YOUR QUES­TIONS AN­SWERED BY OUR EX­PERTS

Your Baby & Toddler - - Your baby files - PETRO THAMM sleep con­sul­tant and owner of good night sleep con­sul­tancy

I’M RE­ALLY STRUG­GLING TO GET MY FIVE-MON­THOLD SON TO GO TO SLEEP ON HIS OWN. HE WAKES UP THROUGH­OUT THE NIGHT NO MAT­TER HOW CALM THE BED­TIME ROU­TINE. HE WON’T TAKE A DUMMY AND BE­CAUSE OF THIS I END UP FEED­ING HIM BACK TO SLEEP, EVEN IF IT TAKES AN HOUR OR LONGER. WHAT SHOULD I DO? Teach­ing baby to self-soothe can be dif­fi­cult. Ad­di­tion­ally, things like nu­tri­tion, en­vi­ron­ment, tem­per­a­ment, de­vel­op­men­tal mile­stones, sen­sory in­te­gra­tion and all the rest come into play too. Try fol­low­ing th­ese guide­lines:

First take your baby to a doc­tor to rule out any med­i­cal is­sues that could be af­fect­ing his sleep, such as re­flux.

At this age, a baby should never be awake for longer than two to two-and-a-half hour stretches – any­thing longer will re­sult in an over­tired baby.

He needs to sleep at least three times a day at this stage, even if that means rock­ing him to sleep. Try to feed your baby when he wakes up. Don’t swad­dle your baby, but if you have to you can keep his hands close to his face for mid­line in­te­gra­tion.

Have you started solids re­cently? This can cause di­ges­tive dis­com­fort. Make sure that you start with vegetables and home­made meat stock (for pro­teins) to keep him com­fort­able.

Is he get­ting enough to drink? Clus­ter feed your lit­tle one dur­ing the last few hours be­fore putting him down to sleep.

Start keep­ing a pre­dictable bed­time rou­tine of around 30 min­utes -– no longer. Feed your baby first, then read him a book and then put him down. Do not try to put him down “drowsy but awake”, but rather put him down awake.

His dummy might have be­come more of a stum­bling block than an aid see­ing as he won’t take it, so it may be bet­ter to stop giv­ing it to him com­pletely. You can try giv­ing him a dif­fer­ent com­fort ob­ject, like a taglet or blankie.

Re­mem­ber that rock­ing can be very stim­u­lat­ing for some sen­sory sen­si­tive chil­dren, and so sit­ting down and hold­ing your baby tightly might be bet­ter. Lastly, re­mem­ber that ba­bies are very sen­si­tive be­ings. If you have anx­i­ety around your child’s sleep he may be pick­ing up on it. Try your ut­most best to keep calm if he wakes up cry­ing and re­mem­ber that this too shall pass – baby sleep usu­ally evens out around six months.

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