Good Night Habits: During the Night – 6 to 12 Months

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 04:12pm
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Once your baby is asleep, you still need a routine in place to help you deal with wake-ups, feedings and other disruptions.

Your baby’s sleep habits are very different than what you’re used to! If your baby isn’t sleeping or is sleeping poorly, we encourage you to check out our articles on those areas, but if you’re wondering what you can do to encourage good going-to-sleep habits (and hopefully more regular sleep), read on to see what our experts suggest.

“Everyone wakes up several times each night for brief periods of time,” says Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “As adults, we put ourselves back to sleep most of the time. We often do it so quickly that we don’t even remember the next morning. If your baby hasn’t learned to put himself back to sleep, he may wake up crying in the night, even if he’s not hungry, teething or lonely.”

During the Night

Once your baby is asleep, you still need a routine in place to help you deal with wake-ups, feedings and other disruptions.

Don't respond to every noise that your child makes.
Learn to distinguish a real cry from a sleepy whimper. If you're not sure, it's okay to wait for a minute to find out. If your baby is sleeping in your room and his noises are keeping you awake, now might be the time to move your baby to his own room to sleep.

Use the words and sounds that signal to your baby that it’s time for sleep if he seems really awake.

Repeatedly whisper something like “night, night” or “sh-sh-sh” as you gently place your baby on his back and start massaging his temples or patting his tummy. Linking the words with your soothing touch will help your baby link the phrases with going to sleep.

Move to holding and rocking your baby if she’s still crying.

When your baby cries, one of the most effective responses is to provide comfort.

Offer your baby the breast or bottle, ONLY if other soothing attempts have not helped your baby fall back to sleep.

In general, the experts advise against creating a routine that attaches feeding to waking up in the night. However, if other strategies don’t work, then feeding your baby might just do the trick.

Try to put your baby back in bed before she is fully asleep.
When you put your baby to bed while she’s still a little bit awake, she can learn how to fall asleep on her own.

Remember, even if your baby was sleeping through the night, she may start waking again if she’s been through an illness, is going through a growth spurt or is experiencing other changes. These changes may include such things as Mom returning to work, a vacation or a move to a new home. Some changes are longer or more significant than others. If you’re vacationing in a motel or with relatives, you may use a feeding to help your baby fall asleep, rather than disturb others. If your baby is sick for 3 days, you may decide to rock him to sleep every time he wakes. But afterward, it may be like starting over to get back to what used to be normal.

For more about bedtime routines, see the following articles:

Click here to learn more about your sleep and your baby.

Video Alert!
You can also watch this video from our Comfort, Play & Teach video series, Bedtime with your Baby, to learn more.





What are your sleep routines with your baby? Does having a routine help? Share your experiences with other parents just like you in the comment section below.


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Diaper Rash

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 09:33pm
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When your baby’s bottom is red and sore, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve done something wrong as a parent. But almost every baby gets diaper rash at least once before outgrowing diapers. This can be painful for your baby and upsetting for you, so what is diaper rash and how can you prevent it?

“Diaper rash is a form of dermatitis, which is a skin irritation or inflammation that’s confined to your baby’s diaper area around the buttocks, genitals and thighs,” explains Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “When your baby has a diaper rash the skin in one or more of those areas will appear red and puffy and will feel warmer than other areas of your baby’s skin. He might appear fussy or cry, especially when you touch him in that area.”

When your baby is wearing a diaper, that diaper can keep his bottom warm and damp, which is the most common reason for diaper rash. If the diaper or other clothing fits too snuggly it can also chafe and irritate baby’s sensitive skin, leading to diaper rash. Other reasons include urine and stool irritating baby’s skin, a change in stool when your baby begins to eat new foods after six months of age, bacteria or a yeast infection and, occasionally, it is caused by a reaction or allergy to a product such as laundry detergent or lotion, or to the fragrance in such products.

While diaper rash can’t always be prevented, Foster says that there are several things you can do to decrease the chance that your baby with get it.

  • Change your baby’s diapers often, especially when they are soiled with stool.
  • Clean your baby’s diaper area and then apply a layer of petroleum jelly or zinc oxide ointment over the area before putting on a fresh diaper.
  • Make sure the diaper isn’t over-tightened.
  • Diaper liners and breathable covers for cloth diapers can help to keep your baby’s skin drier.
  • Wash cloth diapers in hot water and mild detergent, after pre-soaking them if heavily soiled. Avoid fabric softeners and fragrances.

Have you ever dealt with diaper rash? How did you cope? What worked best for you? Share your experience with other parents by leaving a comment below!

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Teaching your preschooler to clean-up his toys

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 06:48pm
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Sometimes it seems to be impossible to get your preschooler to clean up his toys. Our experts say that this is normal. Encouraging your child to cooperate and complete chores can sometimes be frustrating. Try to avoid a battle of wills:

Warn your child ahead of time that "soon it will be time to tidy up."

Make it into a game or something you do together. For example, "how fast can we get the toys cleaned up?" or "let's put these toys to sleep" - make it something you can enjoy together. Cleaning up doesn't have to be the end of your fun together or the end of play.

Encourage your child to participate in making decisions. For example, allow your child to choose between picking up the stuffed animals or putting away the blocks. Allowing him to have some choice will communicate to your child that you respect his individuality. If children feel that they have some control, then they are more likely to cooperate.

Recognize your child's contribution toward helping clean up and acknowledge her positive behaviours.

Remember to set limits and be consistent. It may seem easier to clean up yourself, rather than taking the time to make sure your child participates in chores. However, this creates the risk of encouraging further stalling and delays during clean-up in the future. Be patient and remember that learning to complete chores cheerfully takes a long time.


How did you encourage your preschooler to clean up his toys? What worked and what didn’t? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you.



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Helping your toddler adjust to a new daycare/preschool

by Maxine
Posted August 8 2011 02:48pm
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Adjusting to a new setting takes time. Your toddler needs to know that you are on her team as she moves towards being comfortable in a new daycare or preschool.


Here are several ways to help your child adjust to a new daycare or preschool:

Let your child know that you realize change isn't easy and that you know it takes time to adjust to new places, people and things.

Be supportive and encouraging, not impatient or frustrated. Explore the new area, or new daycare or preschool with your child in advance of going there on the first day.

Along with your child, get involved with new groups and activities at daycare or preschool. This will help you feel more connected to your child's new situation, too.

Help your child find the playgroups and activities she has always liked doing, and try to get her involved, outside of daycare or preschool.

Where possible, allow your child to stay connected with friends from his old daycare or preschool.

Ask your child what you can do to help - children often have great ideas about how you can help them feel better.

It would be a mistake to let your child stay home from a new daycare or preschool just because he is afraid and doesn't want to go. But don't force your child to get involved in outside activities too soon - he'll let you know when he is ready. And try not to say things like, "We moved three months ago - aren't you over it yet?" That will just make your child feel worse.

If you find that your child is sad, withdrawn, angry, acting out, doing unusually poorly in the new daycare or preschool, or showing physical symptoms of anxiety and things don't seem to be getting better even long after the move, consult your child's daycare provider or school teacher to see if they are noticing the same behaviour, and then consult your child's physician.

Have you had to move your toddler to a new preschool or daycare? How did she handle the transition? Share your thoughts below!

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