I wish we'd known that true angels disguised by calling themselves Sleep Consultants existed 3 years ago when we were at the beginning of our battle with chronic sleep deprivation!
So, when the opportunity recently presented itself to work with a group of international sleep consultants to help spread the word about their work and have them try out our Bamboo Bubby Bags and the ScratchMeNot flip mitten sleeves on eczema families they encounter - well I JUMPED at it.
This latest post from Heather at Soothing Angels (see bio below) provides lots of helpful sleep advice about helping your baby to sleep better and tips to get through some of the medical issues that also commonly affect so many baby's sleep - Kelly x
Sleep can be complicated! There are medical reasons that make little ones wake up at night. The 5 most common are: Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Reflux, Asthma, Allergies, and Restless Legs. Now, we all know that there are many reasons that keep little ones awake in the night after they have awakened. This is where eczema, teething, and associations with sleep come into play.
Eczema, when in a flare up, may interfere with the ability to fall asleep peacefully and comfortably. You will have remedies and medicines from the Dr. to help alleviate the pain and manage the condition. The “Dry Wrapping”, that was mentioned in another blog, has been very effective in mild to moderate outbreaks. The “Bamboo Bubby” is a remarkably soft wrap that helps eliminate scratching during sleep and the ScratchMeNot Mittens help to deter the scratching during the day. The fabric is hypoallergenic, antibacterial, and comes in many beautiful colors. These products are wonderful because you can use them for babies and use the same Bubby for up to 2 years old (as they are adjustable in size). I have seen several clients use these products while successfully sleep coaching their little ones; we saw great improvements with sleeping habits when we were able to create positive associations with sleep and stop baby scratching during the night. These families were very excited to find out about this treasure and to sleep through the night!
Teething is blamed for nightly wake-ups but is actually only the reason in about 5% of cases. Those 5% of babies have EVERY symptom for teething and this will be a reason they have woke in the night. The other 95% have likely woken due to their associations with sleep; however, the pain may cause a problem for them to fall back to sleep. In this case, here are several tips to help:
- Pain relievers – ask the Dr. and pharmacist which is right for you and how much to give and then give them the dose early in the bedtime routine or at the night wake up so that it is effective as they are trying to fall asleep. If you see that the timing in the night is where the pain relievers have worn off and when you give them more, it helps them sleep – good.
- Water filled chew toys – throw them in the freezer and the ice will numb the area and relieve pain.
- Hyland’s teething tablets or Camilia drops – natural remedies found in the health food stores
- Facecloths – wet the corner with water or chamomile tea and then freeze it; let the baby chew on it to relieve the pain
Teeth either come in or recede and try again another day.
Little ones develop associations with sleep that determine their ability to get back to sleep independently. Negative associations, or crutches, are anything that Mom or Dad has to do for them or be in the room for so that they can go to sleep. This includes rocking to sleep, holding to sleep, feeding to sleep, adjusting the blankets (over 12 months old), returning the soother, turning on music, taking them to Mom & Dad’s bed, and even the smallest touch. Little ones believe they NEED this to go to sleep; they also believe it is a reward for waking up. It only takes 2-3 days for them to unlearn a crutch; it also only takes 2-3 days to adopt a new one! You will want to teach your little ones the ability to fall asleep independently with positive associations with sleep, routine, and consistency. They will benefit from this very important skill for their whole lives,; it will help improve daily behavior, improve growth and development, and help them to be adaptable to variations in their routines/schedules.
The answers to great sleep are often in the details. Once medical reasons are treated or managed, we can work on associations, routine, and consistency. These points are crucial components to healthy sleep habits. Consistency and routine will enable you to create predictability, security, and the best environment for your little ones to thrive!
Heather is a Certified Maternity & Child Sleep Consultant and mother of 3 daughters.
She is passionate about helping sleepless families to develop healthy sleep habits for their little ones, from expecting moms to 6 years old.
She enjoys camping, sports, and children's giggles.
For more information visit www.soothingangels.ca