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Posts Tagged ‘baby sleep patterns’

Daylight savings is coming up on Sunday, March 11th. It’s spring so we move our clocks forward one hour and “lose” an extra hour at night. Even just an hour change can be a disruption in your child’s (*and yours!) sleep.

This never comes soon enough for me though it can make it temporarily a little harder to get up in the morning since it’s darker. These simple tips for babies (6 months and older), toddlers and kids will help you stay on track with good sleep habits. Give your children a few days to settle in to the new time. After they adjust to the new clock, the only thing left to do is get outside and enjoy that extra hour of light at night.

This is important to understand because it is already hard to find the right nap or bedtime and with the time change, it can be even trickier. Effectively, the time change is like jet lag if you were to travel one time zone ahead of you. Because our internal clocks are “set” to be asleep or awake at certain times, adjusting your schedule on the day before and the morning of the time change can help immensely. But, this means you must change your whole routine, not just sleep times. There are many things that cue your baby into a schedule or routine such as the sunrise, meal times, the time you take her out for a walk, and so on. So, if your baby wakes at 6 a.m. and her nap is usually at 8 a.m., on the day before the time change, put her down a little early.

KEY: Change all your daytime routines to be a little earlier, not just sleep.

1.  On Saturday try to do everything 15 minutes or so earlier. Since most kids won’t want to go to bed a whole hour early (and may not be ready) then put them to bed on Saturday night (3/10) 30 minutes early, slightly shortening their day.

2.  Spring your clocks forward an hour when you go to bed or if you want your kids to think they’re staying up late, set them before they go to bed. 🙂

3.  Wake up with your child(ren) at the usual time on Sunday morning (3/11). Here is where they will lose a little sleep but it sets them up for going to bed at the regular time to start the week right. For babies and toddlers just let them nap a little longer if they need it but not too long or they may not go to sleep easily in the evening.

4.  Follow the clock for naps and bedtime from here forward. It can take a few days for your child to fully adjust, so be patient and consistent.

Tip: If you don’t already have them, try room-darkening blinds/curtains at night.

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As new parents, we all question, “Is that normal what the baby is doing right now while he/she is sleeping?” Usually there is a Mom or Dad there to comfort you or perhaps even a baby nurse that can calm your nerves…or you might be the type to rush to the doctor, only to be relieved that it is all part of a child’s sleeping habits. Here are some baby sleeping habits decoded and hopefully help give you peace of mind. And although you can never really predict a baby’s sleeping habits because all babies are different, there are some rough estimates of what parents can expect.

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Head Banging in the Crib
Seeing your baby hit his head against the crib mattress or rails as he’s dozing off can certainly be upsetting. Fortunately, it’s usually normal. According to Parents.com, “Up to 20 percent of children are head-bangers, and boys are much more likely to do it than girls. It typically starts at around 6 months and slows or stops by age 3. The exact reason for head banging is unknown, but experts generally believe that it’s a way to self-soothe.”

“In utero, a fetus is constantly being jostled to and fro, so a baby may be soothed by the rocking motion of head banging,” says Rahil Briggs, Psy.D., a pediatric psychologist at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center, in New York City.  So there’s no need to pad the crib with bumpers or pillows — after all, placing soft items in the crib increases risk of suffocation

Twitching
Don’t be surprised if your sleeping baby sometimes kicks her legs and punches her arms. She’s not having a nightmare. Babies have a very immature nervous system, and it’s hard for them to control their reflexes and responses to environmental noise and temperature – a.k.a. this means that those unpredictable movements are involuntary and usually harmless.

Snoring
Although we like to think that only parents snore, babies can produce the sound effect too. Snoring is usually the result of air passing through your little one’s narrow nasal cavity or the back of the throat. The noise may happen because a baby has a cold or because his nasal passage is clogged with milk or baby food — which can get pushed upward when he spits up. Use a suction bulb or saline drops to clear the nose.

Just Remember….
You can help your baby to sleep better and longer by teaching good sleep habits and establishing a good bedtime routine. That means sticking to a regular nightly bedtime and nightly routine—maybe it’s playtime followed by bath time followed by reading a book and cuddling. The baby will get used to the nightly routine and sleep better each night. Every baby has different needs and a different schedule, so don’t expect every baby to fall into these categories. Figure out what works for your baby, and do your best to make sure she’s getting all the sleep she needs—and that you are, too. Sleep when the baby sleeps they say!

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