Separation Anxiety in Babies: Causes, Signs, and How to Help Them Through It

Separation Anxiety in Babies: Causes, Signs, and How to Help Them Through It

Separation anxiety is a natural and common developmental stage that babies go through. While it can be challenging for both babies and parents, understanding the causes and recognizing the signs of separation anxiety can help you support your baby through this stage. In this blog, we’ll discuss what separation anxiety is, why it happens, when it typically occurs, what you can do to help your baby, and how you can survive this phase as a parent.

mum feeling sad as her baby is going through separation anxiety

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a normal and common developmental stage that babies go through, typically starting around 6 months of age. During this stage, babies can become distressed when separated from their primary caregivers, usually their parents. This can lead to crying, clinginess, and general fussiness when left with other caregivers, such as grandparents or babysitters. Separation anxiety is a sign that your baby is developing a healthy attachment to you and is starting to understand that you are a separate person from them.

Why Does Separation Anxiety Happen?

Separation anxiety happens as a result of emotional and cognitive development in babies. As babies grow and develop, they start to understand that they are separate from their caregivers and that their caregivers can leave them. This can lead to anxiety and distress when separated from their caregivers, as babies are unsure when their caregivers will return. Separation anxiety is a normal part of a baby’s emotional and cognitive development and is a sign that your baby is developing a healthy attachment to you.

mum playing with her baby both laughing and happy

What Can You Do to Help Your Baby with the separation anxiety?

Understanding what causes separation anxiety can help you support your baby through this stage. By starting small, creating a goodbye routine, staying calm and positive, and encouraging bonding with other caregivers, you can help your baby develop a sense of security and independence that will benefit them throughout their life.


  • Start Small: Practice leaving your baby with other caregivers for short periods, gradually increasing the amount of time you spend apart. This will help your baby get used to being away from you and will build their confidence and independence.
  • Create a Goodbye Routine: Develop a predictable and consistent goodbye routine that helps your baby understand that you will always come back. This can include saying goodbye with a hug and a kiss or leaving a special item, such as a blanket or a toy, with your baby. Learn more about routines in our detailed  age specific sleep guides here.
  • Stay Calm and Positive: Your baby can sense when you’re anxious or upset, which can make separation anxiety worse. Stay calm and positive when leaving your baby with other caregivers, and reassure your baby that you will return.
  • Encourage Bonding with Other Caregivers: Encouraging your baby to bond with other caregivers, such as grandparents or babysitters, can help them feel more secure when you’re not around. This can include spending time with other caregivers while you’re present, so your baby can get used to being with them.
  • Use Distractions: Before leaving your baby, provide them with a fun activity or toy that will keep them occupied and distracted while you’re away. This can help your baby associate your absence with positive experiences and can make the separation easier for both of you.
  • Stick to a Routine: Establishing a consistent routine can help your baby.
  • draw or Lipstick Kiss on Their Hand: Before your baby goes to sleep, draw or put a lipstick kiss on their hand and tell them to kiss it when they feel lonely. This will help your child feel connected to you even when you’re not around.
  • Give Them a Soft Toy to look after: Giving your baby a soft toy to look after can be a great distraction when you’re not around. Your baby will feel less lonely and more responsible for looking after their toy.
  • Give Them an Item of Your Clothing: Giving your baby an item of your clothing to sleep with can provide comfort and familiarity, as it will smell like you. This can help your baby feel more secure and less anxious when you’re not around. Make sure to follow safe sleep advice and dont leave any lose item in the cot for babies under one.
  • Create a Social Story Book: Make a book with pictures of your baby, their caregivers, and family members to create a story about your baby’s day. Include their activities, people they interact with, and their bedtime routine. You can also add comforting phrases or messages that can help them feel loved and cared for even when you’re not around.
  • Establish a Bedtime Routine: A consistent bedtime routine can help your baby feel more relaxed and comfortable at bedtime. Incorporate activities such as reading the social storybook together, singing lullabies, or playing calming music. Additionally, you can create a relaxing environment by dimming the lights and using a white noise machine. This routine can also help your baby feel more connected and secure, making it easier for them to fall asleep.
  • Play Peekaboo Games: Peekaboo games can help your baby understand that even when you’re not visible, you’re still there. You can play peekaboo by covering your face with your hands or a blanket and then revealing yourself, saying “Peekaboo!” This can help your baby learn that people can disappear and reappear, but they always come back.
  • Love Bombing: Spend quality time with your baby and give them lots of attention and affection when you’re together. This can help them feel loved and secure, even when you’re not physically present. Some ways to love bomb your baby include playing with them, reading to them, cuddling, and singing to them.
  • Use Comfort Objects Safely: While comfort objects can provide your baby with a sense of security, it’s important to use them safely. If your baby is under one year old and still sleeping in a cot, avoid leaving any loose objects such as blankets or soft toys in the cot with them. Instead, you can place the comfort object near the cot or use a sleep sack that doesn’t have any loose fabric. This can reduce the risk of suffocation and other sleep-related accidents. Check here for safe sleep advice to prevent SIDs.


We hope these tips can help you ease your baby’s separation anxiety and provide them with comfort and security when you’re not around. Remember, every baby is unique, and it may take some trial and error to find what works best for your little one. Be patient, consistent, and show them lots of love and attention, and they’ll soon learn that they are safe and loved.

If you need more support or have any questions, we’re here to help! You can contact us for one-on-one support or purchase our detailed sleep guide that includes more tips on how to manage separation anxiety and promote healthy sleep habits for your baby. We’re committed to helping you and your baby get the rest you both need and deserve.

Surviving 8 Week Sleep Regression with Your Baby

Surviving 8 Week Sleep Regression with Your Baby

As a Baby Sleep Coach, one thing I find parents quickly learn about feeling you are getting the hang of having a newborn and navigating their sleep patterns, is that you shouldn’t get too comfortable. Over the first few years of their life, your child will go through many regressions in their sleep. The best way to tackle this sleep turmoil is to be prepared and not to be blindsided when your good sleeper is suddenly a sleep avoider.

mum holding new born swaddled baby

But let me reassure you, it will not last forever and will eventually pass. It is important not to create new ‘bad habits’, so check the advice below on what you can do to survive the sleep regression at 8 weeks.A sleep regression is a period of time, usually lasting a few weeks, during which a baby or young child who previously slept well suddenly begins to wake up frequently during the night and have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Sleep regressions can occur at several different ages, including around 8 weeks, 4 months, 8 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 2 years old.

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that there is a specific “8-week sleep regression.” However, many parents report that their babies go through a period of disrupted sleep patterns around the 8-week mark.

During this time, babies may have trouble settling down to sleep, may wake up more frequently during the night, and may be more fussy or irritable during the day. This can be a challenging time for both parents and babies, as disrupted sleep can lead to exhaustion and stress.

Some possible reasons why babies may experience disrupted sleep around 8 weeks of age include growth spurts, developmental changes, or a shift in their circadian rhythms. However, every baby is different, and the exact cause of disrupted sleep patterns may vary from one baby to the next.

What age will my child go through a sleep regression?

  • 8 weeks
  • 4 months
  • 8 – 10 Months
  • 12 – 15 Months
  • 2 years

How long does sleep regression last?

The length of a sleep regression can vary depending on the individual child and the cause of the regression. Some sleep regressions may only last a few days or a week, while others may last for several weeks. But let me reassure you, it will not last forever and will eventually pass. It is important not to create new ‘bad habits’, so check the advice below on what you can do to survive the sleep regression at 8 weeks.

mum sitting in the chair holding a baby sleeping on her chest

So why is the sleep regression happening at 8 weeks?

It is roughly around the two month mark that your baby undergoes both physiological and hormonal changes because that is just a part of them growing up! This first one is due to the fact that all of the melatonin they had stored up from their mothers while in the womb is now switching to their own system where they begin to produce their own! You would probably think it was pretty amazing if you weren’t so tired. You know the term ‘sleepy newborn’? Well that is all about to change as they become more aware of their environment and the people in it and will become more alert to their surroundings. Now the world is becoming a much bigger place for them as their sight improves too, who wouldn’t want to take all of that in as much as they could?

Is this the new normal?

All those changes I said were happening to your baby right now are hear to start and are all part of your babies development. The frustration at having a baby who you won’t go back to sleep  however, will get easier.  Your baby will start producing their own melatonin, they will learn to settle themselves and to go back to sleep between periods of rest.  Also those nap times will increase, giving you a much needed break.

mum kissing her newborn  baby

What can I do to help my 8 week old during sleep regression?

As difficult as things may seem right now, I am here to tell you it isn’t all as depressing as it seems and to give you my top 4 survival tips.

1. Make changes to where they sleep.

Make sure you are making the night sleep vs day sleep very black and white. Keep your daytime interactions in brightly lit rooms. Make the awake time fun – lots to do, lots to see.  Nap time and bedtime is for settling down relaxing and ultimately aiming for a much deeper sleep with no distractions. The darkness will help the melatonin I mentioned your baby is trying their best to produce. A black out blind may help.

2. Avoid making changes to routine

Set your routine and stick with it. It isn’t going to instantly make things better because it’s a sleep regression but making changes or adding gadgets will mean your baby has too many things going on and will be more difficult to settle. Be strong, be consistent and your reward will come in the long run.

3. Create a calm sleeping environment

Make sure your baby’s sleeping environment is conducive to sleep. Keep the room dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Consider using a white noise machine or a soothing sound to help your baby relax.

4. Comfort your baby

When your baby wakes up at night, offer comfort without picking them up if possible. Use soothing words and gentle touches to help them relax and go back to sleep.

5. Practice safe sleep

Make sure your baby is sleeping in a safe environment, such as on their back in a crib with a firm mattress and fitted sheet.

6. Get support

Reach out to friends and family members for support during this challenging time. Consider hiring a childcare provider or asking a family member to watch your baby for a few hours so you can rest.

7. Take care of yourself

Try to get enough rest yourself by napping when your baby sleeps, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly. Remember that taking care of yourself is essential to being a good parent.

8. Be patient

Remember that the 8-week sleep regression is a phase that will eventually pass. Be patient and keep trying different techniques to help your baby sleep better.

9. Bigger the baby the bigger the feed

Your baby has a growing belly, but it doesn’t mean they have realised that. If they are still taking the small feeds that their few day old self was eating, then it makes sense that they will wake up sooner hungrier because they weren’t full in the first place. This might mean a feed now will easily send them back to sleep, but if you are not doing feed on demand, then encouraging a bigger feed rather than a snack will help them to settle for longer. Check out my blog on whether Baby will sleep better if you give them an extra bottle.

10. Well-timed (and placed) naps

As I mentioned early, your sleepy newborn is slowly disappearing and their awake times are becoming more frequent. Your baby’s awake times should have been extended from when they were first born and you can gradually increase the time they are awake to prevent them from being under-tired and therefore waking up too soon, or not resettling once they are awake. Doing this gradually will hopefully prevent them going too far the other way and becoming overtired and struggling to even get them to sleep.


Hopefully these tips will help you to survive having an unsettled baby. Pick your schedule, add in some white noise, consider swaddling if you don’t already and most importantly – stick with it. Their melatonin won’t increase in a day but with these tips you can give your baby the best possible chance to get through the first sleep regression and hopefully save your sanity.

If you liked these tips and wanted to learn more about how to support your child to sleep at this age, my 5 star parent-rated, baby sleep guide for baby’s that are 0 – 3 months old is available here or why not purchase our sleep bundle to cover all sleep up until school here.


Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.

For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

How can parents develop sleep skills that will last a lifetime

How can parents develop sleep skills that will last a lifetime

As a baby sleep coach, I often get asked for advice from parents as well. Whilst you might assume that once the baby is sleeping so is the parent, unfortunately, this often isn’t the case. Here at the Sleepy Angels Consultancy, parental health and well-being is always a priority for us. In honour of the approaching Mother’s day, we have teamed up with Beatrix at The Sleep Deep Practise to offer some advice aimed at parents, carers and other adults in your little ones life. If you decide to work with Beatrix, please mention my site so that we can look into future collaborations if my readers find it beneficial.
mum that can't sleep and holds her head under the duvets.

So how can parents develop these sleep skills?

Becoming a parent even from the moment you find out that you’re pregnant influences your and your partner’s sleep in so many ways.

The excitement, the nervousness, the morning sickness, your growing belly, the aches and pains through to all the joys and tribulations even after your baby is born is such a big part of your sleep changes. During this equally exciting and often worrisome time especially if you’re becoming a parent for the first time parent’s sleep gets worse and of course it does.

In my practice I see various combinations of sleep problems and even long term insomnia that started before parenthood does.

But it doesn’t have to be a daunting and struggle-some time for many years, while you just ‘get on with’ the sleep deprivation that comes with having a baby and the first months of your time as a parent.

I’m sure you read plenty of articles, headlines and suggestions on how to improve your sleep or even overcome your sleep problems no mater what stage in your life you are at. Countless articles offer often scary headlines telling us how important sleep is and why it’s crucial that we get enough quality and quantity of sleep every night.

But if you even tried to put in place those secrets, hacks, tips and advice after struggling with sleep problems or even insomnia for a while, you know very well that the general tips and advice doesn’t really work and at best deliver inconsistent results.

Firstly there is no such thing as ‘5 tips to perfect sleep’ or ‘secrets to sleeping like a baby’ (first of all which baby, right…?).

Secondly no 5 thing works for everyone with every type of sleep problem.

So in today’s article, let’s talk about sleeping well consistently in a more practical way focusing on specifically on the time of your life when you are about to become a parent.

No matter what your current situation with sleep, there is always room for improvement and an opportunity to develop practical sleep skills that guarantee great quality sleep consistently for many years to come. Even I learn things about my sleep as I go through life, and I overcome my serious insomnia about 12 years ago now.

But first of all let’s be diligent about this: please make sure that you don’t simply self diagnose and jump into conclusions about your sleep problems. A misguided self diagnosis almost always leads to longer struggle. Simply because without having a proper sleep assessment, you’ll likely to miss the true root cause of your problems. Unfortunately, I’ve seen so many of these examples over the last 8 years of working with adults with long term sleep problems and insomnia.

Please note that naturally any medical conditions diagnosed or not yet diagnosed can influence your ability to sleep well, which is why I always encourage people to seek an assessment if their sleep problems have been there for a number of weeks or even months.

woman that cannot sleep is holding pillow looking out the window.

3 Sleep Skills for new parents that help both your little one’s and your sleep

1. Self-awareness is absolute gold

Step one of the 7 step process that I use to help clients develop Sleep Skills for Life is self assessment mostly through self-awareness. I teach people how to understand what’s happening with your sleep in a practical way that’s actually helpful.

The first conversation I always have with clients is about the importance of true and practical self awareness. Knowing what helps and hinders your ability to sleep in a tangible way will always help you to make more informed decisions about choosing the appropriate treatment plan or action plan.

Let’s say you’re a thinker type person. Most likely you end up spending a lot of time either problem solving what may happen when your baby arrives or even worrying about version of scenarios that may or may not unfold in the future. (There are plenty of other versions of thinker types, these are just two examples).

Using superficial sleep tips or advice like lotions, potions and gadgets won’t even begin to influence your sleep in a positive way. Simply because your sleep problems are caused by internal thinking and your mind running away with you, rather than physical things that might be soothed by external things.

The skill of self awareness in this case is about becoming crystal clear on what your mind is thinking about (positive or negative things) that stops you being able to relax and let go. I use this with my clients all the time, and training yourself to differentiate what truly helps and hinders your sleep starts here.

When you become practically self-aware of what influences your sleep, you will always be able to be proactive about each of your life stages including when you baby or babies arrive. You’ll know that you’re likely to perhaps worry about things, or overthink by exploring so many of the pros and cons of a situation.

I’ve seen the power of this over an over again in my work. True, personalised, practical and effective sleep skills gives you the superpower of knowing how to keep your sleep in a great place, no matter what happens.

man sleeping in bed lying on a pillow

2. Falling asleep ‘easily’

The fourth step of the 7 step process I use to help clients develop Sleep Skills for Life is learning to fall asleep easily every night.

So many people I talk to these days either overcomplicate their evening ‘routines’ or have no idea how to prepare their body and their mind physically, emotionally and mentally for going to bed and sleep itself.

As a parent you’ll hear people talk about routines for your baby, ways to soothe, ways to prepare before bedtime, keeping things as consistent as possible so that your baby or toddler can get used to what he or she is supposed to do.

But when we grow up, we seem to either forget about these things or maybe your parents have never really been able to hand these skills down to you when you were growing up.

I’ve worked with people who were always a ‘bad sleeper’ and learnt to sleep well no matter what, and I also worked with people who were always a ‘good sleeper’ and seem to have lost it for some reason.

There is no such thing as a ‘bad’ or ‘good’ sleeper, its more about whether or not you have the practical tools and techniques to teach your body and your mind to create great quality sleep. Yes, it’s more practical than scientific really.

Falling asleep easily and consistently easily comes from knowing how to prepare your body and your mind to rest physically, let go emotionally, and calm your mind so you can truly separate the daytime from the nighttime.

The rule of thumb with this one is: your bed is for intimacy and sleep only.
If you have sleep problems and you start to introduce other activities to the bed, you’re practically confusing your body and your mind about what it’s supposed to do in bed.

You may feel like you want to argue with the above, but the true reality of sleep problems I see is that the more you blur the lines between the daytime and nighttime, the less likely your body and your mind knows what the bed and the bedroom is for.

What I see with parents quite a bit is that after the breastfeeding stage is over, you find it hard to retrain yourself to create a healthy and good separation from your child or children.

You stay in mummy or daddy ‘duties’ and perhaps you forget to look after yourself well. There are many versions of this and because you love being a parent it’s really hard to learn to get back to a healthy balance that really serves you well.

It’s healthy for you to make sure you look after yourself as a human being, and it’s also an important lesson you can hand down to your little ones as they see you practice it over the years.

I know this is not easy, and I know that your first priority is to make sure your child or children are being looked after. But becoming a sleep deprived parent who never rests well doesn’t serve anyone well!

You’ll be a much better parent when you learn to look after yourself as well as teach your little ones the golden rules about these things at an early enough stage.

In return, they grow up looking after themselves too and naturally develop the idea of healthy boundaries from the get go.

mum and baby sleeping together on bed

3. Staying asleep throughout the night

The fifth step of the 7 step process I use to help clients develop Sleep Skills for Life is about helping you to stay asleep and sleep through the night without disturbances.

This is very common sleep problem at the early stages of parenthood but it doesn’t have to last a lifetime.

Of course, it starts with breastfeeding that I mentioned in the previous point. Naturally as you become a parent you end up having take turns or wake up several times a night depending on the dynamic of the family. Some parents share the duties of nighttime bottle feeding others keep to breastfeeding only.

But naturally the latter part of the pregnancy and the first few months of becoming a parent means that your sleep is going to be disturbed for various reasons.

During this time, for mums especially, it’s important to align to your baby’s rhythm and rest when the baby rests rather than push yourself through exhaustion and get busy when your baby or babies are having their daytime naps.

Of course dads often have a different role here but as a couple you can really create a much more supportive environment for both sides.

For example by putting less pressure on having the house ‘perfectly’ in order as well as getting through the sleep deprivation of the first few months. Keep things simple, share the

duties, communicate rather than blame the other for perhaps not helping out more. Remember, that you’re both in this together.

If as a mum or dad you train your body to get on with this part of the sleep deprivation over a period of months, you’re likely to train your body and your mind to not learn to rest again and it can result in longer term sleep problems even once your baby starts to sleep through the night.

When your baby is starting to sleep longer, take the time to retrain your body and your mind to extend your sleep. Yes, it’s a training type process because you need to learn to look after yourself again just like I mentioned in the previous point.

When you become a parent especially the first time, you develop the ‘parent’ part of yourself that is all about ensuring that your little one is going to be looked after and cared for in the coming years.

The responsibility and often the pressure of being a good parent can lead to lack of relaxation which then leads to less good quality sleep or even sleep problems that last months or even years.

Remember to be kind and compassionate to yourself, parenthood brings many joys but equally many pressures. And it’s up to you to learn to treat yourself in a nice way which is also a sleep skill.

Whilst you might think that being kind to yourself has little to do with sleep, but as a sleep coach staying a sleep at night is often directly related to how judgemental or critical you are of yourself when no-one is looking or listening.

Our inner talk has a lot to do with how we end up feeling during the day. You can choose to develop a kind relationship with yourself, or you can choose to develop a critical or even a perfectionist one that will most likely lead to restlessness and disturbed sleep at night.


happy family of four hugging each other

Now that we’ve gone through these 3 areas (3 out of 7 areas) that I work with to help you develop great Sleep Skills for Life, it’s time for the action part.

Take one of these and spend some time looking at how it shows up in your life as a parent or soon to be parent. Take stock of how well you sleep and what could be the first step for you.

Remember that developing great sleep takes time, patience and work. It’s not a magical, overnight quick fix!

Throughout all my work I see the power of all these 3 things we discussed today, one step at a time everyone I worked with who persisted with the actual work overcome their long-term and often serious sleep problems.

Which means that unless there is a medical reason that your body can’t create healthy sleep, it’s completely possible for you to do it too.

As a sleep coach I’ve seen so many examples of what’s possible even when someone almost lost hope that they’ll ever be able to sleep well again.

Sleeping well is a lot more practical than people think. Your body and your mind can be retrained, your behaviour, mindset and therefore the outcomes can be improved.

With that in mind, I wish you all the very best with becoming and being a parent!

Beatrix, Your Sleep Coach

Beatrix is a sleep coach, professional speaker, the author of The Sleep Deep Method® and the creator of the Sleep Skills for Life Programme.

Having struggled with insomnia and burning herself out in her mid-twenties, she spent the last 12 years researching sleep and learning that in order for us to sleep well at night, we need to look much deeper than just how tired we are and the number of hours we sleep.

She believes that sleeping well at night is a set of practical skills that we can all develop which is why she has launched the Sleep Skills For Life Programme to help and support more people to finally overcome their insomnia and sleep problems in the coming years.

Sleep Deep Method® Sleep Assessment tool will help you to asses your sleep. Start your assessment here.

“Remember to mention the Sleepy Angels Consultancy when contact Beatrix so we can continue to bring more collaborations to you in the future!”


Have you downloaded your freebie to help your child sleep yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.

For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

Does mouth breathing affect my child’s sleep?

Does mouth breathing affect my child’s sleep?

If your child has trouble sleeping, or wakes up during the night it could be that you have a mouth breather on your hands. As a baby sleep coach, I see how common mouth breathing is in young children and how this could be the reason your child is not sleeping through the night, so read on to see Mouth Breathing could be affecting your child or baby’s sleep.

mouth breathing baby sleeping

Why might my child breathe through their nose?

For the first few months of their lives, newborn babies breathe pretty much exclusively through their nose unless there’s a reason they can’t such as having a blockage in their nasal passage, usually because your little one has a cold.  In a bid to keep taking in oxygen, they will use their mouth to breathe because their nose is not up to the job.  A more long-term reason for nasal congestion could be allergies that hinder a child’s airway and forces them to use their mouth to breathe.  Because symptoms from allergies are over a longer period of time, this is more likely to encourage new (and bad) habits of resorting to breathing through the mouth even after the airway is cleared.

asian girl sleeping in the bed

Why is it a problem if my child breathes through their mouth?

When it comes to mouth breathing, there are several factors that make it something to avoid.  Both doctors and dentists suggest many side effects of mouth breathing that can cause your child discomfort and even lead to more long-term problems developing.  In young children, breathing solely through the mouth can cause dry mouth and contribute to crooked teeth.  It can lead to physical abnormalities if left to continue over a longer period of time and it can also cause dental problems as well contributing to a disrupted sleeping pattern. 

baby sleeping on the side in their cot

Are there any benefits to breathing through your nose?

Breathing through the nose is a more efficient way of using oxygen, which in turn leads to producing Nitric oxide which aids your immune system in tackling infections.  The mucus and tiny hairs in your nose also help to filter out unwanted small particles such as germs, dust or pollen and stop them from entering your lungs.  Breathing in a more efficient breath full of oxygen also helps improve brain functions and blood flow around our bodies. It helps us breathe into our lungs, air that is full of moisture as well as helping to warm the air before it gets there.  Plus it is usually quieter for the parents listening on the baby monitor!

child sleeping with mouth open mouth breathing or snoring

How do I know if my child is a mouth breather?

Young children may not be able to tell you that they have symptoms like an adult would, as they may not be able to explain what is happening to them.  There are, however, some symptoms you can look for in children which include: slower than normal growth; irritability or crying episodes during the night; dry mouth or lips; trouble concentrating for a length of time and being sleepy throughout the day.

Why is mouth breathing causing my child to have a restless night?

Mouth breathing, rather than nose breathing, can lead to your child experiencing interrupted or reduced breathing. This means their body will react to that by restarting their breathing, potentially with a snort or gasp that will in turn wake your child up.  Less oxygen to the brain also means their brains won’t get enough rest so will be more tired throughout the day.  It also means they may want to nap or go to bed early which again means good sleeping patterns are disrupted. Because of some of these factors, children have in the past been wrongly diagnosed with ADHD (research shows) due to their sharing of symptoms such as restlessness or a lack of concentration when in fact it is a much more simple case of sleep deprivation. 

toddler sleeping with mouth open mouth breathing

How can I help my child breathe through their nose?

If your child is breathing through their mouth because of an obvious problem such as an illness blocking their nose, then you can treat that in the same ways you would normally, such as by using a nasal spray or appropriate medication to ease the congestion.  If the problem is to do with allergies, then things to keep the air clear like a dehumidifier will help alleviate a blocked nose.  

If your child is no longer ill and is still breathing through their mouth, then it might be advisable to get them checked out by your GP just to check if they have enlarged tonsils or adenoids (which are patches of tissue in the throat).
You can actively encourage children who are able to understand to do breathing exercises so they can become more aware of their nose breathing.  This can help instil good breathing habits that will eventually become natural to them so that they can hopefully continue this through the night. 
Lastly creating a calm and relaxing environment free of stress and maybe adding in some yoga and deep breathing into the calming down bedtime routine to also help to reinforce this. 

Cute snorts and adorable sleeping babies aside, nothing is more important than our baby’s health and by treating the little sniffles as soon as possible, it can be so beneficial to their health now and in the future as well as making sure that your child (as well as the parents) get a much coveted good night’s sleep.

If your child is waking up too early in the morning to start their day, there may be other factors at work! Take a look at our Early Rising Sleep Guide to help your little one sleep until a reasonable wake-up time.




Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.

For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

How can I help my baby sleep through Fireworks?

How can I help my baby sleep through Fireworks?

A night with fireworks can be a stressful time for anyone with children or pets and as the weather turns colder we know that Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve are both just around the corner.  You may worry how your baby or toddler will get a good night’s sleep while the noise from the fireworks is going on outside so I have come up with some top tips for helping your baby, and you, get a good night’s sleep using my experience as a baby sleep coach.

mum reading books to her daughter at bedtime before she goes to sleep

1. Time your baby’s sleep just right.  

The deeper the sleep your baby is in, the less likely it is that the bangs and screeches outside will disturb them.  For parents, this might mean moving your child’s routine slightly earlier so that they will be asleep early enough to have fallen into a deep sleep long before the fireworks begin.

2. Let them know what is happening.

If your child is a bit older, you can prepare them by explaining about the loud noises that they may hear if they do happen to wake up in the night. Let them know that it is nothing to worry about and they are fine to go back to sleep.  You may even want to show your child some videos or sounds of the fireworks on quiet to put it into a more simple context for them.

3. Change up your bookshelf

As well as the examples above for aiding your child’s understanding, you could team this with sharing a few books with your child about the dark and fireworks celebrations to help illustrate the point that fireworks are not scary and the noises are nothing to fear.  You can show them pictures of fireworks to show how beautiful they can be and also show illustrations of children enjoying a fireworks display.

family watching fireworks

4. Disguise the noise

What makes a white noise machine so great is that is can hide any ambient noises (especially surprise or sudden and unusual ones as referenced in this study on the effect of noise on sleep) that might otherwise wake your child during the night.  Consider using one if you don’t already and maybe even turn it up so they have the subtle sounds of white noise to fall asleep to, rather than the potentially more scary sounds of loud fireworks going off.   You can read the pros and cons of white noise here.

5. Keep the routine the same

It may be tempting to shorten or skip naps in the hope your baby will go to sleep a little earlier, but it’s the consistency of their routine, as well as making sure they don’t become too over-tired, that will help your child to sleep as they normally would.

6. Plan food for sleep

Did you know that some foods can help your child to have a good nights sleep? Make your bonfire night tea and snacks up of foods that contain melatonin, vitamin B6 and vitamin C to help aid sleep.  For more information, read our earlier blog on foods that will help your baby sleep better.

father reassuring his child lying in the cot stroking his baby's head

7. Be prepared for bed

If you are wanting to enjoy some firework festivities, then go fully prepared with things your child needs for bedtime.  Get them changed into their pyjamas and complete any other of your usual night time activities before you leave the celebrations, and you might be lucky enough that they fall asleep on the way home and then be able to transfer them straight to bed.  For children who wake up when you transfer them, do a shortened version of your usual night time routine with them to send them back soundly to sleep. You could try playing an audiobook on the car drive home to replace their bedtime story, for instance. Hopefully combined with the previous tips, your child will find that even though it is bonfire night that sleep comes as easily to them as any other night.

8. Stay calm and control your emotions

Probably the most important tip is to think about how you react yourself.  Your child will sense your anxieties or frustrations, so let them wash over your head so your child can feel calm, relaxed and positive, just like you.  Just remember, fireworks do not last forever and normal sleep will resume before you know it.  Also don’t fuss or assume your child will be frightened as this will actually encourage this to be true.


Hopefully you will find that these tips will ease your fireworks night worries but if you need any extra information about getting your child to sleep on any other night of the year why not check out my sleep guides or you can check out our  1 : 1 consultation services 

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  1. Lee et al, ‘Effect of Noise on Sleep and Autonomic Activity in Children according to Source’ (National library of Medicine, 09 August 2021) <> accessed 31 October 2022.

F Jiang, ‘Sleep and Early Brain Development’ (Karger, June 2020) <> accessed 31 October 2022