Here are some tips to help your baby, and you, get a better night sleep.
Babies and children are individuals just like adults, and each baby will need a different amount of sleep to stay healthy and happy. Babies and children often need more sleep during growth spurts and teething. Helping them to be good sleepers early on will help to keep them healthier and supported by the rest they need. The following are some guidelines to help you with minor sleep problems. A more serious sleep problem ie. The following do not work and the baby simply cannot fall asleep or stay asleep, can effectively and quickly be dealt with by a Homeopath and well chosen remedy.
Naps are great and small young babies spend much of their day napping, but napping for children who have trouble sleeping can be a mine field. If your baby has two naps but they are interupted, short, or interfere with sleep at night, cut them down to one nap in the middle of the day. If he/she wakes after less than 1 hour, try for up to 15 mins to put them back to sleep. Ideally, the nap should be 1.5-2 hours at a time. Don’t let her sleep past 3pm as this will definitely interfere with bedtime in a problem sleeper.
Preparing your child for naps:
Make sure your baby has eaten and is full and a comfortable temperature with a clean diaper. Try to make sure that the routine is the same every day for naps and for bedtime. Use the same chair to read a story in or sing a song and rock her if you want. Dim the lights and put her down while using cue words such as “nighty night time” or “bedybies”so that she knows it is time for sleep. The more cues she recieves from you, the more she knows what to expect.
Put her down to sleep by 8pm. If she has not slept since 1-2pm she will be ready to sleep.
Slightly longer than naptime. You can vary the time of the routine (ie. If exhausted, make it quick but if you have more time you can make it longer). Make sure she is full. Put her in the bath with a few drops of lavender oil. Give her a massage with baby lotion or oil. Dress her, read her a story, turn off the lights, rock and sing or just put her down.
** remember that whatever she falls sleep with, she will expect when she wakes up in the night. So the goal is to get her to fall asleep without you present and in the dark. There are many baby steps in between to get there so you don’t need to do this overnight which will obviously upset her.
Once you have the routine down, start to adjust how she is falling asleep. Every time she wakes in the night, follow the same process until you are too tired and then bring her into bed or whatever you need to get some sleep.
There will be a few nights where she will likely cry but this is okay as long as she is not getting hysterical. Expect resistance because she is not getting what she is used to.
Set your goal at one week but it usually doesn’t take more than 3 nights to see a dramatic change. Prepare yourself not to get much sleep for these few days and keep focused on the fact that if you really stick with it, she will be sleeping much better, if not straight through the night.
Night 1: After you lay her down, keep your hand on her if she is crying, rub her back or rock to setter her, but for the last lap as she falls asleep make sure your hand is just resting on her. Say ‘shhhh’ or ‘night night time’.
Night 2: Do not have any physical contact with her for the final lap of falling asleep. Again, if she’s getting worked up, settle her back down with rocking the crib/rubbing but then stop and take your hands away for the final falling asleep. But still use your cue words.
Night 3: after you settle her, do not stay right beside the crib – go to the doorway and use only your key words- go back to settle her if she gets really worked up.
For the training period it should be the same parent doing the cue words/rubbing through the night, however, you can alternate from one night to the next. Do not talk to her except with the cue words.
Once you start these changes, stay as consistent as possible or you will confuse her.
If you have tried these steps and your baby is getting too upset, or they simply cannot sleep, there may be some underlying problem that cannot be addressed by simply changing the sleeping routine or behaviour. Babies who wake very alarmed, in pain from teething, wake frequently from unknown reasons, or who cannot sleep on their own can benefit greatly from homeopathy. Call if you have any quesitons regarding this, or any other health issues facing you and your family, and find out, how homeopathy can help.