When Does the 4-Month Sleep Regression End?

So, you’ve survived your baby’s 4-month sleep regression (or, as I like to call it, the 4-month sleep PROgression, since your baby grows so much during this time!) and emerged with a baby who is engaged with the world around him. Congratulations! You probably noticed this fussy period lasted longer than other developmental phases (at least so far). Actually, from this age on the skills your baby is mastering are more complicated and he’ll take more time to adjust. Studies have shown that at 4-months there are dramatic changes in your baby’s brain waves and a significant increase in his head circumference! After two to three weeks (possibly more, as sleep regressions CAN last as long as six weeks in some rare cases) of “Mr. Grumpy” you are probably questioning if you’ll ever get your smiley, happy, bundle of joy back. The good news? You’re about to! While 4-months is still young to officially sleep coach, there are things that you can do to encourage your baby to get back into better sleep habits in preparation for sleep coaching when he (and you) are ready in a few months.   Is my baby ready for sleep coaching?   While some babies may be ready for sleep coaching by 4 to 5 months of... more

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Newborn Sleep: How much is enough?

newborn sleep

New parents are often taken by surprise by their newborn baby’s sleep patterns. Parents may wonder whether their baby is sleeping enough, or find themselves questioning how much day versus night sleep they should be getting. With the overabundance of information telling you how much sleep your baby should be getting (and the health risks if they don’t), many parents become overwhelmed and anxious very early on. I’m here to tell you: please stop worrying. Newborn sleep is variable and there is a WIDE range on the spectrum of how much or how little your baby will sleep.   Newborn Sleep Cycles   In the first few months of life, newborns will sleep in cycles during a 24-hour period, with no differentiation between day and night. Sleep will take time to mature into more normal patterns and until it does, there is no need for you to worry. Statistics show that newborns should sleep an average of 15-16 hours per day and parents begin to panic when they tally up their baby logs and find that their baby is not falling within those ranges. Here’s a little secret: In actuality, there are numerous studies. Some studies show that babies can sleep as little as 10 hours a day (in a 24 hour period), or... more

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Why Newborns Wake at Night and 10 Things You Can Do About It

newborn sleep

Some babies seem to be born as night owls, with longer stretches of sleep during the day and wanting to be entertained at night. Newborns are not born with fully developed circadian rhythms, and in fact, it will take your baby between 2 and 4 months to sort herself out naturally. To add to this, the sleep hormone melatonin isn’t fully produced by infants until at least 9 to 12 weeks (this is when the pineal gland matures). Breastfed babies receive melatonin from breastmilk, with higher levels during evening and nighttime hours, and significantly lower levels during the day (melatonin is broken down by light, which explains lower production during the day). While there are strategies you can incorporate into your days and nights to help your baby ease into nighttime sleep cycles, many babies will grow out of this stage as their bodies mature and develop. In fact, it may be more beneficial to find coping strategies for a sleep-deprived parent in these early weeks rather than fighting against your newborn’s internal clock (or lack thereof!). If your baby is older and seems to be switching her days and nights, this habit it may simply be a reflection of your baby’s day:      • Was it a stressful... more

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Why Your Newborn Baby Won’t Sleep

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Over the past week, I’ve received numerous emails from parents interested in Gentle Baby Solutions, but unsure of exactly how Gentle Baby Solutions can help. I’d like to answer the questions that I’ve received from you about Gentle Baby Solutions:   What is Gentle Baby Solutions?   A: Gentle Baby Solutions is a one-stop, support resource for parents of newborn babies, up to 6 months of age.   What makes Gentle Baby Solutions different than your other products?   A: As the Sleep Lady, I fully understand that one of your most pressing questions in these early months is “How can I get more sleep?” Gentle Baby Solutions is a resource targeted to help you find solutions to your sleep challenges in these early months with the added bonus of addressing all of the other relevant concerns that you have during this time. Our team’s years of working with parents of newborns have shown that this time is very delicate and presents many challenges, whether you are new or experienced. Gentle Baby Solutions helps to address these concerns and provides you with unparalleled support. Each new baby and family is unique, and the solutions you receive (and usually the ones that work)... more

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8 Strategies to Improve Infant Sleep Naturally

infant sleep

Babies are naturally terrible sleepers. As parents we often feel it is best to do what nature intended, but when it comes to sleep this can be challenging. It’s completely normal for babies to wake during the night when they need to be fed, comforted, or calmed. If you have an infant, night wakings are something that you need to accept, however some babies do wake up more than others, and some take longer to get back to sleep. There are several gentle and natural strategies that can nurture good sleep habits in your baby. Using these simple strategies may improve the length and quality of your baby’s sleep, as well as reduce the amount of time it takes to settle your baby, resulting in better sleep for both you and your baby.   Keep Your Baby Close   Having your baby sleep in close proximity to you has several advantages. Not only will it give you peace of mind, keeping your baby close increases emotional bonds and reduces stress levels in both you and your baby. Keeping your baby close while he sleeps enables you to respond quickly, which means that your baby can be calmed before he gets too upset, making it easier to calm him down. If your baby is stirring, a comforting touch may be all the... more

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Newborn Bonding Made Easy

newborn bonding

Some of us feel an intense bond the minute our baby is born. For many other parents, that passionate connection isn't that immediate - and they feel guilty. Be kind to yourself; it often takes days or weeks for those newborn bonding feelings to well up, and it can take as long as seven months, an ongoing process of positive give and take, for parents and babies to form a secure attachment. If persistent sadness interferes with the bonding, please seek an evaluation for post-partum depression. You don't have to be supermom or dad to create the bond as you get acquainted with your baby. But here are some ways you can nudge it a long. Some may be intuitive for you.   Tips to Help You Bond   1.    Create routines that your child can expect and count on-not just at bedtime, mealtime, and bath time. Have a special toy for diaper changes, or a favorite song as you start your daily walks. 2.    Respond to his needs quickly. If he cries because he's wet, change him. If he makes hungry noises, feed him. If you can't address his need immediately, acknowledge him clearly, let him know you heard him and will be there as soon as you can. If possible, give him a toy to hold and talk to him while you... more

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Did You Know That 1 in 5 Women Experience Postpartum Depression?

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Written by Dr. Shosh   I’m a survivor of two life-threatening postpartum depressions.  At the time of my illnesses, there was no help for me. The great news is that, if you’re suffering from depression in pregnancy or postpartum or know someone who is, there’s help now.  For the last 24 years my mission has been to educate medical and mental health professionals, and work directly with women and their families around the world to make sure they don’t suffer the way my family and I did.  I’ve worked with over 19,000 women, and I’ve never met one who did not fully recover when given proper help. Women are most vulnerable to mood and anxiety disorders during pregnancy and the postpartum period.  If depression or anxiety is going to surface, it typically happens at this time. Postpartum depression (ppd) is one of six postpartum mood disorders and is the most common, affecting about 15 percent of mothers around the world.  The primary cause for ppd is thought to be the huge hormonal drop after the baby is delivered.  This hormone shift then affects the neurotransmitters (brain chemicals).  There are also psychosocial factors such as moving, illness, poor partner support, financial hardship, and... more

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Second baby coming! How Long Should We Roomshare?!

second baby roomshare

"I'm pregnant with my second child.  My son will be 3 when the new baby comes.  He is a great sleeper.  We live in a small 2 bedroom townhouse.. so my concern is how long should the baby roomshare with my husband and I before moving the 2 kids to the same room?  I'm worried that the baby will be waking up my 3 year old during the night...but at the same time, I don't want the baby to be used to sleeping in our room for too long (it's also a small room so once the baby outgrows the cradle...I won't be able to fit a crib in there). I'd love your expert advice!!"   Consider Roomsharing   Congratulations on the upcoming arrival of baby #2! Given your room set up, I think  it makes the most sense to have your baby sleep in the cradle in your room, or roomshare,  until he or she sleeps through the night.  Consider buying a sound screen or white noise maker for your son's room so he won't hear the baby wake during the night. Read the two chapters in "Good Night, Sleep Tight" about newborns, especially "The Right Start for Newborns and Infants". If you follow my "8 Rules of Infant Slumber" with your new baby and gently sleep shape, you won't have to sleep coach him or her later! Once the baby knows... more

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“When Should I Stop Swaddling My Baby” – Weaning Your Baby Out of His Swaddle

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Many parents of newborns worry that they will have to actively "wean" their baby from swaddling.  Luckily, babies often send clear signals that they don't like being swaddled anymore as they get more mobile. On average, babies are ready to be weaned off swaddling between  3 and 4 months of age. However, many babies continue to enjoy being swaddled for naps while not be swaddled for night sleep. That's ok! It's more difficult to go to sleep during the day so swaddling can help.   How to tell if your baby no longer needs to be swaddled:   1. Your baby wiggles out of their swaddling blanket frequently. 2. Your baby can roll over-your baby fights the swaddle more then usual and no longer quiets easily when swaddled.   There are several different approaches to weaning your baby from swaddling:   -After 2 or 3 months, try swaddling her with one arm out. If she fusses and hits herself she is not ready- try again in a couple of weeks.    If she is happy leave her arm out. In a couple of days or weeks you can try putting her down with both arms out. -Some babies even like having their legs unswaddled first before trying the arms. It's worth a try! -If your baby is not... more

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Symptoms of Postpartum Depression – This is Not Just the Baby Blues

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I recently went to a workshop on Post Partum Depression (PPD) and was shocked and saddened to hear how prevalent and largely untreated PPD is. As a mother and social worker, I felt compelled to write about this topic in my newsletter and to encourage each of you to speak up, share your stories and feelings, listen to a friend's story and seek professional help if needed. In last month's newsletter I asked readers who had experienced PPD to share their story with me. I received hundreds of emails!!! I wanted to personally respond to all of them--my heart went out to each of you. Because I could not choose just one story or try to edit them all, I decided to share an excerpt from "Beyond the Blues-A Guide to Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression" By Shoshana S. Bennett, PhD and Pec Indman, EdD, MFT , Moodswings Press, 2003. "Contrary to popular mythology, pregnancy is not always a happy, glowing experience! Approximately 15- 20 percent of pregnant women experience depression. Of these, about 15 percent are so severely depressed that they attempt suicide. There are five postpartum mood disorders. This list details each of the principal disorders, some of their most common symptoms, and risk... more

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