How much sleep do children need?
There are a lot of debates and estimates around how much sleep do babies and toddlers need, depending on age, temperament and other holistic factors. In my opinion, we should take this data only as reference and watch our baby more than the clock.
If they have a restorative sleep, less fragmented, have a good mood, strong immune system and good weight gain, we should just be happy about it.
Write me a message here so I can send you some guidelines for baby & toddler sleeping time.
What are circadian rhythms and biological clocks?
Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioural changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness, food and social interaction.
The biological clock is a group of nerve cells located in the primitive area of our brain (hypothalamus), which keeps our sleep-wake cycle running on a 24h rhythm. Our biological clocks drive our circadian rhythms.
Circadian rhythms are important in determining human sleep patterns. The body’s master clock or the pituitary gland from the brain controls the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. Since it is located just above the optic nerves, which sends information from the eyes to the brain, the master clock receives information about incoming light.
When there is less light, like at night, the master clock tells the brain to make more melatonin so you get drowsy. At the same time, when there is more natural light, like during the day, our master clock produces serotonin, which under darkness, is converted into melatonin.
Will the sleep training involve crying?
Yes, sleep training could involve some crying, but if we look at crying as a way of communication for our baby and we try to listen to it instead of shutting it down, it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Moreover, babies need to cry to release emotions, tensions, frustrations and nervous energy. Without this release, they keep it inside which could harm their nervous system.
How will we communicate during our collaboration?
We can successfully have a virtual communication, via email and messages, as well as via phone conversations if chosen. Parents can very well be the teacher of their babies, carefully guided by the sleep consultant.
Can I use music as white noise?
Yes, you could have music as white noise for your baby, but it has to be very boring sounds like monoton nature sounds (wind, rain etc.). However, white noise machines are more practical and quite affordable any time.
When can I move my baby into his own room?
The American Academy of Pediatrics as well as WHO recommend sleeping in the same room with the child, but not in the same bed, until the age of 12 months, for safety reasons.
When will my baby sleep through the night?
It depends on each baby but mostly when a child is well established on solid food, meaning 3 meals per day wiith protein and carbs, they could be ready to sleep through the night. This usually occurs around 10 month of age.
Do I really have to wake my baby up?
Yes, a flexible routine is very beneficial to a child and it encourages good eating and sleeping, thus following baby’s circadian rhythms. That sometimes meanswe need to wake our baby up in order to feed him or not let him nap too long during the day and steal from his overnight sleep.
How can I get rid of the dummy?
This depends very much on the child’s age and how much it interferes with his sleep. Whereas for a newborn the dummy has a calming soothing effect and it is recommended in SIDS prevention, after 8 months old, there are special techniques to help the baby find and replace his dummy so that he becomes more independent.
How can I make the difference between a mantra cry and a cry for help?
There is not a clear line between a mantra cry and a desperate cry for help. However, we could say that an intermittent cry with pauses longer than 15 sec. means that the baby is not suffering but rather struggles to fall asleep by himself.
Will sleep training have any damage on my baby's brain?
No, sleep training is a short term method to support your baby fall asleep more automously and stay asleep for longer stretches. Many studies have proved that only long term cronic stress (like child abuse or maternal depression) is toxic for a child and could affect brain circuit and disrupt the normal development of a child.