Archives for June 2012

5 Tips for Increasing Baby’s Sleep

Every baby is different and will have different preferences when it comes to sleeping, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to successfully getting your baby to sleep through the night every night.  However there are some things you can do to aid your baby in falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer. Here are 5 tips for increasing your baby’s sleep:

  1. Swaddle the baby to make him feel safe and secure.  Lay a blanket down on the floor or changing table in a diamond shape.  Fold the top corner down several inches, so that it’s near the middle of the blanket.  Lay the baby’s neck on that fold.  Bring the bottom or opposite point of the blanket up to cover the baby’s legs and body.  The blanket should not cover the baby’s face.  Next take one side of the blanket and bring it across the baby’s body, tucking it under the baby snugly and making sure his arms are down at his sides.  To finish, bring the last corner of the blanket over the baby pulling it tightly over his body and tucking it in the corner under him.  Make sure this is secure because you don’t want the baby’s arms to come loose.  Swaddling mimics the tight quarters the baby experienced in the womb, and many babies find it comforting and will often fall asleep very quickly after being swaddled.
  2. Put on some white noise in the room.  Turning on white noise in the nursery is comforting to the baby because these monotonous sounds remind her of the womb, and there are many different options for creating white noise.  Turn on a fan, taking care not to position it directly facing the crib otherwise it could make her too cold.  Playing recordings of a vacuum or a lullaby CD will also work, and you can even purchase white noise machines. These are available in many sizes, including a travel size, making it convenient for any trips you may need to take with your newborn.
  3. Make the bedroom dark.  By making the bedroom dark you are conditioning the baby to sleep through the night which is the ultimate goal for most families.  Hang room darkening shades at the window so the room can be made dark any time during the day.  This also can prevent him from waking up with the sun in the morning.  Sleeping in a completely dark room has also been found to be better for your baby’s eyes.  According to a study completed at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine, nighttime light before the age of 2 has been linked to myopia later in life.  Myopia is the technical name for nearsightedness.
  4. Control the temperature of her room.  While there seems to be varying opinions on what the ideal temperature is for a baby’s room, one thing remains consistent.  The room should feel comfortable to you when you are in it according to the AAP, (American Academy of Pediatrics).  Ideally the temperature of the room should be between 67 and 70 degrees.  A room that is too warm can lead to a baby that is too warm and this has been linked to SIDS, (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  Keep an eye on her temperature when you come in for feedings.  Does she feel very warm to the touch; is she sweating or breathing quickly?  These could be signs that she is too warm and needs to cool down.  Circulating air in the room with some type of fan is also suggested as a way to avoid having the room feel too warm or stale.  Moving air will eliminate the chances of her rebreathing air which has also been linked to SIDS.
  5. Have a consistent bedtime routine.  Babies are all about routine.  Even though he is unable to say anything yet, his brain is growing by leaps and bounds.  His body registers all routines and creating a bedtime routine will help him know when it’s time to sleep.  This routine does not have to be a long one.  Many parents opt for a warm bath to relax him.  Followed by feeding him either by breast or by bottle.  Turn on some sort of white noise in the room and lay him down in a dark room.  If he is still awake at this point you can finish up with a gentle massage to sooth his tense muscles.  Beware, some babies are stimulated by massage instead of relaxed.

Well rested babies are happier babies. Giving your baby the tools she needs to maximize sleep now will help her to develop good sleeping habits for life.

10 Challenges with Bathing a Baby

Some new parents can get a little intimidated by the prospect of bath time with a new baby. Even as baby grows you may encounter a few challenges. Rest assured that any challenge you face can usually be overcome easily. Here are a few you may encounter.

  1. I don’t know how to bathe my baby – Many hospitals and pre-natal programs will provide training on infant care including how to bath your newborn before your due date or after the baby arrives.
  2. When can I bathe my newborn? – Knowing when it’s okay to give your newborn a bath can be a challenge. According to the American Academy of Pediatricians it is best to wait until the umbilical cord stump has fallen off. This usually takes about three weeks; until then, you can give your baby a sponge bath.
  3. Big bath tub, tiny baby – You don’t need to bathe your baby in the bath tub. For some people this may seem obvious but others may not realize that it isn’t really necessary to get down on your knees and bathe the baby in the big tub. There are a variety of infant tubs on the market for you to use on the table. These tubs are safer for baby and better for your back.
  4. What kind of tub do I choose? – Look for a tub that fits your baby comfortably. There are inflatable pool types of tubs that are just the right size for a newborn and there are tubs that have interchangeable parts that grow with baby. Reading the product reviews will give you an idea about how easy the tub is to use and what other parents think about the safety of the product.
  5. Choosing the right bath products – Your baby’s skin is very sensitive and delicate so choose a cleanser that is made for babies. Look for products that have a moisturizer and that don’t use alcohol or lots of chemicals because these can be drying to your baby’s skin. Many parents prefer the organic products available. Even with natural products, make sure you read the label so you know what you are putting on your baby.
  6. Preparing for bath time – You want to make sure you have everything ready for the bath, as it is important not to leave your baby once bathing begins. You may want to make a check list to use the first few times to make sure you have everything you need at hand and ready to go. This is for baby’s comfort as well as your own. You don’t want to get baby in the water  and then realize you forgot the cleanser or wash cloth, and you don’t want your baby to get chilled while you grab a towel or diaper.
  7. Slippery baby – When bathing your baby, you will find that things can get slippery fast. One thing that will help is laying a towel down in the tub. This will usually help keep baby from slipping from side to side in the water. If you wear a pair of cotton gloves it will also provide a better grip on baby.
  8. Baby hates the bath – If your child cries whenever bath time rolls around, you may need to check a few things. First, make sure the water is not too hot or too cold. Dipping the inside of your wrist into the water will give you a more accurate feel for the water temperature than using your fingers. Also, you don’t need to give baby a bath every day. You can do sponge baths in-between regular baths and this may actually be better for baby’s delicate skin.
  9. Baby doesn’t like getting face washed – It will take a little time for your little one to get used to bath time and certain aspects of it may be more traumatic than others. If your baby is having a hard time getting used to the face washing you may want to try just using your hands instead of a wash cloth or cotton balls to do the washing then gently pat dry with a towel or soft, dry face cloth.
  10. Washing baby’s hair – For a new born, you don’t need to use shampoo; a damp face cloth will do. Wipe down the head with the cloth and this should be enough. For older babies washing the hair can present a bit of a challenge but can be managed by using a shampoo that is gentle and won’t sting the eyes. You can also try using a sprayer (you can get the kind that attaches to the faucet) and a shampoo visor.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of bathing your baby is following all the safety rules. This can be managed by preparing things ahead of time and remembering the cardinal rule – always have one hand on the baby and never, never, never leave your baby alone in the water; not even for one second.