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Posts Tagged ‘swaddle’

I am part of a group on Baby Center called Babywise Babies. One of the moms on there had a question about her newborn and how to get her to sleep better. Made me go through a couple of posts that I have written and revisit the newborn stage so I thought I would share some of my experience and thoughts on how to help your newborn sleep better.

1. You need to find the right sleep window for your baby. This it a short window of time that allows your baby to fall asleep faster and easier. If you put your baby down to early he or she might be not tired enough. If you put your baby down too late, your baby might have hit a second wind and have some nervous energy and not be able to relax enough to sleep well.

2. The length of wake time is very important. Most newborns can only handle 30-45 minutes of wake time. Wake time includes the time it takes to feed them as well. So if you wake your baby and nurse for 30 minutes, then you only have about 15 minutes left of wake time at the most.

  • My personal experience: My twin girls had a waketime length of about 40 minutes when they were newborns. It consisted of the following: Nurse, Diaper Change, Immediately Swaddle, Put in Swing or Bouncers, Watch for their eyes to get heavy, Pick up and put them in their crib, AHHH Napping! To a list of schedules I kept with my twins click here.

3. Remember that Newborns can become very overstimulate quickly. It does not take much. They just spent the last 9 months in a quiet, dark environment. All the new lights and sounds can be a bit much for newborns. Try to keep the environment quieter, calmer, not as bright.

  • My personal experience: When my twins where born, my son was only 18 months old. He was full of energy and loud. He was a very good boy, but 18 month old toddlers have a hard time understanding what peaceful and quiet are. In order to keep the babies from getting too over stimulated I kept their bouncers and swings in my master bedroom (which was on the first floor). I kept my blinds shut, but there was still natural light in the room, just not overly bright. I sometimes had quiet classical music playing if Cooper was making a little too much noise and other times I just kept no music on. The babies would hang out in their bouncers or swings swaddled up tight in there. That kept Cooper from messing with them and it also allowed me to sneak in and “peek-in” on them. Once I noticed their eyes getting really heavy, I would carefully pick them up and place them in their cribs. The girls were sleeping in my walk-in closet at the time because I did not want to go up and down the stairs for middle of the night feedings. So I did not have long to walk between their swings and bouncers to my walk-in closet where they slept. I also allowed my girls a pacifier, which I think helped them sleep too.

3. Swaddling is so important for newborns. I cannot stress this enough! The startle reflex that newborns make causes them to jolt themselves awake. They just spent 9 months all balled up tight in your womb and now they are no boundaries and it scares them. Learn how to swaddle good and tight and I promise you that your baby will sleep well.

  • My personal experience: I found the best method for swaddling was to use a modified miracle blanket wrap. See my utube video of how to do this here (I need to upload the video still, I will do this later, so check back soon). I also found that if I finished diaper changing and put the twins in their swings or bouncers without a swaddle, when it came time to place them in their crib for their nap, they would get very fussy and wake up totally as I was trying to swaddle them. Then I had to start the whole nap routine all over again. In order to avoid that this was our waketime routine:
    1. Nurse
    2. Diaper Change
    3. Swaddle Tight
    4. Place in swing or bouncer
    5. Watch for heavy eyes or eyes shutting
    6. Pick up once heavy eyed and place in crib for nap
    I could not reverse #3 and 4 or they would fully wake up.

4. White Noise works. I know that a lot of people don’t want their baby or infant to get use to white noise to sleep because they will become dependent on it. But let me say, white noise does help. It gives the baby some background noise to hear. They just spent 9 months hearing fluid, heart beating, and other things going on inside of you. It was not quiet in there. The white noise is actually calming to babies. The other benefit of white noise is that you don’t have to tip toe and whisper around your house. If you have older children, white noise is essential if you ask me. I did not want to keep telling my toddler to be quiet, he is just being a toddler. With the while noise, I did not worry so much about my toddler’s noise level.

  • My Personal Experience: All 3 of my children sleep with white noise. We have a portable white noise machine in their rooms. It is easy to travel with too. I wrote a review on the two white noise machines I have used here. You can also use a stand up fan or a humidifier to give off white noise. Music can also be used to help drown out the sound by placing some soft quiet music.

5. Room Dimming helps too. You don’t have to go out and by dark out blinds, but make sure the room that you baby sleeps in is dim and not overly bright. I have found with all of my kids that they sleep better in dimmer rooms. Babies go though sleep cycles every 45-50 minutes. At the 45-50 mark, if the baby is semi-aroused and sees light in his or her room, she might wake up and not want to continue sleeping. More on sleep cycles read this post.

  • My Personal Experience: My son Cooper is a very sensitive sleeper. The smallest sound or crack of light could wake him. As a new mom, I did not realize the power of making the room dimmer until one day I tough I would give it a try. He took such better naps from that point on. Cooper was the chronic 45 minute napper and the room dimming really helped. My twins defendant benefited from room dimming too. But now Cooper is 2.5 and my twins are 1 and I find they don’t need it quiet as dark anymore to sleep so I have started to make their rooms a little brighter.

6. Sometimes Babies will fuss in their sleep around 45-50 minutes into their nap. This does not necessarily mean they are hungry and are ready to wake up. Like I mentioned before, babies go through a sleep cycles every 45-50 minutes. At the end of the sleep cycle they are in light sleep and might wake up. Most newborns do not know how to self-sooth at this point and they start to fuss, fidget, and cry. My advice is to leave them alone for a few minutes to see if they can work it out on their own and return to sleep. If you see their fussing, crying, fidgeting getting worse, then you might want to go in your child’s room and help. I offered some advice on my post about the 45 Minute Intruder that you might find helpful.

  • My Personal Experience: With my son I wrote a lot about it on the 45 minute intruder post. With my twins, I learned to go in and put their pacifiers back in their mouths. That seemed to do the trick most of the time. If that did not work, I often would then pat their bellies and rub their heads and that helped to calm them back to sleep. I would do a very slow rhythmic pat. If after several pacifier attempts and patting and they were still not going back to sleep, I would get them up and feed them because I assumed it was a growth spurt.
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What is the 45 minute intruder?

The 45 minute intruder is a term that was coined in the book Baby Wise, but this is not a Baby Wise phenomenon. The 45 minute intruder refers to when your baby wakes up from a nap or nighttime sleep after only being asleep for 45-50 minutes. Why are some babies waking up at this point? Well, if they are in a growth spurt, it might be because they are hungry. However, if they are not in a growth spurt and are well feed it could be related to their sleep cycles. Babies cycle from light, deep, and back to light sleep in about 45-50 minutes. When your baby returns to light sleep, they may partialy arouse. If they hear a noise, smell something funny, realize they are too hot or cold, or are conditioned to need a sleep prop such as rocking or nursing to sleep, they will have difficulty returning to sleep to complete another sleep cycle. For more information on sleep cycles, read my post entitled “infant sleep cycles”https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/13/infant-sleep-cycles/

Other possible causes for waking 45-50 minutes into a nap could be due to being overtired, overstimulate, or not enough wake/ play time. If you keep your baby up too longer, they may be too tired and wake up early from a nap. Or perhaps you had company over and everyone was playing with your baby, that may have overstimulated your child. Both overstimulation and overtiredness can cause a baby to wake early out of a nap. Make sure you are following your son/ daughter’s naps cues and you get them down for a nap before this occurs. For more on this read my post entitled “Sleep Windows: Get them to bed before it’s too late”  https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/23/sleep-windows-get-them-to-bed-before-its-too-late/ It may be possible that you did not keep your child up long enough. That happen to my son a couple of times. I put him down for his nap and he fall asleep relatively easy, but would wake up 45 minutes into his nap. It occurred to me that he was getting older and may need to stay awake longer. I adjusted his awake time and that solved the waking up at 45 minutes. I believe he just was not tired enough to take a long nap. For more about appropriate awake time lengths see my post entitled, “Baby & Infant Daily Schedules” https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/16/infant-schedules/

My son had chronic 45 minute napping problems

My son has chronic problems with the 45 minute intruder from the time he was 2 months up until he was 4.5 months old (maybe even almost 5 months old). You could set a stop watch and he would wake exactly 45-50 minutes into each of his naps. It use to make me nuts. At first, I thought he was a short napper, but he would wake up fussy. According to Baby Wise and The Baby Whisperer, your baby should not fussy if they just woke up from a nap and you’ve feed them upon waking. The Baby Wise book says that it can last a few day or even two weeks–ha! This lasted for 2.5-3 months. I never thought I would see the day when he would sleep straight through a nap.  By the time he hit 4.5 months old, he was sleeping through most of his naps without waking. We still had the occasional 45 minute intruder, but that was about 20% of the time. Now he is 7 months old and my son rarely ever wakes up early from a nap unless he is in a growth spurt, has a dirty diaper, or a sound from our condo building has stirred him.

What I did to get through the 45 minute intruder

Lay a firm hand on his chest: a little before the 45 minute mark, I would creep into his room and place my hand on his chest. I would press firmly on his chest and apply a little pressure. This kept him from startling himself awake when he was transitioning from one sleep cycle to the next. I did this when my son was very young around 4-8 weeks old.

Swaddle/ Sound Machine: I started to swaddle my son really tight so he would not startle himself awake. This helped a lot. I bought a swaddle me (http://www.kiddopotamus.com/p_swad.php), but then I added an extra step to the swaddle me. I took a piece of cloth from a receiving blanket and would lay it behind his back and weave the fabric over his arms and tuck it behind his back again. This kept his arms good and snug so there was no way he could break free while napping. This kept his body from jerking himself awake. I got this idea from the miracle blanket. Watch their instructional video clip to see how I modified the swaddle me to keep his arms snug. http://www.miracleblanket.com/video.htm I also used a fan and later a sound machine to block out the noise he may have heard from living in a condo building. Both of these things helped greatly, but we still had our issues. The most important thing is to make sure you create a good sleep environment that eliminates as much stimulus as possible. For more on creating a good sleep environment read my post called “Creating a Good Sleep Environment” https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/create-a-good-sleep-environment/

Cry-It-Out (CIO): Around 10 weeks old, I believe that I start to just let Cooper cry-it-out at the 45 minute mark. The first week I started this, he would cry for almost 45 minutes until it was time to get up for his next feeding. But it only took a week, and after that if he woke up at the 45 minute mark, he would only cry for 5-15 minutes and then fall back to sleep for another sleep cycle of 45-50 minutes. This pattern of waking up at the 45 minute mark and crying lasted for about a month (the entire time he was 3 months old). The nice thing was, when I finally got him up to feed him he was always happy and well rested! Then around 4 months old, he would still wake up at the 45 minute mark, but just fuss or cry a tiny bit and drift back to sleep right away!

Other Nap Intervention Suggestions

I have not tired these various methods, but I have a friend who used the PU/PD method with great success. I have used the wake-to-sleep at night, but never during the day. It worked great for me at night. Both of these strategies come from the book The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems. (p.251)

Wake-to-Sleep: “Instead of waiting for her to wake, go into her room at 30 minutes, because that’s when she starts to come out of a deep sleep…pat her gently until you see her body relax again. It could take 15-20 minutes of gentle patting. If she starts to cry, though, you’ll have to send her back to sleep with PU/PD.”

PU/PD (Pick Up/ Put Down): This method is intended for a baby 4 month or older. You pick your child up while he is crying and the minute he stops crying you put him back in his crib. If he starts crying, pick him up again. Then if he stops crying, place him in the crib again. You will repeat the pick up/ put down until he stops crying and will fall asleep in his crib on his own. “Granted the first time you try this remedy either situation, you might spend the entire nap period doing PU/PD. and then it’s time for the next feeding. Now both of you are tired! Because sticking to the routine is as important as lengthening her nap, you need to feed her and then try to keep her up at least half and hour before putting her down for her next nap- at which point you’ll probably have to do PU/PD again because she is overtired.” Just keep repeating the PU/ PD until he quietly lays in his crib without crying. (The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems p.221-224) I have a friend who used this method with her son with great success. For more on this method read: https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/pupd-pick-up-put-down-baby-whisperers-sleep-training-method/

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I am a relatively new mom. My son is 7 months old. For the most part, my son has been a pretty good sleeper. He is a touchy sleeper though and he needs things just right in order to get some sleep. I discovered he needs it very dark to sleep so we invested in some dark drapes to cover the windows. We also live in a condo and the noise from our neighbors wakes him. We invested in a sound machine and that helps to drown out most of the background noise. When my son was under 6 months old, we swaddled him. The swaddling helped him to sleep longer and keep himself from jerking his body awake. At 4.5 months old we would still swaddle him, but leave one arm out. This allowed him to suck on his fingers if he woke up early so he could self-sooth himself back to sleep. Then at 6 months old we transferred him from a swaddle to a sleep sac because he started to roll over and he needed both of his arms so he would not get stuck. We also have a fan in his room to keep it cool one warm days. My son will wake early from a nap if he is too hot or cold. We would just layer him with more clothes in the dead of winter so he would stay warm.

What if you travel?

We have traveled quite a bit with my son and I also have to take him to a friend’s house once a week where he takes one of his naps. It use to be that when he napped any where else other than his room, his naps were terrible. I was lucky if he would nap for 45 minutes. After some advise from some friends, I started to get smart about traveling with my son. First, I take his crib sheet because it has the sent of home on it. I would just place the crib sheet over the pack ‘n play mattress. I brought the sound machine to help drown out the background noise and create a familiar sounding environment for him. I made sure to bring his swaddle or sleep sac along, but I made sure I did not wash it right before we left in order to keep the familiar sent. To darken the room, I brought a large sheet to drape over the window. If the sheet would not drape over the window, I would drape receiving blankets on the four sides of the pack ‘n play to keep some of the light from directly shining on him.

Sleep Sack http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2610669

Swaddle http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2265543

White Noise/ Sound Machine http://www.amazon.com/Marpac-SleepMate-980A-Electro-Mechanical-Conditioner/dp/B000KUHFGM/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1240856752&sr=8-2

Pack ‘n Play (travel lite crib) http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2959499

If you have another suggestions for creating a good sleep environment both at home or when you travel, please leave a comment!

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There are various reasons that babies refuse to nurse. I am in the mist of my son refusing to nurse. It can be really frustrating. As they get older, they are  more aware of their surroundings and less focused on nursing. I noticed that nursing became more difficult once my son Cooper turned 4.5 months old. It can be so frustrating, especially when he totally refuses to nurse at times. According the the book The Nursing Mothers Companion, nursing refusal/ strikes usually only last a few days but can sometimes last as long as two weeks.

Here are some strategies I have used. Some of these strategies come from the book The Nursing Mothers Companion and other strategies are ones that I have personally tired and work.

  1. Try to change positions, nurse in a quite, dark room.
  2. pump and express your milk if you baby refuses to take nurse- to keep milk supply up
  3. try nursing with skin-to-skin contact
  4. nurse when baby is sleepy- this will help prevent him from becoming distracted
  5. nurse more frequently- to keep milk supply up
  6. try to determine if your milk supply is too low- if this is the case- you will have to do something to help correct this problem
  7. swaddle your baby before feeding- this helps to keep them from thrashing about and more focuses on nursing
  8. drape a colorful cloth or scarf over your shoulder for your baby to look at

Other Things to Consider

  • If your baby is young, 0-3 months, and is fussy and has greenish poop, your child may have a food alergy (something you ate) or colic. Discuss this with your doctor or lactation specialist.
  • Thrush- a yeast infection that can be passed from mom to baby. Baby may be fussy at the breast. They will have a white coating around the lips and cheek and may be more gassy than normal. There might be bright red dotting around your babies genitals and your nipples. Consult your doctor to discuss proper treatment for you and your baby.
  • Menstruating- this can cause your milk supply to decrease and the flavor of the milk to change.  See my post for more suggestions https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/milk-supply-during-menstruation/
  • Illness- common cold and ear infections can make nursing difficult
  • Perfume- baby may not like the smell of the perfume you are wearing
  • supplemental bottle- sometimes if you supplement with a bottle, your milk supply will decrease, thus making the baby less interested in nursing.
  • teething- this can make a baby uncomfortable while nursing

More Resources

http://www.llli.org/NB/NBNovDec92p173.html

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/baby/back-to-breast.html

http://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/html/nursing_strike.shtml

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In the book, Good Night, Sleep Tight, the author write about the importance of establishing a good bedtime routine. This is not the time to be stimulating our child with a tickling war. Rather, this should be a calm, whine down time for you and your baby. The key is calm. Do activities that are not highly over stimulating and do the same routine every night. Doing the same routine every night will help signal to your child that it is now time to sleep (not play). Children thrive from routine and it is never to early to begin! Make sure you start your routine in enough time to get your child in bed at your chosen bedtime. For example, if you child goes to sleep at 8pm, make sure you start your bedtime routine at least 15-30 minutes before bedtime at 7:30pm.

My Son’s Bedtime Routine

Every night when my son Cooper was a newborn, we would bathe, nurse him (or bottle), turn on white noise (fan or white noise machine), swaddle, rock him a little (to the point of drowsiness), and put him in his crib.  As Cooper got older, our routine change a little: bathe, nurse/bottle, white noise turned on, swaddle/sleep sac, prayer, and put in crib. Cooper no longer needed the rocking to help calm and soothe him for bed. My son has had different bedtimes at different ages. Currently my son goes to bed at 7:00pm. We start our bedtime routine at 6:30pm so we can have him in bed by 7:00pm.

Suggested Activities for Bedtime

Read Books, Infant Message, Bath, Sing, Listen to soft music, rock/hold/ cuddle, nurse/bottle, walk with baby, gaze at mobile in crib together, rock in rocking chair

It should be noted that newborns often need extra help to whine down at night. It is important to give them extra time to calm and relax for sleep. Try not to put your baby in their crib asleep. It is okay to get your baby to the point of drowsiness, but try not to put her down for the night asleep. This will not help your child learn how to get herself to sleep on her own.

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