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Baby sleep challenges

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
baby sleep, sleep training, baby whisperer, online sleep program, nurture sleep program

As a baby whisperer I spend a lot of time in baby's bedrooms/nurseries. I want to give you parents a heads up to things that will make a real difference to your baby's sleep.

In Australia it is very bright with UV compared to other countries like the UK. I remember first moving here nearly 12 years ago and daylight hurt my eyes.

Babies eyes are even more sensitive to light than ours.

In order to get to sleep babies need a very dark room. Light affects the neurotransmitter melatonin that help us get to sleep and stay asleep. People who say babies need to know day and night are correct in that wake time should be in a bright room with natural light and sleep should be in a darkened room.

The key hormones that govern sleep are melatonin and cortisol. Their levels change through the day, which is why is easier to fall asleep at certain times of day. Cortisol is the hormone that keeps us awake and alert. It’s at its highest at 8am, dropping off through the day. Melatonin, on the other hand, increases in the absence of light and prepares us to fall asleep.

If your baby is kept up too long we move from optimum sleep readiness to overtired. When babies become overtired they produce too much cortisol and adrenalin and this overrides the melatonin. That is why it is so crucial to get the timing right for putting your baby into their cot.

It is essential to always put baby down awake in the cot, especially for those tricky day sleeps. Then the sleep association is with the cot and not with being held or fed to sleep.

If your baby's nursery is too light think about dark blackout curtains or a blind.

A little gem I've come across recently is the gro blind. These attach onto the window with suction pads so can be taken on holiday, used on planes above a bassinet etc. They are really quite marvellous and have transformed the brightest room into one that promotes good quality sleep.

Other things to consider are:

  • room temperature - if its too hot (above 20C) then baby will have difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep. Likewise if they're too cold then the same will happen. An optimum room temp is 16-18C. Its best to have a cooler room and have layers of clothing and blankies and of course to keep their heads uncovered and sleep according to SIDS guidelines.

  • swaddling/wrapping can be useful till around 4 months of age or until the baby rolls over. That pesky startle reflex can cause difficulty getting to sleep. Young babies have very light sleep at the start of a sleep cycle unlike adults that fall straight into deep sleep.
  • dummies that keep on falling out are a problem and can prevent the baby moving from one sleep cycle to another. If this is the case then it makes sense to remove the dummy.
  • reflux, colic and other digestive issues - check with your GP or paed if you think these may apply to your baby.
So hopefully I've given you a few little ideas to promote sleep and make your little bubba's super-sleepers!

If you're still struggling you can get the know-how and ongoing support you need via my Nurture Sleep Program.

You can access my 3 decades of experience as a registered midwife and child and family health nurse via the Nurture Sleep Program.

You can take your baby from sleepless to slumber in up to 7 easy lessons across 3 age groups once you join the program at

? FOODS that promote sleep
⏰ ROUTINE: easy, flexible, sleep-ready
? ENVIRONMENT: getting it right
?? DEVELOPMENT changes: how these affect sleep
? SLEEP METHODS: secret tips that will change your life

It will stop the guesswork and give you:
✅ A tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep)
✅ Evidence-based
✅ Gentle baby sleep methods
✅ Holistic assessment
✅ Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep-inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep
✅ Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos
✅ Prevention for under 4 months so no need to do sleep training ever
✅ And all at a low $97 for a very limited time

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