“My in-laws are coming to visit for a week and are under the impression that babies will sleep through anything and that they just need to “get used to” the noise. What are your thoughts on this issue? Is it possible for it to be too noisy for baby?” Read more
Today, our question comes from Crysta, and she writes, “Is it better to take the dummy (pacifier) away first, and then try to keep my son in his own bed? Or is it better to get him sleeping in his own bed, and then take the pacifier away?”
I love this question, Crysta. It’s one I get asked often, and it has to do with props. Many children have more than one sleep prop.
I hear that all the time. I know its an old wives tale. Your grandmother probably told you, Oh, put cereal in a bottle with breast milk or the formula, and this baby will sleep all night. The truth is that is not true.
You want to be very careful and cautious about when you introduce solids to your baby. Theres a lot of evidence that suggests starting solids too early can lead to some allergies in the future. Read more
Most of us have noticed that babies sometimes have a flat spot at the back of their heads. And while its no cause for alarm, it can be a bit unsettling if it appears on your own baby.
This condition is referred to as plagiocephaly, and the most common form (positional plagiocephaly) happens when babies spend a lot of time lying on their backs, as babies often do. Infants skulls are soft and pliable, which means prolonged pressure against a mattress or a blanket on the floor can create a flattened area. Read more
Is your baby banging their head?
All parents of toddlers have witnessed the full body flailing of their enraged child. It is something to behold. Kids definitely don’t hold back when they’re angry or upset! This can be disconcerting to the parent, but even more disconcerting is when your toddler repeatedly bangs her head against the wall or the sides of her cot or the floor for apparently no reason at all. Read more
Thought about using Melatonin?
For overtired parents who cant seem to get their kids on a healthy sleep schedule, the promise of a magic pill can be pretty enticing.
But it seems to me that more and more doctors and parents are turning to melatonin as a Band-Aid for sleep issues with their children. I get emails every day from people telling me they are giving their babies melatonin to help them fall asleep at night, and I have serious concerns about this. Read more
We all need a good night’s sleep, but for our children it’s even more important that they get enough sleep because otherwise they may suffer problems both now and in the future. But just why is sleep so important to a child’s health and well being? In this article we’ll look at seven reasons why children need a good night’s sleep, and what can happen if they don’t get enough sleep. Read more
Baby Won’t Sleep Cause of Sickness?
As parents, we want to see our children healthy and happy. There is nothing that grieves you more than when your child is in pain and you can not do much to help. My daughter Chloe suffers from Asthma and has done since she was born, she has a constant cough and in the winter a continuous cough, which carries on throughout the night. The nights I have had to tend to her and give her medication, she takes it and always goes back to her cot with rarely any fuss. But it is upsetting to see her this way.
When your baby is ill, they are often fussy, uncomfortable, and have difficulty sleeping. The regular nighttime routine will be flipped upside down and previous soothing techniques will not work. For example, your baby who has started sleeping through the night may suddenly start waking up several times or a baby who loves the car may scream all the way home.
Colds, diarrhoea, and fever are just a couple of illnesses that can be caused by harmless viruses and tend to go away on their own. Babies are born with some of their mother’s immunity to illness, further enhanced by breastfeeding; they are not immune to ever-changing viruses. If you are unsure or worried about your baby’s health do not hesitate to check with your physician.
When a child is sick, sleep is a key ingredient for their recovery. When you have visited your physician/doctor when ill, after prescribing medication they always advise you to get plenty of rest and sleep, this same principle applies to children.
Here are some useful tips to help you deal and prepare with your infant during illness
To understand when your baby is sick, you have to understand what they are like when well and that is what a parent knows best. Nobody understands their child more than the parent or primary child’s career. To understand if your child is ill or if they are recovering, monitor daily their temperature, behavior, temperament, intake of food and liquids, interactions with others, and sleep patterns. These indicators are the best tell-tell signs.
Depending upon the age of your infant, there are only a few over-the-counter medicines allowed, consult your physician and /or pharmacist to ensure you are prepared and fully stocked. Some parents prefer the “Ole Wife’s Tale” style of medicine which is the use of only natural products such as a teaspoon of honey. Do your research and consult a medical professional first, as these could be harmful if an incorrect dosage is administered or the child is not the correct age to be consuming the ingredients.
There are various locations where the temperature of a child can be taken and internet research can give lots of different answers all citing to be the correct “average” temperature of your baby. As a general rule, a temperature of over 37.5 (99.5F) is a fever. The word “fever” can scare and petrify the hearts of any parent. It means “an elevation of body temperature above the normal and is a sign of illness,” such as viral, bacterial, or other types of infection. A fever is not an illness on its own.
There are now various thermometers available on the market and can be very baffling.
- Digital Thermometers – Digital thermometers are quick to use, accurate, and can be used under the armpit, mouth, or rectum.
- Ear (or tympanic) Thermometers – They are put in the child’s ear and can be very annoying and unpleasant for the child.
- Digital Pacifier/Dummy – This is less irritating than an ear or rectal thermometer, it is fast, convenient, and non-invasive. It can also be pleasant if the child is used to a dummy.
- Strip-type Thermometers – Strip-type thermometers, which you hold on your child’s forehead, are not an accurate way of taking their temperature. They show the temperature of the skin, not the body.
- Infrared Thermometer – No contact thermometers. The laser is pointed at the child’s forehead and provides an accurate reading on a digital screen. It is quick, accurate, and can be used on a fidgeting child.
- Mercury-in-glass Thermometers – Mercury-in-glass thermometers haven’t been used for some years. They can break, releasing small shards of glass and highly poisonous mercury.
4. Room Temperature
The ideal room temperature is 16-20ºC. 18ºC (65ºF) is perfect. An infant sleeping in a room that is too hot has an increased risk of Cot Death and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It can be very difficult to estimate the room temperature, so using a room thermometer in the rooms where the baby sleeps and plays is best. To help cool a room, open a window and close the curtains or use a fan, but do not place it directly onto your baby.
Use sleepwear for babies and not t-shirts or other daytime clothing, as baby sleepwear should be fire-retardant. They should never be sweating or hot to the touch, especially in the hands. If you use blankets, loose or soft bedding, tuck it snugly along the sides of the mattress. But not any higher than chest level and a baby’s face should never be covered during sleep. Be sure that you do not tuck blankets so tightly that the baby cannot move. The most appropriate coverage is a “Baby Sleep Bag,” are wearable blanket with armholes and neck openings. They help the baby stay at the right temperature through the night without the problem of traditional blankets and sheets being kicked off or getting tangled up. There are various sizes according to your child’s age, weight, and length. Available in various designs and Tog ratings (describes the level of warmth in a product) and can be worn throughout the year.
5. Food and Drink
A child may not have much of an appetite when sick, so increase their fluid intake to prevent dehydration and constipation. Avoid undiluted sugary drinks such as juice and carbonated drinks, as these can worsen digestive illnesses. Keeping your baby hydrated is very important as dehydration can cause complications and may result in hospitalisation. Monitor for a decrease in urine production, lack of tears, dryness in the mouth and sunken eyes as these are indicators of dehydration.
Once your child has started to recover returning to the bedtime sleep routine, is a benefit for the whole family. Continue to monitor your child, give them medication as and when needed and watch their temperature. Every child needs consistency, rules, and expectations to live by, so they know what is expected of them on a daily basis. They will grow up learning responsibility and understand consequences, therefore less likely to push boundaries.
We’ve all seen those mothers with children in tow, ready to pull their hair out with one more grumpy temper tantrum. Holiday shopping is stressful enough without having to bring your baby along for the ride. Whilst you can cajole and threaten toddlers and older children, your newborn or infant simply can’t understand the situation. For those who can’t get a carer to sit with their child, here are five tips to get you through the experience.
1. Prepare to Shop!
Preparation involves a basic understanding of your child’s needs. Babies get cranky when those needs aren’t met. They need food, a clean nappy, attention, and entertainment. Shopping makes it difficult for parents to address these needs adequately. So the first rule of thumb is to plan for extra time to get your shopping done. You’ll need to bring along all the necessities for your infant: bottles and food, changing supplies, toys, and some type of carrier. Keep in mind it will be difficult to warm food and bottles whilst out, but don’t be afraid to approach food shops with a request for a large glass of hot water.
2. To Carry or Not to Carry?
Many parents love baby slings that allow them to keep the baby close to their hearts. Slings also help soothe your infant amid crowds, loud noises and bright lights. Unfortunately, they aren’t always the best choice for shoppers. Remember, if you are making numerous purchases, it may be much more convenient to bring along a stroller to free up your hands from both your baby and your packages if you want to continue shopping more easily. Otherwise, you may want to bring the other parent with you to act as a baby carrier.
Going into the shopping experience under stress will set a bad tone for your baby. He or she will pick up on your attitude and likely mimic it back to you, adding to the stress. Holiday shopping should be a fun time and you want your baby to think of it as an exciting and pleasurable outing, too. If things get too hectic, sit on a bench and take some time out to relax and enjoy some time with your infant.
4. Have a List
Knowing what you want before you head out saves a lot of time and stress whilst shopping with your baby. If you don’t have a clue what to buy, you can inadvertently become frustrated and pass that feeling on to your baby. You don’t have to have all items filled in, but knowing which stores to visit will help you maintain your holiday sanity.
5. Baby Sleep Time
Some babies will do well sleeping in either a sling or a stroller, despite all the activity around them. However, there may come a moment when you just know your baby is done, even when you are not. At that point, it’s best to go with your baby’s needs and put off shopping for another day. If shopping significantly throws off your baby’s nap time and he or she refuses to sleep, it’s time to go home, put your feet up, and start wrapping presents while your baby gets a good, sound nap.
Everyone knows that the older a child gets, the fewer naps he or she needs. Yet, few really are aware of just how much sleep a child needs. Additionally, as parents we aim to have our children sleep to our own schedule, which may or may not fit your child’s. Here is some guidance for parents on napping and sleep requirements for children of various ages.
Newborn Sleep (1-2 months)
Newborns seem to sleep more than they are awake. And it seems they like to wake in the middle of the night. This is because unlike adults and older children, a newborn’s sleep cycle operates not on daylight, but on their own internal needs: feeding, changing and love. Newborns actually sleep between 10 ½ and 18 hours per day. They wake for short periods of 1-3 hours only. As parents, we can begin to hope for a more regular sleep routine by exposing our newborns to light, activity and noise during the daytime, and then providing a dimmer, quieter environment during the evenings. However, don’t get your hopes up that they will be sleeping through the night by the end of two months.
Infant Sleep (3-11 months)
Infants sleep between 9 and 12 hours at night and take two naps during the day lasting around and hour to two hours. This is an exciting time for parents, as they finally get some much deserved sleep!
But don’t enable bad infant sleeping habits. A baby needs to learn how to fall asleep on their own, so put them to bed awake. This reduces the incidents of crying at night, as they learn to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own. It is also important that you develop and adhere to consistent sleeping and napping schedules over this period of time, especially at bedtime. Whether it’s a warm lavender bath or music before bed, you want to develop triggers that cue baby to sleep.
Toddler Sleep (1-3 years)
Just when you thought you had the whole sleep issue conquered, suddenly your infant becomes a toddler and the schedule starts breaking down. Toddlers need 12-14 hours of sleep per day, but their nap times will decrease from 2 nap periods to one at around 18 months. This is the time when children begin to develop a resistance to going to bed or taking naps. Nightmares and night terrors may also develop during this time.
Again, consistency and routine are key. As a parent, you will have to set behavioural limits and enforce them. Communication is important, as toddlers develop these skills quickly at this age. Reassure your child without giving into their insecurities. A blanket or a stuffed animal can help them feel secure when you’re not in the room.
Preschooler Sleep (3-5 years)
By this time, children need much less sleep: 11-13 hours each night and no naps after they reach five years old. Preschoolers have many of the same problems as toddlers: resistance to sleeping, nightmares and may even develop sleepwalking habits. Keep a regular preschool sleep routine, especially as they approach school age. Keep in mind they may need to get up earlier and experience a need to nap again if they enter preschool. A return to naps should be temporary and many preschools incorporate ‘quiet time’ into the daily schedule.
I am passionate about helping families get the sleep they need to be happy and healthy. I am now a proud mum of two girls exactly a year apart in age.
– Judy Clark