Promoting Infant Circadian Rhythms

 

You may have heard the phrase “She has her days and nights mixed up” in reference to a baby who sleeps all day and is up most of the night. The reason for this “mix up” is that brand new infants have not developed what is called a circadian rhythm.

A circadian rhythm is essentially a 24 hour internal clock that gives us cues as to when we should sleep and when we should be alert. Many of these cues are influenced by our exposure to light and our hormones. It generally takes 2-5 months for an infant to develop a good 24-hour circadian rhythm.

As a human who needs sleep (that’s you!) it is a good goal to work towards naturally helping your baby cultivate a strong circadian rhythm. You see, it is usually not the amount that a baby sleeps that is the problem- it’s that they don’t want to sleep when you do! (more…)

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Never Wake A Sleeping Baby (and Other Sleep Myths)

Most of us (if not all) have been the victim ahem, beneficiary, of well-meaning parenting advice. Whether it is your great aunt at the family reunion, that mom in your play group or the man in the check out line at the grocery store, people tend to be very eager to give moms sleep advice (actually, any advice!) regarding their children. While sometimes the advice can be a little nugget of wisdom or motivation, sometimes they are myths that- while well-meaning- only end up causing more trouble if followed! Below I address the top myths I hear regarding sleep, and why you should politely smile, nod and ignore when the sweet lady at the gym gives you one of these lines 😉 (more…)

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The Problem with Sleep Shaming

I don’t know any mother (even a first timer!) who goes into motherhood expecting to get 12 hours of beauty sleep when their little bundle of joy enters their life. We all know that things are about to change drastically, at least for a while. We understand we will be up in the middle of the night caring for a newborn, probably feeding every couple hours, and changing diapers. No big surprise. Especially for exclusively breastfeeding moms (like I was), our willing spouses are not even able to help as much because we are the solitary food source. Most notably during the “fourth trimester,” when babies are still getting used to life outside the womb and their needs and wants are the same thing, we have to be as responsive as possible. (more…)

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Waking Up in the Bathtub

Imagine this: it’s a normal night. You snuggle up with your partner, fluff your pillow and pull your covers up to your chin and sink into a deep sleep. A couple hours later, your eyes snap open. But something is not right. The surface below you is too hard, and you can’t feel your pillow anymore. Your partner is nowhere to be found and you sit straight up, only to realize you are sleeping in the bathtub. You freak out, start yelling “How did this happen??” while you step out of the tub and head back to your bed.

Weird, right? Imagine that this happens five times a night, every night.

Stay with me… (more…)

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The Importance of a Good Routine

Every child’s sleep plan starts with a good routine. There are several reasons for this. For the child, it gives them a sense of predictability. Babies and children love routine, and they thrive knowing what to expect at certain points of the day. This applies especially at bedtime! Another reason is that it allows them to slowly wind down at the end of the day. They are not in a situation where they are playing with toys one minute and expected to fall asleep the next minute. Lastly, it usually involves some enjoyable time between parent and child, slowing down and reconnecting before bedtime. (more…)

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