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Baby on BoardRTÉ One, Thursday, 8.30pm

Episode 8: Coping with twins

Carol and Les Craine

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Helping your baby learn to sleep

Tips for Avoiding Sleep Problems:

  • Follow a regular predictable daily routine.
  • Wait until your baby is tired to put them down for bed. You've probably seen the signs: eye rubbing, irritability, yawning. You can't force your baby to sleep. On the other hand, don't wait until your baby is over tired and unable to sleep.
  • Follow a regular, predictable bedtime routine. After a bath, rocking, stories and a little snuggling, put your baby down sleepy but awake. While it's tempting, don't rock your baby to sleep at bedtime. Otherwise, he'll again need your services when he wakes in the middle of the night.
  • Develop good sleep associations. Give your baby a favourite blanket or a pacifier, or play a lullaby cassette tape. If your baby's sleep associations are portable, your baby will be able to soothe himself to sleep anywhere - with and without you.
  • Use white noise. Some babies sleep better with a vaporiser or fan running. White noise works because it blocks out other sounds and it soothes babies to sleep. You can also turn a radio on quietly between 2 AM stations. Eventually while noise can be faded out.
  • Use a slumber bear womb sounds from first week.
  • Place a small cloth next to your skin during feeding - then put near baby so they have the reassuring familiar smell of your body.
  • Blackout lining for curtains from first night home.

Stammering

How do you recognise the symptoms and what causes them?

This is quite a common occurrence - 1 in 3 children stumble, hesitate and repeat themselves mid-sentence.

Stuttering

Nearly all children of 3 years of age have jerky speech, which, on occasion, may turn into a real stutter. This may be because your child has so many ideas in his head that he thinks more quickly than he can speak. It may also be that they are very excited and simply can't articulate properly. Stutters can also appear for a short time and then disappear again. Initially the most important thing that you can do is to remain calm and not draw your child's attention to the stuttering. Don't jump in with the word that you think your child is looking for but simply accept your child's speech. Making your child feel nervous and self-conscious about the way they talk will only increase their tendency to stammer.

As they are learning to talk, stuttering or stammering that goes on long term usually has the same causes as bed-wetting. Tension anxiety.

You should accept it in your child, pay no attention to it and never ridicule or draw attention to it. You can influence your child's speech by the way you talk to them. If you speak very quickly, and you appear distracted your child may fear that she has to keep up and that you are not interested in what they say. Look at your child and if possible talk to them on the same physical level. Use simple language and talk about very immediate things that can be seen. When your child is struggling with a sentence try not to complete it for her or supply a word.

Check is the child hearing in both ears.

Encourage rhyme games and singing - i.e. "two little dickybirds", "round round the garden" Children don't stutter when they are singing.

Seek help if...
Stammering is in the family.
Stammering is constant and goes on longer than three months.
Child is experiencing difficulties at five years.

Ben and Les
Ben and Les
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