Tuesday, 13 October 2015

How much sleep should my baby have?

How much sleep should my baby have?

Have you heard these well-meaning comments about your baby and their sleep?

“He’s a bit grumpy, are you overtired little man?”

“Surely it’s not nap time again! She’s sleeping her life away!”
The amount that baby sleeps is a common concern for many parents. There is so much noise around your baby and sleep, putting him or her to sleep and angst when it just doesn’t go to plan.

So often I hear, I can’t get her or him to sleep, that means that she/he won’t get enough sleep and will be over tired and then it will all fall apart and it will be awful and I don’t know what to do..
My dream is that we all understand baby sleep, parental influence and realistic expectations much more easily and that it will be an easier path than the one we have  now. It is improving but we still have a way to go.. Sometimes your baby will get great day sleep and not so good night sleep, other times it will vice versa.

All of it is normal for your baby.
I will let you in on a secret- there is no right amount of sleep for any baby.

There are ideas of what may be common, but each is an individual with different personality and needs. The trick is to work out what your little one needs.

For those of you who really want  some hard numbers- here is a very basic guide:
0-3 months about 16-20 hours a day.
3-6 months about 14-18 hours a day
6-12 months about 12-14 hours a day
12 months over 12-14 hours a day
There is nothing scientific in these numbers. This is simply what I have observed over years of assisting families with their little ones.

Not everyone will get this amount- and that is ok. Follow your baby’s lead and you can’t go wrong. Give plenty of opportunity for sleep and it usually works out exactly as you need it to.

For more check out leisabreed.com/….

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

3 More Ways to Remain Calm When your Baby is Crying

3 More Ways to Remain Calm  When your Baby is Crying

Continuing on from last week's article about ways to remain calm when you baby is crying

4. Put your baby in the pram and go for a walk. Again, movement is often soothing and being out of your arms can be more relaxing for both of you.

5. Have a long, warm relaxing bath or shower together.  There is nothing more soothing than water. Often this calms everyone and breaks the cycle.
I have added this because it is important.

6.  Take of yourself with regular time outs and doing something just for you.   This should probably be number one- it’s a preventive action. When you do this well, it fills your bucket of give and those times when your baby needs lots of your give, you will have those extra reserves to help you through these really tough times.  Not caring for yourself will mean that your reserves are lower and it will take less for you to feel the stresses of having a baby.  It is important for every stage of our lives but particularly when we are caring for others daily.
Once your baby is calm again it is easier to be able to think back and try to work out what may have upset your baby.  Sometimes it won’t be obvious, sometimes it will.  If it is a regular occurrence it is worth seeing a health professional to rule out any medical cause. 
As time goes on your will be able to work through these times more quickly. Often when you go through your list and can’t find a reason , lack of sleep can be the answer.  

It is surprising how much sleep little ones need. And also a simple answer for unhappy babies in the absence of discomfort or hunger.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The most important thing to remain calm when your baby is crying

The most important thing to remain calm when your baby is crying
For most parents one of the most stressful times is when your baby is crying for what seems like hours and doesn’t seem to be stopping. This is particularly so when your baby is usually placid and happy, settling easily and this behaviour comes out of the blue.

 A myriad of thoughts often go through your mind including “is there something seriously wrong with my baby?”.  This is particularly so when your baby has been so calm and relaxed and this is out of character.  This is for many young babies, not just for new parents. 

Recently my neighbour who has baby number 5, yes 5, (and I don’t know how they do it and they are the quietest neighbours I have- go figure!!)  ( My other neighbour  has 2 and I hear them more – just normal kid noise- I am very fortunate to have very good neighbours).
I am waffling- any how- this neighbour with  her 5th baby, called me over just to bounce off what may be happening to make her baby cry uncontrollably for  the last few hours.  As you can imagine the mum was agitated and upset and just needed an objective view to help her think through the situation. Her baby is normally quiet and would settle pretty easily but this one evening she just wouldn’t/ probably couldn’t settle for whatever reason.  We had discussed that she  could be a little unwell- possibly teething. She had a mild temperature and didn’t feed as well that day and had rosy cheeks that she didn’t usually have and probably coupled with not having had a enough sleep also, was by now overtired. She settled to sleep while I was there which made her mum feel so much better.  Her mum visibly relaxed .  I didn’t do anything, just gave her a chance to talk it through.  Often this happens and it often happens that as the mum relaxes, the baby also relaxes a little more. The next day she was back to normal again.

Another friend of mine said to me that she had been talking with a group of mums and they were reminiscing about when their children were babies.  She said that she could see now that when she gave herself permission to relax and go with the flow, her previously unsettled baby became much more relaxed.  All in the group could now see, looking back on that time, that it was the same for them and the age at which they were able to do this varied.  For some their baby was 4 months, some 8 months and for my friend it was when her baby was 14 months of age.

The most important thing you can do to remain calm when everything seems to be going wrong is to
Take care of yourself with regular time outs and doing something just for you.

This should be number one thing you do- it’s a preventive action.  I understand that with a baby it is difficult.  I do encourage you to really consider it as a key tool to help you through the broken days and nights with little ones.

When you do this well, it fills your bucket of give and those times when your baby needs lots of your give, you will have those extra reserves to help you through these really tough times.  Not caring for yourself will mean that your reserves are lower and it will take less for you to feel the stresses of having a baby. 

 It is important for every stage of our lives but particularly when we are caring for others daily. It will help you remain calm when your baby is crying.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Selfish or Self care???

Selfish or Self care???

I published on the blog a little while ago and thought it would be perfect to include in our self care month. I need this reminder lately.

Working out whether you are being selfish or merely self caring can be confusing and  something that causes many some angst.  This is a challenge for all of us but especially those caring for others, and parents are doing that 24 hours a day to more than one other.
The “right” thing to do, or the “nice” thing to do is to be there for others, put others first,etc.   This is great however no one ever told me that to be able to be at your best to, give others your best,  you have to put yourself first at times. That is something I have learned in more recent years and have found it to be so very true.  I have become happier from it too.  I certainly notice the difference in me, my reactions particularly, when I have had time for me to do my thing just for me.  Even for a snippet of time compared to what  I used to.

There is no point giving, giving, giving when you have nothing left in the tank to enjoy.  Life is meant to be a balance.  In order to enjoy giving, we also need to enjoy receiving. It is a two way street. Think how good you feel when you give to others.  Is it right to deny that feeling for someone else?
Parents particularly seem to feel a greater burden of putting themselves second behind their children.  While to an extent this may be necessary  in some aspects, there still needs to be some room for self care.

Parents usually want to be good role models for their children. We all are better human beings when our needs are met if we are to be great role models for others , this is important to remember.
We can’t expect others to respect us and help us if we don’t respect our selves. Part of self respect is self care.  Besides, no-one enjoys being with someone who is so exhausted and unhappy that they are cranky and not fun to be around.

So are you giving your best?  If you are not getting some time out from your day to day activities with some fun, chances are that your best is yet to come.

Give it a go.  It may be hard to say “no” to a request at first or to “ask” permission from your partner or children or to even start thinking about the possibility.  The fact remains it is important for your wellbeing to take care of you. Self care not selfish.

How are you going to give your self care today?

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Remember you & it will help get your baby sleeping easier

Remember you
Remember you are you.  
When you have a baby it is easy to get caught up in being a mother.  
Afterall that is what your day to day is – being a mother, particularly in the first months.
Caring for a newborn is round the clock and as they get  more mature it drops off a little and you get a breather  now and then.
One of the most important things to remember for your self care is that you are still you. 
 You have taken on a new role as a mother, but you are still you and your needs and wants are still real and valid. Taking care of a newborn is constant.  One of the secrets to happy relaxed babies is a happy relaxed environment and parents.  This is why remembering you are you and taking care of you is important.
I often talk about self care with parents.  This links in to that. 
 We all need to have time out for us no matter where we are in life.  Taking time out even for 5 minutes  just gives us that breather to be able to take stock of our lot, be thankful for all the blessings we have and recharge enough to keep going doing all that we do.

Remembering you means that you also stop and check your feelings about life in general and if not happy with something, how can you change it so that it is better?

Remembering you means you can be a positive role model for your children and others in your network. It shows  and models self respect. When we show it to ourselves, others see it too.
No –one is perfect – not you and not me.  We are all trying our best to do what we do everyday as best we can and learn along the way.

So one of the biggest pieces of advice is remember you are still you.  Remember to take time for you- even if it is only 5 minutes everyday if possible, doing something you like to do.

You will appreciate it and so will your little ones -  and big ones. <3

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Breastfeeding and generational allergy

Breastfeeding and generational allergy

I found this article I wrote after attending a conference a few years ago. It is still relevant now I think.

Breastfeding and allergy

 I have learned a few things to tweak my beliefs about breastfeeding, food, formula , allergy and more.
One of them is about the generational effects of formula.  Even though I had learned of this previously,  I now understand it much more clearly.
Basically, we are affected in part, by what our grandmothers ate and were exposed to as well as our mothers and of course our own exposure.  It is widely accepted that it takes at least 3 generations to fix what has become problematic. 
 Some of these unfortunate outcomes were forced upon our predecessors such as war, famine, government and clever marketing campaigns, to dupe people into believing untruths because it suited someone else’ interests (think Hitler for an extreme case).

Allergy  is an  interesting, upsetting and confusing  topic.  Breastfeeding is the number one element in addressing this out of control issue. It is a complex issue and  I am not suggesting that addressing it from only one angle will fix it.
As I understand it, if we can support and educate families to breastfeed babies exclusively for as long as possible (up to 6-9 months), avoid giving anything artificial for as long as possible (including formula), over a number of generations we can reduce the number of people with reactions.

There are a number of hurdles to achieving this, but it is up to us to be committed and make change for the better.  This includes being sensitive to those who dearly wish to breastfeed but cannot for whatever reason.
 I think in time, human milk sharing will return as an accepted and necessary part of life.
Until then, supporting and educating people widely about the benefits of breastfeeding is our best chance . We can do this by supporting more people to consciously choose to breastfeed rather than  formula.  Many think choosing formula over breastfeeding is like making a choice of rice bubbles over cornflakes.
I could easily write for days on the benefits of breastfeeding  not only for the baby, but for the mother, father, family and community. this would not achieve anything though. Most people know this. It is achieving it that is challenging at times.

Education and adequate support with sensitivity is the best way forward.
For more information about baby, food and breastfeeding get my "Real Foods for Healthy Babies" here http://www.insyncwithinfants.com/solids.html

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

How will I know if my baby is allergic to foods?

How will I know if my baby is allergic to foods?

The word on starting solids and allergies is confusing for most- parents and health professionals alike. 

We seem to be moving away from restricting traditionally allergy inducing foods such as eggs, nuts, dairy and wheat  when starting babies on solids.  It is becoming more widespread that offering babies small amounts of variety of foods is considered to be beneficial in reducing food allergy in children. For some this may be so. We have to accept that it is common for babies and children to have food intolerances and sensitivities. 

 The big question is how did this happen. 

 Of interest to note is that people living in Asia, consuming an Asian diet have very little food reactions.  When these same people adopt a western type of food diet the incidence of food reactions increase to reflect the population  they have adopted.

So what is it? 

 I don’t have the answer but I suspect it’s that we live in a toxic world.  I believe it is not only in the food we ingest but also the things in our environment. Nothing new and startling – just sensible.
Why do I think this may be happening?
 Because foods  which were considered “safe” from a  reaction point of view are not necessarily safe any longer.  We are now seeing reactions to potato and rice- once noted to be considered safe  not so long ago.

So what do I think the best way to start foods for your baby to reduce allergy is?

 I think introduce  whole foods- that is real tangible foods like fruit and vegetables that your family eats and you need to prepare yourself.  Introduce one new food for 3 times  before considering it safe and slowly increase variety in their food repertoire. 

 Where you can choose organic do so.

 For many that is cost prohibitive.  

The most important thing is to offer real foods, washed, no chemicals if possible.  When starting offer soft textures in your foods.
If a food does not agree with your baby the reactions will be one or more of  the following– unexplained and out of character constipation, skin rashes, vomiting, windy, or tummy pain.

 There is of course some other factors to consider  when starting solids.  These are my basic thoughts on food and food reactions.
For more check out my Real Foods for Healthy Babies " ebook at