Secrets to getting baby to sleep

RACHEL Waddilove knows a thing or two about bringing up a baby.

The grandmother, maternity nurse and all-round parenting expert has spent 40 years assisting end-of-their-tether mothers and fathers - among them Gwyneth Paltrow and Lord and Lady Mountbatten - on matters ranging from breastfeeding ("great if you can do it") to baby-led weaning ("absolutely not").

She now stands somewhere on the parenting spectrum between Gina Ford and Mary Poppins.

With a new book just hitting the shelves, the original supernanny is calling for a "return to foundation parenting" - starting with a sensible, guilt-free approach to getting much-needed shut-eye for the whole family.

Sleep Solutions: Quiet Nights for You and Your Child, from Birth to Five Years is touted as an "accessible, practical and realistic" guide for the under-rested.

How to get one's little cherub to sleep is the question she comes up against time and time again in her work, she says.

"It is the most important thing for a family. Sleep deprivation really can drive a wedge between partners," she says.

"Any well child can sleep through the night from a young age.

"A lot of it is very basic stuff, like making sure a baby isn't going to sleep on an empty stomach or sleeping in a light room."

There is also nothing wrong, she says, with leaving a child to settle themselves so long as they are safe and not in pain.

After a week of the routine Waddilove advocates in her book, she says infants should be sleeping like babies.

Recent findings of a study at Philadelphia University showed that waking at various points in the night is part of the natural developmental course.

It found that by the age of six months, most babies woke once or twice in the night, with just 6% of children waking every night by the age of three.

The inference was that leaving a "signalling" (crying) baby to "self-soothe" or "cry it out" might be the most sensible response.

Much of the official advice doled out to new parents these days, she adds, is "nonsense".

Among her pet peeves are the WHO's guidelines not to wean a child before six to eight months, and the widespread advocacy of baby-led weaning - letting a baby pick their own food from a plate, rather than spoon-feeding them puree.

Don't even get her started on attachment parenting, which in its most basic form is when a child sleeps in their parents' bed and is strapped to their mother in a sling.

"It's not fair on the child. The idea is that a child chooses when to detach from its parents, but if it's always been attached, the child doesn't know anything different and the detachment process can be very traumatic," she says.

"Parents have got in a real muddle as to how they should be

parenting their children," she concedes. Not least because of the amount of conflicting advice.

An increase of older parents, she adds, who have money and want to give the best to their children, can also encounter particular difficulties.

"Rather than children being taken to everything there is to be taken to, rather than just letting them use their imagination, let's have a few toys or even some pots and pans and let them sit on the kitchen floor," she says.

"It's so important for children to be able to build their imagination and be given a bit of freedom."

An increase in working mothers, too, is blamed for creating anxiety in families - not least because, in her view, most women ultimately yearn to be stay-at-home mums.

Because they can't be with their children, there is greater guilt among mothers, who then over-compensate.

"Parents find it difficult imposing discipline. People have lost where and what the boundaries are - 'Is this behaviour acceptable or not?' And if it's not acceptable, deal with it."

Topics:  babies parenting sleep

Roadcraft boss calls for national 'safe' driver program

TOO MANY DEATHS: Crash investigators at the scene of a double fatality on the Bruce Highway two kilometres north of Tiaro. Gympie Roadcraft CEO Sharlene Makin is calling for a national driver education program on how to drive safely.

Gympie Roadcraft boss calls for a national program on safe driving

If you grew up in Wolvi, you know who this is...

An Olympic Torch for the 2000 Sydney Olympics holds pride of place amongst other precious memories for this Wolvi local legend.

Check out how this Wolvi community pillar spent this milestone.

Roadcraft CEO: Driver education reform needs to happen

Sharlene Markin CEO of Road Craft Gympie.

"We set people up to fail in front of their peers

Local Partners

premium_icon Our top 50 schools for OP scores

THE state’s best performing OP schools have been revealed, with a southside Brisbane school leading the pack. SEE THE LIST

Homeless drug addicted Rocky mum turns life around


Her mother's terminal cancer diagnosis was the catalyst for change

Two boys impacted by organ donation join forces

KICKING GOALS: Liver recipient, 11-year-old, Max Bishop from Ipswich and organ donor James Ackerman's six-year-old son Ollie from the Sunshine Coast, walked out together to deliver the match ball for the Bulldogs v Raiders match.

Son of organ donor and a footy-fanatic recipient join together

Parents in favour of new vaccination laws

VAX LAWS: North Coast Health District officials are hoping new vaccination laws which prevent children not yet immunised from attending day care will persuade parents to protect their youngsters.

Children's lives saved through vaccination laws

How to add to your family in the sweetest way possible

How could you possibly say 'no' to that face?  Meet Bounty and nine other Gympie RSPCA orphans looking for homes.

Check out these adorable orphans needing your love at Gympie RSPCA

Cost of having children soaring sky high

Katie Lavercombe – with Xavier, 2, Bella, 4, and eight-month-old Archie – says the cost of having a child is deterring wannabe parents from taking the plunge.

Cost of children soaring as trendy baby accessories increase spending

These are the sex capitals of Australia

Sex is in demand.

Data reveals surprise Australian suburbs where people want sex the most