August 26, 2018
The first time you leave your baby with a babysitter can be extremely stressful. While you’re out, chances are you’ll be preoccupied and wondering if your baby is safe and happy. Even if it’s your own mom, that first separation can be tough.
You’ve probably left a long list of emergency phone numbers, feeding times, bath times and nap times, but something might still be missing: While you might be aware of the Safe Sleep Guidelines developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, your babysitter might not. And, since the Guidelines have changed since you were a baby, Grandma might not know, either.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is still the leading cause of death for babies one month to one year of age but over the past 10 years there has also been a dramatic increase (115% in the past decade) of other sleep-related infant deaths, such as accidental suffocation.
These other sleep-related deaths can be prevented by following updated AAP Safe Sleep Guidelines, which include:
It may be tempting for a babysitter or Grandma to hold your baby the entire time you’re gone, to not wake him or her up, but this isn’t safe. It’s also tempting to have your baby sleep next to them on the couch, to be watched. Again, not safe, since it’s not a firm surface. Every time your baby sleeps she should be in her own sleep area.
Grandma might also feel the crib looks “empty” or “cold” and she’ll make it cozy by snuggling in a blanket or a stuffed animal. It’s critical to explain to her that keeping the crib completely bare is necessary, to eliminate the chance of accidental suffocation. As a first-time mom it can be difficult to get your mother to listen to you - but stay firm in your instructions.
So, when creating your babysitter check list include:
For additional information and to learn more about the Safe Sleep Guidelines visit First Candle’s site.
Alison Jacobson is the Executive Director/CEO of First Candle. First Candle is the national non-profit committed to ending Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other sleep-related infant deaths through education and outreach while supporting those families who have tragically lost a baby.
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.
January 10, 2023
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