The Fourth Trimester

The Fourth Trimester

There is little adjustment time for a newborn baby from living and being in the womb to suddenly entering the world; one minute they’re contentedly snuggled in the sanctuary of mum’s tummy, and the next they arrive into an overwhelming reality of lights, cameras and action.

There are a few ways to make transitioning easier for your brand new baby. From the first few moments after birth, through to the next few hours, and even after you’ve gone home, there are things you can do to help your baby be comfortable in the world around them. 

There are a theory babies should be in the womb till 3 months postnatal. But if this was the case, they wouldn’t get out of the birth canal because they’d be too big they are born before they are able to cope with the outside world. Humans are the only mammals who cannot walk and move unaided at birth. Relying on their parent/caregiver for all their essential needs. The first 3 months are a time of more than normal crying and we recognize this as the 4th trimester. It needs special and sensitive management to get a smooth transition to life. 

Babies benefit from lots of love and cuddles and love to be swaddled, almost like being back in the womb. Helping them feel secure and adapt to this new crazy world. Think of this as helping the baby adapt and not as spoiling them. I’ve never seen a baby spoilt with too much love. They’re only little for such a short period of time. Babies who are held and cuddled in a positive way grow to make secure attachments and healthy emotions as adults. Try and ignore, in a polite way, any well-meaning relation who says you are spoiling your baby with too much love! 

Seven Ways To Help Your Baby To Adapt

  1. Cosy Sleep Environment – Swaddling – Dockatot or cocoon-a-baby
  2. Baby Wearing
  3. Dim Lighting
  4. Bathing
  5. Sucking & Regular Feeds
  6. Kangaroo Care is also known as Skin to Skin
  7. White Noise

A Cosy Sleep Environment

Babies love the feeling of snug. The uterus, towards term, had become very snug and there was little room for them to move. Creating this in the outside world is essential to help your baby feel safe and secure and subsequently to be able to sleep well. There are several ways you can do this. One of them is swaddling. The other is layers of heavy blankets to recreate the feeling of the snugness of the womb. However, in a very hot summer in Australia this may not be practical from heat and overheating point of view. Consequently, the swaddle and use of swaddling were created. The cocoonababy and snuggle pod or dock-a-tot also creates a similar environment.

Swaddling

Dim Lighting

Bathing

New babies don’t need a lot of baths as they don’t do a lot to get very dirty! You may decide to only do one bath a day and the rest of the time to do a top and tail daily or twice a day. A top and tail as the name implies consists of washing the face and neck folds and the nappy area.

Keep skincare very simple and avoid soap with perfume and essential oils in it. Suitable cleaning products to help a delicate baby’s skin include QV bath, sorbolene and Dermaveen. Bath products containing lots of ingredients and sodium laurel sulfate should be avoided. Sodium laurel sulfate is a foaming agent and can cause irritated eyes, skin and lead to eczema.

https://www.theguardian.com/chemicalworld/story/0,,1210215,00.html

If your baby dislikes their bath try putting a washcloth on their tummy and pouring warm water onto it. Another tip I’ve used a lot is to place the baby over your forearm and onto their front in the bath. Be careful of course to avoid putting their face into the water! Swish the baby body up and down to calm them. In 30 years this has not failed and I’ve never had a baby continue to cry once I’ve done this. Putting a baby on their front or prone reduces stress and the hormone cortisol.

To clean their eyes and face use separate cooled boiled water (especially for the eyes) and clean from the inside to the out with a damp cotton wool ball, dry with a dry cotton wool ball.

Wash their head or hair once a week to avoid the build up of oils to prevent cradle cap.

Sucking & Regular Feeds

Breastfeeding

Night breastfeeds are important and babies need at least 1-2 breastfeeds.

Prolactin is increased with night feed helping increase and maintain supply for the

following day. By following a strict routine, where baby sleeps through the night by 6 weeks, you risk diminishing your supply, sabotaging your ability to successfully breastfeed. Then baby would probably lose weight and formula creeps in.

During the day following a feed-play-sleep model. Newborn to 6-week babies do well with a feed-play-feed-sleep model. At night it’s a straightforward feed-sleep model.

Formula feeding – generally they need 6-8 formula feeds in 24 hours. The mathematical formula to work out their required amounts in each feed is 150 X weight in KG and divide this by the number of feeds in 24 hours. There is no perfect formula that agrees with ALL babies. Start with a newborn formula or stage one from 0-6 months. When preparing a feed always put the cooled boiled water, hand hot or 40 degrees centigrade, into a bottle and add the exact level scoops next, shake to combine then offer to your baby.

A young baby at 0-6 weeks can generally take 100-160 mls within 20-30 minutes at each feed. My preferred bottle and teat is a Pigeon wide necked peristaltic teat.

Burping or winding is something I generally do and recommend but only for 5 minutes.

Always clean and sterilise feeding equipment.

A useful gadget for formula feeding is Perfect Prep by Tommee Tippee – https://youtu.be/c-5HAUifQ7w

Dummies/Pacifiers

Sucking is a primal reflex and newborn babies can soothe using one. If your baby has reflux or is premature they can be a useful addition to help your baby adapt to extra-uterine life. However, once your baby is 2-3 months of age it is a good idea to wean of them to avoid a 4 month sleep regression. At 3 months the baby has hand awareness and likes to put them into their mouth. Then at 4 months the extrusion reflex makes an appearance and the dummy or pacifier is forcefully ejected from the mouth. Hence the perfect storm of trouble has arrived.

It is better to look at soothing and sleep from a preventative approach and move your baby on at developmental milestones. By continuing to use a dummy or pacifier longterm you are preventing the baby to use their own self-soothe reflex. Preventing the self-soothe reflex being used at 3-4 months has been linked (evidence-based) with sensory processing disorders. This is something we need to be talking about, parents need to know this. When you know things like this you can then make positive parenting decisions.

Kangaroo Care or Skin to Skin

Putting your naked baby on your chest and doing skin to skin can help increase your milk supply and help breast feeding. Especially if you do this within an hour of birth. Kangaroo care, as skin to skin is called when used for premature babies, decreases cortisol and helps keep heart rate and breathing constant, helps feeding and weight gain. If you’re having problems with breast feeding doing skin to skin for half an hour before a feed will help your letdown and supply.

Mums who practised kangaroo care were more likely to breastfeed exclusively and, on average, these moms breastfed three months longer than those who didn’t practice skin-to-skin care, says one study published in Neonatal Network.

Just 10 minutes of skin-to-skin contact reduces babies’ levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and increases levels of the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin, which stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to make babies feel calm and safe, says Ludington in the journal AACN Clinical Issues.

Less stress = better sleep. Premature babies who were cradled skin-to-skin slept more deeply and woke up less often than those who slept in incubators, reported the journal Pediatrics.

https://www.parents.com/baby/care/newborn/kangaroo-care-the-importance-of-a-parents-touch/

White Noise

And these are my top tips for a smooth transition to the fourth trimester.

The Definitive Guide to Soothe PURPLE Patch Crying of Babies

The Definitive Guide to Soothe PURPLE Patch Crying of Babies

As a parent, the moment when you heard your baby’s first cries after birth was probably the most unforgettable and heart-warming. After all, they were the earliest sounds your little one made. As time passes, your infant’s non-stop crying could leave you with so many questions unanswered. This can be a difficult time for a parent, especially when you are clueless if the constant sobbing and screaming is normal or healthy.

Even when your baby is perfectly fine, his or her crying may get worse especially at around two months of age. This difficult period of your little one’s life is called PURPLE crying when he or she starts to sob regularly for long periods of time.

Curious about how this stage negatively affects your newborn’s life? Read on to learn all the important facts about PURPLE crying—including the definition, history, and some parenting tips to soothe the condition.

Everything Parents Should Know About PURPLE Crying

What is PURPLE Crying?

PURPLE crying is a term used by experts and other parents to describe colic or persistent crying. However, since the word “colic” has a negative connotation (in which babies are sick and should be treated medically), more and more people nowadays prefer to use the phrase, “period of PURPLE crying.”

This period of PURPLE crying usually starts at about 2 weeks of age, peaking at 2 months old, then lasting until 4 months of age. At this stage, it’s important to remember that some babies can cry a lot while others far less but they all go through it.

And unlike what the term might suggest, PURPLE crying has nothing to do with your baby’s colour whenever he cries. The acronym was coined by Dr. Ronald Barr, a developmental paediatrician and an expert on infant crying. He came up with the idea of the word in order to reassure parents that colic is simply a normal phase that many babies go through which may include increased and prolonged sobbing. PURPLE crying simply describes the common characteristics of the particular period or phase in a baby’s life.

  • P for Peak of Crying

The letter “P” refers to a baby wailing a lot (regardless whether it’s day or night) which becomes worse as time passes. He or she may cry more often—reaching the climax at two months old and gradually slowing down at three months to four months of age.

  • U for Unexpected

Unexpected crying means that your little one is consolable during mornings but can be very cranky once afternoon and night-time arrive. He or she stops crying then resumes sobbing again for no particular reason which can drive new parents insane.

  • R for Resists Soothing

Soothing your baby during the period of PURPLE crying might not be the easiest task. This is due to the fact that your baby will continue on wailing no matter what kind of soothing you try to do—whether it’s rocking, bouncing, swaying, or even driving around.

  • P for Pain-like Face

This is the particular characteristic in PURPLE crying that worry parents the most and may even lead to them thinking it’s a sign of a disease. Thankfully, there’s a high chance that it’s just a normal phase in your little one’s life. During this period, expect your infant to exhibit a pained expression when crying even when there’s really no pain felt. 

  • L for Long-lasting

Your baby’s cries may seem never-ending during the period of PURPLE crying. In fact, most newborns can cry up to five hours a day or even more which may ultimately exhaust both baby and parents.

  • E for Evening

Your little one may cry the most during the late afternoon and evening. This fact proves to be a challenge to every parent as it’s harder to put your baby to sleep when he’s full-blown sobbing.

What Causes PURPLE Crying in Babies?

Doctors are unsure why infants experience increased and prolonged sobbing during the period of PURPLE crying. They did recognise, however, that humans are not the only ones who go through this stage. In fact, other mammals also tend to exhibit more whimpering and wailing at this early phase of life. 

Do note that increased crying is perfectly normal for babies at this age. With that being said, see a doctor immediately if the crying seems more excessive than usual or if you simply have a gut feeling that something far more serious is happening.

10 Effective Tips to Soothe PURPLE Crying in Babies

By now, you’re probably wondering if there’s something you can do to ease (if you can’t stop) the period of PURPLE crying in infants. Fortunately, there are some methods you can try in order to soothe babies suffering from this developmental phase. Still, it’s important to remember that not all of these tips would work out as all babies are unique in their own different ways.

#1. Try Feeding Your Baby

One of the common reasons why your baby can’t sleep is due to the fact that he or she might be hungry. In order to ease this discomfort, you should feed your little one with food appropriate to his or her age. Two-week-old infants should only take in breast milk while four-month-olds can start eating solid food.

And since feeding is naturally designed to nurture a child, it can ultimately lull him to slumber. Furthermore, the warmth of your arms and breast can also comfort a crying newborn.

It’s important to check your baby isn’t hungry when breastfeeding. Breastmilk can vary in supply and it’s important to get baby weighed on a regular basis in the early weeks and plot their measurements in their child health record on the graph. Average weight gain is 150-200g in the first 3 months. It’s also worth checking for other medical causes and having your baby checked by your GP or Paediatrician to rule out anything organic e.g. reflux.

Did You Know? Breastfeeding releases hormones called prolactin and oxytocin which helps you bond with your baby and reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.

#2. Aid Your Baby in Digestion

Most babies don’t have the ability to burp by themselves which may result in uneasiness and eventually, crying. In order to help infants release the air inside their stomachs, gently lay them on their sides and gently rub their backs. Doing this would ultimately soothe them and even pacify their crying.

#3. Swaddle Your Baby

Another reason why your baby may exhibit unusual crankiness is the fact that he or she might be cold. At a young age, most newborns can’t regulate their body temperature on their own which can eventually lead to fussing and whimpering.

Fortunately, there’s something you can do to ease his or her discomfort. Simply lay down your little one in a safe and flat place. Then gently wrap him or her with a cosy blanket. Make sure not to secure the covers tightly as this can pose risks for your baby’s safety.

#4. Play White Noises

Try playing white or repetitive noises such as a washing machine spinning, a fan turning, or even water pouring to soothe babies. In fact, these repetitive sounds remind infants of the time they spent inside their mum’s womb so they’re more likely to calm down and relax once they heard it.

However, if you opt to purchase an actual white noise machine, it’s recommended to place it at least 7 feet away from your baby’s crib to avoid potential developmental problems.

Did You Know? According to the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), regular exposure to white noise through a sleep machine can affect hearing, speech, and language development.

#5. Give Your Baby a Warm Bath

You may find it surprising that giving your little one a warm bath helps soothe his or her crankiness. This is due to the fact that like white noise, newborns also find the sensation of warm water against their delicate skin similar to the feeling of being inside their mum’s womb.

#6. Massage Your Baby

After bathing your baby, you can also opt to massage him or her to further alleviate discomfort caused by prolonged crying. Use gentle and rhythmic strokes against his or her skin and pour moisturisers or oils to let your hands glide on smoothly.

#7. Sing a Lullaby

Your voice is a very powerful tool you should use in order to calm and relax your baby. In fact, singing lullabies can regulate emotions and stimulate positive reactions. Furthermore, it can decrease stress and anxiety levels, making it one of the top choices when getting your baby to sleep.

#8. Hold Your Baby Close to You

Swaying, rocking, or just simply holding your baby against your chest make calm motions that can pacify his or her crying.

You can also try placing your hand on your baby’s chest and gently rub it back and forth. The soothing touch lets him or her know that you’re safely nearby and ultimately comforts any uneasiness he or she might be feeling.

#9. Shower Your Baby with Kisses

Aside from gently wrapping your arms around your little one, you can make him feel loved and cherished even more by showering him or her with kisses. This loving act ultimately calms down and reduces the tension your crying baby might be experiencing.

#10. Try Making Eye Contact with Your Baby

If all else fails, you have to remember that the simplest things can actually do wonders. 

Try staring deeply at your baby’s eyes in order to distract them from the sensation of excessive crying. Prolonged eye contact can also calm down your little one and even stimulate them with positive emotions.

As parents, it’s normal to get upset or frustrated when your baby starts exhibiting endless crankiness and crying. However, you should know that it’s most probably just part of a period called PURPLE crying when he or she undergoes a developmental phase. Hopefully, with this definitive guide to soothing PURPLE crying in babies, you have a better understanding of this stage in your newborn’s life. With that being said, it’s still best to consult professionals if you feel like something more serious is happening.

If you’re having trouble putting your baby to sleep due to PURPLE crying, you can always consult the baby experts at Nurture Parenting. We offer the Nurture Sleep Program that can take your little one from sleepless to slumber in just seven easy lessons. Contact us today to learn more!

Everything You Need to Know About Baby Sleep: 44 Ways to Get Your Baby to Sleep

Everything You Need to Know About Baby Sleep: 44 Ways to Get Your Baby to Sleep

Sleep promotes your baby’s growth and development and has an overall positive impact on their health and well-being. However, most parents spend countless hours figuring out how to put their baby to sleep. The lack of sleep can negatively impact the baby’s physical and mental development and may even lead to sleep deprivation for the baby and parents.  

Fortunately, there are time-tested and proven techniques to help your baby sleep through the night, thus keeping him or her healthy and happy.

Look no further than this article to know everything about baby sleep, which includes the reasons why infants wake up at night, as well as essential tips on how to put them to bed.

Common Factors Waking Babies at Night

1. Sleep Cycle

It’s perfectly normal for babies to wake 4 to 5 times in the middle of the night because of their short sleep cycle.

Similar to adults, a baby’s sleep cycle is divided into an active sleep cycle (rapid eye movement sleep or REM) and a passive sleep cycle (non-rapid eye movement sleep or non-REM). During the night, your baby naturally moves from one stage of sleep to another and in this transition, they have a tendency to wake up.

However, unlike most adults who can fall back to sleep after waking up, most babies don’t know how to settle back to rest by themselves. It’s also important to know that they don’t start sleeping through the night until they are at least 3 months of age. 

2. Growth and Development

As babies grow older, they start to develop their gross and fine motor skills. They want to practice these newly-discovered skills and might become fussy if they cannot successfully carry out the task. 

These physical milestones can excite infants, which makes it harder for you to settle them down at night.

3. Behavioural Changes

All babies, especially those around 6 or 9 months of age, experience natural behavioural changes. They start to become aware of their surroundings which makes them more likely to be active at night. They also develop separation anxiety during this time, so you can expect clingy behaviour when they realise you’re not at their side. All of these factors ultimately affect their sleep patterns.

4. Overtiredness

Most parents think that a baby who is overtired can sleep better. However, the opposite is true.

When your baby is overtired, he or she is already past the period of sleep-readiness. During this time, your baby has difficulty calming down due to an activated stress response system. This allows the flow of stress hormones inside the baby’s body, which triggers overactivity.

5. Discomfort

Babies aged under 6 months may wake once or twice during the night when they experience hunger, this makes them uncomfortable. However, since babies’ small stomachs are designed for frequent feedings, it’s only natural for them to wake every three hours or so.  Note that once they turn 6 months old, they don’t nutritionally require a night feed which means they can sleep through the night.

Medical conditions, such as acid reflux and teething, can also disrupt the sleep of your baby as they cause pain. Furthermore, cold weather can also have a bad effect on your baby’s sleep, as he or she still doesn’t know how to regulate their body temperature, which is crucial for a good night’s rest.

Overall, both simple (such as being cold) and complex (teething) discomforts can make it harder for your baby to fall asleep.

44 Essential Tips on How to Put a Baby to Sleep

Fortunately, there are time-tested and proven techniques to help both mums and dads put their babies to sleep that can last through the night. To learn more about them, you can consult this extensive list which contains 50 ways you can get your baby to sleep.

#1. Set a Routine for the Day

Consistency is key in putting your baby to sleep. Develop and follow a schedule to help your baby understand that it’s time to rest. This will help your baby learn what to expect next and feel secure. 

Ideally, the routine starts after waking up. You need to feed your baby as soon as he or she wakes up then give them enough playtime to enjoy their surroundings. After a whole day of activities, your baby would be tired and ready to go back to sleep at around the same time each day.

By following a regular schedule, you can ultimately help your baby settle into a healthy sleep pattern that they can easily follow.

#2. Stick to an Early Bedtime

Know that timing is just as important as a routine. If you put your baby to bed late at night, you can increase the chance of overstimulation, which makes it harder for the baby to fall asleep. This can lead to sleep deprivation, which can negatively impact babies’ health. 

To avoid this, it’s a must to stick to an early bedtime. Start slowly by putting your baby to bed 15 minutes earlier each night and examine if their sleeping habits improved.

#3. Avoid Eye Contact at Bedtime

You should avoid making prolonged eye contact with your baby at bedtime, as babies generally find this gesture to be too stimulating and exciting. When you’re putting your baby to sleep, avert your eyes as much as possible to minimise your newborn’s possible interest.

#4. Let Your Baby Burp

It’s important to know that some babies can sleep without having the need to burp. However, you still need to burp your baby while he or she is asleep to release air that can make them spit up and cranky. This can eventually wake the baby at night in pain due to trapped gas.

By burping your baby, you can be ensured that they will have a comfortable rest through the night.

#5. Stretch Out Feeding Time

A baby’s digestive system is fit for small and frequent feedings, and this is why you need to feed your newborn every three hours or so.

However, when babies turn 3 months old, you can start stretching out your baby’s feeding time, especially during the night. Try adding a half-hour in between feedings to help the baby have longer stretches of sleep during the night. This will eventually turn into a healthy habit and help the baby become less dependent on you to fall asleep.

#6. Limit Caffeine When Breastfeeding

You should cut your coffee consumption if you’re breastfeeding, as caffeine can be passed to your baby through breast milk. This can wake them up and even make them fussy. However, the results are not instantaneous, as it may take a few days to a week after you eliminate the caffeine from your breast milk. 

Tip: Limit your daily caffeine intake to less than 300 milligrams, as excessive amounts can stimulate the baby.

#7. Avoid Rushing to Feed

Most newborns find it difficult to sleep through the night because their bodies need food to aid in their growth and development. You can feed your baby to calm them down. However, you should avoid rushing to this method at night, especially if your baby only emits a small sound. Give him or her enough space and time to doze off on their own, as babies are often capable of self-soothing actions.

The sooner you teach your baby that waking up at night won’t result in instant feedings, the more likely he or she be able to sleep through the night.

#8. Co-Sleep with Your Baby

Numerous experts stated that co-sleeping can help your child develop positive qualities. This includes comfort with physical affection and confidence in one’s own sexual gender identity. Furthermore, it also develops an optimistic perspective on life.

However, co-sleeping doesn’t necessarily mean you have to share the bed with your newborn. In fact, bed-sharing is dangerous as you can roll over onto the baby or even suffocate your baby with the bedding. Instead, try placing your hand on your baby while he or she is in a bassinet. This method is far more effective and safer to help your newborn fall asleep.  Don’t forget, co-sleeping is sharing the room with your baby and not sharing the bed.

#9. Try Warming up the Sheets

Placing the baby on cold sheets, especially in the wintertime, is not going to help your little one drift off to sleep faster. To help your newborn feel more relaxed and fall asleep, you can warm up their sheets using the dryer or a hot water bottle, creating a warm and cosy environment to help him or her feel sleepy. However, it is important to check that the sheets are a safe, warm temperature for your baby, and not too hot, before placing your baby on them.

#10. Give a Warm Bath

Give your baby a warm bath before putting them to sleep. You may even find it surprising that your newborn loves the sensation of warm water against their skin, as it can remind him or her of being inside a womb. With this, you can also raise your baby’s body temperature, which helps them to relax and eventually fall asleep.

Tip: Do not incorporate toys in the bath and keep the activity low to avoid overstimulating your baby.

#11. Offer a Massage

After giving your baby a warm bath, you can follow it up with a good massage. It can soothe your baby and relax his tense muscles, promoting tiredness and sleepiness.

Just make sure to keep it gentle with rhythmic strokes and use oils and moisturisers as necessary to help your hands glide smoothly over your baby’s skin. You can also hum softly while massaging to make it even more reassuring for the baby.

Did You Know? The best time to give your baby a massage is in between feeding times as he or she is awake, but already settled in and ready for sleep.

#12. Try Yoga

For many babies, sleep can come naturally. However, factors such as home environment and sunlight exposure can make it harder to get your newborn into a sleeping routine. Fortunately, yoga can help your baby sleep at regular intervals. It also develops the baby’s gross and fine motor skills. Furthermore, it can effectively prevent constipation, promote better digestion, and alleviate typical baby crankiness. This ultimately leads to a good night’s rest.     

#13. Drive Around

You can carry and put your baby in the car seat and drive around the neighbourhood until he or she falls asleep. The motion and sound of the car remind your baby of the tranquillity inside the womb. 

Once your newborn has his fists unclenched and facial muscles relaxed to indicate that he or she is in a deep slumber, you can now carefully carry your baby back to their own bed.

#14. Set the Right Bedroom Temperature

It’s important to set keep your home and the baby’s room at a suitable temperature for an infant, as they do not have enough body fat to insulate themselves during the winter months. Keep your baby’s room temperature between 16-20°C to make him or her comfortable, which will promote better sleep.  

#15. Give Your Baby a Cosy Blanket

During their early months, most newborns find it difficult to adjust to their new environment and stay warm to get proper rest.

To aid your baby get good sleep, you should try different ways of swaddling them. Keep the little one secure and warm by wrapping a cosy blanket around him or her. However, you should also be aware that not every infant is fond of swaddling. For instance, older babies like to sleep with loose coverings, as it allows them to move with more freedom.

Tip: Adjust the amount of layering you use according to the sleep habits of your baby and the temperature in their room. 

#16. Let Your Baby Sleep on Their Back

Avoid putting your baby to sleep on his or her side, as the infant can accidentally roll over on their tummy. With this position, the baby is more likely to feel hot and breathe in exhaled air, which can eventually wake them up at night.

Let your baby sleep on their back instead for a night of healthy and longer sleep. Back-sleeping is also a proven way to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.

Did You Know? Stomach sleeping increases the risk of SIDS by 1.7% to 12.9%.

#17. Warm the Bed

Make sure to place your baby in a warm bed, as they can’t regulate their own body temperature as effectively as adults during the cold weather. Try using flannel sheets to protect your baby from the cold. You can also place a hot towel on the bed to warm the sheets, but make sure to remove it before you place the baby in the crib.

#18. Avoid Irritating Sleepwear

You should avoid sleepwear made with synthetic materials, as this can irritate your baby and hinder sleep. Be especially wary of polyester pyjamas because this material can cause allergies and rashes for your baby. Instead, switch to cotton sleepwear to eliminate the risk of discomfort.

#19. Consider Fragrances

Some toddlers can be lulled to sleep with refreshing scents, such as lavender and chamomile. These oils provide essential benefits that can help relax and relieve anxiety in infants.

Tip: Avoid using fragrances around babies less than 12 months old, as their noses and skin are more sensitive to chemicals.  

#20. Stay Quiet

Most babies can block out disturbing noises while they are asleep. However, you should still avoid making sudden noises, as these can easily startle and wake your baby up. Make it a point to put your phone in silent mode and turn off other noisy electronic devices before getting your infant to sleep.

#21. Speak in Soft Tones

If you need to wake your baby for their regular night-time feeds, you should do it in the softest way. Speak in calm, soothing tones to help baby stay at a drowsy state. Your voice is a powerful stimulus for your baby, and comforts them since it lets them know they are safe, eventually helping them drift to sleep peacefully.

#22. Play White Noise

Since white noise is similar to the sounds of their mum’s womb, most babies find it calming and relaxing. 

Try playing repetitive sounds, such as a fan turning, water pouring, and clock ticking, to help your baby fall asleep. You can even record the loud sounds of a running vacuum cleaner or a spinning washing machine to comfort your baby and help him or her fall sleep. 

Tip: Keep white noise levels between 50-65dB to ensure your baby gets a good night’s rest.

#23. Sing Lullabies

Music is an excellent way to lull your infant to sleep. It helps regulate emotions and stimulate positive reactions. In fact, a study has shown that singing can calm babies more effectively compared to talking. It can relieve your baby’s stress levels, helping him or her to fall asleep easily. 

Furthermore, the use of lullabies releases a hormone called oxytocin which helps you create a stronger bond with your child. It also establishes a routine for your newborn that fosters familiarity in sleeping methods.

#24. Turn Off the Lights

According to an article published by the Physiological Reports, children’s eyes let in more light compared to adults. As a result, this makes it more difficult for them to fall asleep with a light source on.

To avoid this, keep your baby’s room dark and block out all possible light to help them get a good night’s rest. By doing this, you can ultimately teach your baby the difference between day and night. So, make sure to turn the lights off during his night time sleep and keep things bright during daytime naps. This can help him establish a good sleep routine.

Tip: Avoid putting a television in your baby’s room as exposure to blue light which has a bad effect on sleep.

#25. Limit Light Sources

When you need to feed your baby in the middle of the night, you should avoid turning all the lights, since this can be disruptive of the baby’s sleep. Instead, keep light sources minimal to avoid overstimulation.

#26. Relieve Pain from Teething

Teething can start as early as at three months and continue until your toddler turns two. This can cause discomfort and pain, which ultimately result in sleeping problems.

You should look out for obvious teething indicators, such as drool on the bedsheets, swollen and tender gums, and even fever. You can try adding cold pressure to distract your baby from the sensation of pain. If he or she desperately needs relief from immense pain, you can give your baby appropriate doses of painkillers, such as acetaminophen.

Tip: Get a doctor’s permission first before administering analgesics, as some drugs can irritate your baby’s stomach.

#27. Check Your Baby’s Nose

Keep your baby’s nasal passages clear to ensure normal, unobstructed breathing at night to keep the little one asleep. Make sure to remove items that can cause allergies, such as feather pillow, fuzzy blankets, and stuffed toys from the baby’s crib to avoid congested breathing passages.

If your infant is prone to allergies, you can invest in a HEPA-type air filter. Such filters not only remove airborne irritants, but it also provide “white noise” (the natural hum of the air filter) that can help your baby sleep.

#28. Change Soiled Nappies

You can simply leave wet diapers alone at night, especially if it doesn’t bother your baby and he or she is able to sleep through the night.

However, it’s a must to change soiled nappies as soon as possible because poop irritates your baby’s skin and can even cause rashes and bladder infections.

After changing the soiled diaper, it’s your goal to put your baby back to sleep so you should avert your eyes away from him or her to avoid possible overstimulation. You should also get in and out of his room as quickly as possible.

Tip: Use a barrier ointment that contains petroleum jelly or zinc oxide to protect your baby’s bottom and minimise irritation.

#29. Hold Your Baby’s Hand

The simple act of holding your baby’s hand lets them know that you’re there which makes your little one more likely to doze off to sleep. It also keeps your baby’s body temperature warm and helps regulate their breathing and heart rates. Furthermore, this intimacy and closeness reduces crankiness and crying, which leads to a peaceful rest at night.

#30. Give Your Baby Hugs and Kisses

Making your baby feel loved and cherished helps them feel calm and comfortable. Snuggle with your newborn before bedtime and shower them with little kisses to make them feel safe and secure in your arms. This loving act ultimately allows your baby to sleep longer and deeper.

#31. Give Your Baby a Pacifier

Sucking on a pacifier      has a soothing and calming effect to help your baby sleep easily. It can be used at both naptime and bedtime and can even help your little one settle back to sleep. It’s also safe when left out in your baby’s mouth. Just make sure it’s soft enough to prevent pain if he or she rolls onto it.

#32. Read a Book

Although your newborn is too young to understand what you’re saying, reading should be all about the bonding formed between you and your baby.

Cap off the long day by reading a bedtime story for your infant. You should use a soothing voice to relax and persuade him or her to sleep. Make sure to do this every day to give your baby a sense of familiarity in the routine, which provides certain expectations regarding the ideal time for bed.

#33. Have Someone to Put Baby to Bed

For most babies, their mum’s mere presence is enough to stimulate and excite them, preventing them from falling asleep. If this continues to be a persistent problem, try having someone else put your baby to bed. Sometimes, dads can be the perfect solution to babies’ daily night-time waking.  

#34. Know the Right Time to Move Your Baby

It’s perfectly normal to have your baby inside your room to immediately attend to their needs during the night without having to walk down the hallway. However, you should know the right time when to transition your baby from their bassinet to crib. 

Ideally, you can move him to a crib at around 3 months, as he or she will eventually be too big for their bassinet. With this, you can give your baby enough freedom to move around and ultimately provide a good night’s rest.

#35. Avoid Clutter in the Room

The presence of mess in a baby’s room can disorient him and makes it harder for your baby to fall asleep. Prevent this from happening by getting rid of all the clutter found in the room. You should also remove unnecessary bedding in the crib, as it increases the chances of choking and suffocation.

#36. Give Your Baby Enough Naps

Most parents think that when they let their babies skip naps, they increase the chances of the baby sleeping longer at night. However, the opposite is true.

When your baby skips naps, their stress hormones increase, leading to overtiredness. You should give your baby the proper amount of naps he or she requires for mental and physical growth. Furthermore, by letting your baby nap, you have enough time to do other things, such as taking a shower and checking emails.

#37. Play During the Day

Playtime is an important part of childhood development. It allows children to use their creativity and imagination. It also contributes to their social, cognitive, physical, and emotional well-being. Furthermore, it provides a good bonding experience for both parent and child.

It’s important to know that the schedule of your baby’s playtime can affect his or her sleep. Therefore, you should make sure to play with your baby during the day to help lengthen his awake time. This will ultimately help him sleep longer periods during the night.

Tip: Avoid playtime during the night as this can stimulate your baby. Instead, focus on settling your baby straight back to sleep after feeding him at night.

#38. Let Your Partner Comfort the Baby

Give your baby time with your partner to let them nurture a loving relationship with your infant as well.

You may even find it helpful to have your partner participate during night-time waking periods to comfort the baby without having to resort to feeding. By doing this, you are letting your infant know that nursing isn’t available all the time, thus preventing bad habits to form. 

#39. Put Your Baby to Bed When Fully Awake

Most parenting blogs and community advise parents to put their babies to bed when they are drowsy. However, doing so as this causes sleep associations which ultimately prevents babies from self-settling at a young age.

Always put babies to sleep when they’re fully awake.     

#40. Invest in Baby Sleep Books

Baby sleep books contain hundreds of relevant information to help your baby sleep. Consider investing in them to learn other facts you haven’t known yet. You might even be surprised when you find that the one new trick you learned about can solve your baby’s problem.

#41. Look for Signs of Tiredness

Look out for cues that indicate your baby is tired so you can immediately put him or her to bed. Some tell-tale signs are yawns, whines, and rubbing of eyes. If you miss these signs, your child can become overtired and his or her body will be overstimulated with a stress-related hormone called cortisol.

It’s a must to pay careful attention to your baby’s “tired cues” to avoid overtiredness and eventually make it easier for them to sleep at night.

#42. Consider Your Baby’s Moods

In order to help your baby sleep through the night, consider his night-time temperaments. Determine whether your baby is a natural self-soother who has no problems sleeping at night or one who constantly needs attention. Adjust the sleeping methods you use according to your baby’s behaviours as there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to baby sleep.

For instance, a baby with self-soothing sleep temperament can easily drift off to sleep once you put him down to his bed. In contrast, a baby who’s a “signaller” has a tendency to wake up during the night and can even cry out.

Fortunately, your baby’s sleep skills are learned behaviour. They will eventually learn to adapt and sleep without your help, so it’s a must to start them early.

#43. Hire a Baby Sleep Consultant

Raising a baby on your own is no easy feat, so whether you’re a new mum or a mum of three, consider hiring a baby sleep consultant to help your baby sleep. Working with an expert will not only improve your child’s sleeping pattern, but can also have a positive impact on your family’s overall well-being.

Want to reap these numerous benefits of having a consultant work with you and your baby to ensure optimal sleep for your little one? Nurture Parenting, the baby sleep consultants in Sydney, offers a holistic approach to baby sleep that can take him from sleepless to slumber in just 7 easy lessons through their Nurture Sleep Program.

#44. Consult a Doctor

If you’ve tried every possible technique listed above and you still find your infant waking up regularly and seemingly in pain, you should have your baby checked by a doctor.

Your baby’s night waking might be caused by a common condition known as gastroesophageal reflux, or GER. It happens when stomach contents come back up into the oesophagus due to a malfunction in the muscle, which causes pain similar to heartburn. In worst cases, it may even prevent your infant from feeding. It’s important to look out for the other symptoms such as:

  • bloating
  • chest pain
  • chronic cough
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty swallowing
  • fussiness
  • lump in throat
  • rashes
  • wheezing

As a parent, it’s important to educate yourself on common medical conditions seen in children and consult a doctor as soon as possible to keep your baby safe and give everyone in the family a more peaceful night’s sleep.

With this extensive list of time-tested and proven techniques, you can certainly find a way to get your baby to sleep, thus improving the well-being of the whole family.

Tips to Sharing a Bedroom with Young Siblings

Tips to Sharing a Bedroom with Young Siblings

As a parent, you may have run out of bedrooms to house all your children in separately. Or you may be joining a growing number of parents who have decided sharing a bedroom is a positive value you’d like to teach your children. After all, how do you learn the skill of being able to share unless you are exposed to it?

Sharing A Bedroom

Children as young as three years of age are able to be taught the skills and value of sharing. Unless you actively seek to teach this, it is unlikely to occur by osmosis and chance. I’m sure you’ve come across some adult members of society who are poor sharers.

What Age Can Siblings Share A Bedroom?

Basically you can put siblings to share a room whenever you feel ready to do this and once they are able to self-settle. Ideally around 6 months plus. Sharing a room can help a toddler who feels lonely or who has separation anxiety. It models positive behaviours and teaches good life values. I’m sure many of you reading this will have shared a room with a sibling.

Introducing The Idea of Sharing a Bedroom

I recently did a phone consultation with a mum I’ve helped several times with both of her young children. One of these children is an extremely strong temperament. He dislikes changes in routine and can regress badly. Baby number three is on the way and mum would like her child number one and two to share a bedroom for many reasons.

  • It teaches the skill of sharing
  • Empathy for another’s needs
  • It teaches negotiation skills
  • Reduces jealousy
  • Reduces loneliness
  • Models positive sleep behaviours
  • Helps with bedtime
  • Help comfort a child who may suffer from nightmares or other bedtime related fears
  • Teaching kids how to respect other people’s property
  • Conflict Resolution

Child number one is just over 4 years of age and child number two is approaching two years of age. The family is moving house in two weeks and this will be implemented from the start of the home move. So how do you set the scene for this to be the norm?

bedroom sharing

Tips for Sharing a Bedroom

  • Introduce the concept of sharing via bedtime books – I use storybooks to address many issues – examples include – Trace Moroney – The Feelings Series, Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson, This Room is Mine by Betty Ren Wright (an oldie and a goodie), Zoe’s Room by Bethany Deeny Murguia.
  • Use examples of other children who share a bedroom and if possible show them pictures of what sharing a bedroom looks like.
  • Get them to help set up the new bedroom with you so they feel involved.
  • Make sure each child has their own personal space within the bedroom.
  • Give each child their own lamp and bedside table
  • Separate bedtimes for different age groups, this enables the younger child to get to sleep before the older child goes to bed. This reduces disruptions of talking and laughing. Separate out bedtimes by 30-60 minutes depending on the age of the children.
  • Allow the older sibling to have several periods of alone time in the bedroom every day
  • Trying to put them both down at the same time could mean that neither of them sleep! Do a bit of experimenting; you may find it easier to put the fussier one down first or the other way around.
  • Expect disruptions and regressions as they both adjust to the new room sharing. When you change things they always get worse and escalate before they get better. It takes 7-10 days to change a routine.
  • Introduce some simple house and sharing bedroom rules e.g. no talking after the lights go out, if one of them is asleep in the morning do not wake them, leave the room quietly and let them sleep a little longer.
  • Start with bedtime first then day naps to follow.
  • Remember the foods high in tryptophan and give a snack before bed eg cheese and crackers to promote getting to sleep.
  • Keep the bedroom as a bedroom and a place for sleep and not a toy room. If possible have a separate place for toys or put them away before bedtime.
  • Try and do bathtime together to encourage the concept of sharing.
  • Use labelled praise for positive sharing behaviours.
  • Stick to a positive bedtime routine that works for both children. Remember that routines create security.
  • Sharing takes work and patience and you may need to be a referee at times. However, remember the referee needs to above all, be fair and reasonable to both children.
  • https://www.kidspot.com.au/parenting/child/child-sleep/how-your-kids-can-share-a-bedroom-without-you-losing-sleep/news-story/bc1603b8043dc636ed1f12097404f9cb
siblings sharing a bedroom

Developmental stages & baby sleep

Developmental stages & baby sleep

Today’s blog is looking at things we need to know about baby development and baby sleep. Moving babies on to the next stage cause mums a lot of angst. You’ve just got your little cutie sleeping really well then comes along those pesky developmental leaps. They start rolling over, moving around the cot and getting stuck and screaming out for you to help them.

I also see many babies being swaddled for way too long, often swaddled until 7/8 months old creating a big issue with sleep. This interferes with their ability to self-soothe and rollover. If your baby can’t put their bare hands in their mouth and roll over its very tricky to achieve a sleep through. Research has found a link between lack of mouthing and sensory processing issues. This reflex and developmental skill for mouthing i.e. placing their hands in their mouth take place around 12 weeks.

These are really common scenarios I get asked about:

My 4.5-month-old just learnt how to roll today! Yay! Only she can’t roll herself back and for her last two periods of sleep she could not settle herself as she’s never slept on her tummy before and essentially “got stuck”.

It took half an hour for us to settle her – eventually on her back like she’s used to. But how do we teach her that she can sleep on her tummy and not only use it for cobra pose??

Worried about her getting to bed tonight 😳 Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

Best thing I can tell you is that it will pass. In future try settling her on their tummy to teach her that tummy sleeping is normal and what she should be doing. Once they can roll they are not a SIDS risk. This stage is a pretty short-lived thing so just keep rolling him to his back to sleep and after some nights she will be able to just roll both ways and it will be fine.

Sit by the cot, place your hand briefly on her back to teach her this is what you want her to do. Allow her to cry and feel frustrated. You don’t need to calm her, the baby’s job is to calm themselves. Your job is to be present and support this process.

baby sleep

But you don’t want to create “learned helplessness” where they need you to roll them – temporarily it’s OK if it’s just a learning curve but be careful. And lots and lots of rolling practice in the day! Use toys to teach him to roll front to back. And know that it will pass!

The next stage is 6-9 months and they get stuck sitting up 🙈😂 just know it will pass and help him/her work through it and settle him down, lots of teaching in the day etc. good luck!! Oh, and just in case it helps…a few bad nights of them learning these new things doesn’t undo your sleep work. They are just leaping their brains! It does go back 🙂

Then you have the 6-8 month leap and separation anxiety hits the big time.

This is one mums story – For those who have not long gone through 8-month leap and separation awareness. My poor little pet is now crying when I put her in bed AND catnapping, she also woke at 4.30 am which is unusual. I tried magic presence this afternoon. After a 30 min nap. 20 minutes of crying 😭 (I had earphones in to take the edge off) how long did this last for you?
I’d love your tips and any advice you can offer about how to deal with the waking?

  • My son has been through this stage a few time’s (6, 8 and 11 months) he turns 1 tomorrow. If she responded well to your initial sleep training, it won’t take long. First, 2 stages lasted 2-4 days and the last one just 1 day. You’ll both get there!!
  • My lad is still going through at nearly 11 months, I’m sorry, not helpful but we kept giving in and putting him in bed with us and now have made it so much harder for him so my advice is don’t be as soft as me because you’ll only make it harder for him like I have for my lad
  • my first baby was a dreadful sleeper. This time we decided to be firm early. I’m hoping that this won’t last too long. I get anxious about big changes because of past experiences 😱
  • We went through separation anxiety a few months ago and impacted his sleep he would panic when we put him in the cot and I checked some previous posts on the group and Karen had advised to going back to doing Magic Presence as soon as settling to sleep so we went back to doing magic presence for about 5 weeks-  and within a few days it all got sorted and was so worth it. It also really helped his separation anxiety during the day. It really does get better – you got this 🙌🏻
  • We just go through it 😫😫 I was being soft like above picking up and cuddling. Karen advised to go back to doing Magic Presence and I’m happy to report that after a few days of tough love (magic presence, no pickups at all) she cried for maybe 2 minutes before bed last night then put herself to sleep without me having to go in. Day naps have also improved too! Be strong you can get through it xx
And literally within no time, things are back on track. And if they’re not then you need the new online Nurture Sleep Program to help you.
12 Signs That You Have an Overtired Baby

12 Signs That You Have an Overtired Baby

Most parents will agree that taking care of a baby isn’t an easy task. But it is also important to know that it gets more challenging when dealing with an overtired baby.

Overtiredness means that your baby’s body is past the point of being ready for sleep. During this time, your baby’s stress response system is activated. Stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, flood the bloodstream and make it harder for your baby to calm down and relax. The more overtired your baby becomes, the harder it is for him to fall asleep. 

This can become a pattern and even worsen the condition of your overtired baby over time. However, this should not be the case especially if you’ll be able to recognise the signs of an overtired baby as soon as they manifest. 

Clueless? Here’s an infographic from Nurture Parenting that presents 12 signs that will tell you what to  take note of to know if you have an overtired baby.

12 Telltale Signs of an Overtired Baby

12 Telltale Signs of an Overtired Baby

What Causes Overtiredness in Babies

An overtired baby is someone who is too tired to sleep. Oftentimes, this baby exhibits crankiness or signs of irritability. 

Here are the other factors affecting an overtired baby:

  1. Sleep deprivation
  2. Skipped naps
  3. Late bedtime
  4. Unrestful sleep

12 Signs that You Have an Overtired Baby

#1. Yawns

This is one of the most common signs to check for an overtired baby. Like other people, your baby will yawn when he’s tired. To keep your little one from becoming an overtired baby, it is best to let him go to sleep before the third yawn.

#2. Hand Movements

Another indication that your baby’s tired is when he starts to rub his eyes, eyebrows, or head. Pulling of ears is another common sign among overtired babies. 

TIP: Most of the time, a baby is already sleepy or tired when he reaches for the top of his head and rub the part.

#3. Changes in Facial Expressions

Parents need to observe their babies during their active state as well as when they are already drowsy. Once you notice a change in your baby’s facial expression from happiness to grumpiness, you may already be dealing with signs of an overtired baby.

#4. Blank Stares 

Have you noticed that your baby is not looking at you directly? Your baby has a tendency to stare blankly into the distance if he is tired.

Aside from blank stares, an overtired baby may also show:

    • Difficulty in maintaining eye contact 
    • Closing of eyes when you’re trying to interact

#5. Body Stiffness

Your baby might clench his fists to indicate his tiredness. Your overtired baby may also have tense body movements from his hands and legs.

#6. Latching Difficulty

An overtired baby may also show difficulty in latching and might cry at your breast.

Did you know: In older babies, the act of throwing anything in their hands, such as food and toys, is one sign of overtiredness.

#7. Self-soothing Acts

Does your baby suck his own thumb? Or is he rooting for a pacifier? These are common responses if you happen to ignore the signs of an overtired baby. They resort to self-soothing actions to comfort themselves when they are already tired.

#8. Lack of Interest

Instead of being playful and alert to people, an overtired baby can start to lose interest in their surroundings. This includes rejecting their favorite food or toy.

#9. Clingy Behaviour

Surprised that your baby is suddenly clingier than normal? This is another sign your baby yearns for sleep. It can be displayed in different ways depending on each individual baby. For instance, your overtired baby might cry and beg for you to hold them.

Did you know: Parents aren’t the only one who has to deal with separation anxiety, babies have them too. And when it comes to this, babies often ignore their dads and cling more to their mums.

#10. Autonomic Signals

These refer to signals that become apparent without your baby’s conscious control. All of these examples are signs of an overtired baby:

    1. Sneezing
    2. Sweaty palms
    3. Quick breathe
    4. Hiccups
    5. Blueness around the mouth in infants

#11. Overactivity

You might interpret this as a sign that your baby is ready to play. However, it can also tell that your baby is having sleep difficulties. An overtired baby will become physically active as the awake period wears on.

Awake time guidelines:

    • Newborn (0-2 months old) = 45 minutes to 1 hour
    • 6 months old = 2 hours
    • Toddler (12-36 months old) = 4 to 5 hours

#12. Whimpers and Cries 

An overtired baby would often begin to fuss, whimper, and even cry when they can’t sleep. Babies resort to these acts to communicate what they need and want.

Every infant is unique and so are the signs that indicate you have an overtired baby. As parents, you’d want to make sure that you’re reading your baby’s signals correctly. This way, you will be able to address specific needs and give them quality sleep. 

Need help in getting your overtired baby to sleep? Nurture Parenting offers baby sleep training for parents who are having trouble caring for an  overtired baby. With years of experience teaching many newborns how to self-settle, our Nurture Sleep Program is a tried-and-tested approach that can help your little one sleep through the night. Learn more by contacting us today.

Did you find this article helpful? Visit our blog regularly for more informative articles about baby sleep training.