What Time Is Morning Time?
Baby/Child = aged 4 months- 5 years
This is hot topic right now, the birds are up and singing at around 4am, the sun follows shortly afterwards somewhere near 4.45am and then follows our baby thinking ‘Yay, it’s morning time!’
But no, this is not morning time; morning time reasonably should be anytime between 6-7am. Any time in the morning that starts with a 5 is still night time and any time that starts with a 4 is most definitely in the middle of the night, otherwise you’re likely to have a very tired and grumpy baby for the rest of the day or one that cannot last to enjoy it’s last feed of the day, or dinner, and forget bath time this is just toooo much to cope with!
So what can we do? How can get our baby sleeping until at least 6am if not later?
The first thing to remember is that if your baby was up early then that night they will need to be in bed early. Unless they make up for the early start with extra long naps during the day they’re going to need to make that early start time up somewhere. So aim for an early bedtime of 6 or 6.30pm, in fact whenever you think they need their bed towards the end of the day get them in it, don’t let your child become too overtired! This means bringing forward the bedtime routine accordingly and no it doesn’t mean they’ll wake early again the next morning it will in fact help encourage them to sleep later. Babies and children work in the reverse from adults so don’t ever hesitate to get them into bed early at any time you feel they need it.
Secondly, make their bedroom as dark as you possibly can; masking tape down the edge of their blackout blind, invest in a travel black out blind that sticks to the window, hang up a sheet, anything you can design that works and stops that early morning light getting into their room. Our body clock works by recognising the difference between dark and light, when it’s dark it prepares to rest and sleep, when it’s light it starts to wake and become active, so by preventing the light creeping into the room at 5am you’re helping to keep their body clock in the routine we want.
Lastly, don’t get them up or change location when they wake early, this just encourages the early wake ups to keep happening. For younger babies don’t feed at this time if it’s not part of their normal feed routine in hope of encouraging them to go back to sleep, again this will encourage baby to wake. For older children create a sticker chart with them, praising any decent wake up time with a sticker, use a grow clock. In the mean time find what works to help them go back off to sleep or at least keep them in the cot/bed until 6am hits and they can get up, this may be having intermittent cuddles for reassurance, sitting next to the cot/bed soothing at intervals, leaving the room for short periods of time before going back in to remind your baby/child you’re still there before leaving again.
Be consistent and you’ll find the early mornings will eventually stop and they’ll go back to their original wake up time. Or get in touch and we can talk more in depth about what is happening and find a solution.
Author: Lucy @ www.daysanddreams.co.uk
60 Seconds with…Lucy Smith, Director of Days and Dreams for BabyEm blog
Article for Babies on Board Magazine
Sleep Training Explained...
There is much speculation that sleep training involves leaving your child to cry in their bed on their own until they fall asleep. To the majority of parents this thought is unbearable (myself included) and would never consider seeking help from a Sleep Consultant for that reason. Getting your child to become a great little sleeper does not need to be a heartache. There is always a much gentler approach, this means your child is soothed, comforted and never left alone which in turn means your child is reassured and secure by your presence.
Sleep Breeds Sleep! The more sleep babies have the more they want. The theory that you often hear is ‘because our child hasn’t slept all day surely this means they’ll sleep extra well tonight!’ This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact it generally means they’ll have trouble falling asleep and what’s more have trouble staying asleep. The reason is, if a child doesn’t go to sleep at the physiologically appointed time their brain releases a hormone called cortisol which keeps them awake. They will get that ‘second wind’ and that window for sleep has gone! Then, thanks to residual cortisol in their brain they’ll wake up early the next morning too, be overtired and probably have trouble napping that next day too... and so the problem continues.
We all sleep in cycles; we sleep in a pattern of light sleep, deep sleep, and partial awakenings. As adults we generally don’t remember our partial awakenings, this is because we have the techniques instilled in us to be able to get ourselves straight back off to sleep. However, babies and children need a little help with this, they need to be taught the techniques to be able to self soothe themselves back to sleep.
If you have been thinking ‘why can’t I get my child to sleep?’ the answer is it’s not your job to get them to sleep, that’s their job! Your job is to teach them the way.
The best way to teach your baby/child good sleep habits is to follow three simple rules:
- Create a good sleep routine
- Put your baby/child down for their sleep awake
- Be consistent
How does sleep training work?
If you are suffering with lack of sleep; are finding it hard to get your little one into a good sleep routine; or you just don’t know where to start, you may decide to enlist the help of a Sleep Consultant. Most Sleep Consultants will ask you to answer a specific list of questions which will involve looking at the day and night routine of your baby/child, their sleep environment, and everything else you do surrounding sleep times. From that your baby/child’s very own sleep plan will be developed that is tailored to their specific needs. You will be talked through this plan in detail for you to follow consistently for two weeks. Two weeks is roughly the amount of time it takes to change any set behaviours or habits in a baby/child. The Sleep Consultant will be on hand to support you, guide you, and answer any questions or worries you may have throughout the whole two weeks of sleep training.
Why use a Sleep Consultant?
‘After about a week my son was putting himself to sleep at night and at every nap in his cot and he was settling himself back to sleep if he woke up! If you're struggling with lack of sleep and wondering if a sleep consultant could help then I would say absolutely YES!" Rachel, David and Henry 6 months.
‘The change in her was so dramatic and the results were so quick, I couldn't believe that we had our baby sleeping through the night after just over a week. I would never have been able to do it alone.’ Lauren, Harry and Pippa aged 5.5 months.
‘It really helped having the plan written down so both me & my partner can read it and both stick to it, instead of us both trying something different.
It's helped me to feel confident about 'night' time & meant I can go back to work not worrying about how much sleep I will get each night!
Wish I had asked for help sooner!’ Karen, Boris and Georgia aged 8.5 months.
Lucy Smith, Days and Dreams Baby and Child Sleep Consultant