baby sleep training

6 Mistakes to Avoid When Sleep Training your Baby

6 Mistakes to Avoid When Sleep Training your Baby

Are you thinking of sleep training your baby? Have you heard lots of differing advice and you’re not sure what to do or not do? I often hear of confusion as to ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and while there are some basic sleep skills we can teach babies from newborn (check out my 5 EASY STEPS TO TEACH YOUR BABY SLEEP SKILLS) I believe there is no absolute right or wrong but better or worse ways of approaching baby sleep!

I want to make it clear that all the advice and support I offer, now and always, is based on gentle and holistic strategies. I do not use any forms of controlled crying or crying it out. I believe that responding to your baby’s needs is always the priority – day and night! Have a read of a fantastic book called ‘Why Love Matters’ by Sue Gerhardt. It’s an amazing and beautiful way to really learn and understand your babies needs in the early days, weeks, months and years. Even in utero!

So I want to outline 6 mistakes to avoid when sleep training your baby.


Starting too early

I’d advise not to begin sleep training your baby until they are a little over 5 months. Ideally 22 weeks. Prior to this, your baby simply isn’t developmentally mature enough to cope with sleep training, In fact, up until this point, it’s more common than not to still be feeding through the night too so it’s really best to just put things in place from the early weeks to support their own sleep skills and wait until they are physically and emotionally ready for the gentle changes that come with sleep training.

In fact I’d suggest 5-7 months is the optimum age to sleep train but of course, whatever stage you’re at, sleep training can be done. Bear in mind, as your baby gets older and turns into a toddler it’s more tricky as habits are more deeply ingrained!

Be mindful that what’s always important is going with your babies needs. I know some baby experts have really clear guidelines as to amounts and timings and while can be important, I believe that trusting your instinct as a parent and being as in-tune with your baby as possible offers a much more nurturing, enriching and bonding parenting experience.


What’s your plan?

Often parents want to make some changes but they are really not sure on what a plan might be, what one looks like and haven’t thought through all the details. A sleep plan does not need to be complicated. It just needs to cover enough to have know what you will do with each sleep time, wake time and how to respond to each waking. I’ve written a post ‘Before You Start Sleep Training Your Baby’ which you might find useful. A sleep plan is something we could work through together if you felt you needed professional support and guidance to help you through whatever stage you’re at with your little one.


Sleep is a skill

Understanding that sleep is a skill we all learn is sometimes quite a surprise to hear! There’s that old saying ‘sleeping like a baby’ as if babies are born knowing long, restful, deep sleep. Well, we all know that is definitely not the case! I think that saying is more related to the amount of sleep a baby needs in total, with no thought to the frequency they need to wake for feeding, changing and nurturing.

Your baby has had so much help in the womb. It was warm, cosy, noisy and moved a lot! So it’s a big change when they have to learn how to sleep without that same environment. This is of course why we mimic some of these things for them such as white noise, swaddling and rocking them to sleep. We’re helping them to sleep and this is what I mean by sleep being a skill. Babies are not born knowing how to fall asleep by themselves and even harder, to resettle after a natural sleep-wake cycle!

Perhaps your expectations for your baby are high and you may not have realised. Do you feel your baby ‘should be sleeping through the night’ because people ask you all the time “are they sleeping through the night yet?” Are you preparing to return to work and feel your baby ‘should be sleeping through the night’? Your lifestyle, your needs as a family, society and fear of judgment from others can be a factor in how you manage your baby’s sleep. It might be helpful to reflect on these things. Be patient and kind to yourself.


Lack of routine

Sometimes it can be easy to focus on sleep. Just sleep. But actually it’s important to think about the whole picture. What I mean by this is holistically look at other aspects of your baby’s world. Their routine, their environment, their diet are also very crucial when thinking about improving their sleep.

I always talk about routine being your friend, your BEST friend and this is something that when put in place, can really help with sleep now and set the foundation for all aspects of your baby as they grow into a curious toddler and pre-schooler.



Very often I’ll talk to parents who are so keen to crack on with a sleep plan. Hurray! But when we talk some more, it becomes clear they are planning a trip away, or there’s some big changes happening in the home soon. In this case I always advise to wait until everything is as settled at home as it can be.

So I recommend holding off with sleep training if your little one is about to start nursery or have a new caregiver, you’re planning a family holiday, you’re going back to work, you’re moving home, you’ve got workmen in, you’ve got family coming to stay….you get the picture! You will get the most positive results from sleep training when all things like these are not happening!!

Obviously life is life and things crop up and changes happen so there will be times you may have to deal with the things in the middle of sleep training but ideally, keep disruptions and major changes to a minimum to help get your baby sleep better faster!


Overlooking their sleep environment

Having an optimum sleep environment is SO important too and something that can overlooked. There’s several things to think about here…


What’s the temperature of their sleeping place?

Ideally it should be 16°-20° and is best maintained with thin layers and socks rather than thick clothing that can help them get too hot (this is a factor when increasing the risk of SIDS. I always encourage parents to follow the guidelines of The Lullaby Trust.


Are there blackout blinds to ensure no sunlight creeps in?

Tiny slithers of light can disturb a baby so easily, especially as it’s the time in the early hours when sleep naturally becomes lighter and therefore it’s easier to be woken by sunlight.


Is it too stimulating for them?

Have a look around their room. Are there lots of toys, mobiles, colours and stimulating things to keep them from feeling calm and settled. What we see as adults may not be as impactful upon our eyes and nervous system as it is to your little baby whose senses take in so much all the time. Try to ensure toys are tidied away and it’s a quiet, neutral place to wind down for sleep.


Is it too quiet for them?

Remember how I earlier talked about just how noisy it was in the womb (your blood pumping, your heart beating, your amniotic fluid sloshing about) and sometimes babies find it hard to settle if it’s too quiet. Also, on the other hand, big noises and bangs can be equally unhelpful for your baby’s sleep which is why white noise can be great. It can sooth and mask unwanted noises and keep a stable comforting noise instead. Once your baby is six months or over, thing about pink noise. It is on a slightly different frequency and research shows it can help improve the depth and quality of sleep. Have a listen on NOISLI to hear the difference. It might even help you too with relaxing and productivity!



So there you have it. 6 mistakes to avoid when sleep training your baby. If you’re thinking about sleep training, bear these things in mind BEFORE you begin and you’ll be on the road to success! To recap, think about…


Your baby’s age. Don’t start too early.


Your plan. What are your sleep goals and how might you get there? Think through a plan first.


Sleep is a learn skill. It’s your job to help your baby learn this skill. Not to do it for them but to encourage them to do it for themselves!


Do you have routine in place for day to day and not just sleep? They are all connected and important!


The timing of when you begin sleep training is key. Wait until after that holiday, until they are well settled in nursery. A more settled home and routine will encourage the sleep training to be more productive.


Don’t forget to look at their sleep environment. Is it too warm, too cold, to bright, to stimulating?


Good luck with any changes you decide to make. I’m only an email or phone call away if you feel you do need some sleep support. Don’t forget to check my blog on my website and even more, you can join my The Little Sleep Coach Community and never miss a thing and get your FREE Ultimate Infant Sleep Guide as well as lots of other advice and support.


In this together


Caroline x

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Money Saving Family

5 Family Money Saving Tips

Here at Little Pickles HQ we love to bag a bargain. Why else do you think we created a business to save families money through the year. We don’t only love saving money on kitting our Little Pickles. But we also love to find deals and look for ways to save money raising our families on a daily basis. So we thought we would share 5 family money saving tips with you all.

  1. Budget – Make a budget and keep to it. If you have a budget when you go out shopping you are much more likely to keep within this. Even more so if you withdraw cash to pay as when the money has gone it’s gone. It is so easy to hand over your card and lose track of your spending.
  2. Meal Plan – Many people was so much food, therefore money too, as food goes out of date. So at the beginning of each week plan the week’s meals out. It can be useful to use a white/chalkboard in the kitchen to do this. Adding use by dates for meat and veg is helpful too, in case something comes up and you have to rejig meals. Also, meal planning is great to keep you organised and not panicking at 5pm trying to think what to cook.
  3. Free Family Days Out – We all love a family day out but some of these can break the bank. However, there are so many free days out all around us. Museums, Parks and Seaside, Scavenger Hunt.
  4. Childcare Vouchers – Childcare vouchers can save many parents with kids aged up to 15 over £1,000 per year on childcare. However you can only claim them via employers, you will need to check if your employer takes part. Check for full details.
  5. Claim cashback – if you are an online shopper, then it is no brainer to claim cashback on your spending. From car insurance to nappies. A new pair of trainers to run around after your Little Pickle to a new TV. A holiday to upgrading your smartphone. There are plenty of sites around but Quidco and Top Cashback are two popular ones.

I hope you find these 5 tips useful, if you have one that saves you a packet and you want to share please feel free to comment below.

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Baby Shower

Planning the Perfect Baby Shower

So the baby is cooking nicely, all the big ‘things’ have been ordered, nursery decorated and now thoughts can turn to the baby shower. Perhaps you are organising your own baby shower or perhaps you’ve been tasked with the job for the newest mum-to-be on the block?

Baby Shower

Here at Little Pickles, we’ve put together this short guide to help with planning the perfect baby shower!

First, consider the guest list – is this a girls only event or is dad-to-be included too? Are children invited? If family are on the list, it’s best to clear dates with them first to ensure they can make it – nothing worse than leaving family members out in the cold.

Once you have the guestlist it’s time to decide on the venue – the current trend seems to be hosting at a tearoom and having an afternoon tea style affair – though this does pose the question, does the host pay for all in the party or will guests need to pay for themselves?

Alternatively, if the host has a big enough area in their house that can be a great option – or even a local village hall or community centre.

Will there be a theme for the baby shower?

If the gender is known, go with the obvious – plan the theme around pink or blue, elephants and bunnies are nice, soft animal theme choices too – or if you’re not sure on the sex, then keep it neutral with whites, golds and pastels. You can never go too wrong with greys and yellows in my experience!

For the additional little touches, if you’re a creative type then homemade bunting and pompoms are a lovely touch to warm up the room. Etsy and Not On The High Street are fab for both generic and personalised items. Or if budget is a little stricter, Poundland and Home Bargains have an array of cheap and cheerful bits suited to a shower.
What food is baby shower appropriate?

If you’re not at a catered-for venue, like a café or tearoom, then the best food for a large number of people is a finger food/buffet style. Delicate cut sandwiches, pinwheel wraps, little sausages, pork pies, quiches, carrots, cucumber, peppers and dips and a few bowls of crisps. Be sure to make it all pregnancy friendly.

And don’t forget cake! Throw in cake pops for a splash of gender-related colour, if known.

Cake Pops

Another nice touch is to treat guests to mocktails in mason jars with paper straws!
What games are well received at a baby shower?

  • Baby bingo – who will be the first to get a nappy pin or baby bottle line?!
  • Guess the nappy contents – melted snickers bars or generous smears of marmite make fabulous meconium style nappy contents!
  • Guess the baby drink – gather together a number of babies bottles and fill them with various drinks and just like the nappy game, albeit a bit more pleasant, ask your guests to guess the contents.
  • Stick the dummy on the baby’s mouth – a bit of a twist on the classic children’s party game of pin the tail on the donkey.
  • Guess the date of birth and weight of baby – and if unknown, guess the gender!
  • ‘Advice for the parents’ cards – this is always a nice keepsake for parents to look back over in years to come
  • Decorate a babygro – arm yourself with a pile of white babygros and fabric markers and set your guests to work on designing

    Baby Shower DrinksFor the games, be sure to get some little prizes together to award the ‘winner’, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy but is a nice touch…if budgets allow.

But most of, remember, that the nicest part of a baby shower is to ensure that the mummy-to-be is able to chat and catch up with all of their loved ones; this will be the last time in a while that they’ll be sitting still, drinking hot tea without a baby puking on their shoulder or a toddler clinging to their legs!

Written by Jess from Prosecco Mum you can find her on all the socials below

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Introducing our Organiser – Tanya

Introducing our Organiser Tanya

Little Pickles Market Organiser

Where do you run Markets?

Eastleigh, Romsey, Chandlers Ford, Totton, Applemore and Brockenhurst

What is the item you can’t live without other than your family?

My Phone! I know sad right but it keeps me up to date with work, the world and the kids happy when needed!

How many children do you have?

2, a 12 year old son and a 5 year old daughter. I can not believe that I will soon have a teenager in the house!

If you woke up tomorrow as an animal, what animal would you choose to be and why?  

I would like to be an Orca, free in the ocean surrounded by so many animals but big enough that I am not going to get eaten in the first week!

Where is your favourite place to be and why?

 I love  South Wales, would move there tomorrow if I could but kids not so keen on leaving friends and family.

What is your favourite children’s book? I was a massive Enid Blyton fan and loved her Naughtiest Girl in the School series.  I can not wait for my daughter to enjoy reading and buy them all so I have a sneaky read too. Now I enjoy getting into a Patricia Cornwall book.

Cinema or fancy restaurant?

Cinema is a luxury for me definitely and something that I should do more often. My daughter is not a fan, so makes it harder to go.

Which one spring, summer, autumn, or winter, let us know why?

Tough call there is something about every season that I love, the flowers in spring, the warmth in summer (well maybe not always in the UK!), the leaves changed colour in autumn and the kids faces waiting for a white Christmas in Winter.

Name one thing you always carry in your handbag?

Epi Pen, something that has to be with me at all times due to allergies I have gained following my last pregnancy.  

One bit of information you wish you’d known before becoming a parent?

That the feeling of being a mum is the best in the world, I would have done it sooner! Having kids changes your whole world and sometimes you do not know how you will get through the next hour or even day, then you realise how lucky and privileged you are to be given a child or my case 2.

Best bargain you have found at a Little Pickles Market?

At Little Pickles it would have to be Monsoon dresses for £1 each which were so beautiful and at Bigger Pickles just recently it was a box of Barbies and clothes for £3 which my daughter has already played with every day for the last 3 weeks.

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Little Pickle’s First Christmas Present Ideas

First Christmas Present Ideas

Having children at Christmas brings with it a whole new magical dimension; there’s nothing more special than your baby’s first brush with the festive season and all the glitter and lametta that it brings!

Baby's 1st Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year so for babies first Christmas do you go for practical gifts to be played with or personalised keepsakes to be looked at from a distance? Do you put money into a savings account for when they’re older or do you go all out and fill the tree with gift upon gift?

Below is a range of gift ideas for babies aged 0-12 months – with a budget to suit all;

  • My 1st Years do a wide range of lovely personalised items; one of our favourites is this pull along caterpillar which can have up to six letters printed on it to give it that extra special touch.
  • Photoshoot – around Christmas, many photographers offer ‘mini’ sessions so you can have professional photos done of your little one – you could then make them into Christmas cards or printed and framed as gifts.
  • Toybox – you’re bound to get an abundance of toys so why not treat your little one to a toybox to keep them all in?
  • Sophie the giraffe – are you even a parent if you haven’t succumbed and purchased this glorified dog chew toy?! You can get Sophie on her own boxed or in various gift sets with smaller teethers, rattles and a book. If baby is still gummy, it will be a saviour when those pearly whites start making their appearance. Sophie Giraffe
  • Personalised teddy bear – What baby doesn’t love a teddy bear to snuggle up with? If you’re looking for a bit more of a keepsake gift as opposed to an everyday teddy, the Steiff range includes soft bears as well as classic and limited edition bears…which come delivered in a beautiful box too.
  • Books – It’s never too early to get your children into books! Usborne do a great range of ‘Baby’s Very First’ and ‘That’s not my…’ which have touchy feely bits on them. Or you can never go wrong with timeless classics like The Hungry Caterpillar or Guess how much I love you. That's Not My Books


  • Musical instrument set –there is no better sound than a baby laughing at the shaking of a maraca or tambourine or the joy of watching them bash a stick to a little round drum. Note: maybe buy yourself some ear defenders!
  • Sensory toys – most toys get put into little one’s mouths or just held in in their little fists so ensure the toy you pick has got a bit of texture to it. Whether it be a light up cube, a crinkly cuddly, a bobble ball or a baby-safe mirror, you won’t go far wrong.
    Sensory Toy
  • Stacking cups – a pretty inexpensive toy, but one that is loved by all children. Babies enjoy banging them together to make noise or knocking them down, once they’ve been stacked up for them. Later on they can be used to hide toys under and play ‘peek-a-boo’ with!

Stacking Cups

  • Hand /feet prints – there are many craft centres who offer hand and feet paintings on to pottery. Why not get a trinket box, coaster or butter dish printed with babies hand print?


  • When celebrating such a monumental event as a first Christmas, it is perfectly acceptable to go completely OTT, so buy up those ‘Baby’s first Christmas’ vests, babygros and bib sets…heck buy the full Santa/Elf costume too!

Though babies first Christmas is a milestone event to us as parents to them they will be more interested in the boxes and wrapping paper than the gift that is inside! We’re holding a number of markets in December, why not pop down and see if you can pick up some new/nearly new bargains at a fraction of their retail price?

Written by Jess from Prosecco Mum you can find her on all the socials below

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