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Children and chocolate

Just after we have said farewell to Christmas, it seems Easter is knocking at the door. I resisted hot cross buns until March (it just doesn’t seem right to be eating them in January). Chocolate though, well let’s not discuss that. Let’s talk about what Easter might look like for your toddlers and how much chocolate is a good idea.

Personally, I tried to avoid all sweets, lollies and chocolates for my babies (they thought carrot sticks were a really cool reward for quite some time) but when friends and grand parents are around, it is almost impossible, especially if you don’t want to become the strict parent spoiling everyone’s fun.

Having said that, there are some considerations to think about around chocolate at easter and sweet foods in general.

The information is wide and varied but many mention the following; food allergy, obesity and diabeties risks.

Chocolate itself may not be a common allergen but the nuts and other ingredients it contains may be. Milk should be avoided until 1 year of age and as chocolate contains milk, it is probably best that parents consume any eggs given to children less than 1 year old.

It seems dentists agree that chocolate is preferable over hard lollies and toffees, because it melts away quickly and doesn’t sit on young teeth for prolonged periods. Cleaning teeth after sweets and chocolate where practical is helpful.

Obesity I think speaks for itself. Some studies have shown a correlation between giving sweet foods early and later obesity but I suspect this is in conjunction with an overall diet that is less than ideal. A couple of treats here and there will not cause obesity – especially if kids are active and running around madly all over the yard or park on an easter egg hunt.

Chocolate and sweet foods are not a cause for diabetes (it is a metabolic disorder) but diabetics have strict guidelines for the amount of sugar, among other things, they are allowed in their diet.

In a nutshell, we all should enjoy a healthy, balanced diet with lots of good food and enjoy treats on occasion.

Have a great Easter.

Kathy Collins 
Sleep solutions for your family
☎ 0402 244 538
🖱[email protected]

If you have any questions or there are any topics you would like to see in future posts please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Sleep associations and sleep cues

Sleep Associations and Sleep Cues What’s the difference?

The difference between sleep associations and sleep cues is that one is signalling bed time and the other is required for sleep.

You can signal to your baby/child that bed time is coming by many cues such as bath, story, quiet time, getting changed, feeding and music just to name a few.

Sleep cues such as these are also known as wind down which sets a calm, relaxed environment for sleep. Sleep cues are not required to get to sleep, they just signal that bed time is coming

Sleep associations are necessary to enable sleep. Some common examples are rocking, nursing breast-feeding and dummies. Each time baby is going to sleep, the sleep association is necessary.

Sleep associations generally evolve and disappear eventually.

Many parents use sleep associations and are happy to do so. 
Some choose to stop sleep associations if they become too invasive and interfere with their own sleep.

Kathy Collins 
Sleep solutions for your family
☎ 0402 244 538
🖱[email protected]

If you have any questions or there are any topics you would like to see in future posts please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Sleep behaviour

If I had a dollar for every time a parent told me they had tried to change their baby’s sleep and it didn’t work..
It takes some repetition and practise to bring about change, and an awareness of what is stopping your baby getting to/staying asleep.

Look at how you are helping your baby get to sleep and work from there. If you can identify and remove sleep associations (things that your baby relies on to get to sleep), you will be well on your way to change.

It is unreasonable to think your baby will learn a new routine (and respond to it) straight away but there are some things that will help. I often talk about the 3 Cs to bring about change – Consistency, Confidence and Calmness. You could probably add commitment.

Consistency is so important – if you make a plan, stay consistent. Repeat the routine over and over.

If you waver and keep doing different things, you are sending mixed messages to your baby which will not help them understand or practise the new routine.

Be confident in what you are doing. Make a plan and stick with it and even when you are not sure, find some way to believe. Remember, it will take a while to see change.

It is well known that if you are stressed, it is likely that your baby will pick up on that, so finally, try and remain calm. Take a few big breaths when you think things are getting hard and regroup.

It will not happen overnight, but it will happen.

May you have success.


If you have any questions or there are any topics you would like to see in future posts please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Here is an article on swaddling lower limbs.
This is something which has been known for a little while. 
I still recommend wrapping the arms (with arms up) but not too tight until the startle reflex is not causing baby to wake.

If you have any questions or there are any topics you would like to see in future posts please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Milk bank

Does anyone know that there is a milk bank similar to a blood bank in Brisbane?

A few days ago I attended a very interesting talk by Dr Pieter Koorts, director of the Grantley Stable Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and founder (November 2012) of their milk bank.

As the name suggests, and similar to a blood bank, EBM (expressed breast milk ) is donated, processed and used for the very fragile pre-term infants when their own mothers are not able to produce the full quota of milk required for their baby.

The milk bank processes the donated milk under very strict guidelines including ISO22000 food safety management accreditation.

Here are some interesting statistics:
Approximately 30% of mothers are unable to fully supply milk their pre-term infants require.
Human milk has been shown to decrease the occurrence of NEC ( Necrotising enterocolitis), a condition not uncommon in pre-term babies which is a serious and often fatal complication.
It costs $400 to produce 1 litre of human milk ready for consumption for these babies.

In in Brazil there are 217 milk banks. Last year 166000 women donated milk.
In Australia:
Perth (2006), Melbourne(2010), Brisbane (2012), Northern NSW/Tweed & Sydney have milk banks
The RBWH milk bank has had about 320 donors from opening 5years ago, has pasteurised 3200 litres and supplied over 1000 babies.

Here is some REALLY IMPORTANT information:

The milk bank accepts frozen (up to 3 months) EBM from lactating women who have been breastfeeding for 12 months or less.
Outlying areas such as Townsville can accept EBM.
Donors (as with blood donation) are screened very carefully-these babies are already at risk, so every step is taken to give them the best possible outcome.

If you think you would like to find out more or consider donating, please follow the links below. Even if you are not located in a major city, you may be able to donate. Either share this post or the links as far and wide as you can.

If you have any questions or there are any topics you would like to see in future posts please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Returning to work

Here is some information to help mums trying to return to work and organise their feeding.

There have been a few enquiries about bottle refusal and transition to bottle feeding (either EBM or formula), so here are a few tips.

Some babies will take breast or bottle and not have any trouble with the transition but it can be a trying time if you have a deadline and want to be prepared to ensure baby is getting adequate milk while you are not there.

Dealing with the transition to bottle acceptance is like any skill to be learned-repetition, perseverance and minimal stress. Consider how easy it would be for you to just change writing hands.
There is no value in trying to force feed bottle to baby as he/she will quickly learn this to be an unpleasant experience.

When trying to encourage positive baby/bottle interactions, it may take a bit of time. If you have tried and not been successful, this can cause stress as the deadline for return to work looms closer. Sometimes, being aware of your own feelings can help reduce stress.

I hope this helps:
Give yourself a month to transition (although 2 weeks should be adequate).
For a couple of days, simply have the bottle and teat you will be using close by at feed times. Introduce the bottle as a new thing-allow baby to hold it, touch it and get to know it. 
Many parents think it is the type of bottle that will bring success but more often than not, many varied types only cause a hole in the wallet and no success.

Try getting baby to take some milk from the bottle
-the best time to try is when baby is hungry but calm.
-dip the teat in breast milk to provide a familiar taste
-use small amounts at first to minimise waste
-if transitioning to formula, try breast milk in the bottle first then when the bottle is accepted, transition to formula by mixing gradual ratios ie 1/4 formula 3/4 breast milk then 1/2 1/2 and so on. Formula should still be mixed as per instructions.
The transition for each step need only be every couple of days but first bottle acceptance must be successful.
-don’t spend more than 10-15 minutes trying (remember, your aim is a positive experience)
-keep calm STRESS LESS and really try and put yourself in a calm and easy state before you try…this will probably be your biggest challenge also but is vital.
Repeat, repeat, repeat this process. You can try at a set time each day or every feed as long as it is a calm and non stressful experience. 
-try a sippy cup or small amounts with a plastic cup. It doesn’t matter how your baby gets the required amount and if they are good at or prefer the cup, that is fine.

If you have made the transition successfully and would like to reassure other mums it is possible, please feel free to share your experience.

If you have any questions or there are any topics you would like to see in future posts please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Encouraging good sleep habits

This week, I am going to share with you my tips for encouraging good sleep habits for your baby.
I gift this to friends who are expecting and from all accounts, it is very helpful. I hope you have success with it too.

May I gift you a few tips to encourage your baby to become a happy and independent sleeper.

It is OK to start encouraging healthy sleep habits early. Being a little baby is hard work and there is a lot of sleeping and eating to do in the early days. How you put baby to sleep/bed will influence their behaviour down the track.

So, here are my top 5 tips for healthy sleep!
1) Babies cry-it’s normal. He/she is simply trying to tell you they are hungry, tired or just plain cranky. You will figure out which is the answer as you go.

2) If baby is well fed and comfy, and milk drunk (don’t worry, you will recognise this), put baby into bed allowing him/her to go to sleep. Essentially, you are setting the environment for normal sleep and baby will be able to resettle when a light sleep phase is reached because this is their normal go to sleep environment.
It is the most beautiful and lovely thing to nurse or feed your baby to sleep but consider the alternative.

3) If baby wakes early (less than 2hrs) don’t automatically assume they are hungry and need to be picked up (although, this is not uncommon in the early days as you are establishing breast feeding). Firstly, give bub a little pat of reassurance that you are there and they may resettle. Obviously, if baby is distressed, get him/her up. 

4) Bed time ritual is important. Look for tired signs and don’t ignore them. Small babies will be restless, cranky, jerky and out of sorts. Older bubs are the same but they also rub their eyes and get uncoordinated and cranky. Wind down before putting them into bed-this relaxes and calms them and signals bed time. De-stimulate them. Calm them down by cuddling, soothing, reading (when they are older) then put them to bed.

5) Now, this is the most important tip. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! Rest when the baby rests, eat well and be complimentary to yourself. Accept offers of help. Parents can be too self critical-congratulate yourselves on doing a good job and enjoy the process. “Enjoy not endure the early years with your child” 

However, if your baby is crying continually, then this is not normal and might indicate illness, feeding or sleep issues which can often be simply addressed.

Lots of love and best wishes for your journey,

If you have any questions or there are any topics you would like to see in future posts please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

How to say ‘No’ to a toddler

How do you say no to a toddler?
It’s easy really, you just do it.
It is the response that comes next which can be challenging.
Let’s look at how these behaviours can be addressed and changed.

You will hear the term consistency a lot and it is one of the key words to remember, right up there with calm.

A calm consistent message will eventually be heard and understood but what does that mean for parents? It means that when a toddler challenges your instruction or decision, your actions will determine how they react next time and the time after that and so on.

Consider this: If you give an instruction or offer a food choice that your toddler does not accept,do you give more choices until they are happy or do you stand your ground and explain there are no alternatives?

What message is your toddler getting if you try and offer choices and then more choices until they are pacified. Now, I must say here that the toddler is not in any way manipulating you. They are simply reacting to your behaviour and learning that they can get more attention by making a fuss. It makes sense then that if you give reward and attention for desired behaviours, these will become more common. Toddlers love praise and attention.

We all default to making peace with a toddler at times because it helps us get on with our day and sometimes, it is just an easier option at the time. However, the more consistent and calm you can be, the easier your toddler will be in the long run because they are learning that when a choice or instruction are given, there are no other alternatives. Therefore, there is no reward for protest and tantrums, no matter how loud.

If you would like to change your toddlers behaviour, firstly you must change yours.

Here are a few strategies for parents to use which can help reinforce a message to toddlers.

If you are saying no, consider different language as this can very quickly become a negative word and soon you will hear it come right back at you.

Consider, when you are offering a snack, give a couple of choices. (see earlier post 23 Feb about the 2 option rule).
These then must remain your only alternatives. If they start to protest, try something like:

“It’s not time for…..I can offer you…”(whatever your original choices were).

“….are not allowed now but I can give you…”

“I know you really like …but right now you can have…”

Routines and rituals also help toddlers know what to expect and follow a pattern.

“Remember, it’s time clean teeth before bed.”

“Remember, it’s time go to the toilet before breakfast”

Consider making up a song or rhyme to reinforce the routine and remind them.

It doesn’t matter how many protests you get or how much noise they make, you simply repeat the offers calmly. 
This will take some practice and hard work initially (from both parents and toddlers) but the consistent message you provide without chopping and changing helps your toddler know that what you say is what you mean. There becomes no reward for their protests and fuss.

Any new skill can be learned with some practice and repetition.

Reflect on your behaviour and see if there are areas you can identify that are sending confusing messages to your toddler. When you can start to be consistent and calm, change will come but not without practice and effort.

It is not unusual for a toddler to challenge boundaries and make a fuss but remember, your response to this will set precedent for future behaviours and challenges.

Be calm, be consistent and be prepared for some fuss. Reward effort, no matter how small.

Good Luck.

If you have any questions or there are any topics you would like to see in future posts please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Day 3-5 baby blues

I want to mention day 3-5 baby blues.

It occurred to me that many mothers are discharged home 24-48hours following an uncomplicated delivery and will experience the blues at home.

There is a massive shift of hormones taking place at this time which is normal and thought to be linked to the baby blues. 
It is not uncommon to feel sad and teary for about 24 hours and unable to control these emotions, try as you might. These feelings should pass almost as quickly as they occur.

Unfortunately, there are a few other things happening around the same time which can also contribute to making life tough.

It is about day 3-4 that the milk supply comes roaring in and if you thought the growing breasts of pregnancy was uncomfortable, prepare yourself, there is worse to come. 
As if that isn’t enough, this is by far the most unsettled period for newborns as they come to terms with the volume of milk they now receive (I imagine it must be like one day sipping from a straw then the next, having fire hydrant volumes to cope with). Baby can be very unsettled and need lots of attention during this 24 hours.

With all of this to cope with, it is no wonder about 80% of women experience the blues.

There is not much to be done but to wait it out, know it is quite normal and think about making a plan to ease you through it. 
If that involves sharing your misery for 24 hours with your partner, a REALLY good friend (preferably one who has gone through the blues), or just shutting yourself in and wallowing in your own self pity, so be it. Whatever it takes.

Make sure baby gets lots of hugs and reassurance and know that you will both be feeling a lot better very soon.

I would love any of you to share your tips for surviving the blues with our expectant mothers. What worked well for you and what was helpful?


If you have any questions or there are any topics you would like to see in future posts please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Breast feeding – what could go wrong?

Welcome back. I am finishing this final chapter on breast feeding with a diversion to “What could possibly go wrong?”
I have mentioned nipples and breasts but let’s look a bit at mum and baby.

The two things I want to talk about today are the baby who won’t stop crying and some reasons for this, and on the mum front, post natal depression.
These things may not be directly related to breast feeding but certainly have a huge impact on mum’s perceived ability of success or failure of feeding and can sometimes be linked to each other.

The two things I want to talk about today are the baby who won’t stop crying and some reasons for this, and on the mum front, post natal depression.
These things may not be directly related to breast feeding but certainly have a huge impact on mum’s perceived ability of success or failure of feeding and can sometimes be linked to each other.

There are many reasons babies cry; hunger,tiredness, pain and discomfort, illness and teething. As a parent, you are the provider of comfort and a solution to ease the crying. Normally, these conditions can be readily dealt with and are short term problems, It is actually quite normal for a newborn to cry for 3-4 hours each day.
But, there are some babies that seem to cry excessively and are unable to be comforted or settled despite parents best efforts.

This is a cause of great stress and anxiety.

There are some things such as overfeeding, colic and milk intolerance which can explain excessive crying .
Some of these things present in a very similar way so require accurate assessment and diagnosis. Often, symptoms can be improved with medication or changes to feeding.

So, if you have been given assurance that your baby has no medical condition, they are not ill or if they have been given a diagnosis and have a reason for excessive crying, here are a few tips to help you cope and get through each day.

Don’t take it personally, accept it and manage it! It’s that simple but how do you put that into practice?

It is not your fault the baby is crying (don’t take it personally), nor is baby punishing you or trying to make life difficult. You have a crying baby (accept it) and you are not alone or the only one who will survive this. You are probably going to need some help and support (manage it) so make a plan to ensure survival – yours and baby’s.

Get support and help-from family, friends, anyone offering really. You know those people who say “is there anything I can do?”
Answer YES-hang a load of washing, hold the baby for 1/2 an hour, make a meal. Whatever is going to help, ASK. We are not very good at this generally but people feel good to be contributing so give it a go.
If by getting help you can make someone feel good-win,win.
Have a plan in place for when you cannot cope. It is OK to place baby in the cot, walk away and take time to regroup. If you don’t think you can, have an emergency back up and make sure they are aware.

Take some time for yourself. It may only be a few minutes each day but can make you feel recharged.

It is normal for parents to feel overwhelmed and tired. But, it is not normal to feel overwhelmed, sad and disinterested all of the time.
I think it is important to talk about post natal depression (PND) because it can be related to constantly crying babies, lack of sleep and sometimes none of the above.

PND just sneaks up on you and there it is. Three tell tale signs include feeling sad, lack of appetite and loss of libido. Yes, yes, yes, I hear you. “Isn’t that every parent?” Perhaps, but not all of the time.

Partners and family please pay attention! You are the front line in recognising and getting help for PND. It is unlikely that someone suffering PND has the energy or inclination to ask for help or tell you how they are feeling. If you think your partner is acting sad, giving them the opportunity to talk about their feelings is a good start.

Start by letting them know you have noticed they are looking sad and ask if they would like to talk about their feelings either with you or a health care practitioner. Maybe there is nothing to worry about but you won’t know if you don’t ask.

Please have the difficult conversation. Ask these questions: 
Are you sad all of the time? 
Is there something to look forward to today? 
And, the most telling and important, Do you think you could harm yourself or the baby?

The answers will indicate if you need immediate help or a plan to see a health professional. Never leave a mother alone who expresses thoughts of harm.

Without judgement, let them know you are ready to help and support them.
The earlier the better.

Hopefully, these are conversations you won’t need to have but ones I think we need to address and discuss more openly.

At the end of the day, if baby is safe and loved, sometimes that is enough for the day.


If you have any questions or there are any topics you would like to see in future posts please don’t hesitate to get in touch.