Parenthood is one of the most confusing, rewarding and tiring times for people. However new parents have to deal with the most arduous tasks of putting their young ones to sleep, and everyone knows that that is no easy task. Parents must ensure that their children get sound sleep but at the same time, they also have to take care of their own sleep as well.
Our next expert is Cara Treadwell from The Sleep Method.
Her Instagram is full of tips and techniques to help new (and old) parents get proper sleep with toddlers in the house. Her methods are meant not only for the kids but also, for the parents who have to deal with lack of sleep due to newborns in the house. We talk to her about her personal philosophy when it comes to sleep and parenting, and advice she would give to parents about managing their family’s sleep schedules.
Your area of concern is newborns and kids, specifically 0-7 years old. When parents approach you for their kids, what do they complain most about their child’s sleeping pattern?
The most common sleep concerns my clients have are frequent night wakings, unable to self settle, and short or infrequent naps.
Newborns sleep whenever they feel like. This keeps them awake during the nights. What would you suggest in this case? How can parents ensure that the baby is sleeping at night without any disturbance?
The reality is that newborns will wake during the night. This is to feed and for comfort. Newborns, at the age of 9-12 weeks old, will start producing their own melatonin (the hormone that tells them it is time to go to sleep), along with their own circadian rhythm. Both really help newborn baby’s start to differentiate between day and night.
Separation anxiety can also affect a baby’s sleep schedule. What can parents do to help their kids with that? Also, how do we realize that a baby is having separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety can start as early as 8 or 9 months old but commonly occurs around 18 months old. Most parents think that toddlers will have separation anxiety once but the reality is that children can experience separation anxiety at any time.
– Crying when a parent or someone close to them leaves the room
– Crying or getting upset if a parent walks to the other side of the room
– Upset when you put your usually happy baby to bed
The best way to help with separation anxiety is to:
– Say goodbye properly when you leave your baby or child (don’t sneak out!)
– Offer lots of cuddles and reassurance
– Encourage friends and family that you trust to look after your baby once in a while, so they are used to other faces
– Stay calm and confident, don’t let them see you worry or panic about the anxiety, baby’s and children feed off our emotions. It is important to stay in control.
– Avoid overtiredness – overtired little ones will struggle even more with big emotions.
– If your toddler or child can communicate, try and put their fears into words for them.
Helping newborns to sleep can be a little tricky given the fact they can’t speak out their issues. How do you manage to do this amazing work?
For newborns, in particular, it is about understanding what you can and can’t expect from them. If you are hoping for your 4 weeks-old to sleep through the night, you will be very disappointed. However, there are lots of things you can help your newborn with purely by watching them and making notes. The 3 most important things to look at when working with newborns are:
Sleep cues – Are they showing any tired signs such as pulling on the ear, red eyes, yawning, or red eyebrows?
Wake windows – How long can your newborn be awake for before needing to sleep, I promise you it will only be about 30 minutes!
Mood – How are they when they wake up? Happy or sad and teary?
You have three different packages for different age groups (0-4 months, 4-12 months, and 1-7 years). Why have you chosen two different packages within one year age groups and one common package for 1-7 years old group? Can you please elaborate on this?
This is because my website is currently being redone and for ease, I merged them. I actually offer:
Newborn Sleep Shaping
Baby’s First Year
When did this idea of helping parents and kids come to you? What made you choose this profession?
Having had two small children of my own, I know what it is like to feel overwhelmed by sleep. You can google everything you need to know about sleep but what tired parents really need is the personal, 1:1 support. To have someone who can talk to you objectively is really helpful. It is incredibly rewarding to help baby’s and children sleep. You see the changes in the parents who are now feeling more human. You also get to witness the little ones thrive on more sleep too!
Any tips for the struggling parents?
Google can tell you everything you need to know but it will never give you the support you might need to make the changes necessary for your family to feel happy and rested. Find a sleep coach that “speaks to you”, and don’t be afraid to say you are struggling.
That was an interesting Pillow talk. We hope it answered some of the most fundamental questions regarding newborns and sleep schedules! Do check out her Instagram if you need just a little bit of help in order to manage your family’s sleep patterns! After all, a good night’s sleep for you may entirely depend on how your young one’s sleeping.
Featured Photo from TheSleepMethodUK
Written by Abhinav Goel
This post is by Abhinav Goel. A law student, he loves to read, write, and watch movies. He believes that a good book and a movie can be the perfect antidote to all of your worries. You can connect with him on Instagram to know more ways of escapism.