How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

A common baby sleep question I get from tired mothers is How Much Sleep Does My Baby Need?! New parents, in particular, can struggle with the concept that their baby has had as little sleep with them, is so much smaller and yet seems to have bundles of energy whilst we have none. Quite rightly, parents can be concerned because they know that sleep is an important factor in any child’s development and allows them to grow physically, emotionally and cognitively but the question remains; How Much Sleep Does A Baby Need?
Let’s examine this.

child sleeping in bed

When a child doesn’t get their much-needed sleep, they will get more emotional and have a harder time concentrating on the usual day to day activities. One night of a child that won’t sleep won’t harm them, but it is when they can’t perform the tasks they need to in order to develop correctly that we start to see an issue. It is the same with babies, they do need their rest (even if they seem to think they don’t) and whilst a few bad nights won’t harm them, it is preferred from a developmental standpoint that they get their required hours.

Just like adults, the amount of sleep a baby needs can vary between individuals. Just as we all have that friend who can have three hours of sleep and still be chirpy in the morning, so can our babies. Generally speaking, you can tell if your baby has had enough sleep by their mood. Of course, there are external factors, such as the dreaded teething, that can steer us off course in judging how much sleep our baby needs and we can also reflect our own feelings onto the baby – just because you haven’t coped well with fragmented sleep doesn’t mean your baby is struggling too! If you are concerned your baby hasn’t gotten enough sleep then keep an eye out for their sleepy cues during the day.

We all wake between sleep cycles and it’s perfectly normal for a young baby to require some support from you in order to get themselves back to sleep. As they get older, this need for support usually lessens and like ourselves, they begin to only stir between sleep cycles. The way in which children typically gain the amount of sleep they need changes as they grow and develop. Every baby is unique, of course.

infant sleeping on the back on mattress

However, recommended sleep amounts, and the way this is typically structured within a 24-hour period for children of different stages of development is shown below:

Chart of average sleep need for children and adults

This chart is not a strict, necessary structure. It is an average and as with all averages, it is perfectly normal and acceptable for your child to fall on either side of these numbers. As a general rule of thumb, if your child is healthy and happy then there is a very high chance that they are getting enough sleep! As you learn their sleepy cues and their behaviours at different times of the day, you will be able to recognise when they need a bit of extra sleep due to a disturbed night previously or illness.

sleep chart

5) Getting Over Mum Guilt

Mum Guilt gets all mothers at some point during their child’s lives and a common flair up for these feelings is going back to work and placing them in the care of someone else. A key milestone in helping yourself work through the feelings of guilt is to revisit your values, as detailed in this Harvard study. Think about the reasons behind your return to work and the values you are looking to instil in your child.

A helpful exercise is to remind yourself of these in moments of doubt “I’m returning to work to financially support our family”, “I’m returning to work to role-model a good work ethic to my children” or similar.

If you’re worried about returning to work or need some extra support to build your confidence so you can feel comfortable returning, you aren’t alone and I have more advice available to you. For a bargain price of just £14.99 you can get my guide which provides a breakdown of all aspects of returning to work as a mum. From a detailed analysis of different childcare options; to helping your little one transition to childcare; to helping yourself return to the working environment, I’ve got you covered. Check out my new guide here or contact me for more information.

If you have any suggestions of your own please suggest them in the comments.

HOLISTIC BABY SLEEP COACH

Take a moment to reflect on the amount of sleep your child is getting and Ask yourself:

  • What is my child’s average day-time sleep within 24 hours?

    Answer here………………………………………………………………

  • What is my child’s average night-time sleep within 24 hours?

    Answer here…………………………………………………………………

  • Calculate the above, in 24 hours how much sleep do they have?

    Answer here……………………………………………………………………..

  • What is the difference between the above number and the number range written on the chart?

    Answer here………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  • If there is a significant difference, is it the daytime or nighttime sleep that is causing the biggest difference?

    Answer here…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  • Whilst, as parents, we can often feel tired and desperate for the ‘break’ that daytime sleep provides, if it is causing issues with night-time sleep it is usually best to have shorter daytime naps in exchange for a good night’s sleep.

  • Some babies will only ever do short naps and it doesn’t matter how much you try to get them to nap longer they just never do, and it is ok. More short naps are equally as good as longer naps.

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.

5 Ways To Make Going Back To Work As A Mum Easier

5 Ways To Make Going Back To Work As A Mum Easier

Whether you’re going back to work after maternity leave or going back to work after being a stay at home mum, chances are you’re feeling a whole range of emotions about the transition. Not just for your little one but for you too!I wanted to share with you 5 ways you can make going back to work as a mum easier on the whole family, using my decades of experience working with families and their little angels.

1) Handover To Child-Care

When someone else is looking after your little one on a more regular basis, especially the first few times, it’s common to think of aspects of care that you’ve forgotten to mention multiple times throughout the day! Little things such as, how does baby like to be put to bed or that your toddler likes his sandwiches cut into dinosaur shapes that, whilst they don’t make much difference in the long run, are factors that you know will make your little one feel more at home. Make yourself a list of these things over the week or two before your child goes to child-care for the first time, this way you can pass over a simple document to your care provider and offer yourself peace of mind. Not sure what to include in your handover? There is a template included in our back to work guide here.

children in the nursery playing with the nursery teacher

2) Pre-Arranged Updates Where Possible

The temptation to constantly check our phones and emails can often be big at the best of times, however, if you’re back at work without your little one for the first time in a long time then that temptation is going to be strong. Whilst your employer will likely be understanding of this transitional period, it will be easier to not be glued to your personal screens if you have pre-arranged with child-care when they will contact you with little updates that aren’t an emergency. It also helps if, for instance, you’re in a meeting and you see an email flash up from nursery. Luckily, you’re already aware that they were planning to send an email at 2 pm so you don’t feel the need to lunge at your phone.

3)|Which Child-Care Option Is The Best?

There are so many more child-care options available than there have been in previous years and it’s important to carefully consider not only what works best for you in terms of convenience but which environment your little one will thrive in the most. Talk to other parents in your area if you can and ask for recommendations (even if it’s strangers in a local Facebook group) and if at all possible request settling-in sessions – even if it’s with a relative or friend. That way not only will they feel more settled but you’ll hopefully be more reassured they are okay on your first day back at work. A full breakdown of the pros and cons of child-care providers and things to consider in our bigger guide.

little girl going to school with her dad

4) How To Calm First Day Nerves?

Both you and your child might be feeling nervous about your first day at work, childcare or school. Firstly, you must try not to pass your feelings of anxiety onto the child, try to phrase everything positively for the both of you. Such as, ‘What are you most excited about for your first day? Mummy is excited about seeing her work friends, how about you?’. You can also try some breathing exercises, if you’re doing this with your child we recommend suggesting you both take a deep breath whilst thinking about any of your worries and then blow them away when you breathe out.

family hanging out together

5) Getting Over Mum Guilt

Mum Guilt gets all mothers at some point during their child’s lives and a common flair up for these feelings is going back to work and placing them in the care of someone else. A key milestone in helping yourself work through the feelings of guilt is to revisit your values, as detailed in this Harvard study. Think about the reasons behind your return to work and the values you are looking to instil in your child.

A helpful exercise is to remind yourself of these in moments of doubt “I’m returning to work to financially support our family”, “I’m returning to work to role-model a good work ethic to my children” or similar.

If you’re worried about returning to work or need some extra support to build your confidence so you can feel comfortable returning, you aren’t alone and I have more advice available to you. For a bargain price of just £14.99 you can get my guide which provides a breakdown of all aspects of returning to work as a mum. From a detailed analysis of different childcare options; to helping your little one transition to childcare; to helping yourself return to the working environment, I’ve got you covered. Check out my new guide here or contact me for more information.

If you have any suggestions of your own please suggest them in the comments.

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.

Will My Nursery / Child-Care Provider Support My Little Ones Sleep?

Will My Nursery / Child-Care Provider Support My Little Ones Sleep?

When you have worked hard to improve your child’s sleep routine, especially if your child has had difficulty sleeping in the past, the idea of sending them to a Nursery or a Child-minder where their sleep routine may not be supported can be daunting to parents.

When selecting a child-care facility, I always recommend looking around at least twice and at different times of the day if you’re able to as this will give you more of an idea of their routine. However, you should always speak to your child-care provider about your child’s sleep routines and your concerns. Maybe you have a special phrase that means it’s sleep-time, or perhaps a comforter that needs to be removed once they fall asleep? All these little things can affect your child’s sleep and it’s perfectly acceptable to ask them about it!

Recently, I was asked by Purple Jay Nurseries to go to their Lambeth, London site (they also have lovely facilities in both Peckham Rye and East Dulwich) and do a presentation and question and answer style interview for the parents there all about Supporting Sleep and talking them through my gentle, holistic methods. I was so pleased not only to be asked and able to help this group of parents in person (which thanks to Covid were a novelty) but to be able to answer individual questions.

baby sleep coach workshop 1

It was also refreshing to have a nursery wanting to support their parents and little ones through what can be one of the biggest challenges of parenting. Having passed on my methods to both staff and parents, I’m confident it will help everyone get some improved sleep and more communication regarding sleep behaviours between the nursery and parents. They were so accommodating and I hope to return at some stage as I felt it not only really benefitted everyone but also built the parents confidence that the Nursery is looking after their little one’s best interests. Something every parent wants in their child-care provider!

baby sleep coach back to work guide 1 2

How Can I Communicate Our Sleep Routine To Nursery / Child-Care?

Absolutely make sure you communicate your sleep routine! Child-care providers will be actively looking for all the methods to help support your little one to sleep. Remember they also WANT them to sleep and be in their best mood possible for the day.

If, like myself, you’re against the cry-it-out method, or have other ‘no no’s’ when it comes to naptime then make sure you make that clear within your handover instructions. If you’re new to your child attending child-care because of going back to work then I’d recommend looking at my Back To Work Guide, shorter than my sleep guide. This guide focuses on returning to work and how to ease this transition. Even if you aren’t returning to work there is a lot of useful information on how to start your child with a child-care provider and a handy handover template/guide.

The best way to communicate your wishes around your child’s care is to write it down (maybe even laminate it!) and put it within your child’s belongings so that whenever the nursery are changing a nappy or in your child’s bag they will be reminded of your care instructions.

baby sleep coach holding baby 2

Can You Speak To My Child’s Child-Care Provider?

Similarly to the presentation, I did at Purple Jay Nurseries, I’m available to speak to parents and/or staff regarding sleep methods that follow my gentle, holistic and family centred ethos. If your nursery would like me to do a presentation then they can contact me directly here where I can happily talk through the options with them directly.
My sleep presentations build the confidence of parents not only with their home sleep-time routines but also with the ability of their nursery to accommodate their gentle sleep preferences to the highest standard. Discussing these strategies together can bring a new clarification on what may or may not work for a child – and also where the discrepancies might be!

    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.

    Enjoying Your First Christmas With Baby

    Enjoying Your First Christmas With Baby

    In the run-up to Christmas, a lot of parents can put pressure on themselves to make everything perfect and enjoy these key milestone moments. Whilst Christmas can be enjoyable with a baby, the hustle and bustle of lots of visiting, different locations and baby-friendly Christmas socialising can be difficult to balance for parents. With this in mind, I have written some of my best advice for helping your little one to sleep during the Holidays.

    Whilst we are very much a fan of following your baby’s lead when it comes to their nap times, amidst the festive season it’s best to have a plan and a contingency plan in place for naps. If your little one isn’t used to a lot of company and you bring them into a busy home at Christmas it can be overwhelming for babies and lead to them feeling tired earlier than usual or being overtired and cranky.

    Here’s Some Of Our Advice To Allow That Much-Needed Rest To Go As Smoothly As Possible:

    girl in santa outfit opening present

    Bring Your Own Travel Cot

    Use your own travel cot where possible and practise beforehand. These days travel cots are a lot easier to transport around and it’s a good idea to have one thrown into the boot of the car even if you aren’t planning on staying long enough for a nap. Bring their cot bed sheets and pyjamas that they have already slept in. A familiar smell will be soothing for your child. Read more travel tips here

    Try To Avoid Cat Napping

    Try not to let baby cat-nap in the car for multiple short periods if you’re going between numerous houses in one day. This can disrupt their sleep pattern and leave them in a worse mood than if they’d not napped at all. When you have a baby you have every right to text and say ‘sorry, going to be an hour late as baby has fallen to sleep at Granny’s. Read more here on how to get baby sleep while travelling.

    Make Sure To Bring The Bedtime Favourites With You.

    Don’t forget the favourite features of their bedtime routine! If your baby is stopping overnight (either with or without you) in a different place, don’t forget what makes the bedtime routine special to them. Whether your baby has a favourite soft toy, baby comforter, bedtime story, their top baby bath toy, a white noise machine or even a favourite pair of pyjama’s make sure to pack it! If you wear their pyjama under your top for a few days, your baby will find your scent very calming, relaxing and soothing.

    newborn baby sleeping in a christmas outfit

    Don’t Forget To Bring Travel Blackout Blinds And A White Noise Machine

    Travel black-out blinds & White Noise machines – these can be a lifesaver when staying somewhere other than home. If your baby is accustomed to a dark room then you will want to purchase a travel blind before staying away, the white noise will help drown out any adult merriment going on past bedtime but remember to test it beforehand if they don’t usually have white noise as it could have the opposite effect.

    Put Them To Bed Yourself Before Heading Out

    Put them to bed yourself, unless they are very used to another person doing it regularly. This will make them feel more settled into the new environment because they know the comfort of their parents is there.

    Remember vitamin D can help your baby sleep better so go out whenever you can. More on that here.

    mum and baby with christmas presents

    Choose The Right Foods For You And Your Baby To Support Better Sleep.

    • If you are breastfeeding, avoid caffeine and artificial additives.

    • Avoid giving babies that are weaning caffeine and artificial additives. This includes chocolate.

    • Sleep supporting foods for babies that are weaning include foods rich in tryptophan, B-vitamins and complex carbohydrates. Full list of sleep supporting foods here.

    • Allow time for your baby to digest their evening meal before bed.

    • A warm milk drink or breastfeed immediately before bed can help your baby to sleep well.

    baby wearing a Santas hat sitting in a basket

    Relax!!!

    Relax! If the sleep routine is disrupted for a couple of days it won’t set back all your hard work. Just make sure it’s clear that once you are back home, so are the bedtime rules

    We hope these tips help, let us know in the comments! Remember, whilst everyone will be excited to spend a few moments with your little one just be reassured that you can say no to visits, holding your baby, looking after your baby etc if you would prefer they didn’t!

    Parents, often mothers, feel guilty at Christmas wanting to please everyone – you only have to please your little one!
    I hope you have a wonderful and restful holiday period, however, or whatever you choose to celebrate.

    PS – Still Looking For A Christmas Gift For A New Parent? We Offer Gift Cards For Our Services And Store!

    mum relaxing at christmas wearing santa socks

    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.