The first year of your baby’s life is action-packed. So much happens for both mum and bub and often it seems that as soon as you get through one stage, something more challenging is just around the corner. Experts recognise those trickier stages and offers simple, practical advice to alleviate any anxieties they may cause.

 

Grizzly Baby

It’s common for babies to go through periods of being grizzly and unsettled. This can be due to being tired, over-stimulated or simply feeling miserable.

Expert’s advice

Look for the tired signs and think about how long your baby has been up. A tired baby clenches her fists, pulls faces, rubs her eyes and does jerky arm and leg actions.

Stay calm. Your baby will pick up on this and may calm down too.

Mum’s top tip

Take your baby for a walk in the pram. The outdoor distraction helps both mother and child.

 

Teething Trouble

Babies at four months could start to teethe and others might be 12 months and not have a tooth in their head. Teething babies can become grizzly, and may develop a cold, mild temperature or loose stools. But teething isn’t always to blame for unsettledness.

Expert’s advice

Give your baby a teething ring from the fridge to chew on.

From about nine months, you can offer your baby a piece of cold fruit to chew.

If he has a slight temperature, try removing a layer of clothing or pop him into a lukewarm bath.

Give your baby a cuddle – it might just be all that he needs!

Mum’s top tip

Teething rusks are fantastic!

 

Clingy Baby

It’s common for babies to experience separation anxiety, which can start as early as four months with the average being six to nine months. Babies go from being egocentric in their own little world to realising that mum and baby are separate.

Expert’s advice

Try not to push your baby away as she will only want you more.

Spend short bursts of time with your baby. Sometimes two to five minutes is all they need. Babies learn to enjoy your attention when they are getting it and then learn to let go.

Mum’s top tip

There’s not much to do except give lots of cuddles. Try not to leave your baby during this stage but if you do, say goodbye quickly and get the carer to distract him while you leave.

 

Starting to Crawl

Once your baby becomes mobile, the main concern is safety. It’s important to prepare your house well in advance because new-found mobility can happen in a flash. Experts advise getting down onto the floor, at your child’s level, to see what is potentially dangerous for an adventurous baby.

Expert’s advice

Childproof all cupboards and drawers, put poisons well out of reach and keep the dishwasher door closed.

Keep blind cords out of reach.

Move furniture so a climbing baby cannot reach an open window.

Ensure bookcases and televisions are secure and cannot be pulled over.

Mum’s top tip

“Pop baby into the travel cot in the lounge room with some toys so you can at least go to the toilet without worrying!

 

Early Riser

You might have one of those babies who wake every day at 5am. There are a number of contributing factors to early waking and it is possible to re-settle your baby.

Expert’s advice

Check if she has a wet nappy, change her and try to re-settle.

The temperature drops around 4am, so check if your baby is warm enough.

Offer your baby a feed and then try to re-settle.

Mum’s top tip

If your baby wakes between 5am and 7am, give her a feed, change her nappy and quickly put her back down to sleep. If after 30 minutes she doesn’t resettle, get her up to start the day but put her down for her first sleep of the day earlier.

 

Catnapping

If a baby has not learnt to re-settle after that first sleep cycle, then day sleeps will also be short-lived. As with night waking, it is important for your child to be able to go to sleep on her own, in order to learn that process.

Expert’s advice

As with night sleeps, set up a routine for going to bed and always follow it.

Keep everything as normal as possible rather than having absolute silence. Then if the phone or doorbell rings, your baby won’t be disturbed.

Pop on the radio with some gentle, soothing music playing.

Mum’s top tip

If your baby catnaps during the day, try to re-settle him. If it’s to no avail after about 30 minutes of trying, put him down a bit earlier for his next sleep.

 

Not Sleeping Through

Many babies do not sleep through the night until they are at least 12 months. A baby’s average sleep cycle is about 40 minutes and in the first three months a baby does not have the ability to go back to sleep after one cycle. According to experts, this is a learned process and one you can help your baby achieve.

Expert’s advice

Set a bedtime routine and stick to it.

Try not to nurse or feed your baby off to sleep every time. This is fine for newborns, but as babies get older this stops them from learning to go to sleep.

Babies are noisy sleepers so see if your baby is actually awake before you start rocking, patting or picking her up.

Night waking can be exhausting, so make sure you rest in the day when the baby sleeps.

Mum’s top tip

If your baby wakes up every night, put her to bed and walk away, rather than always nursing her. After a couple of nights she may get herself to sleep and the night waking may stop!