Welcome to the August edition of The Postnatal Project Q&A. Here, I answer two questions a month related to parenting, sleep, breastfeeding, postnatal depression and everything in between. If you'd like your question answered, get in touch via the contact page.
My 7 month old daughter wakes up 6 times a night. Her eyes are closed but she's crying?
I remember this time very well with my first. Firstly, I'd check in with your doctor just to triple check nothing else is going on. But with anything sleep related, you can nearly always guarantee that your child is a variation of normal. Tough for you - but a time that will pass.
It also depends how long this has been happening. You may have heard of the 8 month "sleep regression". I know she's 7 months old but the timing isn't always exact. This is because theres a lot going on in terms of brain development. You might like these articles in relation to this time.
"Sleep Regressions" - Why It's Not Actually A Regression
What the Heck Goes Wrong Sleep Wise at 8-10 Months?
My advice would be - and perhaps not what you're expecting because we are often looking for quick fixes which may not even exist - keep doing what you're doing. Keep supporting her through this time. Perhaps the mantra: "she's not giving you a hard time, she's having one" is useful here.
My other advice would be to make this time as easy as possible. If you don't already, could you have her in your room to reduce how long you're out of bed? Could you learn a bit more about biologically normal infant sleep and lower your expectations to match? In the meantime, I go into detail about how to cope with sleep deprivation in my eBook - available here.
My 3 year old absolutely hates having her thick, wavy hair brushed or detangled. Help!
This is something we are familiar with in this house too!
I'm a big fan of natural consequences. For example, if one doesn't brush their hair, they may get dreadlocks, they may need to have them cut out if it's too hard to brush them out and they may not like that. I would explain this without using it as a scare tactic - but more of a reality check. Show them pictures. Gently explain that sometimes we have to do things we don't particularly like - we may not like the process but we may like the outcome.
I think it's a great idea to put some responsibility back with her. Would she like to brush it herself? Would she like to learn more about other ways in which she can care for herself? Maybe you could teach her about self care and how important it is to take care of our bodies? Would she like to have a checklist where she ticks off "hair brushing" with a whiteboard marker?
Another option is to get a detangler spray (which you may have already tried) which makes it a bit easier. We also play hairdressers in this house. Sitting down at a chair and pretending my daughter is my client helps to add excitement to a task - I use a spray and make the time to do a nice braid. She may like to brush your hair in return (and maybe you'll cringe at the thought but that's how she feels too!)
Lowering your own expectations and honouring her right to body autonomy is important too. It's her hair. Perhaps she'd like to have it all cut off if she doesn't like the maintenance of long hair? Perhaps she'd like to have dreadlocks? Might sound extreme and all very big decisions for someone so young but I think it's a good foundation to build upon when we respect our child and their thoughts around something.
With all things parenting, "it's just a phase" may be of comfort.
If these were your questions, let me know how this made you feel. I also just wish to thank you for putting forward these concerns of yours that I'm sure are shared by many. We are never alone.
If you have more thoughts or concerns you'd like to explore and would like a detailed and personalised response, I also offers email consults which can be booked here. Please get in touch. I'd love to hear from you!