There’s no doubt that life changes pretty dramatically for new parents in the first 12 weeks or 4th trimester of a newborn’s life. All the research and preparation you can devour during your pregnancy doesn’t quite prepare you for the reality of this little person who completely depends on you for their every need 24/7.
Originally posted by Glowing Expectations
Resolve your baby’s feeding and sleeping issues with the help of a Mothercraft Nurse – it’s good for the whole family!
“My baby is 3 months old. I rock him for over an hour to get him to sleep and then he only sleeps for 30 minutes. I’ve read books and tried everything I see on Facebook forums and hear at Mother’s Group. No one else seems to be having all these problems. I’m starting to wonder if it’s me and I’m just not a very good mother…”
In the last 20 years of looking after the fitness and wellbeing of pregnant women and new mums I have heard this 1000 times or more – intelligent, resourceful, successful, loving women at the end of their rope, questioning their ability as mums. It is ironic that they feel so alone, for it seems to be a common situation.
I made it my mission to find out what help is out there. Not another well-meaning book or self-appointed sleep guru, but real help, for all my clients – and any other mums and dads who are struggling and looking for answers.
I found The Mothercraft Nurse and I’m going to name her The Fairy Godmother of new families.
Mothercraft Nurses could be referred to as the expert trouble shooters of early parenthood. As I discovered, they literally save the day for new parents when they don’t know where else to turn. One mum told me a call to Mothercraft for Babies “improved the quality of our life, we are very grateful”. Another client of Mothercraft Nurse Beth Barclay said “she truly cares and provides a service I haven’t come across before”.
I had to know more. What unique quality was it that enabled Mothercraft Nurses to turn around family life in those early months, when all else had failed.
My research tells me that Registered Mothercraft Nurses are nurses with specialist training in postnatal care for mothers and babies from 0 to 4 years. This means their Tresillian or Karitane training (baby sleeping and feeding education) is underpinned by evidence based knowledge that allows them to assess how mum, baby and even dad are doing, both physically and mentally. As another happy client of Beth Barclay’s told me “she provided much needed help with sleep and settling issues when we couldn’t see straight from sleep deprivation. Always sensible, always kind and oh so patient. She makes sure the whole family is considered when providing support”.
Initially a Mothercraft Nurse gathers a detailed history about baby’s eating and sleeping – the what, whens and how longs, as well as general information about the family. This provides a snapshot of daily life and a starting point. Mothercraft Nurses can then identify underlying causes and sometimes medical issues that must be addressed for feeding, sleeping and behavioural problems to be resolved. Sometimes the problem is simple – bub is thirsty. Sometimes the problem is more complicated – bub has an intolerance/allergy or gut issue. Being part of a Paediatric Specialist network allows Mothercraft Nurses to refer on and ensure parents and their bubs get the right professional help, quickly.
Most of the time the issue lies somewhere in the middle and the Mothercraft Nurse maps out a detailed 24 hour integrated plan of action. The plan is solution focused and for real life. It is also not a one size fits all, but individualised to take account of work schedules, school drop off and pick up, parenting style and any other relevant family dynamics.
But there lies the problem say mums who are not in the know, “there is no way I could get us to an appointment at the moment”. Others say “yeah it sounds great but there is no service like Mothercraft for Babies near me”… I am very happy to be able report neither of these scenarios is an issue. Mothercraft Nurses can come to your home, or to make it even easier for you do a Video consultation – and there is no judgement if you are still in your pyjamas. This flexibility also makes it easier for husbands and partners to be involved which can be invaluable. They too can be tired, worried and struggling with the transition to parenthood. Why not learn and implement the new parenting tools given, together.
For those who are struggling and feel they may need a Fairy Godmother… I mean… Mothercraft Nurse in their life, I will end with these reassuring words from Beth, “true postnatal care is about mums, dads and babies and Mothercraft Nurses will go the extra mile to see the big picture and support you as a family”.
Mothercraft for Babies is a team of highly skilled Registered Mothercraft Nurses/Midwives who will advise and support you and your baby or toddler through home visits or phone/video consultations and Tip Sheets and educational Videos from our online Shop.
Our Nurses will conduct an initial overall clinical assessment of your baby or toddler, supported by a tailored plan and advice that works with your parenting style, goals and comfort levels.
Over the years I have often worked with mums who needed guidance on how to cope with “two under two”. Often these capable but self doubting mums feel that they should “know what to do” having already trodden the road less travelled with their first child.
The common questions after baby number two arrives:
– Why do I feel like a new mother again with this baby?
– Shouldn’t I know what to do the second time around?
– The sleep strategies that worked a treat with my first baby just aren’t working with this baby.
We are all born with our own temperament and personality. Our characters are developed by our parents and caregivers. From my experience individual temperaments are evident as early as in the first 6 to 12 months of an infant’s life. Each family household has a different dynamic and lifestyle and a child’s birth order can affect behaviours characteristics.
If you think about it, your first baby had your undivided attention as new parents. Everything is new in terms of learning to be a parent, getting to know your baby, learning how to care for him and how to best meet baby’s needs. You are both working through this in a haze of sleep deprivation, periods of uncertainty and your previous lifestyle and routine is a distant memory.
Your first baby brings a huge learning curve. How could anyone remember any details from say 2 years ago under these circumstances?
Having a baby and toddler will have it’s tough days. Consider this;
- The second baby arrives and you still have only one pair of hands but also a toddler to attend to.
- Depending on the age of your eldest child, you may find that he doesn’t understand why he needs to share your attention with the new baby.
- You have a new family dynamic and daily routine to manage. This affects the time you have to give to both children with different needs and schedules.
- Successful strategies you implemented to feed and settle your first child may not suit your second child who naturally may have a different temperament.
- Your second child may not have all his sleeps in his cot like your first. He may have to grab his day naps in the car or pram when you drop off and pick up your toddler from daycare.
This the right opportunity to remind yourself that you can only do what you can do and your kids will still thrive and love you!
Here are 7 Tips to help you get on top of your day with two under two:
- Baby Bjorn or baby carriers come into their own at the evening dinner, bath and bedtime routine when you multitask hands free whilst carrying your baby (an innate skill gifted to women may I say?).
- Try to keep a consistent bedtime routine at the end of the day for both children when your newborn feeding rhythms are becoming more predictable around 8 – 12 weeks.
- You can give some special one on one time with your toddler when baby is sleeping and ensure you involve him with the care of the baby when appropriate, lots of cuddles together.
- And when you are trying to settle your newborn, you can bring out the “special toy/game/snack” for your toddler to play with that only comes out at that time. You can have several on rotation to keep the play time “fresh”.
- If help is offered by trusted family or friends, say yes.
- If your toddler struggles with attention shifting to the baby, you could think about small “gifts’ “from the baby” to toddler to ease the tension, incentivising desired behaviours.
- Go gently on yourself, that hectic exhausting period only lasts for a relatively short time and they will both be good mates and entertaining each other sooner than you think!
For expert infant and maternal health advice to help you cope and manage issues with breast or bottle feeding/day napping or night waking/establishing age appropriate routines/toddler behavioural management and dummy dependency for your babies and toddlers, contact Beth Barclay at Mothercraft for Babies on +61 2 8221 8877 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Being a mother is one of the most rewarding jobs on earth and also one of the most challenging. It is sometimes difficult to reconcile the fantasy of what you thought motherhood would be like with reality. Take care of yourself.” Debra Gilbert Rosenberg
Motherhood is a journey; for no two women is this journey the same. When I was pregnant with my first child, my own sister wisely told me “no-one gets it easy.” Everyone has a challenge at some point – whether it be conceiving, pregnancy, giving birth, breastfeeding. Certainly in my own experience she was right. As women, we are born with an innate desire to nurture and create our own family. We fantasise about an easy conception and pregnancy and that “perfect” baby who will feed, settle and sleep but often the reality of motherhood results in a challenging yet incredibly rewarding experience.
During pregnancy, it is so important for a woman to allow herself the time to prepare both mentally and physically for motherhood. This will be different for everyone but may involve a holistic birth preparation course such as Calmbirth, leaving work with enough time to rest and keep up some gentle exercise and spend time talking to your partner about how they can be involved on a practical level when the baby is born.
In our society, new mothers want to be perceived as coping with whatever challenges they may be facing. This is often made worse by what I call the “motherhood myth” – the myth that the woman in your mothers’ group / family / social circle has the perfect baby. Women need to feel more comfortable sharing their stories about motherhood – both the good and the bad – so that we can provide each other with emotional support. Find your “person” – maybe a friend who has had a baby at the same time – somebody who will allow you to be honest about your challenges in adjusting to life as a new mum. As women, we all feel better when we can talk about whatever is going on.
One way to break this myth is to encourage new mums to feel comfortable to say yes to help or support offered by family and friends. Being at home with a baby can be isolating and exhausting – take ‘baby steps’ to allow yourself a break by accepting an offer for somebody to come over to fold your washing, drop off dinner or look after your baby even just for half an hour to allow you the mental space to go out for a walk alone in the sunshine.
The arrival of a child results in a huge shift in the dynamic of every relationship. It is really important, as a couple, to acknowledge this. Men want to be able to help – it is innately important to them to be able to “fix things” – but so often they just don’t know how. Talk to your partner about what you need and how they can help on a practical level – bathing the baby, ensuring you get that quiet half hour to yourself while they take the baby for a walk.
Most importance, remember that motherhood means a huge shift in a woman’s identity which impacts self-esteem. I really believe that creating time to be kind to yourself in whatever way you need makes such a difference.
Lucy Kemp – Counsellor/ Graduate Diploma in Counselling (ACAP)
Specialising in Infertility, Pregnancy Loss, Adjusting to Motherhood and Pre/Post natal Anxiety and Trauma
Lucy Kemp is a mother to two young boys. She is an experienced counsellor who is passionate about providing specialised therapeutic support to women who are experiencing infertility and pregnancy loss as well as the myriad of emotional challenges that can arise both before, during and after pregnancy.
Parenting can take exhaustion to a whole new level with a household that isn’t sleeping. How often does it feel like the measure of your success as a parent ( by just about every baby “authority”
you know) is how long/often your baby or toddler sleeps? Bizarre.
And so much pressure from social media bloggers, well meaning family and friends, parental peer groups.
I follow some of the conversation threads on Mums Groups on social media with the intention of contributing some help, guidance and balance. So many sleep deprived and desperate parents searching for peer group referrals for that magical “sleep consultant” or baby sleep “trainer”. Even understanding what is considered normal “wakeful” behaviour doesn’t make it any easier for parents, sometimes you do need help so you can get some much needed rest.
Big decisions and often big investment.
How do you make this informed decision with the right expert and someone you can trust?
Sadly, the “baby sleep consultant” industry is completely unregulated. “Consultants” are being certified through online courses. Often these people (with no doubt the best intentions) have no background in infant or maternal health.
Questions that need the right answers….are they qualified to assess the difference between a tired mum or a mum with postnatal mood disorders? Could they competently assess whether the baby has a feeding issue, intolerance or digestive issues and refer to suitable health professionals? Is your baby or toddler developmentally on track? Or would they simply implement their idea of sleep training?
Every little baby has his or her own unique developmental blueprint and temperament and this will impact their needs for sleep (or lack of it). We can create an environment that supports our children’s development (and sleep) but we can’t force their development. Just like we can’t force a flower to bloom before it’s ready.
There are questions you MUST ask before you engage help. A guide for these questions is on our FAQS page on our website.
One “approach” doesn’t fit all!
This interview segment on “the first six weeks with your newborn” forms part of the complete Bountyvision DVD program which is provided by Bauer Media to all Maternity Hospitals around Australia.
Here is a routine which can be used as a guide for the average, healthy toddler aged 12 – 15 months still needing two day sleeps.
It’s important to remember that each child is different in terms of their development, sleep, playtime and dietary needs which may vary.
I would encourage you to trust your instincts along with this routine guide because you know your child best!
Two Daytime Sleeps Routine
|6:30 – 7:30am
|7:30 – 8:15am
|8:15 – 9:30am
|9:30 – 11:00am
|11:15 – 11:45am
|11:45 – 2:00pm
|2:00 – 3:30pm
|3:30 – 3:45pm
|3:45 – 5:15pm
|5:30 – 6:00pm
|6:00 – 6:30pm
|6:30 – 7:00pm
|Quiet play, Wind down routine
Mamamia has recently launched a new Podcast series called “Year One” which is all about how to help you as a new parent, survive and enjoy, the first year of your child’s life. The Podcast series gives you practical, expert advice from an in house “dream team” of baby experts and I was delighted to be invited to join this team. It’s also a relatable, often hilarious journey of real life stories from the hosts, Holly and Christie, who are mums and share four children under seven between them.
I recorded two episodes and the first is titled “Getting Sleep Sorted”.
Let’s face it, it doesn’t really matter how many baby “how to” books you devoured or how often you researched Dr Google, the first year of your child’s life is still a very steep learning curve for any new parent. And the subject of sleep seems to be the hottest topic.
Prior to having a baby you may never have understood this obsession with sleep. Now you do. The nearest good coffee hub takes on an almost religious significance.
There will be days when you think you’re losing it. Sleep deprivation, an unsettled baby, well meant but unwanted advice, and often minimal trusted support. The hardest job of all is parenting and lots of your friends just won’t get that.
My first bit of advice based on 20 years experience as a Mothercraft Nurse is don’t be afraid to put your hand up if you’re not coping and you need professional support. No one can do a new job without help, any job. You haven’t failed and it shows real courage to ask for help.
The topics and advice we cover in this episode “Getting Sleep Sorted” include;
- The first 6 – 8 weeks and helping you understand what’s normal sleep patterns and what’s not.
- The 24/7 intense new role for mum, how often should baby be feeding, unsettled periods and how to cope.
- How to establish healthy sleeping patterns after 6-8 weeks
- Do parents sabotage their baby’s sleep, common mistakes.
- When and how to start a day/night time routine.
- Where should baby sleep? Safe sleeping guidelines, first with parents and when does baby graduate to their own room? Do baby monitors help?
- How to avoid/assist “flat head”.
- Should you use sleep aids like white noise, dummy?
- Settling techniques and coping strategies for those tricky times like “witching hour”.
- Baby starts to roll, what then? Transitioning from swaddle to sleeping bag.
- What does “sleeping through the night” actually mean and when does it happen, if ever?
This is going to take some serious planning for two! Breastfeeding in public, best coffee hub with a pram in tow, change facilities and how to keep strangers from coughing all over your new baby before vaccinations. You’re probably going to overdo the packing of the baby bag in the beginning. You won’t need a pillow, first aid kit, blanket, breast pump, a stash of snacks, the entire stock of Toys’R’Us, a spare set of clothes for yourself and five onesies for your baby.
We will also cover;
- How to deal with public transport
- The best places to go with a new baby and pram
- What you can stash in the car
- How to best manage exposing baby to the world of everyday germs/immunisation benefits
- How do you keep strangers from touching your new baby?
- How to deal with inclement weather
- Breastfeeding in public, how do you best manage this to alleviate any pre anxiety or stress?
- Changing facilities, where are they?
- What can go wrong?
A Mothercraft nurse has specialist qualifications, knowledge and a depth of experience in Postnatal and Early Parenting care for newborns through to preschoolers.
Our knowledge and training includes lactation and breastfeeding, responsive sleep and settle strategies, feeding issues, routine management, growth and development assessment, toddler behavioural management and maternal health. We have been trained to have a holistic and “big picture” approach in order to provide the best, most practical solutions to suit each individual family and their needs.
So when one of our Nurses comes to your home, you can trust our advice and the welfare of your baby or toddler under our care.
The nursing qualification of Mothercraft Nursing was historically obtained from an intensive, 18 month live-in course at Tresillian or Karitane (in NSW). Like all other health professionals we work in a regulated industry and must be registered with AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) under the national Nurses and Midwifery Board.
We have the medical training and knowledge to be able to assess and identify the causes behind babies and toddlers who are not thriving, developing or sleeping within normal developmental expectations. This may include some medical conditions such as reflux or other gastroenterological issues, food allergies or intolerances, common early childhood illnesses and any breast or formula feeding problems.
We also have a depth of knowledge and experience to assess mums presenting with symptoms of perinatal anxiety or depression that may be contributing to feelings of being unable to cope within normal expectations. It is so important to seek the right professional support to help you through this period.
In these and other instances we would refer you to your own or other Maternal Health Specialists we work with so that you have qualified, professional support to help support you and your partner.