Wearing your baby in a sling increases his intelligence - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Wearing your baby in a sling increases his intelligence

Almost any mom will admit that she wants her baby to be one of the clever ones - a smart little chap. We know life is easier for bright and clever people. For this reason as parents we invest time and energy in ensuring that our baby develops optimally and is well stimulated. Research is constantly looking at the key influences on intelligence. Timothy Taylor, PhD, in his book The Artificial Ape, published in July 2010, looks at the inventions that changed the course of human development. As we know, human babies are born less mature than almost any other mammal on earth and their survival depends on the mother (or father) to care for the baby 24 hours a day. In prehistoric times, only the stronger and more mature babies would survive. The intelligent but physically weaker babies would simply not survive. The invention of the baby sling over 2 million years ago changed all this. By being carried by their mothers in an ‘artificially lengthened gestation’, human babies had a significantly greater chance of survival and became brighter with more well developed brains. There are good reasons for this: Slings mimic the womb world In the calm world of the womb, your baby is rocked and soothed with movement all day. It is not surprising that many newborn babies fuss when they are put down in the early days. Your baby is signalling that she wishes to be held and soothed by your body’s movements. However, holding a baby can over stimulate them if they are passed from person to person or fiddled with. A better way to hold your baby is with consistent touch, such as that provided by a baby carrier. By imitating the womb world, you can expect a calmer and happier baby. If your baby is calmer more of the time, she will be more available to stimulation and will learn readily from her world. Read more about the womb to world effect on infant calming Slings enhance social awareness Babies who are carried in slings see the world through their mom’s eyes and vice versa. The baby learns from mom’s face and her expressions and is more in touch with language – both verbal and non verbal. Likewise, by having your baby against your chest, you can read her signals and see what she is looking at. This enhances language development as well as social skills, which are a vital part of intelligence. Vestibular stimulation Not only does a content baby learn more from her world in the calm alert state, but in addition, the motion of your body stimulates your baby’s vestibular system, developing muscle tone and enhancing motor development. Sleep Our brains need a certain amount of movement to sleep well for long periods, just think how well you sleep after a good hike or exhilarating run. Babies are no different and it is known that babies who are ‘worn’ during the day sleep better and for longer stretches day and night. A well rested baby is more available to learn from stimulation and can concentrate on activities for longer. Of course there are numerous other tools and activities we do in the first three years of life that encourage our baby to reach her potential, but a sling is such an easy way to encourage your baby’s intelligence and development! So here is to slings. By Meg Faure
Top 5 Tips for your baby’s development - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

Top 5 Tips for your baby’s development

Which milestones are important and when a delayed milestone is something you should worry about, are questions many parents ask. If you are a parent you probably have heard the term ‘milestone’ or ‘developmental skill’. These are the means by which we measure our baby’s growth and development. When did your baby first smile? Around 6 weeks? If so she is like most babies who reach this milestone at approximately the same age. What will interest most people is that it is not the obvious milestones like sitting, walking and talking that I am going to mention. It’s those subtle little milestones that we barely notice emerging until our baby is doing them daily, that make a big impact on their long term development: smiling, being on their tummies, rolling, crawling and babbling. Smiling – Probably one of the most important early milestones, smiling happens at around 6 weeks of age. Many babies do smile earlier and if you are sure you saw a smile in response to your face or voice from about two weeks on, the chances are you are right. Dreamy ‘milk’ smiles that are not in response to anything happen a lot in the early days and are not social smiles. If your baby is not social smiling at all by 8 weeks of age you may want to mention it to your paediatrician and then monitor her interest in the world and babbling later in the first year. What can you do to encourage smiling? Catch your baby in the calm alert state, after a good nap and when her tummy is full and then make a funny noise or just smile at her. Tummy time – Spending time on her tummy is hardly something that you would think of as a skill, but it is a position that your baby really needs to tolerate and spend time in, in order to develop other key milestones. Rolling and crawling which are both vital milestones will only develop if your baby is on her tummy frequently in the first six months. From day one make sure your baby gets to play in the tummy position. This will force her to lift her neck and develop the extensor muscles of her back. If she won’t tolerate the tummy position, lie back in a slightly raised position propped against pillows and rest her, on her tummy, on your chest. She will be encouraged to raise her head to look at you and if you are not completely horizontal, she will not have to work so hard to do so. Rolling – This vital milestone emerges in the first six months but varies hugely between babies. Most babies prefer to roll back to tummy first but this will also vary between different children. When and which way your baby rolls is not important, it is just important that she does. Rolling takes a lot of strength from core tummy muscles and it’s these muscles that are vital for crawling next and also for general postural control in your toddler. Crawling – The controversial milestone. Some babies don’t crawl. It is the one milestone that is most commonly skipped. Babies who don’t crawl go from lying and rolling to sitting and then walking. The controversy is that some health care professionals advise parents not to worry as it’s an optional milestone. The truth is that it is a very important milestone for the development of shoulder muscles, coordination and exploring the world before walking. Babies who don’t crawl may not do so because they don’t like the feel of the floor texture due to tactile defensiveness in their hands. Others don’t crawl because they did not develop their back muscles as they did not spend time on their tummies. To encourage crawling, put your baby on her tummy on the floor from early on. If by 9 months your baby is not crawling try to help her by placing a towel rolled into a ‘strap’ under her tummy with each end sticking out on the left and right. Then lift both sides just enough to support her in the crawling position. Babbling - Another important milestone and one that is directly related to exposure is babbling. The more a baby is spoken to the more she will say and the sooner she will speak. Speak to your baby, copy her early sounds and label everything she sees for her. Encourage her to babble by taking turns. If she says: “babababa” repeat it to her or even show her a dolly and say “bababa” When considering your baby’s milestones remember these top tips: Developmental milestones are only guidelines. All babies are different and will develop at a different pace. If only one milestone is delayed and your baby is otherwise doing well, do not be too concerned. The subtle milestones are often more important than the ones we notice more readily. Do not be tempted to compare your baby – it will stress you out. And trust me – a mother of 3 – development often evens out at 18 months! Spend time on the floor with your baby, talking, smiling and giving her tummy time. If you are worried and more than one of the above milestones is slow to develop – seek the advice of your peadiatrician. By Meg Faure
Top 10 Baby Sense sleep tips - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Top 10 Baby Sense sleep tips

Helping your baby to sleep through the night is a goal for most parents. Sleep disruption is so distressing for most mothers that the sooner your baby sleeps through the night, the better. The tips below are in no particular order but by implementing them all you should be in for a better night’s sleep soon. Safety Put your baby on his side or back to sleep on a firm mattress without any pillows or duvets to limit the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome/ Cot death). Do not use duvets or blankets, rather keep your baby warm with a baby sleeping bag for safety and convenience. Sleep environment For good sleep habits try having your baby in his own room (if possible) by three months, as you will both have more rested sleep in your own rooms. Make sure the room can be darkened for day sleeps and morning lie-ins by putting block out lining on the curtains or blinds. Use soft linen in the cot and for cool nights, warm the room up a little, without over heating your baby. For the slightly older baby (after 4 months) use a sleeping bag to keep your baby warm to prevent the classic 4am night waking due to kicking all the blankets off. Under three months If your baby is very colicky in the evenings and you find bedtime is delayed to late due to fussing and crying, try to limit handling after 4 pm. Swaddle your baby in a 100% cotton, stretchy fabric such as the Baby Sense Cuddlewrap to help calm them and to limit night wakings due to uncontrolled body jerks. Bedtime routine Have a consistent time for bed with a predictable routine leading up to bedtime. Between six and seven in the evening is an appropriate time for babies and toddlers. Start the evening routine with a soothing warm bath followed by a calming massage (for babies not suffering from colic – colicky babies do better having the massage in the morning). After bath, don’t leave your baby’s dimmed room and keep all interactions in the room calming with less handling and stimulation. Evening feed Feed your baby as much as he will take before bedtime. If your breast milk supply seems low in the evenings, offer your baby a supplementary or top-up feed of expressed breast milk or formula milk before bed. Put your baby to bed awake Rouse your baby after the last feed so that he has to fall asleep without the aid of props such as bottle or breast. The way in which your baby falls asleep in the evening will be what he expects in the middle of the night, i.e. bottle, breast, dummy/pacifier, rocking, etc. Handling fussing at bedtime After three months, expect a little fussing as your baby settles himself to sleep. To manage this, without developing habits, leave your baby in his cot but sit with him, with your hand on him and encourage him to fall asleep after a little fussing. Night feeds Never wake your baby at night for a feed, unless your paediatrician has instructed you to do so because your baby is ill or very underweight. Wait for your baby to signal that he is hungry at night. Calm night feeds Keep the middle of the night feeds strictly business affairs – with no stimulation: keep the room dark, using a passage light to see for feeds. Don’t change your baby’s nappy or diaper at night feeds unless it is soiled or your baby has wet through the nappy. Limit the time for burping, your baby will settle best after a night feed if he is resettled quickly. Sleep coaching Sleep coaching starts from around 4 months of age when you can start encouraging your baby to self sooth instead of relying on you to put him all the way to sleep. This is not sleep training or letting your baby. It is gently encouraging him to find his hands, fuss a little while he settles himself or allowing him to access other strategies. Only sleep train your baby after six months and then only after ruling out all other causes for night wakings. To sleep train your baby – give him the opportunity to self-calm by not responding immediately when he cries at night respond once your baby is really crying or within 5 minutes do not lift your baby from the cot, rather sit with him and encourage him to self-calm as hard as it is, sit with your baby for as long as it take for him to resettle. In this way your baby does not feel abandoned but get the message that you are there but he must go to sleep. By Meg Faure
Top 5 bedtime boo boo’s - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

Top 5 bedtime boo boo’s

We stumble into first time parenting, with no manual on how to bring up our unique baby and make mistakes as we go along. A year down the line, we look back and say – “Oh wow if only I had not … then Mary would not have allergies” or “If only I had known how to … Joe would sleep better!” Wouldn’t be great if someone could say watch out for these pit falls. Big 5 Bedtime Boo Boo’s – the things you should avoid doing so that your baby’s sleep habits will develop well. Feeding your baby to sleep If you feed your baby to sleep every time you put him down he will begin to associate sleep with feeding and eventually as he approaches 9 months, may need to be fed every time he wakes at night. In the early days, sleepy newborns tend to fall asleep at the comfort of the breast. This is not a concern. Only from 4 months old will your baby begin to form habits and from this age onwards be sure to rouse your baby after the feed so that he goes down in his crib awake but drowsy. Keeping your baby awake all day to help him sleep better at night A real misconception abounds that a tired baby will sleep better at night. In fact nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, if your baby gets overtired during the day he is more likely to wake at night. These babies usually fall asleep very easily but after three hours sleep wake up repeatedly through the night. Be sure to follow the awake time suggested for your baby’s age in Baby Sense and put your baby down when he is needing to go down – regularly through the day. Using the dummy at night to get your baby to resettle without a feed Some babies start to sleep through the night before three months of age but when they are ready for solids begin to wake earlier and earlier each night. Instead of being tempted to pacify him or put him back to sleep with a dummy, rather feed your baby when he wakes if more than 4 hours (for a baby over 4 months old) have passed. Your baby is probably hungry and needs to be fed. If you ‘dummy’ him back to sleep, you will probably be up 45 minutes later when he is reminded of his hunger during his light sleep state. By using a dummy to coax him back to sleep, you will end up with a dummy waking habit at 9 months old. Make your baby fit your lifestyle by putting him to sleep wherever you areTo develop good sleep habits your baby should have a familiar sleep zone – a space where he goes to sleep every night at the same time. If you are going out get a baby sitter or your family (that’s what grannies are for) to help out so that your baby is not falling asleep overtired in an unfamiliar environment. Waking your baby at 10pm in an attempt to avoid the 2am feed The idea that you can influence your baby’s night sleep rhythm by waking him when it suits you sounds like wisdom but in fact most babies are disrupted by this forced waking. Your baby will probably feed very poorly as he is too tired and not hungry enough to feed. He will then go on to wake after midnight anyway as he did not feed well enough at 10pm. But worse than that if you wake your baby up sufficiently that he does feed well, he is probably wide awake and may not resettle easily or may have long term sleep problems as he has not been left to develop good sleep rhythms independently. By Meg Faure
How to deal with a toddler roaming at night - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

How to deal with a toddler roaming at night

As soon as your toddler outgrows his cot, and makes the transition into a ‘big bed’, there may be some high jinks at bedtime. Most parents do want to foster night-time independence in their toddlers, and really do feel quite desperate at the thought of another night spent negotiating with a roaming toddler. Some children simply find that this new found freedom is a wonderful excuse for prolonged bedtimes, plus frequent visits to mom and dad’s bedroom throughout the night! If you have no issues with this, and love having your toddler sleep with you, read no further! Seriously though, before looking at bedtime and sleep itself you need to be sure your toddler is primed for good sleep habits. A clean bill of health is a good start, as is a sleep zone that supports sleep. Make sure his room is entirely safe so that he cannot harm himself. At this age, he already has deeply entrenched expectations and associations related to where and how he goes to sleep, and you can use them to your advantage Keep the light very dim and muted or use a night light, so that your toddler is never left alone in the dark. His imagination is developing at this age, which might make him fearful of dark shadows. By now you know the importance of a regular day sleep routine, but a regular bedtime routine is just as important. Bedtime is often the period of time when your little toddler is at his most unsettled. If there is no pattern to his bedtime rituals such as a quiet bath, followed by the last drink of the day (that’s milk, not wine!) in a calm sleep zone, your little toddler will not begin to recognize the necessary sensory cues that prompt sleep. Remember separation anxiety is real, and a normal phase of toddler development that may affect sleep. This phase will pass, but while it lasts, to avoid long term bad habits developing, be firm about not falling into the trap of feeding, rocking or co-sleeping if these are habits you do not wish to encourage. At this stage your toddler may become anxious at bedtime, and may call out to you frequently during the night, or come through to your room due to fears of being alone. This is typical at this age, as your toddler is developing imagination and may begin to suffer from nightmares and imagined ‘boogymen’. Use strategies to normalize separations for your toddler by playing games during the day such as peek a boo and hide and seek. Every toddler is different and the degree to which yours will be affected may vary substantially from other toddlers you know. When you are ready to tackle the situation, bear the following in mind: Boundaries need to be clearly set, and negotiations can happen within these predetermined boundaries. Your toddler needs to understand clearly the sleep boundaries you have for him. All the role players in the care of your toddler need to agree on sleep boundaries. Keep a night light on in his room or in the passage or bathroom, so that he is not in the dark should he wake. Limit television completely for at least two to three hours before bed as this has been linked to fears and increased nightmares. Encourage the use of a comfort object such as a blanket or a soft toy, and keep it in his bed so that bedtime holds that attraction of his special sensory comforter. It will also be available for comfort when he wakes in the night. Let’s do it At bedtime, if your toddler begins to negotiate or protest or jumps out of bed within minutes of you leaving the room, he needs to be taught how to put himself to sleep. This is what you must also do when he comes through to you at night. At some stage (yes, it will happen to you) many toddlers wake up and wander through to their parent’s bedroom. Begin by instilling a boundary and consistently lead your toddler back to his bed when this happens. The goal is to have your toddler sleep in his bed. Walk him back to back to bed, without admonishing him or raising your voice. Stay calm, confident and focused and encourage his comfort object. Respond by acknowledging his request: Say to him “I know you want me to stay with you Empathise so he feels understood by mirroring his request: Say to him “I would love to stay with you” Give a reason: Say to him “But I can’t because it is time to sleep” Offer an alternative solution. Say to him “ Why don’t you rather lie here with your special teddy, and I’ll sit on the bed next to you” Set a boundary: Say to him “If you lie down and go to sleep, I will sit with you until you fall asleep” Give a consequence: Say to him “If you get up again, I will have to leave”. For as long as your toddler stays in bed and makes an effort to be quiet and go to sleep, sit with him until he falls asleep (no matter how long it takes, so be prepared for this). You must stick to your end of the deal if he sticks to his. If he breaks his end of the deal, by getting up, you must remind him about the deal you made, offer him a chance to try again, but if he resists, then get up and leave the room and close the door so that he can’t follow. It is important that he remains in his room so if he is able to open the door himself install a latch. Don’t worry about leaving him behind a closed door. You are simply making sure that his room is containing him much the same as he was contained in his cot before. This is why it is important to have a night-light on and to make his room a safe environment for him. From outside the room, tell him you will return when he gets back into bed. As soon as you see/hear him get onto his bed, OR after one minute of crying (whatever happens first), go back in to his room quietly and calmly. Resist the temptation to raise your voice. If he is crying, calm him down with a hug, encourage his comfort object, wait until he has stopped crying, then re-negotiate with him. (Remember to acknowledge and empathise with his request, then give him a reason, a boundary and a consequence). Leave the room if he does not comply with the boundary you have offered him (which is to stay with him until he falls asleep provided he lies in his bed). Close the door. Return immediately to him if he does get back into bed, and praise him for listening to you. Reward him by staying with him until he falls asleep. If he cries and bangs on the door, wait for two minutes before you return to re-negotiate with him. Remember to stay calm and focused, never raise your voice and offer him lots of calming stimuli such as a hug and his comfort object. He needs to be calm again before you can re-negotiate with him. Be prepared for this to take some time. Keep going in this manner – return to him as soon as he is back in bed, OR if he will not stay in his bed and bangs on the door, increase the period of time before you respond to him by one minute each time until he eventually falls asleep. Repeat the procedure each time he wakes during the first night. If he complies with your boundary (by staying in his bed) always reward him by staying with him as you have promised (no matter how tedious you may find this in the middle of the night) until he falls asleep. If he will not comply (by jumping out of bed and running away), leave the room, close the door and leave him for one minute until you return quietly and calmly to re-negotiate! If you do have to leave the room, increase the period of time by one minute each time, until he eventually falls asleep. By the second or third night, your toddler has probably realised that if he does as you ask him (which is to stop the high jinks at sleep time), you will sit with him on the bed until he goes to sleep at bedtime, and if he wakes during the night. When this is consistently happening, it is time to move to the next step. Be patient, it may take time to get to this step. Begin bedtime in exactly the same way, but tell him (by acknowledging empathizing and reasoning with a boundary and a consequence) that you will no longer be sitting on the bed with him, but will rather be sitting in a chair alongside the bed. As before, complete your negotiation with him. If he complies with your boundary (which is to stay in his bed and go to sleep) you will stay in his room with him, but you will be in the chair. If he does not comply with your boundary, then follow the same procedure as before by going out of the room and closing the door. Continue with the programme as you did before, until he falls asleep. When he is happy to stay in his bed and go to sleep as long as you are sitting in the chair (at bedtime and when he wakes in the night), move to the next step. Bear in mind it may take you a few nights to achieve this – be patient, loving and consistent. Move the chair away from his bed to another part of the room as close to the door as possible. Repeat the sleep modification steps as above until he is happy to go to sleep in his bed with you sitting in the sleep zone apart from him. The next step is to move the chair out of the room (tell him that you have given it to the poor children). At bedtime, simply ‘linger’ in the room, maybe even stepping into the bathroom for a second or two (always reassure him that you will be back) before returning to ‘linger’ once more. Repeat the sleep modification steps as above until he is happy to go to sleep in his bed as long as you are ‘lingering’ around. The final step (this step may have taken you as little as a few days to reach, or it may be a week down the line by now), is to tell him you need to leave the room for a minute to perform a task. Reassure him that when you are finished your task you promise to return. Do as you have promised and return. Don’t forget to praise him each time you return if he has stayed in his bed. Keep popping in and out, but gradually increase the amount of time you spend out of his room. Repeat the sleep modification steps as above until he is happy to fall asleep in his bed as long as you continue to pop in and out. After a few nights of this you will return after your first absence to find him asleep. At last! Your toddler has learnt the new technique of falling asleep independently. Once your toddler is generally sleeping in his bed, you may still find he has the odd night when he is very distressed when he wakes. These are the times when he may be distraught due to a nightmare and imagination fears or separation anxiety. When this happens you may need to allow him to sleep next to your bed. By not allowing him into your bed and not making his makeshift bed too comfortable, you will not instil long lasting habits. Know that it will not last forever and is usually a passing stage. However, if it becomes a nightly occurrence and is a problem for you, start to make it less easy for him to do. Always take him back to his room first. If he insists on returning to your bedroom let him carry his own bedding and settle himself. Allowing your toddler to sleep on the floor next to you whilst you are undoing the unhealthy sleep habit of having him in your bed, may be a necessary process you will need to undertake whilst you foster confidence in him to become independent. However, if your toddler is persistently coming through to you a night, and insisting on getting into your bed, this again is a scenario that you could leave as it is if it is not an issue with you. When you are ready to reclaim your sleep space, allow him to sleep on a mattress or some continental pillows next to your bed to help him with the transition to his own room. Remember to always acknowledge his feeling: “I know you want to be in the bed with me.” Then mirror the feeling by saying “I love having you in the bed,” Then give a reason why he can’t be in the bed with you “This is my bed, and there is too little space now that you are bigger” Offer an alternative: “Why don’t you lie on the floor next to me and I’ll hold your hand” You will need to follow through on this boundary and be firm about him not getting back into your bed. If he will not lie on the floor next to you, take him back to his bed. At this point, you may have to start adopting some sleep training strategies as mentioned above. Useful tips: If your toddler voices a fear about ‘the bogeyman’, a very useful trick is to buy a plastic spray bottle from the supermarket. Fill it with coloured water, and label it ‘bogeyman spray’. As part of his bedtime ritual, allow him to spray his bed and around his sleep zone with this solution. This empowering gesture will help him to feel in control of his fears. Reassure him that he can use it again should he wake in the night. Teach your toddler these sleep rules early and repeat them often: At bedtime we stay in bed close our eyes stay very quiet and go to sleep By Meg Faure
Why your baby wakes frequently at night - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Why your baby wakes frequently at night

The big question is why do babies wake frequently at night? Here are the top 5 reasons babies wake too often at night along with what to do for each reason: Your expectations are too high for your babySimply put, you need to examine what you expect from your baby. Newborns wake often at night. If your baby less than 6 weeks old is stretching for three hours or more, they are doing the right thing. Solution – adjust your expectations. If your young baby is waking more than two hourly or not settling at all after a feed, you are right to be concerned. Solution – swaddle your newborn tightly and play white noise; don’t change her nappy at night unless she has soiled it. Nappies are generally absorbent enough for urine not to disturb her and by changing her nappy you may wake her up to much during a night feed, which may make her unsettled thereafter. Your baby is hungryAt around 5 months babies start to wake more frequently again as they start to need a little extra nutrition at night. Solution – Either reintroduce a night feed such as the early morning (1am) one and feed when she wakes OR if she is over 4 ½ months and there is no history of allergies, you could introduce rice cereal. After 6 months some babies start to wake more often because they need certain Essential Fatty Acids that are found in proteins. Milk no longer supplies all the EFA’s your baby needs. Solution – If your baby is over 6 months old introduce proteins such as chicken, lamb, beans, legumes, cheese and yogurt. If your baby is older than 9 months add in fish, egg and nuts as well (if there are no allergies to these in your family). Your baby is not sleeping enough during the dayAs strange as it sounds, if your baby is over tired because she is not sleeping enough during the day, she will wake more often at night. Solution- Make sure she has enough day sleeps by watching her awake times (refer to Baby Sense). Once she has been awake for her age appropriate awake time, watch for her signals and put her down to sleep. Your baby is uncomfortableIf your baby has been a good sleeper or can effectively put herself to sleep in the evening and most nights and then suddenly wakes at night frequently, you can bet your bottom dollar she is uncomfortable. Solution – Make sure she is warm enough and not too hot. Invest in a room thermometer and maintain the room temperature at around 20 degrees Celcius. If it is cool in the early mornings, use a sleeping bag. Check that your baby is not teething – make this decision during daylight hours – if you can see or feel a tooth under the gums. If your baby has lost her appetite and feels like she has a fever take her to your doctor as she may be ill. Your baby has developed a bad habitFrequent night waking can be put down to habits if your baby is over five months old (particularly common from 7 months onwards) and need to be fed, rocked or patted to sleep in the evening and for day sleeps. Solution – You will need to help your baby relearn strategies to self sooth that she can use independently. Dummies must be put into her hand so she learns to do it herself. ‘Doodoo’ blankies such as the Baby Sense Taglet are great as they are easy to use. At the end of the day some sleep coaching may be necessary as you teach your baby to sooth herself. Frequent night wakings are the bane of a new parent’s life. The good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel and most babies do sleep through consistently eventually. However along the way, all babies have period of disrupted nights until they are in pre-school. By Meg Faure
The impact of Day sleeps on Night Sleeps - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

The impact of Day sleeps on Night Sleeps

There is a true saying that sums up the relevance of day sleeps on nighttime sleep: Sleep Begets Sleep, which literally means the more your baby sleeps, the more he will sleep. A good day sleep routine, made up of regular age appropriate day sleeps enhances night sleep and helps your baby sleep better. The reason is that when babies are sleep deprived and overtired during the day, they become fractious and over stimulated and it is hard to fall asleep and sleep well through sleep cycles when one is overtired. The impact of exhaustion on sleep If you are experiencing any of the following sleep problems with your baby, you need to be sure he is having enough sleep during the day: Bedtime antics – Overtired toddlers and babies become difficult to put to sleep. Due to overtiredness, your baby may become busier and more animated in an attempt to stay awake. This hyperactive, alert state feeds on itself and makes falling asleep difficult. If you have difficulty settling your baby to sleep or if bedtime ends up being after 8pm due to challenging bedtime behaviour, the chances are your baby is not sleeping enough during the day or you are starting your bedtime routine too late. Night waking – When babies are overtired, they may fall asleep with ease and into a ‘dead’ sleep but 90 minutes later wake and then repeatedly wake at night. If you have ruled out other causes of night waking, have a look at your day sleep routine – maybe your toddler is overtired. Night terrors – Babies who scream and cry at night but appear to be asleep and are difficult to soothe whilst screaming are said to be having ‘night terrors’. These differ from night mares as your baby will appear to be fast asleep whilst crying. Night terrors are directly related to overtiredness and are usually seen in toddlers and babies who are not getting enough day sleep or are going to bed too late. Manage day sleep routines to enhance nighttime sleep To make sure overtiredness is not impacting negatively on night sleep, deal with the following day sleep issues: Midday sleep – A good solid stretch of sleep over midday enhances night sleep. A longer midday sleep emerges by 6 months old in most babies. Your baby may sleep for between an hour and three hours at midday, depending on his age and how many other sleeps he has during the day. To encourage a longer midday sleep, try the following: Have a consistent sleep space for midday sleep from a young age. Other day sleeps can be more flexible but the midday sleep should consistently be taken in the nursery. Darken the room with block out lining on the curtains or blinds Play white noise to keep your baby in a deeper sleep during this sleep Have a milk feed before the midday sleep if possible so his tummy is full of nice sweet milk Regular sleep – Clearly the message is not to keep your baby awake all day. Follow the Baby Sense guidelines for ‘Awake Times’ to gauge how long your baby can be happily awake before going back to sleep. Instead of a rigid routine, put your baby back to sleep during the day when his ‘Awake time’ is up and when he signals fatigue. Less than six months of age 3 – 4 sleeps are common. Between 6 and 12 months of age the number of day sleeps reduces to 2 – 3 sleeps and after 14 months most toddlers drop down to 1 day sleep. But this day sleep remains important until the preschool years. Early to bed – Even if you are a working mum or dad, do not be tempted to keep your baby up later than 7:30pm to interact with him. Young babies should be in bed by 6:30 or 7pm at the latest. By keeping your baby up, you will not shift the morning waking and are very likely to face bedtime battles as your overtired baby resists going down to sleep. Furthermore, bad habits like rocking to sleep or feeding to sleep may become entrenched as you have to resort to extensive calming measures at bedtime to settle an overtired baby. Wake from the afternoon nap – The only time when sleep during the day can have a negative effect on night sleep is when this sleep happens too late in the day. Read up on the ‘Awake time’ for your baby’s age in Baby Sense/ Sleep Sense then make sure your baby wakes from his last afternoon sleep that length of time before his bedtime. In other words, if your one year old can be happily awake for three hours before the next sleep and bedtime is at 7pm, you should not let him sleep after 4pm or he will resist going to bed. So if your toddler is asleep at 4pm, wake him up. In summary: Day sleeps are vital for good night sleep habits Watch your baby’s awake times and develop a day sleep routine Do not make bedtime too late Follow these guidelines and you will be that little bit closer to a good night’s sleep! By Meg Faure
Choosing and introducing a security blanket - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

Choosing and introducing a security blanket

Whatever you call it; security blankets (baby comforter) are the best sleep tool a weary mother could wish for. The basics of choosing and introducing a security blanket. Why: At around 7 months of age separation anxiety emerges and night time sleep can be negatively affected by your baby waking to call you back for comfort. By introducing a sleep blanket early on (soon after 3 months) you encourage your baby’s need for comfort to be transitioned from you to a blanket. Of course you are still essential when a real need such as pain arises, but when your baby wakes in the middle of the night just to be soothed back to sleep, a security blanket makes a good second best. If better sleep is not reason enough, research has shown that babies who have soft security objects are better adjusted on temperament measures, such as happiness, attention and impulsivity than those that have no attachment object. So not only will your baby sleep better but in the long term she will be a better adjusted child. What: The following principles are essential for choosing a security object for your baby: A good attachment object has sensory soothing qualities, such as soft fleece, smooth satin or comforting soft fabric Choose something small enough that the smothering risk is limited. Make sure it is something that is readily replaceable! Don’t use that precious limited edition bunny you found abroad. Examples include a soft toy, blanket, burp cloth or the unique and optimally designed Baby Sense Taglet How: To help your baby attach to a security object choose one only and offer it to your baby along with your comfort. Whenever she cries from about 3 months old. If your baby is tired or over stimulated or has hurt herself, place the blanket or soft toy on your shoulder so that as your baby cuddles in to you, she receives comfort from the object too. A security object is the best bedtime buddy system and one that is easy to manage. Make sure your baby has something comforting at night when she goes to bed. Reference: Lehman, Elyse Brauch et al. Temperament and Self-Soothing Behavior in Children: Object Attachment, Thumbsucking, and Pacifier Use. By Meg Faure
Your baby’s temperature regulation for comfort and safety - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Your baby’s temperature regulation for comfort and safety

After 9 months in a perfectly regulated environment – the womb - it becomes one of your baby’s first tasks to regulate his body temperature. It takes a while for this ability to develop and intermittently you may find that your baby is too hot or has freezing hands. Because of this, many parents fall into the trap of wrapping their babies too warmly, with too many layers or in a fleece blanket. There is an enormous risk for your baby if he becomes too hot. Research has shown that overheating young babies has been linked to SIDS or cot death. There are a few critical guidelines you should follow when deciding how many layers your baby needs and which clothes, blankets and accessories to buy for your new baby. The optimal temperature for your baby’s room is 18˚ to 20˚ - any hotter than this and your baby will be uncomfortable and at the risk of SIDS when sleeping. Invest in a good room thermometer and use a fan to cool it down or a humidifier or panel heater to warm it to the right temperature. As a rule of thumb always ensure your baby has one more layer on than you do. So if it is a hot day and you are wearing a T shirt put a vest under your baby’s T shirt and he will be warm enough. Swaddling is so important for a calm baby in the early days, even in hot weather. If you are swaddling your baby on a hot day, let him wear only a vest or even only a nappy under the swaddle. A folded blanket is worth two blankets so if you are folding your swaddle, bear in mind that there are double layers on your baby. The heart shaped Baby Sense Cuddlewrap is specially shaped to allow use without folding - meaning half the layers of fabric cover your baby. Never use a polyester or fleece swaddle. Dress your baby in 100% cotton clothes only, as natural fibers regulate temperature and breath better than synthetic fabrics. Never use polyester or synthetic fabric blankets as synthetic fibers do not breathe and cause the baby’s temperature to rise dangerously. This means all synthetic blankets, polyester filled sleeping bags and fleece blankets pose a risk for small babies. In the summer, use a 100% cotton sleeping bag over a single layer of clothing at night, as even warm summer nights cool down in the early hours of the morning. Remember if you cover your baby with blankets at night to tuck then in well or use a sleeping bag because loose blankets pose the risk of suffocation if they move over your baby’s face. Never use a duvet until the age of 2 years old. To tell if your baby is hot or cold when sleeping at night, look at his position. If he is splayed out with his arms and legs well away from his body, it probably means he is too hot so remove a layer of blankets. By dressing your baby appropriately you will ensure your baby is comfortable and at the right temperature, which is essential for happy days and peaceful nights. By Meg Faure

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