During a workshop at Mom Sweet Home, we had a long discussion on "Sleep" with Charlotte Delineau, founder of @lesnuitsdouces. Well, we listened to her pretty carefully and here's what we took from it:
"Sleep while you can", "Let them cry", ...
If you've never heard this advice at least once, raise your hand! (sound of crickets)
Silence in the room...
The baby's sleep - and therefore yours - is a bit of an issue when you become a parent. Between the change in pace, the fear of not doing things right, the crying to deal with... A few hours less sleep and it's a flip to the dark side.
- Fact ☝🏼: Baby's sleep is made up of 50-60 minute cycles that flow more or less smoothly, with phases of micro-awakening. Know that your baby will never intentionally wake up or cry...even when nerves make you feel otherwise.
- Fact ✌🏼: potential sleep disorders don't last a lifetime. Breath.
- And finally: if you feel the need, you can look at the possibility of being accompanied by a consultant and understanding what can influence their sleep (medical causes, imbalance of the biological clock, emotional insecurity, parental emotions, disturbed rituals ).
There is no miracle recipe to make your baby sleep through the night, but we can give you our key tips:
😴 The biological clock
Try as much as possible to respect the phases of wakefulness and sleep by putting them to bed as soon as the first signs of fatigue appear (yawns, fidgets, rubs their eyes...) It is not always easy to spot these signs for some children so you can respect a defined time of wakefulness periods.
Until they are 3 months old, your baby does not know the difference between day and night, but you can help them by switching to "night mode" for 10/12 hours:
- by speaking in a low voice;
- by avoiding variations in light (prefer a subdued light)
⏰ Routine is good
Establishing a pre-bedtime routine helps the body and mind understand that sleep time is approaching for us as much as for babies.
But what do we do during this ritual? Calm activities that will bring soothing (reading a story, massage, singing a lullaby, whatever works for you and your child).
Some important points to remember:
- The routine does not depend on a precise schedule but rather on a precise order, and it is this precise rhythm that will reassure your child
- It should not last too long (10/15 minutes is enough)
- Bedtime in the evening is ideally between 6pm and 8pm
To this routine of gestures, you must add a routine of environment: to fall asleep and go back to sleep, a baby needs the same environment as the one at bedtime... So try to put them to sleep where they will spend the night.
During the day, we advise you to spend time in baby's room, so that he.she associates it with a pleasant place.
👶🏼 It was better before!
And then sometimes while everything was fine, baby doesn't sleep anymore. Don't panic: certain developmental phases can create regressions that impact sleep, for up to a month as a general rule.
- around 4 months: Period of modification of the cycles of sleep (so can be a real blow to the rythme)
- around 8/10 months: separation anxiety (yes, sleeping is separating)
- around 12 months: Development stage of walking (exploiting this new ability is more interesting than sleeping, obviously)
- around 24 months: The famous "terrible twos" (They discover the ability to say no, so sleeping... is no!)
As with us adults, emotional changes or major life milestones can impact sleep. While it sometimes takes longer for some, all kids eventually get full nights of sleep, promise!
💆🏽♀️ Take care of yourself
We often hear: sleep when your baby sleeps.
Easier said than done because you figure you could use the time to shower, do laundry, make a home cooked meal, watch a show instead... But do it. Really do it. Okay, take a shower but too bad for the washing machine and hello frozen meals or hello girlfriends to bring you your favorite sushi! Sleep is YOUR priority, for the rest count on your breastfriends ❤️
This will also allow you to spend quality time with your child and thus fill up their emotional tank as much as possible so that they don't do it during the night (and let you sleep).
If ever the fatigue becomes too much to bear, don't hesitate to find some relief, even if it's only for a long nap...
The last word:
Keep your spirits up... and your hope! When you're in the middle of a sleep crisis, it can seem like the tunnel of short nights is endless.
Expert opinion: the parents in the office have all been through this tunnel, some are still in it, others can see the end... But the moral of the story is (often) the same: the nights get longer, you forget, you move on... and you start again! ❤️
Written in collaboration with Charlotte Delineau @lesnuitsdouces