We talked to Andrea Ostapa Vosnos, director of marketing sleep products at Kolcraft Enterprises, Inc. about what becoming a parent means for your sleep, along with the ever-changing sleep habits of children.
Andrea Ostapa Vosnos
Director of Marketing Sleep Products, Kolcraft Enterprises, Inc
How can the arrival of a new baby affect a families’ current and long-term sleeping habits?
As a new mom myself, I empathize with all the parents out there that sleep will just never be the same as before once you have a baby. Parents not only lose sleep because they are caring for the erratic sleep schedule of newborns and infants, but there are added stressors about baby’s health and safety, especially that first year. Always being “on” and able to respond to your baby becomes the priority over a deep sleep on a daily basis. Parents and the entire family expect the interruptions at night, it’s part of the parenting journey.
What’s one thing that moms can do tonight to help their little ones sleep better?
I recommend starting with where baby sleeps as something that can change rather instantly, and it is what I specialize in. Take a look at baby’s sleeping environment and create-or even upgrade–to a comfortable, soothing environment. Babies need their own sleeping space. Enhance it. Whether it be with soothing vibrations, cooling bedding, a sound machine, a soft-glow light projection, black-out curtains, make baby’s room a place that relaxes the senses and is made for sleep. We cannot prevent sleep regression or fussiness, but we can help reduce the stress and anxiety for babies and toddlers by first enhancing their sleeping environment.
As children grow, how does their sleep cycle/habits change from baby to toddler?
With both an infant and a toddler at home I’m in the thick of this, too. Infants are napping a couple times a day often and even give cues when it’s time to go down. Fed, fresh and ready for shut eye. Toddlers may exhibit “nap-defiance” and sometimes routine is out the door! A lot of parents we talk to may just skip the naps and go for an earlier bed time. Whatever “new routine” works for your child is best as long as they are getting quality sleep.
What are the most common sleep setbacks for babies and toddlers and how can they be resolved?
We continuously speak to our network of thousands of parents about their at-home lifestyle with their babies and toddlers. Regressions like multiple night wakings during the first year seem to be the most common or when parents first move babies from a bedside product like a bassinet into a crib in baby’s room. Transitioning baby can be successful with self-soothing techniques where parents are not intervening at every sound. We have come up with ways to allow hint of technology to help babies “self-soothe” back to sleep and it’s proving to be successful.
How can new parents take charge of their sleep schedule during the ongoing pandemic?
Sleep tracking technology has shown that in general families are going to bed later during the pandemic, but also waking up later if they are working-at-home or home schooling. However, the pandemic has presented more challenges for families staying at home when littles ones have a lack of outdoor playtime and group activities. Since sleep is still the one of the most important activities for a child’s health and development, continue to create that serene, soothing environment little by little and your little one will love to cuddle up in bed and fall asleep.
There is a lot of technology around baby products today. What products are on the market that can help with sleep?
Many parents are really embracing technology as a partner in sleep enhancements whether it be “shush” sounds from sound machines, monitors that allow you to talk to baby, or new innovations in sleep technology. For example, there is trend in infant sleep products that offer cooling materials or fabrics that are more breathable on baby’s skin so they sleep a bit cooler. We are especially thrilled with the introduction of the Contours® Vibes™ 2-Stage Soothing Vibrations Crib Mattress that has shown incredible sleep improvement results for infants and subsequently parents. It combines soothing vibration technology with a premium baby mattress. The vibrations help soothe babies to sleep and parents can use the remote to turn on the vibrations from a distance instead of entering the nursery that often causes more anxiety. This helps baby learn to “self-soothe” a bit more without parental intervention each time. There is always time for cuddling after a good night’s rest.
What research has been conducted with babies to find ways to help them sleep better?
Infant sleep is important to us. We recently completed an infant sleep study with a third-party sleep research expert to gauge how soothing vibrations built right inside a baby’s crib mattress could help improve sleep. The Contours® Vibes™ 2-Stage Soothing Vibrations Crib Mattress was tested with infants who were fussy sleepers or had colicky behavior. At the conclusion of the study, it showed incredible results that babies slept better, longer and woke up fewer times throughout the night when using this baby mattress. The vibration sensations create a constant lull to relax baby and could even be set to mimic mom’s heartbeat in the womb. To see that this invention could be a simple solution to help aid in baby’s sleep quality and quantity was exciting. A full report of the study will be published this year.