Nightlights and baby & toddler sleep

Nightlights and 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 for parents living in Australia.

Home

https://youtu.be/WSccgu6YZzY

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/

 

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?

The baby who won’t sit in his high chair – food challenges

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.

Yoghurt Can Sabotage Baby & Toddler 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.

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
  • 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
  • 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!

Iron – how much does your baby or toddler need?

Helping your baby sleep with diet

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

Toddler Jumping Out of Cot

Toddler Jumping Out of Cot


Here is a typical toddler sleep problem parents tear their
hair out over!
   
 

Hi Karen,
I had a consult last year and I think I still have 1 follow up question. Please let me know if I don’t… 
We have now reached the toddler (22 months) bed stage and sleeping has gone out the wedding. 
A few weeks back my daughter started hating the cot and was hysterical at the thought of going to bed (we have never experienced this). On one occasion she climbed out of the cot so I took the side off and made a toddler bed. 
My toddler continues to hate going to bed and needs me to lay with her. Or wants to lay with me on the lounge. This is happening for night and day naps. We go through hours of her fighting sleep until she eventually falls asleep playing or watching a movie. 
Even when asleep, she is restless and constantly changes positions and moves around (I know this as most nights she ends ups up with me).
I know I need to preserve and get her to stay in her bed but any tips would be good. 
Thanks, 

Hello Kimberley,
As you’ve found moving out of a cot is challenging. Was she wearing a sleeping bag when she climbed out? Sleeping bags usually manage to stop the active jumper/climber.
Impulse control and temperature control are big issues in children under 3 years old. They can climb out of bed 50 x because they’re 2! My sisters little one did this when she moved to a toddler bed at 2 yo.
Keeping her in a toddler bed vs. moving back to the cot I’ll let you decide.
Keeping her in the bed you’ll need a safety gate on her room and to remove all items from her room for safety. I’d try a mattress on the floor rather than a bed, usually more successful because of fall risk. If you use a bed you’ll need a bed rail to keep her safe.
Use Magic Presence to settle and resettle. It will take up to 2-4 weeks to get on top of this situation and get her sleeping through the night.

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 🌑 .

Nurture Sleep Program

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/terrible-toddler-sleep-elis-story-about-her-son-brendan/

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/baby-care-moving-from-cot-to-bed

http://www.dailymontessori.com/montessori-questions-answers/cot-to-bed-problems/

Defiance And The Toddler

Defiance And The Toddler

Separate Individual

Your toddler is now aware she is a separate individual and she loves to test the boundaries. She’s learning about cause and effect e.g. if I do this what will mum do? It is a toddlers job to be oppositional and they are certainly an expert at this job description!

Assert Free Will

She begins to understand she is separate from you and can exert some control over her world. One powerful way she can do this is by defying you. You say, “Please do this,” and she replies, “No!” Being able to assert free will is helpful as it motivates your child to want to make things happen. Being independant builds her confidence. The key is to find ways to show your child how she can be in control and make her own choices in positive ways.

toddler

https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/199-coping-with-defiance-birth-to-three-years

Temperament and Defiant Behaviour

Some children will always be more defiant than others. Those with a strong temperament have got a head start in this skill. Children whose emotional reactions are big and intense, as well as children who are more cautious and timid, may be more oppositional than children who are temperamentally more easygoing and flexible. The reason being their lack of flexibility to change. For example getting strapped into the car seat, delay tactics at bedtime and trying new foods.

When it comes to your child I’d like you to think about the following:

  • What activities or events set off defiance and trouble for your child?
  • Why do you think these activities cause oppositional behaviour?
  • How do you respond to these episodes of defiance? How do you manage it? What does this do to change things? What doesn’t help? What have your learned from these situations?

What to expect at different ages and stages

Birth to 12 Months

Babies are not defiant because they purely act on impulse so do not possess these skills and lack self-control. The best way of managing their behaviour is to redirect and divert if things are challenging e.g. trying to climb the stairs or play with an object which is not safe.

toddler behaviour

18 to 36 Months

This is a typical scenario I get sent about 2-3 year olds.

Hello Karen, We need some behaviour management strategies for Hugo (2y 8m). Recently, he seems to have reached a new level of defiance and independence which we love and encourage but sometimes some things aren’t a choice.

How do you apply the “time in” technique during the day as we often use consequence more so or is this better?

Also how to go about it when he refuses to brush his teeth etc. His bedtime routine is a struggle at the moment – dinner/dessert, upstairs for a bath/shower, pjs, teeth, book /song and bed is the current routine. We are finding he’s recently starting digging his feet in with all of the night time routine and its becoming a negative experience, when it used to be one we loved together. Hubby and I both usually do it together, so he tries to play off each of us so to speak. So, we’d love that relaxing routine back with some positive strategies! 😀 Thank you!

This is my A to the above scenario

Children who have difficulty accepting change are usually more oppositional. These are the ones with a strong personality and also the very timid, quiet children.

Anticipate the kinds of situations that lead to defiance from your child and help him problem solve and cope in advance e.g. using the 5 minute rule and transition statements (see below).

How to reduce toddler tantrums – the 5 minute rule

Time in or as I call it Quiet Time

Quiet Time can be very useful in teaching your child to calm without needing to use Time Out. It helps your child learn to manage their often overwhelming emotions without needing to discipline or use consequences.

Quiet time is sitting your child next to you on the sofa or on your knee in a firm embrace facing away from you if they cannot keep still. Set the timer and allow 1 minute for each year of their age. For a 2 year old the timer is set at 2 minutes etc. Once they are calm and in control of their emotions they can get down and go about their day.

Another method of dealing with tantrums in younger children looks at holding your child in a firm embrace. You will know if this is the way you want to go or whether you prefer the ignoring concept. The Australian Psychologist, Dr Louise Porter uses this concept and calls it ‘Bringing the child in close’.

Alternative To Time Out

Once Hugo complies with your instructions use labelled praise to get this behaviour on repeat.

Empty praise vs. labelled praise and effects on resilience in kids

Respond with Empathy and Set Clear Limits

Validate your child’s feelings. Parents often skip this step and go right to setting the limit. But acknowledging a child’s feelings first is very important as it lets her know you understand where she’s coming from, and her feelings matter. (Keep in mind it’s not the child’s feelings that are the problem, it’s what the child does with her feelings that is the challenge.)

It’s this first step—empathy and validation—helping start to calm them down. Labelling your toddler’s feelings helps her learn to be aware of her emotions and to manage them. Keep your language simple and direct: “I know you don’t want to put your PJ’s on. It’s difficult to go from playtime to bedtime.” When you skip this step, children will “pump up the volume” or escalate their behaviour to show you—louder, harder, and stronger—just how upset they are.

This is often when tantrums start.

After validating your child’s feelings:

The key is to pay as little attention as possible to your toddler’s protests. Ignoring the behaviors you want to eliminate is the fastest way to be rid of them. (The only exception to this rule is if your child is being physically hurtful—hitting, slapping, punching, and so on—in which case you calmly but firmly stop the behavior and explain that he can feel mad but he cannot hit.)

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 🌑.

Nurture Sleep Program

How to get rid of irritating behaviours