Category Archives: Parenting issues

Parenting issues

Never Wake A Sleeping Baby!

I have never come across a family who’s sleeping patterns have not changed after having a baby. It is inevitable. Not many of us are accustomed to getting up 2,3,4 times a night, let alone actually having to care for another tiny, hungry, sometimes screaming human in the wee hours. Occasionally people will be blessed with little ones who sleep for big chunks of time right from the start – but I believe they are in the minority. But how long should a baby sleep? And at what time of day?

There is a mantra that is well known in the baby world – Never wake a sleeping baby. Sounds a bit ridiculous doesn’t it? Of course you wouldn’t! Especially if you’ve been up half the night and are exhausted and well ready for a nap yourself. But when you are sitting there staring at your beautiful sleeping creation, with bursting bossums, sometimes you need or want them to wake up so you can feed or play. Then there is the anxiety about “are they getting enough food?” and “are they breathing?”. I thought I’d share some knowledge about when is the right time to wake or leave a sleeping baby.

The saying exists for a lot of good reasons. Babies need to sleep. They do most of their growing when they are asleep. They will be happier and easier to feed and settle if they have enough sleep and are not overtired. It’s a common occurance for new parents in the first few days and weeks to stay awake at night longer than usual, worrying about the baby when they are asleep. But it is really important that you sleep. This is the time that you get rejuvenated so you have the energy to care for them when they are awake. If you have followed the SIDS guidelines for safe sleeping, you have done the best thing you can do, there’s no need to worry and worrying will just make you more tired!

Here’s a rough guide of Do’s and Don’ts for sleeping babies, but most importantly, if you don’t like any of the points, remember to follow your mummy instinct – you know yourself and your baby better than anyone else!

DO

– Follow the SIDS guidelines for safe sleeping

– Sleep while the baby is sleeping

– Leave baby sleeping overnight for longer periods than the day (5-6 hours is fine if you’re lucky enough to get a stretch that long)

– Wake baby 3-4 hourly over night if there are any concerns about weight gain/loss, jaundice or if you have been advised to wake baby for any other reason by a health profession.

DON’T

– Stay awake waiting for baby to wake

– Set the alarm to check that “baby is ok” (they’ll tell you if they need something)

– Leave baby to sleep for longer than 3-4 hours during the day (more about this below)

– Let the mower man get away with coming at nap time – yell, scream and kick if you have to – daytime naps are important and precious for you and baby!

Babies take about 6 weeks to start to distinguish day from night. They also do a huge amount of growing and learning in this time, which is why they often feed 2-3 hourly or sometimes more often, round the clock in the first few weeks. Here are a few tips on how you can help them learn day from night:

– Feed frequently during the day (this is when you DO need to wake a sleeping baby every 3-4hrs)

– Don’t let a baby sleep for longer than 4 hours during the day (if you do it is highly likely you’ll be playing catch up with the feeds overnight)

– Put the baby to sleep somewhere that is not completely dark and quiet in the daytime (in a bassinet in the lounge room or in their room with curtains open and music playing)

– Don’t tip toe and whisper around sleeping babies (they are used to sleeping with all your body noises going on around them, it’s noisy inutero!)

– At night put them to bed where its dark but not completely quiet (leave a radio on with soft white noise or lullabies)

– Little to no eye contact at night when feeding and changing.

I’m sure there are a few more tips, so if you think of any be sure to leave a comment! May the sleeping fairies be kind to all you mummies and daddies out there 🙂

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One of my sleeping cherubs in his favourite position since he’s been able to roll!

Love bombing

So, what on earth is love bombing? It is a new concept, unknown to me until a couple of weeks ago, when I stumbled across an article about the subject on the online parenting community, essential baby (FYI-The EB website consists of some trashy and some thought provoking and interesting articles and forums, along with the typical unwanted advertising for things like formula). Unfortunately I can no longer find the actual article but there are also quite a few newspaper articles on love bombing and you can google it if you want to read up further.

The basic concept is that spending a chunk of one-on-one time with your child can drastically change their emotional and behavioural issues. Well duh! Didn’t we all already know that? But there is a slight difference to this new method. The mysteriously lost article on EB talked about having a 24 hour period of one-on-one time with your child, where they are the boss. They get to decide what you do, where you go, what they eat, when to go to bed… Basically every decision is up to them. The only thing the parent has to do is say yes and shower the child with affection whilst telling them you love them, constantly. You also share a bed with them if that’s what they want. It’s all about them. This “love bombing” supposedly rewires the brain’s pathways to help kids feel more confident and secure, especially following a trauma. I should also mention that it was only recommended for children between the ages of three to adolescence.

The author of the EB article experimented with love bombing with her two kids because they were showing differing levels of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) following their father’s suicide. Her son is very active and crammed lots of energetic activities into their 24 hours together and ate tons of ice-cream and soft drink. Her daughter is more quiet and they enjoyed doing craft together and having lunch at her favorite restaurant. The mother now swears by love bombing. The kids loved spending “special” time alone with their mum. She says the changes in her kids’ behaviour was almost tangible. She has implemented love bombing her children every once in a while, to help boost their confidence and self assurance. They call it “mummy day”.

I am really interested by this. I would love to try it out. Not only for my kids, but for me. I often feel sad that I don’t get to enjoy each of my beautiful children by themselves without any other distractions. When his brother was born, my first child had to learn that he no longer got my undivided attention. My second baby has never even really had my undivided attention like an “only child” would. How precious it would be to give that gift of time and love to each of them separately.

There are a few things I’d probably do differently though. I think I’d still have to have rules. Things like “no hurting other people” and “no swearing” etc. would still be in place. I’ve heard a few people do different versions of the same kind of idea. I read about one woman who has a pyjama day every school holidays with her kids, where they stay in bed and watch movies or tv all day. Another has a day of unlimited xbox use once every school holidays. What a great idea! I love that parents are making conscious decisions to shower their kids with the desires of the kid’s hearts. It’s all too easy to stay in the pattern of “cruel to be kind” or “doing it for their own good”, which of course is necessary the majority of the time, after all we parents only want the best for our kids. I like, however, that love bombing allows kids to have a say and get to do harmless fun things with their devoted mum or dad’s undivided attention, every now and then.

Even if it doesn’t “reprogram” a child’s behaviour and self esteem, I can’t see that it would cause too much damage (besides maybe a trip to the dentist). It’s not the same as over-indulging a child all the time. The child knows the game, the parameters. It’s an occasional foray into being solely responsible for one 24hour period’s activities.

I’m going to try it when my kid’s are at an appropriate age and can reason more sensibly. Can’t wait!