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baby sleep support


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Bottles after one year

Posted on 27 November, 2017 at 1:40 Comments comments (0)

Did you know that after children turn 1, the recommended daily requirement of dairy is 600ml?

To meet their daily nutritional needs, that equates to

• 1 cup of milk

• 1 tub of yoghurt

• 1 slice of cheese

It’s easy for parents to continue offering bottles of milk to children after 1 year, particularly if the bottle has become a comfort, or, you feel you should progress to toddler formula. Don’t be fooled by clever advertising that makes you feel that you’re not giving your children the best opportunity if you don’t offer them toddler formula. This is a big business making lots of money from guilty parents trying to do their best for their children.

The National Health and Medical Research Council Infant Feeding Guidelines state:

• Toddler milks and special and/or supplementary foods for toddlers are not required for healthy children

• From 12 months of age and beyond, toddlers should be consuming family foods consistent with the Australian Dietary Guidelines

• Solid foods should provide an increasing proportion of the energy intake after 12 months of age.

In my daily practice I meet a lot of parents who are still offering bottles of milk after 1 year, and when I ask them why, the majority answer “My child likes it”, or “It’s a comfort” or “It helps them go to sleep”.

Things to be mindful of when continuing to offer bottles

• Falling asleep with bottles leads to dental cavities as the milk pools in the teeth, and the milk sugar damages teeth.

• Laying down drinking bottles is a major cause of fluid in ears, and ear infections, which in turn may lead to speech delays.

• Laying down drinking bottles is a choking hazard

• Using a bottle as a sleep association often leads to drinking more overnight, and eventually impacting on children’s appetites and/or causing unnecessary weight gain

• Some children become lazy, as it’s easier to suck on a bottle than have to chew food

I like to use the following analogy. “Would you feel hungry if I gave you a milk shake, and then expected you to eat a plate of food?” How do you expect children to eat plentiful amounts of food if they are filling their tummies up with milk? If your child is still having bottles and is a fussy eater (particularly at breakfast) think about how much milk they are having over a 24 hour period. Having milk to drink constantly inhibits the feeling of hunger, which we need to encourage so that children will want to eat.

So what do you do If you would like to begin to stop bottles, particularly at sleep time and overnight, and you’re not sure how to go about it? I’m not particularly fond of going “cold turkey”. It may take time for your child’s tummy to adjust to having less milk so I encourage you to wean them by gradually cutting down the amount offered, until you eventually take the bottle away.

Food is the most important source of nutrition for older children. From 10 months you are encouraged to offer food first followed by a milk feed, and at 12 months the recommendation is to cease bottles, and formula is no longer required.

Encourage your babies to use sipper cups so that they can begin to drink cow’s milk from a cup, at snack time or before bedtime once they have turned 1.

The more you give your babies the opportunity to develop and grow, the more they will progress.

Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Awareness Week

Posted on 10 November, 2017 at 22:55 Comments comments (0)

22 years ago, I had post natal depression and anxiety.

I’m sharing this very personal and confronting statement with you, in the hope that other parents don’t feel that they are alone, or the only ones who feel this way.

If only I could have acknowledged how much I needed help at that time. It’s my biggest regret. We go to the doctor if we have a sore toe or an illness. What prevents us seeking assistance for our mental health? Embarrassment? Denial? I’m sure the answer is different for everyone. I did seek help many years later, and I now acknowledge and have taught my children that looking after your health, means looking after your whole body, including your brain!

As parents we need to nourish and care for ourselves to be the best we can be for our children. 1 in 5 expecting or new mums struggle with perinatal anxiety & depression (source PANDA) and it doesn’t discriminate. It affects all families including dads, and same sex parents.

Start the conversation. How are you? Can I help? I’m here if you need me. Talk to your GP or Maternal & Child Health Nurse.

PANDA National Helpline 1300 726 306 Mon-Fri 9-7.30 AEST

Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Awareness Week 12-18 November 2017




#lookafteryourmentalhealth #PANDAperinatalanxietyanddepressionaustralia




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Lets talk about sleep associations

Posted on 8 November, 2017 at 23:40 Comments comments (0)

Have you ever thought about your bed time habits? Do you brush your teeth, read a book, watch TV, listen to music, or lay in a certain position before you go to sleep? We all have habits and rituals at bed time, and babies are no different.

Have you ever heard of the saying “sleeps like a baby”? For me that saying is a notion that conjures images of TV ads with soft music and adoring parents gazing lovingly at their baby, however the reality can be VERY different as we know! Some people are lucky enough to have a baby that will sleep under a table at a party, and then there are the rest of us. Most babies need some predictability around their bed time, and sleep associations are a large part of that.

What exactly is a sleep association?

Just like you, it’s whatever your baby needs to associate with falling asleep. Examples of baby sleep associations are soft toys, dummies, a favourite/familiar blanket, white noise, music, rocking/held in arms, pushed in the pram, driven in the car or fed to sleep.

Are sleep associations a problem?

The simple answer to this question is, they aren’t a problem, unless they become a problem for youor they are unsafe! To put that statement in context, you need to understand that all humans move through deep and light sleep throughout their sleep (day time and night time). Also babies will have periods when they are more unsettled at sleep times for varying reasons, for example when they are unwell, teething, beginning to roll or move, or becoming more alert. So if you have a baby who is waking multiple times over night and needing continual assistance to go back to sleep, and this is becoming a problem for you, have a think about how they are falling asleep in the first place. Is your baby falling asleep in their bed, or are they falling asleep in your arms or having a feed and being transferred to their bed asleep? I always ask my clients to imagine the following scenario. You fall asleep on the couch watching TV, and then wake up in your bed in the middle of the night. You have no idea how you got there, and you want to be back on the comfortable couch. 

Starting to get the picture?

Feeding to sleep in particular, can be a problem for a lot of families. As babies like to suck to soothe, it can be very comforting and easy to be in mum’s arms, skin to skin, suckling, and becoming drowsy, and most babies will fall asleep this way, particularly when they are young. Feeding is exhausting work at the beginning and it’s to be expected that they will fall asleep feeding in the first couple of months. However, as they begin to stay awake for longer periods, and become more efficient feeders, it might be worth thinking about implementing a feed/play/sleep pattern to disassociate feeding from sleeping. It's not unusal for some mums to feed multiple times overnight to assist their babies to go back to sleep, and this can cause them to become less hungry during the day, or not be interested in solids because they feel full from drinking overnight. Another thing to consider is returning to work. Who will be putting baby to sleep while you are at work, particularly if your baby will only settle while feeding?

Lots of clients ask me if dummies are a problem. Again, I don’t have a problem unless it’s a problem for you. As I said previously, babies suck to soothe, so a dummy can be very helpful. However, dummies tend to fall out during deep sleep, and if you have a baby who is very dependent on falling asleep with a dummy they will need it when they stir during their light sleep. Most people tell me they don’t mind getting up to pop the dummy back in, and others complain that they are a nuisance! If the dummy is becoming a problem for you, try putting your baby down without it, to give them the chance to settle, and hold off offering it to them until they really need it. The idea is that eventually they may begin to fall asleep without it, and gradually get used to not having it.

White noise, Shushers, apps, Lula Dolls etc are prevalent now days, and again I don’t have a problem with any of them, if they aren’t a problem for you. The one thing I would advise is to check the current SIDS (rednose.com.au) recommendations when it comes to offering comfort toys to babies at sleep time.

So ultimately, it’s up to you how you put your baby to sleep. As parents, you would now know that everyone will have an opinion for you when it comes to your baby. Try your best to filter out the well meaning advice and go with what works for you and your baby.

Just remember it needs to be safe.

Is your baby still eating puree?

Posted on 30 October, 2017 at 0:20 Comments comments (0)

Something I have noticed in my every day practice, is that a lot of parents continue to feed their babies pureed food, long after they need to. It’s a tricky time, because we start our babies on solids around 6 months and progress with offering a range of vegies and fruit, and it is easy to get into the routine of making food in bulk and filling up the freezer! Also, you may not be visiting your Maternal and Child Health Nurse until baby is 8 months, so you coast along doing the same thing.

Puree is ideal for introducing food to babies, particularly if you are a first time parent and a little anxious. However, it’s easy to get caught up in offering a range of foods and forgetting about the texture. Most babies progress quite quickly with eating, so we need to keep pace with them and give them the opportunity to learn new skills. I used to work with a great MCH Nurse who said that babies have a window of opportunity when it comes to solids, and if you wait too long, the window can shut. That doesn’t mean that they stop eating, but from around 8 months they can become very stuck in their way and not be so open to trying new things, like lumps and texture in their food.

All nurses and early childhood professionals can tell you stories about 2 year olds that won’t eat anything but “white food”, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, milk (usually in bottles), because it’s easy to chew and swallow. To avoid this scenario, it’s important to offer your baby opportunities to swallow lumps and texture and to get the tongue and jaw moving to strengthen the muscles.

A lot of parents worry about the gag reflex, which is quite scary when you see your child doing this. Try to remain calm when this happens, as your baby will look to you for a response. If you look terrified, how do you think they are feeling? Offer reassurance, support and a drink of water to help, and always lots of praise for what a fantastic job they are doing. The more they manage, the better and more confident they get at eating.

So how do you help your baby to progress?

After offering smooth, pureed food and eating is established (usually a couple of weeks), start fork mashing the food so that it has a bit of texture. You can also introduce food like chunks of steamed broccoli, cauliflower or pumpkin for baby to hold and to mouth, so that they begin to explore different tastes and textures independently.Once you have introduced vegies and some fruit, try shredding some chicken, minced meat or fish and add to the veggies as well. It’s really important that babies are having more iron and protein in their diet now, as they won’t be getting enough from milk alone.

From 8 months finger foods can be offered and encouraged. Pieces of toast with peanut butter, chunks of avocado, Cruskits, cheese, boiled eggs, pieces of pasta. The Australian Government Department of Health Guidelines recommend that food be offered mashed or in chunks from this age, so give your baby the opportunity to progress.

The amount and type of food your baby is eating may also correlate with your baby’s sleep, especially when they are older. If you have a 9 month old who is still eating pureed vegies and waking multiple times overnight for a milk feed, think about bulking up their evening meal with chicken (protein makes you feel fuller, longer) and pasta or rice. Always remember, if you are stressed or anxious at meal times, your children will pick up on it.


Baby unsettled at 4 months?

Posted on 20 August, 2017 at 20:20 Comments comments (0)

As a parent, there are few things more frustrating than having a baby who has slept well for a period of time, and then for no apparent reason the "wheels fall off"! There are many times that babies' sleep routines may regress, particularly during the first 12 months of their life. For example, things that can be impactive on babies' sleep include teething, being unwell, and developmental growth, such as rolling, crawling, standing and separation anxiety.

There are certain periods where it is almost expected that children's sleep patterns maybe unsettled. One stage particularly known for this is between 3-4 months (sometimes known as "the 4 month sleep regression") At this time, babies are becoming more wakeful, alert and interested in their surroundings, therefore more stimulated and difficult to settle. Also, babies' brains are growing rapidly, and they will cry more than at any other time, which is challenging for any parent! I always like to tell parents that they will be rewarded with something new at the end of this particularly unsettled time. Things you are likely to see might be beginning to roll over, or laughing and engaging and being more vocal. 

How do I manage my sleep routine during this time?

This is around the time that you may want to introduce a pattern or routine for your baby's sleep time. A predictable sleep routine will assist with making baby feel more secure in their world, as they know what to expect when it is sleep time

  • If you haven't already, try implementing a feed/play/sleep routine. Breaking the cycle of feeding to sleep will assist with constantly needing to be fed back to sleep when they are waking frequently

  • Try giving your baby the opprtunity to settle in the cot/bassinette independently, by putting them into bed awake/drowsy. Don't wait until they are overtired, get them into bed quickly-when you begin to see tired signs

  • Make the sleep space non stimulating, and darken the room during the day

  • The more you give your baby the opportunity to practice settlig independently, the better they will be at it, and the more confident you will feel

  • Remember, this is a stressful time for your baby, so they will need support and comfort 

Miracles generally don't happen overnight, so don't have unrealistic expectations when you begin to implement a sleep routine. Give your baby the opportunity to learn, and feel secure. Most of all, be patient with your baby as they are going through this difficult time.


Fried Rice

Posted on 31 July, 2017 at 0:40 Comments comments (0)

Easy Peasy dinner tonght! This is a go to recipe when i'm tired and I don't feel like cooking. This is nice served with sticky chicken wings (honey and soy marinade is good) and the beauty of it is you can add what you feel like, or whatever you have in the fridge.

Tonight's recipe 

2 cups white long grain rice

3 rashers bacon coked

Roast chicken shredded (I had half a chicken left over tin the fridge)

2 eggs beaten and cooked as an omelette and cut into strips

about half a cup of peas

about half a cup of corn

teriyaki sauce to taste

garlic salt to taste

Cook the rice and rinse. Add the ingredients and toss through.

Easy Peasy!

Sleep Settling Tips

Posted on 27 July, 2017 at 6:25 Comments comments (0)

1. Look for tired signs

I will always encourage you to use the clock as a guide only, and look closely at your baby and follow his/her cues. If you feel your baby is tired, get them ready for bed sooner, rather than later. Some babies (particularly younger babies) become tired really quickly, and it’s easy to miss your window of opportunity.

Look for

• Glassy staring eyes

• Red eyebrows

• Red rimmed eyes

• Stiff/jerky body movements

• Back arching

• Yawning

• Rubbing eyes/ears

While yawning and crying are obvious signs, I would encourage you to look at what’s happening before this happens, as you are probably missing the more subtle signs

2. Try to aim for a consistent bedtime routine

This isn’t about being strict with time, it means try to do the same thing consistently when you are putting your baby to bed, whether it’s day time or night time. It may be wrapping, wearing a sleeping bag, playing music/white noise, offering a comfort toy or dummy, but it needs to happen at every bedtime.

3. Don’t overstimulate your baby before bed time

Limit overstimulating activities 20-30 minutes before bed time. Babies need to wind down before bed so take away the toys with bells and whistles, electronic toys, TV and read some stories instead.

Home Made Meatballs

Posted on 27 July, 2017 at 2:40 Comments comments (0)

Tonight I just couldn't decide on what to make for dinner. When you get to the end of the week and you just can't be bothered?!

I had some minced meat in the freezer and finally I decided on meatballs. This is a versatile recipe, because it can be made into a few different dishes. Tonight I put the meatballs into a sauce made with a jar of tomato passata and a tin of tomatoes, but other ideas include a meatloaf baked in a tray in the oven with tomato soup or tomato passata poured over the top, or my mum's favourite rissoles served with gravy and mashed potatoes (my favourite too!)

This is a great recipe to make ahead and freeze and also to hide vegies in as well!

1 kg minced meat

2 cloves garlic

2 tbls Tomato sauce

2 tbls Hoi Sin or BBQ sauce (i generally use whatever i have in the pantry)

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1tsp mixed herbs

1 brown onion grated

1 green apple peeled and grated

1 carrot grated

1/2 zucchini grated

1/4 cup grated cheese

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl (add more breadcrumbs if mixture is too wet)

Form mixture into balls or rissoles and roll in seasoned flour and fry until brown.

For Spaghetti and Meatballs, I placed the meatballs in a large saucepan and cooked the meatballs gently in 2 jars of tomato passata, 1 tin of tomatoes and added a teaspoon of sugar because the sauce was a little tart.

Spoon meatballs and sauce on top of cooked spaghetti to serve.

Garnish with cheese and serve.

Nan's Beef & Vegetable Broth

Posted on 4 July, 2017 at 22:10 Comments comments (0)

The one thing I love about winter is making soup! This week I have made our family favourite Beef and Vegie soup. This recipe has been passed down through the generations from my Great Great Grandmother and each of us has put our own little individual touch to it.

It's so versatile and easy to change the ingredients depending on what you have in the fridge or cupboard. Sometimes I will use 2 chicken thighs and chicken stock instead of beef, and other times I leave the meat out and make vegetable soup. When I am time poor, I pick up a soup pack at the supermarket or at Woolworths you buy the vegies pre diced and ready to go straight into the soup.

The smell of this soup bubbling in my kitchen brings back so many happy memories of being at both of my Nana's homes, as I was fortunate enough to live my Great Grandmother. It's still comforting to visit my own mum and have a bowl of soup, especially when the family is all together. 

For my fussy eater, I would strain the vegies and meat off, and offer a bowl of broth, knowing that the goodness had cooked into the broth.

Thanks Nan, love you x

The basic recipe is

2 cloves garlic

1 small brown onion diced

500g diced beef

2 carrots grated

1 zucchini grated

2 small potatoes grated

2 sticks celery finely diced

about half a cup of pearl barley

1 1/2  litres beef stock

Gently fry garlic and onion, and then add beef to brown.

Add stock and then vegetables and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer until meat is tender. Stir often to prevent barley sticking to bottom of pot

Bon Appetit

Tuna Patties Recipe

Posted on 10 May, 2016 at 6:40 Comments comments (0)

6-8 potatoes (peeled, cooked and mashed)

1x 425g can of Tuna (either in Brine or Oil well drained)

Sprinkle of Lemon Pepper seasoning

1 egg

2 Tbsp milk

Breadcrumbs approx 1-1/2 cups

Olive Oil for frying

Mash potatoes well. Add a little milk if too dry

Drain tuna well, flake and add to potato

Form mixture into patty shapes, or smaller balls (your preference)

Whip egg and milk together and roll patties in mixture quickly, then into breadcrumbs so that they don't become too soggy

Shape into patties while tossing in breadcrumbs to coat

Fry on low heat in oil, until golden brown


This is the very basic recipe I used when my kids were little, and there are lots of variations. You may like to add a little grated onion as well, or grated carrot or zucchini, or peas, and corn. You can also substitute the tuna for salmon for something different.


Hope you enjoy this favourite of our family!