Everyone knows that most children don’t need much excuse to get excited. This can obviously disrupt sleep patterns around the festive period. However, it doesn’t matter if you are receiving guests for the festive period or you are visiting friends or relatives at this time – the children still need their sleep.  They might disagree with you, given the many distractions and stimulations all around them, but they have to be overruled if you want a peaceful Christmas. Read more

Clocks go Forward

Clocks go Forward

Baby and Toddler Sleep Pattern

It’s spring again, which means the clocks go forward an hour. In some ways that’s lovely, because it means summer is on the way and the nights will get lighter. But if you have a child who you’ve just got into a good bedtime routine, you might find that the changing of the clocks affects their sleep. Bear in mind that your baby or toddler doesn’t actually know the time – they use their own inner clock – use that to your advantage. The secret is to be prepared, and with just a little bit of effort you’ll find their sleep routine gets back to normal really quickly. Here are some tips to help you prepare your little one for time changes.

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Safe and comfortable environment

Safe and comfortable environment

Safe Sleep Environment

Your baby’s room should be a comfortable and safe sleep environment but sadly it can also pose a serious risk to your baby’s health. Every year around 300 babies in the UK die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and the cot can also pose risks of strangulation, suffocation or entrapment.  However, a few simple steps will make your baby’s sleep environment safe so you and your baby get a good night’s sleep. Follow our guide for some tips. Read more

Picture - BabyWinkz - Bedtime battles

Toddler Sleep Issues - Bedtime Battles

Toddler Sleep Issues

As a mother of two toddlers and from working with families, I completely understand the challenges that toddlers place on us when it comes to bedtime! The stalling tactics, tantrums, over excitement and tears!

The toddler stage is a time when your child starts to understand what they can and can’t control – and while this is an important developmental process, it can bring with it problems such as toddler bedtime battles. There are other reasons why bedtime may become difficult too – perhaps your child is scared of being left alone, fearful of the dark, overtired or just doesn’t want to miss anything going on in the house! Whatever the reason for your toddler bedtime battles, here are some tips to help. Read more

Help My Baby Won’t Sleep - Importance of Self Soothing

Happy Christmas

“My baby won’t sleep” is a typical comment from lots of parents. However, all babies are different and sometimes the unintentional behaviour of parents can make it difficult for babies to learn self soothing techniques. As babies get older they begin to self soothe at night – that is, they settle back to sleep on their own. In this article we’ll look at the importance of self soothing and offer some tips to help your baby learn to self soothe, giving you all a better night’s sleep.

The Importance of Self Soothing

For newborn babies the world is a scary place and our job is to reassure and comfort them. Tiny babies often fall asleep during a feed but when they wake they can be distressed and we soothe them back to sleep, perhaps by singing, cuddling or rocking them.

Around the age of three to six months many babies begin to self soothe. They still wake at night, perhaps several times, but they realise they are in familiar surroundings and settle quickly. It’s been found that self soothing babies generally sleep longer each night, and get longer unbroken periods of sleep too, so helping your baby to self soothe is really important when it comes to regulating baby sleep patterns.

However, when a baby cries at night and is immediately picked up and cuddled, they don’t get the chance to learn to self soothe, and this results in endless broken nights for parents.

Tips for self soothing

Self soothing isn’t something you can teach your baby but you can help them learn this important skill.

Regular bedtime routine

A regular bedtime routine is really important when trying to establish good baby sleep patterns. Be consistent with bedtime, and include three or four soothing activities, such as a bath, a feed, a cuddle and a story or song. Keep the lights in the bedroom low and place a special toy or comfort blanket in the cot at night. This will create a unique atmosphere that your baby will soon associate with bedtime.

Don’t rock your baby to sleep

Many parents enjoy the closeness of a cuddle and feed at bedtime, but if you always put your baby to bed once they are asleep they’ll never learn how to self soothe. Try putting baby to bed when they are still awake, being aware of their surroundings will help them to self soothe when they wake at night. Many babies grizzle when you put them to bed – don’t immediately lift them from the cot, but give them a few minutes to settle on their own.

Waking at night

If you know your baby is not hungry or distressed leave them for a few minutes to see if they will settle themselves. If you need to comfort them, trying patting them or stroking them rather than lifting them from the cot. If they learn to settle without being cuddled they will find it much easier to self soothe in future.

What to do if your baby won’t self soothe

Sometimes babies are overtired at bedtime and they find it impossible to settle on their own, so it’s worth bringing bedtime forward by half an hour to see if this makes a difference. But ultimately self soothing is just another stage of a baby’s development. Just as babies learn to crawl and walk at different ages, they learn to self soothe at different times too. If your baby is not able to self soothe now stop and try again in a week or even a month’s time.

As this is the last post before Christmas, I hope you, your family and friends have an enjoyable and festive day.



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 night time 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, 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 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

1. Monitor

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. No body understands their child more, than the parent or primary child career. To understand if your child is ill or if they are recovering, monitor daily their temperature, behaviour, temperament, intake of food and liquids, interactions with others and sleep patterns. These indicators are the best tell tell signs.

2. Medication

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 incorrect dosage is administered or the child is not the correct age to be consuming the ingredients.

3. Thermometer

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 type 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 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 use a room thermometer in the rooms where 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 covering is a “Baby Sleep Bag,” they are wearable blankets 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 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 return to the bed time sleep routine, it 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 learning responsibility and understand consequences, therefore less likely to push boundaries.