• Adding a new sibling to the family. How to encourage, include and reassure your little one during the transition.

    Is your little one about to be promoted to big sister or big brother?

    Although change always has some hurdles, throughout your pregnancy and after the birth of your new addition you can maintain your connection by including your child and coaching them with what to expect during this time.

    No doubt It’s a big transition for everyone to wrap their heads around, (especially going from 1-2 children). As a mum of 3, I definitely found this the more challenging compared to going from 2-3! 

    Where our whole world has revolved around our first born (and them only) now we’ll need to recalibrate to a new normal whilst taking into account where your current child(ren) is at developmentally.

    It’s natural for a regression in both behaviour and sleep to occur as your family adjusts, but before we dive into the key focus areas of this blog, I want to encourage you to be patient with yourself and your child as you prepare for the arrival of a new sibling.

    This time of transition is different for every family and some factors that may play an influencing role include:

    • Your little one’s current age
    • General day to day temperament of your child
    • The age gap with the new baby
    • Whether this is the second, third, fourth child and so on

    1. How do you prepare your baby for the arrival of their new sibling?Include your child in the process right from the moment you tell them you’re expecting.

    You can do this by:

    • Talking openly and regularly about the upcoming changes
    • Grabbing some books about becoming a big sibling
    • Taking them with you to appointments
    • Including them in decorating the nursery by letting them choose something special to be part of their new sibling’s room.

    Expert tip: Don’t feel pressure to transition to a big bed too early. If your little one is going to be less than 2.5-3 years when bub is born, consider buying a second cot. If you are looking to make the transition, then ideally do this at least 3-4 months before or after the baby is born. This allows plenty of transition time. I’ve written a blog specifically for transitioning to a big bed which will help identify signs of readiness in your toddler and prepare them for a smooth transition. Read it here.

    2. Do some role play.

    This can be really helpful as children naturally learn from watching us and what happens around us. K-mart have some great “real life” dolls you can purchase to demonstrate to your baby/toddler what you’ll be spending a lot of time doing.

    Communicate and demonstrate with the doll that there will be lots of feeding, changing nappies and settling to start with. Once they understand this, explain that as the baby gets older, they’ll be lots of fun to play with, but as a newborn they can be a bit boring.

    Expert Tip: Show them pictures of themselves as a baby so they can understand the concept of a newborn (this is a great time for bonding too as you can share memories about what they were like as a newborn).

    Kelly’s Personal Insight: I think the arrival of my second daughter was a bit of a “let down” to my first daughter. Everyone, (especially me) had hyped up how exciting it was going to be to get a new baby sister to play with and then she got this “blob” that just ate, slept, fed, cried and took up all mummy’s attention. It was such a big shift in everyone’s emotions and something I didn’t feel prepared for. #Mumguilt.

    3. Implement positive encouragement and reinforcement for desirable behaviour.

    It’s common for behaviour to regress in older siblings as they lash out with the shift in attention. Allow plenty of one-on-one time with your older child/children to fill up their emotional cup and love tank.

    This doesn’t need to involve complex planning or creative thinking (you’re already mentally stretched enough) so even 10 minute intervals of one-on-one focus time can work wonders. The aim during this time is to focus solely on them and it can be as simple as doing an activity they enjoy doing with you. Ensure someone else holds the baby for this time and that there are no other distractions such as mobile phones.

    Expert Tip: If your child does lash out, take them aside to name the emotion they’re feeling and let them know it’s not appropriate.

     “I can see you’re frustrated, but I can’t let you hit your baby sister….show me your gentle hands and we can play a game together”.

    Children love attention and they especially want the attention back on them (just like it used to be before the new arrival came into the world).

    At times your child may feel that some attention, even if gained through unacceptable behaviour is better than no attention. We want to steer the attention away from the negative behaviour and hype up the positives.

    Expert Tip: Try to watch for opportunities to commend and appreciate when your little one is doing something that you like and want to see more of. This will encourage this behaviour moving forward as they thrive on the praise.

    There are also lots of great books that talk about emotions and teach children to understand the concepts of “happy, sad, angry, jealous,”. These concepts take years to fully understand so will require patience over weeks, months and even years, but exploring this with your child now will help to build an emotionally intelligent and responsible little human being.

    I highly recommend checking out Tracey Moroney’s “The Feelings Series. These books are a wonderful resource that help distinguish and identify different emotions and provide prompts for you to create discussion with your little one about what they may be feeling. 

    4. Keep regular routines

    Maintaining consistency is really important for children in their day-to-day routine. They don’t really like change (a bit like us) so if you’re going to need to share the bedtime load and daddy doesn’t currently put toddler to bed, get in practice early by alternating nights.

    Expect some push back and boundary testing, remember we don’t like change so it’s natural.

    There will be setbacks, good days and bad days, (we’re only human and doing the best we can), all whilst recovering from growing a baby and giving birth so be confident, acknowledge those feelings and follow through on that boundary to build a safe and secure response.

    Expert Tip: Allow time for adjustment, but try not to introduce old sleep props/ or props that were not there to start with.

    Even if they’re young, children understand more than we give them credit for. Being open and honest about the impending changes to the family dynamic will build a strong foundation for your child’s understanding.

    Although every child is different, using the key steps in this blog is a solid way to remind them they’re a valued member of the family. Staying connected through little pockets of time (either allocated or spontaneously) throughout the day will help to reassure your little one.

    Want some extra help?

    For extra tips on separation anxiety read the blog How to ease separation anxiety and the impact it can have on your sleep.

    Follow me on Instagram for more hints and tips on introducing a new sibling plus other common sleep questions.

    With Love,

    Read More

  • Toddler sleep tips. Creating a positive bedtime experience for you and your toddler.

    Toddler bedtime battles don’t have to become the new routine or ‘normal’ in your house. What if you could combat your toddler’s resistance to settling with some simple sleep tips that will put you on the path to end the bedtime battles and see you successfully create a positive bedtime experience for both you and your toddler long-term.

    When bedtime begins to feel like an out-of-control circus and everyone is wound up instead of winding down, it’s a great opportunity for you to reset sleep expectations and boundaries with your toddler.

    I know it can be tempting at the end of the day to take the path of least resistance, but this only provides a short-term band aid approach and often makes these patterns much harder to change long-term as they become unsustainable.

    If you’ve never had a routine with sleep expectations, or if you have a sleep routine of sorts and recognise it’s time for a reset, we first need to take a look at why the bedtime battles are occurring.

    Is your toddler experiencing:

    • A transition of day sleep – 2-1 nap or 1-0 naps
    • A sleep regression – there are three in toddlerhood, 12,18 and 24 months
    • Nightmares or night terrors – these are normally experienced from 3 years +
    • A move from their cot to a toddler bed
    • Starting childcare
    • The introduction of a new sibling to the family

    Your toddler might be going through one or more of the above scenarios which can have a direct impact on their ability to regulate their emotions at bedtime.

    Here’s my best tips on how to combat toddler bedtime battles

    1. Keep The Nap

    Be wary not to drop your toddler’s nap too soon.

    As a guide, toddlers transition from 2 naps to 1 nap around 15-18 months and drop their final nap anywhere between 2.5-3.5 years of age.

    This is often a slow and steady reduction over a period of time and can firstly be assisted by capping the nap at a set time rather than just dropping it cold turkey. Be mindful to also replace this with quiet time so your little one still has down time in the afternoon to rest their body and brains.

    Expert tip: For more information on nap transitions – check out the blog.

    2. Wind down routine

    Putting in place a strong bedtime routine gives your toddler security and predictability as they know what’s next in their bedtime routine. (This is a game changer in eliminating the negotiation of “just one more”).

    We want to have “firm but fair boundaries” and in the words of wonderful and wise Janet Lansbury, “Boundaries are one of the highest forms of love”. They give our toddler security and remove the overwhelm of giving too many choices and too much control which they are not developmentally ready for… just yet.

    It’s a great idea to include your toddler in the wind down routine- just with limited choice.

    Examples might include:

    • Offering two pairs of PJs – they choose which pair.
    • Pulling out three stories – they choose the two they want to read.
    • Suggesting they jump like a bunny to the bath or skip like a kangaroo- They choose which animal they want to act out.

    All these examples provide your toddler with the opportunity to have some choice without leaving it wide open for them to be in control of everything.

    Expert tip: Did you know children are right brain dominant with an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex? This means they’re driven by emotion and can struggle to approach things logically. Because children don’t yet have the ability to be rational, plan ahead or problem-solve, as parents we need to lower the bar to age appropriate expectations when it comes to giving them choices or responsibility.

    3. Nightmares/Night Terrors

    If your toddler is experiencing nightmares or night terrors we can keep an eye on their screen time, in particular limiting screen time in the afternoon, especially in the 2-3 hours prior to bedtime.

    In addition, did you know screen time omits a blue light. This can block melatonin production and can encourage an overactive imagination which leads to sleep disruption.

    I know it’s tempting to do the 5:00pm screen time whilst cooking dinner, but try to avoid it by including your little one in dinner preparation or setting up an activity nearby so they can be close to you and fill up their emotional cup in preparation for being apart for the night.

    Expert tip: Nightmares and/or night terrors are most commonly experienced when children are over-tired, try bringing their bedtime routine forward 10-30 minutes to catch up on lost sleep.

    4. Don’t jump the gun on moving to a big bed

    The ideal age to transition to a big bed is 2.5-3 years (the later the better) due to a toddler’s lack of impulse control. Think of the expert tip above with underdeveloped prefrontal cortex.  If your toddler is given too much responsibility, too early, they will struggle to make decisions especially in relation to staying in bed. Check out my blog which dives deeper into the big bed transition including the do’s and don’ts for a smooth transition when the time is right.

    5. Sleep Trainer clocks

    If your toddler is over 3 years of age, I recommend the introduction of a sleep trainer clock. Sam the sheep is my preference as it works with the concept of traffic lights.

    • Red – stop! stay in bed
    • Yellow – wait, nearly time to get up/play quietly
    • Green – Go! Time to get up.

    This is much easier for a toddler/pre-schooler to understand and as an extra bonus the red-light doubles as a night light for toddlers who may have a fear of the dark (common in children over 2.5-3 years of age).

    Don’t be fooled into thinking the clock will do all the work for you. Introduce Sam the Sheep with boundaries and expectations and it will go a long way with helping your toddler understand when they need to stay in bed and when it’s time to get up for the day.

    Consistency is everything when it comes to sleep, but especially for toddlers. It’s like the old saying “give an inch they take a mile”. Know that there will be push back when you implement change. This is not only normal but healthy as our toddlers seek out their place in our world.

    I encourage you to be confident with your chosen approach as research supports that when children have boundaries and expectations, it builds their self-esteem and emotional regulation.

    Your confidence in setting sleep expectations provides long-term security
    (rather than a chopping and changing approach) which leads to confusion and builds walls of resistance as they are uncertain about what’s expected of them at bedtime.

    Additionally, having natural consequences to the behaviour that we don’t desire is a great way to highlight bedtime expectations. This could include returning your toddler to their bed if they get out, or leaving the room if they are treating it as a game. On the flip side we also want to acknowledge and reward the positive behaviour when it is achieved.  This could be a sticker chart or calling a grandparent to celebrate their success. Remember toddlers don’t know monetary value and what they desire more than anything is your time, connection and praise.

    Want some extra help?

    Download my FREE Bedtime Routine Chart and create your own positive experience with a bedtime chart designed to help achieve healthy sleep habits with your toddler as you continue with positive reinforcement and guidance.

    Follow me on Instagram for more hints and tips for toddler bedtime routines.

    With Love,

    Read More

  • Tips to help your little one sleep when the clocks are turned back for daylight savings and how to prevent early rising during the transition

    The biannual calendar event of daylight savings affects families across several Australian states; when those without children celebrate the extra hours sleep, but for those of us with little ones, we question the conspiracy of the world to mess with our sleep routines!

    In this blog we’ll look at how to help your little one transition during daylight savings and provide tips to help your baby sleep when the clocks turn back 1 hour.

    The date to mark in your diary as the end of daylight savings is Sunday, 4 April, 2021 (QLD, WA and NT this won’t affect you) and don’t worry if you forget, your phone will automatically update the time.

    For those worried about early rising, I want to reassure you that early rising doesn’t have to become the new ‘norm’ in your household and daylight savings transitions don’t have to impact the family long-term.

    There are ways to achieve a smooth transition.

    This being said, due to our body’s lower drive to sleep in the morning, early rising is one of the trickier sleep hurdles. Sometimes it simply takes time to restore the sleep pressure and shift the body’s “wake up time” to a more appropriate time (generally between 6:00-7:00am on a ‘standard’ 7:00am-7:00pm schedule.

    For most parents, there will not be a ‘bonus sleep in’ come daylight savings, but this clock change doesn’t have to mean the beginning of months on end of early rising.  If anything, we can take this opportunity to finally work on early rising once and for all with an extra hour to persist with re-settling – the goal isn’t necessarily returning to sleep…at least initially.

    For now, the best thing you can do to ready yourself for the transition is to have a plan, either proactive or reactive (we’ll talk about this more) and as always, consistency is key to guiding your little one through this time.

    How do you help your little one transition during daylight savings?

    1. Firstly, we need to understand how our circadian rhythms work.

    The circadian rhythm is the body’s internal biological sleep clock and it is set by food, light and social interaction. These external factors are like data being provided to the body, which is sending clear messages to signal when it is awake time and when it is sleep time.

    It should also be noted that serotonin (happy hormone) is produced during the day and converts to melatonin (sleepy hormone) at night.

    The body clock can be shifted simply by moving, adding or omitting the elements of food, light and social interaction. This is where your little one’s routine comes into play and can be used to transition their circadian rhythm.

    Which leads me to the next point

    2. Have a plan – There are two common approaches to making the

    clock work in your favour. These approaches are called Proactive and Reactive.

    Proactive – This is where, in the 5-7 days prior to the time change, you progressively shift your routine by 15-20 minutes; meaning every step in your routine happens just that little bit later.

    For example: if you usually run your little one’s day between the hours of 7:00am – 7:00pm, in the week leading up to daylight savings you’ll be aiming to progressively move towards an 8:00am – 8:00pm routine by the end of the week.

    By progressively shifting to the 8:00am – 8:00pm routine, by the time the clocks wind back on Sunday morning you’ll have already transitioned your little one’s sleep routine and they’ll now be back on a 7:00am – 7:00pm routine.

    Expert Tip: Remember everything is moving to a slightly later time. Always start at the beginning of the day and push out meals and snacks consecutively to achieve the later bedtime.

     Days 1-2Days 3-4Days 5-6Days 7-8
    Start of the day7:15am7:30am7:45am8:00am
    All Naps15 minutes later30 minutes later45 minutes later1 hour later
    All Meals15 minutes later30 minutes later45 minutes later1 hour later

    This will then “switch” you back to a 7:00am-7:00pm routine come Sunday morning.  Don’t worry if you start late or only get half way by the Sunday.  It’s a guideline to work towards not a deadline.

    Reactive: The alternative to a proactive approach is a reactive approach which is the same method as the proactive approach only it’s implemented after daylight savings ends i.e. after the time change.

    If we use the example of having a 7:00am – 7:00pm routine, once the clocks go back this will now be a 6:00am – 6:00pm routine and the idea is to get your little one back to 7:00am – 7:00pm.

    How’s it done? Over a few days you’ll move your routine 15-20 minutes later which progressively retrains your little one’s body clock to adjust to a 7:00am – 7:00pm routine on the new time.

    As with the proactive approach, always start the process at the beginning of the day and push out meals, snacks and naps consecutively to progressively shuffle to a later time.

     Days 1-2Days 3-4Days 5-6Days 7-8
    Start of the day6:15am6:30am6:45am7:00am
    All Naps15 minutes later30 minutes later45 minutes later1 hour later
    All Meals15 minutes later30 minutes later45 minutes later1 hour later

    3. Consistency – When it comes to our little one’s sleep habits

    consistency will always be important. The daylight savings clock change is the time to be consistent and is not the time to change your approach with settling and re-settling. During this time be especially cautious to ensure you don’t add any new sleep props that you don’t wish to retain long-term.

    Expert Insight: Younger babies (4-12 months old) will be more sensitive to this change whereas with your newborn-3-month-old you can simply follow awake times and add/drop a nap to get them back on track.

    Older babies/toddlers you can gently adjust by pushing towards their “regular” day to day nap schedule and bedtime and their bodies will catch up over 5-7 days.

    Remember- No matter what happens, the best thing you can do is allow your bub the opportunity to transition and the above suggestions will help to do just this.

    Expert Tip: Once the change happens avoid thinking “old time vs new time” and just go with the actual time, pushing forward with where you want to get to as you’ll constantly confuse yourself going back and forth. One hour is not hugely significant, especially for older children and thankfully we are not crossing significant time zones.

    Any changes from daylight savings are commonly sorted within 5-7 days.

    Early rising can be a kicker but don’t let it stress you out. I encourage you to view this time through the lens of opportunity and a chance to work on minimising early rising in your little one (especially if early rising was already a common occurrence). Having the extra hour to work on re-settling before starting the day is in your favour mumma.

    Try to remember that as a parent, it is not our job to “force” sleep, rather offer the opportunity and if they are awake earlier than ideal, we don’t automatically need to get them up and start the day, rather try to keep them in their sleep environment (with as little interaction as possible) to “bore” them back to sleep rather than be too hands on with our approach. 

    Expert Tip: Early rising can take 2-3 weeks to resolve, hence the need to be patient and consistent.

    Want some extra help?

    Check out the early rising blog for extra hints and tips to beat the early wake up calls from your little one.

    For more healthy sleep hints and tips Follow me on Instagram

    With Love,

    Read More

  • Guest Blog from Hannah Willsmore – How to get a good attachment when breastfeeding

    Breastfeeding isn’t always an easy journey. In fact, more often than not, it takes a lot of practice and patience as both Mum and baby get to know each other in the newborn days.

    Getting a good attachment is one of the key factors in successful long-term breastfeeding. 

    Hannah Willsmore is a registered/endorsed Midwife, Lactation Consultant and award-winning Hypnobirthing Australian Practitioner/ Childbirth Educator based in Adelaide, South Australia. Hannah works with driven, ambitious women who are ready to take charge of their pregnancy, birth and postnatal journey so that they can give themselves and their baby the best start to life.

    Hannah explains that getting a good attachment is one of the key factors in successful breastfeeding and is sharing the two main attachment styles she recommends to her clients.

    How to get a good attachment when breastfeeding

    Getting a good attachment is one of the key factors in successful breastfeeding.

    Poor attachment can lead to many issues including nipple pain/damage, low supply and fussing at the breast. When your baby is breastfeeding, we want them to have a large mouthful of breast tissue in their mouth – remember we call it breast-feeding not nipple feeding. When this happens, baby is able to get a good seal on the breast which in turn helps to create a vacuum to draw the milk out.

    There are two main attachment styles – baby-led or biological attachment, or hands on attachment with shaping of the breast. I recommend clients try both and see what works best.

    Baby led attachment is where you are lying slightly reclined with your bub on your chest. Their mouth should be directly on top of your nipple. Your baby will then bob around and do a sort of ‘breast crawl’ to find the nipple and latch on to feed. Skin to skin is also beneficial to help trigger your baby’s innate feeding reflexes. This position is often more comfortable for mums, and means that gravity helps to hold their baby in close.

    Some mums prefer the cross cradle hold with ‘shaping’ of the breast to assist their baby to attach – but always remember to hug your baby to your breast when their mouth is open wide, not bring your breast to your baby.

    I know it can sometimes be tricky perfecting a great attachment but trust me it is worth it! Correct attachment is my number one goal with mums as it is crucial to successful breastfeeding. If you are experiencing nipple pain or damage, low milk supply or your baby seems to be fussing or distressed at the breast please reach out – I would love to help you.

    If you’re noticing any ‘red ‘flags’ such as pain that continues or worsens throughout a feed, bleeding/damaged nipples, nipples that look squashed or misshapen after a feed, or there are concerns around low supply/slow weight gain in baby please reach out to an IBCLC for support.

    As an Endorsed Midwife and Lactation Consultant I am trained to provide care to both you and your baby – my care has a holistic focus, however I am trained to provide prescriptions for medications and order blood tests if required. I work with women from preconception right through to their breastfeeding journey. I have completed 90 hours of lactation and breastfeeding specific education, and am certified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

    Breastfeeding may be natural, but it isn’t always easy – so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you would like any support!

    Hannah Willsmore

    Registered/Endorsed Midwife, IBCLC + Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner. 

    You can contact Hannah for tailored 1:1 support via her website here or connect on Instagram.

    Read More

  • Dropping your baby’s night feeds. The simple signs you can look out for to reduce night feeds plus age-appropriate sleep expectations.

    What are the guidelines for feeding your baby overnight? If you have a frequent overnight feeder, you might be surprised to know there are some common signs to look for to know if it’s time to reduce feeds.

    Like many parenting choices, night weaning is a very personal decision which should be made by the primary caregiver of the child and no-one else.

    Much of the confusion surrounding night weaning can be attributed to simply not knowing what your little one may need overnight and a feed might be the quicker and simpler option at the time.

    Understanding age-appropriate guidelines for your baby is a great place to start and the good news is you’ll find that right here.

    Let’s kick things off with a surprising statistic- Did you know that research shows only 16% of babies sleep through the night at 6 months of age (huge relief to parents everywhere when society often stipulates different).

    If your baby is over 3 months of age and waking less than 4 hourly overnight i.e, within 1-3 hours each time they go off to sleep, you may assume that this is due to hunger. I want to give you the confidence that hunger is rarely EVER the reason for frequent night waking. To support this statement, take a look at the guidelines below.

    Overnight feeding guidelines for newborn to toddlers:

    • Newborn to 3 months – feed on demand
    • 4-6 months – 1-2 feeds (aim for a minimum of 4 hours between feeds)
    • 7-12 – single feed/night wean (aim for a single feed in the second half of the night)
    • 12 months + – night wean as the less confusing way to resettle given we can be confident your little one isn’t waking hungry and it may be confusing why they are fed on one wake up but not another

    More times than not, habitual night waking is linked to an external sleep prop (this may include feeding to fall asleep initially). When they wake from a sleep cycle, your baby will look to recreate how they initially fell asleep. This naturally makes your little one believe they need to feed again to reinstate sleep between overnight sleep cycles rather than waking from genuine hunger as they did in the newborn days.

    So what are the signs it’s time to drop night feeds?

    The following behaviours can be considered cues it’s time to initiate reducing or potentially eliminating milk feeds overnight:

    1. Your baby isn’t interested in their first milk feed of the day. These signs are for both breast and bottle fed babies. Look for either milk refusal, or taking more than 30 minutes after waking to want their first milk feed of the day.
      This is a great indication that your baby may be having too much milk overnight.It should be noted our digestive system’s role overnight is to “rest and digest”. It can’t do this when it is processing calories from frequent night feeds.
    2. In the morning your baby takes a feed but it’s short, distracted or only a minimal amount is taken. At the breast this may be less than 5 minutes or frequently popping on and off. For a bottle-fed baby the bottle may be significantly less than their regular bottles throughout the day. Both are an indicator of too much milk throughout the night and they’re not hungry.
    3. Your baby is frequently waking overnight and the feed is short or less volume i.e. comfort sucking at the breast or for bottle fed babies – less than 100ml consumed. This behaviour is most likely comfort seeking and evidence of external sleep reliance for inducing sleep.
    4. You notice night time feeding is negatively impacting day time hunger levels.  This may mean your baby is disinterested in their daytime milk feeds or finding it harder to establish solids. This pattern is called “reverse cycling” where they start to take their primary nutrition at night when there are less distractions and it impacts greatly on their daytime hunger levels.

    Expert insight: Babies can drop feeds overnight anywhere between 6-12 months of age.

    Whilst the listed behaviours are seen as cues remember, “it’s not a problem unless it is a problem for you” so if you are comfortable with continuing night feeds then do so for as long as you feel content.

    Want some extra help?

    Check out the blog on the 4 most common reasons why your baby isn’t sleeping for more hints and tips on what might be contributing to frequent waking.

    Follow me on Instagram for more hints and tips for reducing night feeds or download my free nap routines to join the mailing list.

    With Love,

    Read More

  • How to ease separation anxiety and the impact it can have on your little one’s sleep.

    As parents we want to ease separation anxiety for our little one as much as possible and when separation anxiety does show up there are ways we can help navigate and ease the distress by leading with calm and confidence.

    This blog covers off tips on how to handle separation anxiety as well as steps to maintain your little one’s healthy sleep habits during this time.

    You might be wondering when separation anxiety is most likely to occur?

    With babies constantly developing, you often see separation anxiety begin at around 6-9 months which then peaks at around 15-18 months. The reason for this is that from 6 months the biological hardwiring for human connection is beginning to be understood.

    This understanding is called object permanence whereby, they recognise something exists even when it’s no longer seen or heard.

    But this isn’t the only time separation anxiety shows up. Which leads us to other times when separation anxiety might show up.

    Causes of separation anxiety in babies or toddlers can be due to:

    • Sleep regressions – a temporary phase usually 2-4 weeks
    • The approach to wind down routines and settling techniques 
    • Your little one starting childcare or external care
    • A parent returning to work
    • Moving house or being away on holidays and in an unfamiliar place
    • Teething/ sickness
    • Not having a regular nap routine (this gives rise to unpredictability and makes them feel uncertain).

    When our little ones are experiencing separation anxiety, we can sometimes unintentionally make things worse, so we need to resist the temptation to panic and “rescue” our baby. The act of rescuing in this situation often leads to stopping the crying at any cost which in the long run is likely to backfire.

    Five tips to handle separation anxiety and build confidence in your little one

    1. Practice and nurture a short but special way to say goodbye-

    Some ideas to say goodbye at drop off are:

    • Have a fun saying that you always say as you leave ie ‘see ya later alligator’, ‘time for a hug ladybug’, ‘see you soon raccoon’.
    • Sign out the words ‘I love you’ with actions.
    • A super hug ie arms wide open then launch into a big squeeze.
    • Get them busy straight away- have them help you grab out the things they might need like their hat or water bottle.
    • Three hand squeezes to signal the words I love you ie first squeeze ‘I’, second squeeze ‘love’, third squeeze ‘you’.
    • Kiss them from their head to their toes.

    2. Keep things predictable

    Make it your priority for the goodbye to be short and consistent. Running through the exact same ‘special goodbye’ every time you leave your child means your little one will know what to expect when it’s time to say goodbye (and they might even look forward to it). As they pre-empt your goodbye routine, they’ll then be ready for what comes next in their day. Keeping things consistent builds trust, helps your child to relax and feel comfortable and is a simple method to reassure your little one.

    Expert Tip: When things are unpredictable or we spend too long saying goodbye or hanging about we can unintentionally create anxiety- the very thing we are trying to avoid.

    3. Make it obvious you are saying goodbye

    You want to leave your little one in a way that leaves them with no doubt you said goodbye to them. Ways to do this might include crouching down to their level or picking them up to ensure you lock eyes with them and have their attention as you quickly say goodbye and give them a hug and run through your special goodbye.

    4. Always tell them when you’ll be back

    Maintaining the truth and being consistent about your return is very important. Give your child a time frame of your return that is within their understanding ie ‘I’ll be back after your afternoon tea’ or ‘I’m coming to get you a little bit after your afternoon nap’.

    5. Set your little one up for separation success

    As you prepare your little one to spend time away from you, there are ways to build confidence in the process and help with the transition ie you can drop them to their grandparents or to their cousins or a friends for a playdate (it could be as little or as long as you like) and will give them the chance to experience time away from you. Starting with something like this will in most cases begin to create positive association around goodbyes and allows you to practise communication around when you’ll be coming back.

    With the goodbye part sorted, there are still other ways your little one might showcase signs of the separation anxiety they are experiencing. This can often happen with sleep and settling but I have some advice on ways to ensure separation anxiety doesn’t flow on and negatively impact your little one’s sleep.

    1. Stick to the key principles of your settling approach – consistency and patience.
    2. Support, but don’t introduce new sleep props you don’t want or have worked hard to eliminate – think feeding, rocking, holding or co-sleeping.
    3. You go to them – keep their room a safe place, spend time in there and stay close by when they are settling to sleep, slowly lessening your intervention over a period of 1-2 weeks.

    Separation anxiety can be uncomfortable and stressful when you’ve never faced it before but keeping your inner calm when your little one is losing it will have a positive flow on affect. Be patient and follow the tips outlined in this blog to set yourself up for separation success.

    Want some extra help?

    Read more about sleep regressions in my blog “everything you need to know about the 5 stages of sleep regressions”

    For more healthy sleep hints and tips Follow me on Instagram

    With Love,

    Read More

  • The dummy dilemma. Learn the pros and cons about dummies and how to successfully say goodbye to the dummy when the time is right.

    Who would have thought back when you were longing to become a parent that you’d be weighing up the pros and cons of dummies!? There really are two sides to the dummy coin as they can be really great used as settling tools but can also cause a lot of sleep troubles too.

    Confusing right?

    But all the confusion can be simplified with answers to a few key questions. This blog is especially helpful for:

    ● Families with a newborn – how can a dummy assist
    ● Families of a baby less than 8 months – is it hindering or helping sleep
    ● Families of a toddler – when is a good time to remove and say goodbye

    If you have a little one who loves their dummy- I have stacks of advice for you and if you have a newborn and want to know which path to take keep reading also.

    It doesn’t take long to realise dummies are a very personal choice, however if we look at the pros and cons you can arrive at a decision feeling balanced and informed with your approach.

    Here’s the down low on the most popular dummy questions:

    What are the pros and cons with dummies?

    From newborn to toddler, dummies can be a great settling tool, but let’s break the dummy concept down into 3 key stages to identify both the positives and negatives when it comes to dummies and sleep.

    The Newborn Stage – Babies are born with a strong sucking reflex . This is one of the key pillars of the 5’s to settle a newborn baby so dummies can be really helpful to soothe and calm a newborn under 3-4 months of age. (We can assess the dummy’s long-term role later) but for now, if it soothes your baby and achieves sleep, it prevents an overtired baby which makes it a positive.

    Expert tip: A dummy can be introduced from newborn, but only after breastfeeding is established (this is to prevent nipple confusion in the early days). Also ensure that you do not use a dummy to space out feeds to set times on a “routine”. Newborns need to be fed on demand as their tummies are tiny and they are working to establish your milk supply in the early days.

    The Toddler Stage – At 2.5 years plus we can chat to our toddler, who now has the cognitive understanding, and can be prepared and readied for when their dummy can be used and how to wean off its use when the time is right.

    Expert Tip: At this age, you can put a plan in place to limit the dummy to set times such as only naps and bedtime and put it somewhere special (like a cup by the bed) each time they wake.

    The Tricky Middle Stage – Between 4-8 months of age your little one may develop a strong like for their dummy (but won’t have mastered the art of finding and replacing it). This is where you need to make the decision to continue popping the dummy back in until they can learn to do it themselves or remove the dummy and teach the art of self-settling without reliance on an external sleep prop.

    Which leads me to the next regularly asked question….

    Why is the dummy considered a common culprit for sleep troubles?

    In short, it is an external sleep prop which means your baby is relying on something external to put them to sleep initially and they will need to physically learn to find and replace it between sleep cycles if they wish to use it successfully long-term.

    At this point you might be thinking, ‘my little one only uses the dummy for 2 minutes to fall asleep and then it drops out, so it doesn’t impact on their ability to stay asleep’ but when all things are considered, whether it’s 2 minutes or 20 minutes, if your little one needs a dummy to help them join their next sleep cycle, then your little one has a reliance on the dummy.

    Something to be conscious of is the skill to learn to find and replace the dummy independently doesn’t typically occur until around 7-8 months of age. Think about how tricky you find it in the middle of the night to locate and replace in the dark, I see you Mumma with the spares on the change table “just in case”. Now imagine being a baby and trying to do this independently between sleep cycles whilst still partially asleep and even potentially still swaddled under 4-6 months of age.

    Now if you do decide to keep the dummy long-term and your little one is under the age of 7-8 months, know that they are going to need to provide some extra help and this may mean multiple dummy runs throughout the day and night as they’ll struggle (just like you) to find it in the cot between sleep cycles which can be as frequently as 2-4 hourly overnight (that’s a blog for another day).

    The good news is, if your baby is over 7 months of age, in accordance with Red Nose Guidelines, you can introduce a comforter which can aid in the process of teaching your baby to find and replace their own dummy. Kippins is my brand of choice. Their comforters are made from lightweight, breathable organic cotton material and BONUS they can hold up to 4 dummies in the corner knots.

    How do we successfully say goodbye to the dummy?

    If your baby is under 7-8 months of age saying goodbye to the dummy is best done “cold turkey”. Often the prospect as a parent of removing the dummy is more daunting than the actual process of doing it. If you decide to remove the dummy, be confident to choose a settling approach that suits your little one’s temperament and your parenting style. This will ensure you don’t “swap the prop” ie don’t accidentally replace the dummy with something else like rocking in arms. We want to establish healthy sleep habits that are sustainable long-term.

    Do expect it to be a little rough for 2-3 days as your baby adjusts to learning to fall asleep without the sucking motion, but know that it will benefit their sleep long-term as they learn to internally reference how they fall asleep which makes going back to sleep quicker and easier.

    If your little one is over 2.5 years of age and you are ready to remove the dummy for good, then you can decide on a date you’re going to remove it and talk with your toddler about this upcoming event.

    Expert Tip: For the easiest transition possible, ensure you’ve already limited the dummy in the lead up to this occurring.

    Ideas for saying goodbye to dummy and making it a fun experience:

    ● Go on a ‘dummy hunt’ and pack up all dummies
    ● Leave them under the tree outside
    ● Drop them off at the post office
    ● Deliver them to the new babies at childcare
    ● Exchange the dummies for a small gift and a special note congratulating your toddler on this new milestone.

    After the dummy exchange, strap yourself in for 2-3 days as there may be some big emotions, which we want to acknowledge and help them to understand and regulate. Ensure that you are patient, supportive and understanding – knowing there is no going back. You’ve got this.

    I set out at the beginning of this blog to help parents know their options with both making a dummy work and saying goodbye to the dummy too. If you feel it’s too soon to remove the dummy or feel you’ve left it too late to send the dummies on their way, know that we can absolutely figure it out together with the right approach of consistency and support.

    Want some extra help?

    Think the dummy is playing a role in your little one’s sleep and want to put together an action plan moving forward. Register for a 15 minute discovery call to discuss our options for working one-on-one together.

    Follow me on Instagram for more sleep hints and tips or download my free nap routines to join the mailing list.

    With Love,

    Read More

  • Guest Blog from Penny – Sick Happens. The “Normal Newborn” One.

    I’m so excited to have Penny from Sick Happens joining us to chat about the crazy stuff newborns do, but no one talks about.

    Penny has been a Paediatric Registered Nurse for over ten years. She has a Masters of Nursing and is a Mum to two gorgeous little boys.

    Once becoming a parent, Penny found there was limited access to ongoing support, reassurance and education for parents around the everyday inevitable illnesses. Not to mention the confusion, anxiety, overwhelm and fear that surrounds these never-ending bouts of sickness.

    Penny delivers evidence-based, practical education with empathy & reassurance.

    Let’s chat about the crazy stuff newborns do, but no one talks about.


    Have you ever seen little streaks of pink, orange or red in your brand new babies nappy?

    Ever wondered what they are?

    Or have you ever thought it was blood?⁠

    Thankfully, it is most likely urate crystals. Oh sounds fancy right, but what is it?⁠

    URATE CRYSTALS — aka uric acid crystals, urates, “brick stains” are a bi-product of healthy metabolism.

    Babies are born with a high level of uric acid in their blood, and this is very normal. When they breast or bottle feed, their bodies breakdown this acid and it is excreted in their urine. It is excreted as a brick/orange/pink/terracotta coloured fluid.⁠

    This is very normal for the first few days of life.

    However, this breakdown ‘should’ stop after about 3ish days. If you see this colour in their nappy after about 3-7 days of life, it’s best to chat to your healthcare provider because it may need further investigating.⁠

    Sometimes it is linked to a baby not feeding properly, or becoming slightly dehydrated, but this is not always the case. Take a photo if you are worried, or keep the nappy to show your midwife at your next check-up, or mention it to your GP/CFHN.⁠⁠

    Have you seen these before, and did you have a little freak out thinking it was blood?


    Now let’s get specific for the parents of little ladies.

    Little girls can be confusing and bewildering for parents, especially if it is your first girl in the family. Regardless, there are still quite a few things about girls that sometimes aren’t communicated to parents before birth.

    NAPPY WIPING/CLEANING – always remember to wipe from front to back (vulva to anus). And make sure to do a thorough job in between ALL the creases. Girls have a much higher risk of getting a urinary tract or bladder infection from insufficient cleaning techniques. However, some children are anatomically predisposed to urinary tract and bladder infections, so if your baby has recurrent UTIs it’s not always because of inadequate cleaning (so don’t stress)

    LABIA – sometimes your daughters labia will be very swollen immediately after birth. This usually subsides after about ten days post partum, but it’s not uncommon to think they look larger than ‘normal’

    DISCHARGE – during the first week of your daughters life, she will likely leak mucous/blood stained fluids from her vagina due to the surge of hormones when in utero. This should settle quickly, but if you are concerned at all, see your GP or CFHN.

    LEAKING BREASTS – this one I’m talking about your baby, not you. Say what? Yes, sometimes your newborn baby can leak ‘breastmilk’ from their nipples in the postpartum period. Boys can also do this too. Although uncommon, there is nothing wrong. It is just a response to hormones during the transition to life outside of the womb. Again, just mention it to your healthcare provider but please don’t panic. I’ve seen this a couple of times when I used to work in the NICU, and each time both Mum and baby were crying at the time. I wonder if this is linked in some way?

    Is there anything else I have missed? What else happened that you weren’t expecting with your little girl?


    If you have a son, here are a few things that might not be talked about because people find them awkward or embarrassing. So I’ll start the discussion for you – let’s get into the nitty gritty! These things might be especially confronting and bewildering for mums that grew up in a household of girls 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️ me.

    CLEANING – parents sometimes get conflicting advice about cleaning your son’s penis. You don’t need to retract the foreskin at all. In fact, doing this can cause damage as it is possible for the foreskin to become stuck, which leads to some serious problems. Once your son gains control of his hands, chances are they will dive straight to his penis. He will pull it around like he’s practicing some puppetry of the penis and sort out the stretching on his own terms. Keep an eye on any redness or discharge from the penis, and if so see your GP.

    NAPPIES – Point the penis down in his nappy. Unless you like changing clothes a million times, you’ll work this one out quickly.

    ERECTIONS – your son can get erections from birth. It’s completely normal, and not sexual in any way #stiffhappens 🤣 Please don’t shame your son, or create any negative associations with this. When your son is older (think toddler-ish) you can start to talk about private and public behaviours.

    TESTICLES – it’s not uncommon to have undescended testes (cryptorchidism) at birth. Health professionals will check to see if your son’s testicles have come down into the scrotum. Often it can take some time (months) for them to come down properly, but this can still be normal. They may require repositioning surgery if the testicles remain undescended by roughly 12 months of age – but this decision will be made by a specialist.

    PAIN – if your son has any pain in the groin area, particularly the testicles, this can be caused by a “testicular torsion”. This is when the testicles twist within the scrotum. This will require an emergency visit, because the testicle can die very quickly due to lack of blood supply, often requiring emergency surgery to rectify this. This is one NOT to waste time with.

    Penny has created a signature online course called “Normal or Not?” — because it’s exactly that! It teaches you how to troubleshoot your way through working out what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to inevitable sicknesses in kids.

    You can head to Penny’s website for all of the details and to find out when the doors will be opening next!

    Read More

  • The fourth trimester of motherhood. Navigating the first 12 weeks of life as mum and baby beyond the womb.

    Once your baby arrives you will experience a new way of living like no other. You will transition and begin navigating everything the best you can for you and your baby.

    This blog takes you into the world of mum and baby in the first 12 weeks beyond the womb (also known as the Fourth Trimester).

    After the initial rush of baby announcements and leaving the hospital you’ll find yourself settling in at home with the ‘newborn bubble’. This largely entails meeting the needs of the tiny bundle you’ve spent the last 9 months growing, waiting and dreaming about.

    There is no doubt there’ll be highs and lows, parenting wins and lots of learning curves, but the aim of this blog is to make the fourth trimester a better understood topic.

    I’m here to pull back the curtain on what it’s really like to be in the thick of postpartum and help you arrive at this stage feeling less like a deer in headlights and more like an empowered parent who is excited for the time ahead.

    Once you have an understanding of what you are going through and what your baby is going through, you’ll have the understanding needed for both you and your little one to flourish.

    What is the Fourth Trimester?

    The Fourth Trimester is a concept first coined by Dr Harvey Karp and is the first 12 weeks of your little one’s life as they transition from “womb life to room life”, along with everything adjusting to the outside world encompasses.

    There are four key areas that make a mum and baby’s world go round in the first three months after birth.

    They are:

    • Feeding
    • Awake Time
    • Sleeping
    • Healing (for mum)

    Let’s take a more in depth look at each of these areas:


    Newborn feeding is frequent and normal. Baby’s on average feed every 2-3 hours or around 8-12 times in a 24-hour period.

    Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, ‘on demand’ is the best approach as their tummies are tiny and they’re building to establish your supply. Focus on steady weight gains and plenty of wet nappies to know that your baby is having enough milk for their optimal growth and development.

    Expert tip: Did you know a rule to guide you through the early days for wet nappies includes:

    Day 1: 1 wet nappy

    Day 2: 2 wet nappies

    Day 3: 3 wet nappies

    Day 4: 4 wet nappies

    Day 5 onwards: 5-6 wet nappies in a 24-hour period 

    Awake Times

    Often very very short! Awake times for a newborn (birth to 4-6 weeks) is around 40-60 minutes including a feed and diaper change – it really is eat, sleep, poop repeat!

    Their days and nights may be a little mixed up but this usually self-corrects anywhere between 3-6 weeks of age when the maternal melatonin wears off and your little one starts to produce their own. Ensure to wake your baby regularly if they are sleeping A LOT during the day and turning into a party animal at night.

    Here is a handy guide for awake times:

    Birth to 3 weeks – 45 minutes

    3-6 weeks – 1 hour

    6-9 weeks – 1 hour and 15 minutes

    9-12 weeks – 1 hour and 30 minutes

    Expert Tip: You might be surprised to know you don’t need to focus on a sleep routine at this age. Babies are born without a functioning circadian rhythm and sleep is neurologically disorganised.

    Instead, focus on the awake times to guide your day- babies need around 15-16 hours sleep in a 24-hour period. This is not split equally as newborns often have a much later bedtime and are known for cluster feeding in the evenings.

    Hands On Sleep Assistance

    Feeding, holding, cuddling and rocking your baby to sleep at this age is extremely normal. Newborns haven’t yet developed the ability to self-soothe and need our hands-on support to fall asleep and stay asleep.

    Their sleep cycles are immature and catnapping is developmental (albeit frustrating) and normal as their sleep may vary from as little as 20 minutes or up to 3 hours.

    Expert Tip: If you need to be a little more mobile and get a few things done inside or outside the house, babywearing can be a saving grace in this period. Your baby NEEDS YOU to be close – especially during the day.

    For more information about safely babywearing and to get the right fit for your baby, get in contact with Amber from The Infant Boutique who provides a personalised service for fitting your carrier.

    Physical And Emotional Healing (For Mum)

    During this time it’s important to remind yourself it took 9 months to grow this tiny little human and it’s going to take some time to find YOUR new groove of parenthood. Physically and emotionally there is a huge shift.

    Whether you’re a first-time parent or adjusting to multiple children, you need to be gentle with yourself, ask for support and more importantly ACCEPT support when offered – Have a load of washing that needs doing? Please ask for help! Your new role isn’t so much to entertain multiple guests or give out your baby for cuddles. Your most important role is to rest and bond with your new little human.

    We can keep the Fourth Trimester really simple and have more realistic expectations when we keep these four key areas in mind. Mum’s everywhere deserve this simplicity so they can embrace postpartum freely and live in the moment with their newborn baby.

    Want some extra help?

    For extra advice on settling a newborn baby- Dr Harvey Karp pioneered the 5S’s to soothe a baby, check out my previous blog.

    With Love,

    Looking to set your baby up on a healthy sleep routine? Book a one-on-one discovery call and we’ll work out what package is just right for you.

    Read More

  • How and when to reduce nap times for your baby. What you need to know about successfully dropping day time sleep.

    Naptimes rock our little one’s world (and our world too) but how do you know when to say goodbye to a nap? How and when do you transition your baby to less day sleep?

    This blog is your guide to reducing daytime sleep from babyhood right through to preschoolers.

    We can often feel clueless about this topic, but it’s a common question that lots of parents ask, which is why knowing the signs will help you confidently navigate the right time for a nap transition for your little one.

    When should you reduce nap times?

    Check out the handy Baby to Preschooler nap time transition plan below. You will find it useful for dropping naps within an age-appropriate time frame.

    Baby to Preschooler nap time transition plan-

    4 naps → 3 naps: 3 to 5 months

    3 naps → 2 naps: 6 to 8 months

    2 naps → 1 nap: 15 to 18 months

    1 nap → 0 nap: 2.5-3.5 years

    Now that we have a plan to follow, you’re probably thinking what are the signs that it’s time to drop a nap?

    • Bedtime delay – baby used to settle quickly and easily but now rolls around and/or gets frustrated.
    • Taking a long time to settle at normal nap time.
    • Settling well but waking early from their regular nap.
    • Settling well at one nap but not tired/sleeping well at the next nap.
    • Settling/sleeping well at naps but taking a long time to go to sleep at bedtime in the evening.
    • Waking overnight multiple times or waking and staying awake for long periods.
    • Waking in the early morning (before 6:00 AM) and not resettling back to sleep.

    What can I do to help my child during the transitions?

    • Bring bedtime forward- Once you’ve dropped a nap, bringing bedtime forward a little will help to compensate as they adjust to the longer awake times being experienced with the changes.
    • Keep routine- As your little one gets used to the longer awake time, help them remain rested by not making any huge alterations to their schedule all at once.
    • Introduce quiet time- You can replace their nap with a period of ‘quiet time’ where your little one still has the chance to rest even if they’re not sleeping.

    To set yourself up for success it’s important to remember an appropriate sleep debt needs to be re-built between the last sleep of the day and going down for night sleep. Following this, it is important to note that we experience our deepest and most restorative sleep prior to midnight (which is a great motivator to ensure bedtime doesn’t drag out past around 7:00/7:30pm).

    Expert Tip: If you already have a good sleep routine in place, you’re more likely to notice any changes in your baby’s nap routine and can begin preparing for a successful transition in a short succession of time and with less doubt as they will show clear signs of readiness.

    What to keep in mind

    • I encourage you not to rush the process of transition and to ensure the guidelines you follow are age appropriate. Young babies’ sleep needs are very different to toddler needs.
    • Before you transition and drop a nap altogether, try stretching out the time between naps by 15 minutes. Dropping a nap entirely can be a big jump and often requires some back and forth for a couple of weeks.
    • If your baby is showing signs of dropping the last nap of the day, a great alternative prior to the transition is to provide an opportunity for a motion assisted nap – i.e. think pram, car or baby carrier as an extra resource when you are getting ready, but can’t quite make it through. This is especially important when reducing from 3 to 2 daytime naps.

    Want some extra help?

    Book a one-on-one discovery call and we’ll work out what package is just right for you. 

    With Love,

    For more hints and tips on transitioning to less naps follow me on Instagram.

    Read More