Tag Archives: newborns

How to Treat Cradle Cap in Infants - SmartMom

How to Treat Cradle Cap in Infants

Photo from Mini Republic

Cradle cap is a term used for the flaky, dandruff-like spots which can appear on a new baby’s scalp. Often the cradle cap manifests as yellow or brown patches of crust on the skin. Doctors call it infantile seborrheic dermatitis and though the name sounds intimidating, cradle cap is harmless to babies. Most babies lose their cradle cap between 3-12 months old, however, in the meantime if you’re wondering how to treat cradle cap in infants, there are some easy and natural home remedies to try. 

Though it may be tempting,  never pick at the affected areas of your baby’s cradle cap. Picking at the skin could cause infection in the baby’s sensitive skin. Further, steer clear of any shampoos or treatments that contain harsh chemicals or ingredients. Avoid skin irritants and instead, look to a few of the wonderful, completely natural and harmless methods that explain how to treat cradle cap in infants.

Coconut Oil

The most successful and popular natural treatment for cradle cap is to use coconut oil on the scalp. Coconut oil smells wonderful, has natural antibacterial properties and is a natural moisturizer.

Coconut oil can be found at most major groceries or online. Note that coconut oil comes in solid form, so you will want to take some in your hands first to soften before rubbing on the scalp.

Apply a small amount of coconut oil to your baby’s scalp and massage in well. Let it sit for a few hours, or even overnight. This will soften up the dry skin, and make it easier to rub off.

Use a mitt or brush made for rubbing off cradle cap, a cradle cap sterile bristle brush or even a baby washcloth to gently rub the areas of cradle cap on the scalp.  Between the oil and the gentle exfoliation, you should be able to remove most of the dry skin.

To finish, wash your baby’s hair with some warm water and normal shampoo.

Olive Oil

If you don’t have coconut oil in the house, olive oil is a second best bet. It may not have the antibacterial properties like coconut oil does, but if you rub it in, and brush it off, it is sure to reduce cradle cap.

Shea Butter

Shea butter is a safe and natural method for parents looking for tips on how to tread cradle cap in infants. It is easily absorbed into the scalp and does not leave a greasy residue. If you want to let the treatment sit overnight on the scalp, it will be less greasy than other options.

Massage shea butter into scalp, let sit for a minimum of 20 minutes, and then gently rub the patches of cradle cap, until it flakes off. To finish, rinse the baby’s head with warm water. It may take a few times to get most of the dry skin off, so be patient and repeat process daily.

Baking Soda

Also a successful and natural method for new moms wondering how to treat cradle cap in infants, baking soda can be made into a gentle cream. To make a baking soda cream, mix 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda with a small amount of water or oil (coconut or olive).

This will form a paste to apply to the affected areas of the scalp, let it sit for around twenty minutes, use a soft brush or washcloth to rub off flakes, and then rinse.

Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another cure-all treatment, which also is a tried and true treatment for baby’s cradle cap. Mix two teaspoons of water with one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (or any 2:1 water/vinegar ratio), massage into baby’s scalp (be mindful to not get into baby’s eyes), leave for ten minutes and then wash off with baby’s normal shampoo.

 

For information about natural treatments for other baby illnesses, check out this post.

 

RELATED QUESTIONS

Cradle cap won’t go away! I’ve tried shea butter, coconut oil, healing balm..any thoughts?

Cradle cap help please! I have a one month old and I am noticing dry, flaky skin on top of her scalp.

My son is almost 3 months old and I believe he has cradle cap. The peds didn’t prescribe him anything..

Hey mommas anyone have any tips on cradle cap? I know about olive oil and I have hydrocortisone..

Coconut oil for cradle cap?

My LO is bathed every night before bedtime and I scrub it gently but nothing helps. Any suggestions?

Any of your babies have or had cradle cap? What can you/did you do for it?

I think my LO has cradle cap..Scalp is dry and flaking…What can I do?

My son had cradle cap for the first 6 weeks..Now at 10 weeks it’s starting to come back..

My LO has severe cradle cap and now it’s on his face too. I have tried oil and brush treatments. Any advice?

 

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Natural Cures for Diaper Rash - SmartMom

Seven Simple and Natural Cures for Diaper Rash

There is a common misconception that babies’ bottoms are supposed to be smooth skin and rash free. However, most babies have sensitive skin on their behinds and add to that the fact that they sit in a diaper all day long, it’s practically a recipe for diaper rash.

Diaper rash is very common for babies and toddlers of all ages and though it is harmless, it can be uncomfortable, and if not treated, can cause yeast or bacterial infections. Luckily there are natural cures for diaper rash, which are perfect for your baby’s sensitive skin.

Change the Diaper

One of the easiest natural cures for diaper rash is to make sure that you change your baby’s diaper as soon as they go to the bathroom. The longer the baby sits in the dampness of the diaper, the more likely it is that bacteria or yeast can grow in the moist environment. When putting a diaper back on a baby, make sure that their bottom is as dry as possible. After wiping, use tissues to blot the wetness off the baby and then diaper.

Check the Wipes

When changing the baby, especially if changing the baby’s diaper often, make sure to use very sensitive diaper wipes, or simply use plain water to wash their behind. Often baby wipes have chemicals or harsh ingredients in them, which can perpetuate irritation on the baby’s sensitive skin.

Go Diaper Free

If changing the diaper often or using sensitive baby wipes fails to help prevent diaper rash in your little one, try going without a diaper completely. The diaper provides a moist environment of urine or feces, pressed up against the baby’s sensitive skin. This can make the skin raw, irritated, and breed yeast or bacteria. Let your baby go diaper free for as much time as possible.

This will allow the skin to air out and breath. Worried about the baby messing up the house? Try letting them run around sans diaper outside, or use rubber mats, towels, or plastic tablecloths under them inside the house.

Breast Milk

Yes, breast milk is one of the most unsung natural cures for diaper rash. Apply a few drops of breast milk to your baby’s bottom and rub in gently. Breast milk is not just a great way to heal diaper rash, but a completely safe way to prevent diaper rash, as well. After application, let air dry, and then diaper.

Coconut Oil

Another cure-all for babies is coconut oil. It’s one of the most perfect natural cures for diaper rash, as it’s safe for baby skin, contains antibacterial properties and above all, smells delicious. Apply a thin coat of organic coconut oil either to heal diaper rash or prevent it. Coconut oil is a fantastic wetness barrier for a baby’s behind, so it is wonderful at preventing too much moisture from accumulating on the baby’s skin.

Oatmeal

Oats have long been a cure for skin ailments, as it has soothing properties that can heal irritation and itching, one of the best natural cures for diaper rash. Place some oats in a blender until they form a fine powder; mix into a warm bath until the bath looks milky. Let the baby soak in the bath for 15-20 minutes, and then pat dry. This will help ease and diaper rash redness and irritation, and thus allow the skin to start the healing process.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Another kitchen staple that has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties is apple cider vinegar. Mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with half a cup of warm water; dip a clean washcloth in the mixture and dab on baby’s bottom. Let dry thoroughly before diapering. This will help prevent any yeast or bacteria from growing, as well as helping the raw skin heal.

RELATED QUESTIONS

HELP! Diaper rash is the pits! My poor red bottom, 8 month old little girl! I’ve tried everything I can think of and then some. Any mommy’s out there know something I don’t? I hate seeing her in pain.

Hi Moms! My 9 month old little girl is continuously getting diaper rash & heat boils on her bottom. I consulted with her doctor and he prescribed ointments which help but don’t eliminate it all together. Do you have ladies know of any other ways I could be helping her?

I know I can google this and trust me I have but I need real moms responses, what is the best thing to do for diaper rash?

Diaper rash question! What’s the best way to help it? My son and I both just got over the stomach bug but from pooping so much my son now has a really bad diaper rash where it’s got a little blood. I use Desitin rapid relief and the second I noticed it I started putting it on him. Any suggestions?

My LO has a horribly diaper rash. I’ve been using extra strength Desitin but it’s not working. Any tips on what I could use to help it?

My daughter has a horrible red, angry diaper rash and I don’t know what it’s from! She hasn’t changed foods or anything. Nothing has helped clear it up in 3 days. Any suggestions?

What do you mommies do for newborn diaper rash? It was so bad on my LO that he bled. We used Desitin but it really didn’t work…

Are there any other reason why babies get diaper rash? I thought they get because the diaper brand or baby wipes brand aren’t right for their skin…

Any moms out there love a specific diaper rash cream? We use Aquaphor regularly however, my son has a very bad rash right now…

HELP! My daughter has had a diaper rash for over a month I was using Desitin for about 3 weeks. It wasn’t working then I took her to her doctor…
 

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Baby Sleep Myths - SmartMom

5 Baby Sleep Myths, Debunked

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When I was a new mom, I pored over books and blogs, and talked to all my mom friends looking for “answers” to questions about my baby’s sleep schedule. I’ve since learned from my experience as a parent and my training as a sleep consultant that there are some pretty big myths circulating.  But when you’re wading through advice it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction (especially if you’re exhausted from lack of sleep!)

Here are some of the baby sleep myths I’d like to bust, once and for all:

1. Feeding your baby more will help him sleep longer.

Newborns need to eat frequently – sometimes as often as every hour. This is normal. Their tummies are tiny, milk is digested quickly, and they are growing like crazy, which adds up to lots of feedings, night and day.

It seems somewhat logical that if you feed a baby more (for instance, by giving him a big bottle or mixing in rice cereal) that he would sleep longer, but this is simply not true. Babies sleep for longer stretches when they are developmentally ready to do so (although they often need assistance learning this skill – see myth #3). Over-filling their tummies will not make that happen faster.

2. Your baby will naturally give up night feedings when he or she is ready.

Again, the idea is that when babies wake at night, it is always due to hunger. However, for many babies, eating at night becomes a learned habit.

If I eat a bowl of ice cream at 9pm every night while watching TV, my body will learn to feel hungry at that time. Babies are the same way.

Most infants past the age of 6 months are ready to go pretty long stretches at night without a feeding – 10 or 12 hours. But they may not give up their nighttime eating habit without a little nudge. It’s fairly easy to wean your baby from these feedings by gradually reducing the number of ounces in the bottle or the number of minutes you’re nursing (always check with your pediatrician first). Your baby will adjust by consuming extra calories during the day.

3. Your baby will figure out how to sleep on his own.

This is similar to myth #2. Some babies do seem to figure out how to sleep on their own, just like some kids hop on a bike and start pedaling away on the first try. Many babies, though, need some encouragement. Sleeping is a natural state, but going to sleep is a skill – a skill that comes more easily to some than others.

If your baby is still waking regularly in the night by the time he is about 6 months old, consider some gentle sleep coaching strategies (see myth #4). You may think it will get easier as he gets older, but generally the opposite is true.

4. “Cry it out” is the only way to help your child learn to sleep

In the world of infant sleep, “sleep training” is often equated with “crying it out” – i.e., putting your baby in her bed, leaving the room, and letting her cry until she goes sleep.

Many parents simply can’t stomach leaving their babies alone to cry, though, and no sleep coaching method is going to work if you don’t do it consistently.

The good news is that there ARE alternatives that are just as effective – alternatives that enable you to be present to comfort and sooth your baby.  As your baby’s sleep skills improve, you can gradually reduce the amount of reassurance you provide.

5. Your baby should be on a predictable nap schedule.

Some sleep books suggest that by the time your baby is 3 or 4 months old, his naps will have taken shape. While this may be true for a few lucky moms, most babies this young still have great variation in their naps from day to day.

If your little one is under 6 months old and his naps are all over the place, don’t worry! What’s most important at this age is to observe his sleepy signals and get him to sleep frequently. Most young babies can’t stay awake more than 90 minutes to 2 hours, sometimes even less, without becoming over-stimulated and over-tired. Even older babies have fairly short “awake windows” of 2 or possibly 3 hours.

Sleep is so important to your baby’s health and well-being – and yours! Arm yourself with solid information, be prepared for the inevitable shifts that come along with each stage of your baby’s incredible development, and gently work to establish healthy sleep habits. These healthy sleep habits will serve you both well for years to come!

RELATED QUESTIONS

Formula helps babies sleep better/longer at night. Myth or truth? Has any mommy tried/experimented?

So moment of truth…. Myth or no myth… Sleeping or laying on your back when your pregnant is it really a huge deal? Please explain…

Here is a good read on the myth of sleep regression. Thought some of you moms would enjoy. http://www.pinkymckay.com/the-myth-of-baby-sleep-regressions-whats-really-happening-to-your-babys-sleep/

 

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How to Prepare for a Newborn - SmartMom

How to Prepare for a Newborn: Month By Month

Photo from Barefoot Blonde

Nothing can prepare you for the shock of bringing home a newborn.   Whether it’s your first or your fourth, each child has a different personality and therefore a different set of realities are needed for their arrival home. Regardless, there are some basic tips about how to prepare for a newborn that can help ease the transition from hospital to home. Tackle these steps month-by-month during your pregnancy.

First Trimester: Prepare Yourself

Month 1: Get Through the Month

Sleep (when you can), eat (when you can), and begin to wrap your head around the fact that you will be adding a newborn to your family in less than a year.   Once you are able to acknowledge that all of this is happening, you can get on to the planning stage.

Month 2: Get Healthy

One key piece of advice about how to prepare for a newborn is not for the baby, but for you.  You cannot provide for a child if you are unhealthy, so getting in the habit of eating well, sleeping well and exercising are crucial for making it easy to maintain these habits after the baby comes home. Learn about the best foods to eat while pregnant and load up on leafy greens and whole grains.  Prenatal yoga is also a positive way to stay fit and toned and help prepare your body for labor and delivery.

Month 3: Start Telling People

Once the world knows, things seem to happen.   Second hand items arrive at your home, advice on what items you need (or don’t need) to prepare for a newborn start flowing in. It all becomes real. When it comes time to reveal the gender of your new little one, we have some tips on your party too!

Second Trimester: Prepare Your Life

Month 4: Educate Your Family

Now is the time to start educating your family about how to prepare for a newborn.  If you have other children, invest in books or games that talk about new babies.  Start talking about where the baby will sleep and how things will change.  Make sure the child knows that nothing bad is going to happen when the baby comes home. If you have a pet, start planning a smooth transition for them.   Have a doll that you carry around and treat like a baby.  Expose the pet to other children.  Keep certain areas off limits to the pet.

Month 5: Start Talking About Maternity Leave

Have conversations with your partner about childcare scenarios following your leave.  Sit down and budget so that you can see what needs to change.   If you are thinking of making any career moves (i.e. shifting to staying at home or going to part-time), now is the time to have the conversations with your family and then your employer about how to prepare for a newborn and balance your career.

Month 6 – Take Stock of What Your Need for the Newborn

If this is your first child, create a registry.   If this isn’t your first time around the block, see what you need and reach out to friends to see if you can borrow or use secondhand.  Otherwise, head to the stores to pick up necessary items.

Third Trimester: Prepare for Baby

Month 7: Prepare Your Home

Wash baby clothes and stock up on lotion, wipes and diapers. Disinfect baby toys that may have been in storage for a few years.   Baby proof your home so you don’t have to do it when the baby is mobile.   Channel your urge to nest into dealing with all of the details needed to prepare a space for the newborn in your home. Now is also a good time to pack your hospital bag, too.

Month 8: Install the Car Seat

It’s important to have this done prior to being full-term since you never know when the baby will arrive.   Put together any gear or toys that have directions and could be considered time-consuming.   Start cooking meals to keep in the freezer for easy preparation once the baby is here.

Month 9: Clean Your House

We never said learning how to prepare for a newborn would be all fun and games. This may be one of the last times you will be able to really clean your house (now, granted, you will be huge, so this may not qualify as the most thorough cleanings possible).   Scrub the floors.  Wash the sheets.  Complete any tasks in the house that you’ve been putting off (framing pictures, hanging curtains, etc.).

Not only will attacking these projects help keep your mind off of the pending arrival of your child, it will help you tie up loose ends before the newborn arrives and all focus shifts to the task at hand.

 

RELATED QUESTIONS

Hello! I’m a first time soon to be mommy! I’m 35 weeks and starting to prepare for my baby boys arrival. What laundry detergent is good to wash newborn and infant clothes? Thanks!

So I’m due in March.. Any tips on how to budget for a newborn? What are must haves for the baby and what can wait until later on ?

I’m being induced on Thursday. Anyone have tips? Schedule for a newborn?

Anyone start getting extra nervous in the weeks before their due date? I’m mostly prepared but so afraid of being a new parent! I’ve honestly only held a newborn a couple of times and worry that I’ll accidentally hurt him. When he cries I know it’s gonna break my heart as well. Becoming a new parent is just soooo much to take in and I don’t know what to expect. But it makes me happy to know my son depends on me too. I love him so much.

Hi moms. I’m going to having my second baby here within two weeks or less depending on when my doc plans to induce me. And it just hit me how scary it’s going to be with a newborn and a two year old. I’ve been overwhelmed with how hard it is now being pregnant and raising my daughter. So I was just looking for advise and tips to make this less scary for all of us and a little less hard. I don’t want my daughter to feel left out or forgotten

 

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newborn sleep tips

Newborn Sleep Tips for a Better Night’s Rest

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When you’re a parent, the only thing you can accurately predict is that when you have a newborn, you’re going to lose some sleep. Though some parents will joke that once you have a baby, “you’ll never get a full night’s sleep again,” Dr. Harvey Karp, M.D., creator of the DVD and book, The Happiest Baby on the Block believes that it’s important to have realistic expectations during the first three months.

“It’s a given that babies get up a lot during the first three months,” Karp told Parents Magazine. Even though there are strategies that you can put into play to make those 4 a.m. wake-up calls more bearable, there are a number of lesser-known nighttime survival strategies that you can try to help everyone at home get more shut-eye.  Here are some newborn sleep tips for a better night’s rest.

Keep Your Cool.

Most adults can sleep better when the room is a little cooler, and babies are no different. Keep your baby’s room warmer during the day and cooler at night. The optimal temperature for infant sleep is between 65 and 70°F. If you don’t have a thermostat you can control, leave the window slightly open or use a fan at night – just don’t position the baby directly in front of the fan or open window.

Don’t make eye contact.

You probably know to avoid singing, dancing, and playing during late-night or early-morning feedings, as it will overstimulate your baby.  Also avoid gazing into your baby’s eyes late at night.  Alan Greene, M.D., author of From First Kicks to First Steps, says that eye contact will boost brain development and bonding, which will stimulate the baby and keep her awake. Instead, make plenty of eye contact during the day so she knows it’s time to be awake.

Dim the lights.

Until your baby’s circadian rhythm, or the body’s internal clock, learns to regulate itself, you can help keep your baby on a schedule. Plug your lamps into dimmer units and lower the lights when the sun goes down in the evening.  This will help your baby learn that evening and nighttime are time for sleep.

Make some noise.

According to Dr. Karp, babies love and need strong rhythmic noise. Some parents rely on a white-noise machine, a radio tuned to transmit static, or a nature-sounds CD. Others take a more organic approach and let the baby sleep near a running dishwasher or washing machine.

Swing it.

If you swaddle your baby and use gentle noise, but she still wakes up every hour or two, let her sleep buckled in a reclined baby swing. Dr. Karp says that fewer than 5 percent of babies need the swing technique and that parents can gradually stop as the baby learns how to self-soothe.

Feed strategically.

Beginning in the early evening, decrease the time between your baby’s feedings. If you usually feed her every three hours, do so every two hours as you approach bedtime.  Some parents report that it will help your baby feel fuller, without relying on frequent nighttime feedings.

Take a break from diaper duty.

When you wake up with the baby in the middle of the night, you might be able to skip the diaper change, which tends to stimulate your baby and keep them from falling back asleep quickly.  If baby’s diaper is not soaked through or soiled, you can skip the change. Use absorbent nighttime diapers and a thick diaper cream to protect the skin until morning.

Hit the bottle.

If you are breastfeeding your newborn and she wakes up often, try to get her used to drinking pumped breast milk from a bottle at night. This allows you and your partner to switch feeding shifts so you can both benefit from more sleep.

Make over your room.

You may already have heavy curtains or blackout shades hanging in your baby’s room, but if you frequently co-sleep – or if nighttime feedings have you sleeping late in the morning or napping throughout the day, you’ll be able to snooze more easily – and longer.

Breathe easy.

Babies take cues from their parents, so if you want him to relax, you should too. Slow down your breathing to send signals to the baby that it’s time to calm down. To help pace your breathing, listen to music with a rhythm that’s slower than your heart beat and set your breath to it. If you prefer to meditate, that is also a calming practice – both for you and your little one!

Trade in the crib.

Even if you have a large, comfortable crib, your baby might sleep better in a bassinet or co-sleeper during his early days. Because babies feel safer and more enclosed in a smaller space, they might sleep sounder and longer…and so will you.

Make it bright.

As soon as your baby wakes up for the day, brighten your lights or open windows as soon as possible. Exposure to the light will help both of you grow more alert and awake. Sit near a sunny window or take a brief walk outside to help develop your baby’s internal clock

 

Keeping a schedule can also be super helpful! And if your little one still can’t sleep after all of this, here are some tips for your sleepless baby!

RELATED QUESTIONS

My newborn is leaving me beyond exhausted. Any tips/techniques to get them to sleep for more than 2.5 hours at a time?

Any tips on getting a 5 week old to sleep at night?

First night home with my baby girl and I am exhausted and she won’t sleep in her bed. Any tips to get her to stay asleep when I put her down?

My SO will be going back to work and I will be alone with my LO for the first time. Any tips on handling late night diaper changes and feedings by myself?

I keep getting told I need to sleep train my baby. Anyone have tips for sleep training a baby that has had gas/colic?

Any tips to get a 3, almost 4 week old baby to sleep longer at night?

My 1 month old will only sleep if I’m holding her. Any tips on getting her to let me put her down?

Anyone who has done the CIO method have any tips? I think we are ready to try it with our 8 month old

My baby is almost 11 months and still doesn’t sleep through the night. Any tips…I am exhausted!

My 7 week old is overtired, any tips on how to get him to fall asleep and STAY asleep?

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7 adorable halloween costumes for your little pumpkin

7 Adorable Halloween Costumes for your Little Pumpkin

Americans use many terms of endearment for babies and small children, most of which reference (typically sweet) food items. Common names include “honey”, “sugar”, “pumpkin” (regardless of the season) and “sweet pea.”

This Halloween, you can expand your nickname repertoire to include a “little sushi roll”, a “baby taco”, or even a “little turkey.”

Whether you’re truly searching for a costume for your “little sugar plum” or just fulfilling your cuteness quota for the day, here are 7 of the cutest and most creative baby costumes that we could find on the Internet.

Sushi CostumeTiny baby sushi roll
Baby GnomeWise baby garden gnome

Baby NunTiny nun in a tiny habit

goldfish costumeDIY Gold-fishie

Baby Turkey CostumeBaby turkey-on-a-platter

baby turtle

Crawling TurtleBaby PopcornLittle Popcorn

 

 

RELATED QUESTIONS

So what are your babies going to be for halloween ? ! I need ideas
My baby girl will be 6 months for Halloween, what did/are you dressing…
Do any mommas have their LO’s costume picked out yet?

Have any of you mamas began thinking about Halloween costume ideas for your little ones yet?
What did you dress your lo as for Halloween? mine will be 7 months and I’m already thinking of a costume?
Excited about our first Halloween as a family. I know I still have time but any suggestions about family costumes?
My sons 4 months and is going to be a Raccoon for Halloween. What is your baby going to dress up as?
Need some ideas for my kiddies Halloween costumes. I’d like to have their outfits go together. 2 year old boy and 8 month old girl.
Cute Halloween costumes for a one year old girl?
 

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Benefits of Safe Swaddling

Every new parent can relate to feeling sleep-deprived. A key solution for reducing fussing — and thus promoting safe, comfortable sleep — is swaddling. Swaddling is the art of wrapping a baby in a blanket for warmth, comfort and security.

Swaddling can keep your baby from disturbing himself with his startle reflex, plus it can help him stay warm and secure for the first few days of life. According to Dr. Harvey Karp, renown pediatrician and author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, you should combine swaddling with other infant calming techniques including swaddling, side or stomach, shushing, swing, and sucking.

“Remember that in the womb, babies are snugly swaddled 24 hours a day in an environment full of rumbles and whooshes caused by blood flowing through the placenta,” Dr. Karp told BabyCenter.com.  “Once born, they find the world too big. When they’re lying on their back in the bassinet or crib, un-swaddled, they often startle, flailing their arms, and get very upset! That’s why swaddling – plus a rumbly, rough white noise – are the keys to helping fussy babies stay calm and boosting their sleep.”

You should only use swaddling and sound when your baby is sleeping or crying. When they’re awake, babies need time to practice using their muscles. After two to three months most parents only wrap their babies for sleep.

Benefits of Swaddling

Recently, there has been a great deal of recent controversy surrounding the safety of swaddling. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and other children’s safety groups, when done correctly and combined with other infant soothing techniques that promote sleep, swaddling offers the potential to:

  • Reduce the prevalence of placing babies on the stomach. Swaddled babies sleep well on the back because they are wrapped tightly and feel secure.
  • Reduce the chance of falling asleep with the baby on a dangerous surface (even a couch or bed can be dangerous for a newborn baby).
  • Reduce the chance of rolling into an unsafe position (such as into a pillow or onto the stomach).
  • Reduce serious problems that may be triggered by infant crying, such as shaken baby syndrome, postpartum depression, breastfeeding failure, car accidents and maternal obesity.

Safe Swaddling Tips

So how does an overwhelmed parent ensure that they are swaddling their baby safely and securely? While groups like the AAP  recommend swaddling, it is important that it be done safely and effectively. The keys to safe swaddling are:

  • Avoiding overheating your baby. If you live in a warm climate or are swaddling during warmer months, try swaddling your baby in just a diaper and a swaddling blanket.
  • Use the correct technique (see below). If you’re a first time parent, ask your health care provider or baby nurse to show you how to swaddle before you even leave the hospital. You’ll have plenty of time to practice those techniques in the days that follow!
  • Protect your baby’s hips when you swaddle. You don’t want to wrap too tight, so that the hips have plenty of room to be flexed and open.
  • Never allow a swaddled baby to sleep on his stomach. Once your baby can roll over, it will be time to transition to a sleep sack that leaves his arms free but still create a sense of security and safety for the little one.

Swaddling Techniques

  • Lay your blanket on a flat surface, shaped like a diamond . Fold down the top corner of the blanket by about 6 inches to create a straight edge.
  • Place your baby on his back so that the top of the fabric is shoulder level. You never want the swaddle blanket to touch your baby’s cheeks, which can trigger a “rooting reflex” and awaken the baby.
  • First, bring your baby’s left arm down and pull the corner of the blanket near his left hand (over the arm and chest). Tuck the leading edge of the blanket underneath his back on the right side.
  • Next, bring your baby’s right arm down and pull the corner of the blanket near his right hand (over the arm and chest). Tuck the leading edge of the blanket underneath his back on the right side.
  • Twist or fold the bottom of the blanket and tuck it behind your baby. Keep this part nice and loose so that  both of your baby’s legs can bend  up and out from his body and his hips can move naturally.
  • If you’re using a longer blanket or if your baby is especially tiny, you may need to wrap the blanket around the baby several times.

 

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