Training Baby to Sleep

Probably the worst thing about having a new baby is the number of times mother must get up through the night either to feed or settle the new addition to the family. Sleep deprivation makes everyone feel crabby and unable to cope. It is not so bad if this only lasts for a few weeks, but when it goes on for months life is certainly not enjoyable. So what can be done?

It is natural for the new-born infant to waken during the night hours to be fed, but going back to sleep afterwards should also be part of the pattern. Baby needs to sleep a lot – it means he is content and happy. Lack of sleep means baby will be cranky and not feed or settle properly. To train your baby to sleep properly you need to establish a pattern of feeding, wake/play time and then sleep time.

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Sleep vs. Night Feeding

In some rare cases, lucky mothers find their baby sleeps through the night almost from the time they are brought home. But most are not so fortunate. Nearly all new babies need to be fed through the night; some even require more than one feed.

Since breast milk is so easy to digest, breast fed babies tend to waken for more feeds through the night because they get hungry more quickly. But there comes a time when baby needs to learn to sleep right through the night. Sometimes this happens naturally, but very often mothers must encourage it to happen. Since no one wants to be constantly getting up for night feeds, working towards such a goal is necessary.

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Day Sleeps for Baby

Newborn babies can be expected to sleep most of the time including through the day. They will awaken when they get hungry – and be awake to be bathed and tended to, but for the most part newborns do sleep a lot. Naturally, as the baby gets a little older he or she will be awake for longer periods of time until at about four to six months you can expect them to be mainly awake for two hours and asleep for two hours alternately throughout the day.

Of course, every baby is different and those who have trouble with gas or colic may be expected to be more wakeful due to their discomfort. Also, some babies just seem to be more wakeful and alert than others, but this does not mean they should miss their day sleeps.

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Tips for Bottle-Feeding Your Baby

Not everyone can breastfeed-feed their baby and bottle feeding is an accepted substitute, so the new mother should not feel guilty if she is unable – or chooses not – to breastfeed. It will certainly cost more to buy the formula, bottles and teats and the sterilizing gear, but baby must be fed.

Bottle feeding today is much easier than it was years ago when the milk and bottles had to be both boiled to give baby a safe feed. And the milk frequently boiled over, making a big mess all over the stove top. Today you simply use boiled water, add powdered formula and give it a good shake. Gran would be jealous!

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Your Baby and Problems with Solids

Most babies get started on solids without too many problems. It is a baby’s nature to chew on everything in his hands – and many things that are not, such as the top rail of the cot. This means that they simply put the food that is in their hands into their mouths and chew on it. When it tastes good they find that eating food is a pleasant experience.

Problems might arise though with accepting new tastes. Sometimes mothers tend to give their baby the same few things over and over because they are easy to prepare and mash. Then when a new food is offered, baby really notices the different taste. He may screw up his face and spit it out. This doesn’t mean that the food should not be offered again. It doesn’t even always mean that he doesn’t like it and will never eat it.

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Introducing Solids to Your Infant

Most babies do not need solids until they are six months old, though some can start at five months. The first solids usually consist of a powdered cereal product with formula, water or breast milk added until it is of a creamy consistency. The first few weeks it should be of a thin consistency and then gradually made thicker once baby is happy to accept it.

The cereal chosen can be rice, barley or oats or whatever is available. While the first few months of solids will mostly be specially made for babies, the idea is to get baby to quickly accept the same food as the rest of the family eats. Of course, it will need to be mashed finely at first, but baby may be offered food with soft, small lumps in it before too long.
Baby’s first food will need to be thoroughly mashed to avoid lumps that can cause choking.  This can be done more easily by forcing mashed food through a sieve with the back of a spoon. A variety of fruit as well as vegetables can be cooked and sieved in this way. But some fruit can be given raw. Soft fruit like bananas, mangos, and even avocado can be mashed to a fine consistency while raw.

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Tips for Breastfeeding Your Baby

Much has been said about the importance of breastfeeding your baby. Not only does it give the baby many of the antibodies needed for optimal health both now and later, it provides food that is perfect for the baby – and is already sterilised and so doesn’t need to be boiled.

Most first-time mothers are taught how to breastfeed their baby in the hospital. Styles of breastfeeding come and go and what is done today is not how it was done by grandma. It doesn’t really matter how it’s done, so long as both mother and baby are comfortable.  Some young mothers are taught right from the first that baby should be held under their arm, while others are made to lie down and have the baby face-down across their stomach.

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The 411 on Baby Gas Problems

Many babies seem to be disturbed by abdominal gas; they either ingest bubbles of air while feeding or gas forms in the gut as bacteria breaks down undigested sugars. When this problem is really bad it is usually called colic. Two things can contribute to the problem of gas – fast feeding and failure to burp halfway between the feed and after completion. (more…)