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					Sleep,baby,sleep                                                   0–3 months: newborns
Your baby’s                                                        G     ranic describes typical sleep at this age
                                                                         as “random chaos.” That’s because
                                                                                                                     SLUMBER HELPERS
                                                                                                                       Respond to your baby’s needs and don’t
nightlife, from                                                    babies are not born with a circadian rhythm,        try to force a schedule — it’s too early.

birth to three                                                     which allows them to differentiate day and
                                                                   night. Some babies even have a mixed-up
                                                                                                                       “Baby needs to know that she’s in a safe
                                                                                                                       environment and that she can trust you,”
                                                                   period when they have long stretches of sleep       says Granic.
                                                                   during the day and are more alert at night.         Encourage baby to differentiate day and

       crawled in my journal is this                                  At around eight weeks, the circadian             night by exposing her to light during the
       entry from when my daugh-                                   rhythm begins to develop, but in the early          day and keeping rooms dim and quiet in
       ter Zoe was two months old                                  months, says Shelly Weiss, a neurologist at         the evenings.
and her sister, Paige, almost 2½:                                  Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children and            Learn and respond to your baby’s cues
Paige went to sleep at 7, but woke                                 the author of Better Sleep for Your Baby &          that she is sleepy: Yawning and drowsi-
up at 9 p.m., back down at 10:30.                                  Child, “you have to go with baby’s eating           ness are obvious cues, but rubbing her
Zoe up until midnight. Restless                                    and sleeping schedule.”                             eyes, increasing irritability and jerky,
night. Paige up at 5. This is crazy.                                  Sleep challenges: Your newborn’s                 tense limbs can also be signs of a tired
   And it was crazy. But also normal.                              schedule will be erratic, but one thing you         baby. If your young baby has been awake
My daughters’ night waking, early                                  can count on: frequent feedings, around the         for two hours, she is probably ready for
waking, erratic napping and reluc-                                 clock. Newborn stomachs are tiny, so they           more sleep!
tance to settle were all typical — but                             need to refuel often.                               Experiment with swaddling, which many
did they have to be that typical?                                      One in five babies also suffers from the         young babies find calming.
   Somehow, just knowing that                                      dreaded colic, characterized by uncontrol-          Introduce a comfort object that your
sleep in the early years can be                                    lable crying lasting up to three hours, often       child can begin to associate with sleep,
crazy-making helps parents handle                                  around bedtime. While not exactly a sleep           such as a soft blanket or a piece of your
the sleep deprivation and setbacks                                 problem, it is certainly exhausting! There          clothing (your scent may be soothing).
better, says developmental psych-                                  is no treatment other than comforting your          You will hear it a thousand times, but
ology researcher Isabela Granic,                      Thinkstock   baby and knowing it usually resolves by             it still bears repeating: Sleep when your
the co-author of Bed Timing and a                                  four months.                                        baby sleeps.
mother of four-year-old twin boys.
“Babies go through major chan-
                                                                   Bedtime story
ges that affect their sleep. But these
                                                                   Alicia (two months old) is pretty happy during the day and naps every two or three hours.
changes aren’t common knowledge
                                                                   But at 7 p.m., she turns into a different baby. She cries and is irritable for a good three
and parents feel they are doing
                                                                   hours — rocking and nursing seem to be the only things to calm her down. I feed her
something wrong.”
                                                                   around 10:30 p.m., and she usually falls asleep. I put her in her crib and she wakes every
   So, here’s a guide to your baby’s
                                                                   couple of hours through the rest of the night. – Wyn Mitchell, Toronto
wacky and wonderful sleep life.
28 Today’s Parent baby & toddler spring/summer 2010                                                                      Today’s Parent baby & toddler spring/summer 2010 29
Bedtime story
My son slept through the night by three months. Then at around six months,
he started waking up at night every couple of hours. At seven months, he
woke up once or twice a night, would need a cuddle and then go back to
                                                                                                                  4–12 months: settled babies
sleep. Not too bad, but almost every night. – Elva Patterson, by email

                                                                                                                B    y four months, the circadian rhythm
                                                                                                                     is more developed, making sleep times
                                                                                                                more predictable. By six months, baby may
                                                                                                                                                                   SLUMBER HELPERS
                                                                                                                                                                     Establish a sleep routine that helps baby
                                                                                                                                                                     understand that sleep is coming (like
                                                                                                                be sleeping in four- to five-hour stretches at        bath, feeding, brush teeth, cuddle, into
                                                                                                                night. Many (but by no means all) babies will        crib). Without being unrealistically rigid,
                                                                                                                start sleeping through the night sometime            try to start your bedtime routine at about
                                                                                                                before the first birthday.                            the same time every night.
                                                                                                                   Sleep challenges: But also at this time,          When baby wakes in the night, keep things
                                                                                                                says Granic, “babies are undergoing mam-             boring: Turn the lights low, limit talking
                                                                                                                moth cognitive development. They are find-            and interaction, meet his needs (feeding or
                                                                                                                ing the world much more interesting and              changing), then put him back to bed.
                                                                                                                they don’t want to turn it off, which can            If you suspect teething pain is disturb-
                                                                                                                cause sleep disruptions.” A baby learning to         ing your child’s sleep, talk to your doctor
                                                                                                                crawl, for example, may be up on his hands           about giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen
                                                                                                                and knees every time he rouses, leading to           before bed.
                                                                                                                more full-blown awakenings. The baby who             Encourage her to fall asleep on her own by
                                                                                                                used to fall asleep in the middle of a party         putting her to bed when she’s groggy and
                                                                                                                may now need to be taken to a dark, quiet            helping her to bond with a comfort object.
                                                                                                                room, away from distractions.                        By eight months, babies are physically ready
                                                                                                                   Teething, which begins around six to              to give up night feedings. But it’s easier said
                                                                                                                eight months of age, is often blamed for             than done. That middle-of-the-night nurse
Sleeping through                                                                                                night waking and difficulty settling. While           (or bottle) is often as much about comfort
Ah, the holy grail of sleep. And it’s just as elusive for many families. Children are physically                many experts feel it has little effect on sleep,     and connection as it is about nutrition. If
able to sleep through the night from around six to eight months, but it’s not that simple.                      parents who have endured sleepless nights            you want to stop night feeds, “don’t stop
   Since children (and adults) wake several times through the night, those who aren’t able to                   prior to a tooth erupting would disagree.            cold turkey,” says Weiss. “Over a couple of
get themselves back to sleep on their own will cry for you. If your child depends on nursing                       At eight to 11 months, separation anxiety         weeks, slowly decrease the amount of milk
or a back rub to drift off at bedtime, she will probably require that when she wakes in the                     often peaks. Kids start to understand object         and time, but make sure you are comfort-
night. At least that’s the theory of sleep associations, and why many sleep experts stress                      permanence — the idea that out of sight is not       ing and holding them.”
the importance of teaching babies to fall asleep on their own.                                                  out of mind. “The child you may have been            If your baby is over six months old and
   A piece of the puzzle that is often neglected is the baby’s temperament, which in uences                     able to lay in his crib and leave is now scream-     his sleep habits are unmanageable, you
how easily a baby can learn to fall asleep alone and how quickly his sleep patterns mature. A                   ing for you,’ says Granic. “He knows you are         may be thinking about sleep training (see
recent University of Regina study asked parents how their babies woke up. Those who said                        there but not in his room. He’s missing you.”        “Should You Sleep Train?”). Make sure
their babies were crying hard even before they were fully awake had less success teaching                          If that’s the case, says Weiss, “go to her if     you and your partner are both comfort-

their babies to go back to sleep on their own than parents whose babies were less upset                         she is crying. Briefly, positively let her know       able with the plan, since it will be easier
when they rst woke up.                                                                                          that you are there.”                                 to do if you are both committed.
30 Today’s Parent baby & toddler spring/summer 2010                                                                                                                    Today’s Parent baby & toddler spring/summer 2010 31
                                                                                                                                                                                  Bedtime story
                                                                                                                                                                                  Before her rst birthday, I was

12–36 months: toddlers                                                                                                                                                            able to give my daughter a
                                                                                                                                                                                  bottle, hold her for a bit, and
                                                                                                                                                                                  then place her in her crib while
                                                                                                                                                                                  she was still awake. Now, she

B    y now, everyone who doesn’t have kids,
     and many who do, will assume your
child is sleeping through the night. But a
                                                      change can result in sleep disruption, says
                                                      Witmans, “but it will go better if your child
                                                      has learned to soothe herself to sleep and you
                                                                                                                                                                                  just wails when I put her down
                                                                                                                                                                                  and she wakes up screaming
                                                                                                                                                                                  a few hours later. She cannot
surprising number of toddlers either still            stick to your regular bedtime routine.” That
                                                                                                                                                                                  settle down on her own even
wake up at night, or begin night waking               said, the new-found freedom of being able to
                                                                                                                                                                                  if I go in to see her and try to
after a period of sleeping through.                   escape can result in nighttime wandering.
                                                                                                                                                                                  soothe her — she will only
   Sleep challenges: As with younger
                                                                                                                                                                                  settle down if I am holding her.
babies, developmental milestones, such as             SLUMBER HELPERS
                                                                                                                                                                                       – Sarah Knowlton, Montreal
learning to walk or talk, can cause difficulty           Don’t try to do too many things at once:
falling and staying asleep. So can changes in           Toilet training in addition to moving to
your child’s world: starting daycare, moving            a big bed in the same week, for example,
house or the arrival of a sibling. When tod-            is too stressful.
dlers are feeling unsettled, you can expect a           Similarly, if a new baby is in the picture,
temporary period of disturbed sleep.                    make any changes to the bedtime routine
   Starting at 18 months, says Granic,                  well beforehand, or after your child has
“there’s the explosion of language and                  adjusted to life with a sibling.
kids are starting to negotiate their social             You may need to adjust your bedtime rou-
world.” But these developmental advances                tine when your child moves to a big bed.
can also result in defiance, temper tantrums             Make sure caregivers know the routine.
and another period of separation anxiety.               Try to keep naps and bedtimes consistent,
New fears, nightmares or night terrors may              even on weekends.
also surface as a child’s imagination grows,            Some older toddlers respond well to
says Manisha Witmans, medical director                  rewards, such as stickers or the promise of
of the Northern Alberta Pediatric Sleep                 a special activity, for following the bedtime
Program at Stollery Children’s Hospital                 routine or staying in bed, says Weiss.
in Edmonton.                                            Use a baby gate in the bedroom doorway
   At around two years, kids may start                  if your toddler is a night wanderer.                         Naps
climbing out of their cribs, which often                If nightmares are a frequent occurrence,                     Most four-month-olds have three to four naps during the day, consolidating them into two
necessitates the move to a big-kid bed. “This           speak with your doctor.                                      in the second half of the rst year. By around 12 months, kids are generally down to one
                                                                                                                     afternoon nap lasting one to three hours. Doesn’t that sound neat and tidy?
Is there something wrong?                                                                                               Unfortunately, with every shift in nap schedule, there tends to be an unsettled transition
While there is a wide range of normal in children’s sleep, medical conditions, such as                               that can also disrupt nighttime sleep. Imagine the toddler almost ready to drop his mor-
gastroesophageal re ux or asthma, can affect sleep. Trust your instincts, says paediatri-                            ning nap. For a while, that means he falls asleep right before lunch, waking up starving

cian Manisha Witmans: “If anything worries you about your child’s sleep habits, talk to                              and unhappy at 2 p.m., then sleeps again in the late afternoon, which means he won’t be
your paediatrician.”                                                                                                 ready for bed until 10…
32 Today’s Parent baby & toddler spring/summer 2010                                                                                                                      Today’s Parent baby & toddler spring/summer 2010 33
The night shift

I  t’s 2 a.m., your four-month-old is wail-
   ing, and you’re so tired, you can hardly
see straight. Though you and your partner
                                                       WHEN DOES IT HAPPEN?
                                                       We asked parents at
                                                       at what age their child consistently slept
agreed long ago that the family bed is not
                                                       through the night. The bad news:
for you, you bring your baby into bed with
you, latch her on, and you both drift off.
                                                       Under 6 months         487
   Sleep — heck, parenting altogether — is
                                                       6–12 months            271
rarely just what we imagine it will be. So it’s
                                                       1–2 years              175
important to be flexible and know that it’s
                                                       Over 2 years           106
OK to change your course in the interest of
                                                       “I’m still waiting!”   212
better sleep. (But if you are going to bring
your baby into bed with you, make sure you
are being as safe as possible. For more infor-        think about the parents’ well-being. Sleep-
mation, check out our guide to safe sleeping          deprived, irritable parents are not loving,
at                       warm parents.” And take heart, she says,
   Developmental psychologist Granic’s                if you fall into a habit that you want to
opinion? “If it works, do it. We have to

Should you sleep train?
When you hear “sleep training,” you likely               Isabel Granic and Marc Lewis based
envision sitting outside your child’s room,           their book, Bed Timing, on the idea that
your heart breaking as he wails for you.              there are windows in a child’s development
The truth is that there are many methods:             when sleep training has a better chance of
Some do require a steely resolve, while               working. For example, they say 51⁄2 to 71⁄2
others take a gentler approach. It’s import-          months is a good time because separation
ant to know not every method will suit                anxiety has not yet surfaced.
every family and some babies are easier                  Here are some other books to check
to sleep train than others. But “if you are           out. Each has a different philosophy, one
consistent, calm and not punitive, you have           of which may work for you: The No-Cry
a good chance of being successful,” says              Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley;
neurologist Shelly Weiss.                             Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy
   Developmental issues and illness can               Hogg; Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems
undo sleep training, so you may have to do            by Richard Ferber; Sleeping Through the
it more that once.                                    Night by Jodi Mindell.
34 Today’s Parent baby & toddler spring/summer 2010

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