Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Youtube Follow Us on Baby and Me Online

Archive for infant sleep

Baby Sleep Techniques

Sleep is a natural biological rhythm but sleeping well is a skill that takes time to develop. Sleep habits develop from birth and are a combined result of nature (genes and developmental milestones) and nurture (parental guidance and support).

Infant sleep ‘training’ techniques are used to help babies get to sleep or stay asleep. Working out what technique to choose can be difficult because all sleep ‘training’ techniques can work. However, some only work in specific circumstances and some suit babies and parents more than others.

Consider your baby’s age, temperament, ‘goodness-of-fit’ with your temperament, health, and the environment in which he lives before you choose a suitable technique.

Newborn

10364558_10152474285993033_495145053_n

Until 4-months of age your newborn has immature sleep/ wake rhythms, he needs frequent feeds, and has reduced mental capacity, which makes him unable to respond to all techniques.

Types of techniques

Sleep ‘training’ techniques are divided into two groups. The first techniques developed were based on extinction. These include: (a) cry it out, (b) controlled crying, (c) camping out, and (d) the chair method (works best with toddlers older than 16-months). The more recent techniques are cue-based techniques. These include: (a) responsive settling and (b) hands on settling.

All babies and situations are different. Cue-based techniques are gentler than extinction techniques but that’s not to say extinction techniques are wrong. In fact, in some situations with strong-willed infants extinction gets results quicker and is less frustrating for everyone. Conversely, extinction may not work if your baby needs more touch and reassurance to calm and sleep. Some babies self-soothe and re-settle overnight easier than others who need support or sleep-props to enter sleep and resettle overnight.

Different situations different techniques

Controlled-crying/ comforting (intermittent comforting) is not used for babies less than 4-months of age. It emphasises control (not crying), responding to the intensity and distress of cries. This technique needs a plan outlined by your child health professional. It won’t work if done randomly. The technique is tough going so make sure you have support from your partner and significant others. Ensure bub is healthy, there are no distractions in the cot, and all commitments can be put on-hold for 4-days. Work on both day and night sleeps. This technique works quickly when used for the right baby at the right age with the right emotional commitment but can backfire and cause added stress and insecurity, for all concerned, if it’s not the appropriate choice.

Camping-out (sleep alongside bubs cot) is a good technique if you don’t want to leave the room and bub wants you close. You often don’t need to do anything it’s your mere presence that helps your baby feel secure enough to drift off to sleep. As your baby gets older and more confident with sleep (around 16-months) this technique becomes the chair method and you can slowly move out of the room.

Responsive-settling tunes in to infant cries. It takes focused listening and being close to give comfort and support when needed. Sometimes it will be a cuddle and other times a shhh pat in the cot to help your baby drift off to sleep.

Hands-on-settling involves your comforting touch at all times. It could involve stroking the forehead or applying gentle pressure over the chest and legs with or without a rocking action. Both these gentle techniques work well but can be irritating when used for babies that don’t enjoy constant touch or when you are anxious.

It takes time

It takes your baby about 20-minutes of light sleep to fall into deep sleep. Get to know your baby and how you can help him settle and sleep. Give her time to form a habit (4-days to 3-weeks depending on age and circumstance). Consult your child health professional for personalised advice if you and your baby are strugglin to get sleep.

References:

http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/controlled_comforting.html https://www.tresillian.org.au/

http://www.karitane.com.au/

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/sleep-problems

http://www.ngala.com.au

http://psychology.org.au/inpsych/2014/April/Blunden/

Food Effects Baby and Toddler Sleep

Food has a calming effect on the body or an energizing effect.

When you have children who do not sleep well, knowing what type of food fuels energy and what type of food fuels the release of sleep-triggering hormones serotonin and melatonin is helpful.

Sleep-triggering snack 30-minutes before bed

The effect of food on the body begins about 30-minutes after eating. Therefore, give your baby or toddler an appropriate snack or drink 30-minutes before you expect him to sleep. If on solids, this does not mean holding off his dinner but rather giving him a little something extra after dinner as well.

Get a suitable routine for your child’s age

Too busy digesting to sleep

Give red meat, sausages, ham, simple carbohydrates such as white rice, pasta and sugary foods (including fruit) earlier in the day to avoid the effect of increased energy in the night. Complex-carbohydrates such as brown rice and wholegrain bread are better choices for sleep.

Protein foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan are suitable choices for an evening meal and pre-bedtime snack because they boost the sleep-triggering hormone melatonin and control hunger.

Dinner and evening snack ideas

  1. Wholegrain cereal with warm milk
  2. Natural yoghurt and sliced apple or banana
  3. Wholegrain rice cake spread with natural peanut butter
  4. Melted hard cheese on wholegrain toast
  5. Cashew or peanut butter spread on a dry wholegrain and oat wheat-bix
  6. Cottage cheese and tuna with avocado and wholegrain pasta
  7. Cooked eggs and wholegrain toast fingers
  8. Rice pudding made with brown rice
  9. Banana smoothie made with coconut milk.

Follow on facebook, twitter, linkedin and youtube

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.