Wednesday, August 17, 2011

SLEEP! Guest Post from Bec at Nurture Nanny

I'm delighted to have Bec from Nurture Nanny do a lovely guest post for us on the topic of Sleep. Yes Sleep, we ALL love it and always complain we are never getting enough. Today Bec shares with us some tips on getting the bubbas to sleep so us parents can also get some "Zzz" time too.

SLEEP! When we are kids we never want to go to sleep, once we are grown-up we never seem to be getting enough of it. But once we become parents we really understand what sleep deprivation can do to our well-being and how without it, we struggle to do the most simplest things.

Getting babies and toddlers to sleep can sometimes be a real test of wills, but with persistence and patience I believe every child can and will learn to sleep.

There are countless books and Internet articles available offering help and advice on this topic but parents now have real difficulties in filtering out the important messages from all this information. On top of that every so called baby expert has different views and offers a different way to deal with sleepless nights. In my opinion the most important step for parents is to make up their mind what they are comfortable with and how they want to deal with the problem. There are a lot of different strategies which will help your baby or toddler learn to sleep. It just depends what you are comfortable with. I personally like to try the gentle, as little crying as possible approach first.

The earlier you start to teach your baby to fall asleep without any help, the better. Until three months of age a baby’s body clock hasn’t developed. They basically sleep when they are tired and wake when they are hungry and stay awake a little while afterwards.

Here are some tips to make bedtime a little easier:

• Have a consistent, soothing bedtime routine. It doesn’t have to take long but try and follow the routine every time you put your baby to sleep. Babies (and adults alike) thrive on routine and clues and giving them the right clues at the right time will make it easier for them to go to sleep.

• From as early on as possible, let your baby fall asleep without your help. Watch out for tired signs and put him to bed sleepy but not asleep yet. I realize that having your baby fall asleep in your arms is one of the nicest feelings in the world but try and limit this pleasure to only sometimes unless you are happy to get up every time your baby wakes at night.

• Avoid overstimulating your baby close to bedtime. Concentrate on quiet and soothing activities like reading, cuddling, singing lullabies etc.

• Discourage night time waking. Babies have to learn the difference between day and night. Try to keep your baby as calm and quiet at night as possible. Keep the room as dark as possible, and don't play or talk to them during the night more than necessary.

If all the above doesn’t work or you are just too exhausted to deal with it all, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Don’t underestimate your need for sleep. Trying to do it all by yourself will just make you feel even more exhausted: It won’t make you a better parent. Call in help from your partner, family, friends or a health professional. If you can afford it hire a Nurture Nanny to come to your house and help you care for your baby for a few hours or even the whole day and night. You will be surprised what a difference a few hours of sleep and a nice hot shower can make. For more information please visit our website

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