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Sleep and settling discussion with Dr Hayley Dohnt

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Well, hello, I'm here back on the couch with Dr. Holly don't who's a clinical psychologist, and who specializes a lot in infant and child like a bit. So I thought first we might get to know Haley. Hello, hello. So Haley, what would be your best advice for any parent? And Yep, so I think there's a lot of great advice out there, but there's a lot of not so good advice. So too.

So I think that one of the things I often say to parents is to not make too many comparisons. It's hard to I know, but I think Try not to compare what your baby's doing versus what the other maybe the moms group for your friend's babies or your older child did. Because I think that if your baby is developing is meeting their milestones, okay? He's happy when they're awake and not too grisly and frantic, then I think that you're probably doing okay. And if you're managing, okay with everything, so not to worry too much if your baby's not sleeping exactly the same, or is not feeding exactly the same as the other babies, because everybody is different, it's very different. And the amount of sleep a baby has and the timeframes that they do have very different.

And, you know, there's a lot of information that comes out in social media, so not so many reputable search sources about how much sleep a baby should have, especially that four to six months, where, you know, you're expected to be back to sleeping all night and back into skinny jeans and having a full control of your life, which we know isn't always true. But is there a bit of a guideline about how much a baby should sleep at that time or it's, it's the individual? Yeah, look, I think, important thing to remember is it's very individual, so I think the National Sleep Foundation sort of have put out some guidelines these days that are a bit more of a broad range rather than just a single sort of 14 hours or whatever, which is very helpful. So I think they usually say, for babies about four months to under a year, somewhere between 14 to 17 hours now I know that's quite a big range, but that's over 24 hour period.

Sorry, not just at night time. I think it'd be very rare for a baby to sleep 14 hours at nighttime, but across the 24 hour period, so if your baby is sleeping 14 hours and is meeting its milestones going, Okay, happy little baby. fading, well growing all of those kind of things, then they're probably getting enough sleep. And it's a question I get a lot, but it just doesn't sleep. I can't nap, you know, would they be developing? Okay, and if they are doing all of those things, then they're probably completely fine.

Yes. And so by catnaps, you mean the, you know, they have one sleep cycle and then wake up. Yeah, so catnapping can be quite common. My youngest son was a kidnapper and And I think it can be either a sleep cycle sometimes even a bit less monotonous like 20 to 30 minutes and then wake up. So it is quite common can be quite frustrating. Boxing and there are I guess a number of things that we can do to try and improve that catching them before they might wait to try and settle them with some passing or crocheting or whatever it might be.

Too. I think sometimes a lot of parents when they do have calipers will feel like they need to stay home and improve yes and get it right and get it right like I've got to do it this week. I'm going to get it right that's right. Yeah, engineer I think that then you wind up maybe just going a bit crazy. No, I think sometimes you know, 90 trying to be hiring for one of the sleeps for a couple of minutes throughout the day, but maybe they wake after half an hour pop them in a baby carrier go for a walk or pop them into the pram so you can get them back to sleep that way or you know, give them a sleep while you're walking around the shop. So yes, grabbing a coffee because that's going to be good for you and for them rather than stuck on point all day.

Forget despite Yes, like, yes, it's hard. There's lots of advice and makes it look like you've got to follow a particular routine with every sleep cycle to get it right. Yep. And that can make you go a bit crazy, right? And look, they may grow out of nothing in general, I think that's even what my son did. And a lot of babies will maybe after six months or so, they might start to just sleep a bit more solidly.

And so if you can laugh, then you know, there probably will be an end in sight, they start to nap eventually, but you know, otherwise trying to do some things just to make your life easier or to try and settle them between sleep cycles, if you can, yeah, but you know, trying for more than 1520 minutes to get them back to sleep, it's probably gonna be a bit tricky for you, it's probably better to just pop them in a bouncer or pop them in the carrier and go, Oh, good. So we hear a lot about this sleep regression, four to six months late progression with fear and terror like a progression. It wants it does that mean? Um, I think it basically means that your baby made Start to wake up a little bit more I you know, they're getting a little bit older, they're awake for a bit longer between sleeps during the day, they may start to sort of develop a sleep wake cycle where they're perfect like we are to be like during the diet and to be asleep at night and that can start to develop around that age.

So it is really normal for there to be a bit of a regression is late where they might, you know, don't sleep through a sleep cycle, but their naps are waking quite frequently overnight. And as frustrating as it is, it is quite normal. But again, it doesn't happen for everyone. So to not get too stressed about it. But also maybe to just remember that you might need to help your baby, etc, will be more than what they were so they may have been sleeping a bit more solidly or self settling. And there may just be a period of time where that doesn't go so well and they need a bit of extra help or need different things.

That's right. Yeah, absolutely. So they may need you to do a bit of padding. Yeah. Or a bit of rocking if they really upset? And I guess, you know, we need to comfort them.

But do you also your baby john don't want to try and do too much for them where you're maybe just setting up some habits that might be difficult to maintain. And so you also tend to have a baby that doesn't fit as well into a bassinet. And so you have to transition them towards a court. Yep. And potentially can't wrap them anymore. So is that where you mean to add?

You know, you might go to padding. Anything? Oh, I don't want to pet forever. Yeah. So but as a short term transition, you might have to do that a little bit. That's right.

Yeah. So there's sometimes I think some things you might need to add in just to help them a little bit more. But you know, you might choose padding is a great option in your baby's happy with that, rather than picking them up and rocking them or walking or something like that. So if you're able to just pass them off to sleep, which you may not have needed to do before, but if you can do something like That, especially when you're changing environment, you might be starting to unwrap them, you know that those kind of different things, they may just be a bit like what's going on, I need a bit of help with this for a period of time, or different and overwhelming. And then there's lots of information that comes out about sleep programs, like options, and certainly, again, on social media, there's a lot of marketing.

Like there's this amazing program you can do with your four or six month old that's gonna get them sleeping 17 hours a day and yeah, you know, how do you feel? You know, as a professional that a lot of that advice that's given out there? Yeah, look, I think, generally speaking from you know, my point of view, we wouldn't really do much like sleep training or sleep programs or sleep methods, whatever you would like to call it till after six months, because it's really normal for babies to wake up and to need help to sleep. Yeah, it's difficult as a new parent, but it is really normal. So I think with all that information out there you know, in the first six months we might be trying to set up good sleep habits and maybe start to get a little bit of routine to timing of naps and things around this age.

And you know, maybe a few settling methods, but we wouldn't want to be doing necessarily too many says sleep training or anything like that. And I also think there's so many different ones out there then they don't very to do to everybody. Yeah, so every parent That's right, absolutely. Um, because there might be you know, the people that maybe during the control crying who cried out and there also might be people without, you know, co sleeping or babywearing. There's nothing wrong with any of those things, just eating options, if you're happy with it, you know, I guess obviously, there may be some concerns about cried out and stuff to little babies, but if that suits your lifestyle, and that's something that you want to do and the baby seems to be happy with it, then go for it. I'm a big believer of, you know, yes, reading lots of information and getting lots of information, but picking what suits you and your baby.

Yeah. And so even when people come and see me, we've obviously got lots of different methods that we know really work well. But if that doesn't suit you and your family and your baby, then that's not something that's going to be work for you with a different option. It's like a diet, you know, if you're going to have a liquid diet that you are going to be on for a month. And yes, you might lose seven kilos. But is it something that you can sustain long term?

You know, there's lots of choices out there in the world. And parenting is one that, you know, once you're, you're in that realm, people give you lots of advice that maybe you want or you don't want with solutions that may or may not work for you. And you kind of feel like I will, you know, maybe my baby should be like that comparing maybe my baby should be sleeping all night. And your baby isn't and you think well, how can I make them do that? But then if you're happy to get up a couple of times a night That's what it is and for fade in back to slate and that's not bothering you, then that's fine. And often talk to parents about, it's not really a sleep problem unless it's a problem for you.

Yes. Which is, you know, maybe another bit of good advice. Just because the other babies sleeping through, if you're happy to get up and feed them and rock them back to sleep, and that's actually lovely for you, then yes, lovely. You don't have to change just because that's not what everyone else is doing. So well maybe that's what your baby needs, because your baby needs a bit more of that tactile That's right. And I'm pretty sure pens on temperament and personality a lot too.

So like me, and lots of people start to bring in all you shouldn't be breastfeeding at night and you should do a bottle at night to make them sleep all night. Or maybe you should start solid to fill them up. And you think, you know, obviously we've got Chelsea's video I'm solid and when a baby's ready to start solid, but often feeding them up which Surely you've learned by now it doesn't make them sleep. But you know, yes, there is sometimes when a baby will wake More fates during the night because they do, they are getting ready for solid and it's gonna be more of the other points that Chelsea brings up in her video about your baby being ready. But the sleep progression itself can confuse a lot of parents I should start. So yeah, this is why my baby's waking, but it's actually quite a normal developmental phase.

It is it's a very confusing time. And so you have to trust your own instincts with what's happening and what your baby needs. And you know, if everything is going well, this time of transition is very normal means your baby's being exactly like it should be. That's right. Yeah, we don't have a problem that needs to be fixed. Yeah, it just can be difficult.

Obviously, if you've had a lovely sleeping sleepy Baby, you're like, oh my god. Yeah, yep. And I think the thing with display programs and stuff too is we often have a good idea of what we think will work for our baby even before the baby's born. Or go to play and it's really difficult You know, it can be you know, you may not want you may want to rock your baby to sleep because that So luckily for a voice, even though he will very much like know if we can self serve, so I think you need to be a bit flexible with that I realized that things don't often sometimes. Yes, and there we are dealing with individuals that, you know, personality, especially at this time, become very obvious. And so as a clinical psychologist in your role, because, you know, being a psychologist simple, very scary, and but, you know, if you had a mom that had a, you know, a four to six month old and maybe had subscribed to one of these programs and was getting very confused, and, you know, in your role, your professional role, and, you know, is it helpful just to kind of thrash out the strategies and to be reassured in a visit with someone like you?

Yeah, I think absolutely. And I think there is a bit more of a misconception about coming to see a psychologist and I guess, you know, it's just about coming maybe at that age range for your baby. Getting some yes, some of those myths and misconceptions and just getting a bit of reassurance that maybe your baby's doing okay with the sleep they're getting or maybe some gentle sleep routines or calming strategies that we might be able to talk about or talking about the environment around them, what's happening for them? Is that going okay? So I think that it, I don't think it can be a negative coming in sometimes talk to someone rather than getting all of this information thrown at people thrown at them, which may not be coming from someone who you know, has studied in the area or has got some experience in the area.

So I think it's absolutely a good idea. And obviously, these sessions can be funded through Medicare and in case in a lot of cases through your private health insurance. So, you know, if if both Medicare and your private health insurance are going to put something behind, you're going to see these specialists. Now it could be that link in the chamber helps you to understand rather than focus on fixing things to understand why things are changing, and how you can actually be positive in the picnic? Absolutely. Absolutely.

I think if you're struggling, it's a big step to go and see someone. Yes. But I think it can be really useful for chatting to GP chatting to your pediatrician. And there are people that can refer Oh, yes, you can use your profit health as well. Yeah. And unfortunately, Haley also finds a lot that people come for that one visit, like I'm here to fix it.

And you're like, yeah, that was great. Yes. You know, I would have loved to have found something like that when I you know, when my kids were young, and I think a lot of the time Yeah, it is good to sort of check back in. I think, whether it is just to check back in, but also the first time we meet we often just getting lots of variation, pulling everything together and working on an individualized treatment plan, not just here's what to do go away and do it for a standard plan for every child and every baby. And so we might send you away with some few useful tips, but there's probably more we can do. That's not quite working.

Yes. Well, and coming back that's a good you know, we can't fix everything in one case. And you know, often, you know, you have the baby, you know, a lot of moms I find and I see moms generally till about six or seven weeks. And it's only at that time at the end of their postnatal period where the midwife is best starting to remember some of the birth staff for the transitioning to being a mom, and it wasn't what they thought it would be. And I'm sure that you experience some mums and dads that come in and go, I've got this four month old and it's been the worst four months of my life. And I had the worst birth and then I had mastitis 17,000 times and then this baby just doesn't sleep.

And you're and you know, they're very anxious and stressed and you're like, Oh, yeah, I think maybe, you know, maybe there's some unresolved problems that that mom or that family you having. Definitely and I think that can be an extremely stressful time. I mean, you baby changes does change. hold off. In a lot of regards, it can change your relationship, your beliefs about you know yourself as a person, if it's not, the baby's not doing what you're meant to be doing the plan that you sort of had set up and signed with the birth if things don't go to plan, and you're very sort of structured on what you would like to happen and how you would like it to go. And so I think that if you're feeling like that's really bothering you, you're feeling anxious, you're feeling down and sad a lot of the time.

It's a struggle to get out of the house with your baby. Yeah, and you're not feeling like you've got as much support then I think absolutely. Going and having a chat to someone. Yeah, is definitely a great idea. And it does tend to kind of come up. I've I've found more so probably personally with a lot of my friends, you know, the dust settles, everyone thinks that you should have it all nailed.

Yeah. And and so that four or six months time, you know, it's not that we want to label you but sometimes going back and seeing your GP and saying we'll come I'm really just finding a bit difficult And the thought of having to go back to work or do I even want to go back? Like there's any values that you've got in yourself that can be challenged? Yep. That you might think, yeah, I'll be going back to work at 12 months, no problems. But you know, things change once you, you know, you might not want to, or you might want to go back earlier, because you just need to get out of the house.

A little bit crazy. Yeah, absolutely. So there's definitely a lot of changes that happen. And if you feeling like you're not really managing and those feelings are interfering with your ability to function in different areas of your life as a mom, you know, getting up in the night if you feeling like that's not working, if it's affecting your relationship with your partner. Yeah. If it's affecting your ability to leave the house, all of those kind of things, then that's when it's probably too I'm sure.

Someone Yeah, and sometimes they sleep regression and the starting solids and what do I do and the person at Kohl's told me I should buy this book because it's really good. And you're like, Oh, yeah, you know, it can be such a big time of change where, you know, you start to feel like, you know, maybe yourself As the Mum, then it's your fault that you're not trying hard enough, I get that a lot, I'm not trying hard enough to, to stay home and to make it work, that you know, maybe getting great personalized advice from a health professional, and possibly even seeing someone personally for how you're feeling can really be that great step forwards, like you don't have to just keep treading water and feeling unhappy and unsure about everything. And I think in particular, you know, sleep is a great example that if your baby is sleeping a little bit better, then you are going to feel much better about yourself.

And that doesn't mean you should be going and doing cried out, will you buy me anything like that, but getting a bit of a device can make your experience as a mum, completely different. Besides, you'll feel like you're managing better, you're sleeping better, you're going to enjoy your baby more you're going to be able to get out and about, you're going to probably cope better with all the mixed messages and the thousand things that you're hearing every day from different people. And you will just manage better with that as well. Yes That is great. So key points are four to six months old, a little bit trying a little bit different that baby's transitioning. And what you've done has to change because your baby's changing the method methods that you've been using.

You can't kind of keep using them because you've got a baby that we can't wrap as much because they're going to be rolling and they're in a cart. And so the the processes that you use to make that easier as the transition for your baby is quite individual. There's not a right and a wrong in this situation. Yeah. And I guess the key points are getting help if you need it, like don't feel like you know, at Facebook blog is going to give you the right answers. Because it might be something that somebody that's gone to uni for how many years did you go?

Yeah, that is Yeah, it is. Yeah, I use it. You need to be a specialist in her area versus the opinion of someone Trying to help you through a difficult transition and with no training or research behind them. So just kind of keep that in mind that there is an affix nine and even just asking for support around you I think is really important. It's really we try and be brave and we try and think that we've got it all together but you know, getting your husband involved in routine getting your people any parents you know grandparents around that can help out just how your baby also gets used to other people settling it too. Yeah, you can have a life yeah, and go out for a nap period and just going for a walk and doing things or you know, whatever it might be, that may just in itself be enough to just lift you out of that little bit of fog that happens around that time as well.

Yeah. Excellent. Well, that was very good, very helpful. Thank you Haley for coming. And so if you need any more help, I highly will leave some stuff on the forum for you to have a radar and and we look forward to seeing you soon.

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