Mind Your Own Business

Sweet Sleep Infant Lying And Yawning On The Bed At Home
 

“Is your baby a good sleeper?”

“Is your baby sleeping through the night yet?”

These are often the first thing people ask as soon as you’ve had your baby, you’re lucky if you’ve announced the birth before it starts!

Everyone is so keen to know ALL about your small's bed behaviour, even the Amazon delivery folk are likely to ask! BUT it really is no-one else’s bed business what’s going down in your bedroom at night.

This bed bugs me because it comes from a well-meaning place but it puts so much pressure on you. If your baby is waking through the night (natural!) you may think you’re doing something wrong or they’re missing the sleep setting and you really don’t need this sleep shiz when you’re just getting to know your baby.

If your baby wakes up during the night you aren’t doing anything wrong and your baby isn’t broken; nocturnal is natural.

In the first few months, your baby’s sleep will go through many sleep stages and you can never bank on saying“ Yes, totally nailed this sleep!” because the next day they change again.

I'm on a mission to share the care and keep the sleep shiz real so let’s take a look a closer look at your baby’s sleep in the first 6 months.

Sleep in the first three months:

This is often called the fourth trimester and you can read more about this here.

Your baby is born nocturnal; they’re likely to spend big chunks of the day sleeping and may be up for long chunks during the night. This is all perfectly natural because they still think they’re in your womb. During the day your movement as you went about your activities soothed your baby to sleep which is why they love movement and rocking! Then at night when all was calm and quiet they would wake and it’s also biologically a safer time to feed our young.

Sleep at this stage is understandably a bit of a free for all! Naps and nights are naturally a little (or a lot!) hit and miss and it’s hard to have a predictable routine as your baby slowly learns the difference between night and day

sleeping-baby

How you can support this sleep stage

This stage is all about getting to know your baby, learning how they communicate and bonding together; there's no such thing as spoiling a baby or bad habits.

You can slowly help them on to a day and night schedule

  • During the day:
  • Keep it light & bright; keep those curtains open during the day!
  • Going outside for some fresh air each day
  • Keep it noisy during the day and carry on your usual daily noise; there’s no need to tiptoe around the womb was a very noisy place
  • Keep day feeds social and chatty; sing and chat to your baby

At night we want to try and do the opposite:

  • Keep it quiet and calm
  • Noise and lights down low
  • By the end of the 4th trimester they usually have made this transition smoothly by themselves
  • Feeding or comforting your baby at night can never spoil them or be a rod for your own back

Sleep at three to four months

By this time your baby will naturally have day and night sussed and sleep may even settle; this is what I call the sleep success stage! This is because your baby’s naps have naturally settled into a more consistent pattern and feeding has been well established. If your baby isn’t getting much sleep they may need a bit more time or a bit of support.

At this sleep stage your baby isn’t producing their sleep hormone melatonin yet on a set schedule so whilst sleep can settle it’s natural that:

  • They may take short and frequent naps during the day
  • Their night time sleep patterns are inconsistent
  • Sleep fact: Your baby doesn’t yet cycle between their sleep and has a very simplistic way of sleeping. They have one type of sleep which is a deep sleep and if they wake once their need is met they usually go back to sleep.

How you can support this sleep stage

  • Watch your nap gaps: at this stage your baby will need a nap around every 1.5 hours during the day
  • This is a great time to establish a gentle bedtime routine
  • Your baby can start to get FOMO (fear of missing out) as they realise there is a whole exciting world out there and they want to explore. If your baby is very alert they may not fall asleep amidst the action so taking them somewhere calm and stimulation free  to nap can help 
baby-cosleeping-with-mum

Sleep at 4 to 5 months:

This is a stage of big sleep changes as they learn a new sleep skill during the 4 month regression.

You can read more about the 4 month regression in my article here: https://www.careitout.com/The-Four-Month-Sleep-Regression

It’s more of a progression than a regression because they develop a lighter sleep cycle and learn to cycle between their sleep. Now when your baby goes to sleep they don’t go straight into their deep sleep but into a lighter cycle first before transitioning into their deep sleep. This means throughout the night they wake and transition between their sleep cycles or what I call sleep surfing.

Your baby may wake more frequently during the night for a bit because like learning anything new it takes time and patience for them to get the hang of their new way of sleeping.

Sleep fact: at this sleep stage your baby still isn’t producing melatonin on a set schedule but they are working towards doing so.

How you can support this sleep stage

This is a time of big change for your baby making them unsettled so I always suggest sticking to their usual routine and rituals as it’s not the time to make big changes

Help them practice their new sleep skill by giving them the chance to put themselves back to sleep at night. Your baby may wake more frequently but just because they are awake doesn’t mean they are asking you for support. When they wake, if there’s no emotional need respect their sleep space. Trust me they will ask you when they need your support! 

5-6 months and over:

By 6 months your baby is through the 4-month regression and their circadian rhythm or sleep system is now fully established meaning they produce their sleep hormone melatonin on a set schedule now.

The good news for sleep is:

  • Naps usually consolidate in length
  • Nap timings maybe more consistent
  • Night pattern can settle down
  • Your baby may be biologically capable of sleeping through the night
  • Nothing really changes much for sleep from here but if sleep isn’t sustainable with me there is always a caring way forward that doesn’t involve crying it out.

How you can support this sleep stage:

There’s no sleep switch that gets flicked on the moment your baby turns 6 months and they don’t all start sleeping through

If your little one isn’t you still aren’t doing anything wrong your baby may not be biologically ready to yet and just need a little more time

There is sleep support out there for you if you need it. Many parents put off reaching out because they worry their sleep consultant will make them do something they don't feel comfortable doing or it will involve lots of crying.

My promise to you is that:

  • Your baby's emotional needs will be met every single time
  • My approach is genuinely gentle
  • I won't tell what you should do
  • I won't ask you to do anything that feels instinctively wrong for you

If you would like to talk about your baby’s sleep or would like some support to get your baby sleeping to their biological best I would love to hear from you Kerry@careitout.com

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Kelly hutsbySleep, Newborn