September 2020 - Mood Baby

When mums get together we’re generally pretty open about our parenting experiences. But how often have you talked to a dad about how he feels about parenthood? In the new Babyology podcast The Dad Kit, host Sean Szeps chats to a number of prominent Australian dads about their innermost thoughts when it comes to being a […]

The post What do dads really feel about fatherhood? appeared first on Babyology.

Let these tips help you through the difficult days during the coronavirus pandemic that are inevitably on the horizon.

A trip to the supermarket presents shoppers with an overwhelming number of milk choices. And far from just being the domain of the modern hipster, plant-based milk alternatives are going mainstream. These alternatives may be suitable for people who are intolerant to dairy milk, or have ethical or other personal preferences. They tend to be […]

The post Soy, oat, almond, rice, coconut, dairy: which is the healthiest milk? appeared first on Babyology.

Why don’t more dads take parental leave? It’s a question that most exhausted mothers will ponder at some point in those first months of parenthood. As they pace back and forth at midnight with a tiny squalling baby in their arms, they wonder … why am I doing this alone?  It’s a good question – […]

The post Poo diaries and parental leave: Josh Pyke gets personal about parenting appeared first on Babyology.

The 15 Month Sleep Regression — What to Expect

Just when you thought you’d tackled the 12 month sleep regression and could count on some quiet nights of good sleep, your 15 month old is up in the night and upset! Time for the 15 month sleep regression! While not all babies will experience every single sleep regression, others hit every single one and it can be grueling. As with 4 months, 9 months, and 12 months, you know you’re in the middle of a sleep regression when your baby is experiencing the following:

  • Increased fussiness
  • Multiple night wakings
  • Fewer naps or short “disaster naps
  • Changes in appetite

sleep regression toddler

Why Do Sleep Regressions Happen?

All sleep regressions occur because your child’s body and brain are preparing for — or right in the middle of — a major developmental change. As adults it’s hard to really understand how challenging this time can be for babies. We certainly don’t remember what it was like when we went through it. But as your child is learning a new skill (like walking ) or realizing something new and amazing about their world (that objects fall to the ground when you drop them), their bodies and brains are working HARD. So hard, in fact, that they just may not be able to keep up the skills and strategies they have learned to calm themselves, to sleep quietly through their sleep cycles, and even to play happily on their own.

Want to read more about toddler development?
Read: Brain development in Pre-Toddlers 12-18 months

What’s Happening to My Baby?

Two major changes happen that can cause the 15 month sleep regression. Many toddlers are learning to walk independently, and most begin transitioning from two naps  to one nap a day. No matter where your child is on the spectrum of walking — still holding on to your hands or running across the room into your arms — they are likely on the move A LOT! Just like when they learned to sit up or to crawl, you may find your toddler practicing her new skills in bed instead of sleeping. She may be more excited to walk around her room at bedtime than to sit and read a book, or lie on the changing table for her diaper and jammies, than she is to go to bed.

Wondering about schedules for your toddler?
Read: Sample Schedules: Sleep and Naps From 6 Months to Preschool

At her 12 month sleep regression your toddler may have faked you out, appearing to be ready for only one nap per day when she really still needed two. Now, at the 15 month sleep regression, that transition is real and appropriate, but not easy! Some days she refuses her nap altogether and is ready to keep playing when you get her up and out of her room. Other days she may fall apart by midday and fall asleep in the car on afternoon errands. Other toddlers will come unraveled in the evening as their bodies transition and adjust to less sleep. Overall, bedtime (and nights) may get rough. Less daytime sleep can leave your baby overtired at bedtime and harder to get to bed smoothly. Being overtired can also contribute to more night wakings.

Need some more information about those naps?
Read: Baby and Toddler Naps — Everything You Need to Know

15 month sleep regression

Walking is one cause of the 15 month sleep regression. No matter where your child is on the spectrum of walking — still holding on to your hands or running across the room into your arms — they are likely on the move A LOT!

How to Support Your Toddler During the 15 Month Sleep Regression

To support your toddler in this exciting, and admittedly difficult phase, try these strategies:

  • Give your child extra time to settle down in the evening with quiet activities
  • Reassure your toddler by being loving and calm when they melt down
  • Be flexible about naps. Some days she’ll need one, some days she won’t
  • Keep a predictable nap and bedtime routine
  • If your toddler needs sleep coaching, don’t transition them to one nap until they are sleeping through the night

Is your toddler resisting sleep?

We can tell you why and how to fix it in Gentle Sleep Solutions – an online sleep training e-Course!

Get Some Sleep

What Can I do to Get Through the 15 Month Sleep Regression?

Remember that sleep regressions are temporary — usually between 2-4 weeks. To get through the 15 month sleep regression smoothly, try to be flexible. You may not be able to count on long daytime naps every day and you may have to move bedtime earlier on days your toddler doesn’t nap well. Respond to your toddler. Being patient and supportive while your baby is tired or frustrated, its appropriate — especially given how hard their brain and body are working! Stick to your GOOD habits. While it’s important to be supportive and responsive to your child, don’t fall back on old habits or create new ones out of desperation. Resist the temptation to nurse or rock your toddler to sleep. Your child will get back to better sleep habits soon.

Sleep regressions pass and your toddler will have newfound skills and confidence to show for it. And just think what fun you can have when your child only takes one nap per day! If, after trying your best to get through the 15 months sleep regression, you find yourself with new unwanted habits or sleep challenges that don’t resolve on their own, check back in to this blog or consider speaking with a Gentle Sleep Coach.

The post The 15 Month Sleep Regression — What to Expect appeared first on The Sleep Lady.

Early Rising in Toddlers: Tips to Stop Early Wake-Ups

Mornings for some of you begin as early as 4 AM. Waking up too early can mean a tired family and earlier naps, throwing off bedtime rituals later. Waking up too late does the opposite, pushing nap time to later in the day and sometimes prolonging bedtime. And believe it or not, a later bedtime doesn’t mean your child will wake later. Don’t worry! Early rising in toddlers is a very common problem that can be fixed!

The four main causes of early rising toddlers are:

  1. Bedtime is too late
  2. Nap deprivation
  3. Staying up too long between the end of his afternoon nap and going to bed — try not to let the interval exceed four hours
  4. Going to bed when he’s past that “drowsy but awake” mark. If he’s too drowsy, he won’t know how to get himself back to sleep when he’s more alert — including at 5:00a.m.

early rising toddlers

Important Points About Early Rising in Toddlers

Toddlers who wake up cheerful at 6:00 or 6:30 are just “morning people.” But kids who are a total grump by 7:00, are a different story.

You need to intervene and coach him to sleep later. The longer you endure early risings, the harder it is to change the pattern. Better you address it now, even if it takes a few weeks to see results. Once they’re older, it can take months.

Make sure your early rising toddler is getting enough daytime sleep — nap deprivation can cause poor night sleep and early awakenings. Younger toddlers (12 to 18 months) generally take two daytime naps, while older toddlers take one afternoon nap.

What schedule is YOUR toddler on?
Read: Baby and Child Sleep: Sample Schedules From 6 Months to Preschool

Fix Early Rising in Toddlers with…Curtains?

If too much light is coming into the toddler’s room, buy room-darkening blinds. Sometimes the simplest solution for early rising in toddlers IS the solution. These are also good for napping.

If an external noise like garbage trucks, songbirds, or a dad with a long commute who has turned on the shower is waking him, you might want to try a white noise machine or a fan.

Respond Immediately to Early Rising

When your early bird stirs, go to his room immediately.

You want to try to get him back to sleep ASAP, not let him scream himself awake. Give him his lovey and try to soothe him back to sleep without picking him up.

Even if he doesn’t doze off again — and not all toddlers will at first — do not turn on the lights or get him out of his crib until 6:00 a.m. no matter how much he protests. Getting him up earlier, while it is still dark, sends a confusing message and is another example of intermittent reinforcement.

He can’t understand why he can get up in the dark at 5:45 a.m. but not at 2:15 a.m. Also, many parents have learned the hard way that if they let him get up at 5:45 a.m., the next thing they know it’s 5:30, 5:15, etc.

Does your toddler have a lovey?
Read: The Lovey — Your Child’s First Best Friend

Stay in Your Child’s Room

At this age, I usually recommend that the parent stay in the room for this early-morning routine.

If, however, you feel your presence is encouraging him to be more awake, as often occurs with older children, you can try leaving his room after a bit of reassurance and see if he falls asleep again on his own.

Check on him every ten to fifteen minutes.

If you stay in the room, keep the interaction minimal. Try sitting in a chair with your eyes closed. When the clock finally strikes 6:00 a.m. and he’s not falling asleep, leave the room for a minute or two.

He may cry, but try not to let it bother you — you will be right back in a minute.

Sick of waking up before the sun?

There are 5 causes and 5 ways to combat early rising in children – find out how in our Gentle Sleep Solutions e-Course, available now!

Get The Course

When you come back in, make a big deal out of “good morning” time. Do your dramatic wake-up.

The morning routine is the flip side of the bedtime-routine coin. Your goal is to help him distinguish between day and night, to know when it really is time to get up.

Your message must be clear: “I’m getting you out of the crib because it’s morning time, not because you were crying.”

early rising in toddlers

Toddlers who wake up cheerful at 6:00 or 6:30 are just “morning people.” But kids who are a total grump by 7:00, are a different story.


Treat Early Rising Like Night Wakings

If your early riser is over 2 or 2.5 years old and sleeps in a bed, then you will have to return your child to their bed and treat this like a night wakening.

Continue with your Shuffle position until the clock strikes 6:00 a.m. Consider using an alarm clock radio or a light with an appliance timer to help signal to your child when it is wake up time.

If you sometimes let your child get out of bed and start the day before the music comes on then he or she will not take the alarm clock seriously!

Forgot how to do The Shuffle?
Read: The Sleep Lady Shuffle: How to Gently Sleep Train your Baby

More Tips for Early Rising in Toddlers

  • Skipping naps and putting your child to bed later will cause early rising. It seems counterintuitive, but it is true!
  • You can’t assume your child needs less sleep than the average until they are taking decent naps and sleeping through the night for several weeks.
  • Room darkening shades are critical!
  • Early rising takes several weeks of utter consistency to change so stick with it!

If your child is new to early rising since daylight saving time ended, use the nap to get to the new bedtime. In other words make sure the nap is after 12 p.m., and is long enough so that the wakeful window after the nap is not longer than 4 hours (max 5 for a toddler/preschooler who is well rested).

Patience, consistency, and understanding of both your child and his needs are critical for this process to be successful. Be firm and be loving and good mornings will be right around the corner! I wish you both many happy mornings together!


The post Early Rising in Toddlers: Tips to Stop Early Wake-Ups appeared first on The Sleep Lady.

Can men be wildly successful at work and a great dad at home? In this episode of The Dad Kit, chef, TV presenter and father-of-four, Jock Zonfrillo talks about the difficult lessons learned – some of them the hard way – while juggling fatherhood, marriage and a demanding career.  Together with host, Sean Szeps, Jock […]

The post Jock Zonfrillo on The Dad Kit: Juggling family and work/life balance appeared first on Babyology.

Even the most dedicated bookworm can find their kids are reluctant when it comes to learning how to read – and learning how to read is hard. But setting a good foundation for reading is something that all parents can do. Award-winning author and Dean of Research and Programme Development at MindChamps, Brian Caswell, has […]

The post 5 ways to instil a love of reading in your child (even if they’re reluctant) appeared first on Babyology.

I thought I was one of the lucky ones when our children’s small school announced over the summer that it would open for in-person education this fall. At our school, kids wear masks in the hallway, classes are somewhat separated from one another and the school families act as one quarantine bubble together. We were basically a pod before pods were a thing.

Our children are at low risk. After six months in quarantine, I was incredibly relieved to have them back in business at school. So a few weeks ago, we stocked up on face masks and hand sanitizer and sent them on their way.

I crossed my fingers that things would go well, knowing in the back of my mind that there was a chance of a COVID outbreak, a statewide shutdown or some unforeseen event that could send the kids back home again.

I didn’t anticipate that a runny nose would wreak havoc on our family.

It started on a Sunday night, four weeks into the school year. In the middle of the night, our eldest son started up with a barking cough, and by daybreak, all three of our school-aged children were coughing alongside him. But when they popped out of bed and demanded waffles, it was clear they felt perfectly fine—no fever, no lethargy—just runny noses and accompanying coughs.

In normal times, I wouldn’t hesitate to send my kids to school with a slight cold. Our kids often get coughs during cold and flu season and since they had no other symptoms, we’d send them on their way.

But of course, 2020 is different. The margin of error feels like life or death.

Since my husband and I had busy work weeks ahead, I tried to get the kids into our pediatrician’s office as quickly as possible. In fact, I was sitting in their parking lot at 9 am on that Monday morning with a call in to the receptionist, who promptly told me that with symptoms like that, I was not allowed to bring the kids in for an in-person appointment. We headed home.

Within an hour, we were on Zoom with our pediatrician, who virtually “examined” all three of the kids via video chat. He attempted to look down their throats, count their breaths and check for any visible signs of sickness. Once the three checkups were over, he handed down his diagnosis:

“They all have a virus,” he said. “But based on our area and the CDC’s guidelines for our country, there’s only a 1% chance it’s the virus. My recommendation is that you don’t need COVID-19 testing, and that you can safely send them back to school.”

What at first sounded like a relief, instead started feeling like a confusing moral quandary. If I let them go to school with any risk of COVID-19, was I being selfish? Or was I overburdening our family and denying my kids an education by keeping them home when our doctor said it was low risk? Depending on the point of view, I could convince myself that they were fine going to school, or that they must stay home.

Here’s the thing: Our country’s lack of a coordinated, federal effort to help families navigate work, school and child care during the pandemic has left millions of families like mine completely on their own. Our family lost a beloved elderly relative over the summer from COVID-19 contracted from a caregiver, so we are very aware of the complexities at play.

But instead of a clear national response, we have a patchwork approach, with each family making their own cost/benefit analyses, weighing ethical considerations and above all, just trying to get through this difficult time—with families, jobs and educations intact.

Unable to decide, I kept the kids at home that first day. There were sibling skirmishes, and disruptions to our normal work day. As the day wore on and my husband and I got busier, their screen time allocations went up and up. In fact, that day, they got more screen time than they usually get in a week.

By Tuesday, I was desperate to send them to school the next day. I called our school’s director who said she was comfortable with us coming back as long as they didn’t have fevers. My daughter woke up sounding even more congested, but still, no kids had fevers.

I thought perhaps one more day of waiting it out might make sense.

But by the end of that day, my husband and I were at the end of our ropes. We were both still super busy with work deadlines, the boys were fighting, and the house was a disaster. A project I was working on kept getting bumped back to the point of becoming a major problem.

I could have kept them home the entire week, but our family was becoming a runaway train of missed deadlines and too much screen time and not enough school time.

So on Wednesday morning, with no signs of fevers and kids who seemed happy to go back to school, I loaded them back in our minivan and dropped them off with their teachers.

I worried about sending them back to school with coughs—would they become the targets of fear from other kids during this scary time? Would their teachers feel like I was putting them at risk? What does a “1% chance” actually mean anyway? Someone has to be that 1%—maybe it was us?

That said, I do think parents’ mental health and resilience should be a factor in sending kids to school. With four kids and two full-time careers, our family relies on school to be a crucial part of our village that enables us to support our families—and we are far from alone. Without that outlet, we all suffer. I do think that matters.

But looking at it another way, anything less than a 100% lockdown is taking a risk. Even having groceries delivered is a risk. We are living in the land of risk. Careful, calculated risk seems like all we have.

I felt guilty for sending them back with “a” virus. I still do. Ideally, I wouldn’t have to take a risk at all. But in this impossible situation, sometimes you have to choose the least bad choice.

Parents are doing the best they can with the tools and knowledge we have. My family included.

With the stresses of Covid-19, it’s even harder to keep your cool. But give yourself a break – you’re parenting through a pandemic.