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Annemarie Sansom


Hi, my name is Annemarie and I am the Client Services director for Night Nannies. I use this blog as a way to give you tips and idea's in all areas of childcare and development.

Posted 04 February 13

Sleep Guidance workshops SYDNEY MARCH

Upcoming Night Nannies specialised Workshop Weekend – if you’re interested please email your name & courses you’re interested in attending.

DATES: Sat 16th and Sun 17th March Location: Epping


Sleep Guidance - $110 (9.30am-3.30pm) includes manual and practical components plus Certificate

Dunstan Baby Language -$66 (2 hours) includes manual and DVD plus Certificate

Breastfeeding Guide for Nannies - $88 (3 hours) includes handouts and Certificate

Behaviour Workshop for Nannies - $44 (1 hour) includes handouts and Certificate

· Sleep guidance is for Nannies wanting to learn and understand Sleep, techniques, routine and guidance so you can implement these techniques on the job or as one of Night Nannies specialists. Lots of fun and group participation


Our Breastfeeding Guide for Nannies is run by one of our fantastic specialists who is a fully qualified Nurse and covers all aspects of understanding Breastfeeding, milk production and how to support Mother and Baby.

· Dunstan Baby Language is the language of babies 0-3months and is a must for Nannies wanting to work with newborns. Its invaluable to have as one of your bag of tricks in helping build confidence in new parents in their role.

Understand what your baby is asking of you and prevent those horrible crying sessions in the arsenic hours.

· Behaviour Workshop (NEW) is a basic Workshop on the ins and outs of preventing and managing behaviour in the 0-3’s

Posted 12 February 13

Interview with our Director Annemarie Sansom on Puggle FM radio

Come and listen to our Director be interviewed on Puggle FM an innovative new parenting radio station

Posted 20 February 13

Running the gauntlet of Child care rebates and subsidies, heres a little guide

Round up of government subsidies 2013 checklist of what you can and can't claim and how much

If you're new to the whole child care game this year or even if you aren't, we've seen a lot of changes over the last couple of years in child care, in terms of the child care benefit, rebate, and paid parental leave and it can all be a bit confusing.

So we thought it would be useful to put together an up-to-date checklist of what, how much and when you can and can't claim the child care benefit, rebate, paid parental leave and Baby Bonus

So here we go for the basics, just so everyone's on the same page:

Child Care Benefit - full details

Child care benefit is means tested. Eligible families can be earning no more than $150,000. Child care benefit is only for “registered” approved child care* (which currently excludes nannies, babysitters and au pairs) and is payable for up to 50 hours child care per week. Parents can claim it either as a lump sum or as reduced fees through their child care service.

Proposals are being discussed to include nannies in the registered/approved child care category, allowing parents to claim rebate for nanny fees.

* Approved child care can include outside school-hours care, family day care, vacation care, long day care, in-home care, and some occasional-care services. Grandparent carers may also apply to be "registered" carers.

Child Care Rebate - full details

Not means tested although you have to be eligible in terms of residency and work/study requirements to register for child care benefit (even if you won't get it due to income) and to be using approved child care. Rebate amounts to 50% of child care expenses (fees) up to $7,500 per child per year and can be paid weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually and can be paid direct to you or via your child care service.

Paid Parental Leave/Baby Bonus - full details

Means tested under $150,000 family income. Parents must also meet the work/study test requirements (have worked at least 10 of the 13 months prior to having the baby and have worked 330 hours of those 10 months with no more than an 8 week gap). Eligible working parents may receive Parental Leave Pay for a maximum of 18 weeks at minimum wage. If it is not paid by your employer, the Dept. of Human Services will pay it directly to you. Parental leave payments may affect other benefits. Parents may not claim baby bonus AND Paid Parental Leave. You must choose between the two. Parents of stillborn children may also be eligible.

Baby Bonus - full details

Means Tested under $75,000 taxable family income. Parents must be eligible in terms of residency. Parents may not claim Paid Parental leave as well as Baby Bonus. Parents must apply within 6 months of the birth of the child. Parents of stillborn babies may also be eligible.

For in-depth information and eligibility questions go to Department of Human Services. Thanks to

Posted 21 February 13

do you really want to do controlled crying?

One explanation for the success of 'crying it out' is that when an infant's defeat response is triggered often enough, the child will become habituated to this. That is, each time the child is left to cry, he 'switches' more quickly to this response. This is why babies may cry for say, an hour the first night, twenty minutes the following night and fall asleep almost immediately on the third night (if you are 'lucky'). They are 'switching off' (and sleeping) more quickly, not learning a legitimate skill.

Whether sleep 'success' is due to behavioural principles (that is, a lack of 'rewards' when baby wakes) or whether the baby is overwhelmed by a stress reaction, the saddest risk of all is that as he tries to communicate in the only way available to him, the baby who is left to cry in order to teach him to sleep will learn a much crueler lesson – that he cannot make a difference, so what is the point of reaching out. This is learned helplessness.

ontrolled Crying The big debate - Controlled crying versus non controlled crying

by Annemarie Sansom - Director Night Nannies Australia

The debate on these two topics has always been heated with Grandparents and Mothers groups swearing by their own tried and tested methods.

Firstly what is controlled crying and where did it come from?

Controlled crying is a method that was created by Dr Truby King who wrote the book Feeding and Care of Baby in 1913. Dr King was a Surgeon and specialist in Neurological disorders. Seen as somewhat revolutionary for his time when he helped to establish The Plunkett Society in 1907 and Child Public Health Services in England. Dr Kings were controversial as they still are today in that he believed women should not gain a higher education as it would effect their maternal function and have a damaging effect on the human race. Truby King's methods specifically emphasised regularity of feeding, sleeping and bowel movements, within a generally strict regimen supposed to build character by avoiding cuddling and other attention. Dr Kings methods continued in popularity until the 1950's.

These methods did not sit well with all Parents and there was much controversy in relation to Parents being able to cuddle their babies and to not have such a regimented routine.

American paediatrician Dr Benjamin Spock published a book in 1946 called "The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care". Spocks revolutionary message to mothers was that "you know more than you think you do." Spock was the first paediatrician to study psychoanalysis to try to understand children's needs and family dynamics. His ideas about childcare influenced several generations of parents to be more flexible and affectionate with their children, and to treat them as individuals, whereas the previous conventional wisdom had been that child rearing should focus on building discipline, and that, e.g., babies should not be "spoiled" by picking them up when they cried.

"Previously, experts had told parents that babies needed to learn to sleep on a regular schedule, and that picking them up and holding them whenever they cried would only teach them to cry more and not to sleep through the night. They were told to feed their children on a regular schedule, and that they should not pick them up, kiss them, or hug them, because that would not prepare them to be strong and independent individuals in a harsh world. Spock encouraged parents to see their children as individuals, and not to apply a one-size-fits all philosophy to them."

Controlled crying is that of to control the cries of your child. This has changed over the years to become more politically correct "controlled comforting or controlled settling". The method has been adapted in Sleep clinics and Sleep Hospitals from Dr Kings 1950's method to a timing method where you place the child into the cot and then leave the room for 1 minute and return then leave for 2 minutes and return and then leave for 3 minutes and return gradually allowing the child to cry then stop, cry then stop until the child falls asleep.

Feedback from Parents on this method is anything from immediate success to the affect lasting a week right through to traumatic experiences where the child becomes so distressed and is hysterical, even getting to the point of vomiting. One sleep School currently in operation still tells parents to use this method and when the child vomits to not look at the child, clean up the vomit and leave the room with the baby still hysterical as apparently the child is showing a manipulative behaviour hence the reason it allegedly forced itself to vomit.

Other adaptations to the traditional controlled crying method is comfort settling attending to your child, patting, resettling and then leaving the child to cry for short bouts before returning. This method is to teach the child how to "self settle."

There is then the extreme opposite of these methods which is called The Continuum Concept. Proposed by Jean Liedloff in her book The Continuum Concept. According to Liedloff, in order to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional development, human beings - especially babies - require the kind of experience to which their species adapted during the long process of their evolution. For infants, these include such experiences as:

The infant being placed immediately in the mother's arms at birth, and from then on carried constantly in arms or otherwise in contact with someone, usually the mother, and allowed to observe (or nurse, or sleep) while the carrier goes about his or her business - until the infant begins creeping, then crawling on his/her own impulse, usually at six to eight months; Co-sleeping in the parents' bed, in constant physical contact, until leaving of their own volition (often about two years); Breastfeeding "on cue" - nursing in response to the child's body's signals; Having caregivers immediately respond to body signals (squirming, crying, etc.), without judgment, displeasure, or invalidation of the child's needs, yet showing no undue concern nor making the child the constant centre of attention; Sensing (and fulfilling) elders' expectations that he or she is innately social and cooperative and has strong self-preservation instincts, and that he or she is welcome and worthy. Some families follow some where in between Spocks methods and Leidloffs methods and find a successful medium. Others work in between Kings methods and Spocks and also find success. It is up to each family to decide what they are comfortable with and what works for them. There are so many experts and books and family members offering advice that sometimes you need to just believe in your own instincts and own abilities to find what works best for you.

The Australian Breastfeeding Association has an article on their website discussing controlled crying and the definition from the Macquarie Dictionary which is defines control as:

to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command; to hold in check; to curb.

There is also a published position paper from the Australian Infant Mental Health Association which discusses the research showing that controlled crying can possibly lead to anxiety problems later in life.

I remember reading an article when we were researching alternate methods for Night Nannies but mostly in relation to my own baby at the time 5 years ago about a baby bird that is abandoned by its Mother in its nest. The Baby bird chirps and chirps hoping its Mother will come back. It doesn't understand why its Mother has left and not returned to attend to its chirps and to make it feel safe. The baby bird does this until finally it has no more energy and realises its Mother is not going to return and goes quiet, giving up hope and does not chirp anymore. It made me wonder if this is what our babies think when we practice this type of method of controlled crying on them.

Having worked with babies and children for nearly 20 years and a qualification in Early Childhood Development I still questioned methods I had learnt as a young newly qualified Child Care Worker and Maternity Nanny but not until I had my own baby 5 years ago when I suddenly realised the depth of emotional bonding and attachment and how important it is. How my breasts would ache and leak milk when I heard my baby cry. How I would become distressed when my baby was distressed. Did leaving my baby to cry it out and get so upset that he would bang his head on the cot in hysteria sit well with me? no way! Everyone I called for help followed the same methods and philosophy to just leave your baby to cry. The Early Childhood Nurses said the same thing at the local Baby Clinic and so did the Mothers in my Mothers Group, family and friends.

I feel proud and happy that we found alternate methods that worked for me, my baby and my Husband. Creating Night Nannies and recruiting Nannies and Nurses of the same philosophy was difficult initially but a trickle soon turned into a strong flow and now we have a strong team of specialists who share their experiences, knowledge and training with families who come to us for guidance around Australia.

Night Nannies have had the privilege and opportunity to be invited into many families homes and we work with each family on an individual level. Each family has their own beliefs and feelings and influences. The families we work with utilise us as a support and guide in relation to confidence building in their own abilities and also providing Sleep Guidance in a gentle format with individually tailored programs. We offer realistic expectations of their children and the understanding that babies DON'T sleep through the night and that we DO have to attend to our babies through the night. Although, we can make this an easier path to sleep with gentle techniques and empowerment of parents to believe in their own abilities. We do not believe in controlled crying but we do work with families who are looking for alternate methods and philosophies in helping their children and themselves to get a good night's

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