How to sort out sleep problems - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

How to sort out sleep problems

At 2am as 9 month old Amy cries out for the fifth time that night, her mum staggers down the passage, her mind dim with sleep and feels around in Amy’s cot for her dummy, wishing that just once, she could sleep for longer than 3 hours at a stretch. She is baffled by her little one’s nighttime antics and wonders where to start. The answer is simply to start with the basics. Amy at 9 months old is likely to be waking from one of the five reasons below. To being the process of sorting out sleep problems, start here: Teething – Almost every mother has at one time or another blamed her baby’s poor sleep on discomfort from teething. But the reality is that teething and sleep are not so intertwined. The eruption of a tooth only disrupts sleep for a night or two. The idea that teething affects sleep before six months of age is highly unlikely because teeth erupt in most babies between 6 months and a year. Try to decide if your baby is teething during daylight hours (not in the blur of a night waking). To know if your baby’s teeth are disrupting his sleep, watch for these signs: He has a lot of mucous and drooling His poos smell acidic and vinegary and may cause a mild nappy rash He is gnawing on non food objects (not related to self soothing or tired signals) You can FEEL and SEE a tooth under the gums If you find these symptoms, you should use teething powders when your baby wakes and if he is sore and miserable give him an appropriate dose of Paracetamol. Hunger – Another common question is whether your baby is hungry. A hungry baby can and will wake at night. Not all babies sleep through the night at 6 weeks, never to have a nighttime feed again, in fact most do wake for nutritional reasons long past the six week mark. The classic nutritional needs arise at: 0-6 weeks – your baby will need a feed almost as often at night as during the day initially and by 6 weeks should be stretching a little longer each night. 6-17 weeks – your baby may start to regress and wake more often due to growth and nutrition requirements. He is not being naughty – he is simply needing a little extra food – you should not introduce solids at this age – rather increase the day feed frequency a little, offer an evening cluster feed and expect a slightly shorter stretch of sleep. 17 weeks – 6 months – if your baby was sleeping well until this stage and he starts to wake more often, he may be needing some extra sustenance in the form of solid food. Introduce solids when you feel he is ready. After 6 months and into the toddler years – night waking may become an issue if your baby is not getting all the protein, essential fatty acids and iron he needs. Address these areas if he wakes a lot at night. Separation – Separation anxiety and just needing to see mummy or have her close is typical around 8 to 10 months of age. If your little one cries when you leave the room during the day and wakes needing a little pat at night, this may well be the cause of the night waking. Give him loads of love, be understanding and make sure he has a ‘doodoo’ blanky or security object to comfort him in the night. He will learn to reach for the blanky instead of calling for you. Illness – Make no mistake – a sick baby sleeps badly! From coughs and colds to gastro and ears, any sickness will probably affect your baby’s sleep. Use your gut feel and see a doctor if you are worried. Habits – Finally the dreaded habits! These usually arise because you have resorted to certain measures to get your baby to sleep, such as feeding to sleep; rocking to sleep or pushing to sleep. Habits only become entrenched after 4 months of age and from this age, you need to encourage your baby to fall asleep with less assistance. So we have briefly looked at five causes of night waking that can be sorted out. Try to identify if any of these are the reason and go from there. By Meg Faure
Is separation anxiety affecting your baby’s sleep? - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>6-12 Months

Is separation anxiety affecting your baby’s sleep?

When looking for reasons why your baby is waking at night, you need to also rule out separation anxiety. Sleep is your very first separation from your baby and from day one, it creates anxiety for many mothers. For this reason, you may have chosen to have your baby in your room for the first few weeks, as hearing your little one’s fluttery breathes and new baby grunts reassured you that your baby was okay. If we as adults suffer anxiety over separating from our babies for sleep times, it is understandable that at some stage in the first few years, your baby or toddler too will suffer some anxiety when separating from the person she depends on so completely. Although normal separation anxiety starts from day one in parents, for babies, separation anxiety only raises its head after 6 months of age. The reason is that although your baby recognises you when she sees you from early on, she has no memory of you when you are not around. This is because the part of the brain that develops memory only develops later in the first year. Secondly your young baby has no concept of time and space, so whether you are gone for a second or a few hours, the separation is equally irrelevant for your newborn. All this blissful ignorance disappears at around 6 to 8 months of age, when your baby develops object permanence. This is the concept that something exists when you can’t see it. At 5 months old, when a toy drops from your baby’s line of vision she won’t pursue it or look for it as it literally ceases to exist in her little mind. However usually by 8 months old, your baby will start to look for something when it drops or moves out of her vision. At this point, she has worked out that the object exists even if she’s not holding it, i.e. she has developed object permanence. As this realisation dawns and memory develops, your baby will likewise begin to realise that when you leave her, you still exist. This does not please her as she by now has formed a strong attachment to you and may protest the separation and cry as you leave. Separation anxiety affects sleep in different ways at different ages: 6 – 12 months During this period, your baby may wake during light sleep states to be reassured that you will return to her. If you feel her wakings are due to separation anxiety; go to her and tell her gently to go back to sleep, give her a ‘doodoo’ blanky or a soft toy she is fond of and leave the room. You do not want to start a habit at this stage, such as feeding her to sleep or rocking her but you do want to respond to prove to her that you do return to her after a separation. During the day always say goodbye when you leave her, even just to have a shower and always greet her happily on your return, so that she learns that separations are accompanied by happy reunions. A sleep association toy or blanky is vital at this stage so that your baby transfers her need for comfort from you to a blanky such as the Baby Sense Taglet, which she can use independently when she wakes at night. Finally, manage this stage with lots of hugs and cuddles and bear with it - as with most challenges in the first year, this too will pass. 18 months - preschooler At this stage your toddler may become anxious as you put her to bed in the evening and may also come through to your room frequently at night due to fears of being alone. This stage emerges after 18 months, when your toddler has developed imagination and begins to suffer from nightmares and imagined ‘boogymen’. Every toddler is different and the degree to which yours will be affected may vary substantially from other babies you know. Have a night light on in the room or passage so that she can see at night if she wakes. Limit television completely for three hours before bed as this has been linked to fears and increased nightmares. If your toddler won’t stay in bed you may have to put firm boundaries in place to encourage her to stay in bed such as sitting with her until she is asleepif she stays in bed and weaning this down to returning every five minutes until she is asleep if she stays in bed. Put a radio on softly in the room for background noise Put a mattress under your bed for you to pull out for her to sleep on, on those nights she wakes from a really bad nightmare. Remember separation anxiety is real and must be dealt with by responding to your baby or toddler with empathy and care - it will pass in time. 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. By Meg Faure
Is it possible to teach my baby about night and day? - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Is it possible to teach my baby about night and day?

As Evan woke for the third time that night, his sleep deprived, exhausted mom choked back the tears - is it actually possible that he needed another feed? As she stumbled through the darkness to lift him to feed him she felt desperate. Evan was a good baby actually a very good baby during the day - he slept for four to five hours at a stretch during the day but at night, he turned into a nightmare! He was waking every two hours at night and simply put, his mom was desperate and had no idea how she could keep it up for much longer! It is very common for newborns to have their day and night muddled up and wake to feed more frequently during the day than at night. This can all be switch around very easily following 5 easy steps: Wake your baby as soon as he has been asleep for 3 ½ hours so that he feeds at least four hourly during the day. A newborn can be expected to demand a feed every 2 ½ to four hours during the day. Make the room dark for night sleep - from 6pm to 6am, the room needs to be as dark as possible. Use block out lining or curtains to ensure an absence of light. Melatonin - our sleep hormone is released in the absence of light, which is why we are drowsy at night. Do not wake your baby at all at night for a feed, unless advised to do so by your doctor. Let your little one wake up on his own to feed and feed him when he wakes if more than three hours have passed. If he is feeding well during the day and gaining weight, he will start to stretch this longer and longer at night. During the day your new baby (0-6 weeks) can be awake for up to 45 to an hour at a stretch - do all care during this time and stimulate him for a short period while awake. Do not fuss with or stimulate your baby at night. Try to not even make eye contact or change his nappy unless he has soiled it at night. In this way you won’t wake him fully. Just feed, burp, feed on the other side and put him down to sleep. Mary's problem had suddenly arisen in the past few weeks, Jaden was a good sleeper but now, at 15 months he suddenly had turned into a monster at night! At 2 am for the past week, Jaden would become restless and then call out and eventually start to cry. Going in to him, he would ask to be picked up and want to go out of his room. He simply wanted to go to the lounge, watch some TV and have a bottle there. He would play quietly on the floor for up to two hours before looking drowsy again. His mom was at the end of her tether and was exhausted when having to get up after two hours sleep at 6am to start her day. Occasionally toddlers and even younger babies start to be very awake in the middle of the night. Try these steps to manage your older baby back to a good night sleep: Make sure your little one is not going to bed too late. 7pm is the latest a baby or toddler must be in bed and any later and you could be looking at a little one who is simply overtired. Over tiredness often leads to night wakings and even night terrors. Deworm your toddler if he is over one year of age as worm infestations of the gut can wake little ones at this time and they battle to settle again. Make sure your toddler has a good diet with sufficient protein and iron. Make all interactions between 6pm and 6am muted - calming and not stimulating. Set a boundary, even if your little one goes through a stage of being wakeful in the middle of the night. Set the boundary that he may not leave his cot. Sit with him and offer a sip of water but no feeds and definitely do not leave the room with him. If he is very wakeful, use Rescue Remedy to help him settle a little quicker. By not budging on this boundary the night wakefulness will be short lived. By Meg Faure
How to get your baby to sleep in a strange environment - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

How to get your baby to sleep in a strange environment

It happens to many of us in our baby or toddler’s life – we need to go away on holiday or business or move home or need to move in with granny for a few weeks. We dread the disruption to our baby’s life and wonder if she will settle back into a good sleep pattern in a strange environment. A variety of factors affect how your baby will respond to a new environment: Firstly, how she manages change and interactions in general is a good indication of how she will cope with a new sleep space. Some babies are really laid back and go with the flow. For these easy babies you probably won’t need to expect too much upheaval. Generally by the second night they have adjusted well. However, if your baby is a ‘slow to warm up’ or sensitive baby you may have more difficulty settling her each night. A baby’s age also make a difference to how they adjust. Interestingly newborns to about 6 weeks, often cope quite well with change as long as their feeding patterns are kept consistent and new people in the new space do not over handle them. As your baby gets older she may have increasingly greater difficulty dealing with change. To ease your baby into the new sleep environment and to short circuit any major sleep problems after a change, try the following tips: Take your baby’s favorite toys with her and make the new sleep space as similar to hers at home as possible. Place her camp cot in a similar place in the room to where she normally sleeps – e.g. put the head of the cot next to a wall or away from the door (as it is at home) Make sure you can dim the room even if it means putting black refuse bags against the window to darken it in the evening and for day sleeps. Take bedding from home and her special blanky. Bedding from home and a familiar ‘doodoo’ blanky smell familiar and cue your baby into a state for sleep. Sensitive babies, in particular, do better in their own rooms where parents getting up or even turning over at night do not disturb them. If possible put her in her own room, if not place her cot away from your bed in a quiet corner. From the first day have her take her day and night sleeps in her ‘new’ room. Keep your bedtime routine identical to the routine you follow at home. Even though holidays are exciting times, try to keep her calm just before bedtimes by taking her to her room and quietly looking at books with her before putting her into her bed. Use lots of calming activities from four o’clock onwards, such as quiet walks in a sling or pouch or pram. If she wakes at night, crying for you, wait to see if she will resettle herself and then comfort her by speaking quietly and giving her or at most placing your hand on her. By Meg Faure
How much sleep does my baby need? - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

How much sleep does my baby need?

The expectations of the pregnant woman: ‘My baby will sleep and be awake in equal amounts and we will play and feed and I will have time to do it all, no sweat.’ The mom of the newborn says: ‘Wow my baby sleeps all day and is so good yet I feel like I have got time for nothing – I barely get myself to make a cup of tea in a day.’ Which a few weeks later becomes: ‘Oh my word I can’t get my baby down – he is awake all day, and now I don’t even shower in a day never mind make a cup of tea!!’ So what is reasonable – what should we expect – how much should our babies sleep? Newborns sleep more than most people imagine. I believe this is a coping mechanism to deal with the busy world and in fact works very effectively. You will probably find that in the first two weeks your baby will sleep an enormous amount and may also be very calm. Your sleepy baby may sleep from one feed to the next and often fall asleep during a feed. This is good for your baby so do not follow any advice to wake your baby unless he is not gaining enough weight. The only other exception is if your sleepy baby is going to stretch more than four hours between day feeds. In this case, wake your baby to feed. The newborn needs to go back to sleep after only being awake for 40 – 50 minutes, which means your newborn may well sleep for more than 16 hours a day, being awake only for feeds. 2 weeks – 3 months is when day sleep frustrations raise their ugly heads. Your sleepy newborn may now start to fight going to sleep and may only cat nap when he does finally fall asleep. It is not uncommon for moms to report that their baby is awake most of the day, sleeping fitfully in short spells during the day. These babies classically feed very frequently, have colic in the evening and wake often at night. If you find yourself in this predicament, it is probably directly as a result of a young baby not getting enough day sleep. Your young baby needs to go to sleep after only 45 – 80 minutes of being awake. This will result in around 15 hours sleep a day. 3 – 6 months down the line, you will probably be craving some routine or pattern to your baby’s sleep and may well have a very alert baby who is fighting sleep. During this stage day sleeps are regular and essential and you can start guiding your baby in a little routine. Put your baby back to sleep every 90-150 minutes and your baby will probably start developing a routine of two or three naps plus one longer day sleep. Your baby should be having about 14 – 15 hours sleep in a 24 hour period. 6 months to a year is the time when a proper day sleep routine emerges and your baby should start to link the sleep cycles during one day sleep, resulting in a longer midday sleep. Encourage this sleep and the one or two other naps, as your baby needs to sleep to help his brain process all the exciting information he processes during his waking hours. Your baby sleeps for 14 hours a day, usually 11 hours at night and three hours during the day broken into sleeps and short naps. Toddlers and preschoolers really resist day sleeps and it’s tempting to just ‘let it go’ and let your frazzled two year old collapse at night without a day sleep. The truth is these busy beings really need sleep. The common problems overtired toddlers have are fighting sleep at bedtime, frequent night wakings and night terrors. If you are facing this, you should really focus on having your toddler maintain the good habit of a midday sleep. If your preschooler won’t sleep, just a rest at midday will do. Toddlers sleep 13 hours a day and preschoolers need about 12 hours a day. In summary it is clear that babies and toddlers need a lot of sleep to process the stimulation of the world. The myth abounds that your baby or toddler will sleep as much as he or she needs – it is important to understand that this is not the truth and many babies need a bit of help to make sure they get enough sleep to develop well and be happily awake. By Meg Faure
My baby fusses and fights bedtime - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

My baby fusses and fights bedtime

Why is early evening such a bad time of day? Why do babies fuss at this time more than at other times? And how can we make Horror Hour less horrific? At the end of the day our threshold for sensory input and interactions get lower, in other words we can tolerate less. So we respond to the world with a degree of irritability. As adults we are able to self regulate and adjust our world so that we don’t become over stimulated. We do this by having chilled sundowner or zoning out whilst watching soap operas. Of course when a demanding baby or toddler comes along out goes our de-stress ritual. So not only are we tired and over stimulated, but babies are that much more susceptible to overstimulation than adults. This combination results in suicide or horror hour! As your baby approaches the end of a busy day his threshold or tolerance for stimulation decreases. The smallest of interactions such as dad coming home or the stimulation of a windy tummy can be enough to trigger a colic attack in a little baby. In a busy toddler just limit setting after supper or even the sensory demands of dinner may bring on the horror hour that we all wish to escape. To help avert a frantic evening of fussing and fights: Keep your baby’s late afternoon calm, for instance take a walk in the pram or just reading quietly before supper and bed. Be sure to follow the appropriate ‘awake times’ for your child. (See Baby sense) Over tiredness exacerbates the problem. A young baby will require an afternoon nap, depending on his age as late as 4:30. In the baby over a year, the late afternoon nap will fall away but a good lunch time sleep is essential to see him through to bedtime without being over tired. After 5pm change the tempo of the household to a calmer and quieter environment. As hard as it is encourage Dad to treat homecoming as a happy but calm reunion and rather keep the excited play and roughhousing for the morning. Although kids are excitable in the bath, add some lavender oil to sooth them. A soothing massage and warm towel down also helps. Feed your kids earlier rather than later as a hungry tummy and low blood sugar level exacerbates the problem. Avoid socializing at this time of day, a trip to a busy family restaurant is not always the wisest move at 5pm – keep these outings for lunch time. By Meg Faure
Awake time influences sleep time - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Awake time influences sleep time

We all know that sleep is vital for our physical and emotional well-being. This is especially true for babies and young children, so it is a good idea to teach your baby healthy sleep habits from birth. This way he will learn the ability to self-soothe, to fall asleep without your presence, and to be able to put himself back to sleep when he wakes in the night. Awake time influences sleep time It is actually the time that your baby is awake that influences how much he sleeps. Knowing how long your child should stay awake before the next sleep is due will help prevent the ‘overtired’ scenario. If he is overtired, he will struggle to fall asleep unaided, and may even battle to stay asleep for any significant length of time. Understand your baby’s sleep cycles A sleep cycle is the process of moving from a drowsy state to light sleep, to deep sleep, and then back into light sleep. An adult’s sleep cycle is 90 minutes but it takes a while for a baby to develop such long sleep cycles. Babies’ sleep cycles vary depending on their age. The younger the baby, the shorter the sleep cycle. Most babies’ sleep cycles are no longer than an hour and may be as short as 30 minutes. A short day sleep may be only one sleep cycle long. At other times in the day (and hopefully at night) the baby ‘links’ sleep cycles to have long stretches of uninterrupted sleep. It is important to help our babies to link sleep cycles. If your baby is a cat-napper during the day, he will not be fully rested after his sleep and will have difficulty sustaining the normal period of awake time after that sleep and therefore need to sleep sooner. For example, if a baby of 6 months old has slept for only 20 minutes, then he will be tired sooner and need to be put down before his allocated 2-hour awake time expires – i.e. he should have another nap in about 1 – 1½ hours’ time. This is quite a novel approach to sleep, and takes some getting used to. However, once you apply the principles of watching the awake time, you will have unlocked the secret to good sleep habits. Plan your life around awake/asleep times Organize your schedule around the times when your baby is awake – and asleep. Unfortunately this is a fact of motherhood. You have to plan your life around your baby’s needs. Problems with routines and bad habits tend to creep in when you try to plan your baby’s routine around yours. Need assistance in implementing Age Appropriate Awake Times? Download The BABYSENSE APP or use our BABY TIME BRACELET! By Sr Ann Richardson
Good vs bad sleep habits for babies - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

Good vs bad sleep habits for babies

Habits in any area of life have a way of sneaking their way in: one day they were not there and suddenly one day you wake up and a habit has developed over time, without you noticing! Before classifying any habit as good or bad, it is important to know a few things: Habits do not develop in babies before three months old. If your baby is little and demanding a certain method to get to sleep, it is because of the sensory feature of that sleep association, not the fact that your baby recalls it from one sleep to the next. Habits very commonly become a problem between 7 and 11 months old Anything you don’t want to do for a long time to come or have to deal with breaking must be avoided after five months of age Most babies develop bad habits after an illness and take a few days to readjust to the old ways A habit is only bad if you are not happy with it. Anything is acceptable if it works in your home for the long term. The Top 5 Bad Sleep Habits and what to do: Rock to sleep WHY: Your newborn will love movement as it reminds her of the womb world. EARLY ON: Use movement to get your baby drowsy but try from an early age not to rock your baby all the way to sleep. SOLUTION: Wean your baby off rocking slowly by stopping just short of her falling asleep and keeping your hand on her as she settles in her cot. If she screams, pick her up and rock her gently and put her down when drowsy. Be consistent. Breastfeed to sleep WHY: Breast milk is sweet and soothing and the sucking helps your baby fall asleep EARLY ON: If your baby consistently falls asleep on the breast, burp her at your shoulder and she will rouse a little. SOLUTION: In the older baby, make sure she is fully awake (can be drowsy) when you put her down. Sit when you feed her. Avoid lying next to her so she feeds lying down as she is more likely to fall asleep. After 6 months old you baby does not need breastmilk at night. Do not offer a feed between bedtime and 4am. Drive around the block WHY: The movement is settling and the white noise of the car makes babies drowsy EARLY ON: Many newborns fall asleep as soon as they are in the car. This is fine as because your baby sleeps so much it is almost impossible to keep her awake or you would be trapped at home. Early on just relax about this one. SOLUTION: From 6 months old try to have your baby in her sleep space for every sleep – both the day sleeps and at bedtime so she does not have the chance to develop this habit. If you are in this habit: wean her off it by using a pram to rock her to sleep for a few days. The next step is to rock her to drowsy for a few days and thereafter put her down to sleep in her cot drowsy but awake. Milk bottles through the night WHY: The milk is sweet and soothing and the sucking on the teat also induces sleep. This is a very bad habit as not only is it a pain to have to get up repeatedly to give the bottle but also for your baby’s health: bottle drinking at night is associated with ear infections, tooth decay and very fat babies. EARLY ON: Always give your baby her bottle in your arms NOT in the cot SOLUTION: This one you have to go cold turkey on. Just don’t give a bottle of milk at night. If your baby is a toddler say: “I can’t get you a bottle because the kitchen in closed.” Any part of your body that is used as the crutch to fall asleep WHY: Babies will choose part of your body as a comfort object – your hair, your elbow, your nose or some other part. It is inconvenient because apart from cutting off the body part, you cannot leave it with your baby to self sooth with in the middle of the night. EARLY ON: Offer a comfort object from early on. SOLUTION: Find a comfort object that feels like your body part – eg a Taglet if your baby likes the silkiness of your hair, a soft toy if she likes your jersey, a soft plastic toy if it’s your elbow she likes. Offer this object consistently if she cries or is unsettled when awake. Soon she will associate the comfort object with soothing to sleep instead of your body part. The Top 5 Good Sleep Habits to encourage: A security blanket – an essential from 3 months onwards – find an object that has the following qualities: You can replace it if lost It can be washed It is small enough to carry around in a nappy bag It has soothing sensory qualities A dummy or thumb –any oral comfort that can be used without you is great – thumb, dummy or water bottle. Don’t listen to people who discourage dummies – they are GREAT! A water bottle for toddlers –If your toddler wants tea or milk, he must get used to water. Being able to fall asleep independently –any baby who can fall asleep on their own in the evening from 4 months onwards will be a good sleeper. Let your baby fall asleep independently by putting her down and walking out from 3 months old. Don’t go back into your baby’s room unless she is really crying. Moaning or fussing is fine to be left. As soon as your baby cries go back but help her to find a way to self sooth to sleep. Falling asleep in a consistent sleep zone - your baby must fall asleep in a consistent sleep space from 4 months onwards.The best place is a cot in a calming sleep space. Do not let your baby fall asleep in front of the TV ever.
Getting your baby back to sleep after a feed - Babysense
Breast Feeding

Getting your baby back to sleep after a feed

You have just dropped off to sleep and through a haze of dreams hear your baby cry out again for a feed. Your blood turns cold and you ask how is it possible and how long did she stretch this time. But you are up and awake and blearily stagger across to her to feed her. The big question is what is the best ‘night time feed strategy’ to ensure a calm feed, make sure your baby settles afterwards and to set the stage for good sleep habits later, once the night feeds diminish. There are a few critical elements of night feeds that can make the difference between a baby who settles straight back to sleep and one who fusses and niggles until the next feed is due. Do not wake your baby for night feeds. Common logic says if you wake your baby before 12 she won’t wake in the wee hours for a feed. While it may be true in the early days that a feed at 10 means she sleeps from 11 to 3am so that you are not up between 12 and 2 am, it frequently results in sleep disruption later on. By not letting your baby develop her own sleep patterns you may be facing a baby who wakes at night when older. Environment – A key to peaceful settling after night feeds is the environment. The night feed environment needs to be a dark and quiet as possible so that your baby only wakes sufficiently to feed and then is calm enough to fall back to sleep. Do not use a night light. Put a passage light on outside the room so you can see what you are doing but as far as possible don’t expose your baby to bright lights. Do not take your baby out of the sleep space Interactions Keep all interactions between 6pm and 6am muted. Don’t make too much eye contact, play with or stimulate your baby. As tempting as it may be to elicit that smile or little baby giggle, try to resist it. You want your baby to think that at night things are very boring and not worth being awake for. Try to stay awake for the feed. Feed your baby sitting up in a chair or at least sitting up in bed. In this way you stay as awake as possible and are conscious of how well your baby is feeding. Encourage her to feed well by waking her a little if she drifts off to sleep half way through the feed. If you feed lying down you run the risk of falling asleep and will wake wondering if your baby has fed for long enough or whether she has in fact been feeding well the whole time or if she will wake in half an hour hungry again. Burping When your baby is done with a feed, lift her and burp her for a very short time. Do not stimulate her when you do so. Firm, slow strokes of the back will get the burp up and keep your baby calm. If the burp does not come up within 5 minutes, put your baby down to sleep. The biggest cause of unsettledness at night is not a windy/gassy tummy, it is being kept awake in the middle of the night while mom pursues that reluctant wind. Changing nappy Do not change your baby’s nappy at night unless it is soiled. If your baby has only passed urine, leave the nappy for the next feed. Changing nappies wakes your baby up fully. Huggies have a really nice but expensive night nappy with extra absorbency. These nappies mean that more urine is held for longer periods and there is less risk of the nappy leaking at night. Use cheaper nappies during the day but invest in a really good nappy for night time. Afterwards After the feed and short burp time, wrap your baby and put her down. If she doesn’t settle to sleep immediately, keep your hand on her until she settles to sleep. The deep pressure will help to keep her calm. Instead of lifting your baby let her niggle a little with you are patting or holding her. If she is very unsettled in the middle of the night, place her in a sling and pace the floor in the dim light until she is asleep. Rescue The most important thing is that when she sleeps at night you sleep too! So as soon as she is asleep, jump back into bed, drink a big glass of water. If you don’t instantly fall asleep, take a Rescue Remedy tablet. Rescue is a wonderful natural remedy that helps you fall asleep with no negative affects to you or your baby. From a sensory perspective as well as from experience, this is the best road to sleep for you at night. The early days are completely exhausting and sleep is the supreme desire of most moms. Remember to keep perspective and know this sleep deprivation does end! By Meg Faure

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