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Archive for Sleep and Settling

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 though.

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

  • climbcotClimbs or falls head first 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 prebedtime ritual on the big bed such as reading and chatting
  • Tuck your toddler in 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.

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. She 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.

Food Effects Baby and Toddler Sleep

Food has a calming effect on the body or an energizing effect.

When you have children who do not sleep well, knowing what type of food fuels energy and what type of food fuels the release of sleep-triggering hormones serotonin and melatonin is helpful.

Sleep-triggering snack 30-minutes before bed

The effect of food on the body begins about 30-minutes after eating. Therefore, give your baby or toddler an appropriate snack or drink 30-minutes before you expect him to sleep. If on solids, this does not mean holding off his dinner but rather giving him a little something extra after dinner as well.

Get a suitable routine for your child’s age

Too busy digesting to sleep

Give red meat, sausages, ham, simple carbohydrates such as white rice, pasta and sugary foods (including fruit) earlier in the day to avoid the effect of increased energy in the night. Complex-carbohydrates such as brown rice and wholegrain bread are better choices for sleep.

Protein foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan are suitable choices for an evening meal and pre-bedtime snack because they boost the sleep-triggering hormone melatonin and control hunger.

Dinner and evening snack ideas

  1. Wholegrain cereal with warm milk
  2. Natural yoghurt and sliced apple or banana
  3. Wholegrain rice cake spread with natural peanut butter
  4. Melted hard cheese on wholegrain toast
  5. Cashew or peanut butter spread on a dry wholegrain and oat wheat-bix
  6. Cottage cheese and tuna with avocado and wholegrain pasta
  7. Cooked eggs and wholegrain toast fingers
  8. Rice pudding made with brown rice
  9. Banana smoothie made with coconut milk.

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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.

Co-sleeping with Your Baby

By Jan Murray

In many cultures it is normal practice for parents’ to co-sleep and bed share with their children. However, for families in western cultures such as Australia the act of co-sleeping and bed sharing with babies can be a complex issue, which often leads to controversial discussions. Forming close bonds of attachment doesn’t just happen in bed; there are many other factors involved. In the early years connecting with your baby is more about fulfilling his individual needs that are based on genetics and the environment in which he lives.

It’s true that co-sleeping brings comfort and sleep to many babies and their parents. Sleeping close can increase baby-parent connections, improve breast milk supply, and make breastfeeding easier. However, it doesn’t work like that for all babies and all parents. In fact, some babies are happier and more settled sleeping in their own space. Babies may be active, noisy sleepers that keep their parents awake.

In recent years co-sleeping and bed sharing have become a contemporary parenting practice. For families who have one parent working away for weeks at a time or where both parents work away from home for long hours, co-sleeping may be the best chance your baby has for spending time with his busy parents. Babies have developmental needs and busy parents often need to be creative with how to meet those needs.

If you do choose to co-sleep with your baby, follow safe sleeping guidelines and relax and enjoy the experience. Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUDI) of which Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is included has been linked to co-sleeping but it is not usually a cause unless safe sleeping practices have not been followed. Research findings show some babies are more vulnerable to SIDS than others. Therefore, following safe sleeping practices is a wise decision in case your baby is one of the vulnerable ones.

When co-sleeping, avoid the risk of your baby suffocating. Share a hard bed surface such as the floor or a firm mattress and avoid soft surfaces such as a mattress with a soft woollen underlay, waterbed, sofa, lounge or beanbag. Don’t risk sleeping with your baby if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if you are obese. Sleep your baby on the outside edge of the bed rather than between you and your partner as when he is snuggled between you his head can easily be covered by blankets or he can overheat. Avoid using heavy doonas and quilts. Instead, use breathable cotton blankets just as you would if he were in his own cot. Unfortunately, being at the edge of the bed increases the risk of injuries from falling out of bed. Use a bed-rail and avoid pushing the bed up against the wall as babies have suffocated after becoming wedged between the mattress and wall. A ‘bedside attachment’ or ‘snuggle bed’ are great options for a safe sleeping space within the parental bed. There is an increased risk of SIDS in babies born premature, small for gestational age or that are less than four months old. Therefore, in these circumstances it is best to avoid co-sleeping.

Despite the talk of co-sleeping increasing the risk of SIDS, it has also been found to reduce the risk of SIDS. When mum and bub snuggle close together they become more in tune with each others breathing patterns.

Sleeping apart is considered a separating experience and for some babies this can be very difficult. Genetic factors, temperament, and environmental issues may increase your baby’s anxiety levels, making the thought of sleeping separately stressful. Co-sleeping in this situation can provide much needed calming relief to a baby during the early years of development.

When following safe sleeping guidelines, co-sleeping is only a problem if it is a problem for you or your baby. If sleeping close in the early years works for your family delight in the experience of sharing a bed surface together. But if it doesn’t work for you or your bub enjoy the fact that you both have your own space to enjoy sleeping in. But because sleep is vitally important for everyone it is recommended that you seek professional help if neither sleeping option encourages sleep.

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, 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.

References:

http://www.epjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/ep05102183.pdf

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/sleep-problems/co-sleeping-yes-no-sometimes

Baby Wearing

By Jan Murray

dad-session-walking

Wearing a baby in a sling or another form of carrier is an ancient art used to transport babies and has been practiced around the world since the beginning of mankind. However, it is thought that the invention of wheeled baby carriages in America in the 1830s decreased the need for carrying babies in the western world. In 1992 Dr William Sears coined the phrase ‘attachment parenting’ suggesting babies stayed close to their carer at all times. This parenting strategy brought back the practice of baby wearing that continues to be a growing trend in Australia today.

There are several ways to wear your baby. These can be on the front, back, or hip; either in the form of a sling, which goes over one shoulder or a carrier, which goes over two shoulders. Whatever method you choose your child can be worn for as long as it is mutually enjoyable and safe.There are several ways to wear your baby. These can be on the front, back, or hip; either in the form of a sling, which goes over one shoulder or a carrier, which goes over two shoulders. Whatever method you choose your child can be worn for as long as it is mutually enjoyable and safe.

Slings are made of a variety of materials and are secured with rings, buckles, ties or knots. Slings form a pouch that little ones lie in or older ones sit in. Carriers include fabric wraps, soft padded and framed varieties. Some designs have neck and hip-to-knee support, which are suitable for newborns. Other carriers are better suited to older babies that can weight-bare and sit unsupported such as the back frame.

It is important to choose a sling or carrier carefully. It needs to be comfortable for you to wear and suitable and safe to use for your child’s age and weight. It is also important for you to be able to put the device on yourself and to be able to place your baby safely inside. Carefully consider carriers that position your baby facing outward as a baby in this position is unable to rest her head when she is tired, escape from overstimulation, and her hips are pinned in a poor position for normal development.

Like any skill, baby-wearing takes practice to master and your baby takes time to feel comfortable. However, baby-wearing is not always the answer. When babies have reflux, slings that keep the body in a curled position puts pressure on the tummy, which increases reflux discomfort but the same curled position can bring relief to babies with wind pain. Babies diagnosed with true colic probably won’t calm with baby-wearing but wearing these unsettled babies and going for a walk or getting chores done may reduce anxiety for their carer. It’s important NOT to swaddle your baby before placing her in a sling or carrier as she can overheat.

When babies are carried around continually during the day they frequently feed on demand and can develop short napping habits, which becomes tiresome and frustrating for many parents. Baby wearing can also produce poor self-settling patterns and increase night waking because parents are needed to settle babies back to sleep. Prolonged night feeding patterns can also increase the risk of ongoing dental caries in your baby.

If baby wearing is not something you want to practice constantly it can be done intermittently. This is especially handy if your baby was born premature and needs more contact time, is unsettled and won’t sleep in a cot, bassinette or stroller or you have other children who need your attention.

Intermittent baby-wearing can be beneficial in two ways. It includes close contact and reduces crying and your baby gains neurological and muscle development along with independence by spending time on the floor with stimulating play activities rather than always being carried.  Baby-wearing is great for dads or other carers who have limited time with babies as close physical contact can produce quicker bonding.

Baby-wearing like co-sleeping is a personal choice and it is important to remember that whatever method of caring for your baby you choose it does not make you a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ parent, it is what works for you and your baby that’s important. However, there are disadvantages and advantages for both carer and child and it is important to consider your own situation and the safety and comfort of you and your baby when making your choice.

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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.

References:

http://www.parentingscience.com/infant-crying.html

  1. Solkoff, N, et al. (1969). Effects of handling on the subsequent development of premature infants. Developmental Psychology, 1(6). 765-768.

https://www.isisonline.org.uk/about/

Changes in Baby Sleep Patterns

By Jan Murray

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When parents ask whether your baby sleeps through the night, the answer you give can feel like a rite of passage for being a ‘good’ parent! However, don’t worry because it is normal for babies to wake overnight for many years. The issue is really more about what babies rely on to get back to sleep. Sleeping through means when your baby wakes he doesn’t need any help to get back to sleep, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t wake up. There are a variety of factors that prevent babies and toddlers sleeping through the night. Many are learned behaviours, which could have been prevented and can be fixed.

Newborns that are jaundice (yellow discolouration of the skin) or weigh less than 3000gms need to be fed about four hourly overnight.  There are also medical conditions and metabolic disorders that require babies to have regular milk feeds overnight.

Adults can easily achieve and function well on six to eight hours of unbroken sleep a night (before children!). A newborn requires around 16 – 17 hours sleep in a 24 hour period, which needs to be broken up with milk feeds. As babies get older, the amount of sleep they require for good health and development slowly decreases and the spacing of feeds increases.

swaddled

The natural day/night sleeping pattern takes a couple of months to develop. Parents can help this process by focusing on feeding newborns at regular three to four hourly intervals during the day. Feed and sleep babies in the daylight for the first six weeks but after this they often appreciate dimmer lighting to settle to sleep. Pull the blinds or curtains while sleeping but make sure you raise them when they are ready to get up. Feed during the night with soft lighting and minimal stimulation. To keep them secure and comfortable swaddle for sleeping—it encourages sleep by preventing the startle reflex (throwing arms out) disturbing them. This reflex disappears around three to four months old making it easier to transition out of a wrap and into a baby sleeping bag.

asleep

By eight to ten weeks old, babies are able to sleep longer stretches at night of four to six hours and shorter naps of one to two hours during the day. Night sleep between 6.30pm and 6.30am is still broken with the need for milk feeds two or three times until six to eight months old. By this age, babies are able to sleep much longer (10 -12 hours straight) with two day sleeps (one in the morning and one in the early afternoon). This pattern of sleep is not impossible for most babies but there can be several reasons why this is not happening for some.

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Photo Supplied by www.sunshinecoastnewbornphotographer.com

One reason why many older babies continue to wake and get milk feeds overnight (more than they require) is because they have been programmed from birth to have milk feeds to go off to sleep. Continuing to feed whenever babies wake overnight becomes an expectation even if they are not hungry. One way to avoid this happening is to help babies to fall asleep naturally during the early months and as they get older avoid rushing in when they wake overnight. Set up positive sleeping cues early and allow babies the opportunity to self-regulate good sleeping patterns without the dependence on milk feeds.

From four months old neurological development causes babies to wake and chatter—they are not asking for anyone and it’s usually not hunger. If they know how to settle, they will go back to sleep when they are ready. If babies wake erratically it could be a sign that they need more nutrients during the day. This can be fixed either by increasing breast milk, adding some infant formula feeds or introducing solids. Seek advice from your child health professional for the best option for your baby.

From nine months old poor sleeping patterns can become worse. Babies who enjoy feeding during the night usually can’t eat much during the day, which then hinders a good night sleep. Poor sleep then reduces their energy levels needed for physical activities, which further reduces the need for eating. This lack of activity makes babies less physically tired, reducing the need for sleep and the lack of ‘fuel’ can make babies drowsy and in need of a quick nap.

inthecarsm

They may be teething but teething doesn’t usually cause night waking but it can prevent babies going back to sleep if they wake.

Parenting styles, family environments and settling techniques vary. Consider the best options for your family to function well and ensure babies and toddlers get a good night sleep for their optimal development.

A ‘Suggested Daily Routines’ eBook is available to help sort out night and day patterns of sleep.

Read this different perspective from the babies side! Awake Training for Parents

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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.

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.

Learn more about babies Mum, Baby & Toddler

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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.

Babies First Three Months

By Jan Murray

Functioning day to day on broken sleep and often in physical discomfort in a lifestyle that is totally foreign can cause anxiety. This coupled with the overwhelming responsibility of a newborn cause’s memory glitches and decision making blips. Don’t panic – life will run smoothly again. Here are some realistic things you can anticipate while caring for your baby in the first three months.

asleep

You’ll find looking after your baby in the early months tiring or even exhausting. To help you through, accept offers of help or use paid help. Rest and put your feet up after lunch, eat well and get fresh air and a little exercise every day.

The first two weeks with your baby may be heavenly. You’ll think how perfect he is as you watch him contentedly feed, sleep and pass bodily fluids. Then the mystical three week mark arrives when this blissful life with a newborn in the house turns to chaos – your little one is growing up and becoming more alert. It is from here your baby needs more awake time – about one to one and a half hours between sleeps which includes feed time and floor play. Make sure you don’t get too love struck and keep him up too long. An overtired or overstimulated baby is very difficult to settle to sleep. It normally takes about ten to fifteen minutes for him to settle to sleep. Expect him to then sleep for one to one and a half hours. This period of sleep consists of three or more sleep cycles. Be mindful not to get him up too early. Just because the eyes are wide open when you go in and check on him doesn‘t mean he is ready to get up. It’s probably the stare that happens just before he settles back to sleep. Try not to hover and interrupt natural processes as without adequate sleep your baby is grumpy and doesn’t feed well. At night, let him wake for feeds. He may give you four to five hour stretches of sleep. If he doesn’t, don’t worry he will. Feed with low light, no interaction and stimulation and he will improve. Some bubs have night and day mixed up – sleeping in the day and waking frequently overnight. Help turn this around by waking bub regularly during the day for feeds, sleeping him in daylight areas and letting him wake on his own overnight. In total your baby will usually sleep about fifteen to sixteen hours in twenty-fours during these first few months.

Breastmilk is premium nutrition for your baby in the first three months. Unfortunately, as committed and as hard as some mums try, breast feeding ends early. Thankfully there is a variety of infant formulas when breast milk is not available. Seek professional advice before starting infant formula. Breast milk is easily digested and needs to be offered every three hours during the day. Most infant formulas are offered every four hours. The length of a breast feed is not a good indication of how much milk bub is getting. Some will suck efficiently and down enough in fifteen minutes while others take forty minutes to drink the same amount. Others feed for over an hour but are not getting much due to poor attachment. Forty-five minutes is a long enough feed, after this length of time bubs suck will not be effective enough to get much milk and he would be better off catching up on needed sleep or stimulation. Weighing your baby every couple of weeks is the best way to see if he is getting enough milk. Rumbling hungry tummies or discomfort is usually what wakes him in the early weeks. If your baby is due for a feed, don’t delay the feed fiddling around changing the nappy, start feeding and change the nappy after ten minutes when the sucking slows down. Newborns have a habit of dosing off before completing a feed.

Following feeds during the day your baby will enjoy watching you and the surroundings for a while. At six weeks, introduce bright toys, mobiles and rattles for extra stimulation at this wake time. Lay him on a soft mat on the floor on his tummy and back and not just in bouncers and rockers. Give nappy free time for air and sun kicks. This activity is important to tire him before a sleep.

Watch for at least six wet nappies in a twenty-four hour period. Poo can vary between fifteen times a day to one every three to five days or even once every ten days in totally breast fed bubs. Infant formula fed babies need to have a bowel motion every day or two as they risk constipation.

How to give your baby a bath

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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. For more online resources visit

http://www.settlepetal.com

Mimic the Womb Environment

Your newborn will need time and support to make a smooth transition from being warm and secure inside the womb to feeling comfortable and secure in the outside world. By mimicking the womb environment for a period of time most babies find this transition a lot easier.

Babies born prematurely will often need to go the extra step of sleeping in a sling next to your body for extended periods of time until they reach their original due date.

The womb can be mimicked in the following ways:

  • Warm and snug in the womb becomes swaddling  and cuddling up close out of the womb
  • Rhythmical movements from felt while inside the womb become rocking and swaying outside the womb
  • Internal womb noises of the placenta, heartbeat and bowel sounds become humming, ‘white noise’, shhhing, singing, and holding them close to your heart beat outside the womb          
  • It is important to keep your baby secure and snug as they settle to sleepSwaddling is an age-old practice of wrapping babies snugly in breathable material, blankets or similar cloth so that movement of the limbs is restricted. A baby is born with a startle reflex which may cause them to wake during their lighter phases of sleep. Swaddling prevents this reflex occurring allowing them to sleep for longer periods.Have you seen my ‘How to Swaddle a Baby’ video clip  ?

    If you watched this video you will see that I swaddle with baby’s arms resting on their chest rather than straight down by their side. This is a natural position that allows your baby to touch her face with slight movements while keeping the arms secure inside the wrap. You will be shown many ways and alternative suggestions on how to swaddle as well as finding many types of wraps to choose from. What you choose is up to you (and how well a product has been marketed) but the main tips I recommend to help your baby sleep well using a wrap are:

  • Keep her tight and secure with arms in even if she at first protests
  •  Use a natural breathable fabric
  • Allow for slight arm movement within the wrap
  • Learn more in ‘Mum, Baby & Toddler – together we learn’  

 

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. She 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.

Dummies for babies!!

As a Midwife and Child Health Nurse who works closely with babies and children from birth to 5 years old, I have discovered some useful insight into the use of dummies for babies that I would like to share with you. The decision to use one or not will be up to you. Not all babies take to sucking a dummy but there are certainly babies in the world who do benefit from sucking one. Once you have heard my findings the decision to use one or not will then be up to you.

Six positive reasons for a baby to use a dummy

  1. Babies who are three to four weeks old who have learnt to attach and feed well from the breast may need to continue non – nutritive sucking for comfort or stress relief. In this situation, the breast feeding mother and her nipples could do with some relief and possibly repair from constant sucking. It is however, important not to substitute a breast feed for a dummy as this can reduce milk production resulting in an undernourished and unsettled baby.
  2. A baby sucking a dummy can reduce tummy discomfort, cranial discomfort and wind pain until the cause of the pain and discomfort is diagnosed and relieved. However, by aiding the digestive process this then can cause them to become hungrier earlier.
  3. Sucking a dummy can reduce the pain of gastro oesophageal reflux allowing for a bit more sleep for everyone!
  4. Recent knowledge indicates a baby sucking a dummy can reduce the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). This is thought to be due to a baby being in a more alert state of sleep and having their airways in a more open position allowing for better air entry. There are also other factors relating to the reduction of SIDS
  5. Premature babies are given dummies to help them suck when they are fed via a tube and to stimulate their suck before they are able to breast feed efficiently. Research indicates this helps reduces their stay in NICU.
  6. A baby who settles to sleep best with a sucking action. Commonly, a baby who is fed either breast milk or infant formula from a bottle requires a dummy to build up the length of sucking time they require in a day.

Seven reasons why a baby is disadvantaged using a dummy.

  1. There is an increased risk of bacterial infections from dirty dummies. Sterilise them regularly and throw out any that have cracks or worn areas where bacteria can settle
  2. The continued use of a dummy after three or four months can set up strong sleep associations that can lead to unsettled sleep in the months that follow
  3. The regular and frequent use of a dummy has been shown to decrease the length of time a woman will continue to breast feed
  4. A young baby who sucks too often on a dummy can be too tired for nutritional breast or bottle feeding
  5. The use of a dummy after nine months can not only disturb good sleep patterns but it can also interfere with speech development
  6. Choking hazard from faulty or worn out dummies
  7. Sucking on a dummy when your baby could be awake and babbling restricts the natural development of language

Which dummy to choose? 

There are many dummies on the market and it can be difficult to know which one is best. Consider one that closely mimics your breast nipple.

  1. Look for the dummy that is soft and supple. The brown latex rubber is usually the softest.
  2. Choose a shape that is similar to your nipple, this is usually the round cherry or bulb shaped dummy. Large or small.
  3. It needs to be large enough to reach the soft palete in your baby’s mouth but not too far back to touch the ‘gag reflex’. This will depend on the size of your baby’s mouth.

With the above information in mind, I believe there can be a place for dummies for some babies, providing that it is an appropriate dummy used at an appropriate time and preferably for the first four months of life when a baby’s strong sucking reflex is present. After this age (with guidance) they discover other ways to soothe themselves and dummies can be discarded.

If you like this information you will love

‘Mum, Baby & Toddler – together we learn’

Do you have a baby around four months old?
 ‘I am nearly 6 months old’

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. She 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.

Pacifier for baby

As a midwife and child health nurse who works closely with babies and children from birth to five years old, I have discovered some useful insight into the use of pacifiers for babies that I would like to share with you. The decision to use a pacifier or not will be up to you.

Not all babies take to sucking a pacifier but there are certainly babies in the world who do benefit from sucking one. Once you have heard my findings the decision to use one or not will then be up to you.

Six positive reasons for a baby to use a pacifier

1. Babies who are three to four weeks old who have learnt to attach and nurse well from the breast may need to continue non – nutritive sucking for comfort or stress relief. In this situation, the nursing mother and her nipples could do with some relief and possibly repair from constant sucking. It is however, important not to substitute a breast feed for a pacifier as this can reduce milk production resulting in an undernourished and unsettled baby.

2. A baby sucking a pacifier can reduce tummy discomfort, cranial discomfort and wind pain until the cause of the pain and discomfort is diagnosed and relieved. However, by aiding the digestive process this then can cause them to become hungrier earlier than anticipated.

3. Sucking a pacifier can reduce the pain of gastro oesophageal reflux allowing for a bit more sleep for everyone.

4. Recent knowledge indicates a baby sucking a pacifier can reduce the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). This is thought to be due to a baby being in a more alert state of sleep and having their airways in a more open position allowing for better air entry. There are also other factors relating to the reduction of SIDS

5. Premature babies are given pacifiers to help them suck when they are fed via a nasogastric tube and to stimulate their suck before they are able to nurse efficiently. Research indicates this helps reduces their stay in NICU.

6. Commonly, a baby who is fed either breast milk or infant formula from a bottle requires a pacifier to build up the length of sucking time they require in a day.

Seven reasons why a baby is disadvantaged using a pacifier

1. There is an increased risk of bacterial infection from dirty pacifiers. Sterilise them regularly and throw out any that have cracks or worn areas where bacteria can settle

2. The continued use of a pacifier after three or four months can set up strong sleep associations that can lead to unsettled sleep in the months that follow

3. The regular and frequent use of a pacifier has been shown to decrease the length of time a mother will continue to nurse

4. A young baby who sucks too often on a pacifier can be too tired for nutritional nursing or bottle feeding

5. The use of a pacifier after nine months can not only disturb good sleep patterns but it can also interfere with speech development

6. Worn out or faulty pacifiers can be a choking hazard

7. Sucking on a pacifier when your baby should be awake and babbling, restricts the natural development of language

Which pacifier to choose?

There are many pacifiers on the market and it can be difficult to know which one is best. Consider one that closely mimics your breast nipple.

1. Look for the pacifier that is soft and supple. Brown latex rubber is usually the softest

2. Choose a shape that is similar to your nipple, this is usually the round cherry or bulb shaped pacifier. Large or small depends on your nipple size

3. It needs to be large enough to reach the soft palate in your baby’s mouth but not too far back to touch the ‘gag reflex’. This will depend on the size of your baby’s mouth

With the above information in mind, I believe there can be a place for pacifiers for some babies, providing that it is an appropriate pacifier used at an appropriate time and preferably for the first four months of life when a baby’s strong sucking reflex is present. After this age (with guidance) babies discover other ways to soothe themselves and pacifiers can then be discarded.

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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. She 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.