5 Things Every New Parent MUST know about Newborn Sleep.

Newborn SleepYou’ve probably heard from friends and family that newborn sleep is erratic (if you haven’t I’m not sure where you’ve been hiding). Anyway, that said there are a few things that will help you understand and manage your expectations around your newborn baby’s sleep and help you manage the early days. So I’ve put together some short and easily digestible points I wish I had known when I had my children. Not only would it have helped me normalise the early days but would have helped me to have realistic expectations.

1. Firstly, newborn babies are not in any way, shape, or form supposed to sleep all night long. EVER!imgres
They are programmed to wake as a survival mechanism. They have very tiny tummies and need to feed frequently to grow and develop.

2. Sleeping through the night is classed as a 5-hour stretch.
Typically midnight to 5.00 am. Some babies are capable of doing this at six weeks. For others, it can take six months. Sorry!

3. The world is very different for a newborn if we think about their existence before birth. (see my post on Womb to World) It’s really no wonder they like to be rocked and held by their parents.

4. A newborn can’t differentiate between day and night
They don’t produce the hormone melatonin known as ‘the hormone of sleep’ until they are approximately three months old. The sleep-wake cycle is regulated by hunger and filling their tiny tummy.Baby sleep cycle (1)

5. Newborn babies have very short sleep-wake  cycles of approximately 45 minutes
According to new research from the National Sleep Foundation the normal sleep range for a newborn baby is between 14 to 17 hours per day.

However, because of their very short sleep-wake cycle and by the time you have rocked them to sleep and settled them in their cot they could soon be awake again. You may feel like your baby hasn’t been asleep very much at all.


Managing your expectations around your newborn and sleep is an essential coping strategy for managing in the early days. Make sure you have plenty of support available from family and friends. It’s a steep learning curve but by about 6 weeks new parents generally tend to find they have some sort of plan in place and are piecing things together.

Most importantly, look after yourself too and enjoy these precious days with your baby.


‘5 Ways to Overcome and Deal with YOUR FEAR of Birth and Labour is available
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Shellie xx



Important Message at the end of this blog…..


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Look, it’s your BLOOMIN’ Journey. No-one elses!

So I was browsing through Facebook like you do when I came across a post from a page I follow. It was a bit of a ‘ranty post’ about baby sleep and the do’s and don’t of what you should and shouldn’t do to get your baby to sleep.

Now I follow this page, I’ve read this book, and I like what this person advises about baby sleep. A lot of evidence-based research is present in the book and Facebook posts, and lots of practical, no-nonsense common sense given. This is by no means a post about critising.

The message is very clear from this page. You can feed, cuddle, rock, put your child down in cot fast asleep. The person behind the page claims it doesn’t make any difference to whether your baby stay’s asleep all night or not. So, ok, fine but what action does one take if baby does happen to wake up, what advice is given then? Well, after putting in place some VERY GOOD basic principals, as far as I can see the advice is to have lots of support and self-care.

Now again, that’s all fine and dandy. I’m all for self-care and support. But what is the answer if you don’t have plenty of family and friends to help you through the sleep deprivation and can’t afford  a night doula or nanny which is also a suggestion from the book. (Not a feasible or do-able answer for everyone if you ask me, but hey..)

You have to find a solution that suits your family and parenting style. What if you no longer want to feed your child to sleep? Sod the fact it might be acceptable and normal to feed children through the night for up to 2 years. What if you don’t want to share a bed with your little one, even though many other cultures accept this as the done thing. What if you don’t have any support so you can take care of yourself and catch up on some sleep? What if you don’t want to put your child down fast asleep only to find he’s away 45 minutes later.

Well, that’s fine too. There are many more things you can do to understand and aid your child’s sleep. It doesn’t mean you have to leave them to cry, but your sanity, your health, your well-being is important too.

I’m not saying you don’t need to understand normal sleep and expectations. It’s important to consider developmental needs and the possible reasons for night waking. It is important to explore every avenue, leave no stone un-turned and have all the basics sleep foundations in place before considering another course of action.

But as I always say there isn’t just one answer to parenting challenges.  I have many, many sleep books that I have read and digested. This afternoon, after reading the ‘said’ post on facebook I picked up two baby sleep books written by two very educated people. Both authors are qualified in psychotherapy and psychology. Each Author claims to have the answers. However, here’s the thing. Both have very different ideas about the answers to baby sleep.  Same qualifications different ideas? What’s that all about?

Well here’s my two penneth for what it’s worth…..

At risk of repeating myself again and again. There is no one, correct way to parent. Both Authors have studied long and hard, of that I have no doubt, both have the same credentials BUT still they come up with different thoughts and ideas on the topic of baby sleep. Further proof that there is NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY. Your baby your journey. Do what feels right, do what fits for you and your family, do what fits with your parenting style and your values. Trust yourself and your instincts. It has to work for you and your baby. It’s a steep learning curve. Good luck…

Shellie x

How to BOOST your changes of getting baby to sleep in 5 minutes flat

HOW TO BOOST SLEEP IN 5 MINS FLATHow to boost your chances of getting baby to sleep in 5 minutes flat…

SIMPLES! Put them down to sleep when they are tired!… Right? Yeh?
So how can you tell if your baby is tired? How do you know when to try getting baby to sleep? She can’t talk so won’t tell you. The answer is observation and learning to recognise you child’s tired signs, often referred to as ‘sleep cues‘.

Becoming an expert in reading you child’s cues will mean you avoid that ‘crying’ frenzy or overtired meltdown. Watch carefully for those sometimes (subtle) cues  that your baby or toddler is showing. Getting really in tune with these signs will mean getting your baby to sleep doesn’t become a battle.

However, I’m gonna ‘throw a spanner in the works’ here. Missing these cues (which are sometimes very subtle) means you might pay the price with an overtired baby that’s screaming the place down or perhaps a toddler that has a huge meltdown or ‘bounces off the walls’. You know, the kind of ‘bouncing off the walls’ that leaves you wondering if he’s just been at the ‘Red Bull’ because he seriously doesn’t seem ready for bed yet. MEANING getting them to sleep becomes an utter nightmare!

Think about it. How easy is a screaming baby to settle and calm? It can take some time right? When your toddler throws a mahoosive strop can he return to a state of calm easily and jump into bed ready for sleep?  Making sure you watch your baby or child for signs and avoiding this stage of ‘OVERTIRED’ will mean that nap and bedtime wont be as difficult.

Why? Because you will be preparing them for sleep at exactly the right time. The time when they are sleepy and ready to settle. Becoming familiar and reading these signs of tiredness eliminates the guess work around sleep and enables you to put a nap schedule together and also work out the perfect bedtime for your child.

Baby tired signs

1. tugging at ears
2. clenched fists
3. fluttering eyelids
4. jerky limb movements
5, yawning
6. arching and throwing themselves backward
7. staring into space
8 , Sucking fingers or hands. (They are not always hungry, but sometimes they are trying to soothe and settle themselves to sleep)
9. grizzling
10. crying (Very last CUE)

Older Babies and toddlers tired signs
8. clumsy
9. clingy
10, difficult
11. crying
12. demands for constant attention
13. boredom with toys
14. fussiness with food.

So, what do you do when your baby/child shows these signs?

Slow things down, create a quiet space, reduce stimulation, talk quietly and dim lights if appropriate. Encourage a calm environment ideal for sleep.

What if find it difficult to spot these tired signs?

For some ‘tired cues’ aren’t always easy to spot. So it can be helpful to work out how long your baby or child can stay awake before they need another sleep. Start using a diary and making notes, honestly, this diary is the GOLDEN KEY to your child’s sleep. That way it will become easier to spot the ‘cues’ your child shows when tired and you will have an idea when to start looking for the signs according to how long they have been awake.

This is a fab video by raisingchildren.net.au


Christmas Sleep Tips for Toddlers

xmas eve box header

Christmas Sleep Tips for Toddlers

So, this week I was thinking about all the lovely NEW and modern Christmas traditions that have come about since I had my three children.  I love the idea of the ‘elf on the shelf’, but I think my kiddies are just a little bit too old for that idea now. They’d think I’d taken leave of my senses if I started hiding elves around the house!

The other idea I just love is the ‘Christmas Eve Box.’ What an absolutely lovely idea.  Of course, it’s probably only made up of some older family traditions. For example, many mums’s like to buy their children new pj’s for Christmas,.  I always bought my children Christmas films and special christmas story books. I’ve also made LOADS of MAGIC Reindeer food in my time and (get this!) eaten and thrown half-bitten carrots on the driveway so that my children think Rudolph ate some of our carrots. I say ‘carrots’ because in our house we never just left a carrot for Rudolph we had to leave a carrot for all the reindeer!

Anyhow, I got thinking about these Christmas Eve Boxes and realised that they were a fab opportunity to get  ‘sleep resistant’ toddlers to bed easily. In fact, if you ‘FRAME’ it right your little darlings might be DESPERATE to go to bed. (Ok, not quite, eager they might be though).

You see here’s the thing. Those PJ’s that you buy can have your child’s favourite character on so of course they’ll be more than willing to wear them. To put the pj’s on they have to go in the bath, and what better way to encourage a bath than with your child’s favourite Thomas, Frozen bubble bath. Perhaps even a special christmassy bubble bath would be welcome.

Then there’s always a Christmas film you can all settle down and watch, will a warm glass of milk (milk really does make you sleepy) in the special Christmas cup. The new book, of course, can’t be read until your little one is tooked up in bed under the NEW Christmas themed duvet.

All these things could potentially have your child desperate to get into that bed.

All that’s left for you to do is make sure they get plenty of naturally exercise throughout the day to wear them out. Take part in some quite and calm activities as part of the  ‘pre-bedtime’ routine and that they ‘hit the sack’ early enough not to bed overtired on the BIG DAY.

I would love to see pictures of your special boxes over on the FACEBOOK Page when you make them.

If you would like a copy of the ‘Christmas Eve ‘Sleep Induced’ Checklist’ and 9 Sleep Tips for toddlers please sign up here. http://eepurl.com/bI6w1D

Shellie x

I’m Sleep Deprived.

imagesI never thought I would say this again, simply because my children are 17, 12 and 10, but I’m not sleeping. I’m sleep deprived. Would you believe it’s because of my teenager?
He’s found ‘going out’ and enjoying himself, BUT that doesn’t fit in with me.

You see I’m an early bird – what I mean is early to bed, early to rise. Now, he’s quite the opposite, which in-fact is normal for teens.

Anyhow, he’s disturbing me when he comes in late. AND at the moment I’m really suffering from an ‘active mind’. I simply can’t switch off… Once I’m awake that’s it, the ‘light bulb’ is on in my head and I can’t switch it off. It’s difficult, really difficult, I’m sure you ‘get’ where I’m coming from with this.

So, I’ve been thinking….. in the wee small hours. As adults, we have the skills and knowledge to put ourselves back to sleep (or we should do). We have a resources and understanding of what we can do to help ourselves go back to sleep and still sometimes we find it extremely difficult. A baby, toddler, a young child doesn’t have the skills we have acquired.

It’s no wonder really that they need us to help them get back to sleep during night waking. Can you imagine how they are feeling? What they are thinking? Confused, lonely, sad, frustrated, where am I?

Sleep is, after all a taught behaviour. We need to help our little one’s sleep. Give them the best opportunity, make it easy for them. Think about what you need to sleep. Comfort, warmth, dark, to feel safe. It’s the same for our children, they need all that and more.

Did you realise that sleeping though for a young baby is classed as a ‘5-hour’ stretch? Yep, that’s right. So if you’re getting 5 hours continuous sleep, whether that be 8 pm – 1 pm or 12am-5am your baby is sleeping through the night! Yahhhhh.

There are lots and lots of tweaks, cheats, and adjustments we can do as mummy’s to give our little one the ‘optimal’ chance of catching some ‘shut eye’. It’s not a guarantee that they will sleep 12 hours a night, it’s not a promise that your child will never wake up through the night again. Adjusting your expectations and being realistic has to come into play here. BUT you can IMPROVE the sleep you and your child are getting with a little thought, planning and know-how.

Are you joining me tomorrow? I will be going live with my FREE SLEEP CLASS – ‘6 Secrets to a full night’s sleep.’ In this class, I’m going to share with you some easy peasy things you can do to help your little one sleep. Don’t miss out. It’s FREE and you never know, it could make a huge difference to how much sleep you are getting. Here is the Link http://bit.ly/1MRH38s

Shellie xx

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