And How They Can Affect Sleep
It can often be hard to tell what is causing your little one to wake more regularly in the night or take longer falling asleep at bedtime, especially if they used to be a better sleeper and suddenly things seem to be going downhill. It could well be that they’re in the middle of a sleep regression – I recently did some posts on social media around the most common sleep regressions if you want to go and check them out. If you’re doubtful that this is the cause of your disrupted nights, think about your little one’s development. If you feel they’re just on the cusp of mastering something major or about to have a giant development leap – this can often be the cause of more frequent night wakings in little ones.
What Developmental Milestones Should You Look Out For?
As your wee one grows, there are many milestones that they will go through that can cause a temporary disruption to their normal peaceful sleep.
The main offenders are usually:
• Starting to roll over – this can often cause problems if a little one can roll onto their tummy but then can’t roll back, prompting a call to you to help them if they get stuck during the night!
• Crawling – babies who are just perfecting the art of crawling often practice it when they should be trying to fall asleep – it’s as if their brains are unable to switch off from trying to practice this incredible new skill.
• Standing – often, a little one will enjoy the new skill of standing up in the cot but may need some help to get back down again!
• Word Explosions – this is a tricky one and is often not noticeable until after the fact. However, if your little one is about to have a big explosion in the words they can say, this can temporarily affect their sleep as their brain is so busy learning, making it difficult for them to switch off and fall asleep.
Do I Just Have To Wait The Sleep Disruption Out?
The short answer is no! However, there are lots of ways in which you can help your little one if they are struggling to sleep as a result of a recent or upcoming developmental milestone. Lots of practice when they’re up and alert during the day can help cement their new skill. So, help them roll back over from front to back during the day or help them sit back down again when they manage to pull themselves up on furniture. The more times you practice these skills during the day, the more quickly your little one will master them and then be able to sleep more easily and peacefully again!
A Quick Note About Milestones
It can be really easy to get worried about your little one and their development, particularly when comparing them to other babies you know around the same age. It’s so tempting to compare your little one and easy to get worried if you feel your wee one is not as “advanced” as others. Remember that all children are unique, and your little one will hit their milestones when they’re ready. Of course, if you become worried about how your little one is developing, please speak to your GP or Health Visitor, who will be able to assess how your wee one is getting on.
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Caro is a Senior Certified Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consultant® based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
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