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  • Sleep Disordered Breathing. What it is, why it impacts sleep and when to seek extra advice from your trusted health professional.

    What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA in babies? Do you know the signs and symptoms to check your baby’s breathing properly whilst asleep?

    If your little one is constantly on the roundabout of sleep coaching, you’ve read every book, tried different sleep programs and perhaps even previously engaged a sleep consultant, you may feel you’ve “tried” every settling approach under the sun…. you’ve concluded your baby is just a poor sleeper.

    Spoiler alert, it’s not true! There is more to sleep than meets the eye and you don’t need to just wait it out with a “this too shall pass” approach to chronic poor sleeping patterns for you or your little one.

    Think about it, has sleep has been extremely difficult from the start? Is it poor or even potentially getting harder rather than easier as they get older? Does EVERY little change in your little one’s routine sets you back to square one (think holidays or just being out of routine for a few days and it ALL falls apart). You feel like you are constantly on the sleep coaching roundabout, with little long-term improvement?

    It might be time to consider the possibility of a physical impairment such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

    As a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant I DO NOT believe that every sleeping difficulty can be directly related to behavioural changes, sleep regressions/leaps or development milestones in your little one’s sleep difficulties. Instead, when addressing sleep, we need to consider other factors to ensure a holistic approach is taken and the full picture is understood.

    Disclaimer: I am NOT a healthcare professional and this blog is an opportunity to open discussions, assess your little one’s sleep patterns and consider if you need to seek advice from your GP/Paediatrician to potentially obtain referral to an ENT for further investigation, advice and support.

    Before we go any further into this blog, it’s important to know snoring is NEVER normal in babies/toddlers/children or even adults! It’s basically choking in our sleep!

    Let this sink in for a moment….. snoring is not NORMAL!

    It’s not funny (insert joke about dad or grandpa), it’s not cute (insert gushing comments about your baby), it’s not annoying (insert meme’s about smothering your partner in their sleep) and it’s also not ‘genetic’…..You definitely get the picture. Society has made snoring something to brush off as a joke or somewhat of an endearing trait and we NEED to take it more seriously.

    Snoring is something we DO want to investigate further with a trusted healthcare professional, namely an Ears, Nose, Throat specialist (ENT).

    So before you make a Dr’s appointment we’ll start at the beginning by finding out What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

    The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) defines OSA as a “disorder of breathing during sleep characterised by prolonged partial upper airway obstruction and/or intermittent complete obstruction (obstructive apnea) that disrupts normal ventilation during sleep and normal sleep patterns” here.

    Put simply, Obstructive Sleep Apnea is disordered breathing during sleep. This may be characterised by either partial or intermittent complete obstructive episodes, whereby breathing during sleep is suboptimal.

    The most common signs and symptoms of OSA in babies/children include:

    • Loud Snoring – This is the most common outward symptom where you can hear audible sounds whilst sleeping.
    • Respiratory Pauses – This sounds like snorting/choking/spluttering whilst your little one is asleep. They can gasp for air between breaths.
    • Restless Sleep – Constant tossing about and excessively switching positions. Moving about is normal, we are looking for excessive restless sleep.
    • Sweating – Excessively hot despite optimal dressing/room conditions.
    • Sleeping with extended neck or other unusual sleeping positions – (Characteristically the neck will be arched back awkwardly or bottom high in the air). These positions “open” the airways making it easier for your little one to breathe.
    • Slow growth and development – A direct result of the brain being starved of oxygen. This may include dropping percentile and slower to reach developmental milestones.

    They may also demonstrate:

    • Daytime tiredness
    • Bedwetting- A sign in older children
    • Behavioural disturbance – For instance aggression, hyperactivity, inattention, anxiety or moodiness

    If your little one is displaying any of the above signs and symptoms it means they’re working harder to achieve sleep, which also means frequent night waking, all of which may not be linked solely to behaviour modification.

    Whilst I don’t want to cause alarm, the reality is if your little one is experiencing obstructed breathing whilst they’re sleeping it can directly harm brain development. The harmful effects increase the likelihood of behavioural difficulties such as fatigue, hyperactivity, ADHD and poor concentration.

    This is due to the brain’s need for unobstructed breathing, meaning the brain needs to receive free flowing oxygen throughout the course of your little one’s rest. This helps with restoring, resting and repairing. When a brain experiences deprivation of oxygen the regenerating process is impaired.

    At this point, we don’t want to mask underlying physiological problems like OSA by trying to implement constant sleep coaching techniques.  These will have temporary solutions, but ultimately fall apart a short time later. You could say we could sleep coach until the cows come home with little to no improvement long-term if we don’t first address the physical sleep barrier to sleep quality.

    Expert Insight: Research suggests we lose 20% oxygen when we mouth breathe as opposed to breathing through our nose. One of the most common causes of the above signs and symptoms relates to Aden tonsillar Hyperplasia (enlarged adenoids and big tonsils). By removing the adenoids and tonsils, this can lead to resolution of Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) in a high percentage of children.

    What is the best way forward if your little one is a snorer?

    1. Track Symptoms – If you feel your little one’s breathing is suboptimal or “abnormal” then I would highly recommend taking notes and starting to record your observations with a symptom tracker.
    2. Video your child whilst sleeping – These can be short 20-30 second videos (trust me these will be extremely valuable). As the saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words” so when it comes to explaining what is happening for your little one at sleep times you can really help to make your case when speaking with your trusted healthcare professional.
    3. Make an appointment – Book in to see your trusted healthcare professional which may be your GP or Paediatrician and potentially research an ENT (Ears Nose & Throat Specialist). Your GP may recommend a sleep study to further investigate or base the referral on your sleep history, videos and day to day observations.

    At the end of the day, sleep QUALITY is NOT the same as sleep QUANTITY, so even if your little one is sleeping well, but something is not sitting right in your gut, check out the information, start tracking symptoms and trust your Mumma’s instinct (which is rarely wrong) we just KNOW.

    Want some extra help?

    If your baby isn’t a snorer and you want to know why your baby isn’t sleeping, you can begin troubleshooting your little one’s sleep by working through 4 of the most common reasons babies don’t sleep. Read the Blog The 4 Most Common Reasons Why Your Baby Isn’t Sleeping.  

    With Love,

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  • 5 Ways for your Partner to Bond with your Baby

    During pregnancy, a woman goes through significant physical and emotional change in preparing for her baby’s arrival. Mum’s carry their baby’s for 40 or so weeks, and with this pregnancy experience, it often feels easier to form a bond once bub is born. For our partners, however, this bond can take some time – and that’s totally okay.

    Bonding with our newborns is an integral part of our baby’s development and overall wellbeing throughout childhood. It’s important for mums and partners to understand their baby’s bonding behaviour in order to connect and strengthen the bond. Your newborn will use body language to demonstrate they want to connect; make eye contact, smile, make little noises and generally look interested by studying mum or dad’s face. Those little coo’s and giggles as bub get’s older, are just so special.

    Bonding Tips for our Partners:

    1. Skin to skin contact – this very special bonding time is extremely beneficial for baby, as it keeps them warm, helps to maintain their body temperature, calms and soothes them and can regulate their little heart rate, breath and blood sugar.
    2. Babywearing – this is also an effective way to bond as bub is close to your partner’s heartbeat and this helps to soothe them. And you have two hands-free #win
    3. Bathtime – a helpful task for your partner to do – not only does it give mum a break, but also allows for dad/mum to have some special 1:1 time. An after bath baby massage while chatting away to bub is an added bonding bonus!
    4. Bottle-feeding – if mum is expressing or formula feeding, your partner can offer the bottle and enjoy the feed with the baby. Gazing into your baby’s eyes and talking to them during the feed somehow makes the rest of the world melt away.
    5. Take time – as a bond can take time to nurture, take time to talk to them, tell baby about your day, they love the sound of their parent’s voice. Read a favourite childhood book to the baby – enjoyable for both parent and little one!

    If you need extra support, don’t forget to chat with your midwife or health professional.

    You’ve got this, nobody knows their baby like you do. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    Gentle settling techniques can help your little one to form positive sleeping patterns to allow you and your family more rest, making bonding time that much more enjoyable. Phone and in-home consultations are available for little one’s aged newborn through to 4 years of age. Work with me!

    Want to know more about the first 12 weeks of your baby’s life earth side? Read the Fourth Trimester blog  to help you transition and flourish in those initial weeks after birth.

    With Love

    If you’re ready to learn 5 quick and easy ways to calm your newborn check out the blog or download my Fourth Trimester Guide.

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  • What to do about sleep when your baby’s on the move.

    How to keep baby safe and maintain healthy sleep foundations when baby reaches new development milestones.

    So your baby’s on the move and you are eager to keep their sleep as routine as regular as possible.

    Their newfound skills may include rolling, sitting, crawling and pulling to stand. All of these achievements are wonderful and we want to celebrate our baby’s development! But, we want to do this whilst maintaining healthy sleep foundations too.

    With each new skill development it can feel both exciting and exhausting!

    The exciting part? Your baby is coming into a new stage of gross motor development and they have some mad new skills to show off!

    The exhausting part? Their sleep may be temporarily impacted, which in turn impacts both your little one and maybe even the whole household too.

    This blog takes a look at sleep and settling tips for new stages of physical development, ensuring your baby remains safe, supported and well rested during this time.

    If you’ve read any of my blogs, you would know there’s always a solution and this blog is no different. Your baby’s new found ability to sit, crawl or pull to stand doesn’t have to be the beginning of the end of healthy sleep foundations.

    Sure, you’ll need a little extra patience and consistency as you allow your baby time to return to their healthy sleep foundations, but you will get through this. There’s always hope Mumma, hang in there with me.

    Each time your baby reaches a new physical milestone there are three key phases. Knowing this can help you prepare for each of the milestones with patience and understanding.

     Three Key Phases of a New Stage of Development:

    1. Prior To Skill Development – Before your baby reaches a new milestone you will probably know it’s coming. You may know about it from books or apps or from other mum’s and babies in your circle of friends and family. Alternatively, if this isn’t your first child, you might remember when your older children reached physical milestones so know it’s on the way.

    Knowing a new skill milestone is coming can help you mentally prepare for the transition and feel less caught off guard and less frustrated by the change when it arrives.

    1. During The Skill Development –When your little one first begins displaying their new gross motor skills, this is the time for action and physically implementing settling tips (outlined further in this blog) to assist your baby with a smooth transition.
    1. The Aftermath – Once your baby has settled down from the excitement of discovering their new party trick and is also settling to sleep better, you can reassess if there is anything you need to do i.e if you changed your response to settling or introduced some new sleep props, you will now want to look at weaning them off.

    Now before we dive into each of the new development stages and how you can best assist your baby with maintaining healthy sleep foundations, I want you to know that you can of course (and should) respond if and when your baby is struggling to settle to sleep.

    The key to your approach is not to PANIC or OVERPLAY the role of helping your baby fall or return to sleep. During new development stages it’s easy for us to fear our babies will become overtired in the process or to assume they’re too stubborn to fall asleep/ settle by themselves (even though they may have been doing this perfectly just last week). Resist the urge to take things into your own hands to speed things up and try some of the below tips first.

    Rolling – 4-8 months

    Once your baby is rolling (in particular back to tummy) it’s time to unswaddle them as they begin the journey of learning to sleep arms free. If you haven’t already, check out my unswaddling blog with everything you need to know to transition smoothly from swaddle to arms free.

    • Ensure bub is in an arms-free TOG rated sleeping bag appropriate for the room conditions.
    • Remove any loose bedding in the cot – blankets are no longer safe once your baby is on the move.
    • Remember no cot bumpers (even mesh), blankets, pillows, lamb’s wools or sleep positioners are recommended under Red Nose Guidelines for safe sleep practices.
    • Continue to put your little one on their back in the cot initially.

    Expert Insight: Whilst it’s safe to use a firmly tucked blanket in the cot when your baby is stationary, it is important to remove this once they are rolling as they can rotate and become tangled. You can download my FREE Safe Sleep Checklist.

    As you continue to put your little one on their back in the cot initially, if you notice your little one rolls onto their tummy, they are safe to sleep in this position as they now have sufficient head and neck control.

    Your baby now also has access to both their arms to move and push up if they felt that their airways are obstructed in any way and the cot is bare from any loose objects.

    What do you do if your baby rolls onto their tummy in their cot?

    Babies are clever so you don’t need to automatically flip them back. Give them a moment or two to try settling on their tummy. You can also soothe them by patting their bottom, rubbing their back or just gently and calmly talking to your little one as they settle to sleep.

    If your baby is still struggling after 1-2 minutes, rather than “flipping” them over, try using their arm to assist the process of gently rolling them back onto their back. This will show them how to roll back over time rather than taking over and rescuing them.

    You can repeat this process both during awake times and at sleep times.

    During the day this will help to build muscle memory and give them the skills to do it at night. Just remember to give them an opportunity so that you are not rolling them back every 30 seconds.  This will take patience.

    At night time, remember to be patient and not panic. If you are really concerned about their position, try gently moving their head to the side, rather than repositioning them completely. You may wake them and will regret it (speaking from personal experience on this one!)

    Expert Insight: It typically takes babies 5-7 days to master either sleeping in this position or to stop rolling onto their tummy as frequently and find their new favourite sleeping position.

    Sitting – 4-9 months

    Sitting can occur anywhere between 4-9 months and once your baby learns to sit, my first tip is to drop the cot to base level. The important reason for this is sitting is the precursor to pulling to stand and we want to keep our babies safe.

    With babies being top heavy, if they unexpectedly pull to stand earlier than anticipated they can topple out of the cot and cause serious injury.

    As above with rolling, we need to practice lots during the day to build muscle memory. Practice going from laying down to sitting and back down again.

    Expert Tip: There are some great Paediatric Physios who teach these skills through play. Check out Alana from @my.strong.little.body or Nicole from @nicole_kidsphysio on Instagram.

    Crawling – 5-13 months

    Crawling can also disrupt your baby’s sleep as they feel the need to MOVE. My top recommendation here is to stick with a sleeping bag style as the sleeping bag makes things more challenging for them when attempting to move their legs.

    I don’t recommend the brands with “drop crotch” individual legs as this can make it easier for bub to move around, which can also mean they find themselves stuck in a tricky spot in their cot or legs straddled between cot bars. We want to keep the cot boring and don’t want them to associate their sleeping bag or sleep space with playtime. Think hot laps when they are supposed to be sleeping.

    This being said, you cannot force your baby to sleep and our role as parents isn’t to make our babies sleep rather “bore” them to sleep with minimal interaction. This is where we need to focus on up-levelling our patience and consistency during this milestone. If bub wants to crawl, don’t attempt to pin them down. Let them move about and tire themselves out and ensure there’s plenty of opportunities throughout the day to practice their new skills outside of the cot.

    Standing – 8-12 months

    When your baby learns to stand it can be a little tricky as they lock in those little legs and it feels like they’ll stand FOREVER. I promise they won’t, but it will take all of your patience to not panic and take over. We want our baby to recognise it’s bed time and go off to sleep. This is where your self control will be tested mama.

    During this phase we need to resist the urge or temptation to constantly lay our baby back down. The reason for this is it can result in sore arms and both mum and bub feeling frustrated with the repeated lay downs. Mum gets sick of repeating the same thing over and over and baby just wants to get back to standing up in the cot. No one wins.

    So what do you do when your baby insists on standing up in their cot at bedtime?

    1. Firstly we need to give them an opportunity to return to sitting/laying down. Let them use their skills and allow them time to get tired or bored of it.
    2. If they don’t sit or lay down, after a period of time you can lay them down in intervals– ie return them to a laying down position every 5 minutes. You can also choose whether you stay in the room or leave the room (especially if bub previously self-settled).

    As with the other milestones, it will take a few days for the novelty to wear off. Providing lots of time throughout the day to practice building muscle memory of getting up and down from different surface heights is a great way to settle things down.

    Quick takeaway reminders:

    1. No matter what stage of development your baby is at, know that new development is short-term.
    2. Remember not to panic or overplay the role of settling, especially if your baby was previously self-settling to sleep.
    3. If your little one was previously self-settling, they haven’t lost the skill, just temporarily misplaced it. Think about riding a bike, you may be rusty but you can still do it!
    4. You can stay close by and support, but resist the urge to speed up the process with props that you may have previously weaned out such as feeding, rocking or holding.

    If you do introduce these extra sleep props back in temporarily to assist your baby, just remember to have an exit strategy to reduce and wean these back out.  Babies learn through patterns of repetition of events, so can easily pick up new associations over a short period of time and come to expect this as the new “normal” again, so we need to take the lead if this isn’t something that isn’t sustainable long-term.

    Want some extra help?

    If your little one is already being assisted to sleep, but now resisting your attempts with back arching, taking longer to settle and generally feeling frustrated, this is often a good time to look to lay healthy sleep foundations and work with cot settling. Check out how we can work 1-1 together or join my Baby Sleep Foundations course.

    Did you know there are 5 stages of sleep regressions in the first 2 years of life? They can also cause temporary disruption to sleep.

    With Love,

    P.S. 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 different sleep routines for each age group for you to learn and understand more about daily sleep needs for your little one.

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  • Thriving in the Fourth Trimester

    We all know about the three trimesters in pregnancy, but what’s not commonly spoken about is the three months that follow after your baby’s arrival. This period is known as the ‘fourth trimester’ and while this time is exciting and joyous with so many incredible milestones, it is also likely to be challenging as you adapt to your new adventure as a parent.

    As you navigate parenthood, you may feel overwhelmed and exhausted, all while you’re trying to recover from birth. However, by integrating a few helpful tips, the fourth trimester can become more manageable and filled with all the precious moments. Here are my favorite tips for surviving the fourth trimester!

    Ask for help

    Trust me mama, you will need help! Whether it’s your partner, friend, caretaker or a family member, ask someone to stay with you or visit regularly to assist with tasks around the house. The emotional support will also be amazing during this time.

    Get some rest

    This one is easier said than done, but it’ll be so worth it! Sleep when the baby sleeps, or ask someone to watch the baby while you have a nap. The extra sleep will help aid your recovery and you will be feeling refreshed and clear headed afterwards.

    Be kind to yourself

    While your hormones are finding a new rhythm, you may feel very unlike yourself. This typically shouldn’t last much longer than a couple of weeks. Make sure to be kind to yourself during this time. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be doing things or see people when you aren’t up to it. Feel free to eat your favourite comfort food every now and then (it’ll help your soul!). You have just nurtured, grown and birthed a  baby, allowing yourself time to heal both physically and mentally is an absolute necessity.

    Stay hydrated

    Your body needs hydration more than ever, especially if you’re breastfeeding! Make sure you’re drinking at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day, to help with overall recovery and swelling. Set reminders on your phone every hour or keep a full water bottle nearby at all times.

    Start moving

    When you’re feeling ready and have the doctors go ahead, start going for slow walks. It will only be very slow paced and short distance for a little while, but this can be built up over time. Walking is a great way to release endorphins, which will help your mental health, especially after being indoors for most of the day. It will also do wonders for recovery.

    If you need extra support, don’t forget to chat with your midwife or health professional.

    You’ve got this, mama. When it gets too hard, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Slowly, throughout this fourth trimester also known as the newborn haze, you will begin to discover a redefined you, and eventually, you will become the person you were always meant to be and love it more than you could possibly imagine.

    Want to know more about the first 12 weeks of your baby’s life earth side? Read the Fourth Trimester blog  to help you transition and flourish in those initial weeks after birth.

    With Love

    If you’re ready to learn 5 quick and easy ways to calm your newborn check out the blog or download my Fourth Trimester Guide.

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  • How to set up a safe sleep nursery. The products you need and the ones you can do without.

    Do you know how to identify safe sleep in your little one’s nursery? Would you know how to distinguish the products you really need versus the ones you can do without?

    Not sure where to start with nursery safety?

    Excitement and overwhelm can fill our bodies from the moment we find out we’re pregnant. From friends to family, Instagram to Influencers, Pinterest to Facebook, we receive a constant stream of information about the latest baby products and must have nursery trends….

    Styling the nursery coincides with hormones running wild… and did I mention being PREGNANT! We only want the best for our baby and would never intentionally buy or use unsafe sleep products, however in a world of clever marketing we sometimes have a false sense of security about what is safe for our little one’s sleep.

    The truth is, when it comes to setting up your nursery, babies actually NEED very little.

    In this blog you’ll discover safe sleep practices and common sleep products every parent needs to know a little more about.

    Before we talk about baby sleep products though, let’s talk about Red Nose, the leading authority for safe sleeping in Australia.

    They’re dedicated to promoting safe sleep for your baby and have 6 research backed, safe sleep recommendations for reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome also known as Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS/SUIDS).

    The 6 Red Nose Safe Sleep Recommendations are:
    1) Always place baby on their back to sleep
    2) Keep baby’s face and head uncovered
    3) Keep baby smoke free, before and after birth
    4) Safe sleeping environment, night and day
    5) Sleep baby in a safe cot in parents’ or caregiver’s room for the first 6-12 months
    6) Breastfeed baby

    For more information on Red Nose recommendations, visit the Red Nose Website

    Now let’s take a look at popular baby products used for sleeping…

    Newborn Bassinets

    Whilst bassinets are becoming increasingly popular due to space constraints in bedrooms and smaller living areas, did you know Australia currently has no safety standards for bassinets?

    Considering the above statement, here are some tips to help you choose a bassinet if you don’t opt to go straight to a cot:

    Opt for a bassinet with a sturdy bottom and wide stable base. This will ensure the bassinet can’t tip over.

    • Check all four sides of the bassinet are at least 300mm higher than the top of the mattress base. This stops baby falling out.
    • Choose a firm, flat mattress that’s the correct size for your chosen bassinet. Note: The mattress should be no thicker than 75mm in thickness.
    • Select a bassinet with good breathability zones on all four sides. This reduces the risk of suffocation and provides good ventilation for baby.

    For more on bassinet safety, check out the Red Nose recommendations for bassinets 

    Cots and Cot Safety

    Where possible, I recommend transitioning from a bassinet to a cot and choosing a cot that meets Australian standard AS/NZS 2172:2003.

    Did you know that you can review and compare cots by CHOICE?

    This is a publication of the Australian consumer organisation of that name and non-profit organisation which gives you an overall safety recommendation between different brands.

    Two simple rules for cot safety

    If you remember anything about cots and what you can place in them, the two simple rules to live by are:

    • Firm
    • Flat

    Firm

    • Make sure the mattress is firm with no added padding such as lamb’s wool above or below the mattress. Adding padding can make the mattress soft and is a potential suffocation risk.
    • Make sure there is no more than a 20mm gap between the mattress and the cot sides and ends.
    • Use a firm sleep surface that is compliant with the new AS/NZS Voluntary Standard (AS/NZS 8811.1:2013 Methods of testing infant products – Sleep Surfaces – Test for firmness). More on this here

    Flat

    There’s no reason to elevate the cot, even if bub has reflux. This places your little one at additional risk of slipping/tipping into the edges of the cot (or bassinet) and they can also become tangled in blankets used for swaddled babies who are tucked in from the waist down.

    The common belief that being more upright will use gravity in baby’s favour to keep the stomach contents down has been researched and shown it makes no difference and thus removes the recommendation to elevate the cot. Read more about this here

    Padded Cocoons

    Padded cocoons such as the ever-popular Bubnest are not recommended for use of unsupervised sleep in the day or night. This means they’re not recommended to be placed in the bassinet, cot, pram or between parents in bed as a means of “separate sleep space”.

    Unless your baby will be 100% supervised, don’t leave your baby to sleep in a padded cocoon. This is also stated on the bubnest website which explains, “The Baby Nest is intended for supervised naps only. We recommend to follow safe sleeping guidelines by The Red Nose Foundation.”

    Bumpers and Pillows

    Soft bedding such as pillows, quilts, doonas, soft toys and bumpers are unsafe and shouldn’t be in your baby’s cot or bassinet. The reason for this is soft bedding may cover the baby’s face and obstruct breathing and/or cause overheating.

    Older babies in a cot can be at an increased risk of a sleeping accident by using pillows and bumpers as a step to climb up and fall out of the cot.

    It’s safest to wait until the child starts to sleep in a bed before introducing a pillow or other soft bedding. Red Nose have great advice on this. Read more about it here

    Want to know my top 5 recommendations for a safe sleep environment set up:

    1. Swaddle/Sleeping bag to provide optimum temperature regulation
    2. Room warmed or cooled to 18-20 degrees in winter and 20-22 degrees in summer
    3. No mobiles over the cot – save them for the change table
    4. Place the cot against a wall without a window. This minimises the risk of baby getting tangled in blinds/curtains
    5. Firm/flat fitted sheet with no other loose objects in the cot besides a comforter from 7+ months of age

    Co-sleeping

    We recognise and know that co-sleeping often occurs.  If you do choose this option for your family, Red Nose have now put together tips for safer co-sleeping

    There’s a lot to consider on the topic of sleep safety and I encourage you to take a look around your nursery to ensure it’s both safe and meeting the sleep safety guidelines outlined by Red Nose.

    Want some extra help?

    Feel like there’s a lot to remember on this topic? I have created a FREE DOWNLOAD Safe Sleep Checklist for you to print and save if you are ever in doubt about what’s safe and what’s not.

    The Red Nose Website is a great place for further information.

    With Love,

    PS My Fourth Trimester Realistic Expectations Guide is available here. Find out everything you need to know about the first 12 weeks with your baby.

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  • Guest Blog from Ashlee Yates, Nurture Children’s Health

    Is it reflux, colic or could there be something else behind the crying?

    Infant colic is regular, excessive crying in an otherwise healthy baby. Colic is actually a process of elimination diagnosis, which means there’s no physiological cause to explain the excessive crying or discomfort and bub is otherwise healthy.

    A diagnosis of reflux means that the stomach contents are coming up to the esophagus, and the acidity of the stomach acid is irritating the tissue in the throat. This causes discomfort and sometimes pain, which can lead to extended periods of unsettledness.

    The term ‘colic’ can be used loosely though and is often used to describe tummy aches, likely from gas.

    A newborn’s tummy is brand new, and hasn’t really needed to do any work before. Milk feeding is (or theoretically, should be) the easiest food for an infant to consume and digest. Unfortunately as we sometimes find out, this isn’t always the case and little tummies can be easily upset, leading to symptoms of colic and reflux.

    What could be causing the crying?

    • Tummy pain due to gas
    • Reflux
    • Immaturity of the gastrointestinal tract, leading to discomfort when digesting milk, passing gas or stool
    • Tummy pain due to a reaction to something in milk
    • Over-stimulation

    Trying to figure out the cause can be tricky. Babies with colic cry a lot, babies with gas can cry frequently and babies with reflux cry a lot as well. In some cases, there may be more than one underlying cause for their discomfort.

    Causes

    The lower esophageal sphincter is responsible for preventing the contents of the stomach from coming back up. Generally, infant reflux occurs because the esophageal sphincter is too immature to contract properly. In the same way that a baby’s muscle tone and strength is still developing, so is the esophageal sphincter. As babies grow and they get stronger, they spend more time upright and the symptoms of reflux begin to improve.

    The exact causes of colic are still unknown. There are theories, but many colicky babies have no clear underlying causes. Diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding may contribute to symptoms of food sensitivities, leading to colic-like symptoms. Caffeine, nicotine and some medications found in breastmilk are also linked to infant irritability. Full bellies and gas are unfamiliar feelings to newborns, and some babies may actually interpret these sensations as painful or scary.

    Symptoms of reflux

    • Spitting up or vomiting that seems to cause pain
    • Crying and irritability during milk feeds
    • Arching the back, pulling legs up
    • Poor sleep, due to pain when lying flat
    • Refusing to feed, or feeding frequently
    • Choking or gagging
    • Frequent respiratory tract infections and wheezing

    Symptoms of colic

    • May settle with effective burping or after passing gas
    • If breastfed, baby may be particularly sensitive to beans, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower
    • Episodes of inconsolable crying, vigorous kicking, pulling the legs up tightly to the body and making tight fists
    • Swollen or distended tummy
    • Frequent vomiting after feeding

    Treatments

    Conventional treatment of infant reflux typically involves decreasing the acidity of the stomach acid. The reflux still occurs, but it no longer causes any pain because it’s less acidic. However, it’s important to consider the reasons why we have stomach acid in the first place. By the time babies begin eating solid food, their digestive systems rely on acidic stomach acid to help properly break down and digest food.

    In regards to colic, it’s important to rule out all possible causes for pain or discomfort. If you’re unsure about a diagnosis of colic, it’s completely fine to seek a second opinion from a different health care practitioner or request a follow up assessment and additional testing. For most babies, making some adjustments to feeding techniques will help ease discomfort until they mature and the symptoms begin to subside.

    Quick tips for reflux and colic

    • Keep baby elevated where possible, for 20min after milk feeding and during feeding (consider baby wearing)
    • Elevate for sleep
    • Burp after every feed to decrease the amount of air building up in the stomach. Try tilting bub to their left to effectively move trapped wind
    • Keep a symptom diary to discuss with your healthcare practitioner
    • If bottle fed, bub may benefit from a slower flow nipple
    • Carminative herbs (such as chamomile, fennel, dill). Only use after consultation with a qualified herbalist, as carminatives may worsen symptoms for reflux babies

    Addressing the cause

    Differentiating between colic and reflux can sometimes be very difficult. Some babies can have both reflux and gas, which can involve different treatment approaches. Carminative herbs are used to relieve gas pain and help it pass. Colic drops and gripe water are common over-the-counter options to treat wind pain, but these can actually make the symptoms of reflux worse for some babies. When considering herbal medicines, professional guidance is always your best option to find the right care and support.

    Reflux in breastfed babies can sometimes be explained by a food that the baby is being exposed to through milk. Identifying and eliminating the offending food can help in the management of reflux. Very often, the culprit is coffee (even decaf), but could also be chocolate, dairy, spicy foods, or citrus. Other foods to consider include soy, eggs, nuts, wheat, cruciferous vegetables, or high histamine foods.

    Once the culprit is removed, reflux symptoms can subside within a couple of days. Though keep in mind that dairy and soy elimination may take as long as 2 weeks to see a difference. When breastfeeding, it’s important to be very careful when considering eliminating food from your diet. The very last thing we want to do is risk calorie or nutrient deprivation. It is not advised for anyone, especially breastfeeding mums, to undertake an elimination diet without professional guidance.

    For formula fed babies, we always review the current formula and if needed, begin trialing other brands of milk alongside digestive support. Different formulas can have varying protein ratios and ingredients. Just because one baby responds well to a particular brand, does not mean that another baby (even a sibling) will have the same positive experience. If changing formulas doesn’t provide any relief, we introduce herbal medicine and nutrient therapy.

    A final thought

    The use of evidence based naturopathic medicine can help to improve digestive function, soothe pain and finally bring some much needed relief. Herbal and nutritional therapy can be used safely and effectively alongside other healthcare modalities and pharmaceutical medicines, there’s no need to choose one approach over another.

    I realise that naturopathic medicine is uncharted territory for many families, particularly in the area of children’s health, which is why I offer 15min discovery calls prior to an initial appointment. If this article has done nothing but raise more questions than answers, please feel free to get in touch!

    Ash Yates.

    Naturopath (BHSc).

    Supporting children and their grownups.

    ash@nurturechildrenshealth.com

    http://www.nurturechildrenshealth.com

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  • Unswaddling your baby. When, why and how to approach the transition from swaddling to sleeping bag

    Would you know if it was time to transition your baby from swaddle to arms free?

    Knowing when to unswaddle and why it’s necessary for your baby to no longer sleep swaddled is important.

    Unswaddling may be met with a bit of apprehension, especially if your baby is used to being swaddled and is currently sleeping really well….  If you’ve been onto a good thing it can feel risky to mess with your baby’s sleep but unswaddling is a necessary step for safety reasons as we approach new developmental milestones.

    This blog will teach you how to unswaddle your baby in a way that makes you feel more in control of the transition (well as much as we can control a little baby). I assure you that your baby is a quick learner and before you know it, having your baby unswaddled will feel normal for you and your little one.

    When is the best time to transition from swaddle (arms in) to an arms-free sleeping bag?

    Between 4-6 months is the optimal time to unswaddle, but it’s important to know you MUST make the transition as soon as your little one rolls from BACK to TUMMY (even if this means between 3-4 months) hello keen roller.

    With a roller on your hands, it’s now a safety concern to stay swaddled. The reason for this is should your little one roll onto their tummy, they will need access to their hands to push up and clear their airways/move into a safer position. This can often coincide with new development and the first sleep regression – hello 4 month sleep regression (we have a helpful blog for the 4 month sleep regression too). Read it here

    It should also be noted that regardless of rolling, we need to unswaddle no later than 6 months of age.

    Unswaddling is key to our little one’s having access to their hands so they can learn the process of self-soothing. (Something that can be achieved with gentle guidance and supported from around 4-6 months of age).

    They will begin to use their hands to self-soothe by playing with their hair/touching their face, picking up a comforter or to eventually learn to find and replace their dummy independently.

    So how do you teach your baby to sleep unswaddled?

    Here are two options that can work for you and your little one.

    Cold Turkey

    Cold Turkey means you simply stop using your current swaddle and move straight to an arms free sleeping bag. My personal favourite is Ergopouch. They come in a variety of TOG ratings depending on your current room season. I recommend a minimum of 2.5 TOG for most of the year around.

    To implement the “cold turkey” method, begin with bedtime/overnight and roll the method into your baby’s naps the next day. This works best when bub is already rolling (and you are short on time to make the transition for safety reasons) or closer to 5/6 months of age (when they need to transition shortly after).

    I always recommend starting this process at bedtime. This works with our body’s strongest physiological drive of melatonin which is from 6:00pm to midnight making sleep easier to achieve with longer and deeper stretches of sleep.

    Expert Tip: At this time, I also recommend transitioning from bassinet to cot (if you haven’t already). It’s important for babies to have extra room to move and settle without banging into the sides. You can continue to room share as desired noting that Red Nose Guidelines recommend room sharing for the reduction of SIDS to between 6-12 months.

    Slow and Steady

    The Slow and Steady approach focuses on going arms free one arm at a time and allows you to transition gradually over a short period of time. This being said, it’s recommended the transition be completed within 5-7 days regardless of using the Cold Turkey Method or Slow and Steady approach as otherwise you can just be delaying the inevitable few days of unsettledness.

    How does the Slow and Steady unswaddling approach work?

    Like the Cold Turkey approach, you begin the process at bedtime but leave only one arm out. After a feed during the night you can swap arms or if they are particularly unsettled you can pop both arms back in for the remainder of the night and try again the following night for a little longer.

    On day 2 stick with one arm out for nap 1 and for nap 2 swap to the other arm. This gives your little one an opportunity to become familiar with having one arm out at a time without favouring one arm. This process takes a little longer but is a great method for babies who are continuing to startle with their moro reflex and need a slower approach to learn to relax through the motions of their parasympathetic nervous system.

    You can continue this process until both arms are out overnight, then both arms out for all naps over the 5-7 day timeframe. If you are still having troubles after 7 days, use the Cold Turkey method regardless of where you are at as you are often prolonging the inevitable (speaking from personal experience with my first daughter, I think it took two weeks and I still wasn’t “happy” with the transition!)

    Expert Tip: If your little one is used to sucking on the material of the swaddle, use the hand cover from their onesie for a few days to cover their little hand. This means they will have the comfort of material as they get used to the extra arm freedom.

    If you don’t already have one, you might want to take a look at purchasing a transitional swaddle. There are a number of transitional swaddles available on the market and brands like Ergopouch have swaddles with arm-poppers so that you can convert to arms-free without needing to purchase a new sleeping bag. Love to Dream also have a transitional swaddle allowing you to take off one “wing” at a time.

    What can you expect during the unswaddling transition?

    Always expect 3-5 days of extra unsettledness as your baby’s little body learns to relax through their parasympathetic nervous system. (It can be a little overwhelming for babies when they first experience their limbs moving around unexpectedly).  This reflex will naturally integrate and relax around 4-5 months of age, so although your little one may startle from time to time, they will learn to relax through this motion.

    You can absolutely offer a little extra hands-on assistance as needed during this transition time. Even if your little one was previously self-settling, they may be extra unsettled or even playful initially when they go into the cot and then become frustrated/overtired from the excitement.

    If this happens, hang in there! Don’t rush or be tempted to “speed up” the process by overplaying the role of settling and taking over with extra external assistance as this can make the process harder/longer in duration.

    That’s a wrap on unswaddling your baby and I hope you feel informed and educated on the how, when and why we need to transition from swaddle to arms-free.

    Want some extra help?

    Even if sleep takes a temporary step backwards or has always been a struggle for your little one, we can work towards healthy sleep foundations. The Baby Sleep Foundations course teaches you how to optimise your little one’s sleeping patterns including:

    • Setting up a conducive sleep environment
    • Optimal awake times/Nap routines
    • Sleep associations
    • Night waking/early rising
    • Milk and solids feeding
    • Age-appropriate settling techniques

    All designed to never compromise on your parenting style and meet your baby where they are at developmentally. Join Now 

    Need to learn more about age-appropriate awake times? Download my comprehensive Nap Routine Guide with 35 pages ranging from 6 weeks through to 4 years providing individual, monthly summaries of sleep requirements and two different nap patterns to find the right approach for your individual baby and what works best for your family. 

    With Love,

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  • The difference between nightmares and night terrors. Supporting your child when they’re scared.

    How do you know if your little one is experiencing nightmares or night terrors? Learn the signs to look for to help you recognise and identify what your child may be going through (as well as ways to reduce them occurring in the future).

    In this blog you’ll learn all about the reality of your little one’s night time troubles and become informed and educated on how to manage/reduce the chances of these episodes occurring regularly.

    What’s the difference between a nightmare and a night terror?

    Let’s break it down and learn exactly what a nightmare is and what a night terror is.

    Although on the surface they look very similar (or even the same), there are quick and easy ways to distinguish the difference.

    Let’s start with nightmares. What is a nightmare?

    Nightmares

    • Characteristically occur from 2.5+ years of age. The most common contributors to nightmares include your child’s ever-growing imagination and trying to process their busy day-to-day lives. This being said, they can also coincide with dropping naps and have also been linked to becoming overtired.
    • They occur more commonly in REM (rapid eye movement) lighter phases of sleep and typically occur in the second half of the night (midnight through to 6:00/7:00am.
    • Children who experience a nightmare will wake upset, scared or afraid. The key word here is wake. A nightmare will in most cases wake your child from their sleep. They will be able to communicate what has scared them such as “monsters under my bed”.
    • Typically, a child will remember a nightmare occurring the next day. It could be either vaguely recalled or vividly recollected. They’re able to communicate what has happened in the nightmare or relay the nature of the storyline/ what they saw and understandably will usually need extra support to re-settle to sleep.

    How to help

    • Do your best to keep them comfortable in their own bed rather than bringing them into your bed.
    • During the day talk through and validate their feelings to help alleviate any worries or fears.
    • Chat about any potential triggering events that may give rise to nightmares.

    Expert Insight: You are your little one’s safe place and you would know from your own experience a nightmare feels extremely real. Your little one needs reassurance that:

    1. it was a bad dream
    2. it wasn’t real
    3. it’s over now
    4. they’re safe.

     What is a night terror?

     Night terrors

    • Occur from 2.5+ years and are more common in NREM sleep (that’s sleep prior to midnight).
    • Your little one may wake suddenly and be frightened but appear non-responsive.
    • They may be sitting up, thrashing around and inconsolable but they’re not actually awake.
    • Night terrors can last from 15 up to 30 minutes and tend to happen more frequently when toddlers are overtired or an illness is approaching (also more common with high temps).

    Expert Insight: Night terrors can be extremely disturbing for parents to witness but your toddler will have no recollection of the event and when it finishes, they pretty much “snap” out of it, lay down and return to sleep almost like nothing has happened.

    How to help

    • Your role as a parent is to ensure your little one is safe throughout the course of the night terror i.e. that they don’t hurt themselves by falling out of bed or get stuck between cot railings.
    • Always ensure the bedroom and cot/bed environment is safe.
    • Do not try to wake them or stop the process as this will frighten them more – remember they’re not actually awake.

    Most children grow out of night terrors however if they’re becoming regular or you are concerned, consult your trusted healthcare professional.

    So what’s the best and easiest way to tell if your little one’s experiencing a nightmare or a night terror?

    The main difference between nightmares and night terrors is nightmares will usually wake your child, they’re able to recall the nightmare and talk about it right away or the next morning.

    With a night terror your child doesn’t remember what happened and although they may be displaying signs of being awake (sitting up and talking) they don’t wake up. If it’s a night terror remember to resist trying to rouse your child from the episode.

    How do you handle nightmares and night terrors?

    The best way to handle them is to try and avoid them altogether. (Easier said than done I know) and the brain is an incredible organ that still isn’t completely understood by even those who study it. Some things are simply out of our control.

    Best ways to stop and prevent nightmares and night terrors occurring:

    1. Stick to a regular bedtime routine and age-appropriate bedtimes (this will reduce the chances of becoming overtired initially).
    2. Talk to your child to see if anything is bothering them.
    3. Limit screen time usage – especially in the lead 3-4 hours prior to bedtime. Excited and hyperactive minds often struggle to wind down/switch off in the evening.
    4. Offer verbal and physical reassurance in their cot/bed.

    Next time you hear the tell-tale screams of fright coming from your little one’s room, head into the room feeling confident you can assess the situation, identify the type of episode it is as well as provide the support your little one needs in that moment.

    Want some extra help?

    Find more toddler sleep tips here or your can Download my FREE Toddler Bedtime Routine Sleep Chart here.

    More one-on-one sleep help is always available for you as you navigate this wild ride called parenthood. Book a discovery call to find out how we can work one-on-one together to begin creating healthy sleep habits for your family.

    With Love,

    Don’t have a toddler just yet? Why don’t you check out my Baby Sleep Foundations Course designed from 4 months to 2 years.

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  • Guest blog from Mandy, Raise Toddlers – Toddler Hitting

    Gosh if you have a toddler who IMPULSIVELY hits, whether it be during excited playfulness, when you set a boundary or at playdates it can be so tough…you are NOT alone. Toddler hitting is so common

    I’m sure you are asking…
    Why do they keep doing it?

    AND

    How do I make them stop?

    Of course we want our toddlers to be gentle, kind & considerate and to know that hitting is not an appropriate behaviour and that it does hurt. However going about it the logical, reasonable way is not actually that helpful (for either of you) and here’s why –

    The Toddler Brain

    The toddler brain is still ‘under construction’ and the parts that control reason, logic and impulse control are basically non-operational.

    Toddler language skills

    Language plays a large role in toddler behaviour. Toddlers who don’t yet have the language abilities to comprehend the situation or to problem solve a situation will show behaviours such as hitting.

    Even if your child has strong language skills, they might not yet have the language to cope with many situations, e.g.not having the language to cope when another child takes a toy or to tell you that they feel like their new baby brother is getting all the attention

    Given these aspects of your toddlers development means you will most likely be trying to read books about ‘hands aren’t for hitting’ and giving long winded lessons in the hope that the behaviours will stop and when they don’t you might find yourself losing your cool (which unfortunately also won’t help but could in fact fuel the hitting).

    So what can we do?

    Perspective & Mantra

    When we understand the reason they are hitting is not because you are a bad parent or they are a bad kid. It is because they are struggling to contain their impulses or communicate something to you.

    The best phrase you can have running through your head is…

    ‘They need my help!’

    Before the hit

    Get curious

    Start to take note of when hitting seems to be happening for your toddler
    Look for patterns and possible underlying messages. Perhaps it’s every time they need to leave somewhere or when there are lots of other children around. When you narrow down what might be underneath the hitting you can be ready to support them in these scenarios.

    In the moment

    Move in close and be ready to block the hit if it is between your child and another child or gently take their hands in yours when they go to hit you. Simply let them know

    ‘You are sad we have to leave now.’
    ‘I can’t let you hit! It hurts. I will help you stop!’

    This sends them two powerful messages-
    1. ‘My parent has my back, understands my experience, is on my team and will always help me!’
    2. ‘Hitting isn’t allowed. It hurts.’

    After a hit

    As much as we want our toddler to be truly sorry and make up for hitting us or their friend with a heartfelt apology…it isn’t that realistic at this stage. It absolutely doesn’t mean that we can’t model and instil manners but it will most likely look something like:

    If they hit another child
    You can apologise on your child’s behalf to both the child and the parent of the other child. It may sound like.

    ‘Timmy was feeling very frustrated and hit you. I’m sorry he hit you. Are you OK?’

    In certain scenarios following a hit you may like to take suitable next steps e.g.
    If they are hitting at a playgroup where there are lots of children, you may take your child outside for a walk or break from your group. This is less about punishment and much more about supporting them as there is always a reason they are hitting and in large groups of children it may well be the sensory input and stimulation.

    The goal is to continue to work with your child and model the skills they will need to communicate their feelings and needs in more acceptable ways as they mature. These skills are built when we verbally empathise with them while physically helping them to stop!

    Meet Mandy

    Hi I’m Mandy, I am the face behind Raise Toddlers. I am the proud Mum to three gorgeous girls and I (along with my amazing hubby) have survived toddlerhood twice now.

    I am a child development and early parenting specialist. I have my Bachelor of Education, Masters in Child & Family Studies and am currently completing my PhD In Respectful Parenting Methods. I have worked with families and toddlers for over a decade across a wide range of settings.

    Check out more about Mandy here

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  • Catnapping King or Queen

    What Is The Solution To Cat Napping!

    One of the most common questions I am asked as a sleep consultant is “Why is my baby cat napping” I want to start by saying cat napping is both very common and in fact biologically and developmentally normal until around 4-5 months of age!  Although this doesn’t make it any easier at the time of experiencing it.  I know this firsthand.

    As parents, there is often a lot of pressure for us to have our babies on a strict schedule from day one. This gives unrealistic expectations as some babies will naturally sleep longer than others. Some babies will have 2-3 hour naps, whilst some babies will have 20-60 minute naps. Some babies will even have a mix of both. All of it is normal and very common.

    Did you know that the first 3 months of your little one’s life is 50% nurture and 50% nature.  This means you can’t “control” whether your little one has a solid sleep foundation right from the beginning or whether you will need to gently work to guide it in the future.

    The fourth month sleep regression is also a permanent neurological change that can be a large contributor to catnapping and this is explained in more detail via the Inside the Four Month Sleep regression blog.

    If your little one is catnapping, I’d love to help! Let’s answer some of your top asked questions together!

    What is a cat nap?

    A catnap is usually a nap that lasts for one sleep cycle – around 40-50 minutes or less. Often, catnapping babies are unable to join these cycles together for a deeper, more restful sleep.

    While catnapping is developmentally normal, it can be very frustrating for parents. This sleep pattern is incredibly light due to the fact that babies often remain in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and have a difficult time transitioning between REM, light sleep and non-REM, deep sleep.

    What is the solution to catnapping?

    Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple solution to catnapping. There are MANY reasons that could be contributing to your little one’s short naps.

    To find the right solution for YOUR baby, we need to find out what exactly is causing their short naps first.

    These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself to help find the solution for your little one:

    1.   Have I provided a comfortable sleep environment for my baby?

    When creating a comfortable sleep environment for your little one, it is important to create a calm and relaxing space. Their sleep environment can dictate the quality and quantity of sleep that they experience. Some of the key factors that I recommend to ensure a comfortable sleep environment are:

    • Dark sleep space – can you read a book in there?
    • Temperature – a little Goldilocks, around 18-20 degrees over winter and 20-20 degrees in summer;
    • White noise, a simple and effective addition to your little ones sleep routine.

    To find out more about optimal sleep environment set up check out my Top 5 Sleep Success Tips here

    When we are trying to change your little one’s cat napping pattern, our aim is to have your little one in their cot for at least 1-2 day naps each day. This will help to set up their nap timing and gain consistency with the consolidation of their day-time sleep.

    2.   Do you have a familiar wind-down routine?

    As adults, very rarely would we come straight home from work and fall asleep. Normally, you would have some “wind-down time” before going off to bed. Having a warm shower, reading a book and allowing your brain to switch off before trying to sleep.

    This is no different for babies! The routine can be verbal and non-verbal signals that should last under 10-20 minutes. It needs to be calming and soothing and most importantly unique to your little one. It may involve:

    3.   Is my baby tired enough?

    Being aware of your baby’s awake times will help with knowing when to start looking for tired signs before they become overtired signs!

    A newborn can go from tired to overtired in an incredibly short time! As soon as you start to notice tired signs, you should start their wind-down routine.

    Not sure on your baby’s awake times for their age? You can download my Nap Routines from 6 weeks to 4 years which includes 35 pages of information and guidance from awake times, to sleep structure and overnight guidence.

    4.   Are you giving your little one the opportunity to resettle?

    Once your baby is over a 3/4 of months of age, I recommend that you give your little one the opportunity to resettle independently if they wake at the 20 or 45-minute mark.

    Ensure that you have chosen a settling technique at the beginning of a nap and work on initially self-settling. This may involve holding them as they cry or fuss or simply staying in their sleep space to soothe them with your presence.

    If your little one wakes early and they are not due a feed, carry on with your chosen settling technique for approximately 20-30 minutes to encourage your little one to return to sleep.  If they have not resettled in this time, abandon the nap with a dramatic wake-up and try again next nap. Trying to resettle after this amount of time it is likely a sign that your baby is ready to get up.

    It takes time!

    Day time naps are harder to achieve than night-time sleep, so if you wanting to extend your little one’s nap time, it could take up to 2-3 weeks to work. You may also experience some night sleep regression, as the day naps consolidate but with consistency and perseverance, the nap times will extend.

    When it isn’t working (and there will be days like this!) get out and about! Remove the pressure from yourself and your little one! Pop them in the pram, carrier or car and let them have that sleep they need. The fresh air will you do you both wonders!

    You will likely find that some tips do work overtime or as your baby grows, their sleep will change. Don’t stress! Just go with the flow in the meantime.

    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 cat napping stage!

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

    With love,

     

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