Babies And Sleep: The Benefits Of Co-Sleeping

downloadCo-sleeping defines a range of sleeping styles – from sleeping with your baby all night, to taking your little one into your bed for an early morning breastfeed and snuggling together for a few extra zzzs.

For some families, co-sleeping can mean embracing not only the baby, but a whole new concept in bedroom decor with baby’s cot butted against the parents bed and the nearest side down for easy access to comfort baby.

This option may be preferable if one partner is extremely tired or anxious about bed-sharing. However, if you do this, make sure that neither the cot, nor your bed can roll and there are no gaps between the cot and your bed.

The bottom line is that many parents share sleep with their babies – according to a recent study at Durham University, 63 percent of parents often take their babies into bed with them. So, rather than ask, “Is it safe to sleep with my baby?” we should be asking, “How can I sleep with my baby safely?”

Whatever your sleeping arrangements, it is important to provide a safe sleeping environment for your baby. If you choose to sleep with your baby, both parents should feel comfortable with the decision and accept equal responsibility for baby’s safety

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  • Do not sleep with your baby if you are under the influence of any substance such as alcohol or medication/drugs (prescription or otherwise i.e. antihistamines) that could induce a deeper sleep and reduce awareness of your baby (either partner).
  • Do not co-sleep if you are a smoker (either partner). The risk of SIDS is increased if the mother smokes during pregnancy or after the birth. There is also some evidence to suggest that a father smoking during his partner’s pregnancy increases the risk, and if both parents smoke the risk is doubled. In fact, it’s preferable not to let anyone smoke near your baby.
  • Sleep on a firm, flat surface (not a waterbed) and ensure the mattress tightly intersects the bed frame.
  • Don’t co-sleep on a couch or sofa, as babies can easily slip down into the crevice or face-first between cushions, or they may become wedged between the adult and the back of the couch.
  • Avoid overheating by keeping baby’s head uncovered and do not use electric blankets whilst co-sleeping. Baby will be kept warm by your own body heat, so avoid over dressing or over bundling baby – enjoy the delicious skin contact.
  • If you have long hair, tie it back, and consider that very large breasts or extreme obesity may reduce awareness of your baby’s position.
  • Avoid pungent hair sprays, deodorants, and perfumes. Not only will these camouflage the natural maternal smells that baby is used to and attracted to, but foreign odors may irritate and clog baby’s tiny nasal passages.
  • Cut off ties from your own nightwear that may pose a strangulation hazard to baby.
  • At first it is wise to position baby next to mother, rather than between mother and father, as fathers tend to sleep more deeply and may be less aware of the baby.
  • Take precautions to prevent baby from rolling out of bed, even though it is unlikely when baby is sleeping next to mother.  Perhaps place the bed firmly against the wall, and fill cracks or empty spaces with a rolled up blanket, or use a guard-rail – mesh guard rails are safer than slatted ones.
  • To prevent baby becoming ‘stuck’ between the night table and bed if in the unlikely event that he does accidentally fall out of bed, make sure any furniture is pushed far away from the bed.
  • Don’t allow older siblings to sleep with a baby under nine months. Sleeping children do not have the same awareness of tiny babies as do parents, and too small or too crowded a bed space is an unsafe sleeping arrangement for a tiny baby.
  • Never leave a baby on an adult bed unattended
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Tips Of Finding The Right Pacifier And How To Take Care Of It

 

How do I select the right pacifier?

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Pacifier Holders are very helpful. Moms, this is our answer to lost binkies!

Pacifiers come in a variety of colors, designs, and nipple shapes. If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to pick up a couple of different styles — maybe one with the standard round nipple and one of the “orthodontic” shapes, which have a round top and a flat bottom — to see whether your baby has any preference.

You’ll find them in two sizes, one for babies up to 6 months of age and another for those 6 months and older.

Whatever size and style your baby prefers, be sure the model you buy is sturdy and cannot possibly come apart (those molded out of one piece of plastic are best), with a shield that’s 1 1/2 inches or larger, so that your baby can’t put the entire pacifier into her mouth.

The shield should have ventilation holes to allow air circulation. Without these holes, a baby’s saliva can collect behind the base, causing a skin rash or irritation.

You have a choice between latex and silicone nipples. Silicone nipples are the sturdier of the two. They also clean more easily and don’t retain odors. But your baby won’t find them as soft in her mouth as a latex nipple.

Latex is more flexible, but because it’s softer, your baby will probably wear it out faster. You’ll want to avoid latex if you have any reason to think your baby might have a latex allergy. (She’s at higher risk if she’s had frequent medical treatments or operations in which she was exposed to latex products.)

You may come across pacifiers that are labeled BPA-free or phthalate-free, but phthalates haven’t been used in pacifiers sold in the United States since 1999, and BPA is not normally contained in latex or silicone, either.

Once you find the perfect pacifier, be sure to buy extras or try to look for a good pacifier holder. Binkies are always getting lost!

Sleeping babyWhen should I replace a pacifier?

That depends on how vigorously and often your child sucks it. Pacifier nipples do wear down with age and use, so check the binky thoroughly before placing it in your baby’s mouth.

Look for discoloration as well as holes, tears, and weak spots that could cause the nipple to break off when sucked, putting your baby at risk of choking. Some nipples also become sticky with age.

Pacifiers aren’t very expensive, so it’s best to replace your baby’s as soon as it starts to show signs of deterioration.

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Before the first use, wash the pacifier with soap and water, and rinse it well. Some sources recommend boiling the pacifier for 5 minutes before the first use to get rid of any chemical residue. After that, you can wash it in hot, soapy water (rinse well).

Silicone pacifiers can be run through the dishwasher (use the top rack) regularly, but latex pacifiers usually aren’t dishwasher-safe. To prevent fungus, it’s a good idea to soak the pacifier in equal parts white vinegar and water for a few minutes once a day. Rinse well and air-dry completely.

If your baby drops her pacifier on the floor, it’s fine to simply rinse it off in hot water and return it to her. (Don’t “rinse” it in your mouth.) If it falls on the sidewalk, it’s best to clean it in hot, soapy water. Carry a spare for just such an occasion!

What else do I need to know?

Here are a few safety tips you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Don’t try to fashion your own pacifier, even in a pinch. Taping a nipple to a plastic bottle top, for example, is dangerous because it can come apart and the nipple could get caught in your baby’s throat.
  • Resist the urge to use a string or ribbon to attach a pacifier to your baby’s crib or loop it around her neck — this is a strangulation hazard. It’s fine to attach the binky to your baby’s clothing using a pacifier holder or diaper pin.
  • Don’t coat your baby’s pacifier with anything — especially sweets, which can cause cavities. Honey in particular isn’t safe for children younger than a year old, because it can cause botulism, a potentially fatal food poisoning.

Development Of Babies

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First Month

Newborns

Your baby is born with some amazing abilities – he is not just a little sponge waiting to soak up experiences. From the moment he is born, his ability to snuggle into your neck, grip your finger tightly and look into your eyes will have you falling in love.

Healthy newborns are perfectly attuned to their own needs. Though their eyes are not yet able to focus on things that are far away, baby can focus perfectly well on your face when you hold him in your arms – the distance from your nipple to your eyes!

Your newborn can also hear. From around 28 weeks of your pregnancy your newborn has been able to listen, hearing both the sounds of his mother’s body and noises from the outside world. Studies have found that newborns react more strongly to the higher pitch of a female voice, than to a deeper male voice. Newborn babies are soothed by the sound of their mother’s voice chattering and cooing to them – and they can be upset when that voice becomes sad or angry. Interestingly, many dads find they raise the pitch of their voice when talking to their newborn.

Baby’s nose is also a sensitive organ and a newborn can tell the difference between the smell of his own mother’s breasts and that of another person. This is combined with a well developed sense of taste (babies have more taste buds than adults) which is finely tuned towards the sweet, milky taste of breast milk.

Newborn babies are also born with a number of reflexes, some of which are vital for survival. These include the rooting reflex which enables baby to find his mother’s nipple when his cheek is placed nearby, the sucking reflex,the swallowing reflex and the gagging reflex that prevents him from taking too much liquid. He is also able to cough up the mucus that has filled his lungs for the last nine months. When a baby is put down on his tummy he will automatically turn his head; he won’t just lie with his head down. This is known as the labyrinthine reflex.

 

abfy-02-420-420x0Second Month

Understanding your baby’s cry
Crying is the most important way your baby has of communicating with you. There are seven main reasons for a baby to cry – babies do not cry without a reason! Some babies cry more than others and are often called ‘high-needs’ babies – they need more attention than those with more placid personalities.
Babies cry because:

  • They are hungry. Little tummies can empty fast so even if you have just fed baby she may need a top-up. If you leave a hungry baby to cry it can take ages to settle her, so always try offering more food before she gets very upset.
  • They are in pain. It may only be a little pain – a bruise or knock, but babies can’t tell the difference between big and little pains. If you can’t see the cause of the pain try cuddling, rocking and soothing. If baby has had an accident your best precaution is to seek medical attention.
  • They are uncomfortable. Wet or dirty nappies, scratchy clothing, prickly hats, tight bootees or socks. Baby may be too hot or cold. Put the back of your hand on baby’s bare chest to check.
  • They are lonely. For nine months your baby was snug and comfortable inside your uterus. Some babies need company more than others but babies who are left alone too much feel insecure. Baby can sleep near you (even in a noisy room), lie on a rug nearby or be carried in a sling or your arms.
  • Baby has had too much. Too much light, too much noise, too many people, too much play – babies can get over stimulated by strong sun, loud noises, clucky relatives and over-excited children. Take baby away into a quieter, darker place where you can soothe her.
  • Baby is bored. Older babies need a stimulating environment, but this will not be a big problem until closer to his half year mark.
  • They are frustrated. This usually happens to older babies who are trying to learn a new skill and simply getting cross when things don’t work out!

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Third Month

Your baby is already working hard to become more mobile. As her head and neck muscles become stronger she may soon learn to roll over. This means that you may want to start changing her nappy on the floor. Babies have a habit of surprising their parents with their new found abilities.

Your baby is likely to be babbling away to you now. You can help develop her language skills by talking to her throughout the day. Try describing what you’re doing as you do it, even if it’s just loading the washing machine.

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Fourth Month

Your baby is becoming keen to explore his surroundings. Try giving him materials of different textures to explore or a rattle to shake. Your baby is also more likely to be distracted by what’s going on around him, so feeding may become more difficult.

As his vision develops, your baby can distinguish between shades of the same colour, such as red and orange. He will be looking at brightly coloured mobiles and play gyms now.

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Fifth Month

Your baby is becoming much better at expressing herself. She will show her affection by giving you hugs and kisses, and holding her arms up when she wants you to pick her up. She may even laugh at your jokes.

You may find your baby watching you intently as you speak. She is learning more about how language works. She may soon recognize her name if you call it.

By now, your baby’s physical development is coming on fast and furiously. If you sit her on your lap, or put her on the floor, she may be able to sit for a moment without assistance.

To help your baby sit, move her legs to form a V shape. This helps her balance while sitting and reduces the risk of her toppling over. Once she is in this position, place a toy in front of her to play with. Make sure you’re nearby to provide support, and surround her with pillows to cushion a possible fall.

You could also encourage your baby to play lying on her tummy. Lifting her head and chest to see a toy will help to strengthen her neck muscles and develop the head control she needs for sitting up. You could also help her strengthen her legs by standing her on your thighs and bouncing her up and down.

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Sixth Month

Watch out for signs that your baby is keen to start solids. He may watch intently as you eat, and even make a grab for what’s on your plate. Be sure to capture his first taste of food on camera. Life is about to get messier!

At six months the average number of hours a baby will sleep during the day is four and the average number of hours at night is ten. This is an average, some will need more, some less – but it shows that most babies still need to get an important part of their sleep quota during the day.

It is important that baby has a routine, but it should not rule your life. If you are out and it is baby’s normal nap time, then do as much of his normal routine as you can – change, feed, rock – whatever your routine is. There is no reason why he can’t sleep in your arms or over your shoulder at times like this.

 

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Seventh Month

Sitting up!

Most babies can sit quite firmly from around the age of six months; others will topple at the slightest breeze. Some however will not sit until they are nine months. This is perfectly normal. A baby with strong neck muscles will sit first . A baby who cannot sit unaided will enjoy being propped up and carried around in a baby chair, but it is important that he has time on his tummy and on the floor so that he can use his muscles.

The Early Riser

If you are hearing more bird calls than ever before in your life then chances are you have an early riser, who wakes with the birds – okay in winter, but not much fun in summer. Your baby is awake because for the time being she has had enough sleep. There is a good chance things will change before too long, so don’t be too worried.

 

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Eight Month

First tooth

A few babies are actually born with teeth (about one in 1,200). This is just a quirk of nature. Other babies will get their first teeth any time between the age of three and 13 months. On average, the first front teeth appear in the middle of the top gum at around seven months, the two bottom teeth follow soon after. A month or so later, two more will appear on either side of these. By around her second birthday she will have 20 first teeth.

The normal sign that your baby is teething is sore gums and baby may be grizzly, dribble more than usual and her sleep may be interrupted. Teething does not cause diarrhea, vomiting, a temperature, ear-ache or other pains – if baby is suffering from these symptoms then it is time to see the doctor.

Baby on the move

Between eight and ten months many babies will start to move. Some will crawl, some will do a funny kind of crab walk, some will simply bottom shuffle or go backwards and others will not crawl at all. There is no reputable evidence that babies who don’t crawl will be slow in other skills.

Before he can crawl your baby needs to learn to sit. Then he must learn take all his weight on his forearms and hands. Next he must work out how to get his legs under his body and come up on his knees. Once this is achieved there will be lots of rocking back and forth before one day he actually moves forward – or backward!

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Ninth Month

Playtime with your baby is becoming more fun. She will love to empty and fill containers, or stack cups and rings. At this age you and your partner will be her best playmates.

She may not limit her exploration to toys though, and you may find yourself using the word “no” more often. She probably understands more from your tone of voice than the actual words you use right now.

Your baby is getting closer to walking, but most babies don’t take their first steps until their first birthday. You may notice your baby cruising, which is where she moves around upright while holding on to furniture.

A few nine-month-old may take a few steps, with support from you. Your baby is also learning how to bend her knees, and how to sit after standing, which is harder to master than you may think!

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Tenth Month

Crawling

Around now, your baby may be able to crawl well on his hands and knees. As he gains confidence, he will start to pick up speed. Your baby can also sit confidently now.

Your baby may have a go at pulling himself up from a sitting to standing position, too. He may even walk while holding on to furniture, possibly letting go momentarily and standing without your support. However, he may find it a bit tricky to sit down again, so be prepared to help!

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Eleventh Month

Your baby will now understand simple instructions, including the meaning of “no”. This doesn’t mean that she will do as you ask! Try to use the word “no” only if she is doing something dangerous, or you may find yourself saying it all the time.

Bright, colorful books will capture her attention now. It’s a good idea to visit the children’s section at your local library so you can enjoy some new books along with the old favorites.

At mealtimes, your baby may be able to grip a cup and drink from it independently, and hand-feed herself an entire meal. Once your baby can drink from a cup by herself, you may need to start ducking, because she may toss it aside when she’s finished!

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Twelve Month

Your baby may soon be walking, if he isn’t already. As he becomes more mobile, his interest in noisy, boisterous activities is likely to increase. At least he will be getting plenty of exercise!

Communication is becoming more two-way now. If you ask him where his nose is, he may be able to point to it. As his understanding grows you can start to teach him manners, such as saying please and thank you. You may be able to persuade him to help tidy up his toys, too.

 

Advantages Of Pacifiers

Most babies have a strong sucking reflex. Some babies even suck their thumbs or fingers before they’re born. Beyond nutrition, sucking often has a soothing, calming effect. That’s why many parents rank pacifiers as must-haves, right up there with diaper wipes and baby swings.

For most babies, pacifiers are the key to contentment between feedings. Here are some of the advantages of using a pacifier.

download (2)A Pacifier Might Soothe A Fussy Baby

Some babies are happiest when they’re sucking on something. Pacifiers may also help soothe your baby during common medical procedures, such as when he or she gets an immunization (also called a shot) or a blood test.

Pacifiers provide a calming effect and have been used for pain and anxiety prevention. A subgroup of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) lists pacifiers as one of the key methods for pain relief in newborns and infants younger than six months undergoing minor procedures in the emergency department.

 

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Uggogg & Inny Pacifier – Parker the Penguin

A Pacifier Offers Temporary Distraction

A pacifier might come in handy during and after shots, blood tests or other procedures.

 

A Pacifier Might Help Your Baby Fall Asleep

If your baby has trouble settling down, a pacifier might do the trick.

 

A Pacifier Might Ease Discomfort During Flights

Babies can’t intentionally “pop” their ears by swallowing or yawning to relieve ear pain caused by air pressure changes. Sucking on a pacifier might help.

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A Pacifier Might Help Reduce The Risk Of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Experts suggest that  offering pacifiers to infants at the onset of sleep to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The guidelines recommend not introducing pacifiers to breastfeeding infants until one month of age because later onset of pacifier use appears to have fewer negative effects on breastfeeding.

Pacifiers should not be forced on the infant or reinserted during sleep if the infant spits it out. The exact mechanism of benefit for reducing rates of SIDS is not fully understood, but pacifier use may decrease the likelihood of rolling into the prone position, increase arousal, maintain airway patency, decrease gastroesophageal reflux and resultant sleep apnea, or increase respiratory drive with carbon dioxide retention.

A meta-analysis of seven case-control studies demonstrated a strong association between pacifier use and a reduction in the risk of SIDS, estimating a number needed to treat of 2,733.

 

 

Basics Of Pacifiers

How Does A Pacifier Works?

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Uggogg & Inny Pacifier – Uggogg the Panda

A strong suckling reflex is common to most babies. In fact, many babies are known to practice sucking the thumb or their fingers even before they are born. Sucking, apart from providing nutrition to babies, also gives them a feeling of familiarity, calmness and that is why some parents will always have a binky in their baby bags. Some babies are satisfied to suck during feeding and get settled with cuddles or rocking arms, while others can’t seem to have had enough-even though they aren’t hungry. It is at these times pacifiers will be the right thing if your baby still needs to suck after she’s had her milk.

What Are Pacifiers Made Of?

Pacifiers generally have three parts: the nipple, the guard -which rests on the baby’s lips and the  ring attached to the center of the guard. Artificial nipples are always made of a material that closely simulates a mother’s nipple. It is usually of latex or silicone and is occasionally of hard plastic. The guard is firmly attached to the nipple and prevents ingestion of the nipple by the child. Increasingly, pacifier manufacturers believe that the nipple and mouth guard should be of one material and molded together so that the two do not have to be fused during the manufacturing process. This guard must have holes in it to ensure that in the event of ingesting the guard the holes permit air to pass through to the windpipe. Finally, the ring at the center of the guard must be present in order to pull the pacifier forcibly from the mouth in the event of ingestion.

Should I Give My Baby A Pacifier?

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As a new parent, comforting your baby is one of your highest priorities, and you may find a pacifier very helpful. Some babies can be soothed with rocking and cuddling and are content to suck only during feedings. Others just can’t seem to suckle enough, even when they’re not hungry. If your baby still wants to suck after she’s had her fill of formula or breast milk, a pacifier may be just the thing. A pacifier is not a substitute for nurturing or feeding, of course, but if your baby is still fussy after you have fed, burped, cuddled, rocked, and played with her, you might want to see if a pacifier will satisfy her.

Pacifier Do’s and Don’ts

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If you choose to offer your baby a pacifier, keep these tips in mind:

  • Wait until breast-feeding is well-established. If you’re breast-feeding, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting to offer a pacifier until your baby is 3 to 4 weeks old, and you’ve settled into an effective nursing routine.
  • Don’t use a pacifier as a first line of defense. Sometimes a change of position or a rocking session can calm a crying baby. Offer a pacifier to your baby only after or between feedings.
  • Choose the silicone one-piece, dishwasher-safe variety.Pacifiers made of two pieces pose a choking hazard if they break. Once you’ve settled on a favorite pacifier, keep a few identical backups on hand.
  • Let your baby set the pace. If your baby’s not interested in the pacifier, don’t force it. If the pacifier falls out of your baby’s mouth while he or she is sleeping, don’t pop it back in.
  • Keep it clean. Before you offer your baby a pacifier, clean it thoroughly. Until your baby is 6 months old and his or her immune system matures, frequently boil pacifiers or run them through the dishwasher. After age 6 months, simply wash pacifiers with soap and water. Resist the temptation to “rinse” the pacifier in your own mouth. You’ll only spread more germs to your baby.
  • Don’t sugarcoat it. Don’t put sweet substances on the pacifier.
  • Keep it safe. Replace pacifiers often, use the appropriate size for your baby’s age, and watch for loose parts or signs of deterioration. Also use caution with pacifier clips. Never use a string or strap long enough to get caught around your baby’s neck.
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