Category Archives: Sleeping

A guide to baby nap time

How much sleep your baby needs during the day is dependant on her age; as your newborn grows she will gradually need less nap time, it is important you don’t let your little one get over tired as this often results in an extremely hard to settle, tired little monster!

Establishing a routine

Babies respond well to routine as the visual and audible clues you give them helps them to understand and expect what is likely to happen next. This helps them to feel secure in their new world. Ideally, your baby’s day should begin at around 7 o’clock and end at 7 o’clock. If your baby wakes earlier than this then she should go to bed earlier in the evening – beware, putting her to bed later does not necessarily mean she will sleep in later! The amount your little one needs to sleep during the day and the number of naps needed is decreased little by little as she grows.
How many naps a day? For the first few weeks I would suggest letting your baby sleep when she is tired, the process of ‘being born’ is absolutely exhausting. You of course need to make sure you wake your newborn for regular feeds every 3-4 hours. Children tend to need naps up to the age of 3 or sometimes even 4 or 5. A good night time routine will compliment a good day time routine. In fact, it is rarely possible to have one without the other.

  • Newborn (0-4 weeks) : Allow your newborn to sleep when she is tired, this will help you to establish a routine that suits her needs rather than goes against her, and avoid rocking! (unless you want to rock her to sleep for the next 18 months)! A newborn is usually asleep more during the day than awake, ensure you wake her for feeds and try to establish a night time routine as soon as possible.
  • 4-8 weeks : Now she is out of the newborn stage you will start to notice a pattern to her day time sleep behaviour. This should form the base of your routine. It is likely your little one will need 3-4 naps a day, ranging from 40 minutes to 2-3 hours. You will probably find she gets tired after being awake for around 2-3 hour stretches. If you are looking to establish a good day time routine, the ‘feed, play, sleep’ routine is very popular as it is structured around your little ones needs and stops her from building an association with being fed and going to sleep.
  • 8-12 weeks – You and your baby will know the routine now and you will have become accustomed to her ‘clues’ that she is tired (rubbing her eyes, pulling her ear or being a bit tearful etc). You may find she has one big nap and two shorter ones but the length can differ depending upon the individual. Remember: there is no need to keep the house quiet during daytime naps, the more noise your baby can sleep through the better! Average nap time needed: 3-5 hours per day.
  • 3-6 months : There are some huge developmental milestones for your little one during this period, however, 3 naps a day- one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one late afternoon is still the perfect routine. If the late afternoon sleep is having a negative impact on your baby’s bed time then try putting her down a little earlier or waking her up after 40 minutes or so.
  • 6-9 months : As your child’s development continues, she may be more interested in crawling, sitting up or even pulling herself up than going to sleep. It is not uncommon for the late afternoon sleep to be dropped within this age range. Average nap time: 2-4 hours per day
  • 9-12 months : As your baby approaches 12 months you will find the length of time she naps for has reduced drastically when compared to 6-9 months ago. She is likely to be able to stay awake for between 4-6 hour stretches. 2 naps a day is the ideal – one in the morning and one early afternoon but it is not unusual for 12 month olds to only need one nap or to still need 3 on some occasions.
  • What’s the Difference Between a Sleepsuit, Babygrow and Vest?

    This has confused parents for as long as they have have existed but now, finally, courtesy of babyknowledge – your definitive guide to what the difference is between a sleepsuit, a babygrow and a vest.

    This is a sleepsuitThis is a sleepsuit. It is usually fastened using poppers that cover its complete length -from top to bottom including both legs. This makes it much easier to put on and take off your baby. Its estimated tog value is 4.0 tog.

    This is a babygrow - red This is a babygrow and I feel this is the item that causes most confusion. It is also known as a body suit but is often referred to as a vest. Sometimes this is spelt ‘babygro’ but also refers to the same item. The estimated tog rating of babygrows is 1.0 tog.

    This is a vest - whiteThis is a pack of vests. Newborns don’t tend to wear vests, parents prefer the above option (which gets called a vest, but none the less, for clarity, this is a pack of vests for babies). Vests have an estimated tog rating of 0.2 tog.

    I realise this is far from rocket science but if this post helps to clarify the subject for just one person then it has been worth writing. And hey, if you are that person, share the love and hit that like button. Thanks for reading!

    Tog Rating System – duvets for kids

    The tog rating system was designed to describe the thermal resistance of a duvet. This means how much warmth from your body it is able to retain. The higher the tog rating, the more warmth it is able to retain. Traditionally, people would have a summer duvet and a winter duvet but most seem to prefer the all season duvets, these are generally 10.5 tog – 13.5 tog.

    If you have 2 people in your bed, you are likely to need a lower tog duvet (perhaps 10.5) as the heat from 2 people will increase the amount of warmth that the duvet can ‘trap’. If you are bed sharing with your baby then you should never use a duvet, if you are thinking of buying a duvet for your baby, then you need to know the following…

    Can my baby have a duvet?

    Duvets should not be given to children under one year of age, this is because they are unable to kick it off (or slip out if it). If they get too hot they may end up overheating and overheating is considered to be a factor in SIDS cases. If your baby is over one year of age and you would like him to have a duvet, I would recommend buying a hypoallergenic duvet and having at least two 100% cotton covers. Please take note of my advice on which tog duvet to use for children.

    You may prefer baby sleeping bags as there is no risk of your baby slipping under the cover and your baby can’t wriggle out of it, this means that he is less likely to wake up due to feeling a bit cold. Sleeping bags are also helpful if you are staying overnight somewhere as your baby will recognise his own sleeping bag and feel comforted by it.

    What tog duvet is suitable for young children?

    A lighter duvet is recommended for young children because the duvets are able to trap more air around their smaller bodies which results in them feeling warmer than what an adult would. The ideal tog value for duvets for children over one year of age and under 10 is between 3 tog and 9 tog. You can find more information on duvets for children from this duvets for children buying guide

    Is it safe to co-sleep with a newborn?

    co sleeping mum and baby on a white sheet

    Is it safe to co-sleep with a newborn baby? The current advice may be reviewed shortly as new research recently published in the medical journal, BMJ Open, suggests that co-sleeping increases the risk of cot death by as much as 5 times in otherwise healthy babies aged between the age of 0-3 months.

    What is the current advice?

    The current advice on co-sleeping is that you should not share a bed with your baby, particularly if you have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs, it also states that you should never sleep with your baby on a sofa or an armchair.

    “We know that for the first six months of life, the safest place for a baby to sleep is in a cot, lying on his or her back, in the parents’ room.”

    What do we already know?

    • The causes of cot death are not completely understood.
    • SIDS in the UK occur mainly in more disadvantaged families and in places where smoking, drinking or drug-taking occurs.
    • In the UK, at least 300 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly every year.
    • In a previous study by the NHS it was found that more than half of the SIDS cases (54%) had been co-sleeping (in a bed or on the sofa) with a parent.
    • There are no official figures that identify the risk associated with co-sleeping where the act of co-sleeping was pre-meditated and in a bed (rather than on the sofa), and the parents did not smoke and were not under the influence of alcohol or drugs (prescription or otherwise).

    What did the new research tell us?

    Professor Bob Carpenter of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine led a research team looking into the risk factors associated with sudden infant death syndrome. The conclusion of this research (which involved the study of 1,472 cases of cot death and 4,679 normal babies) concluded that 81% of cot deaths in babies aged 0-3 months could be avoided if parents were advised not to co-sleep at all. However, it was noted that many of the bed sharing deaths involved at least one parent who:

    • Smoked
    • Was under the influence of alcohol
    • Was taking drugs that may cause drowsiness
    • Was feeling very tired

    Or involved a baby that was:

    • Premature
    • Of a low birth weight

    The view was taken that the NHS should, as a matter of course advise all parents not to co-sleep with their baby between the age of 0-3 months.

    “The current messages saying that bed sharing is dangerous only if you or your partner are smokers, have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs that make you drowsy, are very tired or the baby is premature or of low birth-weight are not effective because many of the bed sharing deaths involve these factors. Doctors, nurses, midwives and health visitors should take a more definite stand against bed sharing, especially for babies under three months. Bringing a baby into bed temporarily to feed or comfort it is acceptable, but only if it is put back into its cot immediately afterwards.”

    Is everyone in agreement with the findings of this study?

    The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) warned against this blanket ban and raised concerns that this could increase the risk of SIDS associated with co-sleeping as parents may end up accidentally co-sleeping, such as falling asleep on the sofa or in bed whilst trying to settle a baby.

    “It could lead to an increased likelihood that a parent or carer inadvertently falls asleep while holding the baby, in a chair or on a sofa, which is much less safe for the infant.”

    Is there a safe way of co-sleeping?

    As the cause of SIDS is unknown, there are only risk factors associated with it which should be considered when making decisions regarding where your baby will sleep. For the first six months of life, the safest place for a baby to sleep is in a cot, lying on his or her back, in the parents’ room. If you are certain that you would like to co-sleep with your baby then it is recommended that you and your partner meet all of these requirements:

    • You never sleep with your baby on the sofa.
    • Your baby is not bottle fed.
    • You do not smoke.
    • Have not drunk alcohol.
    • Are not taking any drugs or medication.
    • You are not feeling unusually tired.
    • You are both aware that your baby is in bed with you.
    • You are not ill and do not have a condition that may make it difficult for you to respond to your baby.
    • The mattress is not saggy or dipping in places; it needs to be firm, flat and clean.
    • The room is not too warm.
    • You are using sheets and blankets (not quilts/duvets).
    • You do not have a water bed.
    • It is not possible for your baby to fall out of bed or get trapped between the mattress and the wall.
    • Your bed is big enough for you and your baby.
    • If a sibling is also sharing your bed, there must be an adult between the two children.
    • You do not allow pets to also share the bed.
    • You do not allow your baby to sleep alone in your bed.

     

    If you require further information, I recommend speaking with your health visitor.

    Do you co-sleep? Were you advised not to? What are your views on this research?

    Baby Room Thermometer Guide

    Room thermometer guide - Compare room thermometers, owl on gro eggA baby room thermometer  is a product that is usually bought in preparation for your baby’s birth but it is never too late to start using one! In my opinion they are as essential as a new mattress and a baby monitor – it helps to ensure a safe sleeping environment and gives you peace of mind in the middle of the night. I would only ever recommend using a digital thermometer, they are much more accurate than analogue ones and protect against tired parents misreading it – particularly in the dark of the night when you are half asleep. Many monitors come with in-built thermometers but they are not always reliable as the heat from the camera can often result in a false high reading.

    If you are thinking of buying a room thermometer for the nursery, you are probably of the same mind set as me and don’t completely trust the cardboard ones that are supplied free with sleeping bags or are available for a few pound, I much prefer a more accurate, digital reading. Here is a list of my favourite baby room thermometers and an easy to read guide to their best bits and links to reviews and instructions

    Compare room thermometers

    Turn your device sideways for a better view.

    Make and ModelDocumentationCurrent Price £% 4/5 Star RatingsOther featuresBatteriesDigital
    Philips AVENT SCH550/20user manual£09.8570%Also a bath thermometer2 x LR44YES
    Brother Max Rayinstructions£09.9973%Also a bath thermometer1 x CR2032 (included)YES
    Thermometer/hygrometerN/A£12.9981%Also a HygrometerYesYES
    Gro-EggInstructions£14.9974%Changes colour to indicate temperatureUK Mains powered adaptor (supplied)YES
    Mebby Mothers TouchN/A£19.9999%Also reads baby's forehead temperature1 x CR2032YES
    Brother Max One Touchusers manual£26.5051%Also reads baby's head and ear temperature2 x AAAYES