Health organizations recommend roomsharing without bedsharing as the safest place for babies to sleep. Some parents love roomsharing, but others find it too disruptive to sleep next to a noisy baby. In this post, I look at the science to see how roomsharing affects sleep - both yours and the baby's - and how roomsharing protects infants from SIDS.
Posts tagged ‘Infant’
Guest poster Melanie Potock, pediatric feeding specialist, shares her best tips for comfortable and pleasant feeding of babies and young children using the S.I.T. Model: Stability and Independence at the Table.
You are 3 months old, and as your mother, there is something I must confess to you: I haven't yet cracked open your baby book. It sits neatly on my nightstand, undisturbed and unmarked, while a succession of telling objects rotate around it as the nights go by: pacifiers (mainly rejected by you), nipple cream, novels, water glasses, vitamin D drops (barely remembered by me), burp cloths, tiny nail clippers, cards of congratulations, a copy of Goodnight Moon, and a messy pile of kids' books and scribbled papers left by your older sister. These last three months have been wonderfully full. I marvel at how much you've changed in such a short amount of time and know how quickly these present moments will slip into the past. I don't want to forget them.
A recent study found that feeding children small amounts of peanut products in the first 5 years of life can prevent the development of peanut allergy. Here's what you need to know.
Nothing can prepare you for the changes in your sleep when you welcome a newborn baby into your family. Experienced parents will issue dire warnings and tell you to sleep while you can during the last few weeks of pregnancy. (And you will think, yeah right, there’s a large boulder resting on my bladder, and sometimes it kicks for good measure.)
But then the baby arrives, and your world changes forever. Sleep disruption is one of the most immediate and dramatic changes associated with parenthood. It isn’t just that you’re getting less sleep; it’s that your sleep is suddenly dependent on this baby sleeping. And even though newborns sleep a lot – as much as 16-18 hours per day – it feels disorganized and unpredictable.
The thing is, babies, even brand new ones, actually do have organized sleep, it just isn’t organized like yours. But under the surface, baby is working towards being more like you in his sleep. During the first few months, you have no choice but to go with the flow and sleep when the baby sleeps (something I was never good at), but it can help to understand the inherent patterns in your baby’s sleep/wake cycles so that they become more predictable. Your goal is to work with your baby’s biology, find some time for your own sleep, and support your baby in his natural development towards more mature sleep patterns.
In the research for my book, I’ve buried myself in research papers on infant sleep, trying to glean some knowledge that can be helpful to parents in these first few months of baby’s life. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
1. Understand newborn sleep cycles. Newborn sleep alternates between active and quiet sleep (akin to REM and non-REM sleep in adults). During the first few months of life, infants usually begin each sleep period in active sleep. Then, after about 25 minutes, they’ll transition to a cycle of quiet sleep, also about 25 minutes long. During active sleep, babies will twitch and flail their limbs, grunt and sigh, and maybe even cry a little. Their eyes move beneath translucent closed lids and may even open from time to time. In quiet sleep, babies breathe slowly and rhythmically, and their bodies are still 1,2.
Why care about the biology of sleep? Because it can help you in these practical ways:
- Babies wake easily from active sleep, so if your baby falls asleep in your arms, wait until you see signs of that deeper, quiet sleep before you try to move him.
- Around the 45-50 minutes mark, baby will be finishing up that first active/quiet sleep cycle of 45-50 minutes. Transitioning from one cycle to the next can be tricky for a new baby, so if he wakes during this time (particularly if it’s after just one cycle), see if he wants your help returning to sleep before assuming that he’s ready to eat or play.
- Active sleep is noisy. Parents often mistake the normal vocalizations of active sleep as the baby waking, and in their efforts to soothe the baby, they’ll actually wake him up. If you think your baby is waking up, pause and watch him for a moment. He may just be dancing in his sleep, or he might be waking briefly only to return to sleep on his own.
2. Help your baby find a rhythm. We are adapted to Earth’s 24-hour cycle of light and dark, and our physiological circadian rhythms help us to feel awake during the day and sleepy at night. Newborn babies, on the other hand, sleep just as much during the day as they do at night. It takes them some time to develop rhythms to match our day/night cycle. You can help by sending baby strong environmental and social cues about day and night. Read more
This post is my answer to a friend’s concern about her 11-month-old, who refuses to eat most vegetables. It is such a universal concern that, with her permission, I turned it into a blog post. She writes:
“My 11-month-old is a pretty good eater when it comes to everything but veggies. He can sift through a bite in his mouth and spit out only the vegetables. I am trying not to add salt or oil or cheese to the vegetables, but he hates them! (Sweet potatoes/yams are okay, and once in a while peas, too.) Any suggestions on how to incorporate vegetables into his diet?”
I think just about every parent wishes her child would eat more vegetables. We found that BabyC became much more selective about what she ate right around 11 months, and there was a noticeable drop in her vegetable intake at that time.
We all want our kids to eat well today (or at least on average over the week), but we also want them to form healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. Are there any strategies we can use to get our babies and toddlers to eat more vegetables? Luckily, there is a ton of interesting research on this topic. Read more
When I started feeling concerned about BabyC’s iron status (Does My Baby Get Enough Iron?), I did what most worried, sleep-deprived mamas do – a Google search. What I found were pages and pages of forums and blog posts full of comments from breastfeeding mothers who couldn’t fathom that their baby wasn’t getting everything she needed from breast milk. Feed an iron-fortified cereal or give my baby iron drops? Why? Isn’t breast milk the perfect food for my baby? I found many mothers fiercely defending breast milk and accordingly delaying the introduction of complementary foods and shunning the use of any fortified foods or supplements. I felt compelled to write about this, because I think that in some circles the enthusiasm for breastfeeding has swung a little too far outside of what is actually best and natural for babies. Read more