By the time your baby turns 4 months old, he or she starts to differentiate day from night and enjoy longer periods of sleep. However, every baby’s sleeping pattern is different. It’s important to know that there are still those who seem to wake up all the time and have trouble sleeping through the night.
These unexpected midnight wakeup calls might actually be a result of a period called sleep regression. Despite the term, it’s actually a developmental phase that all infants and young children have to go through. Sometimes, though, the crying and sudden waking periods can be too much for every parent to handle.
Fortunately, there are essential things you can do to manage this tricky phase in your child’s life. But first, it’s a must to understand its causes and effects. Here’s the survival guide to baby sleep regression.
Sleep Regression Explained: The Survival Guide Every Parent Should Know
What is Sleep Regression?
Sleep regression refers to a period of time when a baby or toddler who has been sleeping well suddenly wakes up at night for no obvious reason. This phase can last for about one to four weeks which can totally throw new parents off guard.
But despite the word “regression,” there’s really no evidence to prove that this period leads to major lapses in your baby’s sleep. In fact, sleep regression is simply a part of your infant’s normal development when he or she has a tendency to wake more at night. It’s really much closer to transitions rather than regression when your newborn starts to develop his or her own sleep cycle or patterns.
What are the Causes of Sleep Regression?
While, at first, there’s no apparent reason for your baby suddenly waking up at night, sleep regression is actually caused by a lot of factors. And it’s a must to know these 6 causes in order for you to better understand that it’s just a cycle that you and your baby are perfectly capable of surviving.
a. Physical Development
This is probably the most common reason why a baby would constantly wake up at night after a peaceful time of uninterrupted sleep.
As your infant learns how to crawl, walk, roll, sit and stand, the more likely he or she’s going to take a longer time to fall asleep as his or her body is overactive from all these developmental milestones.
Furthermore, each mental leap or cognitive burst your little one experiences means greater awareness of one’s self and independence. However, this often comes with the feeling of insecurity which ultimately leads to difficulties separating from a parent and a constant need for reassurance at night.
b. Changes in Sleep Needs
During the first five years of his or her life, your baby’s sleep needs are bound to change regularly in order to keep up with his or her development. If you’re not able to adjust accordingly to your newborn’s needs, he or she will have a difficult time settling back to sleep.
What might be a case of sleep regression could just be inconsistencies in his or her sleeping schedule. Fortunately, this can be easily resolved by being accommodating to your baby’s needs and adapting whenever necessary.
Once your baby reaches a certain age, he or she is already aware (and possibly wary!) of one’s surroundings. That’s why travelling can be quite hard for him or her. Also, babies who cannot self-settle may struggle to cope with long car journeys and cry a lot.
Other newborns can perfectly adjust to this new environment but others need a lot of time and support in order to do so. This ultimately leads to difficulties settling into sleep when you get home.
d. Switching to a New Bed
As your baby grows older, he or she might not be able to fit into his or her prior crib. This would require you to move your infant into a bigger crib.
However, like travelling, a new bed is a foreign environment for your baby so he or she may feel uncomfortable to fall asleep that easily. For a toddler, though, this new change in his bedroom could have a completely different meaning. It can become his or her very own play area where he or she can freely bounce or jump around. Ultimately, the bigger space could stimulate your child which makes it harder for him or her to settle down for sleep.
Tip: Choose a crib that comes with safety railings as playing in the bed can sometimes lead to unwanted accidents.
e. Potty Training
This can also cause sleep regressions. For instance, potty training can teach your toddler awareness which makes him or her more likely to use the bathroom at night. Parents scrambling to assist their child every time he or she is in the bathroom is also a contributing factor. This makes your little one more dependent on you whenever he or she wants and needs something in the middle of the night.
Big life changes, such as the birth of a sibling, divorce of parents, first day at daycare, or moving homes, could be stressful for your baby. This tension would then reflect on the quality of sleep he or she would be getting. In short, the more stressful your little one can feel, the lesser the amount of sleep he or she can enjoy.
What is NOT a Cause of Sleep Regression?
Unfortunately, there are also a couple of factors that may look like causes of sleep regression but they are not. In fact, these behaviours tend to be a lot more serious and can even escalate over time when not properly treated.
A sudden change in your baby’s sleep behaviour (which is similar to sleep regression) can be caused by an underlying illness. It has a higher chance of happening when your little one’s waking behaviour is accompanied by pain-like crying and whimpering.
Fever is one common sickness your infant might get. Allergies are also common, from food sources (especially milk and eggs), their environment and the weather. Furthermore, seasonal allergies, called hay fever, can lead to snoring and sleep apnea, in which case you need to have your infant checked by a doctor.
Did You Know? Eczema is another contributing factor which can keep babies awake for long periods at night. This disease is characterised by inflamed and itchy skin that can further be aggravated by heat and synthetic fabrics.
When your baby is past the point of being sleep-ready, he or she might be overtired which activates the release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These two substances ultimately make it difficult for your newborn to fall asleep which can quickly lead to more missed sleep.
Overtiredness can simply look a lot like sleep regression but it’s far more serious. With no proper sleep, his or her condition can get a lot worse. As a parent, it’s a must to know the tell-tale signs of an overtired baby so you can effectively address the root causes of the problem.
What Should a Parent Expect During a Sleep Regression?
With all these factors (and non-factors!) of sleep regression in mind, you might probably be wondering how these could affect your child’s overall behaviour. Aside from lack of sleep—of course—here are 4 more things he or she might experience during the period of sleep regression.
a. Increase in fussiness – When your baby undergoes the period of transition, his or her body might find it unsettling. This feeling of uneasiness can lead to an increase in crankiness and fussiness.
b. Refusal in naps – During a sleep regression, your infant’s need for daytime sleep might change with age. As such, he or she might refuse a nap or two, especially when his or her body starts to only need two naps instead of the usual three or four naps.
c. Growth spurts – This is a natural phenomenon all babies experience. During this time, he or she may want to nurse more frequently. This ultimately means your little one would wake up every hour or so to ask for a feed.
d. Clingy behaviour – As sleep regression in babies is often a result of milestone developments, he or she might be anxious or worried about the new changes in his or her body. This ultimately results in a clingy behaviour and constantly wanting to be held or carried.
When do Sleep Regressions Happen?
The period when sleep regressions (along with growth spurts and developmental milestones) can happen is different for every baby. For instance, if your little one does experience one phase of regression, it does not necessarily mean he or she would also undergo different stages of sleep regressions. He or she may experience this at multiple age periods or totally ignore it altogether—no matter how old your little one is. Having said all of these, here are the common ages when baby sleep regression can occur.
a. 4 Month Sleep Regression
This is the most common type of sleep regression and most babies undergo this phase in their lives.
During this stage, a four-month-old baby is experiencing major changes in his or her body. This includes the Circadian rhythm in which he or she starts to switch from REM (rapid eye movement) to non-REM sleep just like adults. What this large transition means for your little one is the fact that he or she might wake up more often at night (as adults normally do) but still doesn’t know how to properly fall back to sleep. At first, it might seem like a huge setback for your newborn’s sleeping pattern but it’s actually a big developmental milestone.
Another change your infant might also undergo during the 4-month sleep regression is growth spurts. This simply means he or she is often hungry which leads to frequent feeding and awake time in the middle of the night.
b. 8 Month Sleep Regression
At 8 months in, your baby would start to take great strides, literally—from learning how to crawl to pulling himself or herself up and even walking small steps one at a time. He or she would also begin to get acquainted with language and speech. Furthermore, he or she can start teething.
With all of these growths happening all at once, it would surely affect the amount of sleep your little one can enjoy. The ultimate result is frequent night wakings, resistance to sleep, shorter (and skipped!) naps, and a very cranky baby.
Tip: Since separation anxiety is also common during 8 month sleep regression, expect an extremely clingy behaviour from your baby. To pacify him or her, make sure to stick with a routine so your child can know what’s next.
c. 12 Month Sleep Regression
This type of baby sleep regression is not that common but should still be handled accordingly. It usually happens when your little one starts to take one nap instead of two.
Throughout the 12-month sleep regression, your baby might oppose taking his or her second nap and would only try to get by with just one. However, this transition is not actually healthy for his or her young age and is not supposed to happen until later at 15 months old. As such, it’s best to stick with two naps for a while especially if your baby is overtired. If resistance still persists, though, try putting your infant for one nap at noon in order to pacify him or her.
Aside from these nap adjustments, the 12-month sleep regression can also be caused by developmental milestones such as learning how to walk. Similar to crawling, your little one might resist sleep because he or she wants to practice his or her newfound skill. Fortunately, you can easily fix this habit by allowing your baby to practice during the morning instead of the afternoon.
d. 18 Month Sleep Regression
While not as prevalent, the 18-month baby sleep regression is probably the hardest for most parents. This is because you’re now handling a toddler who is capable of a lot of babbling, talking, and shouting.
At 18 months old, your young child has a very active brain development and could be very communicative of his or her wants and needs. Due to these activities, he or she may refuse rest, and eventually, experience difficulties in settling down for sleep. Having said that, these problems can be solved by developing a comforting bedtime routine where your toddler can feel safe.
e. 2 Year Sleep Regression
At 2 years old, your toddler’s awake time is significantly getting longer—from 16 hours of newborn sleep to only 12 hours. However, as he or she makes this transition, your little one might experience a disruption in his or her sleep.
During the 2-year sleep regression, he or she also starts to go through big changes such as potty training and moving to a bigger bed. The birth of a new sibling can also disrupt his or her sleep cycle due to anxiety. Furthermore, your toddler would start experiencing real nightmares and night terrors. This ultimately leads to a very exhausting baby sleep regression.
How to Manage Your Baby’s Sleep Regression?
Now that you know the causes, effects, and stages of sleep regression, you’re probably wondering how you can solve the problem. However, before you get started, it’s important to know that sleep regression is a normal part of childhood development—no matter how challenging it may get. And while you cannot prevent it from happening, there’s a list of things you can do to make your and your baby’s lives so much easier. Read on to learn 6 tips that can help manage baby sleep regression and minimise its long-term effects.
a. Stick with a Bedtime Routine
As your child grows older, he or she starts to become aware of one’s surroundings and thus, tends to experience anxiety and stress. This ultimately keeps him awake at night. But while it may seem like your baby is resisting the bedtime routine you have previously set up for him or her, it’s best to stick with it.
Maintain the prior set of activities before bedtime and try to schedule sleeping periods at the same time every day. Typically, the schedule should go like this: feed, play, give a bath, then set your baby down for sleep.
Overall, by sticking with a predictable bedtime routine, your little one would feel comfortable and safe enough to fall asleep with little to no assistance required.
b. Establish an Early Bedtime
When your baby suffers from sleep regression, he or she may experience difficulties settling down for rest. This can quickly become a cycle as the more overtired your baby becomes, the harder it is for him or her to fall asleep.
In order to solve such problems, it might be necessary to move your little one’s bedtime earlier. This would give him or her enough time to calm down and settle if he or she’s particularly cranky and irritated. The extra hours from an early bedtime routine would also help your baby catch up on quality sleep.
c. Offer Extra Nighttime Feedings
A part of every baby sleep regression is growth spurts. During this stage, expect a fussy behaviour than usual and the constant feeling of being hungry from your baby.
To temporarily pacify him or her, you can offer extra nighttime (and daytime) feedings as needed. However, remember that this phase is just temporary and your little one would eventually return to his or her usual feeding schedule.
d. Provide Love and Comfort as Needed
Sleep regression can cause a lot of stress for your baby. That’s why it’s more important than ever to provide love and comfort as needed.
So whenever your little one needs your presence, make sure to be there and shower him or her with kisses and hugs. You should also show your support whenever he or she starts to learn a new skill such as crawling, walking, and talking. It’s best to do this during the day, though, and opt for quiet activities (like reading) just before bedtime.
e. Avoid Making Bad Habits
Showing your love and support doesn’t mean spoiling your baby.
You should avoid rocking him or her back to sleep as he or she can start to rely on your help in going back to sleep. This can ultimately become a bad habit that is hard to break. Instead, give your little one enough time to settle back on his or her own without your intervention. Your baby will then eventually realize that he or she can’t always get what he or she wants from you.
f. Don’t be Shy and Ask Help
If the situation escalates and is becoming unbearable each passing day, don’t be afraid and ashamed to ask for help.
Always remember that your health (whether physical or mental) is just as important too. For instance, if you can’t juggle household chores along with taking care of your baby, it might be best to enlist the help of a family member or a close friend. This would give you free time to catch up on some quality naps or sleep. For difficulties in balancing work and motherhood, asking for the support of your partner and switching roles would also tremendously help your case.
Ultimately, by taking care of yourself, you are much more capable of successfully managing baby sleep deprivation.
Sleep regression can be a difficult time for both you and your baby. It is a developmental phase when several night wakings, constant hunger, fussiness, and clingy behaviour all happens at the same time. This ultimately drives every parent mad especially after a prior successful bedtime routine that took weeks to establish. Fortunately, baby sleep regression is just a part of growing up and usually lasts for only one to four weeks.
Do you still struggle with baby sleep regression? You can consider enrolling your little one to the Nurture Sleep Program. For over 20 years, the baby sleep experts at Nurture Parenting have taught many families how to settle their newborns through a unique, personalized solution. Contact us today to get started!
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New parents will always want the best for their new child, this is a given. And the baby shops are bursting to the seams with products they make you think you cannot do without. Well, I’m here to help your purse strings and give you 5 things you definitely DO NOT NEED. As a midwife of over 30 years, I’ve visited countless homes. These are the items parents have told me they wished they hadn’t spent their well-earned cash on.
Baby Sleep Gadgets
These items promise to get your new baby to sleep but they are nothing more than a quick fix. And what I call an Elastoplast method! These include the Lulla Doll (it sounds like an alien and chews up batteries like no tomorrow). The Glow Dreaming (a red night light) – night lights damage the retina and interfere with melatonin production. Next up is the Shusher is a white noise machine that plays the shush sound constantly. You’d be better off using white noise on an app if you have noisy floorboards. https://babyshusher.com and https://glowdreaming.com and https://lulladoll.com/products/lulla-doll
This is a very expensive cot devised by a paediatrician, Dr Harvey Karp. And based on his 5 S’s techniques. Basically, the baby is placed on a very hard and thin mattress and strapped into a swaddle/straight jacket. With their arms down by their side and firmly swaddled in position. This is so they cannot move, roll or get themselves comfortable. You then press a button and it rocks the baby in a swishing motion and emits white noise. Basically it takes you the parents and your loving, nurturing touch out of the equation. And lets the SNOO do it all for you. I’ve been to many homes where the parents have purchased an SNOO hoping for a peaceful night in exchange for $1303 USD OR $1871 AUD. And all they’ve got is a costly ornament gathering dust. You control everything via an app on your phone.
The problem starts with the 4 – 6-month stage when babies want to roll. Well in the SNOO the baby can’t move and it’s too snug to be used past 4-5 months with most normal sized babies. I recently did an overnight visit where I helped a mum wean her baby off the SNOO. This was because the wean off button on the device didn’t help her baby. It took one night and a lot of protest crying to get her self-settling. You may recall a previous article on similar lights, camera, action cot I reviewed in the Huffington Post https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/04/09/cot-designed-to-simulate-moving-car-is-actually-a-parents-worst_a_22033042/
An expensive swaddle suit such as love to dream, ergo pouch cocoon, merino kids swaddle is not needed. Swaddling is a very Australian parenting pre-occupation. The UK does not allow swaddling at all because of the risk from SIDS. Most babies prefer to have their hands free and this is how they are in utero. True self-soothing is being able to put their hand or thumb or fingers in their mouth and put themselves off to sleep from being fully awake. Once fabric interferes with this which swaddling does then it is not self-soothing. Tucking babies in firmly with sheets and blankets manages the startle reflex and allows the baby to calm themself. You may have heard of the weighted blanket which is used with ADHD? Well, using layers of blankets of natural fibres (merino wool, cotton and bamboo) achieve the same thing a calm and unstressed baby.
A purpose-built changing table
This can take up a lot of room and doesn’t add anything to a room other than unnecessary clutter. Instead, try using a foam changing mat placed on top of a chest of drawers or change your baby on the floor. Nappy changing is something you will be doing 7-10 x a day for 6-9 months so you want to choose an option that works best for you. Changing tables retail at $200-600 whereas a simple foam change mat retails at $29 AUD, a bargain.
Bassinet vs a cot
There is no reason why your baby has to sleep in a bassinet for the first 3-4 months. A cot is a perfectly good option and again saves on unnecessary clutter in the house. If you’re wanting to create a snug environment for the 4th-trimester use layers of natural fibre blankets to create the snug and cosy feel of the uterus.
I hope you enjoyed reading my top 5 things a baby nursery can do without and I hope it saved you a whole motza of cash along the way.
There is little adjustment time for a newborn baby from living and being in the womb to suddenly entering the world; one minute they’re contentedly snuggled in the sanctuary of mum’s tummy, and the next they arrive into an overwhelming reality of lights, cameras and action.
There are a few ways to make transitioning easier for your brand new baby. From the first few moments after birth, through to the next few hours, and even after you’ve gone home, there are things you can do to help your baby be comfortable in the world around them.
There are a theory babies should be in the womb till 3 months postnatal. But if this was the case, they wouldn’t get out of the birth canal because they’d be too big they are born before they are able to cope with the outside world. Humans are the only mammals who cannot walk and move unaided at birth. Relying on their parent/caregiver for all their essential needs. The first 3 months are a time of more than normal crying and we recognize this as the 4th trimester. It needs special and sensitive management to get a smooth transition to life.
Babies benefit from lots of love and cuddles and love to be swaddled, almost like being back in the womb. Helping them feel secure and adapt to this new crazy world. Think of this as helping the baby adapt and not as spoiling them. I’ve never seen a baby spoilt with too much love. They’re only little for such a short period of time. Babies who are held and cuddled in a positive way grow to make secure attachments and healthy emotions as adults. Try and ignore, in a polite way, any well-meaning relation who says you are spoiling your baby with too much love!
Seven Ways To Help Your Baby To Adapt
Cosy Sleep Environment – Swaddling – Dockatot or cocoon-a-baby
Sucking & Regular Feeds
Kangaroo Care is also known as Skin to Skin
A Cosy Sleep Environment
Babies love the feeling of snug. The uterus, towards term, had become very snug and there was little room for them to move. Creating this in the outside world is essential to help your baby feel safe and secure and subsequently to be able to sleep well. There are several ways you can do this. One of them is swaddling. The other is layers of heavy blankets to recreate the feeling of the snugness of the womb. However, in a very hot summer in Australia this may not be practical from heat and overheating point of view. Consequently, the swaddle and use of swaddling were created. The cocoonababy and snuggle pod or dock-a-tot also creates a similar environment.
New babies don’t need a lot of baths as they don’t do a lot to get very dirty! You may decide to only do one bath a day and the rest of the time to do a top and tail daily or twice a day. A top and tail as the name implies consists of washing the face and neck folds and the nappy area.
Keep skincare very simple and avoid soap with perfume and essential oils in it. Suitable cleaning products to help a delicate baby’s skin include QV bath, sorbolene and Dermaveen. Bath products containing lots of ingredients and sodium laurel sulfate should be avoided. Sodium laurel sulfate is a foaming agent and can cause irritated eyes, skin and lead to eczema.
If your baby dislikes their bath try putting a washcloth on their tummy and pouring warm water onto it. Another tip I’ve used a lot is to place the baby over your forearm and onto their front in the bath. Be careful of course to avoid putting their face into the water! Swish the baby body up and down to calm them. In 30 years this has not failed and I’ve never had a baby continue to cry once I’ve done this. Putting a baby on their front or prone reduces stress and the hormone cortisol.
To clean their eyes and face use separate cooled boiled water (especially for the eyes) and clean from the inside to the out with a damp cotton wool ball, dry with a dry cotton wool ball.
Wash their head or hair once a week to avoid the build up of oils to prevent cradle cap.
Sucking & Regular Feeds
Night breastfeeds are important and babies need at least 1-2 breastfeeds.
Prolactin is increased with night feed helping increase and maintain supply for the
following day. By following a strict routine, where baby sleeps through the night by 6 weeks, you risk diminishing your supply, sabotaging your ability to successfully breastfeed. Then baby would probably lose weight and formula creeps in.
During the day following a feed-play-sleep model. Newborn to 6-week babies do well with a feed-play-feed-sleep model. At night it’s a straightforward feed-sleep model.
Formula feeding – generally they need 6-8 formula feeds in 24 hours. The mathematical formula to work out their required amounts in each feed is 150 X weight in KG and divide this by the number of feeds in 24 hours. There is no perfect formula that agrees with ALL babies. Start with a newborn formula or stage one from 0-6 months. When preparing a feed always put the cooled boiled water, hand hot or 40 degrees centigrade, into a bottle and add the exact level scoops next, shake to combine then offer to your baby.
A young baby at 0-6 weeks can generally take 100-160 mls within 20-30 minutes at each feed. My preferred bottle and teat is a Pigeon wide necked peristaltic teat.
Burping or winding is something I generally do and recommend but only for 5 minutes.
Sucking is a primal reflex and newborn babies can soothe using one. If your baby has reflux or is premature they can be a useful addition to help your baby adapt to extra-uterine life. However, once your baby is 2-3 months of age it is a good idea to wean of them to avoid a 4 month sleep regression. At 3 months the baby has hand awareness and likes to put them into their mouth. Then at 4 months the extrusion reflex makes an appearance and the dummy or pacifier is forcefully ejected from the mouth. Hence the perfect storm of trouble has arrived.
It is better to look at soothing and sleep from a preventative approach and move your baby on at developmental milestones. By continuing to use a dummy or pacifier longterm you are preventing the baby to use their own self-soothe reflex. Preventing the self-soothe reflex being used at 3-4 months has been linked (evidence-based) with sensory processing disorders. This is something we need to be talking about, parents need to know this. When you know things like this you can then make positive parenting decisions.
Kangaroo Care or Skin to Skin
Putting your naked baby on your chest and doing skin to skin can help increase your milk supply and help breast feeding. Especially if you do this within an hour of birth. Kangaroo care, as skin to skin is called when used for premature babies, decreases cortisol and helps keep heart rate and breathing constant, helps feeding and weight gain. If you’re having problems with breast feeding doing skin to skin for half an hour before a feed will help your letdown and supply.
Just 10 minutes of skin-to-skin contact reduces babies’ levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and increases levels of the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin, which stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to make babies feel calm and safe, says Ludington in the journal AACN Clinical Issues.
Less stress = better sleep. Premature babies who were cradled skin-to-skin slept more deeply and woke up less often than those who slept in incubators, reported the journal Pediatrics.
As a parent, the moment when you heard your baby’s first cries after birth was probably the most unforgettable and heart-warming. After all, they were the earliest sounds your little one made. As time passes, your infant’s non-stop crying could leave you with so many questions unanswered. This can be a difficult time for a parent, especially when you are clueless if the constant sobbing and screaming is normal or healthy.
Even when your baby is perfectly fine, his or her crying may get worse especially at around two months of age. This difficult period of your little one’s life is called PURPLE crying when he or she starts to sob regularly for long periods of time.
Curious about how this stage negatively affects your newborn’s life? Read on to learn all the important facts about PURPLE crying—including the definition, history, and some parenting tips to soothe the condition.
Everything Parents Should Know About PURPLE Crying
What is PURPLE Crying?
PURPLE crying is a term used by experts and other parents to describe colic or persistent crying. However, since the word “colic” has a negative connotation (in which babies are sick and should be treated medically), more and more people nowadays prefer to use the phrase, “period of PURPLE crying.”
This period of PURPLE crying usually starts at about 2 weeks of age, peaking at 2 months old, then lasting until 4 months of age. At this stage, it’s important to remember that some babies can cry a lot while others far less but they all go through it.
And unlike what the term might suggest, PURPLE crying has nothing to do with your baby’s colour whenever he cries. The acronym was coined by Dr. Ronald Barr, a developmental paediatrician and an expert on infant crying. He came up with the idea of the word in order to reassure parents that colic is simply a normal phase that many babies go through which may include increased and prolonged sobbing. PURPLE crying simply describes the common characteristics of the particular period or phase in a baby’s life.
What does PURPLE stand for?
P for Peak of Crying
The letter “P” refers to a baby wailing a lot (regardless whether it’s day or night) which becomes worse as time passes. He or she may cry more often—reaching the climax at two months old and gradually slowing down at three months to four months of age.
U for Unexpected
Unexpected crying means that your little one is consolable during mornings but can be very cranky once afternoon and night-time arrive. He or she stops crying then resumes sobbing again for no particular reason which can drive new parents insane.
R for Resists Soothing
Soothing your baby during the period of PURPLE crying might not be the easiest task. This is due to the fact your baby will continue on wailing no matter what kind of soothing you try to do. Whether it’s rocking, bouncing, swaying, or even driving around.
P for Pain-like Face
This is the particular characteristic in PURPLE crying worrying parents the most. It may even lead to them thinking it’s a sign of something wrong or a disease. Thankfully, there’s a high chance it’s just a normal phase in your little one’s life. During this period, expect your infant to exhibit a pained expression when crying even when there’s really no pain felt.
L for Long-lasting
Your baby’s cries may seem never-ending during the period of PURPLE crying. In fact, most newborns can cry up to five hours a day or more which may ultimately exhaust both baby and parents.
E for Evening
Your little one may cry the most during the late afternoon and evening. This fact proves to be a challenge to every parent as it’s harder to put your baby to sleep when he’s full-blown sobbing.
What Causes PURPLE Crying in Babies?
Doctors are unsure why infants experience increased and prolonged sobbing during the period of PURPLE crying. They did recognise, however, humans are not the only ones who go through this stage. In fact, other mammals also exhibit more whimpering and wailing at this early phase of life.
Do note increased crying is perfectly normal for babies at this age. However, consult a doctor immediately if the crying seems more excessive than usual. Alternatively, if you have a gut feeling something far more serious is happening.
10 Effective Tips to Soothe PURPLE Crying in Babies
By now, you’re probably wondering if there’s something you can do to ease (if you can’t stop) the period of PURPLE crying in infants. Fortunately, there are some methods you can try in order to soothe babies suffering from this developmental phase. It’s important to remember that not all of these tips would work out as all babies are unique in their own different ways.
#1. Try Feeding Your Baby
One of the common reasons your baby can’t sleep is due to the fact he or she might be hungry. In order to ease this discomfort, you should feed your little one with food appropriate to his or her age. Two-week-old infants should only take in breast milk while four-month-olds can start eating solid food.
And since feeding is naturally designed to nurture a child, it can ultimately lull him to slumber. Furthermore, the warmth of your arms and breast can also comfort a crying newborn.
It’s important to check your baby isn’t hungry when breastfeeding. Breastmilk can vary in supply and it’s important to get baby weighed on a regular basis in the early weeks and plot their measurements in their child health record on the graph. Average weight gain is 150-200g in the first 3 months. It’s also worth checking for other medical causes and having your baby checked by your GP or Paediatrician to rule out anything organic e.g. reflux.
Most babies don’t have the ability to burp by themselves which may result in uneasiness and eventually, crying. In order to help infants release the air inside their stomachs, gently lay them on their sides and gently rub their backs. Doing this would ultimately soothe them and even pacify their crying.
#3. Swaddle Your Baby
Another reason why your baby may exhibit unusual crankiness is the fact that he or she might be cold. At a young age, most newborns can’t regulate their body temperature on their own which can eventually lead to fussing and whimpering.
Fortunately, there’s something you can do to ease his or her discomfort. Simply lay down your little one in a safe and flat place. Then gently wrap him or her with a cosy blanket. Make sure not to secure the covers tightly as this can pose risks for your baby’s safety.
#4. Play White Noises
Try playing white or repetitive noises such as a washing machine spinning, a fan turning, or even water pouring to soothe babies. In fact, these repetitive sounds remind infants of the time they spent inside their mum’s womb so they’re more likely to calm down and relax once they heard it.
However, if you opt to purchase an actual white noise machine, it’s recommended to place it at least 7 feet away from your baby’s crib to avoid potential developmental problems.
Did You Know? According to the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), regular exposure to white noise through a sleep machine can affect hearing, speech, and language development.
#5. Give Your Baby a Warm Bath
You may find it surprising that giving your little one a warm bath helps soothe his or her crankiness. This is due to the fact that like white noise, newborns also find the sensation of warm water against their delicate skin similar to the feeling of being inside their mum’s womb.
#6. Massage Your Baby
After bathing your baby, you can also opt to massage him or her to further alleviate discomfort caused by prolonged crying. Use gentle and rhythmic strokes against his or her skin and pour moisturisers or oils to let your hands glide on smoothly.
#7. Sing a Lullaby
Your voice is a very powerful tool you should use in order to calm and relax your baby. In fact, singing lullabies can regulate emotions and stimulate positive reactions. Furthermore, it can decrease stress and anxiety levels, making it one of the top choices when getting your baby to sleep.
#8. Hold Your Baby Close to You
Swaying, rocking, or just simply holding your baby against your chest make calm motions that can pacify his or her crying.
You can also try placing your hand on your baby’s chest and gently rub it back and forth. The soothing touch lets him or her know that you’re safely nearby and ultimately comforts any uneasiness he or she might be feeling.
#9. Shower Your Baby with Kisses
Aside from gently wrapping your arms around your little one, you can make him feel loved and cherished even more by showering him or her with kisses. This loving act ultimately calms down and reduces the tension your crying baby might be experiencing.
#10. Try Making Eye Contact with Your Baby
If all else fails, you have to remember that the simplest things can actually do wonders.
Try staring deeply at your baby’s eyes in order to distract them from the sensation of excessive crying. Prolonged eye contact can also calm down your little one and even stimulate them with positive emotions.
As parents, it’s normal to get upset or frustrated when your baby starts exhibiting endless crankiness and crying. However, you should know that it’s most probably just part of a period called PURPLE crying when he or she undergoes a developmental phase. Hopefully, with this definitive guide to soothing PURPLE crying in babies, you have a better understanding of this stage in your newborn’s life. With that being said, it’s still best to consult professionals if you feel like something more serious is happening.
If you’re having trouble putting your baby to sleep due to PURPLE crying, you can always consult the baby experts at Nurture Parenting. We offer the Nurture Sleep Program that can take your little one from sleepless to slumber in just seven easy lessons. Contact us today to learn more!
Sleep promotes your baby’s growth and development and has an overall positive impact on their health and well-being. However, most parents spend countless hours figuring out how to put their baby to sleep. The lack of sleep can negatively impact the baby’s physical and mental development and may even lead to sleep deprivation for the baby and parents.
Fortunately, there are time-tested and proven techniques to help your baby sleep through the night, thus keeping him or her healthy and happy.
Look no further than this article to know everything about baby sleep, which includes the reasons why infants wake up at night, as well as essential tips on how to put them to bed.
Common Factors Waking Babies at Night
1. Sleep Cycle
It’s perfectly normal for babies to wake 4 to 5 times in the middle of the night because of their short sleep cycle.
Similar to adults, a baby’s sleep cycle is divided into an active sleep cycle (rapid eye movement sleep or REM) and a passive sleep cycle (non-rapid eye movement sleep or non-REM). During the night, your baby naturally moves from one stage of sleep to another and in this transition, they have a tendency to wake up.
However, unlike most adults who can fall back to sleep after waking up, most babies don’t know how to settle back to rest by themselves. It’s also important to know that they don’t start sleeping through the night until they are at least 3 months of age.
2. Growth and Development
As babies grow older, they start to develop their gross and fine motor skills. They want to practice these newly-discovered skills and might become fussy if they cannot successfully carry out the task.
These physical milestones can excite infants, which makes it harder for you to settle them down at night.
3. Behavioural Changes
All babies, especially those around 6 or 9 months of age, experience natural behavioural changes. They start to become aware of their surroundings which makes them more likely to be active at night. They also develop separation anxiety during this time, so you can expect clingy behaviour when they realise you’re not at their side. All of these factors ultimately affect their sleep patterns.
Most parents think that a baby who is overtired can sleep better. However, the opposite is true.
When your baby is overtired, he or she is already past the period of sleep-readiness. During this time, your baby has difficulty calming down due to an activated stress response system. This allows the flow of stress hormones inside the baby’s body, which triggers overactivity.
Babies aged under 6 months may wake once or twice during the night when they experience hunger, this makes them uncomfortable. However, since babies’ small stomachs are designed for frequent feedings, it’s only natural for them to wake every three hours or so. Note that once they turn 6 months old, they don’t nutritionally require a night feed which means they can sleep through the night.
Medical conditions, such as acid reflux and teething, can also disrupt the sleep of your baby as they cause pain. Furthermore, cold weather can also have a bad effect on your baby’s sleep, as he or she still doesn’t know how to regulate their body temperature, which is crucial for a good night’s rest.
Overall, both simple (such as being cold) and complex (teething) discomforts can make it harder for your baby to fall asleep.
44 Essential Tips on How to Put a Baby to Sleep
Fortunately, there are time-tested and proven techniques to help both mums and dads put their babies to sleep that can last through the night. To learn more about them, you can consult this extensive list which contains 50 ways you can get your baby to sleep.
#1. Set a Routine for the Day
Consistency is key in putting your baby to sleep. Develop and follow a schedule to help your baby understand that it’s time to rest. This will help your baby learn what to expect next and feel secure.
Ideally, the routine starts after waking up. You need to feed your baby as soon as he or she wakes up then give them enough playtime to enjoy their surroundings. After a whole day of activities, your baby would be tired and ready to go back to sleep at around the same time each day.
By following a regular schedule, you can ultimately help your baby settle into a healthy sleep pattern that they can easily follow.
#2. Stick to an Early Bedtime
Know that timing is just as important as a routine. If you put your baby to bed late at night, you can increase the chance of overstimulation, which makes it harder for the baby to fall asleep. This can lead to sleep deprivation, which can negatively impact babies’ health.
To avoid this, it’s a must to stick to an early bedtime. Start slowly by putting your baby to bed 15 minutes earlier each night and examine if their sleeping habits improved.
#3. Avoid Eye Contact at Bedtime
You should avoid making prolonged eye contact with your baby at bedtime, as babies generally find this gesture to be too stimulating and exciting. When you’re putting your baby to sleep, avert your eyes as much as possible to minimise your newborn’s possible interest.
#4. Let Your Baby Burp
It’s important to know that some babies can sleep without having the need to burp. However, you still need to burp your baby while he or she is asleep to release air that can make them spit up and cranky. This can eventually wake the baby at night in pain due to trapped gas.
By burping your baby, you can be ensured that they will have a comfortable rest through the night.
#5. Stretch Out Feeding Time
A baby’s digestive system is fit for small and frequent feedings, and this is why you need to feed your newborn every three hours or so.
However, when babies turn 3 months old, you can start stretching out your baby’s feeding time, especially during the night. Try adding a half-hour in between feedings to help the baby have longer stretches of sleep during the night. This will eventually turn into a healthy habit and help the baby become less dependent on you to fall asleep.
#6. Limit Caffeine When Breastfeeding
You should cut your coffee consumption if you’re breastfeeding, as caffeine can be passed to your baby through breast milk. This can wake them up and even make them fussy. However, the results are not instantaneous, as it may take a few days to a week after you eliminate the caffeine from your breast milk.
Tip: Limit your daily caffeine intake to less than 300 milligrams, as excessive amounts can stimulate the baby.
#7. Avoid Rushing to Feed
Most newborns find it difficult to sleep through the night because their bodies need food to aid in their growth and development. You can feed your baby to calm them down. However, you should avoid rushing to this method at night, especially if your baby only emits a small sound. Give him or her enough space and time to doze off on their own, as babies are often capable of self-soothing actions.
The sooner you teach your baby that waking up at night won’t result in instant feedings, the more likely he or she be able to sleep through the night.
#8. Co-Sleep with Your Baby
Numerous experts stated that co-sleeping can help your child develop positive qualities. This includes comfort with physical affection and confidence in one’s own sexual gender identity. Furthermore, it also develops an optimistic perspective on life.
However, co-sleeping doesn’t necessarily mean you have to share the bed with your newborn. In fact, bed-sharing is dangerous as you can roll over onto the baby or even suffocate your baby with the bedding. Instead, try placing your hand on your baby while he or she is in a bassinet. This method is far more effective and safer to help your newborn fall asleep. Don’t forget, co-sleeping is sharing the room with your baby and not sharing the bed.
#9. Try Warming up the Sheets
Placing the baby on cold sheets, especially in the wintertime, is not going to help your little one drift off to sleep faster. To help your newborn feel more relaxed and fall asleep, you can warm up their sheets using the dryer or a hot water bottle, creating a warm and cosy environment to help him or her feel sleepy. However, it is important to check that the sheets are a safe, warm temperature for your baby, and not too hot, before placing your baby on them.
#10. Give a Warm Bath
Give your baby a warm bath before putting them to sleep. You may even find it surprising that your newborn loves the sensation of warm water against their skin, as it can remind him or her of being inside a womb. With this, you can also raise your baby’s body temperature, which helps them to relax and eventually fall asleep.
Tip: Do not incorporate toys in the bath and keep the activity low to avoid overstimulating your baby.
#11. Offer a Massage
After giving your baby a warm bath, you can follow it up with a good massage. It can soothe your baby and relax his tense muscles, promoting tiredness and sleepiness.
Just make sure to keep it gentle with rhythmic strokes and use oils and moisturisers as necessary to help your hands glide smoothly over your baby’s skin. You can also hum softly while massaging to make it even more reassuring for the baby.
Did You Know? The best time to give your baby a massage is in between feeding times as he or she is awake, but already settled in and ready for sleep.
#12. Try Yoga
For many babies, sleep can come naturally. However, factors such as home environment and sunlight exposure can make it harder to get your newborn into a sleeping routine. Fortunately, yoga can help your baby sleep at regular intervals. It also develops the baby’s gross and fine motor skills. Furthermore, it can effectively prevent constipation, promote better digestion, and alleviate typical baby crankiness. This ultimately leads to a good night’s rest.
#13. Drive Around
You can carry and put your baby in the car seat and drive around the neighbourhood until he or she falls asleep. The motion and sound of the car remind your baby of the tranquillity inside the womb.
Once your newborn has his fists unclenched and facial muscles relaxed to indicate that he or she is in a deep slumber, you can now carefully carry your baby back to their own bed.
#14. Set the Right Bedroom Temperature
It’s important to set keep your home and the baby’s room at a suitable temperature for an infant, as they do not have enough body fat to insulate themselves during the winter months. Keep your baby’s room temperature between 16-20°C to make him or her comfortable, which will promote better sleep.
#15. Give Your Baby a Cosy Blanket
During their early months, most newborns find it difficult to adjust to their new environment and stay warm to get proper rest.
To aid your baby get good sleep, you should try different ways of swaddling them. Keep the little one secure and warm by wrapping a cosy blanket around him or her. However, you should also be aware that not every infant is fond of swaddling. For instance, older babies like to sleep with loose coverings, as it allows them to move with more freedom.
Tip: Adjust the amount of layering you use according to the sleep habits of your baby and the temperature in their room.
#16. Let Your Baby Sleep on Their Back
Avoid putting your baby to sleep on his or her side, as the infant can accidentally roll over on their tummy. With this position, the baby is more likely to feel hot and breathe in exhaled air, which can eventually wake them up at night.
Let your baby sleep on their back instead for a night of healthy and longer sleep. Back-sleeping is also a proven way to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.
Did You Know? Stomach sleeping increases the risk of SIDS by 1.7% to 12.9%.
#17. Warm the Bed
Make sure to place your baby in a warm bed, as they can’t regulate their own body temperature as effectively as adults during the cold weather. Try using flannel sheets to protect your baby from the cold. You can also place a hot towel on the bed to warm the sheets, but make sure to remove it before you place the baby in the crib.
#18. Avoid Irritating Sleepwear
You should avoid sleepwear made with synthetic materials, as this can irritate your baby and hinder sleep. Be especially wary of polyester pyjamas because this material can cause allergies and rashes for your baby. Instead, switch to cotton sleepwear to eliminate the risk of discomfort.
#19. Consider Fragrances
Some toddlers can be lulled to sleep with refreshing scents, such as lavender and chamomile. These oils provide essential benefits that can help relax and relieve anxiety in infants.
Tip: Avoid using fragrances around babies less than 12 months old, as their noses and skin are more sensitive to chemicals.
#20. Stay Quiet
Most babies can block out disturbing noises while they are asleep. However, you should still avoid making sudden noises, as these can easily startle and wake your baby up. Make it a point to put your phone in silent mode and turn off other noisy electronic devices before getting your infant to sleep.
#21. Speak in Soft Tones
If you need to wake your baby for their regular night-time feeds, you should do it in the softest way. Speak in calm, soothing tones to help baby stay at a drowsy state. Your voice is a powerful stimulus for your baby, and comforts them since it lets them know they are safe, eventually helping them drift to sleep peacefully.
#22. Play White Noise
Since white noise is similar to the sounds of their mum’s womb, most babies find it calming and relaxing.
Try playing repetitive sounds, such as a fan turning, water pouring, and clock ticking, to help your baby fall asleep. You can even record the loud sounds of a running vacuum cleaner or a spinning washing machine to comfort your baby and help him or her fall sleep.
Tip: Keep white noise levels between 50-65dB to ensure your baby gets a good night’s rest.
#23. Sing Lullabies
Music is an excellent way to lull your infant to sleep. It helps regulate emotions and stimulate positive reactions. In fact, a study has shown that singing can calm babies more effectively compared to talking. It can relieve your baby’s stress levels, helping him or her to fall asleep easily.
Furthermore, the use of lullabies releases a hormone called oxytocin which helps you create a stronger bond with your child. It also establishes a routine for your newborn that fosters familiarity in sleeping methods.
To avoid this, keep your baby’s room dark and block out all possible light to help them get a good night’s rest. By doing this, you can ultimately teach your baby the difference between day and night. So, make sure to turn the lights off during his night time sleep and keep things bright during daytime naps. This can help him establish a good sleep routine.
When you need to feed your baby in the middle of the night, you should avoid turning all the lights, since this can be disruptive of the baby’s sleep. Instead, keep light sources minimal to avoid overstimulation.
#26. Relieve Pain from Teething
Teething can start as early as at three months and continue until your toddler turns two. This can cause discomfort and pain, which ultimately result in sleeping problems.
You should look out for obvious teething indicators, such as drool on the bedsheets, swollen and tender gums, and even fever. You can try adding cold pressure to distract your baby from the sensation of pain. If he or she desperately needs relief from immense pain, you can give your baby appropriate doses of painkillers, such as acetaminophen.
Tip: Get a doctor’s permission first before administering analgesics, as some drugs can irritate your baby’s stomach.
#27. Check Your Baby’s Nose
Keep your baby’s nasal passages clear to ensure normal, unobstructed breathing at night to keep the little one asleep. Make sure to remove items that can cause allergies, such as feather pillow, fuzzy blankets, and stuffed toys from the baby’s crib to avoid congested breathing passages.
If your infant is prone to allergies, you can invest in a HEPA-type air filter. Such filters not only remove airborne irritants, but it also provide “white noise” (the natural hum of the air filter) that can help your baby sleep.
#28. Change Soiled Nappies
You can simply leave wet diapers alone at night, especially if it doesn’t bother your baby and he or she is able to sleep through the night.
However, it’s a must to change soiled nappies as soon as possible because poop irritates your baby’s skin and can even cause rashes and bladder infections.
After changing the soiled diaper, it’s your goal to put your baby back to sleep so you should avert your eyes away from him or her to avoid possible overstimulation. You should also get in and out of his room as quickly as possible.
Tip: Use a barrier ointment that contains petroleum jelly or zinc oxide to protect your baby’s bottom and minimise irritation.
#29. Hold Your Baby’s Hand
The simple act of holding your baby’s hand lets them know that you’re there which makes your little one more likely to doze off to sleep. It also keeps your baby’s body temperature warm and helps regulate their breathing and heart rates. Furthermore, this intimacy and closeness reduces crankiness and crying, which leads to a peaceful rest at night.
#30. Give Your Baby Hugs and Kisses
Making your baby feel loved and cherished helps them feel calm and comfortable. Snuggle with your newborn before bedtime and shower them with little kisses to make them feel safe and secure in your arms. This loving act ultimately allows your baby to sleep longer and deeper.
#31. Give Your Baby a Pacifier
Sucking on a pacifier has a soothing and calming effect to help your baby sleep easily. It can be used at both naptime and bedtime and can even help your little one settle back to sleep. It’s also safe when left out in your baby’s mouth. Just make sure it’s soft enough to prevent pain if he or she rolls onto it.
#32. Read a Book
Although your newborn is too young to understand what you’re saying, reading should be all about the bonding formed between you and your baby.
Cap off the long day by reading a bedtime story for your infant. You should use a soothing voice to relax and persuade him or her to sleep. Make sure to do this every day to give your baby a sense of familiarity in the routine, which provides certain expectations regarding the ideal time for bed.
#33. Have Someone to Put Baby to Bed
For most babies, their mum’s mere presence is enough to stimulate and excite them, preventing them from falling asleep. If this continues to be a persistent problem, try having someone else put your baby to bed. Sometimes, dads can be the perfect solution to babies’ daily night-time waking.
#34. Know the Right Time to Move Your Baby
It’s perfectly normal to have your baby inside your room to immediately attend to their needs during the night without having to walk down the hallway. However, you should know the right time when to transition your baby from their bassinet to crib.
Ideally, you can move him to a crib at around 3 months, as he or she will eventually be too big for their bassinet. With this, you can give your baby enough freedom to move around and ultimately provide a good night’s rest.
#35. Avoid Clutter in the Room
The presence of mess in a baby’s room can disorient him and makes it harder for your baby to fall asleep. Prevent this from happening by getting rid of all the clutter found in the room. You should also remove unnecessary bedding in the crib, as it increases the chances of choking and suffocation.
#36. Give Your Baby Enough Naps
Most parents think that when they let their babies skip naps, they increase the chances of the baby sleeping longer at night. However, the opposite is true.
When your baby skips naps, their stress hormones increase, leading to overtiredness. You should give your baby the proper amount of naps he or she requires for mental and physical growth. Furthermore, by letting your baby nap, you have enough time to do other things, such as taking a shower and checking emails.
#37. Play During the Day
Playtime is an important part of childhood development. It allows children to use their creativity and imagination. It also contributes to their social, cognitive, physical, and emotional well-being. Furthermore, it provides a good bonding experience for both parent and child.
It’s important to know that the schedule of your baby’s playtime can affect his or her sleep. Therefore, you should make sure to play with your baby during the day to help lengthen his awake time. This will ultimately help him sleep longer periods during the night.
Tip: Avoid playtime during the night as this can stimulate your baby. Instead, focus on settling your baby straight back to sleep after feeding him at night.
#38. Let Your Partner Comfort the Baby
Give your baby time with your partner to let them nurture a loving relationship with your infant as well.
You may even find it helpful to have your partner participate during night-time waking periods to comfort the baby without having to resort to feeding. By doing this, you are letting your infant know that nursing isn’t available all the time, thus preventing bad habits to form.
#39. Put Your Baby to Bed When Fully Awake
Most parenting blogs and community advise parents to put their babies to bed when they are drowsy. However, doing so as this causes sleep associations which ultimately prevents babies from self-settling at a young age.
Always put babies to sleep when they’re fully awake.
#40. Invest in Baby Sleep Books
Baby sleep books contain hundreds of relevant information to help your baby sleep. Consider investing in them to learn other facts you haven’t known yet. You might even be surprised when you find that the one new trick you learned about can solve your baby’s problem.
#41. Look for Signs of Tiredness
Look out for cues that indicate your baby is tired so you can immediately put him or her to bed. Some tell-tale signs are yawns, whines, and rubbing of eyes. If you miss these signs, your child can become overtired and his or her body will be overstimulated with a stress-related hormone called cortisol.
It’s a must to pay careful attention to your baby’s “tired cues” to avoid overtiredness and eventually make it easier for them to sleep at night.
#42. Consider Your Baby’s Moods
In order to help your baby sleep through the night, consider his night-time temperaments. Determine whether your baby is a natural self-soother who has no problems sleeping at night or one who constantly needs attention. Adjust the sleeping methods you use according to your baby’s behaviours as there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to baby sleep.
For instance, a baby with self-soothing sleep temperament can easily drift off to sleep once you put him down to his bed. In contrast, a baby who’s a “signaller” has a tendency to wake up during the night and can even cry out.
Fortunately, your baby’s sleep skills are learned behaviour. They will eventually learn to adapt and sleep without your help, so it’s a must to start them early.
#43. Hire a Baby Sleep Consultant
Raising a baby on your own is no easy feat, so whether you’re a new mum or a mum of three, consider hiring a baby sleep consultant to help your baby sleep. Working with an expert will not only improve your child’s sleeping pattern, but can also have a positive impact on your family’s overall well-being.
Want to reap these numerous benefits of having a consultant work with you and your baby to ensure optimal sleep for your little one? Nurture Parenting, the baby sleep consultants in Sydney, offers a holistic approach to baby sleep that can take him from sleepless to slumber in just 7 easy lessons through their Nurture Sleep Program.
#44. Consult a Doctor
If you’ve tried every possible technique listed above and you still find your infant waking up regularly and seemingly in pain, you should have your baby checked by a doctor.
Your baby’s night waking might be caused by a common condition known as gastroesophageal reflux, or GER. It happens when stomach contents come back up into the oesophagus due to a malfunction in the muscle, which causes pain similar to heartburn. In worst cases, it may even prevent your infant from feeding. It’s important to look out for the other symptoms such as:
lump in throat
As a parent, it’s important to educate yourself on common medical conditions seen in children and consult a doctor as soon as possible to keep your baby safe and give everyone in the family a more peaceful night’s sleep.
With this extensive list of time-tested and proven techniques, you can certainly find a way to get your baby to sleep, thus improving the well-being of the whole family.
As a parent, you may have run out of bedrooms to house all your children in separately. Or you may be joining a growing number of parents who have decided sharing a bedroom is a positive value you’d like to teach your children. After all, how do you learn the skill of being able to share unless you are exposed to it?
Sharing A Bedroom
Children as young as three years of age are able to be taught the skills and value of sharing. Unless you actively seek to teach this, it is unlikely to occur by osmosis and chance. I’m sure you’ve come across some adult members of society who are poor sharers.
What Age Can Siblings Share A Bedroom?
Basically you can put siblings to share a room whenever you feel ready to do this and once they are able to self-settle. Ideally around 6 months plus. Sharing a room can help a toddler who feels lonely or who has separation anxiety. It models positive behaviours and teaches good life values. I’m sure many of you reading this will have shared a room with a sibling.
Introducing The Idea of Sharing a Bedroom
I recently did a phone consultation with a mum I’ve helped several times with both of her young children. One of these children is an extremely strong temperament. He dislikes changes in routine and can regress badly. Baby number three is on the way and mum would like her child number one and two to share a bedroom for many reasons.
It teaches the skill of sharing
Empathy for another’s needs
It teaches negotiation skills
Models positive sleep behaviours
Helps with bedtime
Help comfort a child who may suffer from nightmares or other bedtime related fears
Teaching kids how to respect other people’s property
Child number one is just over 4 years of age and child number two is approaching two years of age. The family is moving house in two weeks and this will be implemented from the start of the home move. So how do you set the scene for this to be the norm?
Tips for Sharing a Bedroom
Introduce the concept of sharing via bedtime books – I use storybooks to address many issues – examples include – Trace Moroney – The Feelings Series, Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson, This Room is Mine by Betty Ren Wright (an oldie and a goodie), Zoe’s Room by Bethany Deeny Murguia.
Use examples of other children who share a bedroom and if possible show them pictures of what sharing a bedroom looks like.
Get them to help set up the new bedroom with you so they feel involved.
Make sure each child has their own personal space within the bedroom.
Give each child their own lamp and bedside table
Separate bedtimes for different age groups, this enables the younger child to get to sleep before the older child goes to bed. This reduces disruptions of talking and laughing. Separate out bedtimes by 30-60 minutes depending on the age of the children.
Allow the older sibling to have several periods of alone time in the bedroom every day
Trying to put them both down at the same time could mean that neither of them sleep! Do a bit of experimenting; you may find it easier to put the fussier one down first or the other way around.
Expect disruptions and regressions as they both adjust to the new room sharing. When you change things they always get worse and escalate before they get better. It takes 7-10 days to change a routine.
Introduce some simple house and sharing bedroom rules e.g. no talking after the lights go out, if one of them is asleep in the morning do not wake them, leave the room quietly and let them sleep a little longer.
Start with bedtime first then day naps to follow.
Remember the foods high in tryptophan and give a snack before bed eg cheese and crackers to promote getting to sleep.
Keep the bedroom as a bedroom and a place for sleep and not a toy room. If possible have a separate place for toys or put them away before bedtime.
Try and do bathtime together to encourage the concept of sharing.
Use labelled praise for positive sharing behaviours.
Stick to a positive bedtime routine that works for both children. Remember that routines create security.
Sharing takes work and patience and you may need to be a referee at times. However, remember the referee needs to above all, be fair and reasonable to both children.
Nurture Parenting's Karen Faulkner is a baby sleep and toddler expert who brings calm and sleep into families and gives parents their confidence back.
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