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Introducing Egg

By Jan Murray

egg-gry

The introduction of egg has recently changed.

Babies used to be given cooked egg yolk at around 8 months and cooked egg white around 11 months. From research (references through link) it is now suggested that cooked egg be given (in small amounts) to babies before 6 months of age.

Egg is best give to babies initially in very small amounts (little fingernail size) then increase as tolerated. Eggs are potentially allergic but a reaction doesn’t necessarily mean allergy, it could mean a sensitivity or intolerance to the amount given at the time. Often there are other factors (environmental or social) that add stress to the body making food intolerance levels lower.

egg-allergy

This 6 month old baby was enjoying fruit and vegetables and lentils and had no known family history of allergy to egg. His parents ate eggs with no allergic reactions and he was breast fed.  This rash occurred within a few hours after he was given two teaspoons of scrabbled egg mid-morning. It resolved next day and didn’t worry him in any other way. He’ll have another try in a week or two in a smaller quantity.

Research has shown there is possibly a ‘window of opportunity’ between 4 – 7 months for foods to be introduced with further suggestion that withholding foods could increase allergic response.

It is recommended that babies be introduced to solid foods while they have the immune protection of breast milk.

More advice on infant feeding in ‘taste it’

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Don’t Force Your Baby or Toddler to Eat or Drink

aversion.jpg

by Jan

There can be any number of reasons why babies and toddlers refuse to eat or drink. But continually forcing them to take something into their mouth can create a negative emotion towards the experience of eating. Overtime, this recurring negative event becomes a conditioned response to the act of eating, even if the food is normally enjoyed. This is known as feeding aversion.

Babies and toddlers learn skills and perform tasks best when they are relaxed and enjoying themselves. If drinking or eating causes babies and toddlers to become frightened or stressed it sets up a negative feeling. This can become an ongoing feeding aversion. Some of the situations that could create an aversion include:

  • Force feeding—making babies and toddlers take in food or drink against their will
  • Choking episodes—where babies and toddlers have swallowed something that occluded the airway requiring help to be dislodged
  • A stressful environment while feeding such as loud angry talking or fighting
  • Discomfort or pain is often the first reason explored by professionals when babies and toddlers are presented with a feeding aversion. However, in most cases, pain doesn’t usually just happen when feeding begins there is usually other signs of pain between feeds
  • Unpleasant but necessary medical interventions such as tube feeds
  • Hypersensitivity to texture, taste, smell or temperature—often linked to allergy or intolerance associated with particular foods and fluids.

A feeding aversion is constant and continues overtime. Some things that may suggest a feeding aversion are:

  • Appearing hungry but refuse to eat
  • Fussing and crying when bib is placed around the neck
  • Fussing and crying when placed into a feeding position or when the bottle is presented
  • Clamping their mouth shut and turning their head away from the breast, bottle, spoon or food
  • Skipping feeds or meals without distress
  • Only taking a few sips of liquid or a small portion of food offered before pulling away or arching their back and crying. (Back arching can also be a tired sign)
  • Only feeding while drowsy or asleep
  • Consuming less milk or food than expected for their age
  • Displaying poor growth and possibly diagnosed as ‘failure to thrive’.

Unresolved feeding aversion can lead to a break down in relationships between babies and toddlers and their parents. It may also make mothers feel inadequate or embarrassed to take their child out during a time that involves feeding.

Constant food refusal can lead to poor weight gain and a lack of important nutrients, which can lead to reduced energy and motivation to explore and discover their world. Rectify feeding problems by seeking professional advice early.

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance.

Be Healthy From the Very First Mouthful

by Jan

Today, merely looking at a piece of cheesecake adds centimetres to my hips. Could this be linked to my poor childhood eating habits? Research reveals, yes.

Unfortunately, obesity is not just a physical problem restricting movement but it leads to the body breaking down with conditions such as liver disease, heart disease and diabetes. Add to this low self esteem and social awkwardness leading to relationship challenges and behaviour disorders and the future looks pretty bleak.

One in four children suffers obesity in Australia today. As quoted by Jamie Oliver at TED awards “these children are looking at a future with a life expectancy 10 years less than their parents”. Statistically, diet related disease is fast approaching as the number one killer and is a generational and global problem.

Obesity is a preventable disease largely due to the following four areas:

One: The increase consumption of processed and takeaway foods. Everything needs to be quick or better still instant and readily available with minimal preparation. I am not just talking about teenagers; it is starting with babies. 

Two: A poor understanding of natural foods and why they are important for good health. Children start their life with canned and packaged foods with no involvement in the preparation or culture around healthy eating.

Three: Minimal outside play. We live in a community with larger houses and smaller backyards and the fear of paedophiles and kidnappers in our streets. Parks can have hidden needles on the ground leaving inside activities a safer more appealing option.

Four: Tired parents who are working and stressed keeping up with the demands of life and financial pressure, take the easy option for pre prepared foods. Children are often tired and cranky after being in care and getting home late. Giving them what they demand isn’t always the healthiest option but it prevents arguments.

Here are four easy steps to start a healthy future for your baby or child

One: Limit or better still avoid highly processed and packaged foods containing preservatives.

Two: Decrease their likelihood of developing obesity and related diseases by limiting or avoiding simple carbohydrates and refined sugars which are stored as fat if not used.

Three: Encourage plenty of supervised playtime in the fresh air. Create bigger backyards.

Four: Take control. Shopping shelves are stacked with nutritionally lacking foods but it is you who chooses what stays out and what goes in your trolley.

When you familiarize babies and children with whole foods eaten at regular intervals with daily physical activity, you are demonstrating healthy habits for life.

Weight gain and associated lifestyle changes creep up slowly and insidiously, robbing us of abundant life. Don’t do this to your babies and children. Be healthy from the very first mouthful. ‘taste it – easy baby & toddler recipes along with professional child health advice’ will give you practical guidelines for a healthy start to your baby’s eating habits.

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. 

Keeping Baby Warm

By Jan Murray

When night air becomes colder the ambient temperature in your child’s room can drop quite significantly at around 3am.

frost

If your baby is waking around that time, make sure she is warm enough.

Sleeping bags made from natural fibres are great for warmth once your baby is out of a wrap. Unnatural fibres such as polyester can trap heat, making it difficult for your baby to regulate her body temperature.

Helping Babies and Toddlers Sleep
A thermostatically controlled heater can be useful during the cold winter months but be careful not to overheat your baby’s room and don’t leave a heater switched on all night. Episodes of SIDS are more common in winter as a result of overheating.

Avoid sleeping babies and toddlers with electric blankets on, hot water bottles or heated wheat-bags. Your baby cannot always escape from a bed, throw off bedding, or get out of a cot to cool down. A baby that becomes too hot is at an increased risk of SIDS. Keep a window a tiny bit open for fresh air.

It is advisable to keep bedroom temperature below 24°C (75.2°F) but observing how hot your baby looks and feels is a better indicator of acceptable room temperature than a monitor. Feel down onto your baby’s chest as hands and feet are usually cold. Look to see that her head is not sweating or her face is not flushed. Babies regulate their temperature through their head. Make sure their face is uncovered, while lying on their back to sleep.

Avoid sleeping your baby between two adults. Babies can become smothered by adult doonas and can overheat between two hot bodies.

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Effects of Watching TV on Babies and Children?

by Jan

Television is my pet hate – just ask my kids”. I have been a television Nazi since day one because it is a serious issue in a child’s development. In my opinion when it comes to television, turn it off, pretend it is broken, whatever; just be in control of it while you can and while your children are forming behaviour habits. It is not just my opinion there is much research around in all areas of development to justify my hate.

Brain research suggests that watching television under two years old is pushing your child into tasks the brain is not developmentally ready to take on. (John Medina – developmental biologist) Television is an all-pervasive and highly influential element in the lives of most Australian babies and children today. Children of different ages watch and understand television in different ways, depending on the length of their attention span, the ways in which they process information, the amount of mental effort they invest, their own life experiences and parental input.

There are a variety of studies that show television viewing before the age of three may have adverse effects on subsequent cognitive development and neural programming for the future. In fact, 90% of the brain’s neural pathways are laid down by three years old. After this, they are added to and built on.

Babies discover the ways of their mother from listening and intuitively picking up on her specific movements and sounds. Having the constant background noise and flashes of the television may inhibit this vital connection.

Learn more about your toddler

Under two years old television is a negative influence in a variety of ways. This is seen regularly in babies and toddlers with eating and sleeping issues. Some situations that occur with regular television watching include:

  • the inability to settle and sleep
  • a low energy output
  • their lack of muscle strength
  • the flattened head shape of a baby who is propped regularly in front of the television
  • their lack of enjoyment and involvement in the developing process of eating
  • the reduced eye contact and interaction that parents have with their babies

Encourage no television watching for children under two years old; instead focus on interacting with them and helping them to discover life skills that stay with them into the future.

Preschoolers (three to five year olds), actively search for meaning in television content but are also attracted to vivid production features, such as rapid character movement, rapid changes of scenery and intense or unexpected sights and sounds. With this preference for cartoons, preschoolers are being exposed to a large number of violent acts in their viewing day leading to the increased risk of violent behaviour and poor sleeping patterns. Aim to limit preschool television to no more than one hour of non violent or educational shows per day.

Up until seven years old children are active participants, initiators and experimenters of what life has to offer. In other words, they learn through play. The cognitive growth and formulation of answers to their many questions occur as they interact using all their senses (sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell) with the world around them. Babies and children need to be given opportunities to participate, initiate and experiment with a variety of materials to enhance this growth. If they are watching television be mindful of what is shown on the screen as children do not understand the difference between fact and fantasy until they are seven years old. Logical reasoning does not develop until later. Three to seven year olds think in images and pictures therefore characters may come alive in their vivid imagination during the quiet of the night. Turning the television off two hours prior to bed and encouraging happy and relaxing books and play as a family, can help reduce the incidence of nightmares and night terrors.

There is increasing evidence to support television viewing is associated with obesity (effecting one in four children) in the areas of:

  • snacking on poor nutritive foods
  • decreased awareness of the amount of food consumed
  • demands of poor food choices from advertising
  • lack of physical activity
  • unmotivated energies

It is also associated with anger, nightmares and increasing brain wave activity, making it difficult for babies and children to settle and sleep well. Poor sleep then produces overtiredness and further behaviour challenges.

Suggested television viewing for optimum growth and development of babies and children:

  • no television viewing under two years old (even in the background)
  • half an hour of television viewing for toddlers (12 months to three years)
  • limit viewing to a maximum of an hour a day for preschoolers (three to five years)
  • no snacking while watching television
  • no watching television while eating meals
  • discuss the shows that are watched and suggest role play ideas and activities

This article may seem tough but your child’s future depends on it.

Moving your Toddler from a Cot to a Bed

By Jan Murray

You can help your toddler make the transition from a cot to a bed when you are ready and/or your toddler shows signs that he is ready.

You may find this transition easiest to manage after he turns two years old. However, some toddlers are ready earlier than this.

Below are some signs that indicate that it is time for your toddler to move out of the cot:

  • climbcotClimbs or falls out of the cot
  • Thrashes around in the cot and appears unable to get comfortable
  • Asks for a “big bed”
  • When she is toilet trained by day and then starts to call out at night to use the toilet
  • A new baby is on it’s way and the cot will be needed. Make sure this transition happens 2 months before the new arrival.

Suggestions that can help your toddler move out of a cot and into a big bed

  • Make the changes when there are no other big changes happening in his life
  • If another baby is on the way, make the changes at least two months before or after the arrival
  • Your toddler or older child may like to help you chose the sheets
  • Idea One: Take away the cot surrounds and place the cot mattress on the floor in the same spot for a few days or a week before changing into the bed
  • Idea Two: Bring the big bed into the same room as the cot, leaving the cot assembled and start day naps and reading books on the new bed for a week before sleeping in it
  • Have a calm and comforting pre bedtime ritual established well before making the transition
  • Have some of the pre-bedtime ritual on the big bed such as reading and chatting
  • Tuck your toddler in bed firmly and ensure he knows you expect him to stay in bed
  • If he gets out of bed, take his hand and walk him back to bed calmly and confidently, with no eye contact or conversation. Continue walking him back in this manner until he stays there. Do this consistently for three weeks before a new habit is established. More information here Putting Them to Sleep

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. 

Plagiocephalie Or Flat Head Area in a Baby

Plagiocephalie or flattened head area can develop in babies after birth. This occurs from  applying constant pressure on one part of their head.

The first 6 – 8 weeks of babies life is the most important time to avoid a flattened head area (Plagiocephalie) developing. This is because the bones in a newborn’s head are thin and flexible and the head is soft and easy to mould.

Four reasons why flat areas may occur in a baby’s head:

1. Lying in one position for long periods of time.

2. By always turning the head to the same side when lying on their back (favouring looking out a window to the light).

3. Always sitting in a propped up position. May occur in babies who suffer from reflux pain.

4. Birth trauma resulting in neck pain – leaving a baby to favour a pain free position.

Discover eight important steps to facilitate a baby developing muscle balance and therefore decreasing the risk of developing a flattened head area.

1. Alternate the head position when putting them down to sleep.

2. Alternate laying baby at different ends of the cot when putting him to bed.

3. A period of tummy time during every play time.

4. Change the position of the toys when babies are on the floor so they move their head to different angles.

5. Vary holding and carrying positions.

6. Changing the side that a baby carry sling is worn on.

7. When picking babies up, approach them from different sides of the body.

8. Visit a baby accredited chiropractor or physiotherapist to assess baby’s head alignment, especially after a long or difficult birth, forceps assisted birth or birth by caesarean section. Babies who do not feed well from a particular side, hate tummy time or suffer from considerable wind, may have an alignment issue requiring attention.

Seek professional help EARLY if you see baby’s head becoming flattened in areas or the head constantly tilts to one side or he favours facing a certain direction.

A physiotherapist may advise a cranial helmet be worn for a period of time if a baby’s head remains flat beyond five to six months.

Feel more confident in your parenting journey by reading ‘Mum, Baby & Toddler – together we learn’

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Jan Murray has been committed to studying and working as a Registered Nurse, Midwife and Child Health Nurse for over 25 years. Jan is a mother of 5, Child Health Consultant who co-founded and directs Settle Petal. Jan provides information and support for parents to develop their knowledge base and confidence. Receive your FREE Routine at http://myoptinpage.com/?pid=2151223 to unlock a secret to helping babies settle, sleep and grow.

Nappy Rash

napkin-thrush-s

By Jan Murray

Leaving a nappy on your baby for long periods of time is a common cause of nappy rash but not the only cause. Some babies get nappy rash no matter how well they are cared for, while others do not get nappy rash at all. Your baby may get nappy rash when he has a cold, when he is teething or when he is suffering from an illnesses or food intolerance. Signs of nappy rash include:

  • Inflamed skin: the skin around the genital area and anus looks red and moist
  • Blistering: the skin may blister and peel, leaving raw patches that can develop into ulcers
  • Spreading: the rash can spread onto the tummy and further onto the buttocks
  • Ulcers: small ulcers can sometimes form on healthy skin near the area of the rash.

A secondary bacterial or fungal infection is commonly the cause of nappy rash that spreads or fails to heal by airing, bathing and applying barrier creams or ointments. The damaged skin is often uncomfortable, itchy or sore. When your baby has nappy rash he may have unsettled sleep due to pain and irritation.

Some causes of nappy rash include:

  • Chemicals in urine become ammonia and burn the skin when in direct contact for too long
  • Thrush (Candida) – grows in a warm, moist environment. This type of nappy rash spreads in red patches and does not go away with barrier creams
  • Chemicals in nappy soaking solutions, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, cleansing wipes, scented soaps and lotions and certain brands of disposable nappies can irritate baby’s skin
  • Anti-fungal medicated creams applied too thick can burn
  • Plastic pants keep your baby’s clothes clean and dry, but most prevent airflow. Clothes do not get wet and your baby is often left in a wet or dirty nappy for long periods. The skin remains wet and urine changes into ammonia that burns. The area becomes warm leaving it susceptible to thrush
  • Rough nappies, sand or dirt can rub and chafe baby’s sensitive skin
  • Bowel movements are more acidic when your baby is teething – burning delicate skin
  • Certain foods eaten or ingested through breast milk can burn such as hot curry
  • When your baby has frequent diarrhoea
  • If your baby has little nappy-free time and lots of soiled nappies
  • If your baby has started solids and is not tolerating certain foods – commonly dairy or wheat.

For more information Mum, Baby & Toddler – together we learn

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Separation Anxiety

Ever had a ‘Velcro baby’ where she’d hold tight and not let you go? You’d step away and she’d cry and reach out for you in a desperate attempt to go with you. Even going to the bathroom or having a shower proved difficult without your baby dissolving into a flood of distressed tears. You probably found that these acts of insecurity were heightened when she was unwell, teething, tired or hungry.

It’s normal behaviour at certain ages

But don’t panic—it’s a normal stage of developmental that occurs around seven to nine months of age. It’s a time when most babies start to crawl.

Handling a new stage of development

Your baby is developing ‘object permanence’ where just because something is out of sight and out of hearing doesn’t mean it no longer exists. Coupled with the new skill of crawling she takes herself away from her place of security, her primary carer (usually mum).

The passion to explore, plus her leap in brain development, makes her feel unsure whether she can get back to mum or that mum will come back to her. How you handle this period of separation anxiety will have a strong influence on how well your baby learns to separate.

Help baby adjust

To help your baby adjust, don’t always rescue her and pick her up and take her with you. Instead, help her feel comfortable with separating. Come back to her and play for a few more minutes before going again. As you leave the room, let her see that you feel confident saying goodbye. Talk to her in an upbeat tone as you leave, assuring her that she’s ok and that you’ll be coming back to her. This is the same when leaving her at day care or grandmas. Give her time to feel comfortable in the company of a new carer before you leave. It will help her to separate with a minimum of distress. Avoid sneaking away, always say goodbye otherwise an unexpected disappearance can leave your baby wondering when and if you will return, which builds mistrust and feelings of insecurity.

Baby’s temperament

Temperament has a major impact on how she copes with this stage of her development. You may have already noticed one of the three temperaments[i] (easy, difficult, and slow-to-warm) in babies that you know, and recognised the different ways they handle change.

Home environment

The harmony of the home environment and whether dad works away for extended periods, also impacts on her ability to separate

Separation anxiety returns

‘Object permanence’ isn’t completely established until two years old, which means your toddler may go through this stage of separation anxiety again at around 15 to 18 months old. At this age your toddler’s inquisitive nature and spirit reaches a new level that often causes the clingy behaviour and distress of separating from significant carers to reoccur. This is because her brain development has taken another leap and her understanding of the world has changed. At this age your toddler has an amazing grasp of language and can understand what you say, even if she can’t say it back yet. For this reason, talk to her, tell her what is happening, where you are going, and when you will be back. Wave goodbye and eventually she’ll associate going away with coming back.[ii]

Keep her life stable and help her through this period of insecurity and uncertainly. Have a regular routine, feed her healthy food and encourage good day and night sleep patterns. Stay calm yourself knowing this time will pass.

Bub can also experience separation anxiety at bedtime, as this is a period of long separation. Avoid cry-it-out strategies to encourage sleep during these times as this will only cause more distress. ‘Putting them to Sleep[iii] eBook has alternative bedtime strategies for you to try. Again, temperament and the family environment are factors that interfere with her ability to manage separating, leaving her to cling for longer.

While separation anxiety can prove difficult for you and your child, try to accept that it’s a normal stage of brain maturity and infant development, and remain patient, encouraging and reassuring. Be sensitive to individual temperament and needs.

Push away or hold on tight

Try not to push her away too soon or hold on too tight for too long, as this can hinder the developmental process of independence and self-assurance. Avoid comparing your baby with others of the same age as every child and every environment is different and as always seek professional help if you feel that separation is an ongoing problem.

References:

[i] Peterson, 2004 referred to in (Burton, 2011, Psychology)

[ii] http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=114&np=141&id=1848

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Baby Sleep Techniques

By Jan Murray

Sleep is a natural biological rhythm but sleeping well is a skill that takes time to develop.

Sleep habits develop from birth and are a combined result of nature (genes and developmental milestones) and nurture (parental guidance and support).

Infant sleep ‘training’ techniques are used to help babies get to sleep or stay asleep. Working out what technique to choose can be difficult because all sleep ‘training’ techniques can work. However, some only work in specific circumstances and some suit some babies and parents more than others.

Consider your baby’s age, temperament, ‘goodness-of-fit’ with your temperament, health, and the environment in which he lives before you choose a suitable technique.

Newborn

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Until 4-months of age your newborn has immature sleep/ wake rhythms, he needs frequent milk feeds and has reduced mental capacity, which makes him unable to respond to all techniques.

Types of techniques

Sleep ‘training’ techniques are divided into two groups:

The first techniques were based on extinction. These include: (a) cry it out, (b) controlled crying, (c) camping out, and (d) the chair method (works best with toddlers older than 16-months).

The more recent techniques are cue-based techniques. These include: (a) responsive settling and (b) hands on settling.

All babies, environments and situations are different. Cue-based techniques are more gentle than extinction techniques but that’s not to say extinction techniques are wrong. In fact, in some situations with strong-willed infants extinction gets results quicker and is less frustrating for everyone. Conversely, extinction may not work if your baby needs more touch and reassurance to calm and sleep. Some babies self-soothe and re-settle overnight easier than others who need support or sleep-props to enter sleep and resettle.

Different situations different techniques

Controlled-crying/ comforting (intermittent comforting) is not used for babies less than 6-months of age and needs a plan outlined by your child health professional. It won’t work if it is done randomly. The technique is tough going so make sure you have support around you. Ensure bub is healthy, there are no distractions in the cot, and all outside commitments are on-hold for 4-days. Work on both day and night sleeps. This technique works quickly when used for the right baby at the right age with the right emotional commitment but can backfire and cause added stress and insecurity, for all concerned, if it’s not the appropriate choice.

Camping-out (sleep alongside bubs cot) is a good technique if you don’t want to leave the room and bub wants you close. You often don’t need to do anything, it’s your mere presence that helps your baby feel secure enough to drift off to sleep. As your baby gets older and more confident with sleep (around 16-months) this technique becomes the chair method and you can slowly move out of the room.

Responsive-settling tunes in to infant cries. It takes focused listening and being close to give comfort and support when needed. Sometimes it will be a cuddle and other times a shhh pat in the cot to help your baby drift off to sleep.

Hands-on-settling involves your comforting touch at all times. It could involve stroking the forehead or applying gentle pressure over the chest and legs with or without a rocking action. Both these gentle techniques work well but can be irritating when used for babies that don’t enjoy constant touch or when you are anxious.

It takes time

It takes your baby about 20-minutes of light sleep to fall into deep sleep. Get to know your baby and how you can help him settle and sleep. Give her time to form a habit (4-days to 3-weeks depending on age and circumstance). Consult your child health professional for personalised advice if you and your baby are struggling to get sleep.

References:

http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/controlled_comforting.html https://www.tresillian.org.au/

http://www.karitane.com.au/

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/sleep-problems

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http://psychology.org.au/inpsych/2014/April/Blunden/