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There’s no question that having a baby interferes with sleep for everyone in the home. Late nights, overnight feedings, early mornings, and the general sleep patterns of an infant are not great for adults. Of course, there are those postpartum night sweats to deal with too — often a new mom isn’t just awake because of the baby. It turns out that your body temperature and sleep are closely related. If you can regulate it better, you’re in for a much more restful night.

Body Temperature Affects Circadian Rhythm

Your circadian rhythm regulates many of your body’s most important functions. Your heart rate, hormones, blood pressure, and body temperature, as well as sleepiness, are internally regulated by it. Circadian rhythms can also be affected by outside stimuli such as sunlight or temperature.

In a 24-hour period, your internal temperature fluctuates a few degrees. It can range anywhere from 96 to 100 degrees, with 98.6 being the average. When it’s time to go to sleep, your body naturally cools to the lower end of the range. In the morning, it rises to signal that it’s time to wake up.

At bedtime, when the external temperature is too cold, your body uses extra energy to stay warm. When it’s too warm, your body is fighting overheating. And that’s not considering night sweats common to postpartum moms.

Calm and Cool is the Rule for Sleep

Experts recommend keeping your sleep space cool, dark, and calm. Keeping a regular bedtime, limiting exercise, alcohol, and screens before bed, and watching daily caffeine use are all sleep hygiene recommendations repeated by professionals in the field.

Since body temperature and sleep are so integrated, what can you do to regulate that external temperature? The question is even harder when there are two of you who might not agree on where to set the thermostat. Luckily, we found two excellent solutions. The BedJet® cools and heats you through your duvet or top sheet, and the Chili Pad Cube heats or cools you from underneath your fitted sheet.

Read about each one and keep scrolling to enter to win either a BedJet® or ChiliPad Cube.

The BedJet®

The BedJet® works by pulling the coolest air in the room from the floor. It sends a quiet stream of air using convective and evaporative cooling to keep you comfortable in bed. Sleep Lady team member Jessica had a chance to test-drive the BedJet®. Here’s what she had to say:

I’m a first-time mom with a busy toddler. I’ve experienced severe postpartum night sweats for the last 17 months. Not only that, I’m on medication for postpartum anxiety with the side-effect of — you guessed it — night sweats. Losing sleep after a baby is expected, but when it stops being the baby’s fault, that’s miserable. Learning that Bet Jet might help me with my body temperature and sleep was practically a dream come true, and I was excited to try it out.

The BedJet® addresses body temperature and sleep by pulling the coolest air in the room from the floor

Using the BedJet®

Set-up was simple. I have a California King bed and the motor easily fits underneath my bed frame. Its slim profile stays discreetly tucked under my duvet cover and sheets.

It was easy to download and configure the application — BedJet® immediately connected to my iOS device. I love having the option to use this feature-rich app. I nearly burst into tears when I read the setting, “Nightsweat Dry”.

You can set the exact temperature and air flow, and save the settings. It is truly custom in every way. It’s amazing to be able to choose a custom setting depending on the season and weather!

The Single BedJet® V2 can cool or warm one side of the bed — that’s what I tested. They also have a full BedJet® V2 that can custom cool or heat both sides.

Temperature and Air Flow

I previously tried a mattress fan that my husband gave me for Christmas last year. I was so excited to finally have a night sweats solution, but unfortunately it didn’t work as expected. BedJet® not only has an air flow control, but it literally blows up your bed and sheets at 100% so you have complete control on how much hits your body. Its quiet operation is a soothing background noise similar to your HVAC.

In addition to airflow, BedJet® controls the temperature, and that’s a key feature. I assumed that if I was having night sweats, then I needed a fan to cool me off. With Bet Jet I quickly learned that I need to set my temperature between 83-87 degrees with 65% air flow to sleep comfortably all night long. I started with the pre-set that the Bet Jet app provides called “Nightsweat Dry” to see how that felt. It was nearly perfect.

I would recommend Bet Jet to anyone, even without night sweats. If you live in a cold environment, climbing into a cold bed during winter is the worst!  The “turbo” setting shoots a 109-degree air at 30% air flow for 5 minutes. During the hot summer months when your house gets up to 78-79 degrees, BedJet® would be a perfect way to sleep through a hot summer night.

The Single BedJet® V2 can cool or warm one side of the bed — that’s what I tested. They also have a full BedJet® V2 that can custom cool or heat both sides.

Check out all the BedJet® products, here.

The ChiliPad Cube

The ChiliPad sits on top of your mattress and has a temperature range of 55 to 110 degrees. It works by circulating water through a network of tiny tubes. A Single Zone ChiliPad Cube uses a mattress pad and a cube unit that allows one person to control the temperature on their side of the bed. That’s perfect for the new mom with night sweats, or when one person doesn’t have any sleep obstacles.

The Dual Zone ChiliPad Cube works the same way, but incorporates two cubes and one pad, allowing each person to control their own temperature on their side of the bed.

The ChiliPad sits on top of your mattress and has a temperature range of 55 to 110 degrees. It works by circulating water through a network of tiny tubes

Both ChiliPads come with a controller that allows you to change your temperature without disrupting your partner. They fit any mattress and sit underneath the fitted sheet on your bed. The product comes in standard bedding sizes, with a 90-day satisfaction guarantee and a 2-year warranty. You can browse ChiliPad products, here.

The ChiliPad Cube is endorsed by sleep expert, Michael J. Breus, PhD. Dr. Breus is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine. Read more about Dr. Breus, here.

Body Temperature and Sleep go Hand-in-Hand

Getting yourself and your partner to the right temperature at night can mean many more happy mornings. If you have an infant or young baby, they’ll eventually be sleeping. Postpartum night sweats will also subside. But proper sleep temperature will keep you comfortable and rested for the long haul.

Win a ChiliPad Cube or BedJet®!

Win a BedJet Climate Comfort System or a Chilipad Cube

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends by clicking below, or ask a question on The Sleep Lady Facebook page.

The post Your Body Temperature and Sleep: Products for Better Rest appeared first on Baby Sleep Coaching by the Sleep Lady.

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Many parents wonder what a ‘typical’ schedule looks like for their child. The truth is that every baby is different, but there are some baby nap basics that work for most children six months and older. If you have a younger child, I would encourage you to follow their natural sleepy-time cues for naps and nighttime sleep, and I will write about newborn sleep in a different article.

I’ve already written about the recommended hours of sleep for your baby, so I thought I would revisit the topic of schedules, specifically about naps. The goal of napping is to allow your baby to complete a sleep cycle and get refreshing sleep, which means that the absolute minimum time for a nap is 45 minutes. Anything less and you’re looking at a “disaster nap.”

In order to encourage a healthy nap and nighttime schedule, six months is the perfect time to start employing my ‘drowsy but awake’ practice, and put your baby to sleep in their crib awake and aware they are being put down. Doing so will begin to teach your baby to put herself to sleep without the need of a sleep crutch such as a bottle, nursing, or rocking.

A Note From The Sleep Lady: Putting your baby to sleep without a sleep crutch is usually easier to begin to employ at bedtimes than naptimes. So if your baby is still relying on a sleep crutch for naps, that’s okay for now. Focus on bedtime first, and once you’ve got that mastered, work on removing the sleep crutch from naptimes.

 

Watch for Sleepy Cues at Nap Time

When you are nap coaching, it’s important to watch your baby closely for sleep cues while you are helping him learn to fall asleep on his own. Some examples of sleep cues are:

• Quieting
• Fussing and whining
• Staring off
• Rubbing ears and eyes
• Losing interest in toys or playing
• Sucking thumb; and, of course
• Yawning

Naps from Six to Eight Months

Between six and eight months, your baby should be taking a minimum of two 1.5 to 2 hour naps or a total of 3-3.5 hours of naps. If your baby is not getting the optimal 1.5 hours per nap, you may want to offer a late afternoon nap just before dinner. The optional third nap should be no longer than an hour to ensure that your baby is ready to sleep again at bedtime. During nap coaching, it is ok to use motion sleep for this third optional nap. This “bonus” nap usually goes away by 9 months if your baby is napping well.

You may have already noticed that your baby begins to give you sleepy cues around 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. and wakes for the day between 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. Often, babies are ready for a nap as soon as 1.5 to 2 hours after the initial wake up, and again in the early afternoon, usually between 2-3 hours from waking from a reasonable morning nap. If your baby hasn’t reached this stage yet, don’t worry. Start keeping a log in case there is a pattern you are missing and focus on making sure your baby is getting enough daytime sleep for their age.

Naps from Nine to Twelve Months

Sometime between nine and twelve months, your baby will most likely give up their third optional afternoon nap if they were taking one, and transition to just two naps each day. They’ll take a shorter, mid morning nap, and a longer, afternoon nap. Be sure that your baby is only napping for about 1.5 hours in the morning. For your twelve month old, the morning nap should be no longer than an hour. Timing at this age is very important. You want to start the afternoon nap approximately three hours after the end of your morning nap. That means asleep within three hours. This is important because if your baby sleeps too long, then she may have trouble falling asleep for the afternoon nap.

For example, your nine month old may wake at 7:00 a.m., take her first nap from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and an afternoon nap beginning at 1:30 p.m., waking between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m.

Your twelve month old may wake at 7:00 a.m., take his first nap from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m., and begin the afternoon nap at 1:00 p.m., waking between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m.

A Note from The Sleep Lady: I should mention that this age can be tricky, as your baby is more alert, and also more aware of the world around him, and may not want to stop playing or people watching. This is a great time to encourage quite time before naps. I suggest that you do an abbreviated bedtime routine, and implement the Shuffle for the entire first hour of a nap if necessary to help get your baby to sleep (for babies who only take an hour morning nap, that means that you would do the Shuffle for the entire nap if you are sleep coaching).

 

Naps from Thirteen to Eighteen Months

As you can see, naps, like your quickly growing baby, are constantly evolving. Be prepared for another naptime change between thirteen and eighteen months, as your baby will likely shift to only needing one nap a day. This nap is typically a two hour-long mid-afternoon nap (perhaps from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.). Hopefully your baby has mastered putting herself to sleep by this last nap change, if not, it’s not too late! And the good news? Most toddlers continue this single nap until they are three or four years old, at which time they can transition to quiet time.

Sleep Tips for Naptime 1. Look for Nap Readiness.

Watch for your baby’s daytime sleep cues. You don’t want to wait until she’s past the point of tired to encourage a nap.

2. Create a Good Nap Environment.

You want your baby to have some wind down time before her nap to help get her ready to transition into sleep. Try to encourage quiet activities such as reading a book, quiet music, or even nursing or bottle-feeding. Just be careful that your baby doesn’t fall asleep while they are eating!

3. A Dark, Quiet Room.

If your baby’s room is bright and sunlit, your baby is not going to sleep. Consider room darkening shades, and even a white noise machine to block outside noise to help create a sleep-inducing environment.

4. Naptime is an Abbreviated Bedtime.

Just like at bedtime, naptime is a time for your baby to sleep. Encourage sleep by putting your baby down drowsy but awake.

Use The Shuffle at Nap Time

Remember that during nap coaching you may need to help encourage your baby to sleep, which means you may be checking on her for a full hour. Review The Sleep Lady Shuffle, and know that she will learn to put herself to sleep in a couple weeks.

To read all of the ins and outs of nap coaching, please to check out my book, Good Night, Sleep Tight. Happy Napping!

 

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends by clicking below, or ask a question on The Sleep Lady Facebook page.

The post Baby Nap Basics for All Ages: Your Daytime Sleep Questions Answered appeared first on Baby Sleep Coaching by the Sleep Lady.

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What happened?!? Your baby or toddler was sleeping well – napping during the day and going to bed smoothly at night – and NOW you can’t get her to sleep no matter what you try. If you and your baby are suddenly very short on sleep — and very cranky about it — you may be facing one of the sleep regressions.

How do I know my baby is having a sleep regression?

During sleep regressions you will likely see some changes in your baby’s behavior and habits. These can include:

  • Increased appetite and frequent feeding
  • New frequent waking in the night
  • Taking short naps or refusing to sleep during the day altogether
  • Increased fussiness and tears
  • Clinginess to mom or dad and reluctance to be with different or new people

All of this can add up to a difficult period of parenting. Less sleep for your baby obviously means less sleep for you, too. And at a time when her demands on you for comfort, nursing or eating, and attention during the day are HIGH.

Why do sleep regressions happen?

According to pediatrician and child development expert, Dr. T. Brazelton, sleep regressions are a normal phase of disorganization in a baby’s body and brain that happen right before, or in the midst of exciting developmental growth. You can think of it this way: learning how to sit up or stand or to see an object and know its name are such hard tasks that your baby’s body and brain can’t stay on top of their other jobs. So sleeping, eating, and even their mood kind of go off the rails! When their new skill becomes more familiar, your baby will be able to keep all of it together better and sleep will settle down again.

How long will sleep regressions last?

Sleep regressions usually last between 2-6 weeks. The good news is that most babies don’t experience every sleep regression between birth and 3 years old. Some developmental milestones are more exciting and more difficult than others for different babies.

What are the typical ages when sleep regressions occur?

Sleep regressions don’t happen at exact ages but they do happen when babies start to change in some important ways developmentally. These developmental ‘leaps’ — as Wonder Weeks calls them — typically happen around specific ages. However, your child may experience them — and the sleep regression that comes with — at different times than other babies their age.

4 Month Sleep Regression

While not all babies will experience all the sleep regressions, most families find themselves struggling with frequent night wakings between their baby’s 4th and 5th months. In this developmental window your baby is starting to see themselves as separate from others – even you! This is also when their sleep patterns begin to change and their deep and light sleep cycles become more distinct. Without going into too much sleep science, your baby is likely sleeping in 45-50 minute cycles. Even babies who were sleeping well can start to struggle at the transition from light to deep or deep to light sleep. What does that mean? Frequent night wakings are really common during this sleep regression and you may find yourself  holding, rocking, and shushing your baby A LOT to calm them down. Read more about the 4 month sleep regression, here.

7 Month Sleep Regression

The sleep regression that occurs between 6 and 7 months old is another one most babies experience in some way or another. Babies are making exciting developmental strides that you can see during this phase. Many 6-7 month olds are learning to sit up on their own and some may even begin creeping or crawling along on their belly. Their eating habits are changing as you begin to explore more solid foods and they start using their pincer grasp to pick food up and feed themselves. Read more about the 7 month sleep regression, here.

9 Month Sleep Regression

Just like at 6-7 months, the 8 to 9 month sleep regression is due to a lot of brain development. Your baby may be starting to crawl, scoot, and even pull themselves up to standing. Many babies at this age struggle at nap time and even in the night as they practice standing up in their crib but can’t yet get themselves back down. Your baby is also beginning to put things into categories, which is the start of learning language. For example, they begin to know that something is a ball no matter what color or size it is. All of this is exciting and can keep even the calmest, mellowest babies up at night and also when they should be napping.  Read more about the 9 month sleep regression, here.

12 Month Sleep Regression

Babies around 1 year are adding even more skills to their tool box. The language that was just conceptual or just noise a few months ago is becoming recognizable to adults around them. They may be able to say ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ — though not always for the correct person — and even say one or two additional words. They’ll soon be able to walk and are practicing by pulling themselves up on EVERYTHING and even taking a few steps holding your hand or a piece of furniture. What does all of this have to do with their sleep? Your baby may be waking early from their naps or even refusing them altogether. Babies that were sleeping well through the night may be waking frequently again. Read more about the 12 month sleep regression, here.

15 Month Sleep Regression

At 15 months your toddler may be in the midst of two major changes — walking independently and transitioning to one nap per day. Babies this age seem to be on the move CONSTANTLY as they practice walking (and falling) everywhere! Some are so focused on practicing this exciting new skill they may have trouble quieting down to sleep. The transition from two naps per day to one can also be bumpy. Less daytime sleep can leave your baby overtired at bedtime and harder to get to bed smoothly. Being overtired can even contribute to more night waking.  Read more about the 15 month sleep regression here.

18 Month Sleep Regression

Your toddler dropped from two naps to one and you thought you were in the clear. At 18 months you may find yourself waking, from out of nowhere, to a shrieking baby in the night. Perhaps you’re even fighting to get that one nap during the day, AGAIN! Children begin to really expand their language skills around this age and are becoming more independent with their play, movement, and eating. This increased independence can also equal an increased will, so you may  notice your toddler experimenting with tantrums during the day and at sleep time. Read more about the 18 month sleep regression, here.

2 Year Sleep Regression

Your toddler’s language is now getting more sophisticated and he’s experimenting with new words and phrases including “No!” During this period of development he’s also learning about consequences and cause and effect. For example, what happens when Daddy asks me to sit down at the table and I yell, “No”? Toddlers at this age understand that they have a choice about things and many parents find their child begins experimenting with the power of this choice at bedtime and at naps. Read more about the 2 year sleep regression, here.

3 Year Sleep Regression

As children leave the toddler phase, some may experience a final sleep regression around age 3. As your 3 year old’s world gets bigger, fears and phobias can crop up and be especially upsetting at night. Bad dreams, requests to check the closet and insisting that someone stay with them at bedtime are common at this age. Three is also the age when many families embark on potty training. The logistics of dropping diapers at night and the developmental leap it is for children to be aware of their need to use the bathroom can disrupt their sleep. Read more about the 3 year sleep regression, here.

Sleep Regressions are Just a Phase!

No matter what ages your baby or toddler experiences their sleep regressions, it takes a lot of work from you to get through it smoothly. You will need to support their body and brain while they discover whatever new skill or understanding of themselves and their world is keeping them awake. Read about the sleep regression for your child’s age to learn more strategies for surviving sleep regressions. And remember that this phase is temporary and a normal part of your baby growing up into a bigger, bolder, and older child!

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends by clicking below, or ask a question on The Sleep Lady Facebook page.

The post Sleep Regressions — What Are They, and When Will They End? appeared first on Baby Sleep Coaching by the Sleep Lady.

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You’ve been here before – maybe when your baby was 7 months old – and you are REALLY tired. Your baby is waking early from his naps and up all night—perhaps out of nowhere!.. If your child is in the midst of another sleep regression, you’re both cranky and stretched to your limit! It must be the 9 month sleep regression.

How to Spot the 9 Month Sleep Regression
  • Increased fussiness
  • Multiple night wakings
  • Fewer naps or short “disaster naps
  • Changes in appetite

Somewhere between eight and ten months, your baby begins to develop his gross motor skills and may start crawling or even pulling himself up onto furniture. Many parents find their child practicing these skills at nap time or in the night, pulling themselves up on the side of their bed and then wailing when they can’t figure out how to get back down. Some motivated babies in this age range even start to walk! As your child explores “moving away” from you and becomes more independent, he may also become more clingy and be awake and upset in the night as a result.

Your 9 month old baby’s brain is in the midst of major developmental changes, too. Around this age babies begin to categorize objects and people and understand that not everything is the same. They may also learn that there are sequences to the way things are done and be interested in stacking cups, blocks, and groups of objects — like shoes.

How to Support Your Child in the 9 Month Sleep Regression

To support your child in this exciting and, admittedly, difficult phase consider these strategies:

  • Let your child know when you are leaving and coming back
  • Make time for extra snuggles and one on one play at the end of the day
  • Help your baby practice getting down from standing during the day
  • Keep a predictable nap and bedtime routine
How do I get through this sleep regression?

The best and biggest piece of advice for weathering these challenging regressions is to remember they are temporary. Your baby WILL get back to his usual sleeping and eating  routines soon.

What you can do to help your child sleep better and weather this phase smoothly:

  • Be flexible. You may not be able to count on long daytime naps to give you a break or for bedtime to be smooth and relatively quick. Recruit some help — or even just moral support — from your partner, family, or friends to give yourself a break or a boost
  • Respond to your baby. It’s good to cuddle and feed her more and to take more time at bedtime or meals right now.
  • Be patient and supportive while your baby is frustrated or out of sorts — especially given how hard their brain and body are working
  • Stick to your GOOD habits. While it’s important to be supportive and responsive to your child, don’t fall back on old sleep habits or create new ones out of desperation. Resist the temptation to nurse or rock your baby to sleep — use The Shuffle strategies to comfort and calm him if he’s having a tough night

It might be hard to imagine it when your baby’s sleep challenges are difficult, but this sleep regression will pass just like the others before it. And if you find yourself with new unwanted habits or sleep challenges that don’t resolve on their own, check back in to this blog or consider speaking with a Gentle Sleep Coach.

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends by clicking below, or ask a question on The Sleep Lady Facebook page.

The post The 9 Month Sleep Regression — What to Expect appeared first on Baby Sleep Coaching by the Sleep Lady.

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Just when you thought you’d tackled the 12 month sleep regression and could count on some quiet nights of good sleep, your 15 month old is up in the night and upset! Time for the 15 month sleep regression!

Another Sleep Regression?

While not all babies will experience every single sleep regression, others hit every single one and it can be grueling. As with 4 months, 9 months, and 12 months, you know you’re in the middle of a sleep regression when your baby is experiencing the following:

  • Increased fussiness
  • Multiple night wakings
  • Fewer naps or short “disaster naps
  • Changes in appetite

All sleep regressions occur because your child’s body and brain are preparing for — or right in the middle of — a major developmental change. As adults it’s hard to really understand how challenging this time can be for babies. We certainly don’t remember what it was like when we went through it. But as your child is learning a new skill (like walking ) or realizing something new and amazing about their world (that objects fall to the ground when you drop them), their bodies and brains are working HARD. So hard, in fact, that they just may not be able to keep up the skills and strategies they have learned to calm themselves, to sleep quietly through their sleep cycles, and even to play happily on their own.

What’s happening to my baby?

Two major changes happen around 15 months of age. Many toddlers are learning to walk independently, and most begin transitioning from two naps  to one nap a day. No matter where your child is on the spectrum of walking — still holding on to your hands or running across the room into your arms — they are likely on the move A LOT! Just like when they learned to sit up or to crawl, you may find your toddler practicing her new skills in bed instead of sleeping. She may be more excited to walk around her room at bedtime than to sit and read a book, or lie on the changing table for her diaper and jammies, than she is to go to bed!

At her 12 month sleep regression your toddler may have faked you out, appearing to be ready for only one nap per day when she really still needed two. Now, at 15 months, that transition is real and appropriate, but not easy! Some days she refuses her nap altogether and is ready to keep playing when you get her up and out of her room. Other days she may fall apart by midday and fall asleep in the car on afternoon errands. Other toddlers will come unraveled in the evening as their bodies transition and adjust to less sleep. Overall, bedtime (and nights) may get rough. Less daytime sleep can leave your baby overtired at bedtime and harder to get to bed smoothly. Being overtired can also contribute to more night wakings.

How to Support Your Toddler During the 15 Month Sleep Regression

To support your toddler in this exciting, and admittedly difficult phase, try these strategies:

  • Give your child extra time to settle down in the evening with quiet activities
  • Reassure your toddler by being loving and calm when they melt down
  • Be flexible about naps. Some days she’ll need one, some days she won’t
  • Keep a predictable nap and bedtime routine
  • If your toddler needs sleep coaching, don’t transition them to one nap until they are sleeping through the night
What can I do to get through this regression?

Remember that sleep regressions are temporary — usually between 2-4 weeks. To get through this regression smoothly, try to be flexible. You may not be able to count on long daytime naps every day and you may have to move bedtime earlier on days your toddler doesn’t nap well. Respond to your toddler. Being patient and supportive while your baby is tired or frustrated, its appropriate — especially given how hard their brain and body are working! Stick to your GOOD habits. While it’s important to be supportive and responsive to your child, don’t fall back on old habits or create new ones out of desperation. Resist the temptation to nurse or rock your toddler to sleep. Your child will get back to better sleep habits soon.

Sleep regressions pass and your toddler will have newfound skills and confidence to show for it. And just think what fun you can have when your child only takes one nap per day! If, after trying your best to get through the 15 months sleep regression, you find yourself with new unwanted habits or sleep challenges that don’t resolve on their own, check back in to this blog or consider speaking with a Gentle Sleep Coach.

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends by clicking below, or ask a question on The Sleep Lady Facebook page.

The post The 15 Month Sleep Regression — What to Expect appeared first on Baby Sleep Coaching by the Sleep Lady.

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Congratulations! You’ve made it out of the phase of intense and frequent sleep regressions. Yes, your child’s sleep will sometimes be affected by major changes for the rest of their lives. Face it, we are all sleepless now and then. Starting a new school, moving homes, and travel can throw any child’s sleep off temporarily. But the rapid pace of developmental changes — and sleep regressions — that babies experience in their first 2 years has slowed by now. Even so, the 3 year sleep regression is one last classic sleep interruption that may have you and your child up at all hours.

Are you in the midst of the 3 year sleep regression? Consider these common signs:
  • Your child gets out of bed and comes to your room multiple times a night and it feels like it’s out of nowhere
  • Your child resists letting you leave at bedtime, coming up with endless reasons for you to stay
  • Although they were sleeping until 6:30, your child is suddenly waking earlier than 6
Fears and Phobias

Just as in all the sleep regressions you have experienced before, the 3 year sleep regression happens because of major developmental growth in your child’s brain and body. While the temper tantrums and defiance that made your 2 year old supremely challenging to parent may have passed, your child could still be pushing you in new ways.

With each developmental leap they’ve made so far they’ve gained independence. This is an age where children commonly run away from their parents and caregivers during the  day. They’re independent at the park, into preschool, down the aisles of the grocery store, but can’t be parted from them at night. Sometimes, as their world has grown bigger with each step and word they’ve learned, so have their fears. Their imaginations have also grown right alongside their other skills and parents may start to see their 3 year old afraid of monsters or other imagined threats at night. By this age, your 3 year old may also have a pretty firm grasp on language and be perfectly comfortable ordering you around at bedtime to delay sleep. Do requests for more sips of water, more stories, and to lie down in their bed sound familiar?

Potty Training

If your 3 year old has started potty training it can impact bedtime and night time sleep, too. Some children are thrown off by wearing underpants during the day but putting on a diaper for bedtime. Using the potty can be a convenient delay tactic at bedtime — and a VERY confusing one for parents! How do you know if they really need to go to the bathroom again ? But what if they really do? You don’t want to have accidents or setbacks! And it’s not hard for you to imagine the tricky transition to sleeping without diapers. There WILL be accidents along the way that have you and your child up in the night changing sheets and jammies. Here’s what can you do to make potty training work with your child’s sleep, rather than against it:

  • Make sure a last trip to the toilet is part of your bedtime routine
  • Consider purchasing a set of waterproof pads for their bed — to save the mattress and make clean up simpler.
  • Keep extra sheets and jammies next to the bed and ready.
  • If your child refuses to wear diapers or is ready to sleep without them but is still learning to get up to pee in the night, consider purchasing jammies with built in protection.
  • Your child may not be ready for staying dry at night. Check your family history and talk to your doctor.
Sleep Regressions Require Patience

All sleep regressions ultimately require patience. They are temporary phases that your child will grow out of, but they can be SO hard. To help you and your child get through the 3 year sleep regression smoothly, try these tips:

  • Talk to your child about their fears during the day — naming it takes its power away!
  • Spend fun playtime in their room to strengthen positive associations that keep night time fears at bay
  • Keep a regular and early enough bed time
  • Make your pre-bed routine calming and affectionate to help reassure a child who’s struggling to separate with you at bedtime
  • Consider adding a small training potty in their room for overnight use
  • Stick to your GOOD sleep habits and avoid creating new ones you don’t want to have after the sleep regression passes
  • Have a clear and supportive plan for helping your child learn to use the toilet on their own

Do you need more resources on potty training? See some ideas and strategies for potty training, here.

Do you need help getting back on track with good sleep habits? Read this post on The Shuffle for children in beds, or contact a Gentle Sleep Coach in your area for personalized support.

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends by clicking below, or ask a question on The Sleep Lady Facebook page.

The post The 3 year Sleep Regression — What to Expect appeared first on Baby Sleep Coaching by the Sleep Lady.

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Happy Mother’s Day! Moms have a hard job, so we decided to make it a little easier with the best posts to help moms sleep, be well, and be the best mom they can be.

Gentle Sleep Training with The Sleep Lady Shuffle

Are you a new mom? Get started with sleep by learning how you can teach your baby to fall asleep and stay there with The Sleep Lady Shuffle.

The Working Mom and Sleep Coaching – Is It Possible?

Staying up all night is hard. Staying up all night and going to work all day? That’s impossible. Learn about getting into a good routine with your baby while trying to stay on top of things at work.

8 Tips To Get Mom More Sleep — Mother’s Day and Every Day

There isn’t a mom on earth who couldn’t use some more sleep. Read valuable tips on how to get your much-needed shuteye.

Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression? Learn the Difference

Many moms suffer from “baby blues”. Sometimes it’s more than that. Learn the difference between baby blues and postpartum depression and anxiety and how to get the help you need.

Mindfulness Parenting with Jennifer Waldburger, MSW

Be the best mom you can be by practicing mindfulness parenting. Read about keeping yourself centered while you stay present and connected to your children.

This mother’s day, give yourself just a minute to breathe, scroll, and bookmark.

 

Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends by clicking below, or ask a question on The Sleep Lady Facebook page.

The post Happy Mother’s Day — The Best Posts Featuring Mom appeared first on Baby Sleep Coaching by the Sleep Lady.

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You’ve probably seen this before when your baby was around 4 months, and it WASN’T fun. Your baby, who got through the last sleep regression and was finally sleeping well day and night, is suddenly waking early from her naps and up all night. You’re tired and she’s tired — it’s the 7 month sleep regression in full swing.

You know it’s a sleep regression when your baby is experiencing:
• Increased fussiness
• Multiple night wakings
• Fewer naps or short “disaster naps”
• Changes in appetite

Sleep regressions happen at various ages in a baby’s first years. Seven months can be a common time when your baby’s sleep habits unravel. Just as at the 4 month sleep regression, huge developmental fireworks are likely to blame for your baby’s sleep troubles at 7 months.

Some amazing new skills are emerging at this age. Your baby’s urge to practice them, his frustration while he masters them, and his uncertainty the meaning of his new skills — does he REALLY want to crawl away from you? — can keep him up, day and night!

Around 7 months your child may be working on or even have newly mastered:

  • The pincer grasp that allows them to hold things between thumb and first finger
  • Sitting up unassisted
  • Creeping on their tummy or even the beginning of crawling
  • Picking up and feeding themselves food

Dr. Terry Brazelton describes this in his book, Touchpoints. In the days and weeks before any major developmental progress, a baby’s normal behavior kind of falls apart. Their sleep, normal eating patterns, and even their overall mood may be temporarily unrecognizable. It takes A LOT of effort for our babies to learn these new skills by trial and error and they may just have less attention to give to their other skills — like sleeping.

How should you respond to this temporary, exciting, and difficult phase?

  • Offer lots of comfort and reassurance — extra hugs and cuddles help
  • More feedings — growth spurts can be part of a sleep regression
  • Avoid over tiredness — stick to naps and consider an earlier bedtime if she seems extra tired or extra fussy in the evening
  • Avoid old (or new!) bad habits — don’t resort to rocking or feeding your baby to sleep. Stay nearby at bedtime and use The Shuffle to comfort and reassure him

Don’t forget that this phase is TEMPORARY. It usually doesn’t last more than 2-3 weeks. While you both may be tired and frustrated now, you will be back to better nights and playful days soon. In fact, your baby may have some new skills to wow you with when it’s over!

 

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends by clicking below, or ask a question on The Sleep Lady Facebook page.

The post The 7 Month Sleep Regression — What To Expect appeared first on Baby Sleep Coaching by the Sleep Lady.

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You were sleeping peacefully…and then you hear your toddler. He’s not just rustling around resettling. He’s screaming mad. Literally. As you drag yourself out of bed, you wonder to yourself what’s wrong? What could be causing your toddler sleep problems? Could this be two-year molars? An ear infection? Is he gassy from eating too much broccoli at dinner? Is his newfound walking (or running!) causing this? Or is it the 18 month sleep regression?

It could truly be any of the above. But it could also be yet another sleep regression. If you’ve survived this long without experiencing the four month or pre-toddler sleep regression, you’re lucky.

What is Sleep Regression?

If you have dealt with a sleep regression before, you may remember these signs:

  • Resistance to Sleep
  • Waking at night
  • Reduced naps (or “disaster naps”)
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in behavior

Sound familiar? Maybe you didn’t notice the signs this time, or you breezed through that last growth spurt. But this? This is something different altogether.

If you recall, a sleep regression is a period when your baby, who was sleeping through the night, suddenly stops. It is a temporary change, normally lasting anywhere from two to six weeks. Most of the time, your baby will begin to sleep through the night again once the cause of the sleep regression has stabilized.

How Many Hours of Sleep Should an 18-Month-Old Get?

At 18 months, a child should be sleeping around 13 – 14 hours total. That’s broken up into eleven hours of uninterrupted sleep at night, and two to two-and-a-half hours of naps. Most 18-month-olds will be taking a single afternoon nap.

RELATED: Sleep Schedules – Your Thirteen to Eighteen-Month-Old

What Causes a Sleep Regression at 18 Months?

Your toddler is learning all kinds of new skills. Whether it’s drinking from a cup, using a spoon, helping choose activities, her world is expanding at a rapid rate. This can lead to increased anxiety and a need to be close to mom or dad.

If your little one hasn’t transitioned to a single nap, or is in the process of doing that, it could be causing some disruption.

Teething is another culprit — some children will be getting both molars and those pointy canines at the same time. Ouch!

When you look at all of the possibilities, on top of increased independence, you are no longer dealing with a simple sleep regression. You’re dealing with a little person who can choose to refuse to sleep. That’s right. Some children will consciously refuse sleep. It’s a control issue. Thankfully, this is temporary.

Some children will consciously refuse sleep. It’s a control issue. Thankfully, this is temporary

5 Tips to Help You Deal with an 18 Month Sleep Regression
  1. Understand this is temporary. That thought alone may save your sanity when your child is crying and refusing to nap.
  1. Do what you can. If you have a very independent little one, they’re going to test, and that’s okay. Just do what you can to encourage them to sleep. Make sure you have good nap routines and bedtime routines in place and stick to them. Try to adhere to your flexible schedule as much as possible. Understand that there are going to be some long days and long nights.
  1. Make sure that your toddler gets their naps. Get those naps any way you can. You may have to rely on the car, stroller, or literally run them ragged, but do your best to ensure that your baby is getting her naps. You’ll have fewer struggles at bedtime if your child is well-rested during the day.
  1. Fall back to the Shuffle. When all else fails, remember The Shuffle. You don’t want to create a new sleep crutch that you’ll have to fix later. This sleep regression is temporary, and you want the sleep issues you’re experiencing to stay that way.
  1. Communicate with your Toddler. Remember, part of this is that your toddler is learning to assert himself. Be sure that you give simple instructions and set boundaries with him to help him feel safe. Babies and toddlers need consistency.
How Long is the 18-Month-Sleep regression?

You may be wondering, “how long does it take for sleep regression to stop?” The good news is, like many parenting struggles, this too shall pass. Your baby should be back to himself in a few weeks. Once the cause of the regression is over — the teeth are through, the new skill mastered — he should settle back into his routine.

If it seems to keep going more than a few weeks, even with your gentle reinforcement, consider contacting his pediatrician. Make sure there isn’t an underlying medical issue before you roll up your sleeves and get back into sleep training.

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends by clicking below, or ask a question on The Sleep Lady Facebook page.

The post 18 Month Sleep Regression: How to Get Your Toddler Back to Sleep appeared first on Baby Sleep Coaching by the Sleep Lady.

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Bedtime stories are a part of almost every family nighttime routine. Reading is a screen-free, quiet activity that allows babies and children to calm down before it’s time to go to sleep. Reading stories to young children has benefits beyond a bedtime routine, though.

The American Academy of Pediatrics studied the brain function of children, age three to five, to see the effects of reading aloud. They found that the areas of the brain that promote mental imagery and comprehension were activated by reading stories. When you read to your child, it helps develop their brain in a way that will help when they begin to read and comprehend on their own.

Talk To Your Baby

Your baby really loves to hear your voice. It doesn’t matter if they understand your words early on. They are picking up speech patterns and tonal differences which help them learn and process language. Additionally, babies can sense your love and affection for them in your voice. Talk and sing to your child as much as you can and they will be learning how much you love them. They’ll also become better prepared to speak for themselves.

Read To Your Baby, Too

Reading books to your child is also important. We may just assume this is a good idea because everyone tells us to do it. But there is more to reading a bedtime story to a baby or toddler than having a calm activity before bed. Pediatricians are now including a discussion on reading and providing books with parents of newborns because it is vitally connected to a baby’s intellectual development. In fact, the AAP has even urged their practitioners to include literacy in their practice.

Scientists think that children are exposed to a broader range and more diverse set of words through picture books. As a result, they are challenged to practice imagining the images suggested through the words. Later on, children who have more practice at this will be better able to make images and stories out of words themselves.

Reading bedtime stories will help foster a close, emotionally rich relationship with your child

Bedtime Stories Bring You Closer To Your Child

There are huge benefits to your child’s development when you read books from an early age. This benefit goes well beyond an educational advantage. Regular bedtime reading will also help foster a close, emotionally rich relationship with your child. In time, it will help build a bridge toward discussion of deep ideas and important subjects that you will help him understand.

Growing a strong parent-child bond over years of snuggles and good books at bedtime is one of the best things about parenting. You may be dog-tired at times, but in 20 years, you won’t regret those 10 to 20 minutes a night you spent reading with your child.

Need a Good Book?

We live in an age where there is an abundance of wonderful children’s literature. There are always going to be more books available than we can possibly read to our child while they are interested, but it sure is fun trying to read them all!

You don’t need to buy them all. Start making regular visits to your local library and you will be amazed at the resources available to you for free. Many libraries allow you to reserve titles online in the comfort of your own home and then pick up your selections already collected for you at the main desk. This is a dream for the mom of young ones!

We’ve compiled a list of books to check out. Some are timeless classics, while others are modern. Most of these qualify as picture books. Picture books contain very few words in relation to the pictures — only about 500 on average — which means that each word is intentional, and the story is concise. This helps your child develop their language skills and encourages engagement through the pictures. A few have a larger vocabulary for older readers. The ages are approximate — these books are as ageless as they are timeless!

Favorite Bedtime Stories

For children who have trouble falling asleep, picture books can also be a good jumping off point for working on visualization. The Sleep Lady Dream Cards are also a great tool for visualization.

So, go ahead and curl up with your little one and a good book. It doesn’t even have to be at bedtime to offer huge benefits to your child.

 

 

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends by clicking below, or ask a question on The Sleep Lady Facebook page.

The post Bedtime Stories: Favorite Books to Benefit Your Growing Child appeared first on Baby Sleep Coaching by the Sleep Lady.

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