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My baby is NOT sleeping well! Key things to consider for baby and toddler sleep


In the first four months of a child’s life, their sleep is disordered and disrupted. The caregivers will be getting up throughout the night to feed and support him or her to sleep. As babies develop, natural circadian rhythms start to develop more of a pattern to their sleep. Between 4-6 months old and onwards is a recommended time to start implementing more of a routine to their sleep if the family wishes to do so, as this is when their sleep patterns start to organise innately. Sleep problems arise for a variety of reasons at different times in a child’s life as their circumstances change and as they develop. There is no, one size fits all for the implementation of a sleep schedule as it is so individual and it is based on lifestyle factors of an infant, primary caretaker and family. The sleep problems of a baby are very different to those of a toddler. The Holistic Sleep Project approach addresses all the elements which can affect sleep both positively and negatively. If your child is not achieving quality sleep or in quantities you would expect these are some areas of consideration;


1. Age of the baby and expectations of parents-infants sleep much more than older babies but sometimes the expectations of parents don’t match the developmental sleep needs of the baby. We have to ensure babies and children have enough sleep for their age and adjust these expectations as the child gets older. In addition, we can’t expect young babies to instantly sleep on their own. Children can be encouraged to sleep using positive sleep associations, The Holistic Sleep Project can help with this

2. Routine and Schedule-having a routine for a baby’s or child’s sleep is vital in the early years. Sleeping at particular times and having a certain amount of sleep is beneficial for children’s development. Not to mention, it makes it easier for parents to have a well-rested child and in term they are happier because they have had enough rest and quality sleep

3. Outdoor activity and stimulation-think about the nights, you sleep better? Is it because you have had a big day of mental and physical exertion? Yes! This is the case for children as well. If they have learnt a new skill or experienced something new and exciting for them this will correlate to better sleep for them

4. Environment-babies were warm and comfortable in the womb and we need to do our best to replicate this kind of an environment in the outside world to optimise sleep. Consider light, noise and warmth for improved sleep

5. Nutrition-the ability for a baby to sleep well and when age appropriate, through the night depends on their nutritional intake throughout the day. Whether it is an infant requiring milk feeds, an older baby that has been introduced to solids or a tricky toddler who is a fussy eater. They all require adequate levels of nutrition to avoid waking related to hunger

6. Connection/safety-a baby needs to secure in order to feel safe enough to sleep. The connection with mother/father/caregivers is pivotal to sleep well

7. Medical- there are a whole variety of medical conditions that can affect sleep. These may have been diagnosed as an infant or can develop as they get a bit older and are yet to be diagnosed. These are considered when working with a family for improved sleep for a child

8. Birth Experience or Trauma-our birth experience affects how we handle the first few months if not longer as a mother. It also affects the child, in particular it can affect their sleep and their attachment to their mother


The Holistic Sleep Project




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