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 Baby on Board
Baby on BoardRTÉ One, Thursday, 8.30pm


'Baby On Board' is a primetime series for RTÉ aimed at expectant parents, new parents and experienced parents.

Experienced midwife, public health nurse and presenter Gráinne Ryan was online on Friday 25th July 2008 from 1pm to answer your parenting questions.

You can read the transcript below..


Gráinne: Hi everyone, Gráinne here from Baby on Board. I hope to answer as many of your questions as possible.

Anne-Marie Hynes: I have a 14 month old son - he like his sister before him wakes up maybe three times a night for bottles - he has a good appetite and is generally in good form - what would you suggest doing to get him into a better sleep habit?
Gráinne: Hi Anne-Marie. For a better nights sleep, the bottles need to go. You can do this either by gradually diluting the bottles with water and then following on to cool boiled water. Continuously giving bottles to a baby throughout the night at this age gives the wrong message and they tend to wake for food. It is not easy but do stick with it. It does definitely work. You are actually training the body to not require food throughout the night. Also from a dental decay point of view, cut out the milk during the night.

Marie: I have 22 month old baby boy. I got him into his own room and he lasted 3 weeks and then he wouldn't settle after that. He is waking every hour what can I do?
Gráinne: Hi Marie, well done on getting him into his own room. There can be various reasons why children break a pattern after three weeks - teething or illness. Start back again, winding down the child before bedtime, talk about going to bed, have a calm atmosphere in the house and also a darkened room is great. Go in and reassure the child but put him back down into the cot/ bed every time he becomes unsettled. Four hard nights and you can break the routine. Pick a time you know that you can definitely carry it out and stick with it.

Natalie: My 8.5month old son isn't crawling yet and has no interest in it but he has great strength in his legs and he can stand against the couch for 10 mins by himself. Should I be worried about him not crawling?
Gráinne: Hi Natalie, my advice is to put your child down on the floor, give him plenty of supervised "tummy time" in an effort to get upper body strength. Put his toys nearby to encourage him to move around. Put him in the crawling position as long as he is supervised. Some babies who use walkers often never crawl. Personally I have safety and development concerns regarding walkers. Crawling is an important milestone that teaches babies movement but also safety mechanisms. He's still young and children develop at different stages.

Kelly: Does breastfeeding really help to get you back in shape?
Gráinne: Hi Kelly, breastfeeding causes your womb to contract so it does help in flattening your tummy but also you use up alot of calories to produce milk and feed a baby. Generally people find they get back to their pre-pregnant shape faster but it is not advisable to diet while breastfeeding.

Kate Harris: When should babies stop having bottles? My son is 2 and still has 2 bottles per day, should I stop it now or wait till he gives them up himself?
Gráinne: Hi Kate, I would advise you to get rid of the bottles now. At this stage he should be drinking from his beaker or cup and the longer the child stays on the bottle, the harder it is to wean them off. You can do this by cold turkey and get rid of the bottles out of the house otherwise the temptation will always be there.

L: What if you can't handle your baby alone if you are a teenage mother?
Gráinne: I think you should call into your public health nurse or GP and she may be able to source some help for you. Sometimes its just about seeing what services are available in your area. Don't be afraid to ask your friends and family for help. You shouldn't have to struggle alone with your baby.

Clodagh: Why on earth can we not get anything right in Ireland - why can't all childminders register themselves so that parents can find them? Does it not make sense for both parties? We moved to Tralee recently and need a childminder urgently. I'm at a loss.
Gráinne: Hi Clodagh, it is very difficult finding childcare. I don't know if you saw last night's programme which focused on the issue of childcare, but it will be available to watch online (for 21 days) today. There are plenty of tips on how to find a suitable creche or childminder in the programme.

Negin: My 4 month old baby keeps waking up at night when he drops his soother, how can I teach him to sooth himself? I'm still breastfeeding.
Gráinne: Hi Negin, you can do a few things here. You can get rid of the soother and just pick him up and cuddle him to sleep. You can feed him to sleep. If you decide to continue with the soother, you will have another few months until he will be able to place it into his mouth himself. You need to decide which route you want to go.

Niamh: I am a young teenager and I am pregnant. No one knows yet. What should I do?
Gráinne: Hi Niamh, you really need to talk to somebody. I would suggest you should talk to your mother, close relative or teacher and even though you think they may be upset, they will get over the initial shock. You could also contact CURA on 1850 622626 or . Your welfare has to be top priority at the moment and you will need to see a doctor. We know you are frightened but it is vital that you confide in an adult.

Eileen: Is homebirth really safe? I prefer not to have my next baby in hospital if possible.
Gráinne: Hi Eileen, I think you will love next week's programme. It is all about homebirthing and it looks at all the issues surrounding it. Tune in next Thursday, RTÉ One at 8.30pm.

David: Hi Gráinne, what are you views on timeout as a form of disclipine- recently our daughter of 30mths has started to close her eyes and hands up to her ears when we try and discipline her.
Gráinne: Hi David, I find that the timeout method is effective and for two and half year old I would recommend it would two and half minutes on the naughty step.

Mary Byrne: My mother started giving my two and a half year old girl a bottle of tea. So now she takes one going to bed and in the morning. Is this safe?
Gráinne: Hi Mary, tea is not recommended for children. It can affect iron absorption. Alot of grandparents gave tea in bottles to their own children. At this stage you could wean her off bottles altogether.

Sinead: When do a baby's stools firm up? My daughter is now four weeks old and nappies are still extremely runny. Should I think about changing formula?
Gráinne: Hi Sinead, once your child is thriving, i.e. gaining weight and is happy and content, I wouldn't have any worries about her stools. All babies are different. However, if she is underweight and cranky, then you may need to discuss it with your GP.

Mags: Hi, my 11month old son is very clingy. He cries when anyone other then my husband or myself even look at him. My sisters can't even say hello or he cries. What can I do to get him out of this? Its gone to the stage where I can't use the toilet without bringing him as he gets into a frenzy if I leave him.
Gráinne: Hi Mags, I'm sure this is very difficult for you. You need to take small steps when dealing with this problem. Start with going to the toilet on your own. Make sure he is in a safe environment when you are going and tell him you are going to the toilet and that you will be back. Gradually build this into your daily routine. Also, it might be good for both of you to attend a mother and toddler group where he can get used to other people whilst you're still with him. Also, get him out in the buggy and experiencing new situations.

Arlene Flood: I am a first time mum - my baby boy is 14 weeks. He has not yet slept through the night. I am breastfeeding and he wakes every few hours and snuggles in beside me but as soon as I put him back in his cot he starts to stir - he just wants to sleep beside me all night! Would love some advice please.
Gráinne: Hi Arlene, it is quite common for breastfed babies to wake throughout the night. Some people are happy to have the babies in the bed with them and others find it difficult to sleep. You could try putting him in the cot by day and then he would get used to sleeping in the cot. He is still quite young. If he is still in the moses basket/crib, you could try keeping the crib mattress warm and that way the temperature change won't be so different when he goes back into the crib.

Joanne O'Sullivan: How important are structured day naps? My 12 week old sleeps through the night 7-7 with a dream feed at 11 but during the day she will only cat nap for 30-45 mins max. All the books say she should be sleeping for longer at set times but I've tried everything but can't manage it, she wakes herself.
Gráinne: Hi Joanne, I think your baby is doing great. Sleeping for 12 hours at 12 weeks... I never managed this. Don't get hooked up on structure at this early stage. Babies only need a certain amount of sleep and they don't mind where they get it so I think she is doing fine as it is.

Gráinne: Thanks for all your questions. I'm sorry I couldn't answer them all. Tune in next Thursday at 8.30pm on RTÉ One for the last programme in the current series. I hope you and all your babies have a lovely summer.

RTÉ.ie reserves the right to decide which questions submitted will be published and it also reserves the right to edit all questions before publication.
Grainne Ryan
Grainne Ryan
Series 2: Programme Archive