1. UNDERSTANDING YOUR BABIES SLEEP CYCLES
Most clinics work from the average sleep a child needs which was estimated in the 1950’s. The information provided is not thorough enough
Understanding Your Babies Sleep Cycles are vital for you to cope with the longevity of waking sometimes. There are two sleep cycles to look out for;
Compensation Sleep: They wake up early in the morning due to sleeping too much during the day. And the only reason they aren’t naturally sleeping between 4 - 6am is because they are sleeping too much between 6am - midday during the day. So the next day you get a compensation cycle where the body goes ‘I’m going to get a big sleep of 3 hours between 8am-11am so I can wake up at 4am’.
Digestive Sleep: Also known as false sleeps as a child is only sleeping simply because they are feeding. Only achieving sleep between 4 - 6am because you are feeding your baby to put back to sleep.
To correct waking at 4am and to stop the digestive cycle (which means your baby is only sleeping because they have been fed) you need to steal some of the morning sleep and put it back where it belongs to 5-7am .
Is like a surrogate cuddle for babies.
Wrapping your newborn is easy, as its harder for them to wriggle out of a wrap. However when your baby is 4 months plus, they are at the most rocky stages of sleep without their environmental comforts which stop them startling or rolling. Please don’t drop the wrap when they are good at getting out of it.
When a baby is distressed, to comfort them we pick them up and put them in the cradle position, pinning one arm to their chest and hold the other arm, pulling their legs in tight and hold them up close to your neck to block their sight while “shhhhhhing” in their ears. We block visual and audio stimulation. This is the ultimate comfort to a child.
The main concern with wrapping older babies is keeping them safe. Sheyne is a big advocate of the product ‘Safe T Sleep’ which ensures they don’t roll onto their tummy.
If you take away all the sleeping tools you end up sleeping in the bed with your baby or on a couch and this is where babies are slipping down into dangerous positions and we are losing them. Sheyne has authored a book specifically on wrapping your baby.
When the SIDS awareness campaign was first introduced the numbers went from 5,000 deaths a year (horrific!) to 50 a year. Now it has crept back up in excess of 1,000 per year. Parents end up not using safety measures because they think they are not safe, so they make a less safe choice I.e. on the couch.
Your baby can be wrapped at any time before 18 months.
Sheyne recently finished wrapping three 17 month olds. Two had a leg wrap and one had a full wrap. Two of them slept through on the first night, having previously woken every half hour during the night.. So many times we hear “Oh it’s impossible for a baby sleep through on the first night”. Not so, says Sheyne. “If a baby is comfy, safe and snuggled and you put everything in the right place they are very good at sleeping ”.
What about babies who hate being wrapped?
“My baby hates being wrapped”. Sheyne takes their baby out of the wrap at 4 months and asks how they went. Parents respond that it was “terrible”. Babies either like being fully able to move, or not move at all. The problem is that babies aren’t getting progressive wrap techniques at 4 months. Babies can therefore partially move their arms and it frustrates the daylights out of them. If they can move in their wrap then their mission is to get out of it and they stop focusing on sleeping. Once they are out of their wrap they are miserable. This is when the parents think ‘Oohhh this is a disaster’ and stop wrapping.
Then they try controlled crying or go into co-sleeping.
If your baby has never been wrapped and you start wrapping, expect that they will protest against the wrap at first. Give them time to settle into the wrap and make sure it is firm and snug. I’m finding many parents using those zip up wraps where the baby can have their arms up. If your baby isn’t sleeping well in these wraps – stop using them. They are providing too much movement for your baby. They need to be wrapped more firmly.
The wrap wasn’t the problem – more likely it's the wrapping technique. You then have to comfort your baby, pat them to sleep, hold them and rock them or put them in bed with you. They are looking for comfort and you have to provide it. You have surrogated the wrap with yourself.
Wrapping is such a large part of how Sheyne gets babies sleeping soundly at night that she has written a book specifically on wrapping.
2. CHANGES IN SLEEPING PATTERS FOR BABIES 4 MTHS +
From this age sleeping patterns are changing because their biological clock kicks in from 4-6mths. They become more mobile and wriggle out of wraps. People think as your baby gets out of wraps they don’t like wraps anymore. But in fact at this transitional window this is the worst time to stop wrapping - unless your baby is sleeping well not being wrapped.
When your baby starts doing this they need to be swaddled better with bigger pieces of material and more securely. Even if you have never wrapped your baby, try starting now!
If they maintain great day naps they often don’t maintain sleeps at night. If the day naps aren’t as good during the day, the nights become better.
You can expect less sleep from them therefore you reduce their naps or have extended awake periods during the day. When you stop expecting so much in the morning you start getting better sleeps later in the day and you get better sleep-ins the next day.
4. INTRODUCING FOOD
Breast milk naturally drops in iron and babies do not source iron as well from substitute forms e.g. iron enriched rice cereal etc. So it’s important not be frightened of when to feed them. Most babies are ready to start solids at 6 months. Some need it at 5 months and some at 7 months, but generally it is 6 months.
As soon as you’re looking at a piece of paper instead of your child you stop using your instincts. You stop catering to your child’s needs and you start catering to a philosophy which has been proven over time to never be accurate. Parents have to trust that they know what their babies need.
If you feel your baby is hungry, you just can’t seem to fill them. They went from 1 night feed to needing 4 per night. This is a solid indication they are not getting what they need. If your instincts tell you your child needs food, don’t ask yourself ’do I have permission to feed my hungry baby? ’ Think instead – “My baby needs food – how do I best do this?”.
When it’s a problem…
Your baby isn’t responding to the techniques being used and you become fatigued – your family is under stress, a marriage is at risk, a child is at risk, a parent is at risk – this is when you need to make changes immediately for safety reasons.
“If you adopt a philosophy during the day on how you manage your child, to ensure you child is fully skilled before you adopt any crying approach and your child is still unable to sleep though – even though they can sleep independently, play in their cot, cope with you leaving the room, they are eating right, they are sleeping at the right times, but they are waking up in pain every night. You don’t ask a person who doesn’t know your child to train your child to sleep and leave them screaming. ”
If you find at the transitional window (6mths +) they are still having trouble sleeping then it’s time to start investigating. Every parent should read the “Baby Dream Guide” from the time they are pregnant. If you knew everything in this book before you have your baby everything would be different. This is Sheyne’s number one tip! After reading Sheyne’s book, I wish I read it before my babies were born. With a newborn it’s hard to find the time to read anything or to take a shower! Please do yourself a favour and read it BEFORE baby arrives.
How can Sheyne help you?
Sheyne loves to speak to everyone. If you email, she will get back to you personally at firstname.lastname@example.org