Make sure baby follows a routine
Dubbed the Baby Whisperer, international childcare expert and author Tizzie Hall has carved a name for herself in sleep solutions for children. It all started when she was nine and helped to get a neighbour's baby to sleep through a stroll in a park.
Her book, Save Our Sleep, has sold nearly one million copies in four languages since it was published in 2006.
Hall will be in Singapore from Sept 27 to 30 to host a series of seminars at the Pan Pacific Orchard and the VivoCity Amphitheatre.
My Paper caught up with her for tips on getting babies to sleep through the night.
How did you get started in the baby business?
After finishing school in Ireland, I moved to Britain to continue studying. While studying, I worked as a part-time nanny, which enabled me to keep practising and refining my skills.
My reputation as a baby whisperer spread, and it wasn't long before I was receiving calls at all hours of the day from desperate parents seeking help with their babies.
Always, and often within hours, I resolved problems such as babies not sleeping through the night, not taking their bottles, or refusing to give up their dummies.
In 2002, I moved to Australia and soon discovered that the need for help was just as great on this side of the globe.
What is the difference between sleep solutions for breastfed and bottle-fed babies?
There is no difference in terms of sleep advice for a breastfed and bottle-fed baby, but there is a difference in the routines parents should follow.
I advise slightly different routines for babies who are bottle-fed and those who are breastfed until eight weeks. This is because breastfeeding routines in the first eight weeks are based on the mother's needs, not the baby's, as a breastfeeding mother needs to feed more often in the first eight weeks to build up a good supply of breast milk.
Considering the cultural differences between Asia and the West, do you think that your methods would suit Asian parents?
My philosophy is about keeping a baby well-fed, warm and on a routine. This will apply in any culture.
Can you describe some issues that affect babies' sleep patterns?
My top tips to avoid sleep problems are:
1. Follow a routine from as early as possible - babies feel safe and secure if they know what and when things are going to happen.
2. Always feed your baby until your baby is full, never restrict the amount of breast or formula milk and solids you give your baby.
3. Teach your baby the skill of self-settling as early as possible - this means putting your baby in their mini crib or cot and letting your baby settle to sleep without your help, a feed, a dummy, patting or rocking.
If you put your baby to bed at the first sign of tiredness, your baby might be tired enough to nap, but not tired enough to sleep.
4. Make sure your baby is warm enough to sleep safely and well. Too little bedding can cause an older baby to roll to an unsafe sleeping position on his tummy.
5. Always put your baby to sleep where you intend for your baby to wake up, or else your baby will wake up confused and not be able to fulfil his next sleep cycle.
Author Gina Ford has written books on sleep-training for babies. What do you think of her methods?
Gina Ford's books, like mine, promote following a routine, which is a very important piece of advice for new parents. A routine helps a baby to feel safe and secure; it also means the baby will have a regular bedtime, which helps brain development.
What is one piece of advice you would give parents who are troubled by their babies' sleepless nights?
If the parents are having problems getting a good night's sleep because their baby is not sleeping, I would tell them to get help.
Not getting enough sleep is a big problem for the body and mind. Sleep deprivation can cause:
Slower reaction times
Increased stress levels