Sleepy Time Tips: Q & A time! Our Clinical Psychologist answers your questions

How to get my baby to sleep

It is quite common for parents to struggle with sleep problems in their babies and young children. If you are facing sleep challenges with your little one, our Clinical Psychologist answers the top 10 sleep questions from parents.

Sleep problems in babies

1. My 8 month old baby was sleeping through the night but has started waking up every three to four hours? What can I do?

Our Clinical Psychologist’s responds:
It is quite common for the sleep patterns of 8, 9 and 10 month old babies to change. . The reason for this is that babies at this age are experiencing a lot of brain development – they may be learning to crawl, sit up, pull at things as well as absorb language. While developmental milestones can interfere with sleep patterns, it is important to set a sleep schedule which includes an earlier bedtime.

Make sure that you have a consistent bedtime routine in place (feeding and bathing at the same time every evening) and allow your baby to fall asleep by himself at bedtime. 

Baby sleep experts advise that if you are breastfeeding, you should feed your baby at the beginning of his bedtime routine but then rock him to sleep. As soon as your baby can fall asleep without needing to feed, you can put him in his cot. Pat him until he falls asleep.

After doing this for a few days, you can gradually move away from the baby and sit across the room until he falls asleep. By implementing small changes slowly and consistently, your baby will eventually sleep through the night.

Babies who are waking up often during the night will benefit from Sleepy Sprinkles which is a 100% homeopathic remedy to relax babies and support a peaceful slumber.   Just a few pinches into your baby’s mouth and he will be asleep in no time!
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2. How do I get my baby to stop waking so early?

Our Clinical Psychologist’s responds:
This is a common complaint from many parents – no one wants to be woken up at 4 a.m or 5 a.m! Generally, a wake up time of 6 a.m or later is considered reasonable for babies. If your little one is waking up earlier than 6 a.m and quickly becomes tired and cranky, then you should adjust your schedule.

There may be a number of scheduling problems that have led to your baby up waking early, such as not getting enough nap time or bedtime may be too early or too late.

Treat your baby’s early morning wake-ups as night time wake ups.  For instance, your baby wakes up at 5 a.m., settle him by offering reassuring kisses and pats, and say “It’s sleepy time, see you in the morning” and leave the room. When it is time to wake up, open up the curtains to let the light in and sing a good morning song so that your baby gets the idea when it is time to wake up.
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3. When should my baby sleep throughout the night without a feed?

Our Clinical Psychologist’s responds:
By about 6 months old, most babies sleep for at least six hours without waking up for a feeding. A feed at night can disrupt your baby’s sleep and it’s a good idea to start weaning him off night time feedings around six months.

Babies younger than six months who are feeding a lot at night time may also be weaned off slowly from lots of feeds. However, keep in mind that this depends on your baby’s weight and should be discussed with your paediatrician first.
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4. How long should my baby nap for?

Our Clinical Psychologist’s responds:
It really depends on your baby’s age. Babies nap more in their first few months with newborns needing a nap every hour. By 6 months, babies usually need two or three naps a day – in the morning, early afternoon and later in the afternoon.

At 9 to 12 months, babies are taking two naps a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. By 18 months, there will be no more morning naps and only afternoon naps.

However, bear in mind that the need for daytime naps differs from child to child, with some needing more than others.
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5. Why does my baby wake up as soon as I lay him down in his cot?

Our Clinical Psychologist’s responds:
If your baby is used to falling asleep in your arms, then it makes sense that he wakes once he is put in his cot. Your baby becomes fussy because he wants to feel reassured and safe in the comfort of your arms.

In order for your baby to sleep in his cot, you need to wean him away from needing to be held for sleep. The trick here is start putting your baby down to sleep while he is drowsy but still awake.

Stay by his cot until he drifts off to sleep, patting his back or whispering softly to him. A good dose of our homeopathic Sleepy Sprinkles will make your baby drowsy and help him to sleep so much better.
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Sleep problems in toddlers and younger children

1. My child naps at crèche but refuses to nap at home? How can I get her to nap without a struggle?

Our Clinical Psychologist’s responds:
Children like adults have different sleep needs. While some kids may fall asleep almost immediately, others may take a while longer. Many children nap at playschool simply because it is habit and routine and everyone is expected to nap.  This should give you a clue towards what you need to do at home!

Establishing a daily routine which includes a nap can help nap time run more smoothly. Set the scene for nap time by darkening your child’s bedroom and getting her special  teddy or blanket ready – these are little things that offer reassurance for your child and make her feel comfortable.

Speak firmly but still affectionately that naptime has come and make sure that your home is quiet (put your cellphone on silent, turn down the TV etc). Read or sing to your child to help her settle down or you can rub her back gently.

If your child resists all your naptime efforts, leave and try to simply have a bit of quiet rest time.  Let your child wake up on her own if possible as this will ensure that she will be in a better mood.
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2. My four-year old child wakes up during the night and doesn’t fall asleep again unless I stay with him. What can I do?

Our Clinical Psychologist’s responds:
When your child wakes up during the night and calls out for you, don’t go to him immediately. Give him a few minutes to settle down. If he continues to call for you or comes into your bedroom, go to his room or take him back to his room offering him reassurance. Once you’ve settled him, tell him that it’s time to sleep and leave the room. Try to delay going to him each night until he starts to fall asleep without assistance.

Young children often wake up because they may have a nightmare. If this happens, go to your child immediately and reassure him and encourage him to get back to sleep.

In the Feelgood Health range, Good Dream Sprinkles is specially formulated to settle and calm your child after a bad dream or nightmare.   You can also add a few drops of Du Du Drops which is a 100% homeopathic remedy to help young children to sleep more peacefully.
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3. How can I get my child to go to bed at night? My child wants to stay up later even though it’s her bed time.

Our Clinical Psychologist’s responds:
This is a classic example of what happens when there are older siblings in the home. Your child will find any excuse to want to stay up later if there is lots of activity around her bedtime. If you want your child to go bed on time, you need to quiet things down during the time leading up to her bedtime.

Turn off the TV, dim the lights and make sure that video games, cellphones and other toys are put away. Instruct older siblings to keep noise levels to help making going bed much easier for the younger ones.

Implement a bedtime routine which includes dinner, bath time, reading a story or prayers and then being tucked into bed.  
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4. Our child keeps sneaking into our room at night. What can we do so that she stays in her own bed?

Our Clinical Psychologist’s responds:
Although some parents don’t mind, others often want tear their hair out about this one. If you are ok with having your child in bed with you, there is nothing wrong with that . However, if it disturbs you or you want to discourage it,  the only solution here is to be firm!

If your child is sneaking out of her bed to come into yours, remind her that she has her own bed to sleep  in – just like you have your own bed to sleep in.

When she gets out of bed, return her back to her own bed – as many times as it takes if necessary. Patience, consistency and persistence is key here but she will soon get the message.
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5. My toddler cries or throws a tantrum every night before he has to go and sleep. We are at our wits end…

Our Clinical Psychologist’s responds:
There are various reasons for bedtime battles and these often include your child being overtired, having too much nap time, a nap that occurs later in the day and then of course, sleep associations. Some believe that you should let your child cry out while others simply cannot handle this approach.

Sleep experts believe that you should change your child’s sleep associations. If for instance, you are used to rocking your child to sleep in your arms, this is her sleep association. If you want her to be able to sleep on her own, you have to change the sleep association gradually to one that she can do on her own.

It is also very important to create a bedtime routine and quiet the house down in the evenings. A fun, bubble bath before or after dinner, a bedtime story of your child’s choice, her favourite teddy or Barbie at her side as well as good night kisses and hugs from both mommy and daddy will help to make going to bed more pleasant.

A good dose of Du Du Drops will also help to promote natural sleep for the child who struggles with the change in bedtime patterns.
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Comments

  • Feelgood Health - January 16, 2017

    Hi there

    We are sorry to hear that your daughter is having trouble settling her baby. As you know every baby is different and while some babies may sleep right through, others struggle to. She should check his feeding schedule, is she feeding him enough or too little. Does he have winds or he could have a bit of colic?

    We can recommend our Sleepy Sprinkles which is an all-natural remedy to help babies to sleep peacefully and promote healthy, regular sleep patterns. We recommend our Colic Calmer which will help to soothe and calm your baby’s colic. Your daughter can also try swaddling him, skin to skin contact or massage to keep him relaxed and calm.

    For more info, please go to: www.feelgoodhealth.co.za/products/coliccalmer-natural-remedy-colic; www.feelgoodhealth.co.za/products/sleepy-sprinkles-homeopathic-sleep-remedy-for-babies

  • s.jacobs - January 10, 2017

    I sent a message – my daughters baby is 12 days old and she is having trouble settling him at night – sleeptime he is waking up every 20 minutes to half an hour – he wants to sleep on her chest after feeding – she just wants to know if this is normal or is there anything she can do to settle him at night – as she is afraid this might create a pattern that she will find hard to break – she moves him to his moses basket but as soon as she puts him down he wakes up – any suggestions would be appreciated

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