Where is My Perfect Little Sleeper?!

Where is My Perfect Little Sleeper?!

Did you know that developmental milestones often affect a child’s sleep habits?

Uggghhh! Suddenly, your perfect little sleeper is waking early or in the middle of the night.  Do not panic. When children are reaching a developmental milestone their sleep habits are often affected.

One of the first developmental milestones that affects lots of infants sleep is learning to roll over.  My little man could roll onto his back but like must children he could not roll back over so he would not fall back to sleep.  Instead, he would cry for help to roll back over and then he would be awake for a little while.  This is also the time that most infants are removed from the swaddle to give them the ability to use their arms to roll back over (https://parentingfoundations.com/swaddle-swaddle-loaded-question/).  In this situation, the best way to get back to the lovely sleep pattern is to practice rolling over during the daytime.  Once your child masters rolling over they will simply roll over and go back to sleep.

Child Sleep HabitsThe next few milestones are crawling, pulling themselves up, and walking.  It is very common for infants to try to practice their newly found skill when they have a normal wake period.

Prior to these milestones, your child was probably a great sleeper.  Now you find yourself going into your child’s room to help them lay down because they can stand up but are too scared to get down.  In the moment, this is frustrating; however, it is a sign that your child is meeting one of the many milestones that he/she will achieve at his/her own time.

Now for the confession: Even sleep consultants go through this.

Currently, our little man is waking up at 5:30 AM (YUCK!) to go to the bathroom.  He just started potty training.  We are about 4 weeks into his new ability to use the toilet/potty.  He is extremely proud of himself.  He has surprised both my husband and me with his ability to stay dry from 7:00 PM until 5:30 AM.  I assumed that he would not stay dry overnight.  For the past week he has been waking up and going back to his crib but he does not go back to sleep.  I do understand that this too shall pass.  I am really hoping that it passes soon!

Often it takes 4 to 6 weeks for a new behaviour to become perfected. So I have about 2 weeks left (Ugh!).  The thing that keeps me going is when our little man does his happy dance after he uses the bathroom successfully.

The thing to remember when your little one is going through a developmental milestone is that patience is important and that your little sleeper should return.  I certainly hope our little man masters his new developmental milestone soon and gets back to his lovely sleep habit (7:30 PM to 7:00 AM).

To Swaddle or Not to Swaddle: A Loaded Question

To Swaddle or Not to Swaddle: A Loaded Question

I frequently get asked questions about swaddling a baby.  Some of the questions I get asked are:

  • How do I get my baby to like being swaddled?
  • Why do I need to swaddle my baby?
  • When should we stop swaddling?
  • Will it hurt my baby?

There is so much information out there that it even confuses me sometimes.

The internet is a wonderful thing most of the time (especially for reading awesome blogs) and a confusing place other times.  There is so much information that contradicts each other it can be mind-boggling.

When preparing for this blog post, I read information that stated the following: swaddling can cause hip problems, swaddling helps the baby feel like they did in the womb, and babies have a hard time controlling their arms so swaddling helps them.  So should you swaddle or not?

Quick answer: Swaddle as long as it is done properly.  You will get a quick lesson from the staff at the hospital or from your midwife before you are left with your baby on your own.

You can also find plenty of videos on YouTube to teach you how to swaddle effectively.  My favourite technique was from Dr. Karp author of “The Happiest Baby on the Block.”  My little guy escaped from many swaddles, so I tried many swaddle bags. I finally found the one that he could not get out of – that was a happy moment.

Longer answer: When babies are first born they do not have complete control over their limbs, this muscle control takes time to develop.  In the meantime, babies will wave their arms in their sleep which often results in them hitting themselves which wakes them up.  At about 4 months of age, infants gain the control over their limbs and can be moved out of a swaddle.

Some people report that their baby does not like to be swaddled.  If that is your little one, and they seem to be waking up every 20 minutes, I recommend trying to swaddle them again.

Why and when do I remove my infant from the swaddle?  It is hard to find a swaddle blanket that fits a preschooler!  Children can get used to the swaddle and then it becomes a prop they depend on to go to sleep.

Most babies respond well when you remove the swaddle around 4 months of age when it is done in stages.  I recommend removing one arm for a few days, then remove both arms and tighten the swaddle under their arms for a few days, and then move them into a sleep sack. I recommend the sleep sacks because blankets are not recommended in the crib until at least age one.

Happy swaddling and sleeping!