Broken Sleep & Big Smiles

Broken Sleep & Big Smiles with Cassidy Mason | Episode 7

Broken sleep and big smiles – the good and not-so-good parts of early parenting. In this week’s episode of SENSE by Meg Faure, Meg catches up with Cass – first time mum to baby Max who is now one month old. What’s on the agenda? Smiles, swaddling and sleep.

Broken sleep & mental health

Cass shares some of the challenges that come along with becoming a parent. They chat about the constant cycle of sleep-feed-burp-settle-sleep. Meg and Cass agree that at the one month mark, a mom’s mental health shouldn’t be ignored. Along with the constant care of your baby, the lack of sleep, missing out on social events and connecting with friends are just some of the things that can impact mental health.

Cass also asks Meg about Max’s awake times, and wants to know what is normal to expect at his age. She and Meg talk extensively about swaddling, why it’s important for your newborn and how you can use it to settle your baby to sleep. Cass shares that the Parent Sense app alerted her to expect a growth spurt this coming week and how that will impact Max’s current routine.

Your personal baby expert

Parent Sense is the all-in-one baby app that takes the guesswork out of parenting. As new parents, so much changes in a day, week and month of your baby’s life. These changes leave most parents feeling at a loss for what to do. That’s where the app can help. Along with being a smart way to track your baby’s day, it also sends reminders and notifications for what is up next – whether it’s a growth spurt, milestone or vaccination. Get the app now and parent with confidence!

Big smiles & great expectations

Cass also shares some of the precious moments she’s shared with her little Max. His first (early!) smile and how heart melting it is to see your little one expressing sheer happiness. Join Meg and Cass for more broken sleep and big smiles as they navigate the changes that parenting entails and enjoy the little moments that make it all worth while. Listen now!

Guests on this show

Cassidy Mason

Cassidy Mason

Episode References and Links:

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Parent Sense mobile app:
Web: https://parentsense.app/
Download via Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=tech.bitcube.parentsense Download via iOS: https://apps.apple.com/za/app/parent-sense-baby-tracker/id1502973851

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Episode 7 – A Hard Day’s Night: Broken Sleep & Big Smiles with Cassidy Mason


After the two night feeds, he was only managing one sleep cycle, so with 45 minutes. And then, he was waking up again and I was reacting while I was getting up to give him another feed and that sort of thing. And he was falling asleep quite on the first feed a bit, maybe. So I felt he hadn’t fed properly, so I would get up and feed him. And then I’d think, oh, I don’t know if you’ve got a dirty nap, I’ve got no way of knowing. So I’ve got a chat because I can’t make you sleep. —Cass


In this week’s podcast, Cass shares some of the trickier parts of getting little ones to sleep, both at night and in the day. We talk about highs, like that first precious smile, but also the feelings of cabin fever and how a new baby limits your life. Swaddling is explored in great detail as well as questions about awake windows. So stay tuned as we explore more about the first month through the highs and lows of early parenting with Cass and Max.

Welcome to Sense by Meg Faure, the podcast that’s brought to you by Parent Sense, the app that takes the guesswork out of parenting. If you’re a new parent, then you are in good company. Your host, Meg Faure is a well-known OT Infant specialist and the author of eight parenting books. Each week, we’re going to spend time with new mums and dads, just like you to chat about the week’s wins, the challenge, and the questions of the moment. Subscribe to the podcast, download the Parent Sense App and catch Meg here every week to make the most of that first year of your little one’s life. And now, meet your host.

Meg: Welcome back. I’m Meg Faure. I’m an Occupational Therapist and Infant Specialist and have worked with parents for more than 20 years in my private practice. My specialty is sensory integration, sleep problems, and fussy babies.  I’m delighted to be your host and share my expertise with you. And this week we are welcoming back Cass, who’s being a new mom for a month now. Congrats, Cass.

Cass: Thank you. Yeah, exactly a month yesterday. It’s flown by in many ways.

Meg: It does, it really does. And how’s it been this week?

Cass: Well, it has been a week of highs and lows.

Meg: Okay. Contact the motherhood?

Cass: Yeah, the biggest high is he started smiling, so…

Meg:  Oh, half wind, Cass.

Cass: Yeah.

Meg: That’s early.

Cass: Yeah, I mean it did take while to be convinced that it wasn’t wind.

Meg: Yes.

Cass: But then, it does look completely different to the wind smile.

Meg: Yes.

Cass:  And so, yeah, but now and he’s really smiley now you know, especially in the evenings around bath time with his stars on and things like that, he does lots of smiling and in the morning when you wake up, he’s, you know, in the day he’s sort of ready. Oh, it’s morning. I’m so please to see you guys.

Meg: That’s amazing.

Cass: Yeah.

Meg: But Cass, it actually opens up a conversation around smiling because for me, is the most important milestone.  I mean, honestly more important than crawling and when he gets to nine months old, we’ll be talking about that. But the reason it’s so important is that being social is uniquely human. Well it’s not uniquely human. I suppose there are creatures that do as well, but human beings really, everything centers on being social. And I mentioned last week that your first social milestone was eye contact, your second one is smiling. Now smiling is a very interesting one because it actually happens for, as I said, about 95% of babies at exactly six weeks, it’s such a funny milestone. It’s really like you can mark their age by when they smile. And then you get this cluster of babies who do smile early.

And it’s really interesting that he smiled early because my settled baby and I know that he’s a settled baby, my settled baby also smiled early. And you know, I think that part of that is that they start to realize, and I mean, to talk about the sensory personalities a bit that settle baby personality has a very high threshold for sensory information. So a lot can be going on around them without them really noticing and that’s why they don’t become fussy, why tend to speak fairly well while they feed easily.

But when they start to realize that actually there’s a world, that’s a bit more exciting out there, they become quite social. And so often we have these social, these settled babies who kind of put their little toes into the whole social butterfly fares as well, because they realize that actually when they do things like smile, they get more input and so they enjoy it. And so that’s definitely, I think what’s going on for Max, is that he’s realized that it’s actually quite exciting because when he smiles, he probably gets a whole lot more interaction from you and  from Alex as well.

Cass: Yeah, he gets that and also he’s getting good. We’ve got a play mat now where if he kicks, it hits a piano key.  I mean, he’s not necessarily in control of his kicking; it’s just sort of happening sporadically. But when he does kick, Alex gets very excited. So, I think he’s learning those smiling and kicking, especially the red button on the color. That’s the color of Alex.

Meg: Then in the pool and now I would.

Cass: But no. So definitely that has been a massive high and it does, it makes such a difference because it’s when you start to get something back as well. And I think that is for the, especially when, you know, obviously, you have to give a lot as a parent in those first few weeks. They are completely reliant on you, absolutely everything. So that moment where you start to get something back and their whole face lights up. And that’s why it’s different. We’d realized it was different to the wind one because you really see it in the eyes and they sparkle and everything is forgiven when they smile.  So yeah, that was definitely a massive high of the week.

And it’s interesting to say about dipping the tone to the social side, because over the last sort of week and a half, I’ve also noticed, I think he fights sleep a little bit more when he’s tired and we’re rocking him in the day. You know, he used to just close his eyes and go to sleep. Now it’s like 10 eye close and then reopens and then eye close and reopen. It’s almost like he’s sort of going, oh, I’m really tired, but what if I miss out on something?

Meg: Exactly. And that’s your social butterfly personality? Exactly. So they have fear of missing out.

Cass: Damn.

Meg:  FOMO is their catchphrase and they don’t want to settle. And it is also the age as well. You know, this is the age where little ones do start to fight sleep. And you know, sleep’s interesting, it’s what we call a state transition. So you actually have six states of being that little ones can be during a 24 hour period, so that’s a deep sleep, light sleep, obviously, your two sleep states and then you’ve got a drowsy state and then you’ve got  an active alert state, a calm alert state, an active alert state and a crying state. So those are your six states that babies move through in any 24 hour period. And anybody who’s interested should go and read up on that in my book, Baby Sense, which I’m sure, you you’ve read.

Cass: Yes. Yes.

Meg:  And so those six states are very important.  Now, as you’re transitioning between two states and particularly from the calm alert or active alert state into the drowsy state, and then from the drowsy state into the light sleep state, the brain becomes a little bit,  irritable for a couple of moments. And so almost all babies and you very rarely see a baby as particularly young baby of around this age, kind of between 14 weeks who doesn’t actually fight sleep a little bit. They’re usually kind of just, as they’re falling asleep doing a little niggle, or they might, as you say, kind of eyes close and then cry.

And, you know, some moms alert me and they say, it’s like every time they walk into the bedroom that the fussing starts.  It’s almost like they know that sleep’s coming and that’s a very classic sleep transition, a little bit of sleep transition fighting.  The important thing there and couple of things there, swaddling works wonders for that, because what that does is it inhibits all of those little kind of reflexes, the more and startle reflex that make them more irritable and helps them just to sit a little bit quicker. It’s interesting though because swaddling

Cass: Actually, he gets really upset and really fights swaddling and he did it in the hospital and the nurses said that he was fighting it a bit. And I’ve done it on a few occasions but I’ve done it very rarely and it’s gone well. And the majority of the time he just really gets frustrated and almost wakes him up more because he’s like, “get me out.” And so I have to say, I haven’t been, and I’ve read in your book, says, you know, sort of do, and keep trying. If they don’t like it, they will learn to like it and that sort of thing. But it’s so difficult when you nearly getting them to sleep, but they’re fighting a little bit. So you swaddle and then you just suddenly have like yes and he’s strong, he’s really strong; he can get his arms out.

Meg: Yeah.

Cass:  And he starts fighting and fighting, trying to get his arms in to, and then swaddle him. It sort of ends up being not a very pleasant experience. So I have to say, I, I’ve not really been swaddling recently.

Meg: Yeah.  So about 80% of babies actually do really well with swaddling. And it is something that I recommend there, there are those babies that don’t, and he might fall into that category, but just a couple of principles, I think for everybody who’s listening around swaddling. So first of all, the benefits of swaddling are twofold. The first is that it mimics the world of the womb with the deep pressure. So deep pressure or what we call perception comes up through your dorsal column of one of your spinal columns. It goes into an area of the brain that releases neurotransmitters that are calming. And that’s why it’s such a soothing thing to have liked a massage or to go for a deep… like a long run or a good walk because that all initiates also perception for adult; we clearly don’t swaddle ourselves. But for babies, the swaddling works really well for that.

And then the other thing that it does, is it inhibits the marrow stale reflexes, which is often what babies, the reason why they start to fight sleep is because they’ve got these little reflexes and as they start to have the sleep transition, they start to cry and in the arms are going all over the place because they’ve got the marrow startle reflex. So they become fussier and that kind of forms a little bit of a cycle where they end up really fussy and really fighting sleep. So that’s why swaddling works.

Swaddling is interesting because it’s controversial. I don’t think it should be, but it is controversial. And the part where the controversy arises is twofold. The one is that there’s quite a bit of literature that shows babies who swaddled with their legs straight. And by this, this is the kind of the ancient Chinese method of binding babies, you know, kind of with their legs straight kind of all the way down and almost in a funnel that they used to put on their backs to work in the rice paddies. And when those babies legs are bounded straight, they actually ended up with higher incidence of hip dysplasia or, or dislocations. And this is because bending your knees up when you’re neonate, when you’re newborn is very important, because it helps the  acetabular of the hip joint to actually carve, to carve out or, or the ball to carve out the socket, which is very important because babies are born with actually flat, almost flat sockets. And they need that kind of almost like that kicking motion that he’s doing all the time. It actually carves out a nice hole in the… well, not a hole, but like a concave space where the bowl of the hip can actually fit in. What swaddling does when your hips are swaddled straight is it prevents that and so, we really don’t want babies to be swaddled with their hips straight.

The other risk is that if babies are swaddled too loosely, or once they’re rolling, so that’s about 14 weeks onwards, they can unravel themselves. And then you’ve got a cot death or SIDS risk because you’ve got a blanket in the cut with them, which is something that we don’t want.

And so, my recommendation on swaddling is for all parents, and I think you’ve clearly tried it and they won’t work for Max, but for all parents, they should be trying it. And particularly for that fighting sleep scenario, but it needs to be done very specifically.

So I used to make a triangle shaped or hearth shaped  swaddled , which I know that I’ve given you one of those and moms can kind of either fold other blankets into that shape. And I actually prefer just getting one or making one that shape. And then you fold the bottom of the triangle up against the feet so that the legs are all nice and bent up, so that they can carve out the acetabulum. And then you swaddle each side really, really tight and swaddle the arms in, and it must be tight. If they can fight their arms out, it probably not tight enough and that will create some irritability.  And I also wouldn’t do it as they’re going into that sleep transition because they’re already a little bit irritable, so you it’s harder to swaddle them when they’re already irritable. So my recommendation for swaddling and particularly before sleeps, is if you’re doing two sides of a breastfeed is to not  swaddle  for the first side and to feed normally, and then change the nappy and to  swaddle really tightly for the second side. And often that will actually help them to settle on the breast in a swaddle position. And then when you do put them down, drowsy in a wake, they actually remain really nicely  swaddle. So just an idea for you to try kiss.

Cass: I mean, I have to say one, where he does.  When I say he fights sleeps, I do mean he just opens his eyes a few times and then closes them fully and I’ve been thinking about to because a friend of mine seems all my friends, we’re all having babies at the same time, which is lovely, but  she actually said to me how her baby, you know, in, just in passing, she said something about  had a bit of a temper tantrum about something and was talking about crying. I realized Max just never does seem to have any form of temper tantrum. He never seems to have prolonged periods of crying. He’ll sort of give you one cry to let you know and then it’s almost like said, I told you now.  I’ll just leave you to, to do your thing when you’re ready. So, he does settle very easily.  But one thing I was going to ask, because I’ve seen in a lot of, well everywhere, but also in obviously in your books and on the app, it talks about the 45 to 50 minute awake time. Mm. And Max just doesn’t seem to be so interested in that short  awake time. He doesn’t fast, he doesn’t get over tired, he’ll go to sleep when he wants to, but sometimes he can be awake for two hours, very happy and we don’t have trouble putting him down at night.

You know, all of the things that you really trying to prevent happening by keeping those awake time shorts, and it works really well. He’s fine and he’s happy, but I just wondered, is that okay? The fact that he’s just absolutely fine, but he’s not interested.

He’ll do long sleeps in the day of sometimes do a 4- hours, he might then do another two hours. If we go out, he might lie in the pram  wide awake, just really happy lying there, staring at the black walls of the  pram. And we did a whole walk the other day when it was sleep time and he just sat very happily just staring and we got home and he hadn’t slept, but he hadn’t been over stimulated and he wasn’t upset or crying for the whole thing. So I just wondered,  is that just how he is? Is that okay? Or should we be really trying to push for him to be sleeping after those 50 minutes? And how do I do that if I should be?

Meg: Yeah. So it’s a good question. So the awake times are something we haven’t touched on yet. I mean, for those people who haven’t heard about the awake times, they’re kind of those awake windows between the end of a sleep and the start of the next sleep. So it’s not the start and the start, like with time, it feeds, but it’s the end of a sleep to the start of the next sleep. And as you’ve said for newborns, you know, it is 45 minutes to an hour. So here’s, he’s a month old. So he’s actually towards an hour now. And that 45 minutes is more about preparing for the sleep than actually getting him asleep at that time. So he’s an hour between sleeps at the moment. And that is again,  whenever you put something else and say, babies love to be swaddled or babies need 45 minutes  of awake time or whatever it is, you need to understand that that’s the average baby, that’s the majority of babies but it can differ. And it’s very important as a mom that you do start to go with your own gut. So if you find he’s doing two hours and he’s happily awake for that time, and he’s happily falling asleep and his nighttime are not disrupted, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Having said that for most babies, it is 45 minutes to an hour. At this stage, it obviously comes much longer as we go through the first year, but we always have to think about their sensory personality and because our babies with high thresholds, which is our settled babies and our social butterflies, because they don’t take in as much all the time, because they just are that much more laid back, so these sensors are not taking in the same volume of sensory information as for instance, a settled baby, a sensitive baby is. And so what happens is that they just don’t get over stimulated and they are able to fall asleep a whole lot easier. So,  what I suggest is that you aim for an hour, but if you can see that he’s just not settling at that time and it’s an hour and a half, then that’s absolutely fine. If it ends up being two hours, he’s probably done two awake windows. And so he could be a little bit more tricky to get to sleep because when babies are awake for two awake windows, they have a little bit of cortisol that is keeping them awake, a little bit of a stress hormones, a little bit of a adrenaline that kind of keeps them alert and then falling asleep is a little bit more difficult because you’ve got to fight through that and fight through those neurotransmitters.  So but in general, if he is doing well on two hours and you finding that that works well for him, there’s nothing wrong with that .

Cass:  Because I suppose that the tricky thing is, when you bring in real life to spend the time to get them to go see, you know, class examples, I was going out with him, we were going on a walk with other mummies and babies and for lunch, by the time he’d done his morning feed to get myself ready and him ready, and then we…

Meg: Get out the door?

Cass: Yeah. I didn’t know where, I didn’t have the time to settle him into sleep. So it did end up being, it was two hours, which is quite normal for him, but it did make me think, I thought when real life comes into play to spend that time, sometimes you just don’t have it. So actually sit and rock them or whatever the however you get them to sleep. And so that was, you know,  it is quite tricky.  We’re only just starting to bring real life back into it all, but it sort of just made me think now that that is happening, I just don’t have as much time to stand and rock and sing or all of the things that… and he doesn’t take too long, but it’s just, sometimes I’ve got a million things to do.

Meg: Absolutely.  I mean, it’s so interesting to bring up real life because I think one of the things that moms find is that they are held hostage by the feeds and the sleeps. Like, it feels like that’s all you’re ever doing is, you know, either preparing for a feed, doing a feed, burping them or getting them to sleep, so  it’s just never ending. I do think that with sleep times, it is quite important, not at four weeks old because you’re still very little, but certainly as you get towards three months of edge to prioritize certain sleep happening in the home environment with the perfect sleep routine, just because it sets you up later on for really good sleep habits. And I always say to parents, the things that hold you hostage now are the things that will set you free later. So an example of that is a good bedtime routine. A good bedtime routine is a pain cause you can’t get up and go out  for dinner  and just have your babies, kind of pram next to the dinner table out at a restaurant because you are going to do your bedtime routine at home. But I promise you when you’ve got a two year old, who’s actually going to sleep very regularly, every single evening, without a fight at exactly seven o’clock, you are going to be the parent that looks like you’ve done the win, you know?

So  you do need,  I mean,  there are certain routines that are important that you do want to stick to, but I do think that having some flexibility, going out with your friends and if that awake window stretches a bit, that’s fine, particularly because he’s a settle baby. I can tell you that there are moms who listening and I’ve had many, many of these moms in my practice many times,  where if they had kind of a little bit of work up taking 45 minutes to get out the door, got them to the restaurant and it was a two hour awake time, they might as well have left and gone home because they’re the ones that have been so miserable, so over stimulated that  they just would’ve gone home. It wouldn’t have been worth the lunch. So it depends very much on the baby’s personality again.

Again,  I think for parents who listening,  it sometimes might sound like you’ve ended up with having, you know,  it looks like it’s the gold standard. And that truly is not  the reality for all parents. And to have a fussy baby who’s over tied to ours is the reason why we put the wake time windows in, because we want to make sure  that you are actually settling little ones regularly.

Cass: We’ve done a bedtime routine from two weeks old where he’s had a bath and then we play stars and he has a bit of a massage. And then we get him ready for bed, change him and it’s all very in the dark. He doesn’t go back downstairs. In the first couple of weeks, I was actually going to bed with him at 7:38, but then I really struggled, but because  I wasn’t having an evening and I felt like I wasn’t having any adult time at all. And I suddenly thought this isn’t actually very good for my mental health. So what we do now is we settle him upstairs and put him down in the sleepy head in his crib. And then when he’s really down, we take him down without him knowing he’s been taken down again, have dinner and I have a sort of hour downstairs as an adult.

Meg: Yeah.

Cass: And then I come up and go to bed. He is now actually sleeping for five hours on that first session. So he goes down at about yeah, 6:30 at the moment. He’s tending to fall asleep and he’s waking up in 11:30 and then he’s doing three hours and three hours after his two feet. So he’s doing, but that has only happened in the last few nights. What was happening is, he was doing his five hours, but then, after the two night feeds, he was only managing one sleep cycle, so 45 minutes. And then, he was waking up again and I was reacting while  I was getting up to give him another feed and that sort of thing. And he was falling asleep quite on the first feed a bit maybe, so I felt he hadn’t fed properly. So I would get up and feed him, and then I’d think, oh, I don’t know if you’ve got a dirty nappy, I’ve got no way of knowing. So I’ve got check because I can’t make you sleep in a dirty nappy. Anyway, I’ve now switched it. And after a conversation with my mother, we tried a new thing where I’d actually just don’t get out of bed, I just put my hand on his stomach and  I gave him a dummy and he has started to settle himself and now we’re doing the three hours and three hours.

But certainly, I made a note earlier in the week to go, what an earth do I do?

Meg: Yeah

Cass:  But I just wondered why it was after those two night feeds. It’s no other time of the day. But after those two night feeds,  he just does wake up after 45 minutes. Now I’m settling him, but he’s still doing it. Why would he be doing that now?

Meg: Yeah. So interesting. So 45 minutes as you know is  a sleep cycle at his age. So what happens is they fall asleep, take them about 15 minutes to go into deep state of sleep and  after 15 minutes, they do what’s called the hypnagogic startle, which is a little startle reflex, it often wakes.. If a mommy is listening, it’s got a cat-napper, a baby wakes after 15 minutes. That’s when they wake with that hypnagogic startle, the babies then  who go deeper, go into deep state of sleep and after 45 minutes come into a light state of sleep and that’s 45 minutes, you can sit or clock by it. It’s literally 40 to 45 minutes for all babies at this age. And what he’s doing is he’s coming into that light stage of sleep and waking up.

Now, what I love about what your mom said, is that deep pressure of putting your hand on him is actually exactly what you need to do. So most babies don’t do it in after the midnight feeds, most babies actually does it at the evening feed. So at 6:30, he would go down and quarter past seven, he would wake, that’s very, very common. And for there, if it’s the early part of the evening, I actually do recommend doing a cluster feed. So I do actually recommend doing one extra little feed or little top-up feed, and then they’re often then settled in for the night. So if it’s happening in the first  sleep session of the night, I do say a cluster feed. If it’s happening after 11 o’clock, 12 o’clock,  one o’clock, whatever any of those feeds, then the best scenario is just to put your hand on them and to put the dummy in exactly as you’re doing.

Again, in that situation, you’re not using the  dummy to fumble for feed because you know his feed, you’re using the dummy to help with his peristalsis and he’ll actually settle and go into a deeper state of sleep. And so, what you’re doing is actually perfect, the pressure and the dummy, it will pass. I know that it’s frustrating right now, but it will pass. And certainly at his age for being four weeks to go for that stretch until 11:30, 12 at night, is this absolutely perfect. And what you’ll find is that will start to stretch out over the next couple of weeks, it’ll become 12 and then one, and then before, you know, it I’ll be having a feed at one o’clock four o’clock and then seven o’clock. In other words, really he’s only having kind of one or two night feeds. So he’s really doing well with his sleep.

Cass: Yeah, he is. And actually talking of the night. So I know we’ve spoken before about between five and seven, is there awake time and the they’ve got  the day, you know, you wake them up for the day and that sort thing, but he’s been waking up at 5:30 in the morning and   I’m afraid I’ve slightly ignored you but only because   neither of us are working at the moment or I work for myself anyway. So I’m not strict time. And so what we’ve done is 5:30 and then I’ve put him back down and he’s done an extra hour which takes him to 7:30. And it just means that I get that extra hour, he then sort of wakes up and he doesn’t need an immediate feed.

So Alex can take him, get him dressed, take him downstairs and I’m able to have a shower and sort myself out.  So I’ve been doing that, but is there a specific, is that fine? Is there a specific reason what five to seven is, is there something I’m impacting later in the day?

Meg: No, no, no, no, no, no, absolutely not. So between five and seven, again, you know, I keep talking about averages of babies between five and seven is when the majority of babies do wake up for the day and five o’clock feels terrible  for parents. It’s horrific.  It feels like the middle of the night, especially as we go into winter. So yes, I mean five o’clock and later is, when they wake up.  What’s probably happening if he’s awake at 5:30, is he probably is actually awake for about 45 minutes, if he’s having a feed, a nappy change and so on. So you’re actually putting him down after a sleep cycle and  he’s going through until just after seven for his first morning waking. So that’s absolutely perfect what you’re doing. Definitely no reason why not to do that. What I do find for most moms is that five o’clock in the morning when they do put their babies down, they just won’t settle.  And those are the babies where I say get up for the day.

Cass: Yeah.

Meg: So you will know as a mom is it’s at 5:30, he alert, he’s awake, he clearly is not going back down. In which case, you’ve just got to get yourself into motion and just keep going for the day. Or is it that he still seems really dosing,  we’ll settle back to sleep with just a dummy in your hand on him in which case absolutely, get that extra eye of sleep. No problem. Yeah.  Cass, it sounds like you and Max are doing a great job at the moment, I think. I mean just a little bit…

Cass: At the moment.

Meg: Well, I mean, I can take you a little bit of feedback. First of all, clearly he is a settled baby, but there’s so many things that you’re putting in place that are also creating good habits. So a small thing that I think most parents don’t do at this age is a bedtime routine. And most parents are just kind of winging at feeding baby in front of the TV or whatever it is on the run downstairs. But by separating their night, you really are establishing good sleep habits. So by following almost the gold standard recommendations with your own sense, I love that you’re bringing your own sense into it. You are creating really good habits for Max. So we are very much in a good trajectory and I’m sure a lot of parents are able to learn from your experiences through this.

Cass: Oh, well, no. I mean, I have to say,  as again, when he starts smiling you, because he now seems to love his bedtime routine, it means it’s something that we look forward to and it’s a joyous part of the day.

Meg: It is precious.

Cass: It is that that makes a huge difference and makes it much easier. And I do think if, if there are any mums who are stroke for me, it was a real mental health switch when I suddenly decided no I’m going to have my evening, is I going to actually put him down and have that time where I come back down  and I have some  adult time.  You know,  I do feel I’ve struggled and I’ve adapted this week  with just learning it’s all trial and error, but just learning, yes, I’ve got to do the right thing for him, but I also have to find that balance for me because otherwise I’m not my best version of myself for him. And so I’ve,  I’ve had to make a few changes to help myself over the last week  or so and at the moment, it’s paying off. As I keep saying to my friends, in a week’s time, it’ll probably be a very different situation.

Meg: Yeah. Well, I mean, you touched on that mental health aspect of early mothering. I mean, it is such a cog. I think even you are, you feel insecure, you feel like you doubt yourself, not sure if you’re doing things right. There’s so many questions that are not answered and  I mean, I can remember the evenings just absolutely dreading the nights and just thinking, how on earth am I going to do this? You know? And also losing myself in the process where, you know, and so I think having that hour in the evening where you can actually spend time with your partner, if that’s possible, is really good advice. It is.

Cass: Yeah, definitely. And I had a boss that was really nice as well. Yeah. Had a boss if you can,

Meg: And feel a little bit more sane. Yeah. It’s a hard part of our lives that transition into motherhood and really, is a tough time and obviously peppered with all the gorgeous joys of having a newborn.

Cass: Absolutely.

Meg: Cass, thank you so much – the time has flown!

Cass: Thank you Meg.

Meg: As usual, have loved our chats and we’ll connect again next week.

Cass: Great. Thanks so much Meg.

Meg: Thanks you too.

Cass: Bye.

Meg: Bye.

Thanks to everyone who joined us. We will see you the same time next week.  Until then, download Parent Sense App and take the guesswork out of parenting.


Meg faure

Meg Faure

Hi, I’m Meg Faure. I am an Occupational Therapist and the founder of Parent Sense. My ‘why’ is to support parents like you and help you to make the most of your parenting journey. Over the last 25 years, I’ve worked with thousands of babies, and I’ve come to understand that what works for fussy babies works just as well for all babies, worldwide.