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Poor sleep habits = no sleep for baby

Parents are in general unaware of how their settling practises influence their baby’s sleep. Consequently, many parents accidentally encourage their baby to develop sleep habits that result in broken sleep for baby and parents, according to Australian child health nurse and author Rowena Bennett. Rowena’s new book Your Sleepless Baby: The Rescue Guide explores a range of sleeping problems and takes parents through a step-by-step process to settle their babies for a good night’s sleep.

“When a baby first appears to have trouble falling or remaining asleep parents typically worry about the possibility of an underlying physical cause. This is seldom the case for physically well babies. Most babies responded favourably to behavioural techniques aimed at changing their sleep associations and/or the timing of sleeps, indicating that medical conditions are infrequently the cause of a healthy baby’s sleep problems.”

“Some settling methods encourage babies’ dependence on others’ help to fall asleep and remain asleep. Others support babies to self-regulate their sleeping patterns; enabling them to get the amount of sleep they need independent of others’ help. No single method will meet the needs of all babies or families. Choosing a settling method that is a match for baby’s temperament and family circumstances is the key to good sleep for baby and everyone in the household,” Rowena said.

“Sleep problems generally develop because baby learns to depend on parents’ help to sleep but the parent finds they cannot provide the level of support their baby requires on a 24-hour basis over an indefinite period of time. So baby becomes distressed owing to sleep deprivation and so do parents.”

“Sleep problems experienced by physically well babies can be usually be fixed by encouraging sleep associations for baby that promote independent settling and by maintaining a flexible daily routine that supports baby to stablise feeding and sleeping patterns in harmony with his natural biological rhythms.”

As a child health nurse, mother, and grandmother, Rowena knows firsthand what havoc a lack of sleep can wreak on a household, and more importantly on a baby’s health. Rowena runs a successful online baby sleep clinic, www.babycareadvice.com, consulting to parents all over the world about their sleepless babies.

“I’ve dedicated my career to helping parents and their newborn babies, and it gives me great satisfaction to know I can help families with this very common and challenging problem,” Rowena said. “Every baby deserves a good night’s sleep, and so does every parent.”