By Alexa Taylor, The London Baby Coach
When it comes to newborn and infant sleep there are many factors that can be at play if they’re having restless nights. These nights can start to take their toll so to help with the mind boggling task of trying to figure out what they might be, here are my top areas to look at and some sleep tips for you to try, hopefully they can help your baby sleep for longer.
Room environment, be it your baby is sleeping in with you or in their own room here are a couple of things to look at when it comes to their sleep space.
- Temperature: did you know that around 3am your baby’s natural body temperature drops, not just the outside temperature, so if your baby struggles to stay asleep past this time check their hands for coldness and try setting your heating a degree or two higher at this time of night. With help from the Owlet Cam, you can check your little one's room temperature to make their room temperature is just right and not too hot or too cold.
- Lighting: It’s very easy to reach for a little distraction whilst on night feeds, but blue lighting emitted from phones and tvs encourages the awake hormone cortisol to secrete so try avoid this and stick to low level warm lights, red is the best colour to use if you do some.
- The darker the room the better. Melatonin, the sleep hormone, comes into play around 7pm for babies and darkness helps to encourage it’s production making your baby even sleepier. Take this into account when doing your baby’s bedtime routine and keep lighting low and things calm in their sleep space. The other reason darkness helps is because even just the slightest slither of light can disturb your baby as they go through the light sleep of their cycle. Black out blinds can be a real sleep saver if this happens if you’re finding this with yours. Bloc blinds are a great company for built in ones and the gro company for a portable one because recreating the same sleep space when staying at others is equally as important.
As a new parent it’s very easy to react to any noise your baby may make but sometimes it’s ok to let your baby do it’s thing and not react straight away. Here’s a few reasons they could be having a fidget and letting out those noises…
- They’re shifting a bit of wind. If you feel they’re becoming too distubred by this try giving your baby a wind or do some gentle tummy massage. You can download my massage PDF here which shows techniques for tummy problems.
- It’s not been long since they’ve had a feed. Newborn and young babies have very little tummies and whilst adjusting to the notion of digesting feeds often being laid down in a crib or moses basket can make them wriggly and uncomfortable. To help ease this try keeping your baby upright for 20 minutes or so after a feed to give it a chance to go down before laying them back down to sleep.
- They’re going through a sleep cycle. When babies are young their sleep cycles aren’t very mature meaning even when in deep ‘like’ sleep they’re actually still in a light sleep so can appear more restless as they move from one cycle to the next. When they’re in this crossover you can try gently patting your baby whilst shushing at the same time and see if they settle.
Be aware of developmental changes
There are many stages and changes your baby will go through especially in the first 6 months. Growth spurts, sleep regressions and developmental leaps both mentally and physically can have an impact on their sleep. You can download my pdf of information on each of these areas and how to help get through them here.
Lots of parents question how to manage the clock change, especially the winter one as it shifts your day 1 hour earlier. But do not fear. The average wake up time to begin the day is between 6-7am so if your little one is currently a 7am riser then you’re still within what is considered a normal wake up so you can just continue with this if it works for you. However I know many of you would like to keep your 7am starts so here are my tips on how to help your baby adjust.
- Gradual adjustment. You can get going on this today by pushing everything back by 15 minutes, although I would recommend starting it at bedtime. So bedtime today will be at 7:15pm, tomorrow 7:30pm and so on, doing this a day at a time until you are back on track. This can be done post and pre clock change.
- Ride it out. It is totally acceptable to take this option too, especially as most babies can adjust well in these situations and their body clock will catch up in a few days to a weeks time.
Whichever option you decide to take just know It can take a few days to settle and for things to get back to a rhythm but they will get there.
Even with lots of tips like the above sometimes nighttime sleep can feel overwhelming for parents at any stage and for many reasons they can find it hard themselves to settle into sleep whilst their baby does. Looking after your own sleep health is just as important, as I'm sure you’re aware, so If you feel you are one of those parents then this is where the owlet comes in. Monitoring your baby’s heart rate, oxygen levels and sleep, it helps to give you peace of mind to drift off when your baby does. Even if they are having a fidget in the middle of the night you can be reassured it’s just down to baby business.