Danielle’s Review

Michelle has been absolutely brilliant in helping my daughter sleep through the night. She helped me out immediately with a very clear sleep plan and has been always on the other end of the phone or email since with support and advice. I highly recommend her!

Should my child still need night feeds to help with sleep?

Some of the families’ that ask me for help are at their wits end as they are getting up in the night numerous times to feed their child, many are aged over 12 months of age. This article will outline general guidelines on babies’ needing night feeds and identifying if your child is using you, feeds or both as a sleep association.

Babies do vary in terms of milk feeds in the night depending on their age. Children who are 12 months old and over, should be weaning off their night feeds and contented after their evening milk until at least the early hours of the morning.  Some ‘experts’ feel that babies do not need night feeds from 4/6 months of age. Evidence suggests that with baby led weaning, babies need time to feel confident with food and it’s is not realistic to expect babies to just drop their milk feeds at six months of age. Some children are not eating three meals a day until around 9-12 months so consequently you wouldn’t expect babies to stop asking for night time feeds until around this age.

Below is a general guide to babies’ night feeds but this can vary from baby to baby and breast fed babies will feed more often.

• Newborns to 3 months old: Feedings every 2-3 hours or on demand

• 3-4 Months: -3/4hrly through the night/ on demand

• 5-6 Months: 2/3 feeds

• 7-9 Months: 1 to 2 feeds

• 10-12 Months: Sometimes 1 feed

• 12+ Months: Generally no feeds

Obviously, growth spurts are an exception and you should feed as needed during those episodes. Growth spurts are generally over within a week. Babies’ that are not eating or drinking well due to illness or eating difficulties will require more milk feeds at night.

Problems with sleep associations happen when babies are waking numerous times in the night for feeds but are not actually hungry or feeding.

How can I tell if my baby is not hungry but waking due to habit or a sleep association?

Signs that this may be happening are when older babies’ are waking frequently through the night and are happy to feed or nurse for short periods to help them get back to sleep. Other signs are when children are crying for you to go in and see them regularly through the night. As a health professional I would advise that this attachment is healthy as babies’ will eventually sleep at night when they they are emotionally ready.

Brain maturity in relation to night sleep can happen at different stages for each child. Infant sleep support is delivered when a child is receiving an inadequate amount of sleep for their age and it is impacting on other areas of health and development. Other reasons can relate to over feeding to sleep, anxiety that inhibits sleep or showing no signs of independent sleeping as they grow older. The emotional health of the family must also be taken into consideration as a happy less sleep deprived mum/dad may result in a happier, healthier baby.

Dream Sleepers only use a healthy and gentle approach to sleep support that is recommended by health.

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All my reviews/testamonials are genuine clients and I do not use friends/family to boost my profile😊

Susie Zaffran’s review

Evening all! Just wanted to let you know that Michelle Long is a fab sleep trainer and I highly recommend! We called Michelle because our 2.5 yr old son started waking up several times in the night and was difficult to settle. Michelle’s 10 day plan was gentle, sensible and effective. Plus the 4 hours of support over phone was fab. Michelle really knows what she’s talking about and she has literally saved us from the despair of sleep deprivation. Thank you Michelle. We are incredibly grateful!

Susie Zaffran

 

 

 

Bedtime anxiety in older children

Is your child too worried to sleep? Twenty to thirty percent of school-aged children struggle to get to sleep and stay asleep all night, and anxiety is a common culprit. When kids don’t sleep, parents don’t sleep, and your whole household becomes an overtired and irritable. Here are 10 ways to end the worries and help everyone sleep better.

For some children , the major cause for worry is the fear that they won’t be able to sleep. Some kids even start worrying about sleep hours before bedtime. Or they wake up in the middle of the night and start worrying that they won’t be able to fall back asleep– and so they don’t. Yes, it’s irrational thinking, but trying to talk reason into your child usually doesn’t work in this situation. Instead, break the worry cycle and help your child learn to fall asleep. It’s a skill that will last a lifetime.

Top tips

Sit on your child’s bed, have a cuddle  and talk about whatever is on their mind. Set limits– when you say it’s time to go, it’s time to go. Don’t give into whining about “don’t leave” or “sleep with me all night.” Tell your child in advance that you want to spend some special time with them but that you can’t stay too long.  Listen rather than talk as just letting your child to all the talking  will allow your child to solve their own worries. Every once in a while you get a chance to give them the wise words they need to hear, and you’ll be their hero.
Allow your child to self-regulate his or her bedtime: A parent’s role is to put your child to bed– not to make them go to sleep. Keep wake-up time consistent with an alarm clock. If a child can’t sleep, allow him or her to read in bed. Keep the room lights dim or off. If your child needs a reading light, buy a clip-on LED reading light.
No screens before bed: Avoid all digital devices for at least 1-2 hours before bed.  The blue light emitted from screens can inhibit the body’s natural melatonin release.

Teach your child to give their worries away to their teddies or dolls. Children can tell the dolls their worries and then put the dolls under their pillow.
Routine, routine, routine: Remember that toddler bedtime routine of bath, brushing teeth, story, etc? Your school age child still needs a bedtime routine. Find what works for your family and stick to it.
A bedtime story can refocus your child’s mind in a positive, imaginary world, and help them forget their worries. Reading out loud to children has been shown to improve vocabulary and be beneficial to development, and bedtime is a perfect time to read to kids. Find a book your whole family will enjoy and find a time to read together.

Avoid caffeine and energy drinks, and beware of hidden stimulants in chocolate and second-hand smoke.

Getting up in the night to use the bathroom is a common sleep disturbance. It seems simple, but your child might just need a reminder not to drink anything after dinner (except while brushing teeth), and to use the toilet before bed If your child suffers from bedwetting.

Toddler Sleep Challenges

Every sleep challenge can be connected to a baby’s mental and physical development at that particular age.  At  around 16-18 months older babies experience some developmental milestones that may unfortunately, negatively impact their sleep.

Separation anxiety is still an issue for toddlers which can start around 15 months.  Some babies’ begin experiencing separation anxiety around 7 or 8 months, and for most babies, the anxiety is strongest from 10-18 months and 2-3 years sometimes beyond. This can lead to disrupted sleep including naps in the day as your baby does not want to be away from you during all sleep times.
At around toddler age  and onwards, children are craving independence. Children at this age are learning to feed themselves with a spoon, drink from a cup, build with blocks, and even take off some articles of clothing. This growing independence can create a strong wilful toddler who feels that he must try and gain control of everything that he wants.

All sleep challenges are difficult and exhausting, but at around 18 months sleep difficulties can be one of hardest child challenges as your child may be trying to push boundaries and gain independence. This is all part of the learning process and it’s important to give clear boundaries.

This may be easier said then done when you are sleep deprived and your toddler is also heading towards ‘terrible twos’. This cycle of separation anxiety and sleep deprivation from both parent and child will ultimately result in a cross and irritable child which may result in them also not eating or becoming very fussy with food.

Toddler Sleep challenge Tips;

Consistency, boundary setting, reassurance and nurturing all help towards supporting your child to sleep.
Toddlers need regular naps in the day and it’s important to watch for tiredness cues so you can act straight away.
Explain at sleep times where you are going and that you are always around for them. Securing their emotional needs is paramount and can be communicated as part of the sleep support.
If you plan is to obtain sleep support, ensure that your child is healthy and not in the middle of any major change in their lives eg. A house move, the arrival of a new sibling or a new nursery etc.  It is advisable to wait for your child to be in a familiar environment before attempting any new sleep schedule.
Dream Sleepers sleep support will cater for your child’s emotional health and well being. This will help in the effectivness and sustainability of the sleep support so that your child feels secure at bedtime and through the night.

 

A natural sleep sedation in breast milk

Dream Sleepers brings you the latest facts: A Natural sleep sedation for babies in breast milk.

Cholecystokinine (CCK) is a gastrointestinal hormone which signals sedation and a feeling of well-being in mother and baby.

When a baby suckles at the breast it releases the CCK hormone in both mother and baby which induces a sleepy feeling. The infants CCK level peaks twice after suckling.

The first peak level of this hormone, occurs immediately after the feed (induced by suckling).
About 10 minutes after your baby has finished suckling, the levels drop again causing your baby to wake. This provides an opportunity to offer your baby more milk on the orginial or second breast.

The second peak level occurs 30-60 minutes after a feed.

Waiting 30 minutes after feeding for the second time, before laying your baby down, takes advantage of the second CCK peak to help your baby stay asleep.

Winter clock change and managing sleep

It’s that time again where the clocks go back one hour next week. Many parents struggle with their child waking at the wrong time and becoming tired.  This adjustment can take time until their body clock adjusts to the winter clock. Here are some tips help your child prior to these time changes.

• Ideally start making changes 2 weeks before the clock changes. If you make these changes BEFORE the time alteration you will create a natural sleep calibration in your child’s body clock.

•  Move meal times, nap times and bedtimes fifteen minutes later than usual every 3/4 days for 2 weeks.

• If your making the changes a week before the clock change, start moving the bedtimes and meal times later by half an hour that week.

It may take at least a week for your child to adjust to the later bedtime. Consistancy is the key so try and keep to the same routine daily. At bedtime create a quiet and dark environment so they are aware that this is now sleep time.

 

 

 

Wide awake children at bedtime

Some babies and children never appear tired at bedtime and seem almost hyperactive in the evening. It’s important to limit screen time throughout the day and to create quiet time after tea/dinner. Start the bedtime routine at least 30-45 minutes before sleep and keep to this routine daily. Hyperactivity at sleep time may be an indication that your child is lacking in sleep, so it’s vital to start the bedtime routines before they display signs of tiredness.  Babies and children that continue to struggle with sleep, may also display challenging behaviour and feeding difficulties. If you feel your child had sleep difficulties and you need gentle but effective sleep solutions contact me. I look forward to creating your personal sleep package. Watch this YouTube clip showing a baby that’s clearly not ready for bed.

Dummies and sleep

Dream Sleepers - dummies and sleepI always get asked this question; ‘is it ok to use a dummy?’

The answer depends on the age of the child and when the dummy is used.

Recently some studies have suggested that dummies can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in babies of 6 months and under.

Research has also shown that sucking on a dummy can have a calming and soothing effect on a baby.

Other studies however, state that dummies can have a negative effect as they mask infant feeding cues when breast feeding and lead to early weaning off the breast.

Continue reading

Testimonials

“I saw changes in my son’s sleep from day 3 and by day 7 he wasn’t even attempting to get out of bed. He is now an independent sleeper and sleeps all night till 7am.”

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