Disclaimer: I have complied the following information and suggestions, with the assumption that your baby is well. If you think there may be any medical or health concerns regarding your baby’s inability to sleep please seek advise from a qualified practitioner who can individualize your babies care. Penny Williams 22nd July 2015. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐‐-‐-‐-‐Sleep Strategies for Babies under 6 months
Feed Play Sleep Cycle
Children really benefit from having a sense of rhythm in their day where sleep is part of that rhythm as this Circadian rhythm begins to evolve so does the babies ability to sleep at night. We can help babies to develop a rhythm through the day and they will learn to sleep better at night. Exposure to daylight in the morning help babies adjusts their body clock to extra uterine life as earl as 8 weeks after birth.
1. This Feed Play Sleep routine gives your baby regular opportunities to sleep. Babies need to sleep to grow.
2. Gives your baby to opportunity to anticipate what is happening in their lives so that they feel calmer and predict events (They actually have calmer brain wave patterns when they do)
Sleep States and Conscious States
A. Babies have distinct brain wave cycles that cycle around approximately every 45 to 55 minutes where they start at an alert state cycle down into drowsy then to deep sleep and then they cycle up into a light sleep state REM state and then ideally will cycle back down again.
1. The potential is there for babies to wake up every 45-minute or so if they have not learnt how to cycle back down again without waking themselves up.
2. If a baby does not know how to go back to sleep from that Rapid eye movement phase then they may require assistance.
A sleep association is what babies become accustomed to when they go to sleep. Such as a ride in the car or a cuddle that help them go to sleep when they reach the stat of their next sleep cycle they need the same set of sleep association to go to sleep.
1. Independent Sleep association is great because it easier to replicate and doe not take much effort or even better because you don’t have to be involved such as a ceiling fan or a bubbling fish tank, white noise, small snuggle or toy
2. Dependent sleep association that needs your intervention. E.g. a cuddle or a ride in the car being pushed in the car. A dummy can be a form of sleep association. Therefore dummies should only be used as a comforter or pacifier and when they are calm and ready to go off to sleep they don’t need the dummy any more.
Swaddling / Wrapping
Young babies can really benefit from a swaddle or a wrap because it provides a sense of containment for them. It is like a cuddle.
1.When they grow and start to roll and become more mobile a swaddle is no longer appropriate.
2. Use a thin natural fiber in a wrap that stops them from over heating and has enough give so that they can get comfortable and still have that sense of security.
When babies are tired we can see it if we are looking. When a baby shows you that they are tired it is the babies brain waves starting to change and prepare for sleep. Your Feed Play Sleep pattern is only a rough gage, because you have to be driven by your child. If they get out of bed in the morning and they are looking tired within half an hour they are tired! It is time to put them back to bed. Tired signs are such good indicator they will become like a STOP sign for you. Look see them and then act upon them.
Tired signs to look for:
Rubbing head or eyes
Become pale with glazed eyes
Mobile babies may become clumsy
Some babies will get even more active
Redness around eyes/ eyebrows
If you see any of these signs help your baby get to bed sooner rather than later because crying and distress is actually a late-tired sign. And an over tired baby is much harder to settle.
Crying and Communication
We now know that babies can really communicate they are more than the passive recipients of care that we thought they where. So if you can refine your listening and looking skills you are in a better position to actually see and hear what the baby is telling you and then you are in a much stronger position to be able to respond in a skillful appropriate way. When babies cry they are communicating that they have a need and it is the intensity of that cry that tells us weather we should help or that they are managing okay and to just leave them for a while.
When babies are trying to go to sleep the will often make noise as they make themselves comfortable so they should be allowed that space. A forceful loud cry is a baby telling us they cant manage. It is important to listen to the cry beyond just he first cry out. Does the cry taper off? leave them, as they are working it out for themselves. If the cry remains intense help them! They are clearly not managing.
A safe sleep space has emotional security and physical security.
If you are bed sharing:
Avoid to many pillows
Do not share parental bedding with a baby
Place the baby between a protective bed rail and the parent
Do not bed share when under a the influence of drugs or alcohol or if you or your partner is a smoker.
Sleep baby on their back
Place baby’s feet close to the end of the cot
Do not over heat
Keep cot clear of toys
Maintain adequate airflow.
Ref: Safe Sleep Space www.safesleepspace.com.au