It’s no secret that parenting is hard. And it’s easy to forget that it doesn’t always come naturally and sometimes, skills like swaddling, sleep training and breastfeeding need to be learned. Some of it is very instinctual, yes, but it doesn’t always feel that way and often we can feel like we are literally stumbling in the dark.
But how do you learn these essential skills to help you survive Motherhood? Enter Jen Hamilton from WOT Baby aka the Yoda of sleep training. In her new ebook, The WOT Baby Bible, she guides expecting and postpartum mothers through every high, low, and in between sharing her wisdom and knowledge from over 30 years’ of experience working as a mothercraft nurse and what she’s learnt caring for thousands of newborns.
The forward, written by TV and radio host Zoe Marshall who is one of Jen’s most well known clients. Zoe doesn’t hold back when she talks about how important Jen is in her life. With no close family nearby to help, Jen became her go-to guardian angel, sometimes calling her on the phone past the point of appropriateness. “I even remember calling once, sobbing so hysterically Fox had stopped crying and was soundly asleep, and Jen really had to calm me down” she says.
To mark the new release, Jen has shared with us an extract from the ebook with a few WOT tips and tricks for 6 to 12 week old babies.
WOT Tips: 6 to 12 weeks
by Jen Hamilton
WOT stands for Windows of Time and explains the appropriate amounts of time you need to spend encouraging good feeding, settling, sleeping and play; depending on your baby’s age.
It is a guide designed to encourage these activities for the right amount of time depending on the age and stage of development of your baby.
By checking off your baby’s settling needs, you can confidently work through the process needed to settle your baby. By eliminating negative factors contributing to unsettledness — such as wind, wet or dirty nappies! — you will build your confidence to recognise and manage the normal behaviours of your healthy baby.
There is no right or wrong to parenting. What you do with your baby becomes his normal, what you implement will be all he knows. So be prepared for when he starts to be wakeful following a feed and it’s not as easy to cuddle off to sleep.
If your baby does not settle between feeds, keep playtime to an absolute minimum around the next feed. You may even think about just offering a nappy change before and after the feed. Your bub has had no sleep and sleep is his most important need at this time.
As your baby is developing and is past the age of six weeks and definitely towards the age of 12 weeks, it is really important to clarify to them the difference between going to bed and when it is time to get up. You are best to promote natural and happy waking (in a perfect routine you would like your baby to start waking from quality sleep, happy!).
To do this, when it is time to get baby up from a nap or in the morning – whether you are waking him up, or he is happily playing in the cot, or you are ending the WOT for sleep because resettling has been unsuccessful – you treat it the same:
– Enter the room
– Open the blinds (to let light in)
– Turn off music
– Unwrap your baby in the cot
– Lots of eye contact and praise
– Make it very clear that “cot time is over”
A baby who sleeps well is a baby that feeds well, and vice versa!
From a parent’s perspective, I am the first to admit leaving your baby to cry — even after their needs are met — is bloody hard! When my children were new babies I often found that on the days I was feeling more positive, there was a lot less crying. On days I was feeling unsure of my decisions, unsure of my abilities and feeling negative in my parenting, my babies cried more often. We all have these days and you will too. They are unavoidable, no matter how positive you are trying to be. Two of my kids are teenagers now and I still have these days!
What I encourage you to do is to start looking at your baby’s crying in a more positive way. Try not to go straight to that negative place, thinking something is wrong, they are in pain or you need to stop it straight away. Instead, think of crying as communicating needs and not so much as being sad or in pain.
It takes time but your confidence with this will grow as you learn to more accurately read your baby’s different cries. You will become more at ease with your parental decision-making as your baby grows and develops. Your baby will quickly start settling into a routine and cry less as they mature, becoming familiar with their routine.
Jen Hamilton’s new ebook “The WOT Baby Bible” is now available to purchase directly from the WOT Baby website here.