Welcome to another Fluffy Bottom Babies blog! We bring you our Live Thursday topic of Infant Sleep Tips!
If you missed the live video, don't worry, you can still watch it here!
We were also lucky enough to have a special guest with us, Stephanie Covey from Goodnight Sleepsite Nova Scotia! She is a certified infant and toddler sleep consultant!
Good Night Sleep Site is a National company and one of the most amazing things is that they have a whole team that works together to troubleshoot and brainstorm about one of the main things parents everywhere seem to encounter issues with - SLEEP
Stephanie is here to do a three part series for you; Part 1 will focus on infant sleep and tips to promote healthy sleep in the first few months, Part 2 will focus on 3-4 months+ with tips on naps, bedtimes, wakes, regressions and transitions and Part 3 will focus on common sleep struggles with the toddler and older child
**What is being discussed here today is put forth by the American Association of Pediatrics (in October), and we do wish to point out that later on, we can cover some different natural approaches to sleep. There are a lot of over-lapping ideas, and we all have different thoughts on the sleep process. We aim to keep this informative and respectful, because different strokes for different folks!**
So first and foremost is Safety and from day one we want to be sure that we are placing our little ones in the safest place possible for sleep.
Very basically, we have the A,B,C’s which is:
Always on their back with nothing to impede
Breathing in a designated
Crib or Bassinet
Some important points regarding safe sleep:
- Avoid soft mattresses, pillows, fluffy blankets, bumper pads and toys in the sleeping area – these are objects that could suffocate baby.
- Be sure to place baby on their backs for naps and at bedtime, regardless if they can roll over on their own.
- Be sure to use proper fitting clothing and sleep sacs that are both age and size appropriate!
- In this guideline and as per our educator, there is a designated sleeping space for baby, such as their crib or bassinet.
Biological Changes and Sleep
To babies, day and night can easily be confused – babies have yet to develop a circadian rhythm because they are not producing melatonin. Melatonin is our sleep hormone that develops later in life, and therefore, without this, sleep patterns will not exist. Babies require much more sleep than us, and it is important to let them get all the sleep they need.
“Never wake a sleeping baby” is a very apt statement. So if your baby has unorganized sleeping patterns and rhythms, don’t fret! This is normal and biologically sound.
So what should we do in the first 6-8 weeks?
Do what you can to help get baby to sleep! Try skin-to-skin contact as often as you are able, and this is a great time to introduce a stretchy wrap to wear the baby.
You can also use swings, or strollers or even a ride in the car.
And with anything you try – safety is always paramount! Always consult with someone trained in their areas, especially when it comes to babywearing.
Components of Healthy Sleep
Having consistent soothing routine/cues to sleep help, such as: a bath, infant massage, feeding or books! Or maybe all of the above!
What do you all do for a pre-bedtime routine? Anything special, and has this changed as they got older?
We should also remember to be respectful that babies, unlike adults do not have that circadian rhythm! Let the baby sleep when they want to, and be flexible with the bedtime based on quality of the daytime sleeps and their “sleepy cues”. We also need to be especially mindful of these cues because we can miss the optimal sleep window.
What are the “sleepy cues”?
- Eye rubbing
- Glassy eyes
- Pulling at their ears
- Moving head side-to-side
First Milestone at 6-8 weeks
If you are able to get a consistent thing down with sleep (including the pre-bedtime routine), you’ll start to notice some things, such as:
- Their night time sleep becomes more organized: a great example of this is social smiles! That means learning is happening, and they can recognize cues and routines.
- Evening fussiness begins to lessen and subside – they may also sleep longer stretches at night, and the day/night confusion ends.
So what does all of that mean for sleep?
- Perhaps now is a great time to introduce a crib, and move away from props so that they can experience motionless sleep.
- We can become even more aware of their sleepy cues, which we will need to be more focused on before they become over-tired. A good gauge is about 45 minutes to an hour of awake time.
We can now watch to see if baby puts themselves to sleep if given the opportunity to do so – this can help establish a self-soothing routine they can associate with sleep.
What does a soothing routine look like?
Basic at best, we can make a quick routine to help the sleeping process, such as relaxing and soothing the baby!
- Try dimming the lights, or using a black-out blind, perhaps give them a low-stimulus bath followed by an infant massage. You can also feed the baby, gently rocking with the baby and singing or telling them a light story. These will be our cues to help baby establish their own ability to lull themselves off to sleep.
- Be sure to recognize when they get drowsy, or if they are fussing!
Now be sure to understand that these are guidelines – these aren’t strict rules, and you need to be easy on yourself in this process!
- We can also discuss natural parenting in relation to sleep at a later date!
- Don’t try for day time sleeping patterns – naps are the hardest thing to establish.
- Practice what has been explained for the first 4 months – after that, things change again! And luckily, we will have another video on that period of time plus milestones.
- And always remember: every baby is different!
Safe sleep guidelines:
Newborn Sleep Patterns: