Hi to all our members,

Here is a selection of some of the most frequently asked questions that I receive from mum's. Please have a look through these and if they do not help with the sleep issue you are facing then please start your own topic and I will do my best to respond to you individually. We aim to answer the top 20 questions each Wednesday.
It's Time To Sleep

Q: Why do some babies have trouble sleeping?
We all sleep in sleep cycles consisting of blocks of sleep, being ‘light sleep’ and ‘deep sleep’, where we wake and are able to resettle. It’s the babies that have been put to sleep in a different way that seem to have problems with sleeping. For example, those babies that have been rocked to sleep, fallen asleep while feeding, rocked in the pram or sleeping in mums’ bed. Once the baby goes off to sleep they are transferred into their cot, this baby will wake with a fright not knowing where mum is and where the rocking has gone to. Imagine yourself being all cosy in your own bed and you wake up and you’re sitting in the bathtub, you’d get a bit of a fright.
At about 8 months old a babies sleep cycle changes to around 60 minutes, they also experience what we call separation anxiety, where if mum is not around they become quite anxious. If these babies are being rocked off to sleep in mums arms and resettled sleeping into the cot, they will wake up in 1 hours time with a fright and because mums not there, they will call out, mum goes back into the room and not knowing any other way of resettling the baby, will pick them up, rock them back off to sleep and put them back into the cot. These become bad habits and they are called sleep associations.

Q: ‘What is controlled comforting?’
Controlled comforting is a technique used to teach a baby or toddler to sleep independently, so if they wake during the night they are able to put themselves back to sleep.

Q: ‘What is Feed/Play/Sleep?’
Feed/Play/Sleep is an important part of getting the program to work for you.
These 3 things need to be separated:
•Feeding is in your arms
•Down is where you play and
•Sleeping is in a cot.
Establishing the feed/play/sleep routine will enable you to watch for tired signs knowing that baby has already been fed, and then once these signs are shown you can act on them by implementing the settling techniques straight away, rather than waiting until your baby is already hungry, tired and grumpy, thus allowing them to fall asleep in your arms.
This does not mean that love and cuddles are sacrificed, these should be incorporated into their playtime as much as you wish to, and not forgetting that you are still feeding in your arms, the only difference is that you are not letting them fall asleep in your arms.

Q: ‘At what age should I expect my baby to be sleeping through the night?’
Some babies will sleep right through the night from 6 weeks, some from 3 months and some will take longer. If your baby is 6 months or older and not yet sleeping through the night you could apply the rollover feed method as described on ‘Your Baby’s Sleep’ page or It’s Time To Sleep DVD & Book

Q: ‘My baby sleeps through the night okay, but day time sleeps are a problem.’
This is quite common and using the It’s Time To Sleep techniques would be most effective as your baby already knows how to resettle themselves during the night.
Anything under one hour is considered a catnap and you should try to resettle using the techniques.

SIDS Recommendations (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
•The ideal sleeping position for babies is on their backs.
•Their heads should be uncovered.
•Bedding should be tucked in with the baby’s feet positioned at the end of the cot.
•Loose bedding, such as pillows or quilts, is not recommended as during active sleep it might move and cover the baby’s face.
•Your baby’s environment should be smoke free at all times.
•All these strategies will help to decrease the risk of SIDS.

Q: ‘Why do I need to wrap my baby?’
SIDS recommend not to wrap a baby and not to sleep them on their side, that’s okay for a baby that’s sleeping properly, but for a baby that’s not, we need to wrap them. Wrapping your baby firmly, but not tightly, in a small blanket or sheet will help him feel secure and will control his hands. This will stop him from catching himself on the face if he flails around. Once baby is sleeping we suggest you loosen the wrap and roll baby onto their back.
Wrapping is recommended up to 3 months old, after this time there is no need to continue to wrap your baby.

Q: ‘I have always demand fed my baby, is this the best way?’
All babies are different and each one will have his or her individual feeding needs, especially during the first 6 weeks. However you will benefit from trying to introduce some kind of routine. The most important thing to remember is that baby should be settled awake into their cot. You may even find that what you thought was a cry to be fed, was actually a tired cry.
Babies will often do a lot of "sparrowing" or comfort sucking. By learning the difference between this and a real feed will help you greatly. We deal with this in the It's time to sleep DVD and book. This is not to say that your baby doesn’t need a feed, he will certainly be needing to feed every 4 hours or so at 9 weeks and this could mean 2 overnight feeds still, but it will help you to know if it is a feed, or just comfort, he wants and then you can try some settling techniques.

Q: My baby still wakes at night?
Your baby probably has a few sleep associations and when waking from his ‘light sleep’ he is looking for your comfort or the comfort of his bottle or dummy.
From 6 months you can try a 10pm rollover feed and follow our settling techniques when he wakes during the night. You can get the details for this on ‘Your Baby’s Sleep page or from It’s Time To Sleep DVD & Book.

Q: My toddler wakes so early in the morning?
Unfortunately some toddlers are just early risers, I would suggest you try pushing the daytime nap forward a bit and try putting your toddler to bed a little later each day for a week or so, a bit like creating your own daylight saving.

Q: ‘My baby has a dummy and I always seem to be getting up through the night to replace it.’
We do not recommend the use of a dummy as the constant loss of a dummy, and its replacement, can become a sleep association, however the choice is entirely up to the parents. If using a dummy we recommend limiting it to bedtime use only.
It’s best if you can do away with the dummy altogether, but if not, we suggest when you are doing the settling techniques, remove it just before baby goes off to sleep so that it’s not the last thing they remember.

[Edited on 18/04/2007]