Whole Child Sleep Podcast
By Myra Hartzheim
Whole Child Sleep PodcastNov 08, 2023
Unlocking the Potential: 3 Powerful Gentle Considerations for Holistic Sleep Training of Breastfed Babies
Caring for a baby involves myriad challenges, and among the most pressing is the establishment of healthy sleep patterns; sometimes, gentle sleep training is needed. Last week, we examined the ultimate readiness checklist for sleep-training babies.
This week, we address a relevant question that strikes a chord with many parents. Specifically, we explore how to assist an 8-month-old who struggles to fall asleep independently when they are still exclusively breastfed and sleeping in a crib next to the parents' bed.
Amal's concerns echo the common dilemma faced by parents striving to nurture independent sleep skills for their children without resorting to traditional cry-it-out methods. We appreciate her awareness and share her reservations about conventional sleep training. In this blog, we aim to offer holistic suggestions tailored to her unique situation.
First and foremost, trust your parental intuition when it comes to sleep training. If you sense that your baby may find it challenging to self-soothe, this carries significant weight. Understanding the underlying reasons behind your baby's struggle to fall asleep independently is important.
Discern the disparity between leaving your baby to cry alone and being a responsive, comforting presence during the sleep coaching process. Choosing a gentle approach enables you to support your little one as they learn to self-soothe
Remember, you can help your baby cultivate independent sleep skills even while room-sharing or bed-sharing and continuing to breastfeed exclusively. Embracing a gentle sleep coaching process effectively addresses these concerns, allowing you to navigate this journey with care and sensitivity.
In conclusion, we encourage you to prioritize your intuition, consider a gentle and responsive approach to sleep training, and recognize that it's entirely possible to promote independent sleep skills while continuing to breastfeed during the night.
Amal, your approach is commendable, and we understand the challenges you face. If you need further assistance or have more questions about sleep training, do not hesitate to reach out. We're here to support you on this sleep training journey, and we wish you and your little one all the best as you navigate the path to healthy and restful sleep through sleep training.
Sleep Training for Babies: The Ultimate Readiness Checklist
Welcome to the journey of sleep training, your precious little one! Ensuring adequate sleep for your baby is not just about sweet dreams; it's about laying a foundation for healthy growth and development. Establishing healthy sleep patterns early on can significantly benefit both you and your child, providing the rest necessary for their rapidly developing bodies and minds. Below is a comprehensive checklist that assesses whether your child is primed for sleep training, addressing everything from developmental milestones to digestive health.
Researchers have identified that babies are generally more receptive to sleep training around the 4 to 6-month mark when they naturally begin to develop regular sleep patterns (Mindell et al., 2006). This period is also when infants typically start to have the ability to self-soothe, a crucial component for sleep training (Sadeh, 2004).
- Is your baby between 4-6 months old or showing signs of being able to self-soothe?
Proper digestive function is a cornerstone of good health and can influence sleep quality. Issues like chronic gassiness, reflux, and allergies can lead to disrupted sleep (Di Lorenzo et al., 2009). Addressing potential food sensitivities or digestive concerns can lead to better sleep outcomes.
- Baby pooping regularly without signs of discomfort?
- Baby exhibits no persistent gassiness.
- Baby is free from reflux, which could be indicated by persistent crying and arching of the back during or after feeds.
- Baby does not have persistent skin rashes or eczema, which might suggest food allergies or sensitivities.
Healthy breathing patterns are imperative for restorative sleep. Mouth breathing, rather than nasal, can signal underlying health issues, lead to improper jaw development, and affect sleep quality (Bonuck et al., 2012).
- Baby breathes primarily through the nose and does not chronically snore or show signs of breath-holding.
Consistent bedtime routines support the natural circadian rhythm and can enhance sleep quality (Mindell et al., 2015). A calm, predictable sleep environment and routine pave the way for sleep training success.
- A soothing bedtime routine is in place, signaling to the baby it’s time to wind down and sleep.
Conclusion: This checklist provides a multifaceted approach to sleep training readiness, emphasizing that a combination of developmental milestones, physical health, and environmental factors work together to facilitate better sleep for babies. As you begin sleep training, remember to respond to your baby's unique needs with patience and consistency, and consult healthcare professionals if you encounter persistent issues within this checklist. Patience and persistence are your best allies in this journey toward restful nights.
Feel free to watch the overview of this blog in podcast form on YouTube or listen to it on Spotify!
- Mindell, J. A., Kuhn, B., Lewin, D. S., Meltzer, L. J., & Sadeh, A. (2006). Behavioral treatment of bedtime problems and night wakings in infants and young children. Sleep, 29(10), 1263–1276.
- Sadeh, A. (2004). A brief screening questionnaire for infant sleep problems: validation and findings for an Internet sample. Pediatrics, 113(6), e570–e577.
- Di Lorenzo, C., Youssef, N. N., Sigurdsson, L., Scharff, L., Griffiths, J., & Wald, A. (2009). Stool form scale as a useful guide to intestinal transit time. Scandinavian journal of gastroenterology, 32(9), 920–924.
- Bonuck, K., Freeman, K., Henderson, J. (2012). Growth and growth biomarker changes after adenotonsillectomy: systematic review and meta-analysis. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 97(7), 577-586.
- Mindell, J. A., Li, A. M., Sadeh, A., Kwon, R., & Goh, D. Y. T. (2015). Bedtime routines for young children: a dose-dependent association with sleep outcomes. Sleep, 38(5), 717–722.
Rhythmic Bliss: Navigating Sleep Challenges for 7-Month-Olds
In today's podcast, we're diving into a question from Jenna that many parents can relate to—managing sleep for a 7-month-old with an unpredictable schedule, especially after navigating daylight saving time.
Jenna's Concern: Inconsistent Sleep Pattern
Jenna's concern revolves around her little one's inconsistent sleep patterns, with great naps on some days, shorter naps on others, and an ever-shifting bedtime. It's a common challenge, and Jenna, your question is spot on.
Key Insight: Rhythmic Consistency Over Daylight Saving Time
In response, I'd like to emphasize that, in this situation, worrying less about daylight saving time and more about establishing a healthy rhythm for your child is key. When you mention the fluctuating nap durations, it indicates that your baby's daily window might be inconsistent.
Solution: Focus on Last Wake Window
To address this, focus on making the last wake window of the day more predictable. When you achieve consistency in this last window and align it with your baby's natural body needs, you'll notice more consistent and great nap days.
Practical Steps for Parents
For Jenna and other parents facing a similar situation, my suggestion is to set the first nap no earlier than 8:30 AM. However, the crucial aspect here is establishing a consistent last wake window. By doing this, you create a foundation for a healthy sleep rhythm.
Adjusting Nap Times: Secondary to Establishing Rhythm
Jenna, consider adjusting the first nap timing later if needed. Still, the primary focus should be on nurturing a body-honoring rhythm for your child. Once this rhythm is in place, other aspects of your baby's sleep routine will naturally fall into line.
Conclusion: Consistency is Key
In conclusion, Jenna, and all our listeners, don't let the unpredictable nature of daylight saving time overshadow the importance of a consistent daily rhythm. By prioritizing this, you'll find that your little one's sleep becomes more predictable and enjoyable.
Closing Thoughts: Sweet Dreams, Everyone!
I hope this advice helps, Jenna, and to all our listeners, let me know if you found these tips valuable. Tune in next week for more insights on raising whole and well-rested children. Sweet dreams, everyone!
Seamless Daylight Saving Time Transitions for Kids: Tips to Ensure a Smooth Shift
At Cura Sleep Group love making sleep easy, natural, and enjoyable, which is our goal when it comes to daylight saving time. We're here to guide you through the process and ensure a smoother transition for your child.
Step 1: Choose Your Time Frame and Increment
The first step in preparing for the daylight saving time shift is to select the time frame and increment by which you want to adjust your child's sleep schedule. If you have some flexibility, it's perfectly okay to continue transitioning after the time change has already occurred.
For Nappers: Shifting Nap Times
If your little one still takes naps, the strategy here is to gradually delay their nap and bedtime. Let's say you've chosen a 20-minute increment. Over the three days leading up to daylight saving time, start by putting your child down 20 minutes later for each sleep time. If you opted for a 10-minute increment, you might want to begin the transition six days ahead of the time change. The idea is to ease your child into the new schedule.
However, it's important to note that when you start this transition, your child might initially wake up earlier than usual. This is a common response to the change, as their body tries to adapt. The body often compensates for the later sleep time by producing more cortisol, which can lead to early rising.
For Non-Nappers: Adjusting Bedtime
For children who no longer take naps, the process is quite similar, but there are no naps to adjust. In this case, you'll be shifting their bedtime by the increment you've chosen. Just like with nappers, expect your child to wake up earlier initially.
Moreover, it's essential to understand that your child may become a bit fussier and more irritable during the transition. Shifting sleep times affects the entire body's systems and requires a lot of energy and effort. So, patience is key, and know that irritability is a normal part of the process.
- If your child typically sleeps in, start the shift by allowing them to sleep a little longer each morning. This delay helps reset their circadian rhythm to a later wake time.
- If your child usually needs to be woken from a long nap, allow them to nap for a bit longer and move bedtime in tandem with the extra sleep time.
In conclusion, preparing your child for daylight saving time doesn't have to be a daunting task. By selecting the right time frame and increment, you can ease the transition for your little one. Remember, some early waking and irritability are normal during this process as your child's body adapts to a new sleep schedule.
If you have any questions or need further guidance, don't hesitate to reach out. We're here to support you on your journey to better sleep.