It's not always obvious when a child is getting tired... Here's how to recognize "sleep signs" so you can get your child to bed BEFORE they become overtired!
The following question is from Trish, who wrote:
"Help! Why can’t I recognize my three-month-old’s sleep signs? No yawing, no eye rubbing. She seems to go from quite happy to very upset in a split second and then it takes awhile to settle her down and get her to sleep."
Usually when someone refers to “sleep signs,” clear signals that the child is tired, they think of yawning and perhaps eye rubbing. Some signs you may not be aware of though are nose scrunching and ear pulling, anything that has to do with rubbing the face, back arching and turning head into mum's chest. Some of these signs can get mistaken for other needs such as hunger or illness.
Once when I was working with a family the son kept rubbing his nose and he looked tired. Mum replied “Oh really? I thought he just had allergies.” He did suffer from some allergies so I could totally understand this (his allergies were under control)
It’s easy to miss some of the signs of fatigue, but if your child is doing any type of rubbing or pulling, they’re definitely tired. Don’t wait for a yawn.
Trish’s baby seems to go from happy to upset at the drop of a pin. Her baby is probably very good at hiding her fatigue. Sometimes when they start to have feelings of being tired they’ll push through those feelings with perhaps more active play and maybe even get a little hyper. They’ll kick into “overdrive” and almost become a bit manic.
That squirmy baby, the one who doesn’t want to sit on your knee, doesn’t want to stand up, arches their back, crawls around very quickly, laughs one moment and cries the next is a tired baby and ready for sleep.
If your child is happy one second and crying the next, you might have to keep more of an eye on the clock that you do on your baby. A three-month-old like Trish’s baby can handle about an hour and a half of awake time. If she woke up at 8 a.m., then by 9:30, she’s most likely ready for a nap.
In this case, even if they’re calm and happy and not showing any “sleep signs,” I always suggest that it’s better to put them down too soon rather than too late. Sometimes the calmer the baby goes down, the faster sleep comes and it becomes an easier transition for them.
Keeping an eye on your child’s individual sleep signs, along with the clock for those who don’t show any clear signs, will definitely help your child sleep well.
A general rule of thumb which was so useful for me as a second time around parent was how much time our baby's can cope with being awake between naps, this is only a guide and if you want some tailored tips and suggestions for your child get in touch with me for a complimentary 15-Min Sleep Assessment.
I can clearly remember, like most mothers I’m sure, the very moment I gave birth to my first child. I was absolutely buried in feelings of love and gratitude.
And then, about ten to fifteen seconds later, I was equally buried in advice, suggestions, and information - actually it started as soon as we announced we were expecting and was slightly worse with my second child!
This was all thrown at me with the best intentions, but it was overwhelming nonetheless. I can’t imagine the number of times I heard the words, “You should,” “You’ll want to,” and “You’ve got to.” If there’s no such number as a “kajillion,” it should be created specifically in order to measure the number of suggestions a new mother receives in her first year of motherhood.
One of the nicest transitions I experienced with my Son was when we decided to consolidate his two short daytime naps into one big one, right in the middle of the day.
I can’t deny it, I loved the time off in the middle of the day. He went from sleeping an hour and a half in the morning, and a little less than that in the afternoon, to sleeping around 2.5 hours a day, right smack dab in the middle of the afternoon.
That right there might be the single most common question I get asked.
Is it a developmental milestone? A regression? Are they getting too much sleep during the day, or not enough? Maybe they’re just hungry. Maybe they’re too hot, or too cold.
Well, the truth is that it could be any of those things, and it could be a combination of several of them.
What that means, and what you’re probably already aware of, is that baby’s sleep is tremendously complicated
A question I get a lot when working with families, I've been working through your suggestions for about a week now, but I'm having a really hard time keeping my baby awake through her feed at the bedtime routine. What can I do?"
It is time to “spring forward” the clocks in Scotland, Sunday 25th March 2018. It can be a dreaded time for parents of young children because with this, comes an adjustment that does not happen immediately. This is because children tend to be more structured in their bedtime and wake up around the same time each morning and that is why people usually can see a greater affect on children when the time changes.
Oh what to do when your child needs a nap and it’s snowing a blizzard outside with ankle deep snow?
For some people they will be thinking – what is she talking about why would the weather outside matter to nap times….right, BUT if you get this, you know what I am talking about! Your babe wont sleep unless motion, car ride or buggy and you need to keep moving at a steady pace or he wakes up.
As a professional sleep consultant, I hear the term “regression” used in regards to just about every imaginable circumstance. Essentially, if baby doesn’t sleep well for a couple of nights, parents start dropping the ‘R’ word. Some people subscribe to the idea that there’s an eight month regression, a 9 month regression, a 1 year regression, as well as teething regressions, growth spurt regressions, and so on. Others see these as simple hiccups caused by extenuating circumstances.
But the four-month regression, everybody agrees on, and for good reason. It’s the real deal, and it’s permanent.
So in order to understand what’s happening to your baby during this stage, first you need to know a few things about sleep in general. So here’s the science-y part, told in plain English.
Most of us consider snoring just a normal part of life. Maybe we have a partner who snores, or a Grandpa who falls asleep in his easy chair and snores so loud it’s hard on carry on a conversation in the room. We think of it as a common condition, and while it might be irritating trying to sleep beside a snorer, it usually isn’t anything to worry about.
But is snoring normal for young kids?
Raising kids is a huge responsibility, and in this age of social media and easy access to information about anything and everything, parents are easily overwhelmed with feelings of guilt. As a sleep consultant, I often get Mum's telling me how Dad is feeling totally inadequate, and only Mum will do for settling their child to sleep. .
One of the other major contributors to the, “why won't she settle for Dad,” sensation is separation anxiety; that normal but none-the-less challenging part of a child’s life when they start to completely flip their lids whenever Mum’s not around.