Why does my baby wake in the night?

A relatively new mum asked me this morning “why does my baby wake during the night even when she isn’t hungry?” It’s simple really, the baby doesn’t know she is supposed to sleep in her own cot all night. She actually has no idea it’s supposed to happen this way. It’s obvious that she will get tired and need to sleep, but instinctively a tiny child would prefer to sleep with her mother or in the arms of an adult where she feels safe.

Take a peek into the lives of other mammals. Mostly they sleep with their mother or in a group where they feel secure and protected. You will rarely see a baby mammal sleeping alone as they tend to hang together for safety, its instinctive. Cows park their new borns in a safe place, like under a hedge or in long grass. The mother cow waits until the tiny calf has gone to sleep and then wanders off to graze. She always has her eye on the calf, who on waking will walk straight to is mother for milk. You will usually see a group of slightly older calves sleeping together, often with a mother cow or two looking out for the whole group; it’s like an animal nursery.

Sheep do the same; lambs hang out together, frolic and play with other lambs then sleep in close proximity. Foals sleep close their mum too. Dogs and cats follow the same pattern, the mother feeds her litter, when they are sleeping soundly she will leave them for a while to eat and wash herself.

It’s not so surprising then that a human baby would feel safest and happiest in bed with its mother. Aren’t we just mammals after all? The problems arise when baby is put to bed already asleep, she wakes slightly during the night but instead of still being in some ones arms she is alone. For a moment imagine going to sleep for the night with another person beside you, then you wake to find you are alone but you didn’t see your sleeping companion leave. Wouldn’t this make you anxious or concerned?

A baby can often wake during the night because she has fallen asleep in the arms of a parent, instead of dropping off to sleep in their own bed; she woke during the night to find herself alone, not surprisingly she is in a screaming panic.

In order to drop off by herself and sleep independently (remembering mammals prefer to sleep with other mammals) a baby has to learn to go against instinct. So, if you are striving for a little more sleep, want your baby to sleep by herself and for longer stretches, you will need to teach her to that’s its okay to do so. A gentle approach that gives the right message, helping her develop a positive association with her cot and sleeping alone will work just fine. Providing its done in a calm, kind and gentle way both parent and child can achieve a good nights sleep, waking refreshed and ready to start the day.

Mel…

Mel changed our lives

I cannot recommend Mel more highly. We got in touch with her because our 4 month old son was not napping longer than 30mins during the day and was waking every 2 hours overnight.

After one phone call Mel quickly identified a strategy for us and after 4 weeks of implementing our lives completely changed. Our son is now putting himself to sleep independently and his daytime naps are the perfect length for his age.

He’s also now only waking up once in the night. Our family can hardly believe the change. This is all due to Mel’s fantastic advice. Furthermore, she went above and beyond to insure we were able to implement her strategy by providing support via text message.

This was completely life changing given we were so sleep deprived and anxious being first time parents. We are so grateful to Mel for all her support and will continue to consult her as our son grows if we face further challenges. Thank you, Mel you are a God-send! (Amina from London)

Dairy Free

With more and more people feeling the health benefit of a dairy free diet the “Free from” market is booming. Sadly though farm shops and garden centre cafes aren’t up to date on the free from menu, and often found to be lacking in choices.

Recently, while visiting a garden centre and its large busy cafe with a 7 and 4 year old I was surprised to see their ice cream menu badly lacking in dairy free options.

The 7 year old is dairy and gluten intolerant, the 4 year old gluten intolerant but can have dairy. Obviously one child can’t have an ice cream if there isn’t anything suitable for the other.

After lots of drama and quite a few tears (the 7 year old not me) we opted for lemon sorbet for one child and mango for the other.

Sobbing “I hate being dairy free” the 7 year old tried her lemon sorbet reluctantly and left about a third for the wasps. The mango sorbet was devourded with no complains, its just a shame there are not  more dairy free options as so many are now freely available in supermarkets and health food shops such as “Booja Booja” and “Almond Breeze”

Mel…