All posts filed under: Let’s talk about babies

baby massage

baby sleep and being exhausted

Most days I see mums and babies and the range of sleep – or lack of it – varies so much. Some babies sleep most of the night, others sleep in chunks of a few hours and the rest are up every hour. No two babies are the same and this is why books can be frustrating because your baby might not match their sleep descriptions. The reasons why babies wake frequently can be down to hunger and thirst, needing reassurance, discomfort from wind, reflux or teething or just not knowing how to get themselves back to sleep when they wake up. Sleep can be affected with growth spurts and developmental leaps – which despite apps such as Wonder Weeks – can be unique to your baby. The 2 biggest developmental leaps for your baby are around 4 months and at about 8-10 months (when brain/physical development is happening) when sleep could be at its worst but I have been around enough babies to know that it does vary a great deal. Frequent night-wakings and …

Comparing babies

As a postnatal practitioner it is not lost on me that many parents compare their babies with a mythical baby who sleeps and naps well, eats well, is settled, has a schedule, who is an absolute delight, leaving mums rested, happy and fulfilled. Through the decades, parents have been sold a bit of lie, leaving many of them tired, frustrated, unsupported and feeling they are getting it wrong. Babies are neither robots nor dogs to be trained, they are in a constant state of growth and development and, as such, their needs vary greatly, making them unpredictable. It is this that is normal. Biologically, babies are designed to be needy – they physically need looking after and they only have one verbal way of communicating their basic needs for food, comfort, sleep and reassurance. There are subtle body language cues but they are not always obvious and a baby’s needs can vary so much from day to day, especially in those early days and weeks. There are no easy answers or quick fixes where babies …

Mothers and the emotional load

Much is written about the motherload – the organising of children’s schedules and the household, – but let’s focus on the emotional load for a second – feeling responsible for, monitoring and worrying about your child’s wellbeing and development. It’s a huge load to carry, it takes time and investment and it can be overwhelming and exhausting. It’s part of the parenting package, it is crucial to older children and teenagers yet it is another invisible role often of mothers although I am sure plenty of dads take this on as well. Children always need our time and attention, as parents we need to listen to what they are really saying through, often through their actions rather than their words. And this is vital as children get older and then become teenagers – we often need to be their cheerleader, their counsellor, their life coach and their personal assistant (in addition to taxi driver, cook and entertainment’s officer) for them and their friends. This role starts when we carry our newborn baby when they need …

Baby Days

As you know I have just spent a few days looking after my one-year old nephew. He was a breeze to look after – he ate well, he napped, he slept, he played, he was happy and he was laid back – yet I was still tired! He has never really been away from mam and dad before so I was a bit nervous but babies can be pretty fickle – as long as they are looked after, safe and loved they are happy and there was barely a tear from him. I knew I would be tired – meeting the demands of a busy baby was always going to be a bit of a challenge but I had forgotten the intensity of just how long the days on your own with a baby can be. I had no other adult interaction apart from some brief chat in the park and with a couple of neighbours – I was totally fine with that because it was only for a few days but it was a …

Demonising co-sleeping

Occasionally, there are articles in the press reporting the tragic death of a baby in bed or on a sofa. These are rarely reported well and can result in demonising parents for co-sleeping and providing an extra level of worry for new parents. I have been a parent since 2001 and I have worked with expectant and new parents since 2002 – co-sleeping is still a taboo subject, something to be hidden, to feel guilt and shame about. There is more good information and evidence about co-sleeping, largely thanks to the Baby Sleep Info Source (BASIS) but the fears and the secrecy are still there. I passionately believe that we need to be having more honest conversations about co-sleeping, to normalise it, to make it a safe option and to consider it a safe option, which shouldn’t be as feared as it is. The consistent message for new parents is that babies should only ever be in a cot for sleep but this is not realistic or practical for many babies. This can lead to …