Your Baby’s Sleep: Swaddling Newborns

sleeping baby wrapped in a Cocooi Babywrap Newborn Baby Swaddle and Cap, Natural Color,
sleeping baby wrapped in a Cocooi Babywrap Newborn Baby Swaddle and Cap, Natural Color,
Cocooi Babywrap Newborn Baby Swaddle and Cap, 100% Natural Soft Merino Wool

Swaddling newborns is an excellent way to make them feel safe and secure. Swaddling is the method of snugly and firmly wrapping your baby in a blanket or wrap. There are quite a few benefits of swaddling.

Why swaddle?

Firstly the baby is used to the snug environment inside the mother’s womb and will take a while to get used to the space outside. A newborn does not even recognize his own hands and might have problems sleeping with his hands in front of his face. He also has a ‘startle reflex’, where the arms suddenly jerk out from the body, which can wake up an unswaddled baby. This startle reflex will gradually subside over the first few months of your baby’s life.

How to swaddle your newborn

Swaddling babies is easy to do. There are a few methods. The basic one involves using a square baby blanket which is not so thick as to be either too hot or too bulky (it will be wrapped around baby a couple of times). A muslin wrap is good in warmer weather. In order to swaddle your baby, put a baby blanket or wrap on a flat surface, such as a bed. Fold the top corner just a few inches and lie your baby in the middle of the blanket with her head on the fold. Now wrap the right side of the blanket over the baby and tuck the end under her left side, under her left arm. Then take the left end and wrap it around the baby as well, tuck it under her right side under the baby’s back. Now fold the bottom up and wrap it the corners around behind her shoulders. Remember to not wrap the baby too tightly; swaddling is supposed to be cozy and warm. But make sure her arms are securely held.

When swaddling your newborn you must take into account the level of wrapping when deciding what (if any) other baby bedding is necessary.

The following video shows another way of swaddling newborns with the wrap shifted to the diagonal.

When to stop swaddling

After two to three months your baby’s startle reflex will have diminished and swaddling should gradually be discontinued. You can start by either keeping one arm of your baby out of the wrap or not wrapping the legs. Often it is at this point that you will move your baby from a moses basket or bassinette into a crib, as baby cribs have more room to flail around those arms once they are unwrapped.

Swaddling blankets for babies

There are a number of different kinds of baby swaddling blankets available that make swaddling even easier. There is a wide variety of baby sleeping bags and wraps available that are quite comfortable and cozy for babies. The Cocooi Babywrap Newborn Baby Swaddle from Merino Kids of New Zealand is an excellent example. It absorbs and releases moisture to regulate the baby’s temperature and does not let it get too hot or too cold. The fabric is 100% natural, merino wool, very comfortable and hypoallergenic. It has a pouch for your baby’s legs and long “arms” that wrap around holding your baby snugly. All in all it is an excellent product, it makes swaddling your baby very easy and keeps it warm and safe. The Cocooi Newborn Sleep Bag is an option if you need to keep your baby’s arms out to transfer your baby between the crib, stroller and car seat.

The miracle blanket is a similar product to the Cocooi swaddle. Being made of cotton instead of merino wool it doesn’t have the same temperature regulating benefits, but it is priced significantly lower.

Many other baby swaddling wraps are available, but simple muslin or cotton blankets are also perfectly fine.

So your baby’s moving up: How to choose the right kids bedroom furniture

Deciding how to furnish your child’s bedroom can be tricky. There are lots of issues to consider as far your child’s bedroom furniture is concerned. Your child’s bedroom should be a place where he or she can grow and learn but at the same time it needs to be a safe and relaxing space to fall asleep. There are plenty of options for kids bedroom furniture and decor, whether you want something themed, something plain or something in between.

colourful storage unit for kids bedrooms
This colourful kids bedroom storage unit can be used for clothes or toys

Clothing Storage
When choosing your kid’s bedroom furniture, keep in mind that anything vertical must be attached to the wall to be safe, so if you are buying a bookshelf or cupboard make sure this is an option for you. An alternate option for clothes storage is modular drawers or baskets that your child can more easily use herself – you can get children involved in caring for their own clothes at quite a young age if you make the furniture easy to use.

Bedroom for Two
If you are furnishing a bedroom for two children, bunk beds can be a handy option, though most manufacturers recommend not using bunk beds until your children are well past the preschool stage, some say they should be as old as eight or ten. One option for bunk beds for younger children is low-line bunks, where the top bunk is only a metre or so off the floor, but only sits over half the bottom bunk. The lower child’s head end of the bed cannot be under the low bunk, but much space is still saved, and the part of the top bed not over the lower bed can have a cupboard or drawers put under it.

Kids Bedroom Furniture and Bedding Themes
Creating a theme for the bedroom is a great idea and something most kids love. Themes can be timeless (princess, navel, fairy) or based on a favorite cartoon character. It’s probably a good idea to remember, though, that your kids will probably have another favorite cartoon character soon. For this reason you might consider using things like bed sheets that are easily replaceable to create the theme rather than actual bed or other furniture.

Involving Your Child
It is also a good idea to involve your child in the process of buying the furniture. Particularly if your child is moving into a new bedroom, either out of your room or perhaps to make way for a new baby in the nursery, you will want to keep him or her enthusiastic about your project. Your child should have the freedom to decide what he or she wants for her own personal space. However, being the parent you have to keep practicality in mind. While giving your kids a say, it is obviously best to buy something that will not lose their interest in a year or so. A bed shaped like a racing car may be your little son’s choice right now but as he grows he will likely want something else.

That being said, taking your child along to kids bedroom furniture stores to try out some beds can really help excite them about the project. When our then three year old was moving into his own room we took him to a couple of bedroom shops and he had a world of fun just lying down on beds and climbing ladders of bunk beds. At that stage he was too young for a bunk though, so we were very clear about what was and wasn’t an option. This could be a mistake with an older child though, unless you are prepared to give them a fair amount of control, as older children tend to have far more definite opinions than two and three year olds.

If you still have baby bedding that has sentimental value for your child it can be a good idea to keep some of it in their new room, even if it’s just a baby blanket that sits on the end of the bed. And if your are moving your child out of a baby crib to make way for a younger brother or sister, it is a good idea to do this early – before the new baby needs the crib – and give the new baby a different blanket set, allowing your toddler or preschooler to keep the baby blankets they are attached to. This way your child will be more likely to welcome the move to his or her new bedroom and embrace her new bedroom furniture, rather than pining for her old crib.

Your Baby’s Sleep: from Birth to Six Months

Cover of The Baby Book, by William and Martha SearsThe difference between a well-rested child and a sleep-deprived one is quite significant.  Well-rested babies are more quiet, behaved and pleasant to be with.  Ironically, sleep-deprived ones turn more boisterous and hyperactive than usual – unlike adults who have low energy levels with little sleep.  This article will provide you with facts about your baby, and his sleeping patterns and needs from birth to six months.

In newborns, the internal clock that regulates sleep has yet to develop. They sleep between 16 to 20 hours a day, with no distinction between day and night.  It is up to the parents to teach them the difference: daytime is for playing and other activities while night time is for sleep and rest.  You can do this by exposing him to the noise of daily household activities during the day and keeping lighting and other stimulation to a minimum when it is time to settle down for the night.

For the first few weeks, newborns should be awakened for feedings every three to four hours; at least until an adequate weight gain is established.  After the initial period, babies learn to wake up whenever hungry and can be allowed to sleep through the night.  It must be made clear though, that for newborns, sleeping through the night generally means sleeping straight for about four to five hours at a stretch.  This basically depends on length of time that they can go without feedings, which isn’t long because of their small tummies.  The less frequently they wake up during the night, the more often they would feed during the day.

By three to six months, your baby will be sleeping for about five hours during daytime and ten hours at night, although this will still be punctuated by feedings every so often.  Do not rush to pick him up as soon as he makes a sound – try to let him put himself back to sleep.  Unless he is cold, or hungry or wet give him a minute or two to settle back down.  Sometimes during light sleep, babies make some noises that make it seem as if they are awake although they are not. If you do need to comfort him, make it clear that you are only helping him go back to sleep.  Do not play, or talk or turn on the lights.  You can try making soothing sounds, or patting him lightly on the back.

Start establishing a sleep routine at this time to foster good sleeping patterns.  A sleeping routine is a consistent series of activities that lead towards going to bed for sleep.  Some parents start off with a warm bath and a change into sleep clothes, then a feeding and a half-hour of quiet play (which can also be a good chance for bonding time with  daddy who has been stuck in the office for the whole day), wrapping in a favourite baby blanket, then lights out.

This article was witten by Joana Chrystal Ventura-Moises.  She is a work-at-home mom, a registered nurse and a resident expert on plumbing and shower screen installations.

Elizabeth Pantley has more child and baby sleep tips for you.

Nappy Bags, Diaper Bags – The Solution to Your Packing Problems

Are you feeling an enormous amount of pain each time you go out with your baby? Are all the things inside your bag really the things you need to bring just for a short time that you need to spend outdoors? Are you interested in finding a way to be able to carry all the necessary baby items without looking bulky and stressed? If your answer is yes to more than one of these questions, then maybe it’s about time that you get yourself a nappy bag (or diaper bag).

Oftentimes, mums tend to pack more baby items then needed. This is simply because of their nurturing nature. Aside from that, they also want to be prepared for any possible situation or circumstance that could befall them and their little ones. Are you one of those moms who always brings two sets of nappies, several extra baby clothes, bottles, toys, baby snacks, first aid items and many more whenever you spend some time outdoors with your baby? If so, this is probably the main reason you are feeling this unexplainable pain in your shoulder. A diaper bag can put an end to your suffering.

It can help you keep your baby items and supplies organized. If you buy a nappy bag, you should pack only the necessary baby items that your baby needs throughout the day. The amount of things that you must bring should also depend upon the length of time you need to spend outdoors. If it’s just going to be a quick trip to the nearby convenience store or just a mini stroll around the park, just bring enough baby supplies so that your bag will not become too heavy for you to carry. This is also a wise and practical way of packing to prevent the pain that constantly haunts you on your shoulder. With the help your nappy bag, all things shall fall into place. You can even fit your bedtime baby bag in there.

There are so many different types of nappy bags available. You can get ones that attach easily to the stroller. This is very nice so you don’t have to use up the pocket space of your stroller with your bag. They also make ones that are a backpack style. This style is usually prefered by men. Also, if you are looking to stay in style and don’t need to pack too much stuff then you may want to look into a messenger bag style bag.

Kids Bedroom Furniture: Tips On Choosing Beds & Bunks For Kids

Attractive dark wooden bunk bed with staircase and trundle
Attractive dark wooden bunk bed with staircase and trundle
The Merlot Twin Staircase Bunk Bed with Trundle has a five star customer rating on Amazon

Sleep is such an important part of life for children. Many children suffer from a lack of good sleep and the results are not fun for anyone- cranky kids can be whiny or even hyper. They don’t perform as well in school as rested kids and they tend to leave their parents feeling frustrated and exhausted. For many kids, a new and exciting bed might be enough to make going to sleep a lot more appealing. Here are some tips on choosing good beds for kids.

One of the most exciting options is getting bunk beds for kids. Kids love to climb up on top and today’s bunk beds are a lot safer than they used to be, although you still have to follow the instructions and age guidelines set by the manufacturer. This is perfect for kids who share a room and it’s also a great way to save some space because you don’t have to place two beds side by side or use a double bed in the room. For this reason, bunk beds have maintained their popularity in kids bedroom furniture for many years. A captains bed provides a similar space saving function, with it’s drawers underneath.

One rendition of the bunk bed that can be adapted to rooms where only one child sleeps is the loft bed. The child still gets to enjoy all the fun of climbing up to the top bunk to go to sleep while you get the benefits of saving floor space in the room. Instead of having another bed in the bottom, a loft bed has a piece of furniture under it such as a desk or some drawers or cabinets. Sometimes kids with small rooms are forced to do their homework on the bed, which isn’t an ideal situation and not good for their backs either. With this type of kids bedroom furniture, the child has their own space to work that is separate from their bed.

Another variation on the bunk bed is the L shaped low-line bunk. In this case the top bunk is only around a 120cm (4 feet) off the ground, and the bottom bunk only has one end under the top bunk. This is the system we used when our three year old moved in with her older brother (aged 7). We felt that having a full size bunk bed was simply not safe with a three year old sharing the room, but couldn’t fit two beds in the room without removing all the other furniture. With this system not only could we manage the two beds, but the half of the top bunk not over the bottom bed had space under it for a good size set of drawers, and room at the back for a kid to hide!

On the down side, changing the sheets on the bottom bunk in this system was even harder than for a normal bunk bed, as the foot end of the bottom bunk only has about a one foot clearance under the top bunk! However, the two beds are completely structurally separate, so eventually we will be able to move the top bed into a separate room and use it as a loft bed, with lots of storage space under, making the set a good long term investment for our kid’s rooms.

Theme beds are popular with toddlers who are moving from the crib to their first “big kid” bed. This can be a scary and confusing time for your young one so getting a fun bed can really help make it something to look forward to. Princess beds are a lot of fun for girls. Boys can’t seem to get enough of the toddler beds shaped like cars and trains. These beds usually have removable sides that keep toddlers from rolling out until they are old enough to sleep in the bed without barriers.

Buying your kid the right bed will pay off for you and your family because you won’t be dealing with a tired kid and you will even get more sleep yourself! Take the time to choose a well-made bed that appeals to your child and you will be rewarded for your efforts. Choosing kids bedroom furniture that works for your house and your children can be time consuming, but in the end, it’s worth getting it right.

Helpful Hints for Expectant Mothers

Having a baby is one of the most wonderful times in a woman’s life.  It is a time that should be cherished, but it doesn’t come without its challenges.  Some women have trouble getting pregnant, while others encounter certain troubles during pregnancy such as heartburn and morning sickness. Here are some tips that should help you know what to expect.

Morning sickness is perhaps the most often mentioned side effect of pregnancy and it can be pretty unpleasant for some women.  Although it is called morning sickness it can occur any any time throughout the day.  It is most common during the first trimester and usually dissipates after that.  In general, you should treat morning sickness like any other nausea.  Snack on some saltines and take small sips or ginger candy.  Its also a good idea to keep a stash of peppermints or ginger candies in your purse whenever you go out.

Heartburn is another major side effect that happens during pregnancy.  This can happen later in the pregnancy as the uterus and grows and the extra weight begins to press against your stomach. This can cause stomach acids to travel up your esophagus and cause a burning sensation.  There are several home remedies for heartburn relief that you can try.  One method is to try to eat six smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large meals.  Mixing a half teaspoon of baking soda with a half glass of water and drinking it can also help.

For those women who are not pregnant yet but are trying, here are some tips on how to get pregnant fast.  The first thing is to be aware of is when you are ovulating.  The easiest way to know this is to get an over the counter ovulation prediction kit from your local drug store.  You can also sometimes predict this by measuring your basal body temperature, or your temperature when you first wake up in the morning, before you get out of bed.  Your basal body temperature should rise slightly at the onset of ovulation. There are also other ovulation symptoms to look out for.  Once you know when you are going to ovulate you should begin to have sex with your partner each day for about 5 days leading up to ovulation.  This will help ensure that there is enough sperm available so that one of them makes it to the egg.

Once you are pregnant and approaching birth, you might like to start thinking about what will come next. Baby sleeping bags are a great way to keep your baby warm and safe at night, but there is a whole lot more to baby sleep than that! Once you have got a handle on pregnancy and the wonders of birth, you might like to take a look at the work of Elizabeth Pantley, a wonderful baby sleep expert.

Whatever stage you are in, these tips should help you to know what to expect during your pregnancy and help you to deal with the challenges.  If you do experience any persistent problems it is always a good idea to consult your doctor.

Eight Sleep Tips for Every Child, from Elizabeth Pantley

The no cry sleep solution

Editor’s note: I discovered Elizabeth Pantley through this review of The No Cry Nap Solution. See below for links for purchasing more Elizabeth Pantley books in the UK.

The no cry sleep solutionUp to 70% of children under age five have sleep problems. Sleep issues are complicated and have many causes. They are hard to deal with because when children aren’t sleeping, parents aren’t sleeping, and that lack of sleep affects every minute of every day for every person in the family because lack of sleep isn’t just about being tired. Sleep has a role in everything ~~ dawdling, temper tamtrums, hyperactivity, growth, health, and even learning to tie his shoes and recite the ABCs. Sleep Affects Everything.

The following ideas are of value to almost any sleeper, of any age. These tips can bring improvement not only in your child’s sleep, but also in her daytime mood and last, but not least – improvements in your own sleep and outlook as well.

# 1  Maintain a consistent bedtime and awaking time.

Your child’s biological clock has a strong influence on her wakefulness and sleepiness. When you establish a set time for bedtime and wake up time you “set” your child’s clock so that it functions smoothly.  Aim for an early bedtime. Young children respond best with a bedtime between 6:30 and 7:30 P.M. Most children will sleep better and longer when they go to bed early.

# 2  Encourage regular daily naps.

Daily naps are important. An energetic child can find it difficult to go through the day without a rest break. A nap-less child will often wake up cheerful and become progressively fussier or hyper-alert as the day goes on. Also, the length and quality of naps affects night sleep – good naps equal better night sleep.

# 3  Set your child’s biological clock.

Take advantage of your child’s biology so that he’s actually tired when bedtime arrives. Darkness causes an increase in the release of the body’s sleep hormone — the biological “stop” button. You can align your child’s sleepiness with bedtime by dimming the lights during the hour before bedtime.   Exposing your child to morning light is pushing the “go” button in her brain — one that says, “Time to wake up and be active.” So keep your mornings bright!

# 4  Develop a consistent bedtime routine.

Routines create security. A consistent, peaceful bedtime routine allows your child to transition from the motion of the day to the tranquil state of sleep.  An organized routine helps you coordinate the specifics: bath, pajamas, tooth-brushing. It helps you to function on auto-pilot at the time when you are most tired and least creative.

# 5  Create a cozy sleep environment.

Where your child sleeps can be a key to quality sleep. Make certain the mattress is comfortable, the blankets are warm, the room temperature is right, pajamas are comfy, and the bedroom is welcoming.

# 6  Provide the right nutrition.

Foods can affect energy level and sleepiness. Carbohydrates can have a calming effect on the body, while foods high in protein or sugar generate alertness, particularly when eaten alone. A few ideas for pre-bed snacks are: whole wheat toast and cheese, bagel and peanut butter, oatmeal with bananas, or yogurt and low-sugar granola.   Vitamin deficiencies due to unhealthy food choices can affect a child’s sleep. Provide your child with a daily assortment of healthy foods.

# 7 Help your child to be healthy and fit.

Many children don’t get enough daily physical activity. Too much TV watching and a lack of activity prevents good sleep. Children who get ample daily exercise fall asleep more quickly, sleep better, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling refreshed.   Avoid activity in the hour before bedtime though, since exercise is stimulating – they’ll be jumping on the bed instead of sleeping in it!

# 8 Teach your child how to relax.

Many children get in bed but aren’t sure what to do when they get there! It can help to follow a soothing pre-bed routine that creates sleepiness. A good pre-bed ritual is story time. A child who is listening to a parent read a book or tell a tale will tend to lie still and listen. This quiet stillness allows him to become sleepy.
Work with these eight ideas and you’ll see improvements in your child’s sleep, and yours too.

Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Sleep Solution (McGraw-Hill 2002).

More books by Elizabeth Pantley

What is a TOG rating? What should my baby wear?

A Tog rating is a European warmth rating. With few exceptions, the sleeping bags for sale on this site have Tog ratings. That is because the rating tells you very clearly exactly how warm the sleeping bag is – something now always obvious by touch alone. While adult duvets usually come with tog ratings of up to 9.5, baby sleeping bags are generally between 0.5, for very hot weather, to 2.5 for winter weather.

The following gives you a general idea of which rating to choose and how to dress your baby under the sleeping bag, however this is a guide only. You should always be led by your baby’s temperature. You should check your baby regularly to be sure they don’t overheat, and don’t add blankets to the sleeping bag.

What to wear:

Tog 2.5
Suitable for a nursery temperature of 16-20 degrees.
At 20 degrees baby will need only a long sleeve bodysuit. At 16 degrees you should add a full sleep suit or pajama set over the top of the bodysuit.

Tog 1.0
Suitable for nursery temperature of 20-24 degrees.
At 24 degrees a short-sleeved body suit will be sufficient. At 20 degrees at a pajama top.

Tog 0.5

Suitable for very hot weather, and a nursery temperature of 24-27 degrees.
A short-sleeved body suit will be suitable under the Tog 0.5 at 26 degrees.