What activities best stimulate your baby’s development 9 – 12 months | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>6-12 Months

What activities best stimulate your baby’s development 9 – 12 months

It is empowering for parents to have an idea of what play activities they can incorporate into their daily routines to interact with their baby. Activities that stimulate their vision, hearing, touch and movement, all help them make sense of their world and move towards it. It is important to spend time watching what your baby is doing and what he/she takes an interest in, and then repeating it, providing more of the same. It is in our daily interactions with a loving, consistent caregiver that baby receives the most valuable input. Nurturing daily routines of feeding, bathing, dressing and nappy changing, provide wonderful opportunities for playful interaction. Finding time to be with your babies, to watch them, and to have fun together, is the key to stimulating their development. Remember, YOU are your baby’s first and most important play-mate and play-object. Baby clinics, family or friend groups, and mother-baby workshops are also very beneficial in our learning as parents. Groups give support and sharing as well as help parents understand their babies’ behaviours, stages of development and what activities are best for stimulating sensory and motor development. Here is a guideline of your baby’s development in the first year of life. Having an idea of what your baby is beginning to learn at each stage, gives you an idea of what you can do to encourage their newly emerging skills. At this stage babies are becoming really clever, as they begin to organise all the information from people and the environment, and make logical connections between things. They are learning new concepts daily, and ways to solve problems. They begin to understand what they see, hear, touch and feel and the world really does take on meaning. Becoming mobile means they can go and explore and discover for themselves. This provides a greater variety of new experiences that enhance learning and confidence. There is a growing desire for independence and babies need to be given this space to practice separating from and returning to their caregiver. Sitting balance improves and babies learn to move in and out of sitting. They start to get around by crawling, pulling to stand and walking while holding onto furniture. By the end of this stage, they may be able to stand alone, walk with one hand held or take a few steps on their own. Play is the most important thing at this stage in a baby’s life. They enjoy repetition, and like to practice things over and over again. Babies learn to point, poke and pick up small objects with a refined pincer grip. Taking things out of containers and putting them back in, and putting things together become strong favourites. As they learn to let go with control, they begin to stack blocks or place rings on a stick. They use two hands together to pass objects from hand to hand and clap hands. Babies begin to understand simple requests and take turns interacting with you, which makes games such fun. They respond to requests such as ‘Wave bye-bye’, or ‘Give it to me’. They begin to communicate by gestures and pointing, developing their own jargon and word approximations, and start to imitate sounds. At the end of this stage, they may say one or two words with meaning e.g. ‘Mama’ or ‘Dada’. Babies become capable of sharing feelings and can express love, disappointment, fear, anger and frustration. Object Permanence is well developed and babies are confident in searching for hidden objects. Having the ability to move to find a hidden toy provides much entertainment and a sense of self. This is a time for exploration and self-discovery. Babies develop a growing independence and a sense of what they are capable of in order to make an impact of the world. They are beginning of problem solve together with others to achieve a goal. Kate Bailey, Occupational Therapist
What activities best stimulate your baby’s development 6 – 9 months | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>6-12 Months

What activities best stimulate your baby’s development 6 – 9 months

It is empowering for parents to have an idea of what play activities they can incorporate into their daily routines to interact with their baby. Activities that stimulate their vision, hearing, touch and movement, all help them make sense of their world and move towards it. It is important to spend time watching what your baby is doing and what he/she takes an interest in, and then repeating it, providing more of the same. It is in our daily interactions with a loving, consistent caregiver that baby receives the most valuable input. Nurturing daily routines of feeding, bathing, dressing and nappy changing, provide wonderful opportunities for playful interaction. Finding time to be with your babies, to watch them, and to have fun together, is the key to stimulating their development. Remember, YOU are your baby’s first and most important play-mate and play-object. Baby clinics, family or friend groups, and mother-baby workshops are also very beneficial in our learning as parents. Groups give support and sharing as well as help parents understand their babies’ behaviours, stages of development and what activities are best for stimulating sensory and motor development. Here is a guideline of your baby’s development in the first year of life. Having an idea of what your baby is beginning to learn at each stage, gives you an idea of what you can do to encourage their newly emerging skills. At this stage, there is an increased sense of confidence and purposefulness and babies can become quite expressive. This is an important step in their ability to communicate their intent and develop their sense of self. Parents need to provide their babies with the opportunity for discovery. This is the best way of teaching. Active learning is the key at this time, and babies need to be given the lead in play and exploration. During this stage, babies manage a stable sitting position, which frees arms and hands to reach more accurately and manipulate objects. They are discovering the effect they have on ‘things’. They learn to shake, bang, pull, twist, turn and poke at objects. Two hands start working together as they bang objects together and start passing objects from hand to hand. Finger movements are starting to develop as they begin to use a thumb and index (pincer) grip to pick up small things. Motor control develops as babies learn to roll, and at the end of this stage perhaps even crawl and pull up on furniture, this means new sensory experiences and different perspectives on their world. It also leads to greater independence. Cognitive abilities develop rapidly and babies show an increased interest in objects. Object Permanence begins, which helps babies understand that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be observed. This helps them accept their parents being out of sight for a while. Language means more to them, as words start to take on meaning. Their receptive speech develops first and they may respond to simple commands such as ‘Come here’, or ‘Where is Dad?’ and distinguish tone of voice. Babies babble with repetitive sounds such as ‘gaga, baba, dada’. They become expressive and can shout for attention. Babies are becoming more purposeful in their communication. They develop a unique one to one relationship where a give and take relationship develops. Parents should follow their babies interests and reinforce the importance of what they are doing. This helps build self-esteem and confidence. Babies begin to enjoy social interactions, which is important for their confidence and well-being. Babies of the same age tend to regard one another with interest, exploring each other by poking, pulling or pushing. They are very interested in the responses they get, learning the concept of ‘cause and effect’. Personalities are developing and babies are becoming social human beings. Outings increase a sense of belonging and help babies learn to react to new situations and people. Kate Bailey, Occupational Therapist
Socialising your baby in the first year | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Socialising your baby in the first year

You are your baby’s foundation of security and trust, and the solid base from which they will explore the world of social interactions. Your role as primary caregiver is to be your baby’s first and most important, available, attentive and loving social partner. How babies develop and organize their sense of self and how social development unfolds, is dependent on their individual differences together with the unfolding relationship between baby and primary caregiver. A predictable, consistent, loving, ‘tuned-in’ parent creates not only a sense of safety, but also a positive sense of curiosity and confidence to explore new physical and social environments. Individual differences Each baby has a unique sensory processing style, an individual way of perceiving and thus experiencing their world. For a baby who is sensory sensitive, they can become overwhelmed by certain noise, touch, movement, light or too much sensory input. They may have difficulty staying calm and regulated with change in routine, environments, people or experience. These babies may need more time and extra support n order to be ready for social interactions. Informal family gatherings, friend groups and structured baby groups are all beneficial for parents to connect, learn and share their experiences. Introducing babies to new people and social settings when they are ready will encourage them to feel safe and confident with others too. Guidelines for social readiness: In the first 3 months, babies are learning to organise sensations and adapt to being in the world. Caregivers learn to read their babies’ signals, body movements and rhythms. They learn what is overwhelming, what comforts and what helps their baby recover from distress, so they can attain a calm alert state to become available to take in the world. Consistent and predictable care-giving lets babies know that they will be safe and protected at this stage. Trust gives babies a sense of security which allows them to take an interest in the caregiver, their first important social interaction. Between 3 and 6 months, babies are generally more regulated, calm and alert and thus available for engaging. The caregiver and infant take more interest in one another and an emotional bonding occurs. Mirroring of facial expressions, sounds, smiling and gazing at one another becomes part of this growing intimacy and falling in love. This warm relationship gives babies a secure sense of self to prepare them to take interest in the world. At around 6 – 9 months, babies stable head, body and sitting balance enables them to engage with the world. Babies become more purposeful and communicate with body movements, gestures and sounds. Caregiver and baby begin to experience more positive pleasurable interactions as they recognise these familiar patterns of back and forth rhythmical exchange and use them ins ocial play such as peek a boo. Initially, the parent’s lap gives baby a safe and secure platform to gaze outward at the world. The parent is still available to monitor excessive stimulation and be attuned to their baby’s individual signals and needs. The trusting relationship now allows baby to begin to turn his attention to the outside world, with curiosity and anticipation. Babies at this stage take a great interest in family members and other people. Around 9 months, babies soon move from the lap to the floor as they learn to crawl and become more purposeful in exploring their world. This increased distance between baby and caregiver also facilitates the emergence of a sense of self separate from the caregiver. This developing awareness of difference between self and mother leads to awareness of difference between mother and another person. As a result, babies around this age can become vulnerable and wary of strangers which is called “stranger anxiety”. Around 9 to 14 months, the baby’s growing sense of purpose, curiosity and motor competence allows them to crawl or walk away from the secure base of their caregiver. They are growing in independence in discovering their own view of the world. This new feeling of independence can be scary for the toddler and therefore the secure, assuring home base of caregiver continues to be important as they explore their social interactions with others in what we call parallel play where babies play alongside one another, watching, following, exploring and copying one another. Babies’ curiosity and independence prepares them for the next leg of their journey toward confidence and social development. By Kate Bailey, mother of three, Occupational Therapist and designer of the Moms and Babes program.
When will my baby sleep through? | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

When will my baby sleep through?

The golden question: “When should my baby sleep through?” is one that needs answering as it determines what is reasonable to expect from your baby. Sleeping through is not just a luxury, it’s a developmental necessity. Both for you and your baby, a good night’s sleep is important. Firstly, it needs to be pointed out that sleeping through constitutes sleeping 10 or more hours at a stretch. This would mean that if your baby’s bedtime is between 6 pm and 7pm (as it should be) that could mean a waking at 4 am to 5 am. Many babies will go back to sleep after this time with a feed or a cuddle. If your toddler wakes for the day at this time, keep interactions muted and take him quietly into your bed with you and see if he will fall back to sleep. Under 6 months of age babies have nutritional needs at night that systematically decrease as the baby gets older. Having said this, some babies sleep do through the night as early as 3 months of age but many of these will experience disruption once again between 4 and 6 months. Most babies should be expected to sleep through the night by seven months old. Like other developmental milestones, sleep has certain norms that obviously are flexible as with any other milestone. The following are the norms for sleep at night: 2 – 6 weeks – one 4 – 5 hour stretch between night feeds and 3 hourly thereafter 6 - 12 weeks - one 6 – 7 hour stretch between night feeds then 3 hourly through the night 3 – 6 months - 10 – 12 hours at night 6 – 12 months - 10 – 12 hours at night 3 – 5 years old 11 hours per night as day sleep is dropped If your baby is ill he will not sleep through and will wake for comfort. If you have a low birth weight, premature or a baby with failure to thrive, he will not sleep through until later than other babies. If your baby learns to self sooth for incidental night wakings, i.e. those without organic causes such as hunger or illness, he will be a good sleeper. Even good sleepers who are sleeping through by 6 months old will occasionally suffer disrupted sleep for a few nights, but after the cause such as teething, hunger or illness is resolved, will return to being good sleepers. Broken sleep is debilitating but if your baby is young, hang in there it won’t be long before you see the light. If your baby is older and is not sleeping through you need to go through the process of elimination to establish why your baby is waking. Thereafter you may need to help your baby learn strategies to fall asleep independently so you can get a good night’s sleep. By Meg Faure
Typical nighttime hiccups for every age group | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Typical nighttime hiccups for every age group

Just as you get it all right and think you are on the track to having a baby who sleeps through the night, you get one disturbed night of sleep and it sets you back big time! The question is: are there typical times that you should expect nighttime hiccups? Sleep and your newborn baby In the early days, most babies wake two to four hourly for feeds at night, especially breastfed babies. The night wakings gradually reduce and within a few weeks (usually at around 6 weeks of age) your newborn should start to stretch for one long stretch of five or more hours once at night. Usually the first stretch to develop will be from bedtime to around midnight, as your baby drops the late evening feed first. Don’t be tempted to wake your baby up earlier, to feed, in the hope that it will do away with the 2 am feed - they are usually too tired to feed efficiently and this can cause longer-term sleep problems! If you are having sleep problems at this age it is usually one of the following issues: Your newborn may have their day and night muddled up. Newborns can be too sleepy to feed well, fall asleep at the breast and therefore need to feed more frequently At 2-6 weeks, many newborns become more wakeful and hard to settle to sleep, especially during the afternoon and early evening. 4-6 months old From birth your baby will slowly and steadily begin to sleep for longer and longer stretches at night and you will have the satisfaction of the occasional longer period of sleep. But just as your baby pieces it together and is almost ‘sleeping through’, he will start to wake more frequently again. This happens as your little one begins to require extra nutrition at night, the milk feeds that used to sustain him are no longer doing so and you have three choices: Your baby needs nutritional support at night, so feed him when he cries if three or more hours have passed. Don’t be tempted to ‘dummy’ him because it will impact on sleep later if habits develop. In this way your little one will go back to sleep and wake again in 4 hours for another feed. This is a good idea if Your baby is less than 17 weeks You or your baby have confirmed allergies (in which case you should delay introducing a formula or solids) Offer a top up bottle at bedtime or if he wakes shortly after going down Introduce solids Give your baby a top up feed of formula or expressed breast milk in the evening. Treat this as a cluster feed just before bedtime Start looking at introducing solids – look at simple single grain and yellow veggies.8 months old At around 8 months old, your baby will start waking due to separation reasons or plain old habits. At this age your baby is working hard to establish object permanence – the awareness that you exist when he can’t see you. To decrease the effect of this milestone on sleep: Encourage a sleep soother such as the Baby Sense Taglet or dummy that can be used independently. Play separation games during the day – ‘peek a boo’ or hide and seek. Listen to your baby at night before going to him and see if he resettles on his own. If he cries, go to him, give him love and help him settle on his own with a doodoo blanky. Do not be tempted to feed him at night before 2am as this can lead to habits developing. Sleep and your baby 6m - 12m From 6 months, if your baby is on a full solids diet and has learnt to self-sooth, he can be expected to sleep through (10-12 hours without waking for a feed). After 6 months of age obstacles may presents themselves: If your baby is still waking is may be because he has developed a habit and expects to be resettled in the night in the same way as he falls asleep at bedtime. Alternately night wakings can be due to nutritional needs - your baby now needs specific essential fatty acids for brain development. These nutritional essentials are found in the fats in proteins. So now is the time to introduce protein in the form of dairy, meat, beans and chicken to your baby’s diet. At this age, teething can also disrupt sleep for a few nights. If your baby is definitely teething at night – and make this decision during day light hours when you can actually see the tooth. If there is evidence of teething, use teething powders or painkillers as necessary. Remember though that we tend to blame teething far too quickly and the reality is that it is rarely teething that is the problem and if so only for two to four nights as the tooth erupts. Separation anxiety also affects sleep especially around 8-10 months – as your baby develops object permanence, he may become insecure when you are not around. To decrease the effect of this milestone on sleep: Encourage a sleep soother such as the Baby Sense Taglet or dummy that can be used independently. Play separation games during the day – ‘peek a boo’ or hide and seek. Listen to your baby at night before going to him and see if he resettles on his own. If he cries, go to him, give him love and help him settle on his own with a doodoo blanky. Do not be tempted to feed him at night before 2am as this can lead to habits developing. Toddler years Toddlers are notorious poor sleepers. Your toddler will wander at night and come through to your room. In fact more toddlers co-sleep than newborns, according to recent research! Toddlers call for their parents at night due to night fears and boundary issues. To address this, leave a night light on and encourage your toddler to use a comfort object instead of coming to you. If your toddler repeatedly wanders into your bed at night you have three choices: Repeatedly walk him back to his bed – while this will be exhausting initially, your toddler will eventually learn that night wanders brings no joy. Let him climb into your bed and share a bed with him Find the sense-able middle ground – have a mattress under your bed that he can pull out and sleep on at night – this means your bed remains your own but your toddler has access to you at night. 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

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