Saturday, 31 August 2013

Parenting support gift certificates now available!

If you're a family member or friend looking for a unique gift idea or perhaps you know someone who is struggling with a particular parenting issue, giving the gift of a solution can be life-changing.  Get in touch today to discuss your gift certificate requirements.

Does my newborn need a routine?

As a new parent, there are many questions swirling around your head and one of them is bound to be about routine.  Your midwife or health visitor will offer one suggestion, the books you read may contradict them.  Where do you start and what is the right decision?  The key is to follow your baby's lead, feed on demand initially (particularly if breastfeeding) and then have a plan in mind that you are working towards.  Teaching your baby the skillls he or she needs to cope for longer periods between feeds as time goes on and getting baby used to a mosses basket or crib for naps and night time sleep certainly will help to establish healthy sleeping patters from day one, something that is far easier to stick with as time goes on than to implement once sleep or routine issues start to arise.
The womb environment is completely different to the outside world and while your baby was quietly rocked to sleep by Mums daily activity, you may notice how baby was active at night when Mum needed to sleep and wasn't available to provide the rocking motions that take place when up and about.  It can take some time for your newborn to realise the difference between day and night, it's not something they will automatically know to change once they're out of the womb.  The process can take days or several weeks depending on your baby and his or her personality, likes and dislikes, feeding schedule and the interaction that takes place throughout the day and night. Not particularly helpful to sleep deprived parents.  

That said, there are some very effective steps that you can take to help baby to adjust and move towards a more normal sleeping pattern, longer stretches between feeds at night with less activity or stimulation and more alert and playful times during the day.  If your baby is struggling to sleep for longer periods at night or you feel that baby has the days and nights the wrong way around, please do get in touch as this is one of the areas that I feel passionately about and have had much success in resolving.  There is no need to worry, it can be sorted out!

Initially, baby will sleep anywhere from 16 to 21 hours.  It may not seem like it at the time as feeding schedules mean it feels as though you're constantly together, feeding and rocking but by keeping a record, you'll quickly see the pattern emerging.  As times goes on, baby will be able to stay awake for longer periods which is great news, this means that baby will also start to move towards the beginnings of a routine and longer naps during the day and night.  Sleep will still consume approximately 14 to 16 hours in the early weeks and up to about the six week point and by 3 months old, the average amount of sleep in 24 hours is still roughly around 14 hours.

Your baby only has one means of communication at this early stage.  It is expected that your baby will cry for anywhere between one and three hours in a day (this is over a period of 24 hours, not all at once!) and it is a completely normal part of the process. Your baby is telling you that he or she is tired, wet, has a dirtly nappy, is hungry or uncomfortable.  Sometimes they just want a cuddle!

In approximately 5-10% of newborns, colic can be an issue.  This usually starts between the fourth and sixth week following birth and can last until baby is between three and four months.  It tends to cease as if it was never an issue rather than something that gradually gets less obvious.  In this case, baby will cry for hours on end, usually at the same time of day and it can be a very challenging issue to deal with.  There are some very effective methods and medications the help but ultimately, as a parent, you will need to comfort your baby as much as possible during the bouts of discomfort.  Recent research suggests that there may be a link between colic and probiotic treatment.

All babies are different and will develop at their own pace.  You can promot sleep by ensuring that there is a clear difference between day and night.  You can leave the tv or radio on during the day if the house tends to be quiet and you can keep things quieter at night and ensure that baby has a dark room (I always recommend blackout blinds as darkness stimulates the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for inducing sleep) and make sure that the room temperature is between 16 and 20 degrees so that baby is comfortable.  Some babies, if over-tired or over-stimulated will have difficulty getting to sleep.  By keeping the same calm and relaxing routine before each nap time and in the lead up to bedtime, you will be laying a good foundation on which to build positive sleep associations. It is worth remembering that an over-tired baby will find it harder to sleep, so focus first on watching for your baby's sleepy cues and then work with those to establish the routine rather than forcing a time that means your baby may become cranky and over-tired, sabotaging his or her ability to self-settle at bedtime or nap time.

Some babies may find it easier than others to adjust to life outside the womb.  As parents, we all have our own unique style or interpreation of what we believe is best for our baby.  As long as you are consistent from the very beginning you will be helping your baby to identify what is coming next and thereby teaching him or her to accept the routine in the long run.
Most importantly, enjoy every minute of your new baby, the time goes by so fast and before you know it, you'll be longing for those precious times you shared together.  Happy parenting!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Why pay a parenting consultant to support you step by step when you can just buy a book and do it yourself?

That is a very good question!  One my friends ask me time and again.  There are many very reputable books out there written by some very knowledgeable authors and experts in the field of child  and infant care and behaviour.

Unfortunately, while many books offer possible solutions to the problems faced in parenting infants and young children, there are far too many variables that come into play when applying a strategy in practice.  The "what if's" or "she just did this, now what?  How do we get him to sleep if he does... which means we are not able to follow step two" and the list of "what if's" goes on.  Every child is unique and equally, every family dynamic is different to the next.

By the time parents call me, they are usually at the end of their rope.  Realistically, you are paying for the time and knowledge of a specialist who deals with the problems you're facing, on a daily basis.  Increasingly, my role turns from parenting specialist to family counsellor, friend and teacher. Far more value for money than you'll get from any book and far less expensive than going out and paying for all of the above as individual consultations. Furthermore, when you pay for something, you're also far more likely to invest your time and commit fully to the task of addressing the issue at hand, once and for all.

The success rates I have had personally to date, sits in the 97% range.  While there is the odd child here or there who has very high levels of anxiety or other underlying conditions that would require a different approach such as cognitive behavioural therapy or more indepth assessment by a psychologist, the remaining few are the parents who fail to commit to the plan and give up (not the children unable to modify their current behaviour), only to return within weeks to start the process over again.  Usually, more determined than ever and ultimately, that's what it takes to achieve the desired outcome.

It is not easy to implement change, as adults we deal with change in our own way processing and adapting to minimise the impact on our lives but for infants and young children, change can be a very difficult concept to grasp and often, crying is their only way of communicating their frustrations and desire to return to the more familiar routine.  That said, with time, changes turn into acceptance and the new routine becomes familiar, quickly replacing what came before.  

It is important to remember that for some babies the current routine has been ingrained over months if not years and as such, some babies will adapt within days, others may take a few weeks depending on the method used.  Any other hurdles such as illness, teething or a change in the plan due to family commitments, days out etc... can also have an impact on timescales so it is important to start your plan when you have a few weeks at your disposal and you are fully committed to implementing change.

From a financial perspective, paying for a service to address a parenting issues, can to some, seem like a very loaded decision.  Some feel that it is an admission of guilt on some level, feeling out of their depth on a certain issue.  Don't ever feel like that!  As a parent of two young children myself, despite my many years of experience in addressing parenting issues, it is no easier for me to implement a strategy when the wheels fall off, than it is for any other parent.  

Fortunately for me, I have the knowledge to address issues as they arise. However, just like any other parent, I am still very emotionally entrenched in the well-being and happiness of my children and it can be as hard for me as for anyone else when it comes to seeing the process through from start to finish.  From that point of view, I really do empathise with the families I help.  It's extremely important to me that you are able to overcome whatever barrier you're facing so that you can move on and enjoy your children.  Address the problem with the support of a professional who can answer your questions directly rather than having to second guess the answer from the pages of a book and risk undermining all the hard work you've already put in.

The next blog post will cover newborns and how to avoid the common issues relating to routines and most importantly, sleep! 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Welcome to the Tiny Wise Blog!

Welcome to the Tiny Wise blog!  This is an exciting day, a new blog and the final version of our fresh look logo has been delivered and installed on the webiste and now, on our new blog too!  

We so look forward to joining you on your journey through early parenthood.  Our posts will be daily or weekly, depending on how busy we are with our number one focus, our clients! 

By far, sleep (or the lack of) is the main reason parents contact us here at Tiny Wise.  Usually, by this point parents have done everything within their power to address their baby or young child's sleep problem.  Desperate and in need of a good night's sleep, parents can rest assured in the knowledge that we offer personalised, family focused sleep plans with a proven strategy aimed to get everyone on the right track.  We know only too well that when your children sleep, finally, so can you!

Thank you for taking the time to visit us here and we look forward to blogging about sleep, potty training, fussy eating, behavioural issues and more.  If you're a parent struggling with any of the above, please get in touch or post a reply here, we can help and you can start right now!

Our fresh-look website relaunch will be taking place this weekend, don't forget to visit us at for information on getting in touch about the services we offer.

Good night!