Baby Sleep Cycles

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Baby Sleep Cycles

Once upon a time there was a mother and a father who had a beautiful baby girl. From the age of 6 months old and still now at the age of 1 year, the baby was and is sleeping all through the night (and very well in the day) and not once has the baby ever had a bad sleeping habit where she woke her parents during the night……does this sound familiar? Or more like some far fetched fairy tale?

Even if you do have a happy and settled baby, there are so many reasons (too many to detail in this one short piece) why at the age of 6 months your baby may still be waking in the night. 6 months is the suggested age a baby should ideally be sleeping through, as suggested here www.babycenter.com/408_when-can-my-baby-start-sleeping-through-the-night however they also discuss that every baby is different so do not worry if your life is not like that of a fairy tale!

One reason you may be getting sleepless nights is because of your baby’s ‘sleep cycles’

Simply where your baby wakes automatically from their sleep at any point during the night. It is a difficult issue as we can not determine exactly when our children sleep and wake up. All we can do is help with those times, by showing them how to deal with waking and falling back to sleep with relatively little affect on the parents. As quoted here ‘Babies may experience arousals every 50 minutes or so. If you’re lucky, these arousals are only partial and your baby goes back to sleep without a fuss.

If you’re unlucky, your baby becomes fully aroused—and let’s you know about it. www.parentingscience.com/baby-sleep-patterns

It is at these times that if your baby wakes and becomes upset, longer term bad habits can start….picking them up and rocking them back to sleep or bringing them into bed with you. Also many offer a quick fix of a bottle of breast feed (which often works but only as a quick fix) it could be that they are not waking from hunger…

All babies are different, but it’s thought that most babies can cope without any feeds during the night from around six months. Some babies will stop asking for night-time feeds earlier than this. Others may prefer the comfort of a night-time feed for months to come.  www.babycentre.co.uk/a558727/understanding-your-babys-sleep

Do not get me wrong, if you are happy to be getting up once, twice or more most nights and having to do one of the above mentioned things to get you older babies back to sleep then that is your choice and they will (hopefully) at some point grow out of it. However for some it may be causing real problems with sleep deprivation, which as the NHS explains is not good for you www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/lack-of-sleep-health-risks.aspx

A few suggestions with these sleep:

•From about the age of 3 months (I would always encourage sleepy cuddles whilst watching the tv at night before this) start to get into a routine at sleep times of laying them in their basket or cot awake at set times, awake to drift off by themselves.

•Choose a favourite cuddly toy, muslin to put next to them or a dummy to help settle them at sleep times.

•If after a few months in they are generally in a good sleep/feed routine and they wake crying out of these times, during the night especially, try not to just rush to feed them but offer their favourite settling toy/dummy to settle back first. Or a cuddle if this doesn’t work, but try and lay them back down once settled without rocking them back to full sleep.

•Again after a few months in and they are generally in a good routine and they wake out of their set times but are quite happy (not screaming the house down) do not rush to them and feel you have to do whatever it takes to get them back to sleep. See if they eventually drift off themselves and if they then start to cry….go to the above point!

For further info, help on babies and young children’s sleep issues or if you simply need some respite from your young baby’s night feeds….contact me on https://www.facebook.com/emmanightnanny/ or see my website www.piccalilys.co.uk

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