With the holidays quickly approaching, parents who have recently gotten their babies, of any age, sleeping on a schedule are often worried that their little ones' sleep will regress over the Holidays.
I can assure you that those fears could not be more real.
Many families struggle with severe sleep deprivation for a very long time due to the "blessing" of having a child (or two like I was) that lacks healthy independent sleep strategies.
So, finally getting your whole family into a routine that works. Finally moving from being severely sleep deprived into a family that is becoming well rested. Trust me everyone inside that little family unit wants to protect their new found sleep including the little one who is finally able to sleep.
When little ones finally FEEL what it feels like to have the sleep that is needed for healthy growth and development they don't want their schedule messed with either.
Between the travel, excitement, and constant attention of family and friends, holidays are the easiest way to throw all of your hard work out with the wrapping paper.
But fortunately, it doesn't have to be that way! With some strategic planning and an iron will, you can keep that carefully orchestrated routine running right on schedule.
There are two major impediments to maintaining your kiddos routine over the holidays. One is travel, and the other is family and friends, so I want to tackle both of those topics individually.
First, we will cover the travel portion...
As a pediatric sleep consultant, there are a few questions I’ve grown accustomed to hearing. People are understandably curious about whether or not their child is going to cry, and if so, for how long. They want to know how long it’s going to take before baby starts sleeping through the night, and when they’ll be able to do the same.
And even though they never come right out and say it in so many words, they want to know if there’s some kind of magical solution that will solve the problem instantaneously without any effort, crying, or protest.
A whole year, really? How did your wee newborn, curled up on your chest, turn into a babbling, active toddler? Somehow, those long days became a short year. Happy birthday, baby! As you move into toddlerhood from 12 to 18 months, get ready for some roller coasters when it comes to food and sleep, including new schedules and routines. The non-stop eating tends to slow down, and toddlers typically only gain a few pounds between the ages of one and two. Continue to offer a variety of healthy foods for meals and snacks, but don’t get too concerned if they’re not that hungry.
In adults, we’re most likely to dream during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, although dreams can happen during other sleep stages, too. This REM sleep may even start before birth: Brain waves that closely resemble those found in REM sleep have been measured inside the womb between 25 and 28 weeks. Since babies spend about half of their sleeping time in REM sleep, some researchers think it only makes sense that they are having some form of dreams. On the other hand, some scientists say that babies are not developmentally capable of the kind of abstract thinking (including the ability to imagine things visually and self-awareness) you need to have dreams.
If babies do dream, their dreams probably won’t have the rich visuals and interactions with other characters that adults have when they dream, says Zadra. “Their dreams are probably very similar to what they experience when they’re awake because they have a preverbal form of consciousness,” he says. “It may be a collection of sensations, whether it’s warmth, suckling on a breast or images of a close-up face.” Just as an adult processes the previous day when they sleep, so does an infant’s brain—it’s just not as advanced yet.
Now that you’ve made it through the “fourth trimester” and all the ups and downs that come with it—welcome to months four and five! When your baby is around five months old, you will probably see more of a schedule with dedicated nap times—usually two naps a day. Many parents also find that on-the-go napping comes to an end around five months, as your kiddo needs their own quiet, dark space to settle down to snooze. Sleeping for 12 hours a night is becoming a possibility, even if you’re not there yet. “A four-month-old or five-month-old often needs a feeding at night, but around six months, if they’re growing on their curve and everything is fine health wise, then there absolutely is that ability to sleep 12 hours,” says Erin Neri, a certified pediatric sleep consultant in Sherwood Park, Alta.
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