I was very lucky to meet Sam Knight a very talented and creative writer for The New Yorker magazine. After sleep training his twin boys I was privlidged to have an article written about his experience of the training and my work. You can read it here....https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/06/28/the-promise-and-the-peril-of-a-high-priced-sleep-train
As soon as a child is ready to be weaned it is my advice to start decreasing the milk gradually to make room for solid food. I feel we drink too much milk in the UK and too much emphasis is put on how much milk should be in the child's diet. The NHS give us a recommended amount but in addition to the milk children can be introduced to other dairy foods like cheese and yogurt. This also accounts for their total dairy intake.
Many children have an intolerance to dairy so why place so much emphasis on milk? When their diet starts to become more varied with different foods it contains the vitamins and nutrients children need for their growing bodies. It's like a pair of scales, while we continue to give milk as the basis of the baby's diet the scales start to rise in favour of food but dip with the milk intake.
Bring it on! Big boys really get into eating solid foods and milk becomes less important. Food is the direction you are going. A mixture of mushed up food and finger food gives your child the opportunity to experience texture, hand/eye co-ordination, taste, social skills, language, smell as well as being a pleasurable experience.
Two babies both 8 months old. One sleeps from bedtime to 7am the other wakes 3/4 times a night and still drinks a small amount of milk overnight.
Which baby is the happiest baby?
Answer: The baby who sleeps all night!
It is the same for a baby as it is for us, we are much happier in the day if we have slept all night. The baby who sleeps will be better bahaved, eat well and enjoy the routine more.
Get in touch and let's get it sorted.... Don't let your baby or you and your family suffer because of the waking nights.
While children can be challenging at the best of times, this period of lockdown due to the coronarvirus has made parenting even more challenging. It is not easy being cooped up at home in a flat or house with no garden or outside space. Not having the usual distractions of a daily routine of NCT coffee meetings, nursery, playgrounds, classes, play dates, etc. are no longer happening. Some families living in built up areas are lucky enough to have some outside space or even a garden but getting out for some families has become a bit of an ordeal.
So well done to all those parents who have to balance the needs of everyone, stretch their immagination, home school their children, spend hours in a confined space of a flat and not get the usual breaks of school, nursery or other childcare that would normally help us get through the day. You are all doing a great job!
Why is it important not to nap your child reguarly in the pram, car, sling or anywhere else but the cot? If you do you are setting yourself up with a habit that is hard to sustain and impractical to continue. Your baby is not in a comfortable place if they are in the car or pram. It could be noisey, too light, not ideal for their posture, hot, and too bumpy, plus the weather could be bad! Your baby or child needs to be in a quiet place where there is no loud noises and they are able to resettle themselves if they wake up after a sleep cycle. They will get use to the motion of a car, sling, or pram which they rely on to go back to sleep. They can be disturbed if not at home and find it hard to go back to sleep. This is time in the day you have to yourself, to do what you want and catch up with your day to day jobs. You can relax, take a nap yourself, eat, send an email, or make a phone call without having your child around to disturb you. Taking a nap occasionally outside the cot is fine and any short naps can be taken on the go. The cot could be at another house, a travel cot, you may be on holiday, or just visiting somebody for the day. It also helps to settle your child into a routine if cared for by somebody else like a nursery or childminder. Making a commitment to nap your child in the cot as much as possible will pay off later when they have learnt to settle and resettle themselves without you to assist them.
It is often a bit of a problem if your child wakes early. While it's great that they sleep through the night you don't want them to wake too early in the morning. If they do it means it is a very long day for your child, they often can't wait for their first nap, they can be unhappy due to tiredness and it disrupts everyone else's sleep in the family. But you don't have to live with an early riser. There are a number of ways to sort the problem and if you are consistent and patient it should get better.
How do you know if you have an early riser as parents can have different expectations but I have always considered a 6:30/7am wake up time as acceptable. Before 6:30am is too early but after 7am is too late. You can teach your baby or child the acceptable time to get up by considering the following factors:
- Keeping to a consistent routine which is the 'right' routine for your child's age.
- Making sure bedtime is an appropiate time.
- Having a plan of action if your baby wakes early or your child gets out of bed.
- Making sure your baby and child has had a good dose of fresh air and stimulation through the day.
- They have not napped too much or too late during the day.
- You and everyone caring for your child is on the same hymn sheet, that could include your child's nursery staff or nanny.
- Your child has everything they need overnight i.e. warmth, a small drink, their comforter, a ventilated room ....
Don't expect results to come immediatey. Make the changes and keep going as with consistency and time it should sort itself.
Once baby is born and you have decided to breast feed the midwifes at the hospital will talk about the "fore milk and hind milk." This is the way the milk is produced in the ducts of your breast. The fore milk comes first and the hind milk afterwards. What they don't tell you is how long this process takes when feeding baby. Having worked with so many breast feeding mums over the years my judgement is it takes 15 seconds for baby to stimulate and suck before the milk starts letting down, sometimes less if mums has a lot of milk. It takes about another 30 seconds for the fore milk to come and then about another 30 seconds for the hind milk to come. The whole process is very fast and under two minutes. Once your milk has 'come in' at week two or three baby does not need much more than 10 to 15 minutes on each breast which includes burping time before baby has had a full feed.
If baby was given a bottle with a much more controlled flow with a teat size baby would take no more than 20/25 minutes with burping to finish a feed. So it makes sense for breast fed babies to be the most efficient. By 6 weeks babies have become even more efficient and despite drinking more milk at each feed this time is now down to 15 minutes per feed for both breasts with winding. By 4 months of age and baby is taking even bigger feeds, feeding time will be 10/15 minutes for both breasts and includes time to wind. Any longer and baby is dozing or falling asleep or using the mother as a human dummy!
I am running to keep fit but to help support a well known charity.
If you would like to sponsor me before the run on the 16th September you can go to my Just giving page here:
Thank you for your kind support x
Many families live in flats because of the high cost of housing. They are just as likely living in a flat with neighbours close by to have some ongoing issues with their child's sleep. Despite the restricted space "where there's a will there's a way." A bespoke plan can be adapted to your living situation so your child can be encouraged to sleep better in a shared room or in a room on their own. I have visited many families over the years who live in flats but it seems to have increased more and more. However, sleep training can still be very successful as one mum here explains:
We were experiencing real difficulties getting our 5 ½ month old son to take a bottle and sleep through the night. I am planning to return to work very soon and was experiencing a lot of anxiety about his bottle refusal. This coupled with extreme sleep deprivation was proving incredibly tough, especially given that we are living in a one bed flat. Within 24 hours of contacting Brenda about our son’s feeding and sleeping issues she had visited us and helped us implement a routine to address both these issues. Within 3 days he was taking a bottle reasonably well and had made huge progress with his sleeping. I was astounded that by us sticking to the simple routine we saw such rapid improvements, particularly given that we are so restricted with space in our one bed flat. I would strongly recommend Brenda’s services if you are struggling with your babies sleep or feeding issues.
Having worked with babies and children for many years I have seen clear biological differences. This is my general observation, I am sure everyone has a different view.
- Baby girls are more independent and reach their milestones quicker. Baby boys are less articulate, take more time to develop skills and are more needy.
- Baby girls sleep through the night earlier than baby boys and generally potty train quicker.
- Baby girls being more articulate will start to spoon feed themselves, baby boys like to sit with their mouths open and be spoon fed for longer.
- Girls will wake up in the morning in their cot and will entertain themselves. Boys will wake up and shout as they are full of energy and want to start the day.
- Girls will go off and amuse themselves with different activities. Boys play very well but often have to be directed into play.
- Girls like to talk and manipulate their way out of trouble. Boys are more likely to hit or run away using their physical strength to defend themselves.
- Teenage girls can be very moody and argumentative. Teenage boys don't express their feelings so well but enjoy their own company.
- Both boys and girls want to be independent and enjoy spreading their wings.
A mum said to me once "Boys are like dogs and girls are like cats" how true she was!
Whatever their characteristics we love them all.....