Tips on Going to Sleep, Staying Awake, and Crying
- Babies get fully recharged when they see mom or dad, so if they are just about to fall asleep, don't peek in on them and catch their eye. I've crawled on more carpets as a mother than my babies have!
- Make a large "Do Not Disturb" sign for your front door and put it over the doorbell ringer. And don't forget to use it whenever you need to sleep, too! I have another one that reads, "You wake him, you take him," and for some reason, that one seems to be even more effective.
- As your baby grows through the first year, leave a pair of slip-on platform shoes or a small stepping stool under the crib. You can change your baby's diaper in the middle of the night without taking her out of the crib or waking her up by dropping down the bedside rail. It will also save your back!
- If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That means if your baby is sleeping well, eating well, and acting happy, don't change a single thing.
- Once your baby establishes a morning wake-up schedule, he will probably be more reliable than your alarm clock. It's amazing!
- During times of daylight savings, notice how one short hour of gain or loss can affect your baby and his sleep pattern—if only for a short period. Once you see this, live your life remembering how much one hour can do.
- Babies wear themselves out mentally when they hear background noises, such as people talking or the radio. That means that even if your baby is sleeping in the middle of the family room, he is still wearing himself out. So put your baby down for his afternoon naps in a noisier area and then put him in his crib at night. He'll probably sleep deeper through the night in his quiet place. An added bonus: he'll also begin to sleep through anything.
- If you throw a party or some other event, remember the baby is not used to so much company. She may become overstimulated from all the different people who want to hold her. At some point, take her into a quiet room and give her some space for twenty minutes. This works great and will revitalize her for another round!
- Depending on your baby, the following could happen at any time now. Once your baby learns how to stand up in the crib, he may start crying—more out of fear that he doesn't know how to let go and sit back down than because he wants you to take him out. In other words, he's stuck. Rather than pick him up (because this will just form a new bad habit), bend his knees, show him how to sit back down, pat his back, and say, "I love you," and leave the room immediately.
- Ways to keep a baby awake:
- Change his position (for example, move from lying down to sitting up).
- Change his toy or activity.
- Change his situation (for example, move to another room).
- Take a walk or run errands.
- Sing a song or put on some slightly upbeat music.
- Feed him something light to recharge him.
- Not sure why baby is crying? Well, keep in mind that babies don't like overstimulation, changes in their routines, loud and abrupt noises, and/or tense parents. Consider whether or not any of these factors are contributing to the situation.
- If your baby is in a really bad mood, pretend he is a stressed-out grown-up caught in a rush-hour traffic jam. People can be really nasty in that kind of situation until you smile at them. But usually, once you do, they smile back—and even wave!
More on: Babies
Copyright © 2006 by Jeanne Murphy. Excerpted from Your Growing Baby (5 to 8 Months) with permission of its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.
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