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
Facts on teething and the effects it has on sleep - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

Facts on teething and the effects it has on sleep

Image Source: finds.hellobee.com Why is it that just when your baby is able to start sleeping through the night, and may in fact, already have started doing so, that teeth decide to make an appearance! Ann Richardson looks at the effects of teething on sleep. Teething, per se, does not cause a sleeping disorder. Rather accept that when your child is teething, sleep may be disrupted temporarily. Avoid falling into the trap of blaming “teeth” for bad sleeping habits that never seem to go away. It is important to recognize some important facts about teething, so that you can have a clear understanding of what your child is feeling when he is cutting his precious new teeth. Teething, by definition, is when the actual tooth cuts through the gum and appears in your baby’s mouth. This may occur anytime from 3 months of age (very unusual) up to 1 year of age. Early teething (in babies younger than about 7 months) usually follows a family history of early teething. Late teething (after one year of age) is also unusual, and also follows a family history. Check with your parents when you cut your first tooth, and invariably, your child will follow suit. On average, most babies cut their first tooth at around 7 months of age. However, it is not unusual for your baby to celebrate his first birthday with no sign of teeth! This actual “cutting” may be preceded by a period of discomfort (may last weeks) as the teeth settle into the gums and prepare to start pushing upwards. This is usually when your baby drools excessively, and loves to chew and bite down on objects. This period is seldom characterized by fever, loss of appetite and other illness such as diarrhea and ear ache. If your baby is 15 months or older with no sign of teeth, consult your Dentist who may want to X ray his mouth to check that his teeth are present. Signs that your baby may be ready to cut his first tooth include the following: Excessive drooling and biting down on objects Loss of appetite, especially sucking on the breast or bottle A low grade fever, or periods of intense fever A red and spotty rash around his mouth Nappy rash – may be severe Frequent, loose stools A runny nose Ear ache There is a theory that teething may “weaken” your baby’s general immune system and make him more susceptible to illnesses such as otitis media (ear infections), bronchitis (chest infections) and tummy upsets. This, however, has not been scientifically proven. Many parents confuse normal developmental milestones (such as chewing on fingers and hands, and blowing bubbles) with teething. Remember that at around 3 months of age, your little one will find his hands (Oh joy!) and chew excessively on them, creating plenty of drool and bubbles! Don’t confuse this exciting developmental milestone with teething or hunger! If your child is feeling unwell whilst teething, please treat him with teething medication that is available from your pharmacy. Do you remember when your wisdom teeth started appearing? This is what your little one is experiencing whilst he is cutting his teeth. He may have a headache, and have a sore mouth, especially with eating. If your nights are becoming difficult, medicate with the prescribed medication at bedtime, and repeat the dose at prescribed intervals during the night if needs be. Keeping your babies dummies and teethers in the fridge is also a good idea, as the coolness helps to soothe inflamed gums. Accept that teething is a normal part of your baby’s development. You (and your baby) may be lucky and sail through the teething stage, or there may be some seriously wobbly days (and nights) ahead. Either way, rest assured that teething is a temporary phase, and that peaceful days and nights will occur again! By Ann Richardson
Stimulation is important for development - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

Stimulation is important for development

“How much stimulation is enough?” Parenting comes with heavy responsibilities. One responsibility which we parents take very seriously is that of ensuring that our babies develop to their maximum potential. However advice on how we achieve this goal of optimising potential has varied over the past century. ‘Stimulation is unnecessary’ In the early 1900s a well-known American developmental psychologist and paediatrician, Arnold Gesell, popularised the belief that a child’s development was predetermined by an inherited biological plan, which he called maturation. This meant that the environment would have little bearing on a child’s development. This led to the belief that no amount of stimulation (or abuse for that matter) would impact on the outcome of the child. Parents were advised to leave their baby to develop according to nature and that the stimulation of young children was unnecessary. ‘Stimulation is essential’ In the mid-20 th century, groundbreaking research with institutionalised orphans revealed that children who had no stimulation or personal contact displayed severe developmental delay. Suddenly we woke up to that fact that the environment did indeed impact on a child’s development. Since then there has been a great deal of research with animals and humans, which has reinforced the concept that an enriched environment results in enhanced development. ‘The more, the better’ Suddenly we started to realise the importance of environment in the outcome of child development – and the pendulum swung to encourage infant stimulation and enriched environments in the first year. In fact, by the end of the 20 th century the pendulum had swung from ‘leave well alone’ to ‘the more, the better’. And so began the frenzied seeking of every opportunity to stimulate our infants. Millennium parents found themselves under extreme pressure to stimulate, stimulate, stimulate their children. The sensible middle ground It is time for a more balanced view of stimulation, and for the pendulum to swing back to the sensible middle ground. This does not mean that we should sit back and do nothing for our children. We must learn how to modulate stimulation. A baby never has more brain cells in his life than on the day he is born. However it is the connections between these cells that are important for intelligence and coordination. The connections between the brain cells are formed and strengthened by sensory information and experience - and so a certain amount of sensory input and fertile experiences are necessary for the brain to develop optimally. However when stimulation in the environment becomes overwhelming, the brain enters a zone of stress in which little can be learned and which is not optimal for enhancing development. An example would be the pressure of taking a driving examination for the first time. When stressed like this, we make more mistakes than when we are relaxed. It is this over-stimulated state and stressed state that many infants find themselves in, owing to the frenzy for stimulation. So what is needed is an enriched, but not over-stimulating environment and routine. Every child has a natural desire to develop and master his world. Parents should harness this enthusiasm. They should provide an enriched environment and they should facilitate play, in order to enhance development. How to modulate stimulation What is important is that: We do stimulate our babies in order to enhance their development Babies are not over-stimulated As parents, we watch for signs of over-stimulation Development-enhancing activities are incorporated into the daily routine, as opposed to dictating the routine Babies are not over-scheduled and taken from one stimulating environment to the next Babies are not overwhelmed with too many toys and activities Babies are left to play alone and not pressurised to achieve developmental goals. Just as the wise biblical verse says “to all things is given a time” we need to exercise wisdom when stimulating our babies. The pendulum has swung and we must now modulate the amount of stimulation we give our babies. They are more likely to excel with a moderate amount of stimulation, than with a frenzy of input that stresses both parent and baby. By Meg Faure
Sucking: the secret to a good night’s sleep - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Sucking: the secret to a good night’s sleep

Non nutritive sucking (ie. Sucking without feeding) really helps to calm young babies. Some babies learn to suck on their own hands from a very early age, others prefer to suck a dummy. Both are excellent soothers for young babies. Do not stop your baby from sucking but guide your baby into a method you prefer. Thumb sucking Thumb sucking is an excellent self-calming strategy and is the first very clever, independent skill your baby learns. Your life will be easier if your baby can calm herself in this manner, especially at sleep time. The pro’s of thumb or hand sucking is that it is something your baby can use independently from very early on. The negative is that thumb suckers may have a higher risk of needing orthodontics at a later age. Whether thumb sucking will result in bucked teeth is dependent on your family’s predisposition and how long your child sucks her thumb. It is harder to get rid of a thumb sucking habit as you can’t conveniently ‘loose’ a thumb but if your baby is fussy, and sucking on her thumb really helps her to calm, worry about that later. Remember the issue is to get your baby to calm, so that sleep can follow. In the early days, the startle and moro reflexes move the arms outwards when young babies are distressed, making it very hard to self-calm while crying. Help your baby find her hands to suck on to self-calm, by swaddling her hands close to her face. Frequently this won’t be enough to sufficiently calm her and a dummy can also be used. Dummies On a sensory level, your baby needs to suck in order to be calm, and if she is not doing it herself (i.e. sucking her hands or thumb) a dummy is a very effective tool. Getting rid of the dummy is a bridge you can cross later. It will depend on your baby – some just reject the dummy naturally in the first year, others need to be rewarded for giving it up in the toddler years. Teaching your baby to use a dummy independently At around 6 to 9 months, many babies start to wake for mom to replace the dummy in the middle of the night. At this time the dummy is not something that is used independently. At about 8- 9 months old however you can expect your baby to be using the dummy at night independently. If your baby is waking you to put in the dummy at night, there are three steps to help your baby (older than 8 months) to use her dummy independently at night: In the first few days, keep putting in her dummy when she cries at night, but during the day never put the dummy in her mouth. Rather place the dummy into her hand so that she learns to pop it in herself in daylight hours. Once she has achieved daytime independence, do the same at night – never place it in her mouth, rather put the dummy into her hand or attach it to a sleep blanky and put that in her hand so she must do the final step of putting the dummy into her mouth on her own. When she has advanced to that stage (usually within a few days if she is older than 8 months), stop placing the dummy in her hand and guide her hand to the dummy in the dark. The next night put every dummy in the house into her cot giving her the maximum chance of finding it at night The message should be clear: if your baby self-soothes at night she will sleep well. Sucking is a wonderful self soothing method. Encourage either thumb or dummy sucking for a good night’s sleep. By Meg Faure
10 sleep tips for your baby by Sr Ann Richardson - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

10 sleep tips for your baby by Sr Ann Richardson

Create a sleep zone and stick to it. This may be in her own room, or in your room. It doesn't matter where it is, as long as it is a 'zone' where sleep happens - she will learn to recognize it as such. At sleep time, put your baby to bed. Try to avoid letting her fall asleep where ever you may be at sleep time such as on the couch, in your arms or in the car. Obviously there will be times where your baby will fall asleep out of her bed, but try not to make it the norm. Watch awake times. It is the time spent awake between sleeps that drives your babies sleep. This is absolutely vital to ensure healthy sleep habits. Follow the guidelines of "awake times" from Baby Sense and Toddler Sense, and allow your baby to fall asleep then. Don't wait until she shows signs of over tiredness before trying to put her to sleep. Put your baby to bed "happily awake". Watch for her signals to indicate to you that she is getting tired (not is already tired!) These signals may be a simple sneeze or a hand on her face. Read Baby Sense to get familiar with your baby’s signals. Modulate the environment to promote sleep. Switch off loud, jarring music or sounds such as a lawnmower at sleep time. For day sleeps, cut out glare by closing curtains and dim lights at night. If you are out and about, cover the pram with a cotton blanket to block out sunlight and noise. Remove all stimulation from the immediate sleep zone. Remove mobiles, toys, activity sets and stimulating bumpers from your baby’s cot to prevent over-stimulation at sleep time. If she is over stimulated, she will be unable to fall asleep easily. Encourage a sleep comfort or doodoo blanket. The Baby Sense™ Taglet, a soft cotton toy or blanket will comfort your baby at sleep time. It will also act as a memory trigger to help induce sleep. Accept that babies don't sleep like we do! This acceptance goes a long way towards helping you cope with sleep deprivation in the early days. Expect not much sleep for the first 3 months at least. Have faith though; babies usually start to sleep for longer periods at night from the age of 12 weeks (even earlier if you are lucky!). Stay calm. Your baby will pick up any anxiety from you, and will be even more unsettled. Try not to get too bogged down in the moment, and focus on the good things about your baby such as her smile or her dimple. Have a sense of humour. If all else fails, laugh - after all it is the best medicine around! By Sr Ann Richardson
The correct sounds and smells for better sleep - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

The correct sounds and smells for better sleep

If you have ever been delayed in transit due to inclement weather and had to sleep in the airport, you will agree that it was not the best night sleep you have ever had! The hard floor, bright lights, sterile smells and jarring sounds of the environment are not conducive to peaceful sleep. You may have dropped off to sleep, but I would probably have woken regularly during the night. Such is the impact of sensory input in a sleep zone. Smells Smells enter the nose and create a chemical reaction on the mucous membranes of the nasal passages which is interpreted by the brain as a smell. Smells are a very special sensory input as they are processed by the brain in a very different way to any other sense. Smell is the only sense that is not processed first by the relay center of the brain (the thalamus) before being perceived. Smells go directly to the conscious brain and have direct connections to the limbic system as well. The limbic system controls our memory and feelings. This is why a smell so quickly transports us back to a memory of a place and the feelings about that place. Since smell is such a pervasive sense, it is vital that your baby’s nursery or sleep zone is soothing on an olfactory level. Newborn’s sense of smell is significantly more sensitive than older babies and toddlers so the principle with babies under three months is to use products with no fragrance. From three months onwards use smells to calm your baby before, during and even while sleeping: The following smells work well for sleep Lavender Chamomile Vanilla Rose Bath time - use baby bath products such as a bath emollient, foaming soap or lotion with a scent. Bedtime – at bedtime, give your baby a massage or at least rub them with cream that has a calming smell. In the bedroom – buy a burner for essential oils that can be placed out of reach of your baby but will fill the room with a calming smell. A blanky that smells of mom or baby is also very soothing. You can buy teddies or soft toys that are impregnated with a soothing scent. Sounds Loud noises and a wide variety of tune, rhythm and pitch are alerting to our brains. On the other hand, sounds can be very soothing and in fact shift us down a state from over stimulated to calm or from drowsy to sleeping. Use soothing sounds in your baby’s room to help her fall asleep: White noise: White noise is sound played at a certain frequency with consistency that becomes background sound, such as water running or an air conditioner in a room. The background sounds your baby heard in utero is white noise and helps newborns all the way through to adulthood to sleep better. White noise not only shifts one into a deeper sleep state but also masks any irregular sounds that may wake your baby up, such as a phone ringing. Some good white noise ideas are: A fountain outside your baby’s room Humidifier in the room Fan Air conditioner Tune a radio to no station and play radio static quietly in the background or use white noise such as the Baby Sense Womb to World™ Lullaby: The singing of lullabies is passed from generation to generation by mothers. These moments of peace just before your baby falls asleep are precious beyond words. Mother’s just know that the soothing lilt of a lullaby works best. Singing lullabies to your baby helps him to shift into a drowsy state, facilitating easier transition to the sleep state. Play lullabies to your baby By using specific sensory input in your baby’s environment, you will find your baby will be calmer and more likely to fall asleep with ease. By Meg Faure
Solving sleep problems starts with acceptance - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Solving sleep problems starts with acceptance

“People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one” Leo J Burke Ask any sleep deprived mother and she will attest to the fact that her ability to function and parent well is hindered by lack of sleep. We crave the energising and renewing feeling sleep gives us and yet for many, sleep becomes an enigma or fond distant memory during our baby’s first year. The first step to dealing with sleep deprivation is in fact not getting more sleep, but being realistic about what we should expect from our babies. As soon as we know what to expect from our babies in terms of sleep we have made the first step towards acceptance. By knowing what to expect, we stop unrealistic cravings for sleep and start to deal with sleep deprivation constructively. Many common misconceptions abound about baby’s sleep: If you sleep well, you sleep like a baby! You should aim for your baby to sleep through the night at 6 weeks Once your baby has slept through a feed for three nights in a row it will not require that feed again and should be ‘dummied’ to prevent feeding at that time. All babies sleep through the night at 3 months By waking your baby at 10pm for a feed you will encourage them to drop the early morning feed A full nights sleep is 7pm to 7am These misconceptions are not true and by expecting your baby to do them you set your self up for disappointment and frustrations on the path to developing good sleep habits. So the question is what can you reasonably expect from your baby? All babies wake or at least stir at night The young baby has a sleep cycle of 45 minutes. A sleep cycle stretches from one light sleep state through a deep sleep state to the next light sleep state. All babies stir every 45 minutes as they come into the light sleep state. Good sleepers can resettle themselves without needing intervention, whereas poor sleepers signal to their mothers, needing help to fall back asleep. So the notion that if you sleep well, you sleep like a baby is incorrect as all babies are in fact stirring every 45 minutes. Her baby slept through the night from 6 weeks when will mine? The idea that some babies ‘sleep through’ at six weeks or all babies should sleep through by 3 months is not correct. Some babies will sleep through the night earlier than others, if your baby does this enjoy it but know it may be short lived as many babies start to wake again after six months. Babies should be allowed to expect a night feed until they are on full solids (6 months), if they need it. As a rule of thumb, babies under 6 weeks are feeding almost as frequently at night as they do during the day, possibly stretching to four or five hours once at night. Between 6 to 12 weeks your baby will probably drop a night feed, usually the 10pm to 11:30pm feed and therefore only require one feed in the early morning and then another at dawn. Do not wake your baby for the evening feed to prevent the morning one as this frequently leads to problems as you are not allowing your baby’s natural sleep rhythms to develop. At three to six months your baby can be expected to sleep from the early evening to a very early morning feed – after 3am. During this period, your baby will probably need to start eating solids but not proteins until after 6 months. So what is ‘sleeping through’ and when should my baby sleep through? Sleeping through entails sleeping from early evening (approximately 7pm) for a stretch of 10 to 12 hours, which means waking between 5am and 7am. During this time, your baby may stir but a ‘good sleeper’ resettles himself. By understanding your baby’s sleep and having reasonable expectations, night feeds and night wakings become more bearable. As exhausting as this early mothering period is, it is precious and short lived. By instilling good sleep habits from early on you will soon enjoy a longer night’s sleep, but not for many years will your sleep habits resemble those blissful pre-pregnancy sleep-ins or a solids night’s sleep. By Meg Faure

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