How many times have you heard someone say that parenting is the most important job in the world? Actually, I totally agree with that statement! As a parent of three, I am constantly worried that I am going to screw up in a major way. To be honest, it brings tears to my eyes when I think that I am responsible for raising these three human beings, and I’ve got one shot, and one shot only. “Don’t blow it, don’t blow it, don’t blow it,” is constantly running through the back of my mind. It’s no wonder that I’m a fairly stressed out person. However, I do have a positive way of dealing with my stress. I read.
How I deal with parenting anxiety?
“What do I read?” you ask. I read parenting research! Zero to Three, Child Development, The Journal of Marriage and the Family, Pediatrics, The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Journal of Pediatric Psychology, etc. I can’t think of a better way to tackle two birds with one stone. I can deal with the origins of my stress (parenting anxiety), and reading in general tends to reduce my stress. Ahhh… I’m feeling better already.
So what does this have to do with you, my dear friends? Well, not only do I stay current on all of the latest parenting research, I am a child development specialist and parenting expert, so I have a responsibility to share my knowledge! That is what this blog is all about. In future posts, I will address a variety of parenting topics, and I will share research-based information with you to help you better deal with your parenting dilemmas. Basically I will provide parenting advice, parenting tips, summaries of great parenting articles…you name it! And as an added bonus, if you have parenting or child development questions, just click on the “contact me” button and fill out the form. I’ll address your question as soon as possible!
Do you have problems with your baby sleeping through the night? Maybe he falls asleep just fine, but then he wakes up in the night and calls out for you. This can be even more of a problem when baby gets big enough to climb out of bed and comes to Mommy and Daddy’s room. If you are dealing with any of these situations, you may want to consider establishing a regular bedtime routine for your little one. Read on to discover how to get baby sleeping through the night.
Have a Routine
Research suggests that establishing a consistent bedtime routine for infants and toddlers helps a baby to fall asleep more quickly, and it even increases the duration of their sleep. Studies have found that toddlers who follow a bedtime routine each evening are less likely to call out to their parents or crawl out of the crib during the night. Interestingly, the mother’s mood also improved significantly once a regular bedtime routine was established. (Probably because she’s getting more sleep!)
Exactly why does this make a difference? Dr. Richard Ferber explains in his wonderful book, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems, that babies need to fall asleep on their own, without being rocked or having a parent in the room. This is called a “sleep-onset” association. If baby associates sleep with one of these things, when she wakes in the night, she will need one of these to fall back asleep. Obviously, she will cry or call our for Mommy to come rock her back to sleep, and this cycle will repeat itself every time she wakes in the night.
Stick with it
Starting a bedtime routine may be difficult at first, especially if your child is used to being rocked to sleep. You’ll have to put your infant in the bed and he will have to learn to fall asleep on his own. This will probably mean crying himself to sleep. At first. I’ll admit, I had a very difficult time with this, and my husband had to help; however, after a couple of nights, the crying did not last as long, and it wasn’t long before everyone in the family was sleeping all night. If you are truly committed to getting your baby to sleep through the night, I recommend that you purchase Dr. Ferber’s Book.
A bedtime routine provides a smooth transition from an active day to the calmness of sleep. A basic routine such as putting on pajamas, brushing teeth (when baby is old enough), reading a story, and a goodnight kiss lets a child know what to expect every evening. An added bonus is that children usually love having their parent’s undivided attention! The time together before a child falls asleep is the perfect time to stay connected. So if you haven’t already started this wonderful habit, do it tonight!
Life can be extremely busy, but don’t let that deter you from bonding with your baby. You can always find the time in the midst of your busy days to spend quality time with your infant, which will help the two of you build a lifetime bond. Here are several tips for bonding with your baby:
“Wear” your baby whenever possible. Using an age appropriate wrap or sling will ensure that your baby feels your presence while keeping your hands free. Baby wearing can be calming for infants, and it helps them learn about movement as well as their world.
Make feeding time special- Nursing or giving your bottle a baby can be a quiet bonding time that both of you enjoy. Make opportunities to be skin to skin so that your infant can smell your scent and relax during this special time.
Keep baby close- While your newborn is sleeping, keep the bassinet or crib close to your bed so that you will know when your baby needs you. This also makes feeding times simpler since baby is close by.
Respond- Your baby’s cry is how she communicates with you. It’s her way of letting you know if she’s cold, hot, wet or hungry. Be sure to respond to your infants cries as this is how she learns to trust.