• 5 Quick and Easy ways to calm your newborn

    Now that you’ve got your baby home and are ready to begin the next chapter of your life, I have a little spoiler alert for you… Giving birth was the easy part!

    As wonderful as it is, having a newborn baby at home, it can also be a little overwhelming – especially in the first six weeks, a time commonly referred to as the fourth trimester (check out my fourth trimester blog here) when you and your baby are getting to know each other in the outside world.

    To help make the fourth trimester as calm and settled as possible, I want to share with you the 5 S’s – 5 quick and easy ways to calm your newborn, as pioneered by American Paediatrician Dr Harvey Karp. These techniques will help you to calm and soothe your beautiful new babe by allowing you to engage their calming reflex – a skill you’ll find invaluable over the coming weeks and months.

    1. Swaddling

    Swaddling is the cornerstone of calming. It’s the first step to helping your little one focus on the 5 S’s and it’s this technique that engages their all-important ‘calming reflex’. Swaddling provides a newborn with the feeling of being back on the womb, where they were warm, snug, and completely safe.

    I recommend using a firm arms-down swaddle. Miracle Blanket and Ergococoon are two great arms-down swaddles, or you can use a flat 1x1m muslin wrap. The swaddle should be firmly wrapped around your little one’s torso, but loose enough over their hips to allow the movement of their hips and pelvis. This will help to protect their startle reflex, which often causes them to become upset and distracts them from your attempts to calm them.

    When it comes time to transition away from swaddling you can find my top tips HERE.

    2. Side or stomach

    By holding your baby – either in your arms on their side or stomach or using your hand to support them to lay on their side in their cot—you will help turn on their ‘calming reflex’ and turn off their Moro reflex.

    The Moro reflex is a normal part of the development of your baby’s nervous system, but it can be unsettling for your newborn. It’s most likely to occur when your newborn is laying on their back (this is when they feel most out of control), so by putting them down in the side or stomach position, you’re helping sooth them and ease them into sleep.

    If you’re holding your little one as they go to sleep, try the reverse-breastfeeding hold, football hold, or over-the-shoulder hold. For more information on these holds, read Dr Harvey Karp’s blog on how to hold a baby.

    Remember though, while it’s safe to settle your baby on their side, once they’re asleep, ‘back to sleep’ is the only position approved by the Red Nose Foundation.

    3. Shushing

    The world your newborn has emerged from – your womb – is louder than a vacuum cleaner! So, when they first arrive into the world everything seems very strange and quiet to them. This can lead to them startling easily from noises.

    When you shush your baby, it helps engage their ‘calming reflex’ by creating some of that noise they were used to in the womb. Make sure your shushing matches the intensity of their crying – it needs to be loud at first to settle them and becomes quieter once they’ve calmed down.

    Playing a deep, rumbly white noise can also soothe a newborn and help them to sleep – as long as it’s played at the right pitch. 50-60dB is safe for your little one’s sleep on a continuous basis. Use white noise for all naps and overnight sleeps. If you then want to wean them off the white noise (anytime after their first year), you can turn the volume down progressively until your baby is used to sleeping without it. This will help them move through the various milestones of their first year.

    4. Swinging

    Rhythmic movement is deeply soothing to your newborn – it reminds them of the daily motion they experienced in your womb as you went about your day.

    Small movements side to side will also switch on the ‘calming reflex’ in a crying newborn. While you swing them, support their head and neck in a way that allows a small amount of ‘head wobble’. Your swinging should match the intensity of your little one’s cry – faster when they’re more upset (quick movements, one-inch side to side) and slowing as they calm.

    5. Sucking

    Newborns love sucking – it soothes and calms them and can provide a distraction if they’re in a busy or unfamiliar environment.

    Infants suck their hands when they’re in the womb but after birth, they lack the coordination. To help them, you can use a dummy once breastfeeding has been established, or from birth if your little one is bottle-fed. And don’t worry – it’s easy to wean your little one off the dummy if it becomes disruptive to their sleep, which can often occur around 3-4 months of age.

    Need to know more about the dummy long-term, check out the blog here.

    Want some extra help?

    If you’d like some extra help with your little one, you can book in with me for a one-to-one session

    Booking in is easy – just fill out the form on my contact page and I’ll be in touch!

    With love,

    For more hints and tips on healthy sleep habits from a holistic approach follow me on Instagram

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  • Everything you need to know about the 5 sleep regression stages

    In the first two years of your little one’s life, you can expect them to go through five different sleep regressions. They’ll all need a slightly different touch, they’ll all ask for you to practice consistency, patience, and persistence (and believe me – at times it feels like you’re getting a LOT of practice!), and – best of all – they’ll all pass after about 2-4 weeks if you’re consistent with your approach.

    Here’s everything you need to know about each sleep regression stage.

    4-month sleep regression

    This will be the first sleep regression you and your little one will work through and oh boy, is it a big one!

    At around 4-6 months of age your little one goes through a permanent neurological change in sleeping patterns. They shift from ‘baby’ sleep cycles (up to 6-8 hours) to ‘adult’ sleep cycles (between 2-4 hours). This is why your previously well-rested little one may now begin to wake more frequently!

    This is the perfect time to start working on healthy sleep habits. At this age you can start to see how any long-term sleep associations might be coming into play and whether those associations are now helping or hindering your little one’s sleep. These associations could include their dummy falling out, making them unlikely to re-settle between sleep cycles without it, or waking between sleep cycles in a motionless cot when they’d fallen asleep being gently rocked. To put it in adult terms, it would be like us going to sleep in our bed and waking up somewhere else, like on our couch. We’d feel perplexed, frazzled, and unsettled too!

    During this time, it’s important to help your little one to develop healthy sleep associations that will empower them to resettle on their own. While it’s completely (and biologically) normal for babies to wake overnight, it’s not beneficial for either you or your little one if you need to get up multiple times through the night to help them resettle between sleep cycles.

    At this age, your little one can also start to build up sleep debt. With their circadian rhythm now functioning, they can no longer run on short cat naps throughout the day. They need at least one opportunity for a consolidated and restorative daytime sleep, which will help them to sleep better at night. Without it, the cortisol levels in their body will promote the release of adrenaline, and this will change their partial arousals to full wake ups overnight.

    Read more about the 4 month sleep regression here

    9-month sleep regression

    Your little one’s second sleep regression will occur at around 8-10 months of age. If you haven’t already heard the term ‘separation anxiety’, it will become a popular phrase at this point.

    At this age your little one starts to realise that they are a separate person from you. They begin to understand that you – and the objects around them – can come and go, which can make sleep quite a challenge. As is the case with every sleep regression your little one will go through though, how you approach the separation anxiety stage will determine how quickly you progress back to regular sleeping patterns.

    Hint: Help your little one with the concept of object permanence by playing games of peek-a-boo. This will show them what is gone is not gone forever.

    Further disruption to sleep around this time can be linked to new physical milestones, like learning how to sit up, crawl, and pull themselves up to standing. I mean, why should they just lay there and sleep when they can move themselves around like this now?! Fortunately, this too should all pass within a short period of time, and with lots of practice during the day to help build muscle memory.

    Throughout this sleep regression remain consistent in your settling approach. Don’t introduce any new sleep props to your little one that you’re not wanting them to keep long-term.

    12-month sleep regression

    When they’re close to celebrating their first birthday, your little one will go through their 12-month sleep regression. This really isn’t surprising, because there’s quite a lot going on for them at this time, from crawling to taking their first steps, and learning how to communicate with those around them!

    Often the 12-month sleep regression presents itself as your little one refusing to go down for their second nap, but don’t be fooled! Most babies aren’t ready to drop their second nap until they’re around 15-18 months old, so you’ll need to push through this.

    If you’re dealing with a little one going through this sleep regression stage, check out my 3 top tips to surviving your child’s 12-month sleep regression – you’ll find my favourite gems in there on how to handle this stage.

    18-month and 2-year sleep regressions

    Your little one will experience additional sleep regressions at around 18 months and 2 years of age.

    Both stages are caused by rises in their cognitive development, which is exciting because it means they’re learning and absorbing so many new things in their world!

    You can commonly experience a second wave of separation anxiety, nap refusal (check out nap transitions for more information, early rising.  Be patient and consistent as always.

    As you’ve now learned through your little one’s previous sleep regression stages, these final stages are:

    • something every child experiences
    • completely normal
    • best handled with consistency and patience.

    You’ve come this far Mumma – keep doing what you’ve been doing and be confident; your little one is just going through yet another change in their development and, just like you did every other time, you’ve got this.

    Want some extra help?

    If you’d like some extra help, you can book in for a one-to-one session. I can give you more great advice on how you can help your little one work through their sleep regression, tailored specifically for your family.

    Booking in is easy – just fill out the form on my contact page and I’ll be in touch!

    With love,

    Want to know the ins and out of the sleep routines that I recommend? Download my comprehensive nap routine guide. This is a 35 page guide, from 6 weeks to 4 years which breaks down each age and stage not only in awake times, but also gives you total day sleep requirements and provides detailed explanation of two different routines for each age group for you to learn and understand more about daily sleep needs for your little one.

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  • Need baby nap routine tips and guidance?

    You’re in the right place with this blog as I provide my best sleep consultant advice around the topic of daytime naps.

    We know that babies thrive on the predictability of routine and consistency and sleep is one place we can provide exactly this.

    With routine providing structure and familiarity in our little one’s ever evolving world, sometimes our schedules can accidentally become all about our little one’s naptime.

    With plenty of tasks on the to-do list as well as older children to drop off and pick up, activities to attend and errands to run, life is busy and we can’t always be at home for naps. You deserve to feel confident with navigating daytime sleep without feeling like a slave to the house.

    Which is why a daytime plan for naps can make it easier to plan your day to day activities.

    A sleep routine that feels restrictive is not in the best interest for you or your family so let’s shake things up and get you ready for day time naps that work for you.

    Because let’s face it, babies and toddlers are not robots. Every baby is different and there will always be natural variations for a baby’s sleep schedule by +/- 15 minutes. This blog will guide you with an overall sleep framework.

    Before we dive into routine tips, check out the below guide to awake times. Whilst it’s important to know how much sleep our little ones need, it’s also important to have a guide to awake times. The guide below covers off what to expect for awake times from birth to 3.5 years old.

    Awake times:

    Birth – 3 weeks – 45 minutes

    3- 6 weeks – 60 minutes

    6- 9 weeks – 60 – 75 minutes

    9- 12 weeks – 75 – 90 minutes

    3 months – 1.5 – 1.75 hours

    4 months – 1.75 – 2 hours

    5 months – 2 – 2.25 hours

    6 months – 2.25 – 2.5 hours

    7 months – 2.5 – 3 hours

    8-15 months – 2.5 up to 4 hours

    15-18 months – 4 – 5 hours

    2.5 -3.5 years– 12 hours

    Now that we know what to expect with awake times, there are two tips to keep in mind about daytime naps:

    1. Sleep routines should follow the principal of 80/20

    80% predictability (where we are in control) – 20% reality of life (external factors means being flexible and getting out and about, despite interfering with naps).

    1. Children are more adaptable than we think

    Healthy sleep foundations make it quicker and easier to get back on track when you do have a day out as they are not overtired on the day to day basis.

    So how do I plan my baby’s day time naps?

    Understanding different nap routines and structures is important and will help you decide which nap routine is best for your little one and your family.

    Here are two options that might work for you and your little one:

    1. Short-Long Nap Routine

    The Short- Long Nap Routine is my personal favourite as it allows you to focus on one big nap each day and releases the pressure of constant re-settling. This is great if you have a little catnapper on your hands where you can work slow and steady to lengthen their naps over time.

    The key to the short-long nap routine is making the first nap the shorter one. The short nap gives you freedom to get out of the house in the morning and this nap can be a motion assisted nap if needed.  Think morning walk while bub naps in the pram or a power nap in the car on the way to playgroup. This will allow you to attend morning activities without feeling like you can’t leave the house until you have achieved a “good” nap.

    The second and longer nap can then occur at home.  This is an added bonus when you have subsequent children who are still have a day nap and works well for school drop off and pick-ups as well as discouraging early rising. There are so many wins in the Short-Long Nap Routine.

    1. Medium – Medium Nap Routine

    A Medium- Medium Nap Routine can work just as well for families. It means each nap is longer than a short nap but not as long as a long nap. They’re great if your baby is naturally linking the first sleep cycle, but note that you will likely need to monitor awake times as the day progresses and will often need to add an extra 15-30 minutes of awake time to increase sleep pressure. These naps would average around 60-90 minutes.

    You’ll also want to be careful to not use a longer morning nap to try and make up for any instances of early rising.  If you are experiencing early rising click here to check out my common contributors to early rising.

    You can also shorten the morning nap if the second nap becomes harder to achieve. Ideally you would switch to the Short-Long Nap Routine around 12 months if/when second nap refusal arises prematurely.

    After reading through the above routines, you might feel one routine sounds ideal for you and your little one. Don’t worry if you’re unsure though, you can always trial both to see what works for you and your child, just remember to give it at least 1-2 weeks before making your decision either way.


    Have you read my blog, What is the solution to catnapping? Check it out if you have a little serial catnapper on your hands.

     Nap transitions

     You can’t cover off a blog about napping without also mentioning nap transitions. Nap transitions will at times play a part in your naptime approach and call for flexibility and adjustment. Want to know when and how nap transitions may occur for your little one? Check out the Nap Transitions blog here.

    What about leaving the house at nap time and how do you approach sleep when you’ll be out all day?

    What’s the best way to approach naps when you’re leaving the house at nap time?

    Don’t panic.

    Time your outing to occur when you can make the most of your travel ie with a car trip, walk in the pram or baby carrier.

    If you’re spending the whole day at one location (like the grandparents’ house), take a portacot and pack sleep associations from home for familiarity. My personal favourite is Snoozeshade cover which blocks out stimulation and artificial light. Check out the Snooze shade blog here including a discount code.

    You might also want to include your little one’s sleeping bag, white noise machine, comforter or dummy too. Enjoy the day and remember it’s ok to break the rules.

    Expert Tip: Some sleep is more important than no sleep on the road so plan to get back on track with an extra nap or earlier bedtime when home. (It takes 3-5 days to see overall readjusting). I touch more on the best way to manage napping on the go and away from home in my blog about the festive season. You can find the blog here.

    If daytime sleep has felt a little overwhelming, I hope this solves some of the confusion and helps to guide you through suitable awake times and tips for managing naps during the day.

    Want some extra help?

    Want to know the ins and out of the sleep routines that I recommend? Download my comprehensive nap routine guide. This is a 35 page guide, from 6 weeks to 4 years which breaks down each age and stage not only in awake times, but also gives you total day sleep requirements and provides detailed explanation of two different routines for each age group for you to learn and understand more about daily sleep needs for your little one.

    With Love,

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  • 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,


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  • 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. Read more about Nightmares and Night Terrors HERE

    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 Big Bed 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,

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  • 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,

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  • 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.

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  • 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,

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  • 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,

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  • 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).

    The Four Month Sleep Regression often shows the dummy’s “true colours”.

    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.

    With Love,

    Need guidance on age appropriate awake times, total sleep needs and milk and solids averages from 6 weeks though to 4 Year? Download my Nap Routines for 35 pages of information.

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