Confessions of a Sleep Consultant: The Jett Diaries; Week Ten

Finally…Spring has sprung! It’s been a loooong, cold Winter, so I am incredibly grateful to have had some sunshine over the past week to make me feel human again. We took Jett on his first beach trip, where he sunned himself in the glorious weather, and felt his tiny feet in the sand for the very first time.

After ten weeks of illness, tongue/lip tie trauma, wind (Jett’s, not mine!), and very limited sleep, the fog has lifted. Jett is in good health, and back to his happy, relaxed self. He’s sleeping well day and night, although I am careful not to jinx myself in saying so!  The following is a brief outline of where we are at and what is working in the lead up to the three month mark (where it is time to start being a little more structured with routine and sleep habits):

1. FEEDING ON DEMAND (3-4 hourly during the day)
TIP:  In the first 0-3 months, breastfed babies require on average between 8-12 feeds per 24hrs (or on demand), and formula fed babies will need around 150-200 ml per kilogram of body weight per day.
I recommend consulting your healthcare provider if you are at all concerned about your how your baby’s is feeding, and/or putting on weight

2. AWAKE TIME OF 1HR 15 MIN – 1.5 HR is optimal for day naps. Any longer causes him to be overtired and usually results in me spending  in excess of 30 minutes trying to settle him to sleep (rocking, feeding etc) – or having to wear him for that nap.
TIP: Working towards a more structured routine at 3-4 months will ensure healthy sleep habits for the long term. All babies have varying capabilities with awake windows, so you may need to pay attention to their tired cues and employ some trial and error 🙂

3. WIND DOWN TIME AND SLEEP ASSOCIATIONS: I begin this at around the 1hr 15 min mark for best chance of having him self settle for day naps (dark room, swaddle, white noise, and comforter). Also, the less overtired they are, the less intervention required by us to get them to sleep (e.g. rocking, patting, feeding). I am also now starting to see a correlation between lack of day sleep and frequent night waking.
TIPS: Optimising your baby’s sleep environment will ensure they will sleep to the best of their capability. The main sleep stealers at this age is being too cold, light room, not being swaddled, stimulation such as cot mobiles, and distracting noises; equally silence (which can be deafening to a newborn who has been lulled to sleep with the comforting, consistent noises in the womb for the past 9 months).
* Wearing your baby’s comforter down your top and/or expressing breast milk on it, can help encourage the bond and improve sleep

4. DAY NAPS OF 45MIN TO 1HR – At this age, where catnapping is developmentally normal (45 minutes is one full sleep cycle and an acceptable nap length at this age), it is more unlikely that they will re-settle back to sleep if they are left to cry for 5 minutes or more. Therefore, I recommend attending to them as soon as you hear them stirring to avoid them waking up completely. If they are still sleepy and are going transition into another sleep cycle, then some gentle rocking of the bassinet, and replacing the dummy (if applicable) can be enough to encourage them to keep sleeping.
* I must add that the above length of day naps is when Jett is sleeping in his bassinet. If I wear him for a nap, he’ll sleep anywhere from 2-3hrs!
TIPS: I usually recommend attempting to re-settle by any means if they have slept for less than 45 min (e.g. 20-30 min). I wouldn’t bust your chops for an hour – but if you are having no success in getting them back to sleep after 15-20min, then get your baby up and attempt another nap in another 30-45 min. Whilst catnapping is developmentally normal anywhere up to 6-7  months, there are some things as parents we can do to encourage longer naps.
There is no issue with having sleeps in the carrier, but between 8-10 weeks, I advise to focus on at least some day naps in their bassinet/cot (if this is where you intend to sleep them long term). Again – the 80/20 rule.. what you do 80% of the time becomes habit, and usually becomes increasingly difficult to change as they get older (from 4-6 months). It’s still perfectly acceptable to be having 1 nap (usually the last nap of the day) in the pram or baby carrier well up until 8-9 months. Make sure you are aware of safe baby wearing guidelines, and select a supportive carrier; both for you and baby.
* The reason I advise not to spend too long re-settling, is that this almost always this results in a stressed, frustrated, and exhausted mum (and baby) – more often leading to feelings of failure, defeat, and an overtired baby who will continue to resist sleep 

5. SLEEPING 3-5HR STRETCHES OVERNIGHT: My average night routine is as follows:
6pm – Bath, massage, quiet play (avoid TV, light rooms and loud noise), feed
7pm – Bedtime (Swaddled, dark room, white noise, room temp of 20 degrees)
9:30-10pm – Dream feed
12pm-1am – Wake and feed
4am-5am – Wake and feed
6-7am – up for the day

TIPS: You can encourage better day and night time sleep by getting plenty of natural sunlight during the day, and breastfeeding overnight. Both aid the production of melatonin (sleep hormone), essential for establishing their circadian rhythm in the first 0-3 months.
* At this age, it is average to be feeding 2-3 times overnight (e.g. dream feed and 2 other feeds scheduled at least 3hrs apart)
* Until 4 months, day and overnight sleep patterns can still be inconsistent (mainly because their circadian rhythm is not established until between 10-12 weeks), so don’t worry if every day is different for now!

What did your routine look like at this age? any other tips that worked for you and your family? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Until next week…. with love,
Sophie & Jett xoxox

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