30 September 2013, by Mandy Loh
Tizzie Hall, the International Baby Whisperer, and celebrated author of “Save Our Sleep”, was in Singapore last weekend, and I was privileged to attend one of her talks on Saturday afternoon.
Sleep, sweet sleep, that very elusive and treasured commodity of new parents everywhere, was the main focus of the talk. Tizzie was happy to share her tips and practical advice on how parents can get their little babies (and toddlers) to sleep through the night, resulting in happy children, and in turn, very grateful and happy parents too!
While the issue of baby’s sleep has been a mystery to most of us, Tizzie broke it down into a few simple points:
1) Has the baby had enough to eat? A hungry baby will not stay asleep through the night, nor through a proper nap during the day.
2) Is the baby warm enough? A baby will wake if he is cold, so it is important to ensure he is comfortably toasty.
3) Keeping a fixed routine/ timing for bed and nap times.
4) Getting your child to learn how to self-settle, and fall asleep without any sleep props (such as being rocked/ nursed/ patted to sleep). If a child depends on such props to fall asleep, he would require the same conditions to fall back asleep if he woke in the middle of the night.
In addition to the above points, Tizzie elaborated on issues such as demand-feeding (true demand feeding requires you to be able to identify a “hunger cry”, and most of the time for young babies, it will be a regular interval of approximately 3-hourly in the daytime!) and co-sleeping (planned co-sleeping can be safe, whereas accidental co-sleeping is dangerous and this is usually when SIDS could occur).
Having experienced the painful loss of a baby brother to SIDS when she was only 7 years old, Tizzie is also passionate about educating parents on how to provide a safe sleeping area for their baby. I was amazed at the in-depth research she did on the quality of cot bedding such as mattress protectors, for example, which had to be made of breathable cotton, instead of plastic or rubber which could possibly suffocate baby, as well as allow air circulation so that baby does not sweat.
The most impressive portion of the entire talk was during the Q&A, when mothers with real-life situations sought her advice on a myriad of baby sleep issues. It was amazing how perceptive Tizzie was, providing them with specific answers and guiding them on what they should do to resolve the problem.
For example, in one of the cases, a mother of a 15-month old said that her child, who had previously been a wonderful sleeper, suddenly started waking in the middle of the night. Tizzie asked if she had started giving cow’s milk to the child. Interestingly, Tizzie had found (through anecdotal evidence) that cow’s milk might somehow interfere with a child’s sleep, and suggested that the mom went back to infant formula for a while to see if the problem went away. How very interesting indeed!
Overall, I found the session informative, insightful and a good reminder, especially as I get ready to face yet another stretch of sleepless nights when Doubbles comes along early next year. The biggest takeaway for me was realising that so many aspects, even what baby wears at night, can play a part in allowing baby to have a good night’s sleep. That big picture approach, coupled with detailed, step-by-step advice, is probably why the International Baby Whisperer is so successful in what she does! Wish me luck as I try to apply these tips to our second baby!!!
* photos courtesy of Indie PR