Babies sleep patterns are regulated by social interaction feeding and when they are exposed to light and darkness. This is called their “biological clock”. In my experience, I have found by moving your baby’s exposure to light and darkness and changing their feeding times by 15 minutes over a few days will gradually assist your baby to regulate to the new time, and will help them to
regulate their body clocks too. It’s all about consistency and how you as their parent or care giver can manage the situation.
Don’t put pressure on yourself, remember your baby is unique, they have their very own personality and temperament. You are helping them get back into a routine that works for you and your baby. By moving your baby’s nap and feeding time backwards by 15 minutes every day, until they have moved an hour backwards over the week.
This guide that I am giving you is based on your day being from 7am-7pm.
What are early morning wake ups?
Is your baby waking up at 5 am and not going back to sleep? There are many factors that can affect your baby waking up around 5 am.
I begin by asking my clients “How much sleep is baby getting in the day? (Age appropriate). How long does baby nap for? Does baby catnap?
Does baby seem tired when they wake up? Grizzly and unsettled?
Perhaps they are hungry? and not having a full feed? Are they too tired to latch on correctly?
When the baby has a full feed, it will help sustain them to sleep for longer stretches.
Does baby go to bed at a consistent time every night or does this vary?
How warm or cool is baby’s bedroom?
Is the bedroom light or is it dark?
Do you have external noise?
Is your baby over 16 weeks? Can they self-settle?
Understanding how much sleep your baby needs in the day time, and by supporting your baby in their awake and play times, can contribute greatly to how much sleep they get at night time.
If you need some advice and support then I can help you and your baby on their sleep journey.
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Memories of a plane ride to the U.K
With travel being limited to only within New Zealand at the moment, I was sitting and thinking of the trip I took some 13 years ago now, with my eldest boy Fraser who was 13 months at the time and I was pregnant with my daughter.
The anticipation of seeing my family in the U.K was so exciting, but there I was with a 13-month-old in the airport at 11 pm at night waiting to board the plane. I had my stroller in hand, so thankfully I was doing circuits of the international waiting area, like a pinball machine we went around and around. Some onlookers smiling with admiration others staring, looking with that exhausted gaze, probably hoping, perhaps longing we weren’t going to sit next to them for the next 24 hours. I smiled back or simply acknowledge them with an agreeable grin.
We got the call to board the plane and as cows to the milking shed, lined up and got onto the plane. I had a bag, somewhat like Mary Poppins, filled with snacks, toys, books and stickers. I got Fraser sorted with cuddly and bunny, I then cocooned myself with him on our chairs ready for the long flight home. I was rather nervous truth be told, thinking I do hope he sleeps and doesn’t become overtired, looking for the cues, before they eventuate into cries of exhaustion, frustration and boredom.
Luckily being the middle of the night he slept well for the first 5 hours then the lights come on and they are serving us breakfast, felt like moments later, but Fraser was intrigued with the food tray and enjoyed the pottles of yogurt they presented him with.
Stories and movies followed, but after a few hours, he was beginning to become restless.
I went to the bathroom, water play in a plane 12000 feet up aren’t like the bubble baths of home. That lasted well momentarily, so we once again cocoon ourselves into our seats trying to think of the next thing to keep him entertained.
I thought of this memory the other day, as my family and I fly to Christchurch to see my mother in law.
Fraser then leans forward to the pocket in front of him on the chair and pulls out the sick bags. I began then to question if the previous occupant of our seat had some stomach or health issue, as there were about 6 bags he pulled out. Then I had one of those moments at the time some onlookers give you the eye contact without contact, others just look at you as they are so tired themselves and the tv is now etched into their vision.
I grabbed the stickers and began to put them on the vomit bags. Does sound rather odd but anything goes, with little sleep, and a toddler flying across the world.
For the next hour, luckily it filled an hour, we turned the vomit bags into puppets, yes, they were rather curious-looking animals or perhaps creatures but imagination is always what we are trying to instill in our children? (Would you not agree)?
So, with 2 hours of the first leg of our journey left we had made 6 puppets. Thankfully I didn’t feel pitted, the delightful lady next to me, thankfully a grandmother and a lady who enjoyed small children decided to make a puppet show with me. Then to my delight, the aisle next to her also decided to enjoy this task of entertaining Fraser for the next couple of hours. So, there we are, nearly halfway homecoming towards Los Angeles and we had recreated a puppet show out of vomit bags and stickers.
It’s funny what you do at that given moment to entertain babies or small children, but my advice is whatever works for you at that given time. If your children are happy so are you!
We had a puppet show that kept him happy, no tears for a couple of hours and also the inner child in the fellow travellers in the other aisle enjoyed the challenge and the distraction.....for a short while anyway!
What funny stories do you have a from plane travel with young kids?
What is Cat napping?
Catnapping can surprise you! Your baby has been sleeping uninterruptedly, going down for their morning and lunchtime naps, and then all of a sudden they wake after 30/45 minutes and cannot resettle. (WHY? I don’t understand what is happening?)
It is all to do with your baby’s sleep cycle. An infant’s sleep cycle lasts around 30-45 minutes, before drifting into (REM) lighter sleep. An adult would simply turn over in bed or change position, but often as your baby is growing and their little minds are developing, this cycle of lighter sleep will wake them up.
How can I help my baby to sleep for longer?
It can be frustrating for parents or caregivers, as you pop baby down for their nap and within 35-40 minutes, they are awake and grizzling. This is normal and part of your baby’s development.
If your baby is under 4 months, I would begin by helping the baby to settle, a gentle hand on their back, a shush in their ear, a quick cuddle, or a gentle swing in your arms.
Difficulty can occur with settling a baby over 4 months of age. I have seen many clients with 4-5 month- olds, and older who describe they had the “perfect baby” and now they wake all the time and don’t sleep longer than 40 minutes! WHAT CAN I DO?
Self-settling is a tool to help your baby to learn to soothe and settle. Self-settling is in NO WAY leaving your baby to cry alone, to become distressed or upset but if you hear baby wake, you wait a few moments to see how the baby reacts.
Are they upset?
Are they distressed?
Are they babbling or cooing to themselves?
Getting to know your baby and responding to their cues and needs will help babies with the continuation of their sleep cycle and pattern.
Catnapping does pass, as baby grows and develops, so does their pattern of sleep.
If you are wanting some support advice and guidance then please call me or email me Kate@sleepingbaby.co.nz. Together we can reach some achievable goals and help you and your baby on their sleep journey.
Not all babies experience colic, however, it is common. Colic can start around two weeks after the birth of your baby. It peaks at about 8 – weeks and tends to end around 12- weeks of age. (Hooray!)
What is Colic?
Colic is likely the problem when a baby cries for anything up to two hours or more, with a high
pitched “Wa waaaaa”. Some parents I meet say it happens in the early evening around 6-8 pm, while for
others it can occur earlier in the afternoon. It can be very distressing for baby and for you as their mother or caregiver. The sympathetic nervous system is going into overdrive and the baby can scream
very loudly, and high pitched.
Sleepingbaby tips for managing your baby
I would suggest firstly remain calm. Try a tight swaddle, I know this is hard with a baby screaming in your ear and writhing around, but a tight swaddle does help.
Have the baby in a side hold up on your shoulder or in your arms.
Try shushing quite loudly in the baby’s ear. Or place white noise on too.
Patting baby on their back, rhythmically and then lighter in a tick-tock motion.
Rubbabies back up and down.
Look at external stimuli, meaning if it is early evening and you are wanting the baby to go for their nap, darken the room and I suggest playing white noise.
Do not despair!
Some parents I have worked with find it doesn’t start at 2-weeks-old, but the fourth or sixth week. This does happen! If your baby was born prematurely at 37- weeks and the due date was 3 weeks from now, your baby could get colic at around 10-weeks of age from the original due date, not their birth date.
It does pass!!!
If you would like support and further advice, then contact me today and we can work together to help your baby on their sleep journey.
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What is White Noise?
White Noise refers to a sound which is a combination of different frequencies played together at the same time. It is similar to that of static sound that you hear between radio stations or a television set with no signal. Yes, that’s correct it sounds like a broken T.V.
It is not a high pitched harsh sound, great for getting one’s attention but not calming or soothing to your baby. It is a low-pitched sound almost hypnotic, a gentle rumble, heavy rain on a roof, a fan rotating, or a continued whooshing sound.
Can White Noise help my baby to sleep for longer?
When your baby was growing, they were in a dark, warm, secure, and very noisy environment. (90 dB Very loud, like that of a vacuum cleaner). Baby could hear the sound of their mother’s blood whooshing around them constantly.
White noise can help recreate that sound, helping the baby to feel safe and secure, this then activates their calming reflexes. It helps to block out external noise and stimuli.
It is also helpful when baby rouses from their sleep cycle. If they have started to rouse and gently stir, white noise can be useful, as the continued sound of whooshing will comfort the baby and help them to feel calm and soothed helping them to resettle, ensuring they sleep for longer periods and get more consolidated restorative sleep.
A hoover rumbles at around 90 dB, and a hairdryer roars at 90 dB, but a baby can scream louder than 110 dB. Yes, they can!!
Which White Noise Machine should I get?
There are many types of white noise machines on the market today, from the Shusher, Pink and White Noise Machine, Lula Dolls, potable machines Zazu collection which can clip on to the buggy and pram and Yoga sleep white noise machines.
This is a very personal decision, and I would advise having a look at them all and decide what you think would be the best to suit your baby or young child.
You can always contact me at sleepingbaby.co.nz and together we can discuss which you feel is the best option for your baby or young infant and how you want to use white noise.
Every baby is unique! And your situation and how you are wanting to use white noise can be different from your friend or neighbour.
Your baby might respond better to bird song and lullabies and your friend’s baby might prefer the whooshing sound. It depends on what you feel would be the best support for your baby. For many of them, you can alter their tone and frequency and varying length of time.
The placement of the white noise machine is also very important. Some you can pop near the cot and others should be a meter or 2 away. They all come with specific instructions, follow accordingly.
You might want to purchase a plugin, perhaps a portable or just battery use. The machines can vary in the way you use them and how you want to use them.
At sleepingbaby.co.nz I recommend White Noise machines, they nurture and help babies and young children with their sleep. It gives baby the continued reassuring sound they have grown with. It helps develop the baby’s sleep cycle as they rouse less frequently and White Noise provides reassurance and helps the baby to resettle and feel calm.
If you would like some extra helpful hints and advice then contact me today.
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.