All posts tagged: resettling

Calming your Newborn

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It is normal for your newborn to have times where they are fussy and cry a lot. A newborn baby will cry an average of 1 1/2 – 3 hours every day. (Read my blog on Newborn Crying to understand more about why they cry so that you can try to understand your baby better). Hearing your baby cry can be very stressful and no parent likes to see their baby distressed but your baby’s crying is not only their way of communicating with you the needs that they have to be met, it is also a means of releasing anxiety and tension.

There are certain things that newborns like and that they respond positively to and there are things that they do not like which will cause them to feel stressed.

Babies respond to:

  • Being close to you
  • Being held and cuddled
  • Skin to Skin contact
  • Your familiar smell
  • Your familiar voice
  • Your heartbeat rhythm
  • Sucking
  • Movement

Babies are stressed by:

  • Sudden changes or movement
  • Being left to cry
  • Hunger
  • Being over tired
  • Being over-stimulated
  • Loud noises, bright lights
  • Busy households
  • Anxious/Stressed parents

There are many ways to calm your newborn that are really effective. Most of these are based on the replication of the womb environment. It is really important to understand this stage in your baby’s development and the key to this 4th Trimester is to manage your baby as if they are still in the womb during your baby’s first 3 months of life. The best way to do this is by replicating the environment of the womb itself and most newborn calming techniques are based around this.

Calm or settle your baby in a dark room with reduced light

Your baby has been used to being in a really boring place with the same muted sounds and dim-lit environment for the past 9 months. So try to manage your baby’s environment by reducing the level of stimulation during times when they are unsettled. Take them into a room that is dimly lit, swaddle them, play white noise and give them close physical comfort. Talk to your baby and give them reassurance from the familiar sound of your voice.


Swaddling gives newborns the security and comfort that they felt in the womb. It can instantly calm most babies. If you can imagine the limited amount of space your baby had in utero, particularly towards the end of your pregnancy, then imagine how strange it must feel to your baby now that they have so much space around them. 

  • Babies are born with a primitive reflex called the ‘Moro or Startle reflex’ . This is an involuntary reflex that is stimulated when a baby is startled by movement or sound, which can startle your baby and wake them up. Swaddle reduces these movements.
  • Ensure that you don’t wrap your baby’s legs too tightly, instead swaddle them in their natural ‘frog legged’ like newborn position.
  • Swaddle your baby until your baby learns to roll over or to around approximately 14-18 weeks when their startle reflex diminishes. Some babies will want this ‘secure feeling’ to continue, so a safe-t-sleep is a very worthy replacement.


The womb was a constantly moving space. Every time you moved, your baby was moved, so your baby has been used to movement and it reassures and comforts them.

  • Sway, jiggle and rock your baby, not to sleep but to calm them when they are unsettled

Skin-to-Skin Contact

Being skin-to-skin is heaven for your baby and is such a lovely experience for you too. Being so close to you will relax and calm your baby as she hears those familiar sounds and is comforted by your smell.

  • Your baby wears nothing but a nappy and lies on your bare chest with a blanket covering you both
  • It has so many great benefits, not only for helping to calm or settle your baby but it will also stabilize her temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, blood glucose, stress hormones and will stimulate the release of oxytocin, the love and bonding hormone

White Noise/ Sounds

Babies love sound. For the past 9 months your baby has been living in a really loud environment; soothed by the sound of your heart beating, the continual sound of your blood whooshing through arteries around them, your bowel and bladder emptying and your stomach digesting. Studies have shown that babies are exposed to up to 90db – that’s louder than a vacuum cleaner or a bulldozer idling! It’s loud.

  • Babies are simply not used to a quiet environment so restricting sounds and whispering around your baby can actually cause them more stress
  • There is compelling research that shows that babies who are exposed to ‘white noise’ settle more quickly and sleep more deeply than those babies who are not. You play the white noise every time your baby sleeps and when they are unsettled.


When babies are unsettled their instinct is to want to suck as it is deeply comforting for them.

The sucking reflex release a chemical in your baby’s brain that reduces their stress level and activates their primitive ‘calming reflex’. This was a reflex that kept your baby calm in the womb and was like an automatic ‘off switch’ for crying.

So offering the breast , a pacifier or even a clean little finger can work like magic.

Pacifiers are a really effective feeding tool for premature babies and a great settling for babies up until around 4 months of age. Never use a pacifier to delay or replace a feed.

If your baby is hungry, no calming technique is going to work so observe your baby for hunger cues and feed your baby. Remember baby-led feeding is always the way the go.

Deep Bath

The womb was a lovely warm fluid filled place so giving your baby a nice deep bath can really calm them.

  • Most babies will not appreciated the getting in or out process as they lose a bit of security but when they are submerged it is deeply relaxing for them and they tend to sleep really well following it

Wear your Baby

Babies love close physical contact . Hearing your heart beat and being reassured by other familiar sounds and movement closely resembles the womb-like environment. So wearing your baby in a front pack or sling is a fantastic way to calm your baby.

  • A great advantage to carrying your baby this way is that you will keep your arms free to carry on with other things
  • It is great for Dad’s to do and can really help them with their bonding process

Choose your carrier carefully as some do not allow for the natural newborn ’frog leg’ position or provide the support to your back or your baby’s back that is required. Don’t’ worry if your baby cries initially when you put them into a carrier, just start moving!

Getting out and About

You can go a bit stir-crazy when you are stuck in the house with your baby for a few days, so getting out is a fantastic thing to do to break your day. Fresh air does wonders for your soul and your baby’s so put your baby in a buggy or a front pack and enjoy.

If your newborn is struggling to settle to sleep after they have had a good feed and have had the right amount of wake time etc, consider using a settling technique to help them get to sleep. Newborns do not have the brain connections in place to be able to self-soothe or calm themselves so they need your help to do this for them until these connections are developed around 12-16 weeks of age. Newborn’s become over tired very easily so if they have even a slightly extended wake time they can become over tired. Over tired or over-stimulated babies get very distressed and are very difficult to settle. The settling technique that I recommend, is the most successful technique for newborns. Every time your newborn struggles to settle, you will pull this out of your tool bag. You will honestly be blown away by how successful it is, so it can be a real game changer!

Feel free to contact me at anytime if you need any further advice or support or if you would like to learn how to use this settling technique with your newborn. Take care and enjoy that precious baby of yours.

Elysia GobbieCalming your Newborn
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A Typical Session with New Parents and their Baby

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This Mum and Dad contacted me after hearing from another Mum in their coffee group who I had recently worked with. They were having similar issues with their 6 week old baby and had seen the turn around in their friends situation so were keen to get the same support and hopefully the same results.

Their baby was very unsettled at times during the day and night and they could not understand what was causing this or what to do to settle their baby as nothing was seemingly working. They were also having a few feeding issues. They were both feeling pretty tired and understandingly frustrated.

So I had a good chat with this Mum over the phone and I really listened to her and were able to very quickly assess what could be going on and what things we could look at putting into place to help improve things for them. We agreed on a time for me to come around and I spent a couple of hours with her and her husband and of course their gorgeous wee baby.

Initially we sat and talked about general patterns of behaviour & then I got to observe their baby’s feed, wake and sleep cycle. With my observations and from the information that I gathered from them over the phone and now in person, it gave me a really clear picture of where things were at. 

Throughout the session I shared with them some valuable information and advice that was pertinent to their concerns. I also taught them some great tools and skills that I felt would be of real value to them such as:

  • How to encourage and establish good sleep habits in their baby
  • What some basic guidelines to having a successful sleeper  were– so gaining a greater understanding of the sleep process (sleep cycles & phases of sleep) and creating positive sleep associations etc
  • Understanding their baby’s tired cues and most importantly how to settle and resettle their baby using a sleep technique that I swear by

This technique will quite literally blow your mind. It is simple and is one of the greatest tools that you can have in your tool bag. It quite often is a real game changer! You may have read about it or heard about it from friends or family but having someone there to teach you, using the technique with your own baby makes it so much more powerful and effective.  

Everything that I do is based on a very gentle, caring and nurturing philosophy. Newborns in particular are very unpredictable and their brain connections still very immature so it is really important to remain flexible and to not have any firm schedules or routines in place at this age. However, saying that there is a rough guideline that you can work with and understanding this is a very key learning principle. 

Over the two hours that I spent with these two new parents, I was able to cover a lot of information. I think we over complicate and over think things some times so I try to keep everything really simple and I teach it in a way that is easy to understand and everything I do is based on good experience and evidence based knowledge. 

This Mum and Dad were left feeling empowered with knowledge and confident with their new skills that they had just learned. It is always such a lovely feeling to walk away from a consultation knowing how valuable it has been for my clients. They are so happy and relaxed and always tell me how much more confident that they feel and this always gives me a real buzz and makes what I do such a pleasure. 

I then complete our session with a follow-up phone call a few days later to ensure that they are still feeling happy and confident with their new skills and to also answer any further questions that may have arisen for them since our session. 

So you can see how one session like this can be so incredibly valuable as it creates such a fantastic foundation for you to work off and sets you up so well from the very start. Every session I do is different because it is based upon what each family needs so it is tailored specifically for you and your baby. 

So if you feel you would value from a visit such as this or are have any concerns that you would like to talk to me about, feel free to give me a call anytime for a chat. 

I offer a Free 15 minute phone consultation to all clients. This gives me the chance to hear what your needs are and to formulate a plan together with you if you require more than just a bit of reassurance from me over the phone. 

I am always very negotiable on my prices so please don’t ever let this stop you from seeking my help if you feel you need it as we can easily work something out. And remember that I also donate 10% of any service that you purchase as a HBC Parent Centre member, straight back to HBC Parent Centre. 

I look forward to meeting you on a more personal level and being a part of your special journey.

Take Care,

Elysia x

Elysia GobbieA Typical Session with New Parents and their Baby
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Understanding the Sleep Process for Babies

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Sleep is an important nutrient that is vital to your baby’s wellbeing. During your baby’s first year of life, their brain doubles in weight due to the incredible amount of complex brain development that takes place, most of it while they are sleeping so understanding the sleep process for babies is really important.

Sleep is a learned behaviour so babies are not born knowing how to sleep

Babies need to learn essential skills so that they can become an independent sleeper, meaning that they are able to settle and resettle themselves to sleep without being dependent upon you or any sleep prop. How you choose to manage this will have a very strong influence on your baby. You can improve the quality and quantity of your baby’s sleep using various ways and making changes when and if required. So whether your baby will sleep well or poorly is very much dependent upon the support that you give to your baby. Saying that, some babies sleep habits will very much reflect their temperament and not your parenting.

Understanding the keys to successful sleep is really important and establishing and encouraging good sleep habits from birth is a great start.

Until babies are 12-16 weeks old they do not have the brain connections in place to self-soothe so they need you to help them to learn this vital skill. That does not mean that you won’t have your challenges because there are many factors that can disrupt sleep patterns such as growth spurts, your baby being unwell and just their normal development as they become more alert, inquisitive and active as they mature. But as long as you have set a good base and you are armed with the right information and skills, it will not take long to get them sleeping well again.



  • Sleep is related very closely to feeding.

 If your baby is feeding well, she will sleep well and if she is sleeping well, she will feed well

  • Babies sleep requirements vary enormously with the average being 16 hours in a 24 hour period. This period shortens by approximately 1 hour over the first year with just the pattern of the sleep changing.


  • Young babies sleep as much through the day as they do during the night. As they get closer to 6 months old, their night-time sleep gets longer and their day time sleeps become fewer.


  • Some babies are very noisy sleepers and this is normal, particularly when they are settling to sleep or transitioning from a light to a deep sleep cycle.


  • Lack of sleep is the most common cause of a fussy, unsettled or distressed baby. Sleep, like food is a basic human requirement and lack of sleep is a major source of stress for babies, affecting them both physically and emotionally.


  • With each developmental step, your baby can change their sleep pattern. This can also happen when your baby is unwell or in a different environment.


  • Keeping your baby up during the day will not allow her to sleep longer at night. It will cause her to become overtired and an overtired baby is very difficult to settle. Sleep breed’s sleep.

The longer your baby sleeps during the day, the longer she will sleep at night


Baby Sleep Cycles:

When it comes to babies, sleep cycles are important to understand.

  • Babies spend 50-60% of their sleep in active/REM (rapid eye movement/active sleep), which is a much lighter and easily disturbed cycle of sleep. This is a really important phase of sleep as the brain is extremely active during this time, processing and storing information. During this phase of sleep, baby’s dream.


  • Babies only spend on average 30-45 minutes in a deep sleep cycle. During this phase of sleep, vital hormones are released for growth and development and tissue growth and repair occur. This is a much quieter state of sleep that allows the brain to rest.


  • Some babies can have even shorter sleep cycles, waking after only 15-30 minutes. This is usually due to your baby having wind or reflux, being over tired or have been over stimulated. Some babies are very sensitive to any change of sound, movement or a change in their environment and will wake instantly or within a short period of time. eg: when the car stops or your rocking


  • Babies stir and sometimes wake fully after a sleep cycle and may cry out, grizzle or groan as they transition through into their next sleep cycle. Some babies will need help to transition though this. If your baby wakes after 40 minutes of being put down to sleep, this is a clear sign that she will need your help to teach her to resettle.


  • Most babies will mature into an adult like sleep pattern sometime within the second half of their first year. An adults deep sleep cycle lasts for 90 minutes before moving into a lighter phase of active/REM sleep. The cycles then alternate all night, with an adult spending an average of 6 hours in a deep sleep state and 2 hours in active/REM sleep.


  • Most babies and adults need to have wind down time before being able to drift off into their first sleep cycle. Babies go through a cycle of active/REM sleep before entering into a deeper phase of sleep unlike adults who enter a deep sleep cycle immediately.


  • Some babies may take longer than the average time of 20 minutes to fall into a deep sleep cycle, so if you have a baby that is like this, be wary when moving them while asleep from your arms or car seat etc. as they are likely to wake up if they have not entered into a deep sleep cycle. Wait for signs that they have entered this cycle first before moving them.


  • Babies are biologically and physiologically programmed to have more awakenings and active/REM sleep than adults. This is a protective mechanism that prevents your baby from entering a deeper sleep state that would put your baby at a greater risk of SUDI. Premature babies stay in active/REM sleep even longer, for 90% of their sleep time. This assists them with accelerated brain growth and further reduces their risk of SUDI.

Getting your baby to sleep through the night too early, for too long and too deeply is not encouraged as it will be to the detriment of their basic survival and overall development


Lighter Sleep Cycle (REM or active sleep):

Your baby’s breathing is irregular, his hands and limbs are flexed and he may startle or twitch. His eyes rapidly move under his eyelids and he may have facial grimaces.

 Deeper Sleep Cycle (Quiet sleep):

 As your baby moves into a deeper sleep cycle from a lighter sleep cycle, you will notice that his breathing becomes much more regular and his muscles are completely relaxed. His little fists unfold and his limbs are weightless.


Sleep Phases:

There are 3 phases of sleep that will help teach your baby to be an independent sleeper:

  • Sleep Window
  • Winding Down
  • Settling Stage

Babies cannot be put straight into bed and expected to fall asleep without first being helped to transition from an activity. On average, this can take around 20 minutes, from seeing their first tired cue to entering their first deep sleep cycle.

The Sleep Window:

This is the time that your baby will show you that they are starting to get tired, using their non-verbal body language. Every baby is different so it is important for you to learn how to read your baby’s tired cues. Missing your baby’s sleep window can make it more of a challenge to settle her, as she will be overtired.

Winding Down:

This is an important stage because you are setting the scene for a good sleep by giving your baby lots of cues that it is time to go to sleep and allowing them time to start switching off. This is achieved by creating a healthy sleep environment, using sleep aids which give your baby positive sleep associations and all done in a predictable and repetitive pattern each time your baby is put down to sleep. This not only helps your baby to learn what to expect but also builds trust between you and your baby.

Sleep rituals are key

If you were to use a scale from 1-10, 1 being active and alert and 10 being in a deep cycle of sleep, try to wait until your baby reaches a 7/8 before you attempt to settle your baby in their bed. It sounds very technical and precise but once you have sussed your baby’s tired cues and been patient during this winding down process, you will reap the rewards with a baby who is an independent sleeper.


After you take your baby into her room you:

  • Turn her white noise music on.
  • Swaddle her (preferably not in her bed) before picking her up and giving her a cuddle and last chance to bring up any wind.
  • Keep your tone low and calming and give her some verbal reassurance with your chosen phrase eg: “ Its time to go to sleep princess”.
  • You then go over to the window and reduce the light in her room by closing the blinds slightly.
  • Continue to comfort her in your arms for a few minutes, saying good night to all her toys, until you see her starting to settle. Ensure that you place her into her bed when she is drowsy but still awake.

(Newborns are very sleepy and are ready to sleep very quickly after their short wake time so this winding down time is more relevant as your baby matures).

Settling Stage:

  • Tuck her firmly into bed and give her some more verbal reassurance.
  • Give her a kiss and leave the room to allow her to settle on her own. (Remember that grizzling can be a tired sign).

By allowing this to happen, you are teaching her to learn to self-soothe

  • Only return to her room if she starts to consistently cry as she is telling you that she needs your help to settle.

If she is not calming, try to settle her in her bed by using the steady and rhythmic shushing and patting technique while placing a hand on her shoulder or chest, giving her comfort and security.

If the patting and shushing is not working then feel free to pick her up and place her over your shoulder, continuing to shush and pat her there. As soon as she shows any signs that she is calming, place her back into bed and continue shushing and patting her there.

Avoid any movements that you cannot replicate in her bed such as rocking, jiggling or swaying

Repeat the cycle if required, slowing the rhythm of your patting and shushing as she calms until you eventually stop. Wait a few minutes by her bed, to see her move into a deep sleep cycle if she has taken a while to settle. If you leave too early, you may have to start the whole process all over again, so it is worth being patient.


Please feel free to contact me at anytime if you feel you need more support or advice regarding settling or resettling your baby.


Elysia Gobbie
Baby Advisor
Dip HSc (Midwifery) BHSC (Nursing)

Elysia GobbieUnderstanding the Sleep Process for Babies
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