Fiona Carroll: Sleep Routine Consultant
Fiona Carroll Sleepy Lambs is a sleep consultant who helps, supports and educates parents on how to help their little ones have a better night sleep. She experienced sleep challenges herself with her second child so knows exactly how tough and lonely it can be when your child doesn’t sleep well at night and the impact it can have on parents as well as the rest of the family.
Top Tips for Sleep Success
Some tips that Fiona shared with us:
• Take a look at the sleep environment of your child – a room that is calm, dark (not pitch black) and a temperature of around 16-20 degrees.
• From around 4 months start trying to get into a good routine. A good routine can really help your child through the day and help them be ready to sleep at bedtime.
• New-borns need up to around 19 hours sleep a day and up to the age of one they still need around 16 hours sleep a day.
• Diet and nutrition plays a key part in helping children sleep so make sure they have a good balanced diet. When starting to wean your child it’s important to make sure their tummy’s are ready and able for food!
Some questions on sleep routines
Q: Child, aged 7, used to be a great sleeper but has now started coming into her parents bed during the night.
A: Check if there was something that triggered the change eg. back to school, an illness etc. Try and talk to your daughter away from the sleep environment to see if something is going on that parents don’t know about – are they having nightmares, are they worried about something – and ask in a casual and chatty way. Sometimes trying to get your child to bed earlier can help them sleep better as they are not over-tired and then have a better night’s sleep.
Q: Parent has a 7 month old who wakes up every 1 and a half to two hours through the night and always wants to feed.
A: Look at their routine and think about putting a good routine in place. Look out for tired signals as they may benefit from going to bed earlier along with probably needing 3-4 naps a day. If a child is over tired it can have a real knock on effect on their night’s sleep.
Q: 6 month old who keeps waking at 3am and is not settling back to sleep. Any tips?
A: This could be a developmental change so the baby could be learning to sit up or going through another development milestone. Something like this could easily cause a baby to start waking during the night. If it is for a developmental reason it could last for up to 8 weeks or be as short as 2/3 weeks. It could also be something like separation anxiety which kicks in around this age so maybe try to spend some special one on one time together even for a short time every day.
Q: Baby is in a vest, baby grow and 2.5 tog Grobag but his hands and feet are always cold when his mum checks on him. Does he need a blanket too?
A: Babies hand and feet can easily get cold and it’s not unusual. It’s good to check their chest or back of their neck as a temperature gauge rather than their hands and feet. If the room is around 16/17 degrees then guidelines are for a 2.5 tog Grobag and sleep suit.