Choosing and introducing a security blanket | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>3-6 Months

Choosing and introducing a security blanket

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

Your baby’s temperature regulation for comfort and safety

After 9 months in a perfectly regulated environment – the womb - it becomes one of your baby’s first tasks to regulate his body temperature. It takes a while for this ability to develop and intermittently you may find that your baby is too hot or has freezing hands. Because of this, many parents fall into the trap of wrapping their babies too warmly, with too many layers or in a fleece blanket. There is an enormous risk for your baby if he becomes too hot. Research has shown that overheating young babies has been linked to SIDS or cot death. There are a few critical guidelines you should follow when deciding how many layers your baby needs and which clothes, blankets and accessories to buy for your new baby. The optimal temperature for your baby’s room is 18˚ to 20˚ - any hotter than this and your baby will be uncomfortable and at the risk of SIDS when sleeping. Invest in a good room thermometer and use a fan to cool it down or a humidifier or panel heater to warm it to the right temperature. As a rule of thumb always ensure your baby has one more layer on than you do. So if it is a hot day and you are wearing a T shirt put a vest under your baby’s T shirt and he will be warm enough. Swaddling is so important for a calm baby in the early days, even in hot weather. If you are swaddling your baby on a hot day, let him wear only a vest or even only a nappy under the swaddle. A folded blanket is worth two blankets so if you are folding your swaddle, bear in mind that there are double layers on your baby. The heart shaped Baby Sense Cuddlewrap is specially shaped to allow use without folding - meaning half the layers of fabric cover your baby. Never use a polyester or fleece swaddle. Dress your baby in 100% cotton clothes only, as natural fibers regulate temperature and breath better than synthetic fabrics. Never use polyester or synthetic fabric blankets as synthetic fibers do not breathe and cause the baby’s temperature to rise dangerously. This means all synthetic blankets, polyester filled sleeping bags and fleece blankets pose a risk for small babies. In the summer, use a 100% cotton sleeping bag over a single layer of clothing at night, as even warm summer nights cool down in the early hours of the morning. Remember if you cover your baby with blankets at night to tuck then in well or use a sleeping bag because loose blankets pose the risk of suffocation if they move over your baby’s face. Never use a duvet until the age of 2 years old. To tell if your baby is hot or cold when sleeping at night, look at his position. If he is splayed out with his arms and legs well away from his body, it probably means he is too hot so remove a layer of blankets. By dressing your baby appropriately you will ensure your baby is comfortable and at the right temperature, which is essential for happy days and peaceful nights. By Meg Faure
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
Sleep safety for your baby | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Sleep safety for your baby

Sleep is most parents’ first separation from their baby. And for many this elicits anxiety. I am sure the scene of a mother crouching over her sleeping baby to hear if he is breathing is familiar to most parents. We do this because of the terrible scare of cot death. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the shocking circumstance when a parent finds their sleeping baby dead and medical science can offer no reason for the death. It leaves parent’s grieving and seeking answers for their entire life. Until recently in the developed world, SIDS was the leading cause of death in healthy babies under a year of age. Since 1983 the number of deaths due to SIDS has halved to around 2500 deaths a year in the USA. Even though the odds of a cot death are low, it is wise to put your baby to sleep safely to limit the chances of SIDS. Where should your baby sleep? The debate on co-sleeping rages on, with options polarized on where the best place for babies to sleep is. A significant body of literature indicates that co-sleeping is associated with an increased risk of cot death. This research has shown that there is an increased risk of cot SIDS when parents sleep with their baby in their bed. On the other hand, there is also a very vocal body of parent advisors who advocate co-sleeping as the natural and safe place for a baby to sleep. This research shows that there is a greater chance of breastfeeding being well established with co-sleeping and that babies do well not being separated from their mother. What is clear is that if you choose to co-sleep with your baby, you must do so safely. Co-sleeping safely: If you choose to co-sleep, follow these guidelines to limit the risk of SIDS Your baby must sleep on her back. Do not have a pillow near your baby. Do not cover your baby with your duvet, or use an electric blanket or hot water bottle. Place your baby on the outside of the bed next to you, not between you and your partner. Have a sleep nest that creates a space for your baby in your bed. Do not co-sleep if your baby is exposed to cigarette smoke during the day. Do not drink alcohol or take any form of pain medication before bedtime. If you have had a Caesarean section and are taking painkillers it is wiser to let your baby sleep next to you in a crib. Sleep Sense, 2007 The best option is probably to have babies less than three months of age in your room, next to your bed in a co-sleeper cot. After four months, babies should be moved into their own room and will sleep better and longer in this way. Features of a safe sleep space: The most critical aspects of a safe sleep zone are that there is no risk of overheating or suffocation. Follow these guidelines to decrease the risk of SIDS: Your baby must sleep on his back or on his side with a wedge. A sleep wedge prevents babies from rolling onto their tummies. The only time a baby should sleep on his tummy is with severe cases of reflux and certain airway malformations, such as Robin syndrome. The ‘back to sleep’ position is particularly important for the first 6 months. The mattress must be firm and NO pillows or blankets or duvets should be in the cot at all for the first year. Loose blankets and pillows provide a risk for suffocation if they cover the baby’s face. Under 4 months, firmly swaddle your baby and after four-five months, the only safe cover for a baby is an infant sleeping bag. Do not overheat your baby’s room or over cover your baby. The perfect temperature for your baby’s room is 21 degrees Celsius. If the room is warmer, don’t cover your baby with extra blankets. DO NOT use polyester or synthetic fabrics or sleeping bags filled with polyester as these fabrics and fillers do not allow regulation of body temperature. 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
Getting your baby or toddler out of your bed | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Getting your baby or toddler out of your bed

There’s nothing quite like that special feeling of snuggling up in bed with your baby. A whisper of soft breath, that special baby smell, and the utter bliss of a sleeping child. In many cultures it is the accepted norm for children to share their parents’ bed for many years. Many parents simply enjoy having their children close to them. But for many, the idea of sharing a bed, let alone a bedroom with their child is just not their scene. Ask anyone who has shared a bed with a restless baby or toddler. Not much sleep is had as baby tosses and turns all night long, often whimpering and moaning until finally settling in the middle of the bed, arms and legs splayed out (preferably touching one or both parents) whilst mom and dad crouch at each end of the bed, hanging on for dear life lest they fall out. It’s no wonder that parents find that the novelty of “all in the bed” soon wears off, and a good nights’ sleep for all becomes of paramount importance. Until your baby is able to sleep through the night without needing any nutritional support, it may be easier for you to have him in the same room as you, or even co-sleep with him. This way, night feeding can take place with a minimum of fuss. However, after the age of 6 months, babies should not require any nutritional support during the night, so as long as they are well and healthy, this is a good time to move them. It is very important that you have a plan of action to follow. This makes it much easier to focus on the long term, rather than getting caught up in the moment. If your baby has been co-sleeping with you, it will take him time to get used to sleeping alone. Young Baby Step One: For both day and night sleeps, and indeed when he wakes in the night expecting a feed, hold him close to you, rock him and soothe him until he is asleep, no matter how much he protests. When he is asleep place him in his cot. Should he wake, repeat the procedure. Bear in mind this may take a few days to perfect, so don’t give up. When he is used to the fact that he is no longer in bed with you, and is happy to fall asleep in your arms, move to the next step. Step Two: Hold him close to you until he is drowsy, then place him in his cot. Stay with him gently stroke his back and talk quietly to him (you may have to put your face close to his) until he goes to sleep. Step Three: Gradually decrease the amount of time he spends in your arms, until you are able to put him in his cot awake and happy. Older Babies If your baby is slightly older, and is able to roll over and sit or stand up in the cot, a slightly different approach is needed. The older baby is able to manipulate behaviour, so bear that in mind when you begin your plan of action! Controlled crying usually works well in this instance, but only if you are sure that your baby is well and healthy. Follow Step One as above. Step Two: Hold him in your arms until he is drowsy, and then place him in his cot, even if he starts to protest. Tell him ‘night night’, and leave the room for 2 minutes. Return to the room, pick him up and comfort him, (bear in mind this may take a while). When he is calm, put him in his cot, and leave the room, this time for 4 minutes. Continue as above, but extend the period of your separation by 2 minutes each time, until he falls asleep Toddlers Toddlers who are no longer in a cot present a different problem, as they are able to walk through to the parental bedroom and demand to be let into the bed! Step one: Explain to him at bedtime that he must stay in his bed for the night. Step two: This step, and step three have to be done at bedtime, and in the middle of the night when he wakes. If he demands the ‘big bed’, whether it be bedtime, or during the night, acknowledge his need, so say “I know you want to go to sleep in mommy’s bed”, then mirror the need by saying “I would like to let you sleep in my bed”, then give a reason why he can’t such as “it’s my bed, not yours”. Offer to sit with him in his room until he falls asleep, no matter how much he is protesting. When he is happy to fall asleep in his room as long as you are there, it is time to move onto the next step. Step three: Wait until he is drowsy, then explain to him that you have to quickly pop out the room (give a reason such as going to the loo), but that you will be back. Leave for a minute or two, and then go back and reassure him. Keep popping in and out, slowly extending the period of your absence. With time, he will be reassured that you are coming back as you say, and will no longer stay awake to ‘check’ up on you. The pre-school child needs special acknowledgement of his emotional needs. This is the time that many fears and anxieties occur. Star charts and reward systems work well – allow him to place his own star or sticker on the chart. Involve the teacher. Try changing the configuration of his room around, with his consultation and input. Often, a simple change of bed linen will encourage him to stay put. If he has fears of monsters (or anything else), fill a spray bottle with water and tell him that this is ‘monster spray’- allow him to spray his room before getting into bed. Place the spray close to him, so that he can use it again if he feels anxious. Encourage a “sleep time friend” such as a soft toy or special blanket. Follow the plan as laid out for toddlers (above). If your toddler is used to sleeping in your bed, it may be an idea to let him sleep on a mattress next to your bed to start, and then move him into his own room. Important Points: Should his bedroom be far away from yours, consider using a monitor, which will alert you when he cries. Encourage a sleep object such as an item of your clothing or a familiar soft toy to comfort him. Try and keep the position of the cot or bed in his room similar to that where it was in your room. Don’t be alarmed if he vomits as a ploy to get you back into the room (remember you are only doing this if your child is well, so it can’t be anything else!) Stick to the same routine for both day and night sleeps, and for night wakings. In the beginning, expect the periods of unsettledness to be longer than the periods of quietness. Beware of sending mixed messages to your child – it will confuse him. Walk your talk – do as you say you will – he will be secure in this knowledge. Beware of overtiredness and over stimulation – this creates a needy child at bedtime, and a restless sleeper. Have faith, with plenty of encouragement, lots of patience and a bit of luck, you will soon be enjoying a blissful nights sleep! By Meg Faure
The sleep zone and good sleep habits | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

The sleep zone and good sleep habits

From about four months of age babies begin to develop sleep expectations and one of those is an expectation of where they will fall asleep. So it is important that you establish a consistent calming sleep zone as soon as possible. One of the key factors in developing good sleep habits in your baby is a consistent sleep zone. From about four months of age babies begin to develop sleep expectations and one of those is an expectation of where they will fall asleep. So it is important that you establish a consistent calming sleep zone as soon as possible. Where should your baby’s sleep zone be There’s nothing quite like that special feeling of snuggling up in bed with your baby. A whisper of soft breath, that special baby smell, and the utter bliss of a sleeping child. For some parents, the choice is to have their babies in the bed with them. In many cultures it is the accepted norm for children to share their parents’ bed for many years. Indeed, in many homes, bed sharing, or room sharing is a necessity due to lack of adequate housing space. Many parents simply enjoy having their children close to them. For others, the idea of sharing a bed, let alone a bedroom with their child is just not their scene and the reality of sharing a bed with a restless baby or toddler results in no sleep for anyone. How does one choose what is best for your baby? Co-sleeping There is evidence that co-sleeping in the early days is a good choice. It helps your baby feel secure and regulates her breathing and body temperature. For moms it is also convenient as you can respond with ease to feeding needs at night. Some parents do not like the idea of co-sleeping and are worried about the safety of having their baby sleeping in their bed. If you are a sensory sensitive person, the movements and noises of a little body in your bed may prevent a good night’s sleep. If you choose to co-sleep, follow these guidelines to limit the risk of SIDs (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as cot death): Your baby must sleep on her back. Do not have a pillow near your baby. Do not cover your baby with your duvet, or use an electric blanket or hot water bottle. Place your baby on the outside of the bed next to you, not between you and your partner. Have a sleep nest that creates a space for your baby in your bed. Do not co-sleep if your baby is exposed to cigarette smoke during the day. Do not drink alcohol or take any form of pain medication before bedtime. If you have had a Caesarean section and are taking painkillers it is wiser to let your baby sleep next to you in a crib. Adapted from The Science of Parenting, M Sunderland Opting for a nursery You may choose for your baby to go into her own room from very early on in the first three months and will probably find that she adjusts to it with ease. Rest assured if this is your choice, you will hear your baby when she needs you as you are sensitised to her sounds and cries after birth. If you are concerned, have a monitor in her room so you can respond quickly to her at night. The bottom line is that neither choice is a bad one and so in the early days choose your baby’s sleep space according to your own preferences and according to where you get a good night sleep as this is important for feeding and nurturing your baby. A great middle ground option for the early weeks is to have your baby in your room next to your bed in a co-sleeper cot or her own crib next to your bed. In this way, she is close enough to be heard and feeds are convenient. By Meg Faure
Best sleep arrangements for your baby | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Best sleep arrangements for your baby

As a mum your mind will be consumed with questions about sleep: When will my baby next sleep or when will she wake and how long will she sleep? Of course added to that will be the practical questions around sleep: Where should my baby sleep? Your baby should sleep wherever you are most likely to sleep well. If you sleep best with your baby in your room, next to your bed, keep her there. If you sleep best without those little baby noises, let her have her own room. We do not recommend having your baby in your bed if you have duvets or loose blankets, are on pain killers or drink alcohol, due to safety issues. Before 4 months old it will make no difference to your baby where she sleeps. Thereafter your baby will develop expectations around where she is put to sleep but if those match your expectations you will not have a problem. If you want your toddler to sleep in her own room, it will be easier to move her by 6 months of age than older as she will develop expectations around where she sleeps. What must my baby wear while asleep? Your baby should wear one layer more than you are wearing to bed – for instance if you are wearing pajamas; she should have a vest with her pajamas. Preferably stick to tighter fitting bed clothes such as a baby grow or sleep suit as loose pajamas have the risk of coming loose and suffocating your toddler. Always use a sleeping bag instead of blankets or duvets as these loose covers carry a suffocation risk. Must the room be quiet or is a bit of noise a good thing? Your baby’s sleep space must be calming to ensure she is soothed and settled at bedtime. Although newborns can sleep with lots of noise, they do best in the long run if their sleep space is quieter and soothing. However white noise that is played softly in the background or rhythmical lullabies can be really soothing for sleep and may help newborns and older babies sleep better. What is the best temperature for my baby’s room? Your baby’s room temperature should not be cooler than 19 degrees Celsius and if it is, warm it up with a humidifier or heater. Do not overheat your baby’s room as this increases the risk of SIDS. If the room is over 22 degrees Celsius, cool the room with a fan and dress your baby in a vest only with a thin sleeping bag. What should my baby sleep in? A newborn crib or Moses basket is great for the early days. From about six weeks to three months (depending on how long your baby is) you will want to move her into a cot. Make sure the bars of the cot are no wider than the diameter of a can of coke otherwise your baby’s limbs and head may fit through. Keep your baby in a cot until two years old (at least). What can be in the cot while my baby sleeps? Your baby’s cot must have no toys or large blankets as these pose a suffocation risk. Dress your baby in a sleeping bag and let her have her favourite sleep toy or small sleep blanky only. Do not have mobiles over your baby’s cot, it is his sleep space. What position must my baby sleep in? Placing your baby on her tummy to sleep is not advised, because this position has been linked to an increased risk of SIDS (Cot death). Place your baby on her back or side. If she sleeps on her side, maintain her position by using wedges or other positioning systems. By 6 months old your baby will start to roll onto her tummy and may choose this position for sleep. Do not wake her to reposition her. After a year the risk of SIDS drops significantly. By Meg Faure
Baby monitors in a nutshell | Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Baby Talk>Baby Care

Baby monitors in a nutshell

Are you anxious the minute your baby goes to sleep that you may not hear her cry for comfort or food? Have you found yourself standing over her crib checking that she is breathing on your way to bed at night? Or felt that cold sweat as you awake from a dead sleep at 2am to rush through and check your little one is all right? If you have, you are in good company. We all want to be sure we meet our baby’s needs timeously and that our babies are safe as they sleep at night. There are a variety of baby monitors; some baby monitors only monitor sounds and cries, while others monitor breathing. Different Types A sound monitor using a radio transmitter, when placed near your baby this transmitter will broadcast the sounds she makes. By keeping the corresponding radio transmitter near you, you will be alerted and can respond when your baby cries. A video baby monitor, shows you your baby as she sleeps so when she cries, you can see if there is a specific need or if she is simply calling out in her dreams. A smart phone Ap – these new recently emerging systems alert you on your smart phone, if your baby wakes and needs you. Some even feature video coverage. Breathing monitor. To monitor breathing, these systems may use a mat, placed under the baby to perceive the breaths or may use a clip-on device that monitors the movement of the tummy against the nappy (diaper) with each breath. An alarm sounds if your baby has not breathed for a while. The benefits Baby monitors hold value in many cases including: You can hear your baby when she needs you or needs a feed at night even if you are quite a distance from her room If your baby is ill or was born you may be advised to monitor her breathing or to respond rapidly if she calls for you. If your baby suffers sleep apnea (abnormal pauses in breathing whilst asleep) a breathing monitor becomes an essential tool to warn you if your baby stops breathing. The downside While baby monitors do hold value they also do come up for criticism: Parents may become more anxious, especially if a breathing monitor has frequent false alarms. In this case, the parent is woken more than they should be and becomes overly concerned. In the long run, some research has indicated that baby monitors contribute to poor sleep habits as parents become hypervigilant and respond to their baby’s every sound, which means your baby may not sleep well at night and has less chance of learning to self settle when in light sleep states at night. Monitors may also give a false sense of security; leading parents to feel they do not have to self monitor their babies if the baby monitor is on. In a nutshell Like all parenting choices, this one is up to you but the following are sense-able guidelines: Do use a breathing monitor if your baby has sleep apnea or has a history of breathing problems. Baby breathing monitors are expensive and may be an unnecessary outlay. It is not necessary for healthy babies to have their breathing monitored, unless you are instructed to do so by her doctor. Sound monitors hold value if your baby’s room or sleep space is far from your living space. Use a sound monitor to hear when she cries. If your bedroom is right next door to your baby’s sleep space, it is not necessary to use a sound monitor once you go to bed– you will hear your baby if she cries and will wake up. If you can hear your baby’s cry without a monitor, don’t use one as this will over alert you to the noisy baby sounds she makes, to which you need not respond. If you choose to use a (sound) baby monitor and you hear your baby, respond by listening first. Decide if the sounds are sleepy sounds and niggles or if she crying and in need of intervention. If there is no urgent need, don’t go to her for 5 minutes – this allows your little one to learn to settle herself at night. By Meg Faure

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