- Name: Charmian Mead
- Children: None as yet...
- Where: Cheltenham
- When: 5th July 2018
Charmian Mead has been working with families and teaching her methods across the UK for 20 years - her method, The 7pm to 7am Sleeping Baby Routine, allows babies to sleep a full 12 hours a night, naturally from as young as 6 weeks.
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A full 12 hours of sleep from such a young age certainly piqued our interest at Up All Hours and with sleep being such a worry for most new parents, we grabbed ourselves a copy of her new book, The 7pm to 7am Sleeping Baby Routine (Vermilion £12.99) and also managed to have a quick chat with her about why she feels her routine can really provide a solution for knackered parents.
So, tell us a bit about yourself and why you decided to write your new book, The 7pm to 7am Sleeping Baby Routine?
My strong maternal instinct has led me to spending my working life with babies and children, I’ve been teaching my routine for over 20 years and wanted to write this book to show parents a method that can either be used to help encourage positive sleep habits but also a better understanding of lactation, a new-born’s digestion and a routine which is flexible and adaptable to the individual; a new way of looking at routine. People are always surprised at how early babies in my care sleep through the night but also don’t expect it to be a natural progression.
As well as being passionate about my work, I am also passionate about music and healthy living. Even when I’m working, I’m at the gym every morning with my iPod getting energised for the day ahead; I find it helps with the years of broken sleep. I really do know what it’s like to be up all night but with my routine, parents don’t have to suffer with sleep deprivation, but for me it’s continuous as I move from family to family.
For a parent who is thinking of buying the book, tell us about the basics of your routine.
The short version is that my routine teaches newborns positive associations with sleep and feeding, the difference between night and day and to encourage meeting your baby’s needs in the way of increasing milk intake and awake time during the day, which ensures a peaceful nights sleep. The nights are baby-led, with no dream feed, but you will find your baby naturally sleeps for longer as a result of a structured day. The routine can be used as a guide to a better understanding of your new baby, feeding and digestion or to be followed closely to help you get a full night’s sleep.
From what we understand, your routine focuses on the baby’s digestion, so tell us more about how this works?
A newborn’s world is centred on feeding but they are born with an immature and sensitive gut which is unable to self-wind until 3 months of age. It also takes three years to build a gut with good bacteria which helps digestion. It makes sense that digestion should be your main focus when establishing a routine or feeding on demand because without a happy, full and comfortable tummy no routine will work. Good digestion makes all the difference to your baby’s sleep patterns, temperament and ability to wake up during the day.
My routine structures feeds in order to allow a newborn’s stomach to completely empty between feeds which aids digestion and encourages active feeding, as well as fuller feeds. Also most new parents underestimate how much air a baby will take in while feeding and the amount of winding needed during and after feeds whilst digesting milk. To combat this, I advise breastfeeding mothers to eliminate wind forming foods from their diet, such as onions and peppers which can cause pain and discomfort for your new baby. Breaking to wind your baby regularly throughout the feed and then at 10-15 minutes intervals after a feed while digesting will ensure your baby is fuller for longer and comfortable to play and sleep.
The question that all new parents want the answer to - how much sleep does a newborn baby actually need?
On average a newborn needs around 18 hours sleep per 24 hours, but each baby is an individual and some babies need more sleep than others. The 7pm to 7am Sleeping Baby Routine encourages the bulk of this sleep at night, teaching very early on the difference between night and day.
Can your method be used on older children, say an 18 month old that is still having sleep issues?
I certainly do help children of all ages with sleep routine,s but they would require a slightly different method to my 7pm to 7am Sleeping Baby Routine depending on their age. My current book is a routine specific from birth to the weaning stage, but watch this space as my next book will be sleep solutions for older babies and children.
And finally...it just wouldn't be an interview with us unless we finished up with the Up All Hours quick fire round and luckily for us, Charmian was happy to oblige:
Up All Hours Watching: Don’t judge but... Love Island has got me hooked at the moment, but I do love a good comedy film.
Up All Hours Reading: Guilia Enders, Gut.
Up All Hours Wearing: Skinny jeans and Nike Internationalist or my unicorn onesie.
Up All Hours Eating: This is tough as I’m a real foodie! Super healthy and I’m the queen of superfood salads, but love a rare steak and fries at the weekend.
Up All Hours Listening To: I have a sound track to my life so it’s a hard choice, but my favourite band is Kasabian and I have a passion for dance music.
If you could be Up All Hours with anyone, who would it be? Well if I’m to go deep with this one, I’ve been up all night with everyone else’s babies for over 20 years and hope I’m able to be up all night with my own baby someday soon.