Why can I not figure out my baby’s sleep issues?

On a daily basis I chat with mums about why they can’t figure out what is going on with their bubs sleep.

I distinctly remember holding my own bubba at 6 weeks, looking at her in all her newborn squish going WTF… I got NO idea babe…It was 3am, I was desperately searching through some baby settling books (there was no google and FB was simply Farmville at that point in time, and my tomatoes were dying). The tears rolled down my face, I felt isolated, alone and exhausted.

When the sun rose some 3hrs later, I  phoned one of my new mothers group friends, she brought me back to earth with some supportive words “trust your instinct”.

From that day on I did, and that was a learnt journey.  I threw away the books that were causing me anxiety, and after many months of sleepless days and crappy nights found there was actually a medical issue that was causing my bub to be so unsettled.

So now each day I discuss with mums about why they can’t figure out their own bubs sleep issues.

You may well be able to and over the first 12 months about 30% of families do.

However, my clients, who are from all areas of life and are  masters of their own crafts, but when it comes to helping their own young children develop good sleep habits, they are stumped, confused, anxious or just exhausted.

There are dozens of useful books on the subject of infant/toddler sleep, most describe their own processes and methodologies and how they fit the general population. A one sized fits all approach.

As parent’s we read or google several sleep settling books, chat with family friends or Facebook, which can  confuse us more.

Other times parents choose the concepts they like from several different methods, “try” it for a day or two, but those elements are not always complementary to one another, or to your child.

The bottom line is that many parents are exhausted and too weary to try and figure it out on their own. Trying to sort out all the variables can be overwhelming, especially when you haven’t slept well in some time.

Research shows that one of the no 1 things that cause arguments between parent’s is the lack of support and disagreement surrounding a child’s sleep and bedtime! See the study here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4781954/Disagreeing-babies-bedtime-creates-tension.html

Neither of you are in best form at 3am to have a argument over what you should do to support your bub’s tears.. so let me help.  Take the guess work out of what is going on, and bring back calm days and peaceful nights for your family <3 <3

When to move your child from cot to a bed

5 Signs to Hire a Sleep Specialist

Part of beginning my work with families is to work out the reasons why they may want to hire me.

Being exhausted, all though is often why I am contacted is truly a good action step forward it is not always the number 1 reason why.

Before I begin ANY sleep work I find out the main goals and to reassure them that their child is “not broken” and that any sleep issue can ultimately “be fixed”.

  1. You are unhappy with your child’s sleep habits.

No matter how many people you talk to, if you are happy with how your child sleeps, day and night then you AINT got a problem.  Reasons being unless you think there is a problem, you won’t be able to stay consistent with any plan a sleep consultant sets up for you!

2. You have “tried everything”.

I guess I’m a bit like Yoda in this conversation-

Many parent’s tackle sleep training on their own or implement “wait it out method” (insert 2-4 years of sleep deprivation).  My take?  If NOTHING has worked- time to enlist a individualized sleep plan. It is time to “do” not “try”.

3. You and your partner keep arguing over the approach you implement.

Its time to stop the good cop bad cop method. It frustrates your child as well as each other. It is really annoying to start the good cop (dad) at bedtime, then at 3am turn into bad cop (mum). I create a sleep plan that both parent’s feel comfortable with, and lead you step by step forward.

4. Your pediatrician suggests you should get help OR try Cry It Out.

Most parent’s don’t realize that their Pediatrician, GP or Child Health Nurse are actually NOT trained child sleep specialists. Yes they are trained specialists BUT not in sleep. Often their training is less than 6 hours in their entire degree! I have worked with ALL of these specialists and they have no idea on healthy sleep habits, foundations, and the myriad of underlying influences on sleep stealers! And they come to me because they don’t want to do the behavioral method Cry It Out. #walkthewalk

5. You are starting to resent your baby or your current sleep situation- the volcano approach.

Yup in the first 12 months after birth we lose up to 950 hrs of sleep ( 44 days in total).  Some of us cope well, others of us don’t. Nothing can prepare us for the amount of time our child requires from us. Our mental health is paramount for health and happiness. Many families are scared to contact me, fearful of spending money in case “it doesn’t work”. Well it won’t if you are fearful, just leave the volcano simmering and smoking… it will if you are ready to take action before you erupt, when those teeny tiny feelings of resentment start to crop up.

Child sleep can be complicated and confusing to parents. The longer I work as a Holistic Sleep Specialist I find so much more to consider. An individualized assessment and plan for your family is the best approach to short term and long term success.

www.groovybabies.com.au

Step By Step Guide on How to Introduce the Lulla Doll to your Baby.

Introducing the Lulla Doll in the correct way to your baby is paramount for success in making it a sustainable positive sleep association.

This free download gives you step by step guides for any age on how to maximise the introduction of this fabulous sleep doll for your bub… and save you $$$$$$!!!!!

Click through here to get it NOW! http://www.groovybabies.com.au/lulla/

Is the Lulla Doll Suitable for my child?

Tips to Adjust Your Child to Daylight Savings

 

For our Expert TV Help Watch Here:  https://www.9now.com.au/today/2016/clip-cittee1tw004j0gmuyo4k35nq

It’s one of the biggest catch 22’s on the Australian calendar..  Yes daylight savings means we get more sunshine at the back end of the day but also plays havock with the body clocks in our home..

Especially the kids..

Turning the clock forward or back can have a massive impact on our children’s bedtime routine because:

+ A change in sleep routine impacts on our circadian rhythms – the system that controls when we wake, sleep, and our general wellbeing.

+ Children don’t have maturity of these rhythms and so even a little change in this can lead to a ‘jet lag feeling’.

+ While it may only seem like one hour, your child’s sleep debt could rack up to 7 hours over the course of a week.

+ If they’re failing to properly catch up, by the time the weekend comes they’re going to crash.

+ Depending on their age, the child will be affected differently

  Does daylight saving throw a big spanner in the works in terms of their routine for newborns?

+ Newborns younger than 3-4 months are free running.. Not necessarily impacted by daylight savings

+ Babies older than 5 months need environmental factors, so will be impacted by the change.

+ Breastfeeding bubs will also be taking in their mothers’ melatonin

How can I help my toddler adjust to Daylight Savings?

+ Write down what time your child normally goes to bed, then put your child to bed 15 mins each night (or every second night).

+ It’s most effective for parents to shift their child’s sleep in the three to four days leading up to the change, but it can still be done after.

+ Once daylight savings has kicked in it can take a week for everyone’s system to reset

+ You’ll have to move your child’s whole schedule 20 minutes earlier – for the next 3-4 days’ naptimes, bedtime and meal times may need to be brought forward until tiny systems adjust. This helped children last extra time into the evening and not get as over tired.

+ It’s really important to monitor room temperature – the summer heat can disrupt sleep.

+ Also make sure that they are sleeping in natural, breathable fibres.

+ Ensure that when they get up they get some good Serotonin exposure as this helps adjust the circadian rhythms

How can I help my Pre Schooler adjust to Daylight Savings?

+ They have different sleep needs to toddlers – needing about 10-13 hours each night, and they nap less.

+ Might need to be stricter, especially as they are more confident to defy the rules.

+ Lighter earlier, which means they might wake up earlier – but school times dont change

+ Overtired when they go to bed later, which will increase increase night wake ups.

+ Kids this age love screen time, but it’s important you keep it to a minimum.

+ Watch what time your child is exposed to devices, leading up to sundown. With the longer hours it is tempting to let little fingers tap away later. Consider banning the EMF at least 1-2hrs before light’s out.

+ If your child is experiencing bedtime resistance, then consider a few days without electronics completely.

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What are some other tips?

+ The big challenge for parents during daylight saving is convincing kids that it’s bedtime when the sun is still shining!

+ Portable Blockout or black out blinds are a brilliant “Must Have” if you don’t wish to put in permanent window furnishings. They can also double as temperature controllers, with some brands, reducing the degrees by 2-3 C. Can substitute by covering the windows with garbage bags, foil or painting with window tint.

+ May need to rearrange the room.

+ Toddler clocks: Another visual tool that your child can see when it is time to wake up, or time to be asleep. So many types on the market. E.g. Momo the Monkey clock,

+ Bedtime charts and Star Charts- another visual tool and positive re enforcement technique for helping implement a good bedtime routine and decrease bed time resistance due to sunlight outside.

Beating jet lag with kids- travel well wake happy!

Well fair to say my little ones are now becoming seasoned overseas travelers, and to be honest they cope better than we do with jetlag.

A well meaning friend suggested to me that jet lag is a “mindset” issue, and hubby and I have tried “not speaking jetlag into reality” state, but getting up in the morning and finding my 9 year old had made herself breakfast at 3am kind of confirmed it for me, as did the twin Beany Boo party at 2am.

So being a sleep consultant and knowing how circadian rhythms work I’m erring on the side of science with this one!

So what is jetlag?

Jetlag is a delayed adjustment to time zone change, and causes physiological changes as our external environment time, is mis matched with our internal circadian clock.

What does it look like?

Headaches, nausea, sluggishness, loss of appetite, lack of concentration, loss of memory, struggle to wake up and struggle to fall asleep  and a biggy IRRITABILITY (or most likely to cause nitpicking between all family members or out right arguments during line ups in immigration)… sounds awesome right?  jet-lag-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it different depending on which way you travel– totally yes.

Travel on a eastward flight you are more likely to to suffer delayed sleep onset.

Travel on a westward flight can lead to early morning wake ups.

So what can we as parents do to make it easier on our little frequent flyers (and ultimately us)?

1.Time of flights.

So before you even leave the ground I recommend booking a overnight flight.  Now its not easy to be arriving at the airport for a midnight departure but it is doable.  I put the kids into bed dressed for the plane, and put them straight in the car, and they tend to snooze on the way there, and can then tolerate the waiting around and check in procedures a little better.

Sleeping overnight for a few hours and arriving in daylight at breakfast time, is far better than travelling through the day and arriving at night time and then not being able to sleep.

Just be aware that on take off, it can be 1-2 hrs before the cabin lights do get dimmed, due to all the take off procedures, over the airwaves announcements, and they always, always seem to serve a meal first.

Depending on the age of your bub, pack what ever they can suck on for take off and landing (we have  done a breastfeed, dummies, bottles, minties, chuppa chups, peppermint oil and garlic ear drops to combat all ear discomfort over the years).

Most importantly pack at least 2 changes of clothes for you and the kids, as one vomiting episode on a 15 hr flight is not something you EVER want to repeat (nor for the passengers sitting around you).

If you have a really young bub, get your travel agent to pre- request the cot seats- as there is never any guarantee you will get one, and in fact on our last trip back from South America the option didn’t even exist and all bubbas were being held.

2. Consider a stop over along the way.

Now it depends on how far you travel, but consider breaking up the travel into 8 hr travel stints if possible and cost effective. Last year when we went to Ireland we did 3 flights of 8, 8 and 8. We did arrive much more refreshed, and adjusted much quicker than previous 15 hr then, 8 hour flights.  It is totally dependent on what  flight path is available.

Another point to consider is on arrival is does take 2-3 days of adjustment to get sleep back on track, so often if you have a event planned/ road trip, factor that in to your travel plans before hand. This means you all arrive refreshed, and adjusted at the most anticipated “Wedding of the Year”. It avoids a child melt down in the middle of a ceremony, or hubby falling asleep before the turkey is served during Christmas dinner.

Just an addit- if possible have separate rooms- its annoying when 5 share a room and anyone keeps everyone else awake during adjustment phase 😉

3.  Watch what is eaten and drunken (that includes the adults).

Fair to say the kids meals come complete with added sugar, juices and chocolate milk on most flights I have been on.

I normally pack snacks to combat this and always travel with Vegemite.  Just make sure the tube is under 100g, as the officials in Singapore are now enjoying my childrens’. It doesn’t matter if the tube is half used either (husbands logic) it is all about the container size.

Kids meals are definitely hit and miss and can be as exotic as the country you are flying to.  Chicken butter curry was a recent breakfast failure, even to spicy for me…

You can count on carbs and definitely cheese comes with every meal. Dairy and gluten free options are up for interpretation, so if you have allergy concerns take your own food and research custom requirements of the country you are entering. By far Australia seems to have the strictest quarantine rules.

Be mindful of the sugar drinks as well.  Miss 7 took to ordering her own refreshments as “mum and dad were asleep”.  The fructose reaction was not pretty. Encourage water to prevent dehydration during the flight, and dress in easy go-to-the-toilet clothes. I always use leggings, not jeans or skirts/dresses as I have had wet frills from being dropped on the airport/airplane toilet floor #yuck. jet-lag-2

 

On arrival at your holiday destination remember that jetlag can interrupt digestion, so constipation can be a issue.

4. TV/Game exposure during the flight.

Be mindful of how much your kids watch.  They might look angelic all occupied with headphones and silent, but 8 hours later on a 15 hr flight due to to much blue light exposure turn into little gremlins hanging from the overheads.  We have had to implement 1 movie policy to every 6 hours of rest.

Addit: There is a parental control  option for you to use if you don’t wish to find Mr 7 watching Deadpool when you thought he was asleep.

Over the years we have packed travel games, UNO, books, colouring in sets and numerous toys. Don’t pack anything with little bits, as guaranteed they will get dropped right in the middle of in flight service or just as you have drifted off to sleep. Some airline flights give children great entertainment gift sets (Emirates) and others don’t (LTAM).

5. Set your clock.

I go by 2 times for the first 48 hrs.  One for the new destination time, and for the younger bubs one on the original destination.  It helps me keep a track on original meal times, and sleep times and helps with overall adjustment and scheduling.

Expect when you arrive at your new destination that for 24 hrs adopt a whatever naps are needed, and start the second day setting the body clock from breakfast to get on circadian rhythm schedule asap. I have found often my kids need a short  nap in the afternoon, then go to bed a little later than normal and bedtime does shift by 90 mins or so from when we are at home.

6. Daylight exposure.

Best natural jetlag remedy is sunlight.  Get out in it asap at your new destination.  Sunlight in the morning, and in the late afternoon helps with quicker adjustment to help little and big body clocks.

Also be prepared if your travel destination is in the summer months, that it can be daylight even up to 10pm at night!  Pack some portable block out blinds, Fly Babee , your fav white noise app, and sleep comforter (Lulla, Spiderman or Scooby Doo) and know the approximate day and night time temperatures so you know what to dress the kids in.

7. ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY!!  

(addit- all examples used are a past experience of a actual event)

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