The Check­list

Your Baby & Toddler - - Features -

At your wits’ end about what could be caus­ing your child’s win­ter­time sleep fussi­ness? Here are a few of the more com­mon rea­sons he could be wak­ing up:

TEMPERAT ATURE: Your baby might be too hot or too cold. The ideal room tem­per­a­ture is around 21° C, says sleep con­sul­tancy owner Petro Thamm. If you can boost the ther­mo­stat to main­tain this warmth, you won’t need any ex­tra cloth­ing. How­ever, if your home’s heat­ing is an is­sue, Thamm rec­om­mends a sleep sack – it’s ef­fec­tively a wear­able blan­ket, but much safer (since baby could kick a blan­ket loose and suf­fo­cate). “If swad­dling a new­born, dress him nice and warm close to his body with a vest or some­thing be­fore swad­dling. If his torso stays nice and warm, the rest of him will also,” she adds.

STUFFY NOSE: Ba­bies hate hav­ing blocked noses, says Dr Dys­sell. “They don’t eas­ily breathe through their mouths. So if they’ve got a blocked nose – whether it’s from win­ter viruses or al­lergy – they will cer­tainly sleep badly. It’s def­i­nitely worth sort­ing out.”

EAR IN­FEC­TION: Chil­dren can de­velop fluid be­hind their eardrums (from a blocked nose or res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tion) that makes for dis­com­fort and poor sleep. See a doc­tor.

FEVER: Nor­mal body tem­per­a­ture is be­tween 36 and 37° C, but this can vary by a few points of a de­gree from child to child. If your baby has a fever, keep him hy­drated with breast­milk or for­mula, ap­ply a cool cloth com­press and seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion as soon as pos­si­ble if it per­sists.

SNOR­ING: If a baby snores, there is an un­der­ly­ing med­i­cal con­di­tion that needs med­i­cal at­ten­tion, says Dr Dys­sell.

ACID RE­FLUX AND HEART­BURN: “In young ba­bies less than six months of age, acid re­flux with heart­burn is a fairly com­mon prob­lem,” re­ports Dr Dys­sell. He rec­om­mends see­ing a pae­di­a­tri­cian if your baby al­ways cries when you lay him down, wants to feed fre­quently or sleeps poorly.

HUNGER: For some ba­bies, breast­milk or for­mula just doesn’t cut it af­ter four to six months. Dys­sell says a simple weigh-in at the doc­tor will tell you if your baby should be in­tro­duced to wean­ing foods (solids) to help curb their hunger.

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