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Gentle sleep training

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    The subject of Baby Sleep Specialists is complicated. Here, we try to make it easier to understand.

    A realistic goal is to help your baby sleep consecutively throughout the night by the time they reach their first birthday. As they grow into toddlers and school-age children, their sleep needs will become more similar to those of adults. A quiet wind-down routine helps baby transition from active wake times to restful sleep periods. Without this transition it can be difficult for babies and young children to settle their minds and bodies and become prepared for sleep. Don’t worry about keeping the house silent while your baby sleeps during the day. It is good for them to get used to sleeping with a certain amount of noise and will help to teach them the difference between day and night. Daytime is signalled by lots of interaction with you, toys and play, while night-time is signalled by quiet and dimming of lights. Slings and baby-carriers are useful for holding a baby hands-free, however they are not always used safely. Although there is no reliable evidence that slings are directly associated with SIDS, there have been a number of deaths worldwide where infants have suffered a fatal accident from the use of a sling. These accidents are particularly due to suffocation, and particularly in young infants. Nightlights can also provide comfort for babies and if you do have to do a change or feed in the early hours, nightlights will stop you sleepily walking into things. Babies sleep a lot, particularly newborns, and it’s not always possible to stay at home all day to ensure every nap is lying flat on their back in their cot or Moses basket - as the experts recommend.

    Baby Sleep Specialists

    Busy two-income parents often don’t get home until six or seven o’clock in the evening, so it’s common for older babies and toddlers to procrastinate the bedtime ritual. This is prime time with their parents and they are going to milk it for all they can get. When you try to stretch your baby’s bedtime as you fantasize about an uninterrupted night, you are actually causing him to become overtired and when your baby is overtired, his body naturally produces hormones to fight fatigue, which then makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. It’s a vicious cycle that’s hard to break. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about how often baby should be eating overnight. If you get the go-ahead to cut down on overnight feeds, ensure baby’s eating enough during the day by offering a feed every two to three hours. Then, work on slowly stretching the time between nighttime feedings. It’s a good idea to try to break the habit of baby falling asleep with a bottle. You don’t want your infant to become dependent on having a bottle in order to fall asleep. Plus, when a baby falls asleep with a bottle in his mouth, milk can pool in his mouth and lead to tooth decay. Having a baby is a steep learning curve and aspects such as sleep training come along and shake things up just when you're not expecting them.

    Common Baby Sleep Advice

    Infants under 6 months old can usually sleep anywhere from three to eight hours at night, depending on age and stage. And babies between 4 and 6 months old are developmentally able to sleep through the night without a feeding, but whether they do is another story. Babies, like adults, eat for comfort and pleasure, not just nourishment. Since virtually all babies are now placed on their backs to sleep, parents quickly find that they must help them fall asleep for naps and at bedtime, throughout the night, and sometimes in the middle of a nap. Techniques might include a tight swaddle, a specially designed sleep rocker, and co-sleeping. Allow time for frequent naps throughout the day to support their night-time sleep, and consider implementing a regular bedtime routine to help them wind down beforehand. This can include a bath, baby massage, and gently changing them into their sleepwear as lullabies or white noise play gently in the background for added ambience. Often times, sleep training techniques overlap and parents combine methods, which is perfectly fine. It’s all about finding what works best for you as a parent and how your infant responds. Nobody can do this alone, so ask for help. Speak to your Health Visitor or GP and let them know how things are going. Sleep deprivation is one of the toughest tests for new parents, so ask for support. If you need guidance on 4 month sleep regression then let a sleep consultant support you in unlocking your child's potential, with their gentle, empathetic approach to sleep.

    Give your baby time to settle down. Your baby might fuss or cry before finding a comfortable position and falling asleep. If the crying doesn't stop, check on your baby, offer comforting words and leave the room. Your reassuring presence might be all your baby needs to fall asleep. When people talk about sleep regression, they are usually referring to when your child starts waking up during the night and has trouble falling back asleep. There are many causes, and the triggers could be different at different stages of a child’s development. It’s possible for babies to sleep too much — and it’s definitely not recommended early in infancy. Remember, at 1 month of age your baby should feed at least eight to 12 times in the span of 24 hours, so letting a newborn sleep "all day" or more than the upper limit of 17 hours can mean she’ll miss out on the nutrition she needs. We advise that babies have plenty of supervised tummy time in their waking hours to minimise time spent on their back, and you should also avoid letting babies sleep in harder contained sleep environments such as car seats and other travel systems. Baby's final feeding of the day must be the first part of your bedtime routine. It should take place in a well-lit room, since it is imperative that throughout the feeding the child be kept between one and three on the wakefulness scale. If they become sleepy or drowsy, it can greatly impact their ability to fall asleep at bedtime. There are multiple approaches to sleep regression and a sleep expert will help you choose one that is right for you and your family.

    Using Proactive Parenting

    While naps throughout the day are an important part of your baby’s development, shortening super long snooze stretches during the day can help her sleep for longer at night. Note that just because your baby wakes at night doesn't mean she’s ready to start the day. She might just be crying to burn off some steam before she goes back to sleep. There are going to be those nights where nothing seems to work apart from cuddling and/or rocking baby to sleep. That’s life; everyone has those nights. But try not to make it a nightly habit to rock or cuddle them to sleep – that way they will expect it and don’t learn to settle by themselves. The important thing is to stay confident and consistent and gently help your baby to adjust to falling asleep on their own - and in their own time. Throughout human history, in cultures throughout the world, mothers have lain alongside their infants. But people in these cultures were sleeping on very firm surfaces — like mats on a hard floor — and they didn’t expose their infants to soft bedding, which can cause terrible suffocation accidents, and increase the risk of SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome. A newborn baby’s sleep routine does depend on your baby’s needs. Though, you can try to adjust it to your preferred schedule. For example, feeding your newborn before you go to sleep can sometimes allow you a longer sleep as they may not wake for feeding as quickly. However, it’s important to be prepared for routines to suddenly change as your baby grows and develops into different stages. Whether its something specific like ferber method or really anything baby sleep related, a baby sleep consultant can guide you to find a sleep solution as individual as your baby is.

    Early bedtimes can also cause problems. If your little bug falls asleep at 7 P.M., it’s unlikely that she’ll sleep all the way to 7 A.M. Instead, she’ll probably wake for a couple of hours of play around 2 A.M.! Baby sleep habits can be baffling, and they can turn our lives upside down. Whether it’s the crazy-making, nocturnal schedule of the newborn, or an older baby who won’t get settled, the results are the same: A parent who is sleep-deprived and desperate for relief. Your baby's erratic sleep patterns may mean that no one in the family is snoozing very soundly. Right now, there’s probably only a sliver of light at the end of the tunnel, but it will grow brighter. There are many reasons that may explain why your newborn baby won't sleep in their cot and lots of them can be easily resolved. For the past nine months your baby has been snuggled up, nice and cosy inside you. Now they are here in the big wide world, everything is cold, bright and can seem harsh in comparison. They long for the warmth, comfort and sounds that they were used to. Slumber can already be elusive for most adults, but add a baby who refuses to go to sleep into the mix, and you’re in for some serious insomnia. Sleep consultants support hundreds of families every year, assisting with things such as gentle sleep training using gentle, tailored methods.

    Ensuring A Safe Night’s Sleep For Your Baby

    According to sleep experts, a few simple ideas—weaving together ancient wisdom and breakthrough science—can help you solve most of your child’s sleep struggles in less than a week. (Or better yet, prevent them even before they happen.) For the first 6 months the safest place for your baby to sleep is in a cot, crib or moses basket in your room beside your bed and in the same room as you, for all sleeps. You'll also be close by if they need a feed or cuddle. Each baby is an individual. Sometimes your little one’s ability to sleep through the night may even change with age and development. Discover additional information regarding Baby Sleep Specialists in this NHS entry.

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