7 Newborn Baby Sleep Tips Every Parent Should Know

As a new parent, you start to realize just how important a good night’s sleep is. When your little one doesn’t get good sleep, you’ll both wake up grumpy in the morning. Luckily there are a few easy things that you can do to help your baby sleep through the entire night (so you can too).

1. Dreamfeed

Dreamfeeding is feeding your baby right before you put them to sleep for the night. You don’t want to feed him too much, as that could upset his stomach. Feed your baby just enough and it will keep him from waking up during the night (at least reduce the number of times they do). You can do this until the baby is around 4 months old.

2. Limit Daytime Naps

Babies tend to sleep a lot, but too much daytime sleeping can interrupt their nighttime sleeping schedule. If your baby is asleep for longer than two hours, it’s usually a good idea to wake them up. They may be a little grumpy about it, but it is better that they get the grumpiness out in the daytime, rather than in the middle of the night. After you wake him, feed him, keep him up for a while, and then lay him down for another nap. If you really feel that the baby needs longer nap times, you can let him sleep for two and a half hours. Sometimes your baby may be overtired, in which case it’s totally fine to let him nap for longer and recover. Once he regains his energy, you can put him back on his regular sleeping schedule.

3. Swaddle

From birth to around 5 months old, babies exhibit something called a startle reflex. Oftentimes when babies are dreaming, they feel the sensation of falling, which causes their arms and legs to flail around. They can easily startle themselves awake when this happens. You can prevent them from waking up by swaddling them. Not only will wrapping them snuggly keep them from squirming around, it also comforts them as it mimics the sensation of being caressed in the womb.

4. White Nose

When babies hear a lot of action going on outside, they can get a little bit antsy. Placing a source of white noise in their room is an easy-as-pie way to relax their minds and keep them from getting restless. You can try placing a fan in their room that is located far enough away from their crib that it won’t blow directly on their face. If the fan isn’t loud enough, you can get a white noise machine.

5. Don’t Rush It

When babies wake up in the middle of the night, they will often just babble a bit and settle themselves right back to sleep. When you rush into to check on them at the very first sound of crying, you could wake them up more than they already were. Wait a couple of minutes first to see if they will settle themselves down, and if the crying continues, you can go check on him and lull him back to sleep.

6. Put Your Baby to Sleep When He is Awake, but Sleepy

Teaching your baby how to fall asleep on their own is a critical step. If you only put your baby to sleep after they have already fallen asleep in your arms or in the car, they won’t learn how to fall asleep on their own for a while. Laying your baby in his crib while he’s still awake will help him to learn how to fall asleep on his own faster.

7. Use Bedtime Routines

Babies thrive on routine and structure. A consistent bedtime schedule will bring order into a world that seems chaotic. Every night when you take him to bed, swaddle him, close the curtains, and maybe sing him a lullaby. This routine will solidify in his mind that when those things happen, it’s time to sleep. This will help the baby with feelings of restlessness, and will ultimately help him get a better night’s sleep.

Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month

Strokes are the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States, and they can happen to anyone.  A common misconception is that strokes only affect adults; in fact, children can also have them. Even those who are physically healthy can suddenly experience the symptoms of a stroke. However, up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable!

One of the best tools in combating strokes is raising awareness.

May is Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month. Several groups around the nation are taking this opportunity to promote ways to prevent strokes. One of the biggest campaigns for Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month is being led by CHASA (Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association). Every year they encourage people to “streak” for Pediatric Stroke Awareness. A “streak” means doing something several times throughout the month to raise awareness. For example, you can read a book to your child every day, because children with strokes often struggle to read. You can run a mile every day, to raise awareness for how strokes make it difficult to walk. You can even dye a purple “streak” into your hair as a conversation starter about pediatric strokes. “If these little stroke survivors can do some of the hard things they do every single day of their lives, then we can do something to honor them.

Basically, CHASA encourages people to take part in simple tasks that we take for granted, and use them as an opportunity to educate people around them about the realities of pediatric strokes.

Nancy is a mother whose son Robbie had a stroke while he was just an infant. A few years ago, Nancy streaked for Pediatric Awareness Month by posting a blog every day in May about her son’s disabilities. There are dozens of ways you can “streak” for Pediatric Awareness Month, so get creative and make a difference!

Strokes mostly afflict adults, so the signs are usually missed in children and teens. It’s important to know the signs so that you’re prepared. The easiest way is to remember the acronym F.A.S.T., which stands for Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and Time to call 911. If your child exhibits any of these signs, it’s worth it to call 911 (or the emergency number in your country). When children have strokes, they also tend to show signs of numbness on one side of the body, sudden confusion or difficulty speaking.

It’s not an easy subject to talk about, but raising awareness of pediatric strokes can reduce the negative effects that they have when they go unnoticed. The easiest way you can “streak” for pediatric awareness month is by wearing purple, and talking to people about what it represents!

Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

How To Know When Your Baby Is Experiencing Motion Sickness

It can be difficult to not worry when your baby is sick. Babies cry in the car for a variety of different reasons, but one of the main reasons is motion sickness. Motion sickness happens to some people consistently, and hardly ever to others. Motion sickness happens the most when your body feels movement, but your eyes can’t see it. This situation happens to babies in cars, so it makes sense why they would get motion sickness easily. Luckily there are a few big flags to look out for that will help you know if your baby is crying from motion sickness.

Here are a few signs of motion sickness and some solutions to make your baby feel better:

  1. They Always Cry in the Car

This one seems obvious but it’s worth noting. If your baby cries every time they get in the car and stops crying shortly after you stop driving, it’s likely that they are prone to motion sickness. If this sounds like your child, consider leaving for long trips during their naptime. This way your baby is more likely to sleep through the majority of the trip. You can also try keeping their attention at the front of the car so that they always look out of windshield. Being able to see straight ahead will reduce the symptoms of motion sickness in your baby.

  1. Cold Sweats

If your child seems cold and slightly sweaty, it could be a tell-tale sign that they are feeling motion sick. When this happens, pull over, lay him down, and put a cool damp cloth on his head. The symptoms shouldn’t last for more than 15 minutes.

  1. Loss of Appetite

Babies tend to show a loss of appetite before they throw up. At the same time, hunger can make nausea much worse. If your baby isn’t responding to food while they are in the car, they could be feeling nauseous. Try feeding your child a small snack before long trips. You can also pull over every once in a while to give your baby a quick snack. They’ll be more responsive to food when the car isn’t in motion, and having a little food in their stomachs will keep them from feeling nauseous.

  1. Pale Skin

Paleness happens when there is a loss of blood to the brain due to a drop in blood pressure. This is a big sign of nausea and motion sickness. Try opening a window a little bit to allow some fresh air to run throughout the car. If that doesn’t work, consider pulling over and distracting your baby with some of his toys. Sometimes motion sickness can be a state of mind, so giving your baby a distraction can actually cure him from feeling queasy.

  1. Vomiting

If your baby isn’t already sick, vomiting in the car usually indicates motion sickness. If your baby is 2 or older, you can purchase some over the counter anti-nausea medication to give to them on trips. However, if your child is under 2 years old, there are a few other things you can do to alleviate their symptoms.

Some people recommend motion sickness bracelets that stimulate acupressure points on the wrist. These bracelets reduce the effects of motion sickness in many people, while others feel they don’t do much. Try one on your baby and see if he responds to it well. If the motion sickness is happening in another form of transportation such as a plane or boat, make sure the baby is always seated where they can see through a window or toward the front of the vessel.

Above all else, the most important thing to remember when your child is experiencing motion sickness is to be patient. They most likely are feeling miserable, and despite the vomiting or crying it’s important to stay calm. If you’re driving a car, keep your cool and pull over to safety where you’ll be able to tend to your baby’s needs best.