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Study hopes to crack secret for getting babies to sleep

Mel Jaenke was relieved when she found a way to settle her son Cooper, 15 months, before bedtime.
Mel Jaenke was relieved when she found a way to settle her son Cooper, 15 months, before bedtime. Tegan Annett

WHILE other babies Cooper's age were having a full night's sleep, Mel and Matt Jaenke were left wondering what they were doing wrong.

Mrs Jaenke said Cooper, 15 months, had been a good newborn.

"He would wake, get fed, and go back to sleep," she said.

The first-time parents would rock him to sleep before placing him in his crib.

But once he reached six weeks of age and had a growth spurt, Cooper would wake all through the night.

"It was hard because other babies his age were sleeping all night. I thought, 'Why is this happening? What are we doing wrong?'" Mrs Jaenke said.

CQUniversity has launched a comprehensive study into community perspectives to obtain sleep and settling strategies for infants and toddlers like Cooper.

Up to 40% of new parents know little about the strategies and methods used by parents to cope with sleep issues.

It was not until the Mrs Jaenke attended a course at the Brisbane Nurture Centre that Cooper began to sleep through the night.

While consistency and routine worked well for other parents, Mrs Jaenke admitted it had not been enough for her baby.

The pair learnt about responsive settling, a way to interpret cries and respond in the best way possible.

During the second week of being home, they were relieved when Cooper began to sleep through the night.

"He is now eating better, and walking," she said with a wide smile, watching Cooper play with his toys.

"It's hard for mums, because you see other mums whose kids are sleeping well and it feels like a reflection on yourself."

An online survey for parents of infants and toddlers aged six to 18 months was launched in December and will continue for the next six months.

Parents are encouraged to participate in the survey by visiting the research group's Facebook page facebook.com/sleepandsettling.

Observer readers have offered their bedtime tips on our Facebook page. Here are some of their suggestions:

Angelina Taylor: Routine and consistency.

Allison Pakleppa: Routine is definitely the key. All three of my children go to bed without drama. If a child knows you will give in to them they will play that until it works again. Tough love!

Jessica Rossow: My son goes to bed the same time every night and has his piggy (comfort toy), gets tucked in and a kiss goodnight. If he won't settle, rubbing his palms and the soles of his feet really helps calm him down and he drifts off pretty quickly.

Amy and Sean Quinlan: Routine from day one.

Allen and Donna O'Toole: It's all about routine. And learning to know your child/ren. And the routine that works now might need altering in a few months time.

Kirra Ruth Joan Twiner: I think a good night time routine helps. My daughter has the same one since four days old. Dinner 6-6:30pm, bath 7pm and then story time, bed by 7:30pm.

When she was really little she would sleep without disturbing until 8:30-9am the next morning. She's three now and still has the same routine and sleeps til 6-6:30am

Topics:  babies, families, parenting, sleeping




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