What an amazing baby sleep turnaround!

What an amazing baby sleep turnaround!

There are several different sleep training methods you can use with most of the age groups. Sleep training is not and should not be a one size fits all. It’s finding the right one for you and your baby. Temperament comes into this decision and choice in a big way. In the Nurture Sleep Program, I guide you through this decision-making process to help you identify the best fit for you and your baby. This is important to help you get the best results in a gentle way.

Want to know more?

Nurture Sleep Program

Hi Karen,

I just wanted to provide an update on our Ned since we last spoke a few months ago as things have turned around remarkably.
When I spoke to you last we were between a rock and hard place, with Ned being increasingly hard to settle but with weight loss and serve reflux, our sleep training efforts went very badly. Sleep training took a backseat as we worked hard to get his weight up and manage his reflux.  At 4.5 months he took to solids like a dream and was quickly taking 3 good meals a day and we have been consulting your recipe book for ideas.
He is now 6.5 months and has jumped up 15 percentile points and is no longer being fed or rocked to sleep!
Around 1 month ago, he finally showed us signs that he was ready to go to sleep on his own and we tried sleep training again – we suspected he was not enjoying the previous hands-on methods we’ve used, so we used mantra checks instead. On the first night of this, he was asleep after 1 hour and 20 mins of on and off protesting and he then slept for a solid 8 hours. We have never looked back! Since that night he has gone to sleep from awake in his cot within a few minutes (or up to 15 mins if it’s a bad day) for every nap and night sleep (other than an occasional pram and car naps).
I feel like a completely different person to the mother holding her baby to sleep for every nap and feeding to sleep for hours at night, only to wake a few hours later. The difference is astounding.
He generally sleeps from 7 pm to around 5:30 am when I am still offering one night feed due to his low weight and then back to sleep until 7 am. Hopefully, we can wean off this feed and move to a 7 am feed as we’ve gotten as close as a 6 am wake up. His naps aren’t perfect but can often get two 1hr – 1h15min naps in a day, but sometimes his afternoon naps are only one cycle. I’d love to see him increase his afternoon naps, but his morning naps are often his longest and I am hesitant to wake him from those incase he only does a short afternoon nap too. I admit I haven’t done any long resettling efforts for naps, usually only 15-20 mins max which does sometimes result in a resettle. We are mostly just so grateful for the huge improvement in such a short time, and we will now focus on extending his days naps a little and eventually losing the night feed.
Thank you for your resources and for your personal support – they have been very useful and reassuring!
Many thanks
Reiki Energy Healing with Karen

Reiki Energy Healing with Karen

This is a little bit different from one of my usual parenting blogs but I actually think it’s one of THE MOST IMPORTANT. Today I’m talking self-care and why as a parent self-care is a MUST. Unless you practice self-care how can you give to your children?

Just over 12 months ago I started on my energy healing and reiki journey completing the holistic approach to wellness for parents. In modern-day Australia, we are living without the traditional village. Parents have little or no outside support, they are exhausted and are often running on empty. In order to give, you, as the parent need to feel well-rested and healthy.

The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. So Reiki is actually “spiritually guided life force energy.”

Reiki is Japanese in origin and is passed down from teacher to student. Examining your energy centres otherwise known as chakras it identifies blockages that need re-aligning. You have 7 chakras in total, including, root (red), sacral (orange), solar plexus (yellow), heart (green or pink), throat (blue), third eye (indigo) and crown (purple).

While Reiki is spiritual in nature, it is not a religion. It has no dogma, and there is nothing you must believe in order to learn and use Reiki. In fact, Reiki is not dependent on belief at all and will work whether you believe in it or not.

Because Reiki comes from God, many people find that using Reiki puts them more in touch with the experience of their religion rather than having only an intellectual concept of it.

Reiki can be a touch or no-touch technique, re-aligning your chakra’s or energy centres so they are positively charged and are flowing correctly. Illness or dis-ease is thought to result from a blocked chakra or one out of alignment.

https://www.reiki.org/faq/whatisreiki.html

In my practice, I use a pendulum to diagnose a blocked chakra. I then use a no-touch technique to re-align your chakra’s by placing my hands above the chakra centres of your body. Using the beautiful sound of Tibetan singing bowls, charging and activating your chakra’s and other sound equipment including Koshi chimes and a crystal pyramid.

My reiki practice is in the Usui tradition and I was taught with Athina Bailey via the Temple in Surry Hills and Studio Blueprint.

Included in the energy healing session is a Point of Light Crystal Energy Healing. This is a healing meditation using crystals, meditation aromatherapy essential oils and visualisation techniques. My Point of Light teacher is Kassandra Scardino from The Temple in Surry Hills, now of Studio Blueprint.

This is a new service I’m adding to my baby and toddler sleep consultancy and one I’m really excited to offer to you. If you’re feeling depleted, stressed, anxious or depressed it may be just the thing to help you function and thrive in your parenting. In future blogs I’m delving into sound as a healing therapy and the benefit of sound baths.

Healing The Inner Child

Healing The Inner Child

Reflecting on Childhood

Before you even think about having a baby you will start to reflect on your own childhood. You will find yourself examining the ways in which your parents raised you. There may have been ways you were were parented which are in direct conflict with your own desire to raise a child. Some of these thoughts and decisions are brought about by the concious mind. These are thoughts and experiences which we readily recall and sit not far from the surface.

The Subconcious

What is far more interesting and far more important is the experiences and emotions which you have buried deep within your subconcious. This is your inner child. Your inner child is the reservoir of all your childhood exerpriences, positive and negative. To become a ‘whole’ parent it is really important to focus on your inner child and give healing to her. Otherwise parenting has this nasty habit of unleashing the Jack in the Box to come and get you. The Jack in the Box is an analogy for all your hurts and disappointments as a child.

Emotional Memory

Our own babies and children can stimulate our own childhood memories extremely powerfully. Our closeness to them can trigger many of the experiences we felt as a child. What our children do is rekindle the dormant emotional memory we had in childhood. It can be triggered by any intense emotion that reminds us of that or similar event. They cause old emotions in our subconcious to waft up into our conciousness. Parents often make choices based on emotional memories. It is so important to be in touch with your emotions and to question where these thoughts and feelings are coming from.

Birth Trauma

At the birth of your own child a parent may feel the emotional memory of their own birth trauma. The emotional memories have been pushed towards the surface because of the heightened sensations. This can result in you reliving your own birth trauma. This is why dads can faint at delivery.

Labour and Delivery

During labour and delivery the Jack in the Box can come out as the mum experiences another level of pain and a feeling of being out of control. Her inner child is feeling another level of pain sending her to another plane of existence. In order to labour effectively she needs to control her thoughts and her mind. Once the mum starts to panic, feeling an overwhelming sense of loss of control she can hit trouble and an obstructed labour. As a midwife I can spot this happening a mile off. The mums who have been subjected to rape or childhood abuse, in particular childhood sexual abuse are more likely to struggle with their inner child and emotional memory. Any pain or trauma will bring those extremely raw emotions they’ve tried to bury rushing to the surface. It can feel raw, visceral and totally overwhelming.

Postnatal Distress

In my outreach days as a Maternal & Child Health Nurse I recall being called out to a mum who was 10 days postnatal. Dad was struggling to manage her and was extremely concerned for her welfare. On arriving at her inner city Melbourne home he led me to her bedroom. She lay on her bed curled up in a fetal position, whimpering and sobbing like a hurt little child. The birth and subsequent exhaustion of those early postnatal days had taken a very heavy toll. She couldn’t move off the bed, she was stuck and almost catatonic and felt suicidal. When I got to the crux of the problem she disclosed that she had been sexually abused by her brother. The pain of the delivery and the subsequent unsettled behaviour of a newborn had brought all these feelings back to the surface. This new baby was a girl and she said she felt out of control as she was frightened about how she was going to protect her little girl when her own mother had failed to protect her. She really was in total overwhelm and her inner child was like a raw scab that was getting picked and picked at till it was raw and bleeding. Fortunately her husband was totally amazing and knew that she needed professional help so had called me.

Mother and Baby Unit

Luckily in Victoria I had access to help and support from the mother and baby units that were located in and around Melbourne. These units allowed the mum to stay and bond with her baby whilst under the care of psychologists and psychiatrists. Every state and territory in Australia should have them but unfortunately this is not the case. The mum and her baby were admitted that very day and we managed to keep her safe and allow her a safe and supportive space to get herself better once again.

This is just an example of what can happen if a mother has a damaged inner child. This is why counselling pre pregnancy can make a huge difference to postnatal outcomes. I’d like to think antenatal care included this as a preventative and positive part of the service and then health care providers can support these mums so much better.

Healing the Inner Child is essential and needs raising as a priority otherwise we are potentially leaving the next generation to disadvantage and negative outcomes. We need to hold and support the mum so she can hold her child.

Motherhood and the loss of self

Adjustment to being a mum & parent

Are you looking for support as a new mum?

You can access my 3 decades of experience as a registered midwife and child and family health nurse via the Nurture Sleep Program. You can take your baby from sleepless to slumber in up to 7 easy lessons across 3 age groups once you join.

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/nurture-sleep-program

🍌 FOODS that promote baby sleep
ROUTINE: easy, flexible, sleep-ready
💡 ENVIRONMENT: getting it right
👶🏽 DEVELOPMENT: changes, how these affect sleep
😴 SLEEP METHODS: secret tips that will change your life

It will stop the guesswork and give you:
A tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep)
Evidence-based
Gentle baby sleep methods
Holistic assessment
Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep-inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep
Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos
Prevention for under 4 months so no need to do sleep training ever
And all at a low $97 for a very limited time

Nurture Sleep Program

Total Sleep Needs of Babies & Toddlers

Total Sleep Needs of Babies & Toddlers

The Developing Brain

Sleep is important for the developing brain and body. By 3 years most children will have slept for more time than all the wakeful activities combined. Many parents worry their baby isn’t getting enough sleep. However, you need to know there is a large variation from baby to baby and toddler to toddler. Just like there is with developmental milestones.

Approximately 25% of children will experience a sleep problem of some kind.

Physiology of Sleep

The Circadian Process – an internal clock dictating periods of wakefulness and sleep based on a light-dark cycle. This is connected to the secretion of melatonin.

The Homeostatic Process – sleep pressure builds up during wakeful hours and is relieved by sleep.

Here are my TOP 5 Tips that you’re winning.

  1. Your baby is going down FULLY AWAKE (not drowsy – there is no drowsy but awake!) and putting themselves to sleep (no sleep crutches)
  2. Your baby can do one long sleep once a day (more than 40 minutes)
  3. Your baby wakes happy from naps
  4. Your baby can get to bedtime happy on the day naps they are getting
  5. You’re happy

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated the sleep needs of babies and children as a guideline. It’s really important to take note of the word GUIDELINE. It is exactly that, a guide, it is not set in stone.

Strong Personalities

Temperament is an important indicator of total sleep needs. The baby with a strong personality is often a resistant day napper and falls towards the lower end of the scale. Culture also plays a large part in how much sleep. Babies in New Zealand get the most sleep compared to babies in SE Asia. Sleep needs are trending lower across many cultures than they ever have. Are these babies getting enough sleep or has modern living compromised their sleep routines together with the adults?

Have a look at these bedtimes from around the world and their bedtimes!

sleep needs and bedtimes

https://www.parentingscience.com/baby-sleep-requirements.html

Sleep Charts

Sleep charts are definitely not the last word on baby sleep requirements. To estimate your baby’s own, individualized needs, you need to supplement information from sleep charts together with your own observations of your baby’s behaviour.

Mindell et al (2009) research 

  • 0-2 month old – Total sleep was 10-19 hours and the average was 13-14.5 hours
  • 2-12 month old – Total sleep was  9-10 hours at night and 3-4 hours in day naps, the average was 12-13 hours
  • 1-3 year old toddlers – Total sleep was 9.5-10.5 hours and 2-3 hours of day naps, the average was 11-13 hours
  • 3-5 year old children – Total sleep was 9-10 hours, the average was 9-10 hours

Longitudinal Swiss Study

Iglowstein et al (2003) tracked 493 Swiss children from birth to 16 years. Here are the sleep patterns they observed for children under the age of 2 years. They may serve as a rough guide to baby sleep requirements.

  • 1 month old – The average baby got a total of 14-15 hours of sleep, 50% of babies got between 13 and 16 hour, 96% of babies got between 9 and 19 hours
  • 3 months old – The average baby got a total of 14-15 hours of sleep, 50% of babies got between 13 and 16 hours, 96% of babies got between 10 and 19 hours
  • 6 months old – The average baby got about 14.2 hours of total sleep, 50% of babies got between 13 and 15.5 hours, 96% of babies got between 10.4 and 18.1 hours
  • 9 months old – The average baby got about 13.9 hours of total sleep, 50% of babies got between 12.8 and 15 hours, 96% of babies got between 10.5 and 17.4 hours
  • 1 year old – The average baby got about 13.9 hours of total sleep, 50% of babies got between 13 and 14.8 hours, 96% of babies got between 11.4 and 16.5 hours
  • 18 months old – The average baby got about 13.6 hours of total sleep, 50% of babies got between 12.7 and 14.5 hours, 96% of babies got between 11.1 and 16 hours
  • 2 years old – The average baby got about 13.2 hours of total sleep, 50% of babies got between 12.3 and 14 hours, 96% of babies got between 10.8 and 15.6 hours

So, as you can see there is a large variation from baby to baby. This blog made me recall a mum from the Inner West of Sydney whose 3 month old baby regularly did 20 hours every single day. Everyone in the mother’s group shot daggers her way! Her 2nd child was equally sleepy.

And just to add more to the mix…

Feeding, Co-sleeping and Sleep

Breastfed babies tend to sleep less.

Studies of 4 week-old infants found that breastfed babies got less sleep than did formula-fed babies (Quillin and Glenn 2004; Quillin 1997).

Cosleeping babies sleep less.

A Swiss study has reported that children over 9 months of age who shared their parents’ beds slept less than did children who slept alone (Jenni et al 2005).

Every baby is different. Try not to worry, most babies will regulate their own sleep needs. And if you need help please contact me. I’d love to help you with your baby’s sleep. 

This article was in response to a question from a mum in my Nurture Sleep Program. To learn more about this program and support group click this link.

Superfine merino sleepwear is better for baby than cotton

7 things you need to know about day naps and baby sleep

3 Reasons Your Baby Needs Good Day Naps

Learn about my new online Nurture Sleep Program. It will stop the guesswork and give you:
✅ A tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep)
✅ Evidence-based
✅ Gentle baby sleep methods
✅ Holistic assessment
✅ Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep-inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep
✅ Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos
✅ Prevention for under 4 months so no need to do sleep training ever
✅ And all at a low $97 for a very limited time
Can you tell Karen is getting rather excited for all you parents who need a good nights sleep and one that happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not just in a blue moon 🌑 .

CLICK on the link below to find out how my new online program can help you and your baby

Nurture Sleep Program

Kind & Gentle Sleep Training Is So Important

Kind & Gentle Sleep Training Is So Important

In exchange for a free phone consult, I asked Gina, my other half’s niece, to write me a blog about her experience. Here it is and I think it will help many other mums get help and know they are not alone.

Blog from Gina

I am lucky enough to know Karen and have been given some wonderful advice by her since our daughter (who just turned 1) joined our family. Karen is someone who I have full faith in because I know she is very qualified in this field, understands babies and most importantly she is KIND and loves babies!  To say Karen knows her stuff about baby development and sleep is an understatement.

Waking a lot at night

Last year we brought home a newborn who slept well and from early on was doing long stints of sleep. When our daughter started and kept waking up 4+ times per night at around 4.5 months old, Karen was the person I called as I thought it wasn’t the best idea to just keep feeding her all those times and hope for the best.
I did not want to be at either end of the spectrum – leaving my baby to cry or feeding to sleep every single time, which would not have been sustainable for anyone.
In that call Karen did me a big favour- she gave me permission to not feed my baby every single time she woke overnight (without making me feel like a horrible mother!). Some feeds were ok as she was still a young baby, but some feeds went.

Needs and Appetites of a 4 Month Baby

Karen explained the needs and appetite of babies and how too many overnight feeds can impact day time appetite and get us into a bit of a muddle (which we were in by that stage). With Karen’s tips, my husband and I were able to respond to nighttime wake-ups and be with our baby in a way that was gentle but also didn’t perpetuate a cycle of waking and feeding for months and months.

Introducing Solids

Karen also gave me tips on introducing solids and making the most of awake time – all extremely helpful and valuable information for new parents. The nighttime waking reduced and we now have a very happy one year old who sleeps brilliantly day and night.
Simply put, Karen is the best … she is knowledgeable, balanced and measured in her advice and most of all kind (to parents and babies) in her approach which is really what you want.
Thank you Karen for everything you do  x
Read more here about introducing solid food.
And my new online Nurture Sleep Program.

It will stop the guesswork and give you:
a tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep) ✅
Evidence based ✅
Gentle baby sleep methods ✅
Holistic assessment ✅
Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep ✅
Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos ✅
Prevention for under 4 months ✅ so no need to do sleep training ever ✅
And all at a low $97 for a very limited time ✅
Can you tell Karen is getting rather excited for all you parents who need a good nights sleep and one that happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not just in a blue moon 🌑 .

CLICK on the link below to find out how my new online program can help you and your baby

Nurture Sleep Program