What is Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is a normal part of a child's development. It generally begins around 6-9 months of age. This is the time that you might see your child becoming more receptive to their surroundings and new and different faces. They are now, developmentally aware that if you leave the room and cry as a “response” this will cause a “reaction”. They have learnt and mastered the behaviour of “cause and effect”.
This can become a challenging time especially in new environments, such as daycare, kindergarten, music groups, swimming, the birth of a new baby. Once they sat adoringly gazing at grandma, now once placed on their knee they scream and cry as if they are a complete stranger (all perfectly normal).
When does this happen?
This generally occurs when your child reaches 6-9 months of age, but sometimes you can see this with older toddlers too. Their anxiety and behaviour is heightened in certain situations and they respond in ways that are often out of character.
Your child is unique! How your child behaviours and reacts can be very different from your niece, nephew or close friends. (That's ok!)
It can seem challenging and sometimes your idyllic, contented child has gone from smiling and happy, to crying when you are not in sight and often distressed. Every child is born with their own temperament. Really understanding your child and how they can react and behave within certain situations, will all help alleviate their fear and anxiety.
At 6-9 months your child will be developing and growing rapidly. They are aware that if a parent or caregiver leaves the room, or if they are left with a babysitter their environment has changed. They don't understand “why”, but have the maturity to understand it is different and this can then make them anxious.
How can I help my child? What shall I do if this happens?
I have seen many clients and also with my own children, how different each child reacts to certain situations. They often surprise you, and for parents or caregivers, it can seem overwhelming and sometimes understanding what to do next will help in managing the situation.
Sleepingbaby tips for managing separation anxiety..
It can be challenging dropping them off at daycare, kindergarten or a babysitter and you leave them crying and upset. My eldest child used to writhe around on the floor screaming and kicking his legs around every time he went to kindy, but this was temporary and within a couple of weeks he had stopped.
Remember this is only temporary!!
Some children don't get anxious, but many do. It is a passing phase and when you are in the middle of it, it can seem difficult to manage, but with any approach consistency is the key and understanding your child’s cues and temperament will assist you and your child to new and different situations.
If you would like help, support and guidance then contact me today and together we can make achievable goals for you and your child. Contact Kate@sleepingbaby.co.nz.
6-Months is the time to start introducing solid food. A whole new discovery of fun, mess, and enjoyment.
When starting solids, I advise that you should ALWAYS start at lunchtime (in the middle of the day). If the baby were to have wind, an upset stomach, a reaction, or intolerance, it is much easier to monitor in the day rather than at night time.
Some foods will be easier to digest than others, and some fruits cause wind pain. You begin by placing the baby in a high chair so they are safe. (Safety first!) If you place them on your knee, they have the potential to write around and/or refuse it.
They could also become upset (as this does represent a change in their routine). By placing then in the chair, you know that their body, head, and neck are correctly positioned, supported, and that they are safe!
You start with 1 teaspoon of baby rice cereal mixed with formula or breast milk. Place it on the spoon and very gently let the baby touch the spoon with their mouth. I always think is quite fun to have 2 spoons, one they can hold and play with, and one you can feed the baby with.
If the baby tolerates the food, then over the next couple of days you increase to 2 teaspoons at lunchtime. Over the course of a couple of weeks, you can change their diet with various fruits and vegetables and the introductions of meat and various
grains, and increase the portion size too. By the end of 6-Months baby would have eaten a wide variety of food types and
they will be having more substantial portion sizes.
Having a healthy balanced diet will also maintain a baby’s nutritional intake, growth, and development. This all helps with baby’s sleep too.
If you would like some help on your baby’s, sleep journey then please contact me.
What is dream feeding and how will it work for my baby?
Dream feeding is when you gently rouse the baby, without fully waking them up to feed in the night. This typically occurs between 10.00 pm and midnight.
I would only offer this if the baby has not had a feed for about 2.5 to 3 hours, otherwise, their little stomachs will not be empty enough to feed correctly.
I recommend gently taking the baby out of the bassinet.
Sitting quietly in the darkened bedroom.
Place your breast or bottle onto your baby’s lower lip and gently rub it. This stimulation will automatically make baby want to suck especially those between 8-12 weeks.
Feed baby for 5-10 minutes on one breast and then offer the other side. Alternatively offer baby the bottle. If you are breast and bottle feeding this is a great time to offer the bottle as your milk supply continues to develop throughout the night.
I would keep winding to a minimum as you are not wanting to fully wake the baby, but try and get the baby to burp before you place them back down.
I would not change the nappy unless it is dirty or particularly wet.
Why dream feed?
Dream feeds offer those extra calories to your baby, so they can sleep for a longer stretch. It is not a time to play and stimulate, but by offering this feed it will encourage the baby to sleep for longer.
Sometimes the dream feed is not a “dream” and the baby will wake fully and want to play and have a big feed. If this happens over the course of 4-6 days then the “dream” feed is not going to work as they then wake up and the baby’s sleep will be interrupted. Or if the baby is in such a deep sleep and you cannot rouse them to feed, then again, I wouldn’t recommend this either.
But if the baby has slept for up to 3 hours and as their parent or caregiver you think they would benefit from the feed then give it a go! It might not work for you or your baby. You might want to go to sleep when the baby does and not have to get up and feed 3 hours later. (That’s Ok!).
This is a very personal decision, every baby is unique! and as their parent or caregiver finding what suits you, depends entirely on your own situation. You might just find it works well for you and baby or it might not at all.
It’s all about learning with your baby and what works for your sleep journey. If you would like some support and guidance then please get in touch.
I have various packages that together we can work side by side, make achievable goals, and help you and your baby on their sleep journey.
What is Sleep Environment?
Your newborn will be adjusting to the outside environment. They have been snuggled up to 9 months in a warm, dark environment with the comforting sound of their mother’s blood whooshing around them. Suddenly they are now in an environment so completely different, so it is important to try and recreate this for your baby so they feel safe and secure. It is also important and a necessity for the safety of your baby to practice healthy safe sleep.
I encourage swaddling your newborn for all of their naps and especially bedtime. Swaddling recreates the feeling of being in the womb – your baby’s calming reflex will be activated, making them feel secure and comforted.
How warm should the bedroom be?
It is important that your baby is not too warm or cold. Keeping the bedroom between 18 and 20 C will help maintain your baby’s body temperature. You can check that your baby is warm but not too hot by feeling the back of their neck or their tummy (under their clothes). The baby should feel warm, but not hot or cold. Their hands and feet are often a little colder than their body.
Should the bedroom be dark in the daytime?
Keeping the room dark for all their nap and sleep times will assist your baby, as melatonin is a hormone produced in the dark to aid sleepiness. From birth, your child will carry their mother’s maternal melatonin, which will wear off after 2 weeks. Your baby will start to produce their own melatonin when they are around 6-8 weeks old. Encouraging light for awake and playful times, and dark for naps and sleep times will encourage your baby’s natural circadian rhythm (our body’s biological clock) to develop as their sleep cycle is lengthening. Blackout blinds are really useful or simply tacking up black sheets from the Warehouse works just as well.
What does White noise do?
White noise is background noise. There are many different machines on the market, I recommend the “Shusher” machine or the “Pink and White”, noise machine. You can place these near the bassinet or cot, and the sound would be familiar to your newborn because it mimics the sound that your baby would have experienced whilst growing within you. It will bring your baby comfort as the sounds are recreated.
Tired Signs - What to look for?
These signs and cues might help you and your baby when they are tired before becoming overtired and exhausted.
Yawning, crying, pulling at ears or hair, jerky leg and arm movements, closed fists, frowning, irritable, no eye contact, fixed gaze, droopy eyes, red area around eyebrows, slower movements, sucking slower, generally grumpy.
A newborn baby is a gift! It is very important to feed your baby when they require it, “on-demand”, especially in the first 8 to 10 weeks.
Cluster feeding is very common with babies at around 6 to 8-weeks. It is when they feed for periods of time, often (cluster). It is around this time they are going through a growth spurt. You might find that in the early evening they are wanting to feed for longer periods and they are more distracted, perhaps (fussier) than usual.
Newborns are so precious. They look at you with their beautiful eyes gazing in adoration and can also cray as loud as a hoover! With settling a newborn, I would advise a gentle pat on their back, a cradle in your arms, continued shushing in their ears and the movement of gentle swinging or rocking, this activates their calming reflex and will bring them comfort and reassurance.
Newborns need to be cherished, cuddling, and holding your newborn will help to soothe and calm them. You cannot spoil them with love and cuddles enough!
It is important however to always place your newborn flat on their back in the supine position for all periods of sleep, according to the SIDS N.Z Ministry of Health guidelines.
Place baby alone, in the cot or bassinet, free form loose blankets, bumpers, and toys.
Have a look at the packages I offer if you need some help and I look forward to helping you and your baby on their sleep journey.
Baby is crying, unsettled, and not sleeping. What can you do?
I totally understand and empathize with any new mother or caregiver faced with a baby crying, and unsettled. Here you are, wanting and imagining how your life would be with this beautiful, wanted, and longed for a baby and now they are here “What do I do?”.
It can be a time for stress and pressure, a feeling of being OVERWHELMED!
I can support you and your baby on their sleep journey at sleepingbaby.co.nz
The emotional journey you have gone through over the last 9 months, and suddenly you have this overwhelming feeling and exhaustion. Your body has been through so much, surging full of hormones and not quite sure how to deal with it?
It can seem very consuming and can be daunting. Pressure from friends, family, and the internet. Why is my baby crying and theirs isn’t? Why is my baby crying, when placed down for their nap, won’t settle and their baby does?? You might feel like your drowning in information. It can sometimes make you doubt what you are feeling, and question what you do?
Each baby is unique! Getting to know your baby and their cues, for hunger, tiredness, and cuddle time will all help with supporting your baby’s needs.
It’s OK to ask for help!
Even a house full of support, In-laws, grandparents, a partner, or a loving husband. You can still feel very alone!
Social media is full of adoringly, happy, idyllic families, not pictures of a mother or caregiver who has not had time to get dressed, shower, and comb their hair!
At sleepingbaby.co.nz I have various packages to help you and your baby on their sleep journey.
I totally understand the feeling of being overwhelmed, a colicky prem baby who I had to feed every hour. A toddler deciding to pull her nappy off the minute, someone came to the house. A baby that wouldn’t sleep unless carried, held, and rocked.
I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND. I HAVE BEEN THAT MOTHER!!!!
If you are feeling “What do I do next?” then please call me today and get in touch. I will fully support you and your family and together we can make achievable and realistic goals.
I have a range of sleep packages from over the phone, zoom or in-home consultations.
Sleepingbaby.co.nz will help you and your baby on their sleep journey.