Do Nightlights Help Baby & Toddler Sleep?

Do Nightlights Help Baby & Toddler Sleep?

Darkness is essential to sleep. Light in the day is responsible for setting the 24 hour circadian rhythm responsible for sleep and awake periods.

Melatonin

Light exposure at night also stimulates alertness— posing a serious problem for healthy, abundant and refreshing sleep. Light exposure during the late evening leading up to bedtime can make it harder for the baby and toddler to fall asleep. Insufficient darkness throughout the night can lead to frequent and prolonged awakenings. Melatonin, a hormone produced in the pineal gland is at it’s lowest at 5 am and any light that enters the bedroom will hit the brain low in melatonin leading to early morning waking. This will in turn lead to day nap problems and a poor appetite.

Melatonin influences sleep by sending a signal to the brain saying it is time for rest. This signal initiates the body’s physiological preparations for sleep—muscles begin to relax, feelings of drowsiness increase, body temperature drops. Melatonin levels naturally rise during the early evening as darkness falls. At night, particularly between the hours of 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. melatonin is secreted. The problem is, even the slightest ray of artificial light can disrupt its release. It continues to climb throughout most of the night, before peaking at around 2-4 a.m. Levels of melatonin then fall during the early morning, Remaining low during much of the day. Continuous darkness at night leads to increased levels of circulating melatonin. Whereas continuous light including night lights leads to suppression of melatonin.

Evening light exposure inhibits the naturally timed rise of melatonin, which delays the onset of the body’s transition to sleep and sleep itself.

Nurture Parenting store image computer and baby

Electricity the modern sleep enemy

In the old days humans did not need to seek out darkness. The advent of electricity has created a modern problem. We need to recreate the darkness and dim lighting our ancestors enjoyed naturally pre bedtime. Blue light, is especially problematic, created by screens, tablets, smart phones and televisions interferes with and inhibits the natural production of melatonin.

Managing light exposure is essential for a healthy nights sleep for your baby and toddler. Any electrical night light left on during the night affects the appetite hormone ghrelin and can lead to insulin resistance, a risk factor for diabetes.

7 things you need to know about day naps and baby sleep

Heavy lined curtains & blinds

Your childs room should be pitch black for sleep. Using heavy lined curtains and block out blinds can make a big difference. Plantation shutters don’t provide a dark enough bedroom. Bedroom blackout blinds can make a huge difference and Nurture Parenting has a discount code NURTURE10 ONLY for parents living in Australia.

Superfine merino sleepwear is better for baby than cotton

Toddlers and Nightmares

Once your toddler starts reading and maybe waching TV their imagination starts. This can lead to nightmares and suddenly becoming scared of the dark. Rather than give in to them and leaving a bedroom light on try using a light on in the bathroom. If this starts causing early morning or frequent night waking then you need to know about Lou The Owl. This is a Dutch designed nightlight that turns on in response to your child crying out and turns off automatically within 5 minutes. A word of caution place this light out of reach for your toddler in case they start to play with it and over ride the automatic turn off mechanism.

http://www.zazu-kids.nl/product/lou/

Are you looking for more baby and toddler sleep support?

With my medical training, I’ve worked with many parents to resolve medical and behavioural sleep issues.

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.

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/nurture-sleep-program

🍌 FOODS that promote baby 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

CLICK on the link below to find out how my new online program can help you and your baby.

Nurture Sleep Program

The Early Morning Riser and Addiction to Dairy and the Boob

The Early Morning Riser and Addiction to Dairy and the Boob

Strong Temperaments

This blog could have been written about several little cuties that I know. The problem often starts at around 6-8 months. I can even see the writing on the wall and predict which of the early morning risers will continue to do so!

Most of this behaviour is down to their strong temperament and is not due to any underlying medical problem or physiological issue. The babies with a very fixed view on life are the ones to keep on a very short rein.

You may remember reading about the baby who wouldn’t sit in his high chair and the parents had resorted to feeding him in the bath?

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/the-baby-who-wont-sit-in-his-highchair/

The baby who would only eat yoghurt

Well I’m adding a new one today, I’m naming him the baby who would only eat yoghurt! His name is Keanu. When Keanu was 6 months old I went to help his parents teach him how to sleep through the night. I remember he had an addiction to yoghurt. If he could just eat yoghurt he would of. Mum was tearing her hair out getting this little 6 month old to entertain other foods. I knew straight away that if mum continued with yoghurt this little one wasn’t going to sleep.

Babies need a balanced diet in order to promote sleep inducing hormone – melatonin. And yoghurt is a disater for sleep as it has too much tyrosine which undoes all the tryptophan that promotes a good nights sleep.

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/yoghurt-can-sabotage-baby-sleep/

Demanding Yoghurt

Keanu is now 15 months old and is still demanding yoghurt for breakfast. He also likes fruit. But not much else. He demands a breast feed 6 times a day and wakes at 4:30 am and demands a breast feed and to get up and start his day!!

You might remember a blog I wrote recently about limit setting? Boundaries and limit setting start with babies, not with 15 month olds or even 3 year olds. By the time they are toddlers a lot of these habits are well and truly entrenched and are much more challenging to change.

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/limit-setting-for-your-baby-0-12-months/

The time to have put your foot down was at 6 months and not now at 15 months. However we have no choice as time has now lapsed and the mini-dictator is well and truly in charge in this home!

So what can you do to rectify this situation?

  • Reduce all the breast feeds down to one just before bed – toddlers only need 2 servings of dairy a day. And a serving of dairy is equivalent to 40g or a matchbox of cheese or 2 slices or 200 mls ful cream milk or a breast feed or a small tub of full fat yoghurt
  • Tell the toddler that ‘booby’ is broken, cover your nipple and breast with a dressing plaster such as duoderm to make booby far less attractive.
  • By day 5 his appetite will improve
  • The toddler is most probably iron deficient so either an iron supplement or chicken liver pate on the menu on alternate days. Iron deficiency can cause sleep problems. Read more on iron needs here: https://nurtureparenting.com.au/iron-rich-foods-how-much-does-your-baby-or-toddler-need/
  • Re-settle him at 4:30 am when he wakes using my technique, Magic Presence until 6/7 am whenever you’d like your day to start
  • Expect tantrums when he doesn’t get his own way, tantrums are helping him learn to emotionally self-regulate so are actually a good thing
  • Make sure his room is pitch black to help reduce early morning waking
  • Offer foods high in tryptophan to help promote melatonin
  • Plenty of good nourishing fats. Read more here https://nurtureparenting.com.au/helping-baby-sleep-with-diet/
  • Make sure he’s warm enough at 4 am as body temp can drop at this time
  • This will take 2-4 weeks to resolve and 2 months at the outside!

More on strong temperaments and mealtimes

Need help moving your baby on from their yoghurt obsession?

Hop on over to the Nurture & Nourish section of my new Nurture Sleep Program. There is an amazing eBooklet with 219 pages of nutritious recipes to promote your baby’s sleep available to those who join.

You have direct access to me and 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. Toddler section coming soon.

🍌 FOODS that promote baby 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
https://nurtureparenting.com.au/helping-baby-sleep-with-diet
Sleep training has changed this mums life!

Sleep training has changed this mums life!

Levi 8 months old

I have been meaning to write you to let you know the progress of Levi. I still recall that first meeting when you said to me that I will enjoy my baby so much more after sleep training and since seeing you and following the sleep training, it has changed our lives. He is so much happier, not as cranky, increased appetite and naps are improving.
The morning naps we can pretty much walk away and he self-settles immediately. It brings me so much joy seeing him eat, while we are still working on getting him to be more adventurous with food and lumpier food, he pretty much eats all 3 meals a day now! Oh, and dessert has been a huge hit. This is from a kid who hardly ate and always refused his bottle, it has been the biggest change for the better and certainly reduced our stress levels a lot. And not to mention, I am finally sleeping consecutive hours!!!!!!!
Karen, thank you so much for your help. I am so grateful we saw you and we will continue to work with Levi as he settles more. It really has changed our dynamics and I am enjoying him so much more. And more importantly, he seems to be much happier. I think the last thing for us is really the morning where he still wakes at 5 am demanding a bottle.
Wishing you all the best with your book release and your business. You are amazing Karen, I can only imagine how many families you help and change their lives too.
All the best
A very happy and sleeping mum X
10 reasons sleep is important for babies

10 reasons sleep is important for babies

Getting enough sleep for mums and babies is my passion and I totally understand the desperation you feel when sleep is not going well. These 10 reasons are why baby and toddler sleep has me slightly obsessed.

Parents tell me, ‘My child is super alert, Karen!’ and ‘My child is very sensitive and they just don’t like to sleep much’. These are two of the many common threads of babies who fight their sleep. For these highly alert, intelligent and anxious children, their intelligence, health and wellbeing, and overall happiness depend on them getting enough sleep. In fact, they need more sleep than most to cope with their day. It’s the opposite to which their parents believe is the truth.

sleep training courageHow much sleep is enough?

After much debate, this is how much sleep the AAP decided babies and children need. However, there are variations at both ends of this spectrum.

  • 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
  • 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
  • 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/going-beyond-intelligence/201808/sleep-essential-intelligence-health-and-happiness

toddler sleep help

Why is sleep important?

  1. Babies move on developmentally quicker when well rested and they have a lot more energy
  2. They feed better and gain weight appropriately – sleep helps a normal weight gain by influencing the appetite hormone and insulin levels
  3. It improves mood, a rested baby is a happier baby
  4. Their immune system is stronger making them less susceptible to colds and illness
  5. It increases learning at a much deeper level, making sense of the day’s events and creating new connections in the brain
  6. Emotional and physical self-regulation. Babies who sleep well and are able to self-soothe manage their emotions better and are less stressed and anxious
  7. It clears out the nasty toxins which build up in the brain
  8. It improves impulse control and judgement – Insufficient sleep leads to distracted behaviour, impulsivity, and reduced ability to concentrate, sometimes to the point of looking like they have symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I’ve met many babies and children who were given this diagnosis who were in fact just tired.
  9. Behaviour – lack of sleep leads to poor behaviour and attention seeking behaviour. 
  10. Physical growth and repair. The pituitary gland releases growth hormone during sleep, which the body requires for growth, fat breakdown, and repair.

why sleep is important for babies

 

 

Separation anxiety and the toddler who clings to you like a koala

The impulsive toddler and crossing the road

.
And if you’re battling with getting your little one to sleep then… You need to know about my NEWLY launched online #nurturesleepprogram 💤😴
.
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 ✅
Can you tell Karen is getting rather excited for all you parents who need a good nights sleep and one that happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not just in a blue moon 🌑 .

CLICK on the link below to find out how this can help you and your baby.

Nurture Sleep Program

Toddler refuses to sleep at night

Toddler refuses to sleep at night

I often get mums messaging me via my online chat in the middle of the night from overseas. This desperate message came from a mum in the UK and she’d sent it at 4 pm Sydney Australia time which was 3 am UK time.

I get it. It’s lonely in those early hours of the morning. You think no one else is up except you and your baby and toddler who won’t go the f**k to sleep. You’ve had it. You’ve had no sleep at all. And you can’t see yourself getting any sleep from then till 7 am. You think I might as well just give up, it’s just not going to happen.

“Hi, I have a toddler who refuses to sleep the whole night. It has come to the point that I’m lucky if he falls asleep at 7 am! As sometimes it can be 11 am and he STILL hasn’t slept. He has just turned 2 and I also have a newborn so the lack of sleep is killing me. Please help if you can I’m desperate.”

I replied back and said please contact me I can help you. Really I can.

One day passed and still no reply.

Maybe she went to every website and posted the same thing? Maybe she got an instant reply from a chatbot? Who knows.

Then this message came through from Karina in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“Hi, Karen. just wanna appreciate everything you put on your blog. now I know why my 9-month-old is catnapping, eats very little of solids, wakes at least 5 times during the night to FEED. You just opened my eyes! thank you so much! Can we just do an email consultation?”

Non-nutritive breast feeding and baby sleep regressions

Babies need a nourishing-fat diet for good sleep

When I first started Nurture Parenting 8 years ago next month I had no idea when I started blogging if anyone was actually listening to me and reading my blog. I started this blog as a way to help my sister with her first baby. And I just hoped I helped others along the way. Nowadays I have parents from over 90 countries read my blogs every single week!! It blows my mind and makes me so happy.

So, just know if you send me a message in the middle of the night I do read them and I do reply. If I’m on an overnight helping a family you may not get a reply until the following day but I will always reply. At the end of the message is Karen and not an automated chatbot. And I do care about you and your baby or toddler who isn’t sleeping tonight.

xoxo

.
And if you’re battling with getting your little one to sleep then… You need to know about my NEWLY launched online #nurturesleepprogram 💤😴
.
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 ✅
Can you tell Karen is getting rather excited for all you parents who need a good nights sleep and one that happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not just in a blue moon 🌑 .

CLICK on the link below to find out how this new program can help you and your little one.

Nurture Sleep Program

Limit setting for your baby 0-12 months

Limit setting for your baby 0-12 months

Limit Setting

Toddlers are designed to push boundaries and it comes naturally to these cute little mini dictators. The danger as their parent is you forget to maintain your boundary or limit setting. Until the toddler’s boundary becomes the new status quo. Then you are in for a whole heap of trouble and pain. I liken the toddler to a mini dictator or CEO, they want to be an adult before they’re a child. And they will do everything in their power to get exactly what it is they think they need.

In order to follow rules and understand limits, children need to develop self-control.

Self-control and self-regulation are complex skills beginning to emerge in the early months. They become increasingly consistently apparent between four and five years old. Self-regulation takes many years to fully develop — and adults may struggle with this skill from time to time! Limit setting starts at 0-12 months not when you hit testing times with a 3 year old!

Baby Sleep

Developing Self-Control 0-12 months

Babies naturally act on their thoughts and feelings over which they have no conscious control. They are unable to reflect on or think about their behavior. And they can’t stop themselves from acting on their impulses.

The baby needs your help to develop some self-control and will gradually learn about and gain some self-control across the first year. One of the most important factors in developing self-control is the ability to soothe and calm when upset. Initially this skill is provided by their caregiver by cuddling, rocking, talking calmly, feeding and putting a dummy in their mouth. The parent attempts to understand the baby’s facial expressions, non-verbal body language communication and cries to help in meeting her daily needs. The sense of being loved and understood gives babies a foundation of safety and security and is essential for coping with feelings in a positive healthy way.

What You Can Do Now To Help Your Baby Gain Self-Control

  • Stay calm – demonstrating you can manage your emotions is essential in being able to teach your baby the same skills. This helps her feel safe and then she knows you are avaialble to help her (not dealing with your own emotions and calming down). Modelling self-control is an essential part of helping her work out how to calm herself.
  • Provide basic tools – teach your baby basic calm techniques, at 8 months plus helping her find her comforter or pacifier to help calm herself. Avoid giving it to her and putting it in her hand or mouth. Once you give it to her you are creating learned helplessness and she will not attempt to help herself longterm.
  • Demonstrate self-help techniques – show your baby how to calm himself, provide a teething rusk or teething aid such as Sophie the Giraffe to help him whilst he is teething. Show him acceptable ways of helping himself rather than chastising him for ways you don’t want him to use e.g. biting your finger.

Daily Routines Help Develop Security and Self-Control

Routines are events which happen at the same time each day and usually in a particular order. They acat as a cue to help the baby know what is likely to happen next. They create security and decrease cortisol and help a baby navigate change and challenging situations.

How you can help

  • Determine if there are any particular times of day your baby has a meltdown. Is there a common denominator e.g. around mealtimes or nap times? Organise trips at the baby’s ‘best’ time of day.
  • Use baby massage, reading and soothing lullabies to help calm your baby from activity time to a restful nap.

http://www.njcite.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Linda-Gillespie-presentation.pdf

baby sleep

Get in tune with your baby

Does your baby have a very definite strong personality and temperament and are they resistant to change? Working out your baby’s ‘type’ can help you manage them much better.

A baby’s temperament can have an impact on a care- giver’s ability to meet the baby’s needs. Temperament refers to a person’s characteristics or traits that are biologically based and consistent over time. It influences how we respond to people and our surroundings.

Temperament characteristics shape how easily babies and toddlers are able to manage their feelings and impulses, especially traits e.g.

  • Mood
  • Intensity to particular situations
  • Adaptability

Children who have a more negative mood, are intense reactors and/or who are not very flexible or adaptable may have a more difficult time developing self-control.

They tend to get upset more easily and will probably need more help from you the parent to calm down. This doesn’t mean their temperament is somehow “wrong” or “bad.” But because their reactions are so strong, it may take more time to learn how to manage intense feelings and responses.

https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/1283-developing-self-control-from-0-12-months

How You Can Help Your Baby With Impulse Control

Help your baby learn to self-soothe and calm herself, the more in control she feels the happier she will be. This is a skill which has to be taught and it won’t just happen by chance. Allow your baby to have a voice, to be allowed to cry and express herself. The key thing is you help her with her emotions and avoid letting her cry alone. This is why teaching babies self-soothing skills early is the key to good emotional health as a child and an adult.

Observe your baby and try to understand her feeding and hunger cues. Study her verbal and non-verbal communication, what is she trying to tell you? Once babies feel heard and understood they become much calmer.

And if you’re battling with getting your little one to sleep then… You need to know about my NEWLY launched online #nurturesleepprogram 💤😴

You’ll have direct access to me and 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. Toddler section coming soon.

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/nurture-sleep-program

🍌 FOODS that promote baby 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

Nurture Sleep Program

I kept telling myself that his sleep would improve

Attunement and getting your groove on with baby