Growth Spurts & Regressions
Babies have sleep regressions.
Heres a good rule of thumb
If baby has slept well for a good while, sleeping through the night and going down on their own, this is likely a regression or a growth spurt NOT a sleep issue.
Sleep issues are when baby really hasnt ever slept well past the 3 month mark. Some babies will sleep well until 3 months and then suddenly WAKE UP.
This is usually sleep related, not a regression.
Settling A Baby Aged 6 To 12 Months
As with younger babies, it helps to talk quietly and cuddle your baby to help keep them calm.
Try the ‘hands-on settling technique’ and, as your baby calms or falls asleep, move away from the cot or leave the room. If your baby starts to become distressed, return and continue to comfort your baby using patting and calming sounds before moving away or leaving the room again. Some babies may need you to stay in the room until they are asleep.
As your child gets older, it can be helpful to keep to a similar bedtime routine. Too much excitement and stimulation just before bedtime can wake your child up again. Spend some time winding down and doing some calmer activities, like reading.
Check out the Tresillian website for more tips on how you can help your baby learn to settle and fall asleep at different ages.
What Is Circadian Rhythm
Circadian rhythm is a principal driver of your sleep routine. It is a 24-hour cycle that is part of the bodys internal clock. Circadian rhythm is crucial to managing the delicate balance between sleep and wakefulness, helping us be alert or drowsy at the appropriate time.
Light exposure is an essential influence on circadian rhythm, which is closely aligned with the day-night cycle. When the eyes are exposed to light, the brain sends signals associated with wakefulness. When light exposure decreases at night, the signals switch to promote relaxation and sleep.
In this way, circadian rhythm helps to synchronize our internal clock with our external environment. Research demonstrates that a well-synchronized circadian rhythm can contribute not only to healthy sleep but also to numerous other aspects of health.
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Adjusting Habits To Improve Your Sleep
Getting Your Baby To Sleep
Some babies sleep much more than others. Some sleep for long periods, others in short bursts. Some soon sleep through the night and some dont for a long time. Your baby will have their own pattern of waking and sleeping, and its unlikely to be the same as other babies you know.
It’s also unlikely to fit in with your need for sleep. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps. If you’re breastfeeding, in the early weeks your baby is likely to doze off for short periods during a feed. Carry on feeding until you think your baby has finished or until they’re fully asleep. This is a good opportunity to try to get a bit of rest yourself.
If you’re not sleeping at the same time as your baby, don’t worry about keeping the house silent while they sleep. It’s good to get your baby used to sleeping through a certain amount of noise.
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How To Get Your Newborn To Go To Sleep On Their Own:
- Perfect your naptime or bedtime routine as another positive sleep association. Songs, rocking, hugging, and patting are great ways to help baby calm down. Diaper change, lights down low , and white noise communicate sleepy time.
- When baby is well fed, changed, and not overtired, simply put the baby in their own crib while they are drowsy and let them learn to fall asleep on their own. They will likely stare off into space for a time, if not fall right to sleep. This is okay. This is right!
- In the meantime, you can even help them to sleep in and take longer naps.
Next, well talk about finding and crafting a good routine for a baby that meets all their needs in a timely way that encourages full bellies and rested babies.
How Your Infant Sleeps
Youre rocking, walking, or nursing your baby and her eyelids droop as she begins to nod off in your arms. Her eyes close completely, but her eyelids continue to flutter and her breathing is still irregular. Her hands and limbs are flexed, she may startle, twitch, and show fleeting smiles, called sleep grins. She may even continue a flutter-like sucking. Just as you bend over to deposit your sleeping baby in her crib so you can creep quietly away, she awakens and cries. Thats because she wasnt fully asleep. She was still in the state of light sleep when you put her down.
Now try your proven bedtime ritual again, but continue this ritual longer . You will notice that babys grimaces and twitches stop her breathing becomes more regular and shallow, her muscles completely relax. Her fisted hands unfold and her arms and limbs dangle weightlessly. Martha and I call this limp-limb sign of deep sleep. Baby is now in a deeper sleep. You put her down and sneak away, breathing a satisfying sigh of relief that your baby is finally resting comfortably.
NIGHTTIME PARENTING LESSON #1:
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Recognize The Signs That Your Baby Is Tired
Your baby will let you know if they need sleep. Watch for these common signs of tiredness:
- Looking away from you
Dont wait until your baby is overtired to put them to bed. An overtired baby has more trouble falling and staying asleep. Try to stay a step ahead by looking for the signs that they are getting sleepy before they are fussy and cranky.
How Can I Get My Baby Used To Night And Day
It’s a good idea to teach your baby that night-time is different from daytime from the start. During the day, open curtains, play games and don’t worry too much about everyday noises when they sleep.
At night, you might find it helpful to:
- keep the lights down low
- not talk much and keep your voice quiet
- put your baby down as soon as they’ve been fed and changed
- not change your baby unless they need it
- not play with your baby
Your baby will gradually learn that night-time is for sleeping.
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How To Handle Regressions:
- First, determine if its a regression or sleep related. If baby used to sleep well then stopped, its likely a regression.
- Rule out teething or ear aches or other physical discomfort. One time my baby was waking up multiple times nightly for a few nights and I realized he was cold. I felt horrible, obviously. And here I write a blog about baby sleep.
- Keep a semblance of routine. Growth spurts may mean feeding double the amount for a few days until baby and milk catch up, thats fine. But dont completely throw off your routine.
- Do not take the regressions as a sign baby doesnt need sleep. Take them as a sign that baby is having trouble sleeping for whatever reason.
Travel And Time Changes
Different time zones, strange beds in strange rooms, environments that arenât comfortable — there are a host of ways travel can keep you from getting your ZZZs. Try these tips before your trip:
Head off jet lag. Slowly adjust your sleep schedule at home before you leave.
âAbout a week or two before you depart, start shifting your bedtime and wake time in small increments, to more closely match your destination time zone,â says Chisholm.
If youâre going somewhere very far away, wait until you get there and then start by following local mealtimes and sleep times, says Chisholm. Go to bed when night comes, and get up when itâs light.
Try temporary aids. Some people find low-dose melatonin or timed exposure to light to be helpful when they travel. âCorrectly timing these interventions is key for effectiveness,â Chisholm says. âConsult with a sleep specialist if youâre interested in either of these approaches.â
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How To Fix Day Night Confusion Quickly
Again, its perfectly normal for babies to wake at night to feed, but you can have babies who wake only to feed and essentially sleep through the feed.
I know. Ive had 5 babies do it and you can too. You may want to use our daily baby logs to help you keep it all straight.
Sleep Patterns From Birth 3 Months
Newborns sleep A LOT in the early weeks after birth the average newborn needs about 16-17 total hours of sleep! But as you experienced parents know, that sleep is very broken up. Newborns need to eat every 2-4 hours, and most newborns sleep for an hour or two at a time
While these sleeping patterns are exhausting for us parents, rest assured that theyre quite normal and necessary for newborns. Remember that while there are steps we parents can take to improve sleep during the newborn stage and to help our newborns establish healthy sleep habits, its far too early to expect our newborns to stick to a strict sleep and feeding schedule, or to sleep straight through the night without feedings. That will come later.
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Will I Ever Sleep Again
The answer is…YES! Having a newborn baby is exhausting – we know! Infant sleep hours feel erratic and unpredictable at first. But there will be a light at the end of the tunnel! Our newborn sleep schedules will help you decode your baby’s sleep and guide you along the way to sleep success . It will take patience, but our newborn sleep schedules will help you get there.
Dealing With Baby Sleep Problems
All babies change their sleep patterns. Just when you think you have it sorted and you’ve all had a good night’s sleep, the next night you might be up every 2 hours.
Be prepared to change routines as your baby grows and enters different stages. And remember, growth spurts, teething and illnesses can all affect how your baby sleeps.
If your baby is having problems sleeping or you need more advice about getting into a routine, speak to your health visitor.
Keep Night Feeds Dark
Its normal for your baby to wake up and feed several times a night for the first few months. The trick is to feed him and get him back to sleep ASAP.
To do this, avoid turning on bright or overhead lights during a night feeding. Use a soft nursing light so you dont have to turn on any other artificial lights. Keep the room dark as you feed, with just enough light for you to get baby to the glider and back to bed safely.
How To Find A Good Rhythm Routine Or Schedule:
- Determine the average time between feeds. If your baby usually goes between 2.5 to 3 hours between feeds, create a routine based on those times.
- Start your day at a consistent time. Choose a time each morning and feed the baby every single day at that time. Soon your baby will sleep until 7 and thatll be your normal start to the day.
- Write down a feasible schedule that allows 2.5 to 3 hours between feedings with nap times in between each feed. See my sample newborn routine with all its times here.
- Make sure general feeding times dont coincide with other major activities you cant change like car pickup, dinner time, or the bedtime routine of older children. Of course, youll have to be flexible, but take these times into consideration and attempt to feed before or after those events.
- Cluster feed during the late afternoon early evening, more on that here.
- Get the baby sleep routine cards, the baby sleep checklists, AND all 25+ routines for babies aged 6 weeks to 5 years right here.
- Make sure to wake baby up to maintain your routine during the day. Dont let baby sleep for 4 hours during the day because, inevitably, shell need to feed twice during that period at night to make up for it. At night, let the baby sleep as long as they are able between feeds. You determine day, they determine night.
If you still have questions about how to craft a routine, here are my routine archives full of practical tips age by age.
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Feed Unswaddled During Day Swaddled At Night
As I talked about in my post on 11 things you can do now to have a baby who sleeps well for the long run, feeding swaddled at night is key.
If your baby associates swaddle with sleep, you want them to stay in sleepy mode for nighttime feeds.
During the day take off the swaddle so they can feed awake. Or at least more awake.
Ill even strip baby down to diaper if he is nodding off every few minutes and that works a charm.
Being free is associated with daytime and being snuggled is associated with sleep.
Why Do Babies Have Their Days & Nights Mixed Up
Your sweet little baby got used to a lot of movement from you when he was in the womb.
While you were pregnant, you would spend your time moving around throughout the day. You were literally rocking him to sleep all day long. Then, once you sat down or laid down to rest at night, you probably felt your baby wake up and start moving around inside.
This is one reason why your newborn sleeps all day and is awake all night. Its what he is used to!
Babiescircadian rhythm is very immature. It takes 2 to 4 months for it to fully develop, which is why you will see your baby eating every 2 to 3 hours during the night and day.
So while its perfectly normal for your baby to have his days and nights mixed up, it doesnt mean you have to become nocturnal forever. Katie from Sleepwise Consulting says around 6 weeks, many newborns will start to have a shift in their day night confusion and begin to consolidate their night time sleep to 3-5 hours, if not more.
Woo hoo! Thats good news for you mama!
In the meantime, there are some things you can do to help fix your babys day night confusion and get his regular sleep patterns going. And while your baby might not start to sleep through the night for several more months, these tips can help them go longer stretches at night when you need it the most!
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Lights On During Day Off At Night
When youre feeding during the day, keep the lights on or curtains open. This helps communicate daytime to baby. As you approach naptime with baby, dim the lights and close curtains, but help baby associate day with light.
When youre feeding, changing, or situating at night keep lights off.
This means dont turn on a lamp. It definitely means no overhead lights.
Get out your flashlight or a flashlight app on your phone. Seem drastic? Well not as drastic as being up for 3 hours for the next month.
Grab this sample newborn routine, tweak it, and have calmer more peaceful and predictable newborn days.
The Ultimate Newborn Sleep Schedule: Week By Week
Youve come to the right place for your newborn sleep schedule and sleep patterns. I will help teach you how to get your baby on a schedule, how much time in bed is actually needed, and day and nighttime solutions.
When I was pregnant with my firstborn I hadnt babysat a child more than once or twice.
Much less a baby.
Much less a newborn that was as small as my forearm and was always hungry.
I read what I could, studied what I found, and now as a mom of 5 can safely say getting your newborn to sleep well is totally possible.
Ill show you how.
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Dont Let Baby Get Overtired
Dont make the mistake of keeping your baby awake for a long time in hopes that hse will sleep better. Thats just not how it works for babies!
Babies need a lot of sleep, especially those first 6 to 8 weeks. Make sure to follow your babys wake times and sleepy cues and put him down during his wake window, before he gets overtired. Let him nap regularly during the day so he isnt overtired once its time to tuck in for the night.