Monday, February 16, 2015

10 Baby Sleep Questions All Parents Ask

Did you know... newborn babies sleep for around 16 hours a day [Rex]

Whether you’re worried that your baby is sleeping too much during the day and not enough at night time, or want to know a bit more about dream feeds, we’ve got it covered

Q: Does White Noise Help Babies Sleep?
A: Once your baby learns the difference between night and day (which is usually around four weeks), she’ll start learning that night is when she sleeps for longer. Instead of white noise, I prefer using products that have wind sounds, which can really help settle newer babies.
This works particularly well if you’ve got twins that might disturb each other or an older child who is being wakened by your baby. If you play a consistent soothing sound, the brain tunes into that rather than anything else going on.

You can also use other triggers to help your baby sleep – like swaddling, a sleep bag or a blackout blind.

Q: When Should My Baby Sleep Through The Night Without A Feed?
A: If your baby’s six months or older, a feed in the night can actually interfere with her sleep. At this age, because of the combination of weaning and milk, your baby gets enough nutrients during the day that she doesn't need anything at night.
If you have a baby that’s feeding a lot during the nighttime and is already three or four months old, then you can start, gently, weaning her off lots of feeds. But all babies are different and it obviously depends a lot on your little one’s weight – she needs body fat to get her through the night without waking.
Q: Are Dream Feeds A Good Idea? 
A: I’m a real advocate of the dream feed (feeding your baby without her waking up) apart from if your baby has been diagnosed  (by her GP) with either reflux or violent reflux. But if your baby is healthy, a dream feed is really important. 

Because a baby will only have one long sleep in 24 hours, you want it to be when you’re having your long sleep. If you don’t give a dream feed, then your baby will wake up at around 12.30 to 1am. That’s when you’ve usually hit your deep sleep so it will feel really awful being pulled out of that sleep – and it can also mean that your baby will nap, and keep waking, for the rest of the night. 

When you give your baby her dream feed, put a landing light on so there’s no direct light. Take the sleeping bag or swaddle off, change her nappy and feed her. Once you’ve finished, reswaddle or put the sleeping bag back on your baby and put her back down. 

Q: My Baby Keeps Turning Onto Her Stomach During The Night. What Should I Do?
A: I don’t recommend that babies sleep on their tummy before they’re six months old as it’s a SIDS risk. But once your little one’s made certain developmental advancements then it’s safe for her to. 

She should be able to lift her shoulders up off the mattress (almost do a mini sit-up) and start to roll from side to side – then she’ll be able to get into her own sleep position. This is usually at around six months anyway.
Q: When Can My Baby Have A Soft Toy In Her Cot
A: Always remember that a cot’s a place to sleep, not to play. Having said that, I always make sure that when a baby wakes up they have a little soft toy or something that they can play with then, because they start to understand that the cot’s a happy place.

What I tend to say is I wouldn’t give them anything until they’re at least 10 months to a year old. This is because they’re holding a stuffed toy near their face at nighttime and it poses a risk of suffocation.
If your baby wants to hold something, the safest thing you can give her a muslin square, because it’s breathable material. Knot it in the middle and you can even put it down your top for an hour or so before giving it to her so it smells like you.

Q: Why Has My Four-Month-Old Baby Has Started Waking In The Night?
A: This is called the four-month sleep regression. What happens at four months is babies have a massive mental leap. Their eyesight becomes a lot more acute and they start hearing a lot more things. So if parents are sharing their bedroom with their baby, they will start waking more as they hear you.

This is one of the reasons that I suggest having a wave machine at this age so that the baby will be in tune with the sounds instead of what else is going on in the room.

It’s almost like a little switch has gone off in your baby and she’s realised that she’s part of the world.
Q: How Can I Get My Baby To Sleep Without A Feed? 
A: The feeding-to-sleep prop is one of the most difficult baby sleep props to get out of. It’s the easiest to get into and the most difficult to stop. 

Start trying to put a feeding routine in place, so you’re spacing the feeds apart. Listen and watch for your baby’s feed cues – she’ll start sucking her hand, bobbing her head, or trying to head butt your shoulder. 

Newborn babies tend to feed about every three hours – and that continues until they’re around three months old. Once your baby’s had her feed, move her away from the breast or bottle and have a little chatter with her – generally wake her up a little so you stop that feeding to sleep cycle. 

Keep in mind that you can’t stop that at 7pm. At this time, 99 per cent of babies will fall asleep while feeding and that’s fine as long as you’re waking her up during the day. When she wakes again, try and get her back to sleep without a feed if she’s a little bit older.
Q: My Baby Wakes At 5am Every Morning. How Can I Encourage Him To Sleep A Little Longer?
A: Babies don’t understand what time it is – they can’t tell the time. What happens is, all babies have a light sleep between 5 and 6am and if they hear anything happening then they’ll start waking up. 

A lot of babies will babble at this time and send themselves back to sleep. But because the baby starts waking up, and you go in and see what’s happening, then you start doing things to get them back to sleep. So you in effect create a sleep prop at 5am. 

First, get a blackout blind so you’ve got absolutely no light coming in. Second, treat the hours that your baby sleeps as nighttime, so if you’ve got a 7pm to 7am routine, make sure that you don’t get her out of the cot until 7am. She doesn’t have a feed and you don’t talk to her. 

I always leave babies for about five minutes before going in to check on them. This gives her the chance to soothe themselves back to sleep if they can. If not, go in, soothe your baby and encourage her to go back to sleep with as little interaction as possible – no lights, no noise and no talking. If you need to say anything, just make the “ssh” noise.