Music therapy approach is something any parent can do to improve sleep and social interaction with their baby. Toddlers love this approach.
This is the age when many developmental milestones are achieved and sleep patterns change dramatically. Waking as much or more than when they were in the newborn phase, catnapping can be occurring both day and night. How exhausting to be going back to more waking and longer settling!
You might resort back to some of the sleep tools you used when your baby was a newborn like white noise?
Helping settle older babies that have now developed millions of brain cells since birth requires a different approach. White noise in its simplicity cannot compete with brain engagement like a lullaby can. Basically, your white noise is too dull for the brain to engage so your baby no longer responds.
There are many factors that can impact on your child’s sleep in this age range.
Watch out for teething pain. Cooled teethers may help soothe gums prior to sleep. Analgesia, gum soothing gels and lullaby music are all proven methods. We suggest a combination approach for settling and soothing your waking baby.
Nappy rash can flare up with teeth eruption. A soothing nappy rash cream applied thickly can help with the discomfort that can wake them up. Even apply as a preventative when you see the teething symptoms of dribbling, red cheeks and desire to chew on objects with purpose. We find the combination of zinc based diaper creams with a dusting of corn flour powder a very efficient and healing combination.
Hunger can be an issue if they are growing rapidly and using up calories. Try extra feeds or protein-based snacks before bedtime like cheese, yoghurt or whole-meal cheese or mashed egg sandwich. This is often a time when nursing momma’s can doubt their milk supply and lack of sleep and stress, doesn’t help. Rather than opting for formula top ups, a snack might keep your growing baby sustained for longer and keep you breast-feeding for longer.
Separation anxiety can be a huge issue from about six months on. This is where the term ‘velcro baby’ comes into play…literally stuck to you! You are your little ones security blanket and he will be seeking your reassurance that all is ok. This means he will want to go everywhere with you and insist on clinging to you during the day and wanting you close by at night. This phase can also continue for months meaning your chance of getting a little peace and quiet is limited when your toddler refuses to sleep.
Your bedtime routine should be no more than 20 MINUTES start-to-finish once pj’s are on and settling begins. Keep sleep times as regular and consistent as you can. Your older baby will likely want you to stay with them and regardless of your sleeping arrangement, you may not be ready to settle down for the night at 7pm, especially if you have other children. This is the perfect time to introduce Lullaby Sleep Music. Stay with your baby and re-connect and as baby relaxes, the music should allow you to leave, while baby falls into deeper sleep. Keep your music choices very simple and repetitive. Your baby will love you to sing to them.
Your older baby will become overtired just as quickly as when they were younger, so continue to watch for the early tired signs. Eye rubbing, yawning, disinterest and irritability to name a few.
RELAXATION IS THE KEY to quick settling. The combination of you being with them for reassurance and using appropriate sleep music to help them relax, will mean they learn to associate the same music as their sleep cue. If you can sing to your baby you will be enhancing your bond with them and they will be growing brain cells based on that experience.
Nurturing your older baby to learn good sleep habits and having them use lullaby sleep music as their relaxation sleep cue in infancy can become a life long habit. Music is the perfect tool for relaxing.
Just look at how you feel when you listen to music. Doesn’t it help your mood?
As a parent we all know having a baby is going to disrupt our sleep. It’s a normal biological fact that babies will want to wake and feed overnight as their tiny tummies empty quickly.
It’s a beautiful and exhausting stage of parenting that sometimes requires some adjustment and lullaby music can help.
For me it would take about two weeks after birthing for my body and brain to accept the frequent night-time waking. It was hard and particularly difficult when the last trimester lack of sleep meant I felt so sleep deprived.
My Baby was a Cat-Napper
What made this even more difficult was the fact that my son was a Catnapping Baby. Only sleeping on average 20-40 minutes and taking a while to settle meant that he spent a lot of time in my arms.
I was completely okay with that in the day-time because he was my last baby and I cherished those times.
Night-time was another thing! I didn’t want to leave my baby to cry and even trying white noise didn’t help.
I Couldn’t Co-Sleep
We room shared but not bed shared. Although some parents do this very effectively, I never slept well when we co-slept. Perhaps my nursing background gave me a heightened sense of ‘what if we rolled on him? What if he went under the duvet, as babies do move around.
Overheating and smothering are SIDs risks and that was always on my mind. This meant my sleep was light and I couldn’t function on that.
Recently I was talking to a group of expecting mums all having first babies. They revealed that their number one concern that frightened them the most was lack of sleep. Second to that was were they going to make good parents?
As a sleep expert, I hear some really amazing stories. Many new mums fall into the belief that lack of sleep is normal and babies will get there in their own time, even if it takes years. Many toddlers have never slept more than a couple of nights through! Can you contemplate your baby or toddler never sleeping well for months or years for one moment? But it happens and isn’t uncommon.
SLEEP IS AS IMPORTANT AS NUTRITION AND EXERCISE!
We spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping and there is a good reason for that.
Quality of life depends on sleep and lack of it affects short and long term health.
HOW SLEEP DEPRIVATION AFFECTS YOU…
- Mental health – You are at increased risk of depression, anxiety and even psychosis. The risk of developing maternal depression is higher not in the immediate months after birth, but when your baby reached toddlerhood.
Expect to be forgetful, over emotional and cry over what once would have been a trivial matter. Tiredness makes you less alert and more vulnerable to accidents and injury.
- Physical health – Can’t lose your pregnancy weight? Lack of sleep leads to hormone disruption. Elevated levels of a hormone called Leptin, signals hunger. Expect to feel hungry and never feel a sense of fullness. It can mask the additional calories that you need if you are nursing. Try to keep within your normal height/weight ratio for optimal health.
Diabetes, low immunity and even some cancers are linked to lack of sleep. While you sleep your cells are repairing and your brain is flushing out toxins.
If you’re not physically healthy, how can you expect to look after your baby?
- Relationship health – Increased aggression, less tolerance and poor decision-making can impact not only you but the relationship you have with your child and your partner. Mood swings will be common which makes your interaction with your loved ones fragile.
Expect disharmony with your partner and less infant bonding.
Lullaby Music Made Sleep Better
We used Lullaby Sleep Music! I tried to find lullaby sleep music that had a song and instrumental but couldn’t find anything like that.
The solution was to make our own and thank goodness we did. It was the simplest solution that made settling faster and sleep deeper.
I have very fond memories when my toddler relaxed to sleep without anxiety, and when he slept all night, so did I.
And as a bonus it was our ‘go to’ sleep tool whenever his sleep was hard come.
After all he’s only human and we all need a little sleep help, sometimes.