Christmas can be a lovely time, but by January, many families are ready to re-establish a routine with their baby. To address this we have collaborated with sleep consultant, Susan Wallace to pull together some tips to get your and you baby back on track this new year.
Here are 4 expert tips which can help promote sleep for baby in the New Year:
1. Support natural day / night differentiation:
Christmas holidays can sometimes cause a disruption to a babies routine – staying up later than usual, possibly missing naps to accommodate festivities, car naps whilst travelling to visit friends and relatives etc. As a result they may need some support to re-establish their routine.
Humans are naturally programmed to follow the sleep cues our natural environment offers us. For example, when we are exposed to natural light, our eyes send a signal to our brain to release the wake hormones. When we are exposed to darkness, our eyes send a signal to our brain to promote the production of the sleep hormones.
Naturally day / night cycles can consequently promote more sleep at night, and more wake time during the day. However, the invention of electricity has caused disruption to this natural cycle for both adults and children. Turning on an electric light or a screen (television, smart phones, tablets etc) or closing a blackout blind, can send confusing messages to our brain as to whether it is day or night. This can cause havoc with our natural sleep cycles.
Therefore a helpful way to re-establish a routine, is to wake baby around 7am each day (if they are not already awake) and expose them to natural light. Dressing them in suitable clothes and taking them for a walk post breakfast to expose them to natural light can really help. The natural light also supports the production of a hormone called Serotonin, which can subsequently promote the production of the sleep hormone Melatonin that night (to aid night sleep). At night time, the environment should remain dark. If you require some light to support with night feeds, or if you have a toddler who is afraid of the dark, then a red based light makes an ideal choice.
Research suggests that red based light does not disrupt the production of the sleep hormone Melatonin, unlike white or blue counterparts. The Crane Humidifier offers a red bed night light which can support this. It is also advantageous to avoid television or screen time in the 90 minutes prior to bed.
2. Promote a Predictable Sleep Cue:
Babies often preference a similar way to fall asleep each time. A predictable bedtime routine, can help them to relax before bed, whilst also offering a sleepy cue that sleep time is approaching.
Baby Massage can be an excellent addition to the bedtime routine, with research suggesting that it can promote night sleep, as well as the production of Oxytocin – often referred to as the ‘bonding hormone’ in both the parent and the child.
Once baby is placed in their sleep environment, the addition of white noise, can act as a sleepy cue. White noise can also prevent external noises waking baby during the night. Ideally if white noise is used, it should run continuously all night – as opposed to a motion or sound sensor.
This is to ensure that baby has a similar environment to return to sleep, when they naturally wake between sleep cycles in the night. The Crane Humidifier contains an inbuilt white noise machine for this purpose.
3. Promote an ideal temperature:
Baby sleep can be impacted if they are either too hot or too cold. In winter, when the weather is cooler it can be a tricky balance between keeping baby warm, and overdoing the layers which could lead them to overheat.
Ideally the room temperature should be between 16–20 degrees-celsius. The best way to ensure that baby is the right temperature is to feel the back of their neck (feeling the hands and feet can often lead parents to misjudge their baby’s temperature as the extremities often feel cooler than the babies core). If the back of the neck feels warm, it is advised to lose a layer of clothing or bedding, or reduce the thickness of the baby blanket or sleep suit. If baby feels cool to touch, then it is advised to gain a layer.
Love to Dream Sleepwear comes in a range of sizes and temperature suitability to allow you to change to your babies temperature.
4. Prevent colds and illness' disrupting sleep:
Coughs and colds are common in the winter months, but can be particularly disruptive to baby sleep, given that young babies are primarily nose breathers. A humidifier can be an excellent way to promote moisture in the nasal passages to reduce congestion. It is recommended that cold mist humidifiers, such as the Crane Humidifier are used with children.
By providing an environment which promotes natural day / night differentiation, ensuring baby has a predictable bedtime routine, and that the environment is conducive to sleep can support your little one to establish a sleep promoting routine this January.
Crane Drop 2.0 4-in-1 Humidifier With Sound Machine
Meet The Expert - Susan Wallace
Susan has 2 decades experience working with children and families. She is a registered Social Worker, with over 10 years experience and has an Education Degree from Cambridge University.
She has worked as a SEN (Special Educational Needs) Nanny, in a Day Nursery and with Disadvantaged children in both The Philippines and Mexico. She is a Certified Infant Sleep Consultant and acts as a Community Coordinator for the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants. She also supports others to become Certified Baby Massage Instructors, Baby Yoga Instructors and Family Centred Infant Sleep Consultants through FEDANT Accredited Training.
Her own business is called Settled Petals and supports both families and those wishing to open or add to their own business to support children and families.