Sleep

Time Change and Babies/Toddlers: How to Help Your Little One Adjust

March 4, 2017

sleeping toddler or babyMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin parent and family coach Dr. Angelique Millette.

With the time change approaching, I have received many e-mails and phone calls from parents asking how they can help their babies and toddlers transition to the new time without upsetting their child’s sleep.

Starting Sunday, March 12, at 2 am, clocks will be set forward one hour—“spring forward.”

You can help your baby/toddler by starting to adjust ahead of the time change. Starting Tuesday night (March 7) begin to put baby down 10 minutes earlier for bed. You can do this by comforting, singing or reading, and starting the bedtime ritual/routine 10 minutes earlier. Do this for the rest of the week, so when the time change does happen, your baby or toddler will have slowly adjusted to the new time.

If your baby or toddler’s bedtime is 7 pm, it will look like this:

  • Tuesday: 6:50 pm bedtime
  • Wednesday: 6:40 pm bedtime
  • Thursday: 6:30 pm bedtime
  • Friday: 6:20 pm bedtime
  • Saturday: 6:10 pm bedtime

Debunking Common Infant Sleep Myths

January 22, 2017

sleeping toddler or babyMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin parent coach, infant/toddler sleep researcher, and family therapist Angelique Millette.

Very often when I am speaking at workshops and conferences or working with parents in their home, common questions include opinions about infant sleep and sleep development. There are many sleep books available to parents that are "opinion-based" sleep books and not evidence based sleep books. This can be very confusing for parents who want to make an informed choice about how best to help themselves and their babies sleep. Also, misconceptions abound as the field of infant sleep research is limited and the research is primarily focused on one area: behavioral changes. A field of infant sleep is changing very quickly and new researching is debunking much of what we knew about infant sleep.

This article will debunk some of the common sleep myths while helping parents to make informed sleep choices that support their parenting philosophy as well as their infant or child's developmental needs.

Babies' sleep patterns are fully developed at birth.

Babies sleep patterns are not fully developed at birth. In fact, one of the most common reasons babies aren't able to "sleep well" is that the part of the brain that organizes sleep is just beginning to form in the first three to six months. The development of circadian rhythms, the biological temporal rhythms that help our bodies "know" a 24-hour day and the difference between day and night, begins the day your baby is born. The development of your baby’s circadian rhythms is dependent on their environment, i.e. caregivers, environmental cues, light exposure, consistent routines. Parents can help their babies cue their circadian rhythms by bringing them outside, opening the shades in the nursery and other rooms where the family spends time, introducing feed, play, sleep routines, and feeding frequently during the day.

Your Baby’s Sleep Strategy

July 27, 2015

sleeping babyMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Brenda Evans. Brenda has been helping Marin families for more than 20 years. You can reach her at (415) 572-6333 or nightynightb@gmail.com for a free 15-minute consultation.

Did you know newborns have different sleep patterns than older babies and don’t develop the ability to self soothe until four to six months of age? As a pediatric nurse practitioner, lactation consultant, and sleep consultant, exhausted parents often ask me why their infant or child wakes up so often throughout the night. Parents often feel guilty or concerned that they have “spoiled” their newborns by nursing or rocking them to sleep. 

As a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, my response is that you can’t over-indulge an infant. During the first four weeks of life, the range of sleep may be between 14 to 17 hours each day. It’s normal for babies at this age to have short periods of wakefulness and unpredictable sleep schedules.

At around four months of age an infant’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, is beginning to develop. While the baby’s internal clock is developing, exposure to outdoor light and fresh air during the day can help begin to regulate their body’s natural cycle.

Understanding Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

May 10, 2015

mother and babyMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin parent coach, infant/toddler sleep researcher, and family therapist Angelique Millette.

May is Postpartum Mood Disorders Awareness Month and it seems fitting to write about postpartum depression and anxiety since they are so often linked to sleep deprivation in parents. In fact, very often when parents do reach out to me to make sleep changes, not only may they be experiencing sleep deprivation but they may also have symptoms of depression or anxiety or both. In fact, depression and anxiety are so common postpartum that up to 15 to 20% of women will experience some mild mood changes during or after the birth of their child, making mood disorders the most common postpartum disorder. In addition, new research is showing that up to 10 to 15% of fathers will experience a mood disorder such as anxiety or depression following the birth of their child.

Summer Travel Tips: Traveling with a Baby or Toddler

June 16, 2014

During summer vacation, traveling with an infant or toddler can be a unique challenge, especially when it comes getting them to sleep. Marin parent coach, infant/toddler sleep researcher, and family therapist Angelique Millette has complied the following list of handy tips for traveling with children.

Angelique works throughout the Bay Area and across the country supporting families and helping them meet life's challenges. You can learn more about her and her events and classes at www.angeliquemillette.com.

General tips for traveling with a baby or toddler

  • If you will be using a travel crib, the week or two before your trip, practice setting up the travel crib and napping baby/toddler in the travel crib.
  • Good travel crib brands: Baby Björn, Lotus Travel Crib, or Graco Pack-n-Play. Be sure to check limits on age/height as well as airline restrictions for size/weight of travel crib.
  • Check out baby-rental-gear company Baby’s Away. They rent items such as playards, highchairs, cribs, pack-n-plays, and bouncy chairs and will deliver and set up in most major cities. www.babyaway.com

Safe Sleep for your Baby

April 14, 2014

Safe sleep for babiesMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from the Marin Child Care Council and its Safe Sleep Campaign. For more information, call them at (415) 472-1092 or visit www.mc3.org.

As parents and caregivers, our top priority is the health and safety of the babies we care for. But are we doing everything we can to keep our babies safe in Marin? The Marin Child Care Council’s Safe Sleep Campaign would like us all to consider these facts:

  • Last year in Marin, 2 babies died in their sleep!
  • Each year in the US, close to 4,000 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly of sleep-related causes (often referred to as Sudden Unexpected Infant Death or SUID).
  • Half of these unexpected deaths are due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), defined as the sudden unexplained death of a baby younger than one year of age without a known cause.
  • The rest of these infant deaths are largely due to accidental causes such as suffocation and strangulation in bed—and are 100% preventable!
  • Research shows that there are concrete steps we can take to reduce the risk of SIDS and prevent most other sleep-related infant deaths.

Holiday Travel Tips: Traveling with an Infant or Toddler

December 16, 2013

During the holidays, traveling with an infant or toddler can be a unique challenge, especially when it comes getting them to sleep. Marin parent coach, infant/toddler sleep researcher, and family therapist Angelique Millette has complied the following list of handy tips for traveling with children.

Angelique works throughout the Bay Area and across the country supporting families and helping them meet life's challenges. You can learn more about her and her events and classes at www.angeliquemillette.com.

It's that time of year, holiday travel time and many parents have been calling with questions about traveling with their babies and young children.

I've put together a list of tips and suggestions all tried-and-true by parents and their children:

  • If your baby will be sleeping in a pack'n'play on your trip, in the week or two before your trip place your baby in her pack'n'play for sleeping (AM nap or bedtime) so she gets used to the new sleep space.
  • Bring your baby or toddler's lovey, sleep sack (light and heavy weight depending upon the weather in the region you are visiting), unwashed crib sheet (familiar scent), and sound machine. Bring your toddler's blankies, stuffed animals, favorite bedtime books and pj's. This will help your little one to feel more secure in a new place and have reminders of home.
  • Talk to your young child about traveling. If flying for the first time, talk to your child ahead of travel day and tell her about flying in an airplane. Bring along her favorite books, 1–2 new toys and favorite snacks/sippy cup.

Child Sleep: Nightmares and Night Terrors

September 11, 2013

Marin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin parent coach, infant/toddler sleep researcher, and family therapist Angelique Millette.

What to do if your little one is waking during the night from a bad dream and refuses to go back to sleep? Or what if your little one refuses to go to sleep at bedtime due to a several nights in a row of bad dreams? And what if your child has been inconsolable upon waking at night but you aren't sure if your child is waking due to a nightmare or a night terror? These are common questions parents have when responding to their little one's nighttime sleep needs

Nightmares

All children have nightmares at some point and as long as children are dreaming they may also have nightmares. Interestingly, even infants dream and according to one landmark study (Roffwarg et. al., 2006) newborns dream more than at any other time in a young person's life. Nightmares are bad dreams and can happen at any point in a toddler or child's life especially so if a child has just had a traumatic event or situation. Several different studies have shown that children may have nightmares following surgery, tooth extraction, and motor vehicle accidents. Nightmares can also begin during periods of developmental change such as the period between 18–21 months and again right before a child's third birthday and fourth birthday. These are periods of individuation, when a child may become more sensitive or emotional as they become more independent.

Nightmares occur during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep cycles and typically occur in the final stages of sleep, later in the night. This makes nightmares different from night terrors, which typically occur in the first few hours of sleep (see below).

Nightmares are thought to be most common between the ages of 3 and 5 years old but can begin as early as the first year of life. They can be an important way that young children express their fears, anxieties, feelings, and their day-to-day experiences and are typically not a sign of emotional or psychological problems. Some children may become so fearful that they may protest going to sleep or sleeping in their beds at night.

Bedwetting and Child Sleep

July 16, 2013

Marin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin parent coach, infant/toddler sleep researcher, and family therapist Angelique Millette.

Nocturnal enuresis is the medical term for bedwetting, and is common in children. About 15 percent of five-year-olds are wet at night, and by age 12, only three percent of kids still wet the bed (mostly boys). Even so, bedwetting can be very embarrassing for kids, and parents may feel conflicted about how best to proceed. This article will focus on bedwetting as it occurs as a normal part of increasing independence and mastery in children, types of bedwetting, and how best to help your young one to succeed with nighttime bladder mastery. There are two types of nocturnal enuresis, with different kinds of causes:

  • Primary nocturnal enuresis- child has never had nighttime control, and have always wet at least two times a month. Most children who wet the bed have primary enuresis. It is not caused by psychiatric or emotional problems. Causes for primary enuresis include differences in bladder muscles, making too much urine, small bladder, and sleeping too deeply to wake up when the bladder is full, with the most common cause an immaturity of the part of the brain that signals a full bladder and awakens a child.
  • Secondary nocturnal enuresis- much less common and diagnosed when the child was completely dry at night for at least 6 months and then started wetting again. With secondary enuresis, the key is finding out what has changed in the child's life. Secondary enuresis is typically caused by stress such as a new baby sibling, a divorce, a move, or a family death. Secondary enuresis can also be caused by genetics, a urinary tract infection (UTI), and even constipation

A visit to your child's doctor can help you diagnose the reason(s) for secondary enuresis.

Suggestions for eliminating bedwetting

  • Be patient and understanding with your child. Remind your child that it is part of growing up, and remember not to punish your child for bedwetting. One study found that three-fourths of parents punished their children for bedwetting, and can lead to prolonged bedwetting, and/or secondary problems.
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