As with anything baby-related, there is always more than one way to do things.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about sleeping, and whether or not to put a baby/toddler in a dark room for both day naps and night sleeping, or whether it really matters.
I am often asked how a baby knows the difference between day and night if you always put your baby to sleep in a dark room.
I find that during the day when the house is active and busy, it has a completely different vibe to night-time when the house is serene, quiet and darker. These external influences are what help the baby’s body clock (circadian rhythm) to work.
The other question I am often asked is if you put a baby to sleep in a darkened room, will they ever learn to sleep elsewhere? The answer is yes. I have travelled the world with babies from different cultures, countries and families and they have slept well whether on plane, train, boat or in a car, and I have always used darkened rooms for both their day and night sleeps.
Some babies are light-sensitive and will find it hard to fall asleep easily in a brightly-lit room, or will wake up after only a short period of time.
To find out whether your baby is light-sensitive, I suggest blackening out their windows totally and all the little lights from the electrical equipment in their room and see if this helps. Total darkness does not mean your baby will not sleep elsewhere; at this stage we are just encouraging your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Another thing to remember is that darkness triggers the brain to release melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone that is released from your (and your baby’s) pineal gland, and is associated with your circadian clock and strengthening your immune system.
In short, I believe that having both daytime naps and night-time sleeping in a darkened room is the best option and one I would recommend.
Thanks so much to Dorothy Waide, who is a regular contributor to our page as an expert baby and child sleep consultant and endorses our Sleepytots and Baby Shushers as products which can help with your babies sleep. You can keep up to date with all of Dorothy’s Baby Sleep information, handy tips and competitions, by heading to her facebook page or website. There are a range of wonderful sleep packages available through Dorothy’s website so if you are struggling with your little ones sleep, don’t delay get some help now.
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I love this blog first seen on SweetColourfulChaos written by new mum Torie Campbell.
I can definitely relate to most of these comments.
I have had some tough times in my chosen career but I would have to say being a parent is without a doubt the toughest job I have ever had. Parenting never came ‘naturally’ to me. I remember my husband saying to me as our 2 week old would not stop crying ‘whats wrong with her?’ Ummmm just because I gave birth to her doesn’t make me an expert!
I am a little bit of a perfectionist, very ‘by the book’ and like to have all my ducks in a row. I read countless books but they never seemed to cover everything I thought I needed to know; there was no instruction manual and Googling things made everything seem 10 times worse than they were. I seemed to cry quite a lot, although looking back that would seem quite normal with racing hormones, sleep deprivation and frustration that I couldn’t do things perfectly. So this list made me chuckle quite a lot. I can now look back and reflect, and think ‘you know, I have done a great job! I haven’t always done things the ‘normal’ or ‘correct way’, but my children are happy (most of the time) and healthy.
Here is Torie’s list of ‘things that are without doubt, totally and utterly acceptable in the first year of having a baby!’
It IS without doubt, totally and utterly acceptable to:
1. Never have time to ‘nip out’ or ‘pop out’ at all! Unless we’re talking ‘boobs’ – you might very well be popping those out all over the place!
2. Think of Wine O’Clock as an actual official time.
3. Never be on time. Unless it’s Wine O’Clock.
4. Cry. No reason needed.
5. To style your hair into a ‘Mun’ (no, not a ‘man-bun’ – that’s just ridiculous. A ‘mum-bun’) EVERYDAY.
6. Cry because your boobs are bleeding. What the hell is Mother Nature playing at?
7. Appreciate sleeping on your front.
8. Appreciate sleep. Full stop.
9. Finish showering before you’ve had chance to turn the shower on.
10. Wish this was an acceptable attire for playgroup/mother and baby groups/soft play.
11. Lose the ability to count to 5, 6, 7… or however many scoops of formula are needed at 3am.
12. Feel guilty because you’re using formula. Yep, you really do cry over spilt milk in the first year.
13. Feel guilty because you have to go back to work/don’t go back to work/want to go back to work/don’t want to go back to work.
14. Eat chocolate, cakes, biscuits before 9am. Do you really think parents of a newborn actually have time to pour cereal into a bowl?
15. Feel guilty about point 14.
16. Think squeezing your pelvic floor 10 times a day is such a chore. Yes, you can do it lying down, watching TV, brushing your teeth… but 10 times, that’s nearly 30 seconds of effort. Forget to do it.
17. Feel guilty about point 16.
18. Really, really want YOUR mum.
19. Act 10 years younger.
20. Feel 10 years older.
22. Realise once you’ve changed an active 10-month-old’s nappy you missed your true vocation….. as a wrestler.
23. Watch your little one empty an entire drawer/cupboard/shelf because for a whole 40 seconds you can just sit still, in one place and reflect on what a mess your house has become.
4. Look at parents with more than one child and think how? Why?
25. Develop a fear of salt.
26. Think if it’s not near the head it’s perfectly acceptable (don’t even try to pretend you don’t realise I’m talking baby wee, sick, milk…. in your bed!)
27. Change sexy undies
29. Think 9pm means staying up late and pulling an all-nighter means something very different.
30. Realise a baby-free night out is crushed by the thought of waking up at 6am NOT baby free.
31. Look forward to your day off when you can lie in for as long as you like – in 18 years time!
32. Dictate your days by nap times. Not for you. Never for you.
33. Say things you heard your parents say. “Don’t fight it…just sleep”.
34. Fill the whole of your phone memory with photos of your baby then curse at the fact there was no storage and you missed documenting your baby’s first hiccup. Damn you, phone.
35. Say everything in song.
36. Only check Facebook whilst on the loo.
37. Never have time to check Facebook whilst on the loo as you are too busy entertaining your baby…whilst on the loo.
38. Cry because you don’t know what your ‘normal’ friends do anymore. Or your Facebook friends.
39. Feel like a rockstar when you make your baby laugh.
40. Not cook everything from scratch, organically and fresh – it’s not a crime, people.
41. Have a bodybuilder’s bicep (left or right, depending on your baby holding preference!)
42. Feel like someone has pressed the fast forward button on your life.
43. Try and send telepathic messages to will your little one to lie back down and just sleep for another 20 minutes when they wake up ready for the day at 5am.
44. Be physically and mentally exhausted. Being responsible for another humans life is not an easy job.
45. Feel a ridiculous surge of protection when another little ‘angel’ snatches the one toy your little one had plucked up the courage to look at. Playgroups are a battleground.
46. Desperately will your little one not to be the one that snatches.
47. Wonder why nobody explained to you just how bloody hard it is.
48. Then utter the grating line to other expectant parents: “You just can’t explain it.”
49. Never quite being able to grasp how you can hold SO much love for another human being and realise life has a whole new meaning….
50. Then cry. Again.
Anything else that’s been missed?
Add your comments to the blog!
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Just lately, our 3 year old has turned into a Zombie.
Around 3.00am every morning, we hear the pitter patter of Zombie feet strolling down the hallway towards our bedroom.
The door opens and closes again ever so quietly. Nothing is said by the Zombie; no growling, moaning or slobbering.
He propels himself without grace up onto the king size bed and settles in for the night.
For the next 3-4 hours my husband and I play musical beds. Normally one of us gets fed up with the Zombies foot in face, snoring, farting or general bad behaviour expected of such creature and leaves the king size bed for the freedom of the single bed said Zombie has just left.
The other one is left being chased around the king size bed by the crazed Zombie who is intent on sticking to your side no matter how many times you get up and switch sides to have a peaceful sleep.
How did we let this happen? The Zombie has settled into this routine quite nicely, and there appears to be no coming back from it.
The only thing that saves the Zombie is the morning sunshine that sneaks in through the corners of the blinds and wakes up the creature. He cups your face in his beautiful pudgy hands and says ‘wakey wakey mummy, I love you; time to get up’.
Who else has a co-sleeping Zombie?
Any tips on getting them back into their own bed?
I think we just need to be a little more strict, as his sleep training clock and his black out blinds work great…we just need to keep him there in the first place. So difficult when you just want to zzzzzzzz!