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What Parents Need to Know About Co-Sleeping

To sleep or not to sleep with the children; that is the question. The olden days saw a practice called co-sleeping or sleep-sharing. This means that, as parents we choose to share our bed with our children instead of letting them sleep in their own separate beds.

There are two sides to the concept though; there are those who choose to share the bed with their children knowing that the advantages include more bonding time despite a hectic schedule and there are recognized agencies which recommend against co-sleeping because of the dangers associated to it as reflected in certain studies made.

For one, co-sleeping is a choice that has to be made by parents and rightly so, both mother and father should be informed about the pros and cons of the critical decision they are to make.

The Advantages

One benefit of sleep-sharing these days is that a mother as well as the father will see the practice as a way to bond; to reconnect with each other as most parents have to toil during the day and the baby or child is only left under the care of a nanny. In addition, mothers find it relatively easy to nurse their baby. Also, some babies find it more comforting to have their parents beside them as they are used to when they were still in the womb. Parents can easily access their children in case they become fuzzy and irritable.

Interestingly, some couples do agree that sleep-sharing spices up the sex life as they have to find ways as to how to profess their intimacy for each other even with the baby or child nearby.

The Disadvantages

For the non-traditional thinkers, co-sleeping is not a good idea as some believe that it may affect the weaning process of the baby. In addition, it would be somewhat difficult for both the mother and father to be intimate with each other knowing that a baby or a child is there.

Crowding may also be a problem and some believe that the children who grew up co-sleeping with their parents become overly dependent. Probably, the most striking of all is that sleep-sharing has been implicated in a number of cases like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), suffocation and strangulation.

The Final Decision

In the end, you have to decide after weighing the possible risks. Whatever decision you make, make sure that both the mother and the father should consult with each other. The decision is critical and it should be made by both parents; an effective measure to check if co-sleeping is suitable is to conduct a trial period and take it from there.

The Tips

Remember to practice safety measures like putting your baby on his back during sleep as this is known to reduce the likelihood of SIDS. Do not ever think of smoking in the room or even allow someone else to smoke. Other precautionary measures include childproofing the room. Purchase a firm and flat mattress. Avoid pillows, blankets and comforters near your child as these may endanger him. If possible, avoid clothes with laces, ribbons, buttons or any other small accessory as these obviously may harm your child.

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The Sleep Wars: Know Your Stand on Contrasting Opinions about Putting Baby to Sleep

There are varying opinions among experts as far as sleep-inducing strategies for babies are concerned, each with their own principles and theories. These theories explore different ideas on how babies should sleep, when they should nap, and where. When choosing your baby slumber strategies, the most important aspect to ensure is the end – result: more restful nights for the entire family.

 Self-soothing OR snuggling

Should you let baby cry it out, or should you cuddle until she is asleep? Experts say that babies have built-in self-soothing strategies, and they should be allowed to use it to help themselves fall asleep. Others believe that it is important to cuddle, rock, and nurse a baby as these provide intimate parent-baby bonding, and a sense of security is important to the child.

Here’s what you need to know, regardless of your style: Infants below the age of four months should never be left to cry it out. Newborns up to four-month old babies must be responded to ASAP when they cry. Also, regardless of your baby’s age, it is important that you rule out all possible reasons for crying – a wet diaper, pain, hunger, fever, among others.

If you cannot afford to go cold turkey with training your baby to sleep on her own, do it gradually. For example, leave her for five minutes before soothing her, and slowly increase the intervals as nights go by. No matter what you choose, it is important to be consistent.

 Fixed nap times OR just whenever

Experts who recommend structured naptime schedules believe that babies function and develop better when they see some structure in their daily activities. The rigid naptime also prevents a baby from keeping everyone awake at night, as he or she will settle down without struggle during bedtime. However, other experts who suggest going with the flow understand that infants and toddlers will only nap when they are tired.

The fact is, your infant will be sleeping a lot during the day, and night, for the first few months. After that, he will pretty much be awake to explore a lot during daytime. While you may feel the need to set him down for a nap, you also need to consider if he is tired or up for it. A baby who doesn’t feel like napping, won’t. But one who is tired from all the mid-morning playing, may even nap on his own.

Bottomline: Because your child needs some structure that only routines can give, incorporate this in other aspects of his life, such as mealtimes and bedtimes. As far as naptimes are concerned, simply go with the flow.

Sleeping in your bed OR Sleeping in the crib

Mother-baby intimacy is important, which is why mothers are encouraged to keep their babies close as early as day 1. Many mothers like keeping their baby in the family bed, because it makes breastfeeding easier and the baby benefits from the warmth of her mother’s body.  But for other moms, letting baby sleep in the crib is simply safer.

Experts agree that while intimacy with your infant is important, there is plenty of time to do that during the entire day, but it is best to let him or her sleep in a separate space, such as a crib or bassinet in order to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. However, if you do decide that co-sleeping is best, never do it on a water bed, inflatable mattress, or couch. Lock your bed’s wheels or remove them altogether. Don’t let baby sleep in your bed when you are drunk, tired or under medication with a drug that makes you groggy. Also avoid co-sleeping if you smoke or are obese. Position baby between you and a wall, instead of between you and your partner.       

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When Baby is Confused about Night and Day and More: Demystifying Newborn Sleep Concerns

In a perfect world, your baby would doze off to sleep on his or her own the same time you would, not scream for 3:00AM feedings and sleep through the night so you could get some uninterrupted snooze of your own. Then both of you can wake up and say hello to a beautiful morning where neither of you is cranky from lack of sleep. But when you have a new baby in the house, you best be prepared for a world of upside-downs. In this article, we take a look at common newborn sleep problems that drive new mommies (and daddies) right to the edge of their sanity, and offer tips on how you can make nap times restful and night times sweeter for your baby and the entire family, including you.

 The Confused Little Body Clock

Here’s the scenario: Your baby insists on staying up wide – eyed throughout the night, and falls into sweet slumber during the day. While you may think it’s not such a bad idea, consider how you need to be up during the day to tend to your chores, so switching your body clock to match your baby’s obviously isn’t a good idea. According to Jodi Mindell, associate director of the Sleep Center at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, you will need to get your baby to switch his nights and days. Do not provide any sort of stimulation during the night – keep everyone quiet, dim all the lights, and move slowly. In the morning, wake him or her up with bright sunlight streaming through the windows. Give your baby a bath, sing and play and be as busy as you can. When your baby realizes how boring you are at night, and how much fun it is when everything’s noisy and bright during the day, he or she will learn to adjust that little body clock.

 Rocking baby: Good or Bad?

A common concern new mommies have about rocking baby is that the little one might become so dependent and will not be able to fall asleep without mommy dancing and rocking around. Sleepy Planet co-owner Jennifer Waldburger says that rocking your baby isn’t going to make him or her dependent, if done the right way. It’s helpful for moms of babies who sleep well through the night. Rocking your baby should only be done to pacify him or her. When you put the baby down, he or she should be drowsy and not asleep. This will help the little one learn to fall asleep on his or her own.  

 All about Bedtime Rituals

How important are they? Babies thrive better when they know what’s about to happen. In short, families have different activities, but it helps if you create a line-up of before-bedtime rituals that will comfort and help your little one realize that it’s time to go to bed. Routines are really up to you, but many mothers find that baby massages, baths, prayers, reading books, singing lullabies, nursing, and rocking are usually effective in getting baby to settle down.

 Napping on schedule

Newborns sleep a lot, but a few months later, they begin to be awake more often. There’s no specific time for babies for nap because his or her schedule will change a lot from month to month. However, it helps to create a structured schedule in baby’s daytime activities, slowly incorporating naps by observing when your baby is most likely to settle down for one. Many parents find that a nap at 9AM and another at 2PM works great. Plus, these don’t interfere with the baby’s ability to fall asleep at night.

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Toddler’s and Baby Sleep Needs

All of us need to rest and of course sleep because it helps the body regain strength needed to keep it going especially for the following day. If we lack sleep, we are more prone to  diseases because our immune system tends to weaken. Not to mention having lack of sleep also makes one prone to being irritable and have poor performance be it from school or at work.

All of us need sleep most especially kids and babies. These age groups need to have enough length of sleeping hours and quality of sleep because it is thru sleep that growth hormones are released. As parents it is your primary role to ensure that your baby or kid is sleeping well enough so that he will be able to get the benefits that sleeping gives.

Babies

A baby’s sleeping pattern is much different from older children especially adults. Babies sleep should not be disturbed because sleep is what they need to for proper brain and body development. Younger babies (those up to four months) need at least 14 hours of sleep a day and should have three short naps during daytime. Older babies (five month to nine months) should have a daily sleep that needs to be at least thirteen hours long and should have a nap time of two times daily.

Toddlers

Toddler’s sleeping pattern changes as they are more matured at this time. To have the growth hormone released to their bodies, they need to have at least 12 hours of sleep during the night and an hour of nap time during the day.

Here are some of the tips on how to ensure a good sleep quality in babies and toddlers:

  • Make sure that the child’s room is conducive for sleep so that he will not have frequent waking episodes. The baby’s room should not be too cold or too hot so that the baby can sleep comfortably.
  • Limit noise where your child sleeps. They can easily get distracted and noises can cause them to wake up in the middle of their sleeps. Play classical music or soft lullabies while they are sleeping as it is said to enhance mental development and level of intelligence.
  • Make sure that your child is not sick because when they are, they will certainly have some difficulty in sleeping and will be cranky most of the time.

It is your role as parents to ensure that your baby or toddler is getting enough sleep to make him grow healthier and more intelligent.

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It’s All About Nap Time

Sleeping is an essential part of your baby’s growth and development. If you want to take advantage of the formative and growing years of your child, as a parent, you should bear in mind that sleeping is very critical. The vital organs are not only reliant on adequate nutrition and supplement but are also dependent on the quality of sleep your baby gets.

You may also notice that apart from sleeping during the night, your baby also wants to take a nap during the day. However, the dilemma appears when your child does it inconsistently. The worse is yet to come until your baby reaches toddlerhood and you wonder if the inconsistency is already all about hyperactivity.

Do not worry too much though. As you understand the elements of sleep, you’ll soon be able to employ techniques to help your child during nap times. What should basically help you is to know that there are different napping patterns appropriate for every age. Your child will star with between two and four hours of nap time during the day and night. At this point, nap time is not yet established. This pattern will significantly reduce over time until your child hits the 18th month (until around 5 years old) where your precious one will just have to nap only during the afternoon.

Remember that inasmuch as you encourage your toddler or promote napping to your baby, every individual is different from each other. Factors like the environment and natural body rhythms will still determine when and how your child takes a nap. Some will take longer naps while others are already okay with catnapping. So long as your child does not become irritable and restless, then the sleep your child gets is already the right amount of sleep needed by the body.

Schedule your child’s naps in congruence to his natural sleep cycles. Pay careful attention and note which time time of the day does he begin to give out obvious signs that he is already tired and probably sleeping. After establishing his pattern for a good one week and given that there were no major distractions during that period, you now know when to initiate  naps. Give your child some time to establish the pattern with your help. If your child verbalizes he is not able to sleep, be with him in bed but make sure that you don’t sleep with him. Do not let him get the habit of having you there before he takes a nap. Additionally, it is also important to make sure that your child has the proper sleep gear; anything that might be too light or too heavy may affect how he naps.

Just like sleeping time, it might also help if you give your child the security blanket he is most comfortable having around. This is especially true when you venture out of town and you want to continue nap patterns without interruptions. As much as possible, it is recommended that your child nap in the same bed where he retires at night. Avoid any kind of distraction or stimulation.

Finally, understand that when your child refuses to nap, this is his own way of asserting things. Among toddlers and pre-schoolers, the world is definitely working on their curiosity so that explains the refusal to nap. Do not give up and just religiously follow the tips.

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Making Sleep Better for the Whole Family: Establishing Healthy Rest Patterns in Children

When your children don’t sleep well, neither can you. Before you know it, you will have a household of cranky, sleepless people. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, parents are bound to lose about two hundred hours of sleep (sometimes more) in a year when their children do not have good sleeping habits.

But besides its effect on mood, the lack of adequate and restful sleep can harm your family, especially your children in more serious ways.  Sleep is a time when cells regenerate most actively, a process crucial to a child’s physical development. Furthermore, not sleeping well causes a decline in a child’s mental functions – he or she may have trouble remembering and retaining lessons in school, and his or her problem-solving skills are affected, too.

Good sleeping habits begin with parents. Here are some friendly ways you can get your child to love sleep and get plenty of it at night without so much a struggle.

Shut it down.

One reason kids don’t want to go to bed at night is that they are still too stimulated. In this age and time when children are entertained by several technological advances, it is not surprising how to a young boy could lose sleep over playing with his portable PlayStation. Even the television is a pronounced culprit, so is the computer.

To allow your children to take their attention away from their game or TV show, make it a house rule that the TV, computer and any gaming console be turned off 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. These electronic entertainment objects keep the mind awake and dull its ability to sense tiredness or sleepiness.

Struggling with awkward silence when everything goes off? Play some soothing music or just make a conversation.

Create and maintain a routine.

After all, it’s not a routine if done only once or whenever you feel like. Very young children need to establish a routine – that’s how their sleeping patterns are developed. Schedule adherence is also a sense of comfort and reassurance for babies and toddlers. Notice how a toddler becomes cranky when she’s supposed to be in bed but everyone’s still up and about?

For many families, the routine begins with a warm bath. Sometimes, parents leave room for a bedtime snack, something comforting to help the child doze off, such as warm milk and cookies. Brushing teeth is an important step of the routine. Many children like to settle down and snooze to a great story read to them, or a nice little song or prayer. It does not matter what routine your family has as long as the child copes well and it brings about good sleep.

When you create a routine, make it a point to keep it. Do not negotiate as your children will think that’s how routines go. Be firm, but gentle in helping your children establish their routines.

Talk it out.

Little ones and parents can spend bedtime by just talking about the child’s day and sharing feelings. The moment is relaxing, and it helps the child sleep better, particularly if the day has been stressful. Moreover, it is a way of reassuring the child, especially if she has an imagination gone wild and believes monsters are in her closet.

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Strengthen Your Child’s Immune System

Children like the elderly are susceptible to catch infection and diseases. The children’s immune system is still developing that is why even a simple change of weather can give your child cough and colds. Because their  immune system is weaker, this explains why there are a lot of children who get sick than adults do. All of us need to have a healthy immune system because it serves as our shield that protects us from harmful viruses and bacteria that are the culprit of diseases.

In any conditions, prevention is far better than cure. Even if children are prone for infections, it does not mean that it cannot be prevented. There are a lot of ways on how we parents can help our children become healthy and free from diseases. Here are some of the ways on how you can strengthen your child’s immune system:

  • Give your child good nutrition. A good health starts with having enough nutrients to keep the body functioning well. Meals should also be balanced with enough protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Fruits and vegetables should be part of your everyday staple and see to it that your child eats these foods well.
  • Make sure that your child has enough sleep. Children need to have 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep to allow the body to heal itself. Sleep is not only good in helping the immune system to function at its best; it is also needed by the children for proper brain development and the release of growth hormones.
  • Give your child foods that are rich in probiotics or good bacteria like yoghurt and other drinks. They fight bad bacteria in the body especially in the digestive tract needed to prevent the occurrence of gastro-intestinal disorders.
  • Engage your child to sports and encourage him to be active. The more active he is the lesser chances that he will catch lifestyle related conditions like diabetes and hypertension later on. Active children maintain a normal weight which prevents them from being obese. Obesity is linked to many conditions like those diseases mentioned above.
  • Give multivitamins to your child daily. Sometimes food is not enough to give the body the needed vitamins and minerals so children need other sources. Vitamin C, D, and zinc are specifically good for the immune system.
  • Let your child be free from stress. Stress can lead to a lot of conditions like certain cancers. Stress can also lead to depression which can greatly affect the child’s immune system. When your child is in too much pressure from school and from peers, help your child manage it well. Do things that your child loves like going to parks and watching movies. This will help relax their young bodies from things that may be bothering them.

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How to Get Your Child to Sleep Well

Sleep is very important for every individual, especially children. It is through sleep that growth hormones and mental development is enhanced. Children should have ten to twelve hours of sleep needed to keep their young bodies healthy. Children who have lack of sleep or those who have sleep deprivation perform less in school, are often weak, display poor memory and recall, and gets sick easily.

 Although sleep is very significant, yet not all children can achieve good quality of it. It is often a daily struggles for parents on how to have their children go to bed and some of their tactics won’t work. Knowing the importance of sleep, many parents resort to different things but to no avail.

For parents who are having problems on how to get their children to sleep, here are some of the useful tips:

  • Set a bed time schedule and make sure that it is strictly followed night by night. In this way your child’s body will learn to adapt to the routine. The body will then feel naturally sleepy on the time being set.
  • When your child is still adjusting on the bedtime schedule you have made, make simple bedtime routines together. Read them stories while tucking them to bed, it would be nice if you can incorporate the importance of sleep while doing the storytelling. Avoid stories that can make your child scared and don’t want to fall asleep. Combing your child’s hair and giving soft massages will initiate them to sleep, plus it can also be a good bonding moment for both of you as well.
  • Watching of television and playing of video games should not interfere with the child’s sleeping schedule and parents should be strict on this one. The reason why a lot of children do not get long hours of sleep is because they are much glued much on these technologies.
  • Never let them drink caffeinated drinks four hours before bedtime. Caffeine even in small amounts can lead the child to be awake all night long. Sodas and chocolates should never be given to them especially when dinner time is near.
  • Do not let your child sleep while watching TV on the couch. Instead, once you notice that your child starts to feel sleepy, tuck him or her immediately to bed. This way you child will learn that sleeping should really be done in the bedroom. The bedroom is the place to have uninterrupted sleep unlike sleeping on the living room.
  • When your child is still young to sleep alone, let them sleep with you. It is just best that your child has a bed separated from yours so that your child would not have a hard time sleeping alone when it’s time for him to move on his own bedroom.

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