The UK’s leading baby sleep expert Sam Saunders, aka The Baby Guru shares some of her top tips around sleep and routine regarding the clocks changing in October to help you all sleep that bit better now the season has changed.
Sam has helped over a 1000 parents in the last 10 years including clients spanning Hollywood actors and European royal families.
Over to Sam:
With the Autumn Clock Change fast approaching and an extra-long day ahead on Sunday for little ones, here are a few of my top tips.
- Let your child sleep for an extra 15-20 minutes on Saturday (if your little one has a morning nap and is sleeping well), pushing their day on a little further.
- Move their lunch time nap and afternoon nap, dinner and bedtime on too by 15-20 minutes. Of course, if they are tired, then keep them to their usual time.
- Let them sleep in on Sunday, if they will!
- As there is an extra hour in the day on Sunday, bring meals, naps and bedtime forward slightly so they are not overtired.
- It can take a couple of hours for them to adjust so watch their sleep cues and get them down early for naps and bedtime, if needed.
Why I Became a Gentle Parenting and Sleep Coach and General Baby Sleep Tips
You would have thought that by baby number 4, I would have had parenting sussed… wel,l I am not ashamed to say I was far from it! My fourth son, Jamie, was my worst sleeper of all. The health visitor suggested some sleep training but back then it was just seen as a process of shutting the bedroom door until the next morning and it would be over within a few nights. Well, that was the start of my sleep coaching path. There had to be another way…
Over the years, I have spent many nights working 1-2-1 with families, night after night. I’ve learnt how little ones respond differently to the art of falling asleep independently and from this developed my own Responsive Sleep Training Programme.
Helping little ones to settle easily and sleep well is like fitting the pieces of a jigsaw together. The key elements to take into consideration are:
- Being able to settle themselves to sleep without being rocked, fed or using a dummy that they cannot pop back in themselves.
- The environment they nap and sleep in overnight plays an important role. Creating a calm, dim or dark room for naps and nights is essential, giving little ones a consistent surrounding.
- If they are sensitive to sound, you live on a busy road or noises around the house seem to disturb them, then white noise is useful. The key is to keep it on in the background throughout the whole of the nap and throughout the night.
- Giving them enough space to sleep. Children, from as early as 4 months old sleep so much sounder in a large cot rather than a crib or moses basket. Make sure they have a firm and flat mattress too that they can practice their rolling skills on.
- Ensure they have appropriate naps and gaps in sleep for their development stage and age.
- A regular pre nap and bedtime routine helps them know that sleep is coming, enabling them to settle quicker and sleep for longer.
- A consistent bedtime is another important factor to a settled night and helps avoid early wake ups. It’s true that sleep encourages sleep so putting them to bed later in the hope they will sleep for longer, is a myth. I always recommend a bedtime of around 6.30-7pm.
- Children naturally respond well to a 12-hour day and 12-hour night.
- If you are still feeding during the night, then feed until they are full, not just feeding back to sleep so as to avoid frequent wake ups with short feeds.
- Being consistent is essential so if you are making any changes, stick with it. Sleep coaching can take anything from 1-2 nights to 2 weeks.
My programmes doesn’t just focus on sleep, I always look at the whole 24 hrs and often a tweak the routines. Sleep coaching isn’t for everyone and the job can carry a stigma but the methods I use are gentle and responsive. Many families find their mental health struggles due to little sleep. It can affect relationships and work and is often the best option in achieving a restorative, peaceful night’s sleep for everyone in the family.
My two key methods are available on The Baby Guru App for parents to have their own Baby Guru on hand, day or night.
Good luck, with the clock change and enjoy the new season!
You can follow Sam on Instagram here – thebabyguruofficial