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What is Restless Legs Syndrome?

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes the uncontrollable urge to move your legs generally due to an uncomfortable sensation. It is a neurological disorder that impacts the brain, spine & connecting nerve tissues.

What is Restless Legs Syndrome?
It can create an uncontrollable urge to move your legs in response to pain or discomfort. This typically happens in the evening or during the night while you are sitting or lying down. Generally, movement eases the unpleasant sensations.

Could my child have Restless Legs Syndrome?

This syndrome can begin at any age and generally worsens as you get older. In the US it is reported that up to 1.5 million children have been diagnosed with the syndrome.

What are the symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome in children?

Typically you would see it taking children who are experiencing the syndrome taking longer to fall asleep due to discomfort and the need to move. They may also have issues around staying asleep which could in turn create increased daytime fatigue due to the cycle of broken sleep.

What causes Restless Legs Syndrome?

The causes of RLS in children and adults vary. A genetic factor exists and it can be hereditary in families. Approx. 80% of children who are diagnosed with RLS have one direct family member who also has signs of the illness. Other factors that can contribute include;
What is Restless Legs Syndrome?

How can you treat Restless Legs Syndrome?

There is no specific treatment for RLS. There have been medications trailed however the long-term risk factors of use of these medications in children q re not known. Iron deficiency has to be considered and treated under the guidance of a medical professional.

At home you could try the following to help ease symptoms;

What should I do if I think my child has Restless Legs Syndrome?

What is Restless Legs Syndrome?
Start by keeping a log or diary of what is happening. If your child can articulate to you how they are feeling start to write down the words they are using and what is happening while they are in discomfort. Then make an appointment to see your family doctor to discuss the symptoms. You may then be referred to a paediatrician for further investigation which could include a stay in a sleep clinic if sleep disruption is a factor.

If you’re struggling to get your children to sleep, then you may turn to a family sleep consultant for advice and guidance. A sleep consultant's primary role is to educate families on all areas of sleeping, including the biological needs of the child, sleep hygiene and how to get day and night sleep timings right. If you work one to one with them, then a sleep consultant will be there to support you along each stage of the journey armed with experience and expert advice on how to solve your sleep issues.

What Does A Sleep Consultant Do?
Firstly, many parents do not realise that there is a science behind sleeping. Children need to sleep within their biological sleep rhythms to make it easier for their brain not only to fall asleep but stay asleep for as long as necessary. The prime time for sleeping will be dependent on the child’s age. For example, did you know that from 6 months, daytime naps are starting to mature and longer stretches at night are achievable?

Secondly, a sleep consultant will be able to review your child’s sleep environment and suggest improvements that can support your child’s overall sleep. Having a cool and dark room may seem like the obvious first steps to creating a peaceful, effective environment to help your child sleep but did you know certain nightlight colours can impede melatonin production, including white & blue?

Depending on the child’s age, a sleep consultant can recommend whether your child should be in a cot or a bed and whether they should have a pillow, sleeping bag or duvet. There may be additional requirements for your child’s room that you haven’t yet considered, for example from a young age, a white noise machine will remind babies of the womb and will help block outside noise.

What Should I Ask A Sleep Consultant?

To get all of the help you require from a sleep consultant, it’s worth compiling a list of all the questions you may have before your consultation. Check out their credentials. Where did they get their sleep certification? Make sure to check out the organisation and how established it is. The more comprehensive the certification and experience they better equipped they will be to comment on any sleep issues and suggest how to help your child sleep.

Although you may think your one and the only question is how to get your child to sleep, you may find a sleep consultant can help with much more than that. Sleep Consultants will be able to advise on setting up a safe sleep environment and also give advice on feeding schedules for your little one. Plus, advise on how to juggle getting out and about with your little one and balance the needs of older siblings.

What Does A Sleep Consultant Do?
As with most areas of parenting, the best answer or solution to any question will be unique to you as a family rather than a set in stone ‘right way’ to do things. A sleep consultant will take the time to understand the lifestyle of a family and make suggestions on a case by case basis. With this in mind, you must be open and honest about boundaries and requirements from the start.

A good sleep consultant will speak through all of the available options and answer any questions so that you are fully satisfied and confident with the sleep solution suggestions that they make. If you work one to one with a Sleep Consultant they will stay in touch over the weeks following the final meeting to be on hand for any further help and support.

Where Do I Start?

If you’ve decided that it’s time to take the next step and request support from a sleep consultant, then first things first, you need to find one that you can trust. It’s critical that you look for a sleep consultant who is professionally certified. Additional areas to research could include their previous client testimonials, which will help you get a good understanding and feel for the consultant based on their previous work. Once you’ve narrowed down your research, initiate a conversation, and get the ball rolling.

What Does A Sleep Consultant Do?
Your good sleep solution could come in the form of a one to one session where a consultant will produce a sleep plan based on their recommendations. Alternatively, you could complete a series of sleep programs or courses where you look to educate yourself and learn how to get the best night’s sleep for your child at each age and, in fact, the whole family. If you think that a sleep consultant is a right for you, then reach out today and start looking forward to that good night's sleep.

Dealing with Sickness & Sleep

As a Mum to 3 children myself, I have dealt with all levels of sickness and the overall impact it can have on family life. Everything from standard common colds, dreaded tummy bugs & emergency surgeries!

Dealing with Sickness & Sleep
Let’s be real about this, sickness is definitely going to cause sleep disruption for you and for your little one. Nobody is comfortable with sleep when they're sick. Think about how you feel if you are unwell with a chest infection, you are coughing, you are congested, you have a fever. You are uncomfortable and you are not going to sleep well. Now, think about your child and what it will be like for them if they are unwell – not too different to you huh!?!

Even if your child is normally sleeping independently, being sick can absolutely create disruption to their sleep ‘norm’.

The good news is that sickness does pass. It is a point in time and they will be well again.

What do you do when your child is not well?

1. Make your child comfortable

The biggest thing that you need to remember is that you have to make your child as comfortable as possible. Ensure that they have the medications that they need. Use over the counter remedies such as age-appropriate Vicks Rub to help them with circulation and congestion. Use a diffuser with essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus, or tea tree in their room. Prop the top of their cot to help with nasal drip coughs. There are lots and lots of simple things that can help your little one feel more comfortable through bouts of sickness.

2. Support them

When little ones are not well they are going to need you more than ever. So, respond to them quickly do whatever you need to help them feel comfortable and supported. Hold them, rock them, stay and reassure them if that’s what is needed. Them getting as much sleep as possible is the first step to them getting well again.  So if they need a little more daytime sleep while not well, let them have it. The more they sleep the quicker they will heal.

3. Avoid returning to square one

If you have worked on sleep with your little one and recently made steps towards your family's sleep goals then avoiding going back to square one would be advised. For example, if you have recently moved away from co-sleeping then avoiding returning to it during times of sickness would be advised. If you have recently weaned from nursing at night but your child needs additional fluids perhaps providing them via a bottle would be more helpful. Back steps like this could be confusing for your little one so trying to avoid them is advised.

4. Return to routine

When your child is well again return to your family ‘norms’ around sleep. So essentially return to routine. If your child was previously sleeping through and things have really come undone, don’t panic, all is not lost. Simply stay consistent and over a few days, things will return to normal again. Children are very adaptable and when they see consistency from their parents these skills really come into their own.

What do I do if my child gets sick a lot?

There are very often situations with children where they will get one thing after another after another. So really what you need to do is in between each spell of sickness try to get back to your norms around sleep again.

Dealing with Sickness & Sleep
This can be very frustrating for everyone and returning to your family's sleep goals can be frustrating for your children. Figure out what works for your parenting style and fade out the dependencies that have formed.

How do I get sleep back on track again after sickness has passed?

When your child is well then return to the ‘norm’ around their sleep that was there before they got sick. That can create frustration for the child because their expectation around sleep has changed. And really that is what you're dealing with, frustration. Initially, they may not like that they are no longer sharing your bed but if you are consistent around the changes back to your family's sleep norms, in a few days, they should return to them themselves.

Dealing with Sickness & Sleep

‘Lovie’ may or may not be a term that you are familiar with. When we use this term it is in reference to an object that your baby can form a bond with. They may also be known as a transitional object or comfort object if you are doing any research on the topic.

What is a Lovie?

A lovie can be anything from a teddy bear to a blanket or a combination of the two! Something that is safe for your baby to have with them at sleep or comfort time.

Introducing a Lovie for your Baby?
Let's talk about the safety side of things – super important, right? For babies, under 12 months of age it is not recommended that they have anything in their cot with them under safe sleep guidelines. You will also need to note any other possible hazards, for example choking. Avoid anything that has buttons or detachable pieces. 

So, when choosing what might be a suitable lovie for your little one to bond with think of their age and also examine possible objects for their safety features.

Why have a Lovie for your baby?

The truth of the matter is not every baby will need a lovie however I would encourage all parents to try to see if their babies will form a positive association with something that will given them comfort at times where they may need it – such as sleep. A lovie becomes a familiar object that can bring comfort to your baby at a time when they need it.

Introducing a Lovie for your Baby?
When a baby is settling themselves to sleep it can be something that they turn to while settling off that brings them a sense of security and bond. Well, isn’t that what I am for, I hear you say? Yes, parents are of course the most important security that your child will have however you may choose to sleep independently so it is nice that your child has something familiar that they can cuddle too.

These objects can also be very useful when handling change around your little one's sleep. Perhaps they are starting childcare, you are moving home, a new sibling arrives or developmental milestones are happening. This lovie will become something familiar in a world that might be a little bit different and help them on the path to adjustment.

When should you introduce a Lovie?

I encourage parents to start the bond with a lovie from 4 months but only within safe sleep guidelines. Use it at times of comfort such as feeding, playtime, and the sleep time routine.

Introducing a Lovie for your Baby?
However, do not allow it to go into their cot until 12 months or beyond. Offer it after sleep for them to snuggle into when they have woken from their slumber. That way bond and attachment are formed from early.

However, do not be surprised if your little one does not form a bond with a lovie straight away. In my experience by consistently offering one comfort object the bond will come but at what age range is child dependent. With my own children, 2 had formed the bond well before 12 months but with my last child that bond didn’t form until after 12 months.

My baby is under 12 months, can they have a Lovie?

Yes! However, it is not recommended that it goes into their cot with them at sleep time. You can however allow them to have it outside of sleep time to encourage bond. Have it with you and give it to them at feed times. Use it as part of the bedtime routine & give it to the baby when sleep is over. That way it becomes something that is familiar to them and although is not going into their cot with them is seen as something that is part of their bedtime cues.

Mom tips when it comes to a Lovie!

Remember, lovies can get lost or worn! So, my best mom tip is to make sure you have a few in stock at home! I learned this the hard way when my middle child lost her lovie in a supermarket and we didn’t have a spare at home! Let's just say my superstar sleeper was a little off-kilter until we got a new one & there was an emergency trip to the nearest stockist the following day.

By having a few on standby you won’t get caught as I did & when one is in the wash you will have another to take its place!

Lovies that I love!

1. The Slumber Bear from Prince Lionheart

This is my go-to lovie! Each of my children has one of these in different colours. When my youngest was born the older two gave him one as his ‘welcome to the family’ gift. As well as being a super soft cuddly bear it has the added feather of a heart machine that is similar to the sound of a mother's heartbeat in the womb. We love these & I would highly recommend them as a lovie.
Is your Child Ready to Stop Napping?

2. Lamb Snuggy Comforter

Lovies of this style are a real go-to for families. It has the combination of a blanket along with an animal feature to bond with. Super soft with no buttons or pieces that can be a safety hazard, I love products of this nature.
Is your Child Ready to Stop Napping?
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