September 01, 2022
**September 9, 20222, NAPS is offering a free webinar about this topic, led by Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Ellen McCue. This is for all parents and caregivers who are expecting or have a baby up through walking toddler age. Click here for more details!**
Parents ask us about baby and child proofing all the time. Questions like, do we really have to do it, how much needs to be done before the baby’s born, and how dangerous is it to put off or decide not to baby proof at all.
The answers to all these questions are specific to you. You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to, that’s the truth.
But… I want to tell you the secret of baby proofing: it’s really for you, the parent. Because if you don’t baby proof, you’re going to be chasing them around your house, watching them like a hawk, worrying about what they’re getting into. Basic baby proofing lets your baby explore your space with greater safety. Not that you don’t have to watch them, of course, but your baby can have a little more freedom.
So how do you baby proof? You don’t have to do everything at once. We’ve clumped things together for you at different stages. Again, you don’t have to do all of this, or any of it. But we do recommend that you do some things to make your space safer.
Newborn: Before you have your baby, here are a few things to consider:
By 4 months old: When your child can hold their head steady, shake toys, and bring things to their mouths, you may want to do the following:
Between 4-6 months old: When your child is starting to roll from back to belly, starting solids, rocking, and sitting up, it’s time to do a little more proofing. For example:
Around 9 months old: When your child is creeping or crawling, and starts pulling to stand, here are some additional proofing actions to consider:
Around 12 months old: You’ve already done most of the toddler proofing already, but there are some things you can enhance:
Between 12-18 months old: Your child is starting to walk independently
And beyond: Children are individuals with different interests, so you’ll want to tailor your proofing to match. For instance:
Remember that baby and child proofing doesn’t mean that your child can’t get hurt or tangled up in trouble. Kids will be kids, and they’ll find their way into trouble. But you can decrease the likelihood of injury by following the bullet points above.
We also recommend encouraging exploration! If your child loves opening cabinets, lock all of them except one, and fill that cabinet with child-safe pots and pans that they can pull out and smash together (preferably when you’re not on a conference call). Try to find ways to bring joy into your child’s every day at-home experiences, so it’s not just “no” or “not that,” it’s also “try this,” and “look over here.” Finding fun in these new stages can be daunting, but it really is possible. Best of luck!
Emily Silver is a Family Nurse Practitioner and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She is also a co-founder of NAPS. NAPS supports women throughout pregnancy and up through early childhood with an in-depth online learning platform, Nurture by NAPS, a wide array of virtual classes and consultations and even in-home lactation and nursing care.
February 06, 2023
Creating a registry can be time-consuming and confusing: What's the best stroller? What kind of car seat is the safest? Where should I register? Here are six tips to help you create the perfect baby registry.
January 31, 2023
January 24, 2023
The team at NAPS helps you tackle the issue of early wakeups. *BONUS* NAPS is hosting a webinar on February 24th. Register here and use the extra-special code MAGICMERLIN and you can join the webinar FREE of charge!
The sound of cheery calls of “MAAAAMAAAAA” from the next room may be lovely at 7am. At 4am, or 5 am, not so much. Your baby may be up and ready to start the day, but you probably aren’t.
Answering the questions below may help you get there.
This might seem like an obvious question, but your baby’s sleep needs will change fast in the first few years of their lives. A quick look at the average nap number and duration might give you an idea:
Part of the reason you might be seeing earlier wakeups is that your baby has graduated from one nap cycle to the next.
We call this an “awake window,” and it can make a big difference. It might seem strange that your baby went to bed fine the night before, and you’re seeing a response to nap scheduling in the pre-dawn hours, but if your kiddo’s sleep is disrupted at night, it will impact the morning.
Black 0ut curtains can make a big difference here. Remember that our brains signal wakeup when the light changes. So if dawn is at 430am, and even a little bit of light comes into your baby’s room, their little brains will PING with wake up juice.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but a late bedtime can actually backfire on you. Overtired kids don’t sleep as well. If you made their bedtime later and it didn’t fix the problem, try an earlier bedtime and see if that helps. You might be surprised.
Try to make one change at a time; just one. Stick with that change for 3-5 days to see if it impacts things. (One night is usually not enough to see substantial change.) Be as consistent as you can with the change you made. For instance, if you decide to increase the space between bedtime and final nap wakeup, make sure to stick to the wakeup time you planned.
If your baby is waking up and chirping happily to themselves, feel free to leave them there for a little while. Let them get used to being alone in the crib. If you can, try to delay the start of the day by 5-10 minutes each day. This can make a big impact.
Everything else aside, remember that this is a short time in your kid’s life; as they get older, their sleep will become more regular, and so will yours. Don’t let yourself get too discouraged. Things are hard now, and you’re doing a great job.
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