Day Night Reversal

Day Night Reversal

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our new babies were born knowing the difference between night and day? Unfortunately, this is not the case meaning when you are exhausted and ready for sleep, your baby is ready to play! It is very common for newborns to want to sleep more during the day and be awake and feed more at night.

When you were pregnant, your baby was rocked to sleep when you moved about. When you slept, your baby became active and moved about. Remember those 2 am kicks? In addition to this, your baby was receiving melatonin from you. Melatonin is a hormone affected by light that sets our circadian rhythm. It is what helps us sleep at night and be awake during the day.

When your baby is born, he needs to rely 100% on his own body. The catch being that his body isn’t ready to produce melatonin yet. This doesn’t start happening until after 12 weeks of age. Your baby’s circadian rhythm doesn’t fully develop until 5-6 months of age.

This all sounds like bad news, but there are things that you can do right from birth to help your baby begin to understand the difference between night and day. This is a work in progress so don’t get discouraged if you do not see any changes right away. What you are doing is laying a foundation for when your baby is ready.

1) Twelve hours of “Day,” Twelve hours of “Night”

Marking when the day starts and when it ends is not only important for your baby, but it is the beginning of a routine for you too. As much as possible, divide 24 hours into two blocks – 12 hours of the night, 12 hours of the day. If you decide that 7 pm is the official “bedtime” then 7 am becomes “daytime.” The activities you do at night become different to the activities during the day.

2) Establish a bedtime routine

The bedtime routine is the main activity that distinguishes between night and day. After the final nap of the day, and you have offered your baby a feed, the bedtime routine becomes the “play”. Bath is the main activity that really cues you and your baby that all other sleeps from now until morning are different. Initially, you may not have a lot of time before your baby is tired so the bedtime routine may be quite short until your baby can stay awake longer. Your routine will adapt to it. Examples of bedtime routines may be:

Example 1

  • Bath
  • Diaper and Pyjamas
  • Feed
  • Swaddle
  • Kisses
  • Say “its sleep time”
  • Into bed

Example 2

  • Bath
  • Diaper and Pyjamas
  • Feed and song/story
  • Swaddle
  • Kisses
  • Say “its sleep time”
  • Into bed

Example 3

  • Bath
  • Diaper and Pyjamas
  • Baby massage/tummy time
  • Feed and song/story
  • Swaddle
  • Kisses
  • Say “its sleep time”
  • Into bed

3) Location of the Feed

Your baby is going to need a feed every 2-3 hours in the first few weeks. Trying to stretch out a feed during the day will not help with the day/night reversal. In fact, It may backfire as your baby will become really overtired which leads to not feeding well. Not feeding well leads to your child not being able to sleep well.

The 12 hours or day/night rule will determine where you feed your baby. During the day, you want to feed your baby where the action is. Noise and natural light during the day will mean this is a daytime activity. Talk to your baby and interact (as long as he isn’t too distracted to eat).

When it is nighttime (and this includes the feed in the bedtime routine), feed your baby close to his sleep space, keep the lights low, and keep stimulation to a minimum. Try to avoid watching television or being on your smartphone at night as the light and sound will mimic daytime but more importantly, it will keep you awake meaning you will have trouble sleeping after the night feed.

4) Light

During the day you want to expose your baby to as much natural daylight (and fresh air) as possible. When his body begins to produce melatonin (after 12 weeks), this will be especially important as the level of natural light triggers the hormone. During the nap, try to darken his room as much as possible, but it does not need to be as dark as nighttime.

Try to keep your baby’s room as dark as possible during the night. Depending on the season, you may need to invest in a “blackout” blind or curtain. A good one is the “Gro Anywhere Blind” as it is portable. When you are feeding your baby at night, have a dim lamp close by in a yellow hue. Green and blue lights are to be avoided as they actually stimulate your brain to be awake. Newborn babies do not need nightlights.

5) Stimulation

During the day, your baby can only sustain being awake between 45-75mins. During this short time, you need to change his diaper, feed him, and “play.” Playtime can be misleading because really your baby isn’t ready to “play” just yet. Playtime refers to interaction with you. Talking, singing, or being cuddled with his eyes open is really “play” in the early stages. You may only get 5 mins of this time before your baby is ready to sleep again. Fear not as this will increase as the weeks go by.

During the night, you want little to no stimulation during or after the feed. When your baby wakes in the night, change his diaper (this is to make sure he is ready for that feed), feed your baby near his sleep space, swaddle him, and finally return him to the crib. During the nighttime feeds, as much as you can, try to keep your baby awake to ensure he is having a feed that will sustain him for the next 2-3 hours. You may need to stop and start a few times during the feed. Keep your voice soft and low.

These different daytime and nighttime activities will all help your baby begin to reverse their confusion with night and day. 

Time Change Coming

Time Change Coming

Yippee (sarcasm inserted here) we have a time change next weekend! We will find ourselves moving our clocks ahead an hour. So if your child usually wakes up at 7 am the clock will say 8 am!!! You will look at the clock and smile but realistically it does not mean much 🙁

There are a few things you can do; however, you first have to decide if you are okay with the morning wake time.

 

If you are happy with the new wake time then do the following:

 

1. Naps will occur after the proper amount of wake time. This will make it seem like naps are now on hour later than they were the day before the time change. It is the clock playing tricks on you.

2. Bedtime will be one hour later than usual.

3. Maintain this new schedule.

 

 

If you are not okay with the new wake time then do the following:

 

1. Wake your child at the desired wake time. Expect your child to take a few days to adjust to being woken up.

2. Naps at the proper amount of wake time.

3. Plan for bedtime to be at the regular time which may feel like an hour earlier to your child. It will take time to adapt.

4. Be patient as this will take at least a week for your child to adapt to the time change.

 

 

The third thing you can do is go with the flow and adjust with your child as their bodies adapt.

 

This is most likely what we will do. I will put on my big girl panties and be patient with the little man while he gets used to the clock changes.

 

 

The final and most important thing is that you do not stress out!!

 

As with everything related to children, the calmer you can be the easier the transition is.

 

Take Care and Happy Sleeping!!

May the Weight be with you..??

May the Weight be with you..??

“Just one more hug”, “I can’t sleep”, “Can you lay with Me?” … Sound familiar?

Your little one may be stalling the bedtime routine or really needing that hug or snuggle to calm them before sleep. How do you know if it is a stall tactic or a need?

First, you have to trust your instincts. Second, if your little one likes pajamas a bit tight, loves to be curled up in the blankets or falls asleep with a hug you have a little one that loves the deep pressure.

Welcome to the club!!

If your little person loves deep pressure then a weighted blanket may be a great investment for you.

I have to say that a weighted blanket was a game changer for our son. He had a number of worries that would come out at night. He would often request extra snuggles. I started to really consider our options.

Now there are many cost-effective products available so I felt we had nothing to lose! (a few years back a weighted blanket would set you back $300 plus).

Before you go out and buy a weighted blanket, try using a heavier blanket on your child’s bed. Not all children will like the feeling of the weight. Also it is best to purchase a blanket that is no more than 10 to 15% of your child’s weight.

If your child likes to cover their head with a blanket then please refrain from using a weighted blanket.

If you are unsure it is the proper route for your child you can speak with your doctor or an Occupational Therapist for more information. 

If you are unsure if a weighted blanket would work then looking at a compression sheet or clothing is another option to look at. 

 

 

How to talk to a toddler…

How to talk to a toddler…

Toddlers are wonderful little humans that are learning their way in the world. They can also be very frustrating to deal with as they can be quick to tantrum. I have found that once you learn to speak in a way that toddlers will listen, life gets much smoother.

 
Reduce the number of times your toddler says “NO”.

When toddlers are give the chance to say “NO” they will use it! To avoid “no” responses try to avoid questions with a yes/no answer. For example: Instead of asking “would you like to go to the bathroom?” try stating “it is time to go to the bathroom”.

 
Offer choices that give the desired outcome.

When you let your toddler know that it is time to do something they may resist. Then you add some choices that give you the desired outcome. For example: When you let your child know it is time to go to the bathroom you could add “would you like to hop or run there”. Here are some other choices that were very commonly used in our house during the toddler stage:

  • you can walk forward or backwards
  • you can hop like a bunny or leap like a frog
  • you can use a quite voice or a loud voice
  • you can walk or I can carry you
  • you can be happy or sad
Toddlers are very concrete thinkers.

This means that toddlers think in the literal sense. You can use this to your advantage. When your child is running away and you ask your toddler to “Stop” and they do not. Try stating “Freeze your feet” or “stop your feet”. Then instead of “Come Here” try “please bring your feet to my feet”. Some other great examples of literal statements are as follows:

  • feet on the floor
  • bums on the chair
  • gentle hands
  • kind and friendly words
 
They have not yet developed the ability to categorize items.

Children will start to be able to categorize items between 5 to 6 years of age.

Toddlers can get confused or frustrated when you use a category of an item. For example: when I asked our son to go get his shoes.  He got to the spot where his shoes were and there are only flip flops there. He was very upset. “Mommy no shoes!”

I have spoken to many families that get very frustrated by this. When I point out it is because toddlers are very concrete it causes less stress in the home. Things to remember with this is that we can easily tell the difference between various sweaters but to Toddlers a hoody is not a sweater. A fleece is a fleece and not a sweater. This all goes back to the fact that Toddlers think in the literal sense.

 

Please feel free to ask any questions you have related to this in the forum dedicated to this topic.

Here One Minute, Gone The Next

Here One Minute, Gone The Next

 
The first official signs of separation anxiety happen around 6 to 8 months. This is because our little ones are beginning to develop object permanence.
 
 
Object permanence???
 
This is when our little ones actually know that objects/things/people do exist even if they are not right in front of them.
 
 
Prior to the development of object permanence, the saying “out of sight out of mind” really does apply. Often infants will drop things and not care too much about it or look for it. When our littles start to get object permanence, they will look for dropped items or get really frustrated because they cannot find it. 
 
Have you experienced this with your child?
 
A classic sign that your child has experienced object permanence is when they are sitting in their high chair everything you place in front of them is getting dropped onto the floor!
 
 
 
How does object permanence relate to separation anxiety?

During this stage of development, infants are aware that a person should be there. They will often yell or cry until they hear the adult again. This is when it becomes really important to teach our little ones that we leave but we come back as well.

You can teach a child that you will come back by playing “peek a boo” or hiding on your little one if they can move around to find you. I would also recommend talking to your child through the monitor or door if you are trying to improve your little one’s independent sleep. A simple “momma’s here will help” for some babies.

This is considered a major developmental milestone: however, it can be a very difficult for parents as little ones often need a great deal of support.