14mo with no sleep routine

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14mo with no sleep routine

Postby jkkfly » Sun 26 May, 2013 10:00 pm

Our 14 month old son does not have a sleep routine at all. We have to work very hard to get him to sleep during the day (pushing him around the house in his pram) and then he usually only sleep for half to one hour at a time. He only has one nap a day and refuses to go in his cot. We have tried to get him to sleep in his cot and he screams. As for during the night, he has to go to sleep in our arms or on our bed then put in his cot only to wake two or three times a night.

How do we teach him to self settle? How can we get him to sleep in his cot during the day? How long should he be sleeping in a 24hr period? PLEASE HELP....!!!!!

Thank you,
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Joined: Sun 26 May, 2013 9:52 pm

Re: 14mo with no sleep routine

Postby NgalaOnline » Mon 27 May, 2013 11:10 pm

Hi jkkfly,

Thank you for your post. It sounds as though your son has developed some external sleep associations such as being rocked to sleep in the pram and falling asleep in your arms, and that he is having difficulty with being able to settle to sleep or move between sleep cycles and resettle to sleep without the presence of these sleep associations.
Around 3-4 months of age babies begin to form sleep associations, which is learned ways of falling to sleep. It is known that babies have periods of light sleep and brief moments of wakening as they pass between sleep cycles every 40 minutes or so. Once sleep associations begin to develop, it is known that babies begin to expect the same conditions to be present when they rouse between sleep cycles as when they fell asleep. This explains why your baby will wake if he rouses in his sleep and finds that his pram is no longer being wheeled around, or if his environment has changed from when he fell to sleep. He may become confused and not know how his environment has changed, and this causes him to wake fully (in the same way as we would be alarmed if we fell asleep in our bedroom and awoke to find our self in the loungeroom). If a baby can learn sleep associations that he can do for himself or that remain present when he rouses between sleep cycles, he is likely to settle back to sleep without needing to call for his parents.

It is very likely that removing the current sleep associations will result in a few difficult days and some nights with reduced sleep for you all. There is likely to be some protesting and it is likely to take quite some time (such as an hour or two) initially to get your child to to sleep with the new methods of settling. It is normal for your baby to protest at the changes, as the current arrangements are working for him and he does not understand why they need to change. A lot of the protesting will also result from the fact that your baby is feeling tired but is unsure what to do with those sensations or how to return to sleep without his usual sleep associations until he is able to learn something soothing he can do for himself. It is helpful to remind yourself during this time that you are making the changes not to be mean to your child, but because you feel it will be in the best interests of him and the whole family if you can supportively teach him some new ways of falling to sleep and staying asleep.

If your child is currently not at all familiar with the cot it would be a good idea to have some happy playtime in the cot during the day, with you sitting by the cot and interacting with him to reassure him it is a happy and safe environment. You may like to do this for a few days before making settling changes. At fourteen months it is quite common for children to experience separation anxiety, and if you feel that your child is distressed by you leaving the room you may find it best to remain in the room near him until he goes to sleep. Remaining with him supports him through the transition, even if he does find it a little bit difficult to adjust for a few days, and prevents him from becoming overwhelmed or very stressed. It is best to prepare yourself as much as possible for the first 3-4 days / night to be quite challenging, but usually parents find that if they can be consistent and persist through the first difficult nights significant changes usually result within a week. Resting during the day, beginning at a weekend, having support available and reducing other responsibilities at this time helps many parents to get through the first few days. It is important to remain consistent with one method of settling for a reasonable period of time before being able to conclude that it is not working, or often before being able to see the changes resulting from this method. It is understandable that it is difficult to remain consistent particularly if your son doesn't seem to be responsive to any methods you are offering him, but unfortunately successful change usually does only come with consistency of method over a period of about a week.

If your baby is distressed then it is important to remain nearby and give reassurance, even if he does still cry or protest. You may find that he likes you to provide hands-on in-cot settling such as patting him or stroking him. If you provide this type of soothing it can help your baby to become familiar with getting drowsy and falling asleep in his cot. In cot settling techniques such as patting, rocking or stroking can also all become sleep associations if they persist for long, but they are generally easier to slowly draw back from and withdraw over a period of several days or a week than in-arms methods of settling and they do help the baby to become familiar and comfortable with the cot in a supported way. After a few days of your baby settling in the cot and when you can see his period of protesting reducing, it is then a good idea to begin reducing and gradually removing this hands-on settling over a period of a few days or a week, so that your baby can begin to settle independently. If your baby seems aggravated or overstimulated by hands-on settling rather than soothed, then you may just need to remain nearby such as sitting on a chair or the floor near his cot. This is reassuring for your baby even if he does continue to cry during settling for several days whilst he adjusts to the new method of settling and finds some ways of calming and soothing himself. You can say "ssshhh" or "sleep time" to him occasionally but it is best to avoid eye contact or repetitively lying him down. Some parents find that their baby is soothed by them talking very softly and calmly to their baby as the baby tries to settle. This sends a message that you are nearby, that he is safe and can go to sleep - but that it is not playtime right now. Once the baby has begun settling well for a few days and you feel his anxiety about settling to sleep has reduced you can then begin moving yourself closer to the door by a metre or so at the beginning of his settling over a period of several days or a week. Once you are in the doorway you can begin making short excursions from the chair which you then begin to extend. Some babies are comforted by their parent calling out to them from the doorway or a nearby room, just so that they know their parent is nearby. This approach does take patience and persistence, but many parents find that if they are able to be consistent it is a successful way of supporting their baby to begin settling and resettling independently which results in improved sleep.

Regarding how much sleep your baby may need in a 24 hour period, you may find the following chart helpful. http://www.ngala.com.au/files/files/125 ... eepers.pdf It is helpful to remember that this is a rough guide only. It is best not to focus on how much sleep your baby "should" be having as this can make parents feel anxious. Generally, if babies are able to settle and resettle themselves they will soon fall into a pattern of having a long day nap (or two day naps for some toddlers under 18 months of so) and sleeping well overnight. Helping your baby to learn how to settle himself and be comfortable with the environment he is sleeping overnight is laying the foundation for your baby to work out a sleep pattern where he can get all the sleep he needs - this usually comes on it's own once the baby has mastered the sleep skills of being able to settle and resettle himself.

Please ring the helpline if you would like more information or support. You may like to consider booking a Ngala consultation where you can come in and make a plan with a Ngala consultant who will then be able to follow you up for several weeks and give you ongoing support. Alternatively you may like to consider attending the Parent Workshop "And So To Sleep"
http://www.ngala.com.au/course/Parentin ... o-to-Sleep

I hope that this information is helpful.
This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the personalized assistance that can be received from the Ngala Helpline by telephone.

For families residing in Western Australia you can also contact the
Ngala Helpline
Telephone 9368 9368 or 1800 111 546 for country access
Available 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm
or request a callback online http://www.ngala.com.au/Ngala-and-You/Ngala-Helpline/Contact-Ngala-Helpline-Online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
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