like us parents can. So don’t worry if your child still wakes once or a few times a night, it’s normal, and one day they won’t even want you in their room (hopefully that won’t come around too quick) but I think just cherish that your child needs you and wants your love when they awake at night and that will help soothe them back to sleep. They aren’t trying to be a pain or a nightmare. They just want reassurance most of the time from they parents that they are safe, it’s down to you, as the parents to forgive out how to help them feel safe when they awake and how to help them sleep better and more peacefully. After all, what would parenthood be without the bags under the eyes and the endless deliriousness from slowly being made nocturnal 🙈
Part 3 is all about sleep the specific ages 0-3 3-6 6-12 months 1-2 years 2-3 years etc.
Hope you enjoyed it ✨