Feeling frenzied all the time can take a toll on your fertility. Here’s how you can chillax and boost your odds of baby-making success.
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"Encourage him to switch," says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center, Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and author of Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep, revised edition (HarperCollins). "At night, keep the lights low, and move slowly when you feed him. Be boring. Make sure he gets bright light in the morning, and keep him as busy as you can during the day. Make noise. Play with him." In other words, during the day, be interesting.
"If you are doing this and your baby is sleeping all night, don't worry," says Jennifer Waldburger, L.C.S.W., co-owner of the Los Angeles-based consultation service Sleepy Planet. "After about four months, if he's waking up, you probably need to let him do the last little bit of falling asleep on his own. You can still rock him as part of the wind-down process, but put him down drowsy, not asleep. When a baby is put to sleep a certain way and wakes up, he checks to see if everything is the same as it was when he went to sleep," Waldburger explains.
Look to your baby for his evolving schedule after about three months; before that, anything goes. "You don't have to be rigid," says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center, Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and author of Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep, revised edition (HarperCollins). "But some structure helps both parents and baby. By 9 months of age, most babies naturally move to napping at around 9 a.m.
You should anticipate the future, according to Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center, Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and author of Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep, revised edition (HarperCollins). "If you want the baby in his crib by a year, the best time to start making the change is at 3 months of age—before habits are firmly established," she says. That said, small steps are best. "Take a week—or several—and do the baby's bedtime ritual in his room," Mindell says.
"Definitely," says Jennifer Waldburger, L.C.S.W., co-owner of the Los Angeles-based consultation service Sleepy Planet. "Babies are sensitive to a mother's cues. If you're not sleeping, you're more tired and stressed and your baby picks up on those vibes."
Jennifer Waldburger, L.C.S.W., co-owner of the Los Angeles-based consultation service Sleepy Planet, and other experts suggest that when he's about 5 months old, you can experiment with letting your baby cry a bit at night. (That does not mean letting him cry it out for hours.) Try starting with five minutes, Waldburger suggests; if that's too hard to take, pick him up after three minutes. "It sounds cruel not to pick up a crying baby," she says, "but we find that teaching babies how to calm themselves is really kinder in the long run.
Applying sunscreen to babies younger than 6 months is generally not recommended because it can be absorbed through their thin skin and nobody knows for certain if it's harmless or not. At this age the best sun protection is to keep your baby in the shade and covered in loose clothing and a hat with a brim to shield his eyes and face.
Contrary to common belief, which blames respiratory allergies for symptoms that are actually caused by lingering colds, allergies are relatively rare in children and even more so in infants. In fact, it takes several years of exposure for a child to develop a reaction to an allergen like pollen.
While it has never been proven that immersing a baby in water early will teach her to swim sooner, getting her used to the water is a good idea. What's more, taking your baby to a swimming pool can be a lot of fun for both of you, as babies love kicking and splashing in the water (provided it is warm enough). In case you're worried, the chlorine is perfectly safe for young infants. Even swallowing pool water won't make your baby sick, precisely because the chlorine is a disinfectant. But keep sessions short to avoid overstimulation.
First, recognize that you're not alone—many new mothers experience decreased libido due to hormonal shifts, lack of sleep, fear of pain with intercourse and the stress of caring for a newborn, says OB-GYN Tracy W. Gaudet, M.D., author of Body, Soul, and Baby: A Doctor's Guide to the Complete Pregnancy Experience, From Preconception to Postpartum (Bantam). Here are three tips to help you through this tricky time:
Most new parents can agree: There's probably nothing scarier than your baby's first fever. Actually, anytime your child has a high temperature. Babies can't complain, so a fever is often your baby's way of letting you know something's wrong. But according to health experts, the treatment for your baby all depends, The New York Times reports.
Unless your child has an underlying chronic condition such as asthma that might make the flu rougher for her, I don't think the vaccine is worthwhile. First, if the vaccine isn't formulated for the particular flu strain that appears in any given year, it's likely to be ineffective. It's also a pain in the butt, since it has to be given every year by injection. While this is my personal opinion, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all babies between 6 and 23 months get a flu shot annually.