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
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
Solutions for babies that are early risers - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

Solutions for babies that are early risers

Remember back to the days of waking when, well – whenever you woke? These days long gone, as parents we face early morning wakings as a matter of routine. When your baby wakes at 6am, you reluctantly get out of bed and greet the day. But when your baby thinks the day starts at 4 or 5am, it’s not as easy to happily greet the morn! Meg Faure, co-author of Baby Sense looks at strategies to deal with this bleary issue. The first step of dealing with the issue of early wakings is managing our own expectations. Babies and toddler do wake early - it is part of the deal. If your baby is over 6 months of age and goes down at 6 or 7 pm you can expect a wakeup call 10 to 12 hours later. This means that your baby could wake at between 4 and 7am. This does not mean you need to be up for the day at 4 and we will look at strategies to get an extra hour sleep later in the article. Factors affecting wake up time Bedtime: The perfect for your baby’s bedtime is between 6 and 7 pm. Do not be tempted to put her down later in an attempt to get her to sleep later, it generally works the opposite and can disrupt her sleep more. With that in mind it does need to be said that if your baby is younger than 6 months and has slept for 10 straight hours, she may well be waking because she has almost had enough sleep or is hungry or thirsty. Day sleeps: You need to make sure your baby has regular day sleeps, putting her down according to her awake times each day. Remember sleep begets sleep, so the more she sleeps in the day, the better she will sleep at night. However, if your baby is over 18 months and is waking very early in the morning, you can try to move her morning wake up time by limiting her day sleep to one hour instead of two hours. If she is grumpy and not making it to bedtime happily it will indicate that she was not ready for the limited day sleep. But often when toddlers get to two years old they don’t sleep a full 11 or 12 hours if their day sleep is too long. Sleep comfort: To prevent early morning wakings, make sure your baby’s room is very dark as early dawn light maybe indicating to her that its morning. Also make sure she is warm enough by putting her in a sleeping bag, as our body temperature drops in the early hours of the morning. Use very good quality night nappies so that you know she is dry and her nappy is not too cold. Finally be sure that she has a sleep blanky or security object to help her resettle. If she still wakes, there a few tricks to help her resettle until later: When you hear her cry after 4am, listen for 5 minutes, in case she re settles herself, which she may well start to do as she gets older. If she has been fussing for 5 minutes, go in and offer her her sleep blanky and gently tell her to go back to sleep. This probably won’t work, but it sets the expectation, which is important as she gets older. If that doesn’t work you can break the night rules in an attempt to get her back to sleep: Offer a warm bottle in the dark with no eye contact and do not change her nappy. This signals it’s a different feed from morning. Do not offer milk before 4am – rather offer cool boiled water. If she still won’t settle, take her into your bed and try go back to sleep with her. Don’t worry about habits – at this time of day, good sleepers don’t start to expect this at night If all of this does not work, we suggest you and your partner take turns to do the early mornings. There is no point in having two tired parents. And finally know that you will be battling to get her up in time for school in 6 years time, so this doesn’t last forever! By Meg Faure
Sleep myths - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

Sleep myths

When your baby isn’t sleeping through the night or is resisting falling asleep, you will find yourself grasping at any clue as to why your little one doesn’t sleep ‘like a baby’. The first and possibly greatest myth is found in that little phrase: ‘sleeps like a baby’. The reality is that babies aren’t naturally great sleepers. In fact more than 50% of babies will experience sleep disruption before the age of two years old. You may find sleep evades you in the early days and that the first six months are a haze of exhaustion. Other newborns settle quickly into a good sleep routine only to start waking at around a year or in the toddler years wander through to your room. The bottom line is that babies and toddlers are not great sleepers and to get a good night’s sleep requires a little work on your part as you facilitate your baby to develop good sleep habits. The second sleep myth has to do with teething. When your baby is waking at night or a goes through a miserable patch, it is easy to blame everything on teething. The truth is that teething does not cause sleep problems. At most, teething can be blamed for two or three unsettled nights, but not months of wakefulness. The vast majority of babies get their first tooth between 6 months and a year of age. It is exceptionally rare to teethe before four months or get the first tooth in the toddler years. When your baby is teething, you can expect some irritability and a change in bowel habits for three days around the eruption of the tooth. Do not blame poor sleep on teething unless: Your baby is mouthing everything day and night and drools excessively Your baby is slightly more irritable and may go off her food Your baby’s poo’s begin to smell a little acrid and this may cause a mild nappy (diaper) rash. You can feel and probably see a little white tooth below the gums. This is the hallmark feature of teething and if you cannot see or feel a sharp white edge, your baby’s sleep cannot be blamed on teething. The third myth - that the later a baby falls asleep the later she will wake in the night or the next morning can actually cause sleep disruptions. The reality is that babies need to go to sleep early in order to sleep well and late. Overtiredness results in overstimulation and in an over stimulated state your baby may be very difficult to get to sleep. This can result in you having to use extensive measures to help your baby fall asleep, such as rocking or feeding to sleep. This can result in poor habits in the long term. In addition, babies to who are overtired at bedtime are more likely to wake at night and may experience night terrors – screaming at night as if having a bad dream. Finally, there is no evidence that a late bedtime results in later waking. The myth that can cause a lot of stress for moms and dads is that their baby should fit into a prescribed day sleep routine. Every baby is different and can cope with different levels of stimulation and last for different lengths of time before the next feed. The idea of a four hourly feed routine and three evenly spaced sleeps each day is not necessarily the reality for most babies. Instead of watching the clock and putting your baby to sleep at 9am regardless of her age and feeds, be sensible. The best way to develop a day sleep routine is to follow your baby’s lead and watch her AWAKE times. There are many myths that go with parenting and these are a few of the most common. To finish off, here are four truths you can cling to: Your baby has the ability to sleep well, it may take a little work but you can get there In order to develop good sleep habits, babies need to learn to self sooth to sleep at night and can do this from about 4-6 months of age Good day sleeps are directly linked to good night sleep. All babies can do well in a routine but it needs to be centered on your baby as an individual. By Meg Faure
Sleep for the first 4 years summarized - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Sleep for the first 4 years summarized

Herewith, an easy to use table outlining your little one’s sleep for the first 4 years covering hours of sleep required, number of day sleeps, and common problems to rule out. “When will my baby sleep through the night?” “Why is he waking at night?” “When should she sleep during the day?” These are just a few of the very common questions I am asked each month. I have come to realize that possibly the one thing every parent wants is a guideline for what they can expect when it comes to sleep. Although every baby and mum is different, there are simple guidelines that can be generalized to most babies. Herewith, an easy to use table outlining your little one’s sleep for the first 4 years. By Meg Faure
The basics of a good night’s sleep - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

The basics of a good night’s sleep

Ever wondered why sleep deprivation is so devastating and why it is that you battle to make decisions, cope with a crying toddler or recall vital information when exhausted. It has something to do with the roles the different sleep states have with regards to our brains. The roles of each sleep state Cycling in and out of sleep states has been understood for years but very recent literature reveals a new hypothesis of why each state is vital for our health. The effect of sleep on our health has largely to do with its effect on the brain. On the day your baby was born it may surprise you to know that he had more brain cells than on any other day in his life and that it is an important task of the early years to make connections between the brain cells. It is these connections that ensure brain cells are not lost but used and become functional. Sleep impacts on the development of neural connections and thus the acquisition of skills. REM sleep is the light sleep state you will recognize when your baby twitches and moves in his sleep. This is the sleep state in which we make vital connections (synapses) between brain cells as we process what we experienced through our senses during the day. For instance, the sound of your voice is programmed into your baby’s brain with all the positive feelings he associates with you, while he sleeps. And while your toddler dreams about crawling up the slide, his motor cortex in the brain hardwires the memory of climbing which will benefit him the next time he plays on a slide. The fact that sensory input is processed in the brain and connections between brain cells are made in REM sleep explains why your baby’s sleep is made up of so much REM time compared to your sleep. Infancy is the stage when your baby’s brain is making connections and learning so much! Non-REM sleep, on the other hand, is just as important not for the forming of connections, but for the opposite: breaking or pruning the connections! As strange as this sounds pruning synapses in the brain is also vital for us to cope. By doing so, we process and memorize only the essentials of our daily experiences. Each day we process so much sensory information that we would be unable to cope with the energy requirements our brain would have if it just kept growing. We would also be susceptible to overload if our brain became a mesh of synapses or connections. So during non-REM sleep, we prune the branches or connections that are not useful. This is why falling into good deep sleep states is vital for you and your baby. Broken sleep never allows you to fall into deep sleep leaves you feeling over loaded and fractious. Reference: Faure M & Richardson A. Sleep Sense. Metz Press 2007 Gorman C. Why we sleep. TIME magazine. Jan 24, 2005
How being sick affects your child’s sleep - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

How being sick affects your child’s sleep

Illness can affect your child’s sleep, so Ann Richardson gives ideas on getting your baby through the night. It is a fact of parenting that somewhere along the line your little one will come down with a cough and a cold (commonly called “the flu”). Most of the time it will simply be a viral illness which will most likely manifest itself in the form of a head cold, often associated with an infected throat or infected ears, and coughing. If you are really unlucky, your baby may end up with an ear or chest infection requiring medication, and in some cases, hospitalization. When it comes to sleep, coughs and colds can play havoc with a well-established sleep routine, or they can have the opposite effect, where your little one is feeling so poorly that they seem to do nothing else but sleep! Certain decongestant and fever reducing medications may also make your baby drowsier than normal. If this is the case, ensure that your baby is drinking sufficient fluid (especially if she is running a temperature), as she will most likely have no appetite for food, and will appear to sleep her day away. However, should your little one be suffering from a rotten cold, she will most likely be miserable, clingy and will wake frequently during the night. The most common reason for frequent night waking in this case is due to the fact that she may be feeling achy and sore all over, coupled with excessive mucous production (the body’s natural defense mechanism with a cold), which may be blocking her nose and sinuses, making it difficult to breathe easily. Her mouth and lips will be dry and parched, and her throat will most likely be feeling like she has swallowed a box of razor blades! Small wonder that she is restless and fretful during the night. Expect many disturbed nights whilst the cold runs its course, so try and cancel any unnecessary outings or events during this time, and do your best to keep your child well-nourished and hydrated. If your baby is eating solid food, she will probably be off her food, so try to stick to small, frequent, nutrient dense foodstuffs such as chicken or meat broth, veggie and fruit puree or egg. Encourage plenty of fluids. If she has tonsillitis or a bad throat, offer her smoothies in place of solid food. Keep up with pain and fever- reducing medication as prescribed by your health care provider – think about how grotty you feel and how your body aches when you have a bad cold! Bath your baby twice a day, especially if she is running a fever – this will help to cool her down and will help her to settle for the night. If she is very bunged up in her nasal and sinus passages, keep a humidifier in her room and put her to sleep in an upright position to help the mucous to drain. Keep her lips moistened with a bit of Vaseline or lip balm. Offering her frequent sips of water (add a bit of honey and lemon if she is older than 1 year) will help to alleviate an irritating cough. Your baby may need to be with you in your bed if you are worried about her breathing, and if she has a very high temperature. For older babies (over the age of two), a cough suppressant may be advised if there is no chest congestion, but please ask your health care provider first before giving this to your child – this may help alleviate that irritating tickle throughout the night which may be keeping the household awake. If your baby has croup (a viral infection of the larynx, or wind pipe), this is usually worse at night. Running the hot water tap on full in the shower and sitting in the steamy bathroom area (not the shower!) with your child will help alleviate the spasm. If it does not help, seek medical attention immediately. The good news, however, is that coughs and colds do resolve within a few days. You may well spend a few nights patrolling the passages, dispensing medicine, wiping snotty noses and dishing out many hugs! The important issues are to keep your baby hydrated by offering small, frequent feeds – don’t stress about solid food at this stage use medication strictly as prescribed by your health care provider treat a high temperature (anything over 38 o c ) with paracetamol and tepid sponging down – seek medical help if these measures are not effective within ½ hour seek medical attention immediately if your baby is having difficulty breathing, or if her general condition deteriorates rapidly You will know when your child is well again, so if sleep habits have shifted enormously, it may well be time to revert back to your previous tried and tested routine and boundaries regarding sleep. By Meg Faure
Baby skin conditions - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Baby skin conditions

An infant’s skin has many functions – it protects the body against ultraviolet radiation, provides a barrier against bacteria and toxins entering the body, and also prevents fluid and electrolyte loss from the body. The skin enables the baby to experience the sense of touch. The pre-term infant has a more sensitive skin to that of a full term baby, as many of the skins’ layers are under-developed. Even in a full term baby, much of the elastin fibres of the skin are formed after birth, and it may take 3 years before they are fully formed. The most common rashes in infancy are usually found on the face and nappy area. Contact Dermatitis Most rashes are caused by direct damage to the skin from substances such as soaps or lotions. A red rash in the nappy area is usually due to the presence of ammonia released by the breakdown of urine. Keep the nappy area clean and dry. Environmental Factors Dry winters can cause skin dryness; and extreme heat and humidity in summer can cause excessive sweating, especially in the nappy area, in ankle and knee folds, and at the back of the neck. Newborns have less pigment (melanin production), and will burn if exposed to direct sunlight, so keep babies out of the sun. Infantile Acne This is a common condition, and is usually found on the face, behind the ears and in the neck area. These pustules resemble acne, and may be exacerbated by heat. The intensity may vary from day to day. This acne is usually as a result of maternal hormones, and usually fades by 3 months of age. This rash causes no discomfort to the baby, and should not affect sleeping patterns in any way Infections Many skin disorders in newborns are caused by fungal or bacterial infections. Candida or thrush, is caused by a fungal infection which causes a red nappy rash, over the genital area, and extending into the folds of the groin. Many little satellite spots are found in the area. Treatment is with an antifungal cream applied to the rash, and oral probiotics. Impetigo is a bacterial infection which results in skin erosions, usually on the face, and nappy area, always covered with honey coloured crusts. Antibiotic treatment is required. Seek medical advice if you suspect your baby may have a skin infection. Itching related to dermatitis or eczema If your child has sensitive skin and is prone to rashes and itches, this may contribute greatly to restless nights. Dermatitis and eczema simply means that your child’s skin is irritated because it is dry and itchy. It may also be red and scaly, sometimes with little blisters or thickened skin. It’s not hard to guess that this will cause her to be very unhappy, especially at night. Most dermatitis is caused by sensitivity to detergent or skin products, occurring in an individual who has an underlying predisposition, for example in Atopic Eczema which may occur if there is a family history of allergies such as asthma or allergic rhinitis. Hints to help ease your baby’s discomfort Rinse your baby’s clothes well to remove detergents and fabric softeners. Avoid the use of soap, rather wash your baby with aqueous cream Avoid bubble baths, and perfumed baby products Add soluble bath oil (not baby oil) to your baby’s bath water – it ‘moisturises’ the water Avoid wool or synthetic fabrics next to the skin – try to dress your baby in clothing that is made with 100 % cotton. The same applies to her bedding Avoid over-heating your baby – it will make the itching worse After a bath, dry your baby well Keep the skin well hydrated with appropriate body moisturisers (ask your pharmacist for advice) – not aqueous cream, this will dry the skin further. Look out for creams that say “ointment” on the label. Be prepared for this to be a long term condition that needs on going management In severe cases your doctor may prescribe an anti-histamine to reduce itching Most babies have skin that is smooth and soft. From birth, the skin is able to fulfill most of its functions, providing that it remains intact. Damaged skin, due to whatever reason, is obviously more sensitive, so it is important that only skin products specially formulated for babies be used to prevent complications. By Ann Richardson
When and how to put your baby to sleep - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

When and how to put your baby to sleep

‘Put your baby down to sleep awake’ is common advice and very frustrating for many parents. It is frustrating because many babies just begin to cry when they are put down awake and it is just easier and shorter if you rock your baby or feed your baby to sleep. Try to imagine that you are told to go to sleep, 3 minutes after an exciting sports game or in the middle of a birthday party. The chances are that you would battle to fall asleep, just as you do when on a long distance flight abroad. The fact of the matter is that the how and when of sleep are so important that unless they are focused on your baby will not just drop off to sleep. When: Your baby is most likely to fall asleep during her natural dip in alertness. Just as you have a natural dip in alertness in the early afternoon, your baby has similar but more frequent dips. We call these periods of time awake times. By watching how long your baby has been awake, you will know when you should put your baby down. Watch for your baby’s signals of tiredness: Rubbing eyes Looking away Grimacing Sucking her hands in attempt to self sooth Busy and irritable How: Once the awake time is up, take your baby to her room and enact a bedtime routine to help her go from alert and awake to drowsy and ready for sleep: Dim the room Lack of light stimulates the release of melatonin, our sleep hormone, prepping your baby for sleep Change her nappy Make sure she is dry and comfortable for sleep Swaddle your young baby or wrap your older baby with hands free Hold her calmly in your arms and rock her gently humming a lullaby or use white noise Rock her until she has a double long blink – in other words she shows you she is really drowsy Put her down to sleep Keeping her swaddled and without dipping her head down, lower her into her crib. Troubleshoot If she starts to cry immediately, keep your hand on her and rock her gently or pat her until she settles. If she cries really hard, pick her up and start the process of getting her into a drowsy state all over again.These little tips will work well for most babies. If you still are battling, get hold of our bookSleep Sense which deals with the problems of sleep and babies and toddlers in great detail. By Meg Faure

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