Out like a light – getting your toddler off to sleep.

Sleep.

We spend the first year of baby’s life yearning for it. Routines, methods, schedules – we will try anything to arrive at the holy grail that is a baby that sleeps through the night.

Google.

Poor old Google is absolutely worn out from mothers inputting the words ‘sleep’ and ‘baby’. Exhausted mothers to newborns everywhere are desperate for an answer. What they don’t want to hear is that it is simply something that gets easier with time. And eventually, baby will sleep. (Sorry new Mums reading this, but it is true!)

sleepy-baby

Toddlers/Older Kids.

They don’t have sleep issues. They go to bed easily and fall asleep. Agus sin é.

Or do they?

Well, not quite. Now in my house, we have encountered a fair few sleep problems, compliments of my perma-wired 4 year old. Having autism, sleep issues come with the territory. So I guess that you could say that I sometimes have an extra tough battle on my hands. Then again, having spoken to many a mama friend over a large coffee or three, they too have had the toddler that just wont quit come bed time.

So, in the spirit of mama camaraderie, I have decided to share some of my tried and very tested (oh so tested) tips and ideas that can help get that little person down for the night.

  • Set times – you need to have your kid up at the same time and going to bed at the same time, every day. So set times that work and stick to them. Young bodies need a little bit of extra help in regulating their clocks.  Same is true for us adults if you want quality sleep.
  • Set the scene – ditch the TV, electronics and anything stimulating from their room. Try to keep toys out of the bedroom. The room needs to be dark, however most kids fear the dark so invest in a Gro Light. I got mine in Boots.
  • Set the routine – this is a big winner for us. Follow the same routine every night. For us, it’s a bath, a night-time story and drink and off he goes. We also stick to the same person putting him to bed each night which helps. Whatever your routine, stick to it. If you are having issues with a toddler getting up a lot, now is not a good time to plan nights out, trips away etc.
  • TV/iPad – we all let our kids watch the screen. Well I certainly do. And yes all the doctors and specialists will say not to but I am sorry, that’s life. However, letting them watch it before bed is a recipe for disaster. Have you ever been in bed on your phone and found it hard to switch off? Cut out the screen 2 hours before bed if you can.
  • Daytime antics – fresh air, playgrounds, walking, play centers…the more activity, the better. (For all of us). Get em out, get em active. Also, try to avoid naps and if they have to, have them earlier in the day. Hard when you are travelling in the car – this is what I keep the iPad for – keeps him awake. Use whatever will keep them occupied for the journey.

Maybe there is nothing new here to you, maybe you have done all of this and still you have no luck (or sleep).

Here are a few little extras that I have used….

Lavender – I buy a good quality lavender oil and add a few drops in the bath. I also use an oil burner in his room and burn the lavender in there about an hour before bed. Make sure you remove this when they go to bed – curiosity is a very dangerous thing.

Epsom Salts – again I use these in the bath. Epsom salts are said to increase levels of magnesium in the body, which can be lowered by stress. They also relax the muscles of the body.

Magnesium oil – bought in spray form, it can be sprayed on the soles of the feet, just before turning in. My little man gets a little foot rub as I do this which he really enjoys. (Ruined, I know). I bought Magnesium oil in Holland and Barrett.

 

And finally, do your best not to let your little person see you stressing when they are giving you a hard time. When you are putting them back to bed (for the tenth time) do not engage in conversation, the game of ‘why’ or inquisitive toddler conversations. If Mammy or Daddy are ‘boring’ then the game of getting up and down becomes boring.

Remember, they will go through phases of this. But they are just that – phases. And someday, sleep will come again. Might be a few years away (in my case) but we shall sleep again!!

“Even where sleep is concerned, too much is a bad thing.” – Homer

Homer didn’t have kids.

Homer was a dick.

Don’t be like Homer.

 

 

 

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It’s just a touch of colic

My little girl turns 3 months today – that milestone that is supposed to bring sleep and a more settled baby. I have been counting down the days to this, because we had a ‘colicky baby’. 4 hours screaming a night on average, nothing could settle her. Passing her from mammy to daddy and back again. Rocking, bouncing, swaying, putting her in the buggy…..you name it, we tried it and it failed. I became a Google monster, looking up everything and anything, desperate for a cure. In desperation I turned to my doctor and was told ‘it’s just a touch of colic’ and she will grow out of it.

This enraged me. How can anyone be sure? What is colic anyway? I was not happy to see my little girl suffer and scream in pain. I’m not a first time mum so knew it wasn’t just wind. I persisted and the formula trials began….Comfort, Anti Reflux and then Colief…nothing. Until we tried one last effort – Neocate. It’s a prescription formula that has the cows milk protein broken down (amino based). I suggested it to my doctor after much research. Within 2 weeks I had a new baby.

Neocate is not the answer to everyone’s sleepless newborn nights, that’s not my reason for writing this post. I want to reach out to anyone going through Colic, to say to you to trust your gut and don’t be afraid to take no for an answer. My little girl cannot digest milk protein and was in agony (now confirmed by a paediatrician) so I’m glad I pushed.

I’d also like to share some tips and thoughts that might help anyone in those first few months:

  • Colic or whatever is causing the non stop crying is not your fault.
  • Long crying spells with a baby are damn hard, and will test you and your relationship. Admit how hard it is and have a good cry about it if you need with a friend.
  • Try to remember that all things will pass – visualise the future when you baby is no longer drinking bottles!
  • We all Google symptoms etc – it’s ok to read but but best to check things with a professional
  • Ring formula company help and info lines – they usually can tell you more than some doctors! A good pharmacist is also essential, I found Boots great.
  • Get on line in forums with other mums. Swap ideas with your friends. Speak to your public health nurse.
  • Trust your gut mum/dad…..the primary care giver knows baby best. Have confidence in yourself.
  • Most important – take care of your health, mental and physical. Your little baby cannot get through the this without your love and care and reach out for help when it is needed.

We still don’t sleep through the night in our house, we still feed every 3 hours! But gone are the screaming sessions, and bottle time is not a battle ground. Now we just have to get through the teething….🙄😊

Battle of the Teething Gels

Red cheeked baby, wash basket full of bibs, Mammy and Daddy sleep deprived – just another day in the life of the family with the teething baba. Just when you have them settled and out of the ‘colicky phase’ the next era of grumpy, crying baby begins. And this one lasts a lot longer. We have all heard of the legends of the babies that sailed through the teething phase; it just didn’t bother them says a breezy, chilled out Mum. I have yet to meet one of these mythological, non-teething creatures and so I will side with my scepticism and say that they do not exist.

Luckily, there are quite a few remedies that can be used to help soothe our little darlings as they cut their chompers. Teething gels are often the first reached for and so I have selected three that I currently have in the house to review:

Up first, a classic – Bonjela

bonjela

Bonjela is synonymous with all things mouth and gums and Bonjela Teething Gel is a pretty effective pain reliever. It contains Lidocaine Hydrochloride which is a local anaesthetic used to numb the gums. Baby must be over 2 months and Bonjela can only be used up to four times a day – when you have a crying baby, these 4 times can be gone fast!

Next, my preference, Nelson’s Teetha.

teetha

This one is homeopathic and more of a ‘natural’ gel. Also available in powder format which some babies love, and you can actually combine both so long as you stick to the recommended dose. It can be given up to 6 times a day, and is said to help with flushed cheeks also. I find it tends to calm my baby down quickly.

Lastly, Dr. Talbot’s Teething Gel

talbot

This one is all natural, but baby must be over 4 months before you can use it. I tried this one on myself and it is the strongest of the three, so definitely fast acting. However the tutti frutti flavour is very, very overpowering. I gave some to my little girl and she hated it! I can see why – the sensation was very like those lip enhancing lip glosses that make you tingle. Will be storing this one until she is older.

Do you use any other teething gels? What is your experience with the above? Share your experiences and tips with other mums.

 

Bugger off Gina Forde

A baby over ten weeks, weighing over 10lbs and with no medical issues should be able to sleep through the night……the baby sleep bible according to Gina. I type this as I sit, almost paralysed by fear, baby monitor up full blast, waiting for the ‘stir’. She’s 3 months old, so I decided it’s time for her to start going to bed. Part of me is thinking what is the point? She’ll wake after 30 mins and be up again. But I have to be brave; for the sake of my sanity, my relationship, my dark circles under my eyes and that bottle of wine I opened 2 weeks ago but haven’t been able to savour!

When did you start putting your little one ‘up to bed’? Any funny experiences?