Happy Monday and National Nursing Week! Since we are celebrating such an amazing profession, I thought I would share how to establish a healthy sleep foundation!
Babies and children thrive on it. Our role as a parent is to set our child up for success no matter what the situation may be. When we are consistent in our responses to them they feel safe and secure. Try your best to make each sleep situation as consistent as possible, especially in the beginning when you're working to improve their sleep. Create a plan and stick with it! following a consistent bedtime routine, that works for the entire family is important. Typically 30 minutes is a great length, so that it acts as a queuing system to prepare our children for sleep, both mentally and physically.
Understand Awake Periods
1-3 months - Can be awake about 45 minutes to 1.5 hours at a time
3-6 months - Can be awake roughly 1.5-2.5 hours at a time.
6-9 months - Can be awake roughly 2.5-3.5 hours at a time.
10-12 months - Can be awake roughly 3-4 hours at a time.
1-3 years old - Can be awake roughly 4-6 hours at a time.
Understanding that every child may have a different awake time is very important. During our initial assessment we will evaluate what is an appropriate awake time for you little one.
Recognizing Tired Signs
Parents often don't realize their baby or child is tired until they are crying, whining and cranky, refusing to breastfeed and just inconsolable and by this point, very often the child is approaching the end of their 'sleep window,' which is the period where they will most easily drift off to sleep. Once they become overtired we begin to see irritability, crankiness and crying, and very often if they become too overtired, children will begin to act hyper as their body responds to stress hormones that are secreted when we don't get the sleep we need. We want to encourage sleep before our child or baby enters this over tired stage. A line I often here is “but she seems so happy right now” that is a great time to start getting your little one ready for sleep.
Last but not least maintaining an early bedtime, between 6 and 8 p.m. depending on age, will ensure your child gets enough sleep each night. We want to sure our little ones avoid over-tiredness, and have the opportunity for a longer period of time in the 'deep sleep' stages of rest. This will also allow parents to have some time down time for themselves in the evening.
This blog was originally published here.