This topic is one of my favorite opportunities for laughing at myself. My first mistake was asking my older two children to meet our new baby at the hospital. Not only did they not want to go, they begged their father either to send back the baby or to leave us both at the hospital. Right away, I learned the value of letting the older siblings have their own feelings rather than forcing mine upon them. It was either that or knowing that they would act out in ways I’d rather not imagine. After all, what was in it for them? They now had to share a room, as well as the time and attention of their tired and cranky parents.
My challenge was to convince them that while having a new sister was non-negotiable, they could have some adventure along the way. They arranged and decorated their new room in an outlandish manner, complete with “BABY KEEP OUT” signs and booby traps, since baby couldn’t read. Their father logged in overtime on surprise excursions that Mom would never have approved of and that Baby would never enjoy. They acquired extra paid jobs around the house. They got special individual time with both of us, and we still managed to keep up with their busy lives. Luckily, their sister was irresistible and won them over in no time.
As a former paramedic, I can tell you there are few things as heart-wrenching as responding to an event dealing with a child. Especially those events that are preventable such as drowning, poisoning and the following. Please read.
This week the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched its first-ever national campaign to get the message out about the harmful and potentially fatal effects of leaving children in hot cars.
The Where’s baby? Look Before You Lock message asks all parents, grandparents, and other care-givers to be mindful when leaving your vehicle.
Cars heat up quickly – even with a window rolled down two inches, if the outside temperature is in the low 80s, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes. Young children, those under 4 years old, are particularly at risk because their bodies overheat more easily.
So this campaign is a call-to-action for parents, families, and everyone who cares about the safety of children. As NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said, “While parents are the first line of defense when it comes to preventing heatstroke in hot cars, everyone in the community has a role to play in keeping kids safe.”
NHTSA also offers Hyperthermia Prevention Safety Tips:
- Never leave a baby or young child unattended in a vehicle—even if you leave the windows partly open or the air conditioning on.
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away.
- Do things to remind yourself that a child is in the vehicle, such as:
- Writing yourself a note and putting it where you will see it when you leave the vehicle;
- Placing your purse, briefcase or something else you need in the back seat so that you will have to check the back when you leave the vehicle;
- Keeping an object in the car seat, such as a stuffed toy. When the child is buckled in, place the object where you’ll notice it when leaving the vehicle.
- If you see a child alone in a vehicle, call the police. If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
PS. Dogs left in cars can suffer the same fate as children.
Bringing home a new baby fills a house with joy and wonder. It can also bring worry and stress to older siblings who feel their world has just been turned upside down. A sense of jealousy, resentment, and even a little anger is normal. Siblings fear there won’t be enough love, or time to go around.
As parents, there are things we can say and do to help ease the transition.
Talk about what WON’T change once the new baby arrives and emphasis all the things that will be the same. This includes:
- Keeping a similar routine – Talk to your kids about their favorite parts of the day, and make sure you keep those consistent.
- Avoiding making big changes like toilet training, graduating from the crib, or changing rooms. Work through these transitions a few months before baby arrives, or a few months after.
- Keeping life predictable - Remember, predictability brings a sense of security that is really important to children, so keep things predictable and consistent.
Talk about the new “big sibling role”. Be sure your conversations are realistic. Getting your kids excited about the things the baby can’t do until he/she is four will create false hopes.
Involve older siblings in making meaningful decisions, before and after the baby arrives and let them help with the new baby. Make sure that one-on-one time is still spent with each child. Make it a point to have individual conversations and experiences with each of your children. This will help them feel special and loved and let them know that the new baby has not taken their spot in the family.
A fun way to help older siblings make the new baby transition: we give each of our children a disposable camera and ask them to be the photographers. They feel important and have fun taking pictures at the hospital and once we get home. It is so fun to get the pictures developed. Some of our very best photos have come from our kids.
What’s worked the best for your family??
For more than ten years, parenting experts, child product safety organizations, and new parents have been talking about the potential safety hazards of using traditional crib bumpers inside infants’ cribs despite the benefits of preventing head, arm and leg injuries.
We are Dale and Susan Waters, married entrepreneurs from Minnesota who turned fear for our baby’s safety inside her crib into a mission to create something that would not only help protect babies but also provide peace of mind for parents. We invented the Breathable Mesh Crib Bumper; a product designed to reduce the risks of suffocation caused by traditional bumpers, while protecting a baby’s limbs from becoming entrapped in the crib slats.
BreathableBaby is Born
12 years ago, we woke to the sound of our 3-month-old daughter screaming in agony from her crib. Our daughter, Sierra had gotten her legs twisted and wedged between the slats of her crib. Her face was pinned against the mattress.
There were many sleepless nights for us and our daughter – no matter what we tried she kept getting her little arms and legs caught between the crib slats. In addition to the obvious pain of being stuck, we feared she would break an arm or leg, or develop neuropathy. But we refused to use a soft, pillowy crib bumper for fear of suffocation.
Research shows that a baby can snuggle up right against their crib bumper. If the baby’s nose and mouth are too close to the bumper, it can potentially cause dangerous re-breathing of carbon dioxide or suffocation. A baby can also get wedged between crib slats and the mattress, unable to escape and possibly suffocate. Because the safety and potential dangers of crib bumpers has been in the news recently, many parents are unsure about how to keep their babies comfortable and safe.
As parents, we were frustrated and upset to learn there was no practical solution available in the marketplace. As designers and entrepreneurs we decided we had to do something about it and devoted ourselves to developing a safer, “breathable” solution – preferably one that was affordable and easy to use. So, we took a break from the media, marketing and music company we owned, and focused on creating a safer solution for babies.
We researched and sourced fabrics, designed and engineered prototypes, held focus groups with mothers and sought extensive third party safety evaluations by a world-leader in safety consultation before finally introducing a safer, smarter crib bumper to the market three years later in 2002.
What makes BreathableBaby bumpers so much safer is our Air Channel Technology™ (A.C.T.) designed to prevent suffocation. A.C.T. maintains air access should a baby’s mouth and nose press up against the fabric. When the BreathableBaby fabric is compressed it is virtually impossible to form an airtight seal. In fact BreathableBaby has “fabric cards” available so that parents can experience the A.C.T. safety feature for themselves — just send in a request along with your address information to customercare@BreathableBaby.com and we’ll send you one free of charge.
Since its launch, we’re proud to say that the BreathableBaby™ brand has forged a new category in “breathable” bedding, and is embraced by parents worldwide. Our products have won numerous awards including The Child Safety House Calls Award of Excellence, and National Parenting Center Seal of Approval for innovation, functionality, design and contribution to creating a safer, healthier crib environment.
It’s imperative that parents are aware of the potential dangers that may be part of a baby’s sleep environment. New information is available all the time, so we urge all expectant parents – first time or otherwise – to seek relevant news, alerts, studies and guidelines from news and safety organizations such as the ones listed in our Healthful Hints below.
Wishing you and your little one sweet dreams.
Six Steps to a Safe Sleep Environment For Your Baby
- Crib Mattress Should be Firm. A soft mattress may increase suffocation risks. Select a firm mattress that fits the crib tightly and a fitted sheet. You should have a fitted not be able to fit more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib side. Before purchasing a crib, visit www.cpsc.gov to make sure the crib you selected has not been recalled.
- No Blankets for Baby. Do not place anything in baby’s crib that could be a suffocation hazard, including blankets. If you’re worried about keeping your baby warm, a better solution is an infant sleeper or wearable blanket that zips around your baby and can’t ride up over her face.
- Breathable Mesh Crib Bumpers. Crib bumpers that are plush, pillowy, and made of non-breathable fabric can increase the risk of suffocation. A safer crib bumper option is one that is mesh or breathable and allows for air flow – even when pressed against a baby’s mouth.
- De-Clutter the Crib. For most parents, all those cute stuffed animals and soft blankets might seem a natural fit for the crib, but unfortunately they all pose suffocation risks. Toys and stuffed animals are best saved for interactive play time.
- A bottle. Parents of older infants who have started holding their own bottles may be tempted to slip a bottle into the crib in case their baby wakes at night. But even a bottle can pose a suffocation risk. Plus, babies who fall asleep with a bottle in their mouths are prone to tooth decay from the milk sugars that sit on their teeth all night.
- Pacifiers. Some studies have shown that giving your baby a clean, dry pacifier reduces SIDS rates.
Resources For More Information On Safe Sleep and Crib Safety
- Consumer Product Safety Commission www.cpsc.gov/info/cribs
- Keeping Babies Safe www.keepingbabiessafe.org
- American Academy of Pediatrics www.healthychildren.org
- First Candle www.firstcandle.org
- Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association http://cribsafety.jpma.org
I want to start off by saying all babies are different so my suggestions may not work as easily for your baby than another baby. My baby is now 1 month old and he is not sleeping more than 2 hours at a time at night. In the beginning I was blaming it on the fact that he just had his nights and days mixed up, but now I am beginning to wonder. He is quite collicky and doing a lot of spitting up. My first child had acid reflux as a baby (it was horrible) and I am praying that this is not the case now.
But as your baby gets older and they get on a better sleeping and eating schedule, there are some things might help them become better sleepers. With my first 2, they were sleeping through the night by 5 months old. All of my friends were amazed because they had little ones still getting up at night at 2 years old. I have to say that a baby should most definitely be sleeping through the night by 9 months to a year old. And if they aren’t then you might just be giving in to them too easily.
Well, let me go into my list of things you can do to get your baby to sleep through the night and I will go into more detail about everything.
- Be Consistent – It is very important to introduce consistency early on. Getting baby on a schedule is great. You can even do this when you baby is a newborn. One thing that I try to do is go to bed at the same time every night. I try to keep track of the feeding times. You will see that they will wind up getting up at the same time each night to be fed. Both babies and children need consistency in their lives. They will be much more well rounded as they grow up. I have always had my children on a schedule and now with my 2 older ones (4 & 5 yrs old) they know what to do no matter what time of day. In the morning, they know that they eat breakfast at 7:30am after I have fed the baby. They know that after breakfast they have to wash their hands, get dressed, and brush their teeth. I make sure we do the same thing in the same order because then they pick it up much easier. Even my 1 yr old knows his naptime and right when he wakes up from his nap, he runs to the kitchen because he knows that it is then lunch time.
A few things that you can do to create a night time routine of consistency is:
- Keep Bedroom Dark – This is a great tip if your baby is having a hard time getting adjusted to night and day. Even if they are in the bedroom with you, you can still create an atmosphere of calm. And when you get up for all those late night feedings, don’t turn the TV on.
- Bedtime Bath – Giving your baby a bath right before bed is a great way to calm them as well as get their energy out. You will see that they actually sleep longer once you put them to bed after a bath.
- Add Cereal to Nightime Bottle – You can do this once your baby hits the 3 month mark. The cereal helps their belly to be full for longer so they sleep longer.
- White Noise – I have a Sleepmate in our bedroom running at night. It is a small machine that creates white noise (a fan type sound). I turn it on right before bed. They say that this can help your baby sleep better.
- Keep Bedroom Cool – When a room is hot, it is much harder for a baby to be comfortable. When it is cool they can get warm & comfy being swaddled or under their blanket.
- Use a Humidifier – This is especially important during the cold months when you use the heat. Dry air is not good for a baby to breath while they are sleeping. They need moisture and a humidifer helps to put the moisture back in the air that the heat takes out.
So, that is the first step, getting on a schedule and being consistent. The next step is:
- Put Your Foot Down – A lot of new moms have a hard time not giving in to their baby, especially when they cry. Once you know that your baby has been fed enough and they are still getting up to be fed, you really have to work at breaking their habit. Getting up at night to eat becomes a habit because they are doing it for so long. Once they pass 6 months and are eating solid foods, then you know that they can probably survive without eating every few hours like they did when they were small babies. But, be warned, they will cry and if they are older, they will throw a tantrum. It can be heart wrenching to listen to them cry that first night that you deny them their feeding. It usually take about a week and they will finally be broken of that habit.
Many moms don’t follow through and then they complain that their baby doesn’t sleep well at 1 or 2 years old. But it is their own fault for giving in and not breaking the habit.
You can start the process by giving them water at one of the feedings instead of their milk. That was something I did as well.
- Get the Baby out of Your Bed – I have to be honest with you, I was always against keeping a baby in your bed especially if you share it with a spouse. I never had my first 2 in my bed, but once baby #3 came along, I wound up kicking my husband out and keeping the baby with me in bed. It was just so much easier for me to feed the baby and do what I needed to do. I was plain exhausted, so I did what worked for me at the time. And even now with baby #4, he is also in bed with me and my husband has been sleeping in another room. So, I am all for making things as easy as possible so that you get more sleep in the long run.
But long term, having a baby in your bed can actually cause them to get up more and breaking that habit will be harder as they get older. Even having the baby in a bassinet will be better because they will sleep more soundly.
These are just a few things that I have done as a mom that have helped my children become great sleepers as early as 5 months old. Again, every baby is different. You will have to do what is best for you and your baby, but just know that you do have the power to help them break the habit of getting up at night.
And if you are like me, and have a newborn baby – then we are in it for the long haul. You cannot NOT feed a small baby, especially if they are eating only milk.
I hope these tips have helped you. Do any of you moms have any tips to share on how to get a baby to sleep through the night? Be sure to leave your comment below.