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Babies

Crib Essentials: How to Prepare a Bed for Baby

An infant’s sleep space should offer comfort and safety. This checklist will help you provide both. Creating a comfy, cozy sleep spot for your newborn is important, but so is putting your baby to sleep carefully. Certain types of bedding can raise the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the unexplained death of an infant while sleeping. Some research suggests SIDS may be related to suffocation caused by an unsafe sleep environment. While there is no known prevention or protection against SIDS, placing the baby on his or her back for sleeping is the medical community’s recommendation. Because there are more than 3,500 sleep-related deaths among infants in the U.S. each year, it’s critical…

Nature or Nurture: Which Determines How Well Your Baby Sleeps?

Certain sleep tendencies are hereditary, but environment also plays an important role. Discover the factors that influence your baby’s sleep habits. The nature vs. nurture debate has long fascinated researchers when it comes to how babies develop. Are certain behaviors the result of how a child is raised (the “nurture” part of the equation) or are they determined purely by genetics (the “nature” side)? Usually, the answer is not one or the other but a combination of both. Sleep, one of the earliest and most instinctive infant behaviors, is no exception. Experts have found that genetics play a role in the duration of nighttime shut-eye, how long babies nap during the day, and how often…

The New Parents Guide to Getting More Sleep

Life with a newborn is as exhausting as it is exciting. Use this advice to make the most of your limited sleep schedule. Most parents of infants—68 percent, to be exact—get less sleep than they need, according to a National Sleep Foundation survey. Between feedings, changings, rocking, and otherwise engaging a newborn, having a baby leaves new parents feeling like there’s little time to take care of their own needs. Fortunately, finding time for sleep does get easier as babies get older. In the meantime, these three strategies can help parents figure out how to squeeze in the rest they need. Step 1: Sleep When Baby Sleeps A new born isn’t going to adjust his or…

The Best Sleep Schedule for Babies: 6-9 months

As babies grow and change, so does their sleep schedule. Learn what your child needs now in order to thrive. Infants from 6-9 months sleep about 12 hours per night, plus naps. Parents may start consolidating three daytime naps into two. Babies often wake up during the night at this age. Reaching the half-year mark is a milestone for both parents and babies. Infants between six and nine months are learning to sit up and crawl; they are also teething and probably going through a growth spurt. And of course, they continue to absorb the world around them, looking to parents for guidance and nurturing. Along with all the new experiences, an infant’s sleep pattern…

The Best Sleep Schedule for Babies: 0-3 months

Help your newborn stay well rested with this routine for infants up to three months old. From birth until three months, babies sleep around 14 to 17 hours per day. Newborns typically stay awake for two to three hours at a time. Parents should focus on putting a newborn to bed while drowsy (but awake) and establishing a routine that teaches the difference between night and day. After months of planning, excitement, and anticipation, the newest addition to your family is finally here. Congratulations! Now comes the challenge — trying to understand your newborn’s sleep needs, because an effective sleep routine is the key for both baby and parents to recharge their batteries for…

Reduce Your Baby's Risk From SIDS and Other Sleeping Injuries

Nothing is scarier to parents than the idea that something can happen to their baby while he or she is asleep. Unfortunately, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (or SIDS) happens every year to 1,500 infants. We do not yet know exactly what causes SIDS, but it’s usually blamed on something interfering with a baby’s breathing while he or she is asleep. There are also other injuries that can happen after you put your baby to sleep. In fact, 26 babies are injured every day by their crib—usually from climbing up the side and falling over the edge. While all this is scary, there are things that you can do to keep your little…

What is SIDS?

You’ve probably heard of SIDS, but you may not know exactly what it stands for: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It’s actually a subset of something called SUID, which is short for Sudden Unexpected Infant Death. Every year in the United States, around 3,500 infants die from SUID, and 1,500 of those deaths are caused by SIDS. SIDS happens when an infant (a baby who is younger than one year old) dies while asleep and a thorough investigation can’t determine the cause. Often it’s believed that suffocation is the cause, but autopsy tests can’t say with certainty whether or not that’s true. Instead, investigators look for signs that could cause suffocation, like soft bedding or the…

Best Lullabies for Kids

Sometimes, little ones love bedtime, but other times, sending a baby off to dreamland requires feeding, swaddling, or singing a sweet bedtime song to the baby. But what should you sing, exactly? These five classic lullabies are a good place to start. Softly croon or hum one of them and you’ll soothe your upset baby in no time. Hush, Little Baby: This humorous song is basically about the power of bribery. It lists all the wonderful gifts that a baby will receive from his mom—as long as there are no tears at bedtime. Hush, little baby, don’t way a word Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird And if that mockingbird don’t sing Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond…

Does Rocking Your Baby to Sleep Help?

Chances are, when you first brought your baby home from the hospital, you were willing to do just about anything to help him or her fall asleep. For many infants, rocking—or using another kind of rhythmic movement—works as a natural sleep aid, since it reminds them of being inside their mother’s body. While some babies have a strong preference for one particular type of movement, the truth is, there are many ways to soothe an infant. In addition to swaying him or her in your arms or rocking together in a chair, some parents bounce while wearing the infant in a carrier, push the little one in the stroller, or even drive around town with…

Sleep Methods for Babies

For new parents, few things can be as frustrating or confusing as figuring out how to get your little one to fall asleep at night. And the best way to turn nighttime into a dream is up for a lot of debate. These are the three biggest schools of thought when it comes to sleep training your baby:  The Ferber Sleep Method Created by Richard Ferber, M.D., director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children’s Hospital Boston, this method is one of the most well-known ways to get your baby to fall asleep. He recommends starting when your baby is between three and five months old. The first night that you put your…