Queen Elizabeth Centre:
The QEC is a registered public hospital for parents and young children. It is situated in Noble Park, a suburb of Melbourne and offers a range of supports to families. QEC runs a residential program for 5 days through the week as well as a day stay program. These are free services to parents and children who hold a Medicare card. Both parents are encouraged to attend QEC residential program if possible or alternately, the primary care givers involved in looking after the child. The focus of QEC’s live-in program is education and support. Staff work with parents in identifying their own goals and help them to develop strategies in improving their parenting skills.
Services Provided by QEC:
- Residential Program which is situated in Noble Park. The only fee for staying is the daily cost towards disposal of disposable nappies if these are used. To book a place at QEC parents need to ring the centre and book a call with a nurse.
- Day Stay is also located at the QEC. This is a free service though there is a charge for lunch. Parents and their baby are admitted for a full day’s education and support for common feeding, sleep and settling issues. Parents need to ring the centre and book a call with a nurse before day stay can be organised.
- QEC Podcasts are available for parents via the QEC website. These cover a range of sleep issues covering the age groups from infancy through to toddlerhood.
Contact Details for QEC:
Telephone: 03 9549 2777
Settling Techniques Suggested by QEC:
Parents are encouraged to look for their child’s:
Parents are supported in learning how to:
- Establish their child’s routine during the day and night;
- To learn and practice their own individual settling techniques;
- Understand how their baby engages them when they want attention, feeding or to be cuddled;
- Watch for disengagement cues which are signs that their baby may want a break or to go to sleep.
Points for Settling Young Babies:
- Newborns sleep in short bursts and feed every couple of hours.
- It’s realistic to expect night waking; this doesn’t mean you have an unsettled baby.
- Be flexible and realistic. After six months babies can sometimes wake overnight for feeds because of habit. It is often worthwhile trying other methods to settle.
- It can be useful to offer babies a late night, roll over feed before they wake for feeding. An ideal time for this is around 10pm when many babies will accept a sleepy dream feed.
- Settling strategies can then be useful during the night because it is more unlikely the baby is hungry.
Points for Baby Night Sleep:
- Try not to go straight to your baby when they wake for the dummy overnight. Think about getting rid of the dummy if it is creating sleep and settling problems.
- Crying babies need their parents to help settle them. Place your hand through the bars of the cot and pat the mattress up near their head, at about the same rate as your heart rate. Continue for a little while and then leave the room before your baby is asleep.
- Place both hands firmly on their body and rhythmically pat their tummy or leg until they calm say shshshsh, remove one hand at a time. Stop patting when the baby is quiet and give them the opportunity to fall asleep on their own. Then leave the room.
Tips for Baby Day Sleep:
- Aim for self settling. Respond when you see tired signs and place your baby into their cot awake. Try to do this in a calm and confident way, tuck them in and give them a good night kiss. You need to give your baby a chance to settle independently.
- Stay outside the room if your baby is just grizzling or talking to themselves. Your baby’s crying tells you how distressed they could be. Stay calm and confident because your baby can pick up on your anxiety.
- Avoid overtiredness; this makes it harder to settle most babies. Talk in a calm and soothing tone. Experiment to find out what works for your baby. Reach through the bars rather than stretching over the top of the cot rails. Your baby may interpret this as meaning you are going to pick them up.
- Aim for your baby to have 1.5 – 2 hours sleep through the day. Less than this doesn’t allow for enough deep sleep and for them to wake up feeling refreshed.
- If nothing is working, a cuddle is always useful. Be patient and consistent with your settling techniques and don’t expect your baby to learn new settling techniques too soon.
- You are better to leave your baby safe in their cot for short while, than stay with them if you feel anxious or stressed.
Tips for Toddler Sleep:
- Many toddlers resist sleep. From 14-18 months most toddlers reduce to one sleep a day.
- They can transition from 2 to 1 day sleeps over a week or two. Offer an early lunch and then a day sleep. Most need a day sleep, or at least a rest, until they are at least 3 years of age.
- Regular routines and rituals help with toddler sleeping. Provide the opportunity for their day sleep at the same time, have quiet conversation time, make sure they are comfortably dressed for sleeping and have a special toy.
- Darken the room, place them into the cot or bed awake. Settling techniques vary depending on whether they are in a cot or a bed.
- Is when your baby goes into their cot awake. It pays to be confident, say good night and give them their special toy. Give them the chance to settle independently. Your child may be angry, but leave the room and try to understand their cries. Sometimes you will need to respond, say “shshsh, and cuddle your teddy, time to sleep”.
- Praise your toddler if they are quiet. Patting is sometimes not helpful for this age group, try stroking his head or his back instead.
- If your toddler is standing up, try to lie them down but avoid battles, try kneeling or sitting by the cot, give the same “lie down” message all the time. If they don’t respond then leave the room.
- It can sometimes help to stay with them, say shshsh, stroke their head or rub their back, offer less interaction as they soothe. Eventually toddlers are able to settle on their own.
- You may want to sit on a chair in the room or on their bed.
Open and Shut Door Method:
- This is about positive reward for efforts; explain that you will leave the door open if they stay on their bed. Take them back to their room if they follow you out.
- Follow through on what you’ve told your toddler; you may need to hold the door closed if they can reach the handle. Open the door slightly and tell them you will open the door when they are quiet and they are on their bed. Praise them if they respond appropriately.
- Get your child up after 1½ – 2 hours through the day. Open the curtains and make positive statements about them now being able to get up.
Remember: All methods need consistency and patience.
Check www.qec.org.au for more information about QEC Services.
For more information see Baby settling or Baby Care