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How to Comfort a Crying Baby

Why Is Baby Crying?
Nothing gets a parent’s attention like a baby’s cries. Those howls are more jarring than an alarm clock buzzing at 6 a.m. (Too bad you can’t just hit snooze!) While it’s unrealistic to expect a fuss-free day, all hope isn’t lost for taming the tears before baby’s cries reach a glass-shattering pitch. Armed with these soothing strategies, you’ll be able to replace your child’s shrieks with soft coos. Aah, music to your ears.

Crying is your baby’s primary means of communication, translating to: “I’m hungry!” “I’m tired!” or “I’m scared!” Babies also cry when they’re hot or cold, anxious, and need a diaper change. Over time, you will learn to recognize your baby’s different cries. Furthermore, researchers have found that many newborns follow the same pattern of fussing during the first three months of life. Regular bouts of crying generally begin during a baby’s second week, often in the late afternoon or early evening. These fussy periods will increase in duration in the weeks to follow, until peaking at six to eight weeks. Fortunately, by the third month, they begin tapering off. Crying is not abnormal or unhealthy — in fact, quite the opposite. Crying is actually physiologically important to your baby’s health. At baby’s birth, you eagerly awaited that first cry — the signal that all is well. That initial cry cleared baby’s airways, allowing him to start breathing on his own. Similarly, in the first weeks of life, crying helps keep your baby’s lungs healthy. After all, babies don’t get much physical activity, and crying opens the air sacs in the lungs. You might say that crying is your infant’s workout!

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If your child is crying and there’s an odor in the air, you know what to do next. But aside from changing a diaper or offering the breast or bottle, parents often feel helpless when it comes to finding the magical method that comforts their baby.

To unravel that mystery, it’s important to understand why babies might make a fuss. “The womb is a rich symphony of sensations,” says Harvey Karp, MD, creator of The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD (Trinity Home Entertainment). But when we put kids to sleep with no movement in a room by themselves, it’s like sensory deprivation. “Babies are often reacting to the lack of rhythmic sounds and motions they experienced when they were in the womb,” says Dr. Karp.

All babies cry. And at about two weeks of age, it is common for babies to develop a fussy period in the evening that can last for as long as two hours.

“They may also cry because they can’t settle down,” says Laura Jana, MD, coauthor of Heading Home with Your Newborn (American Academy of Pediatrics). “When you’re tired, nothing is more frustrating than not falling asleep.” Instead of tossing and turning, which babies can’t do, they wail.

Here’s how to pacify your little squealer according to what he sees, hears, and feels. Keep in mind, Dr. Jana says, that different children will respond to different soothing strategies. The trick is to experiment until you find what works.

Sight: Who wouldn’t feel wired when the lights are on? Create a calming environment by dimming the lights, says Dr. Jana. And while a mobile could have a hypnotic effect, it could also backfire by providing too much stimulation when baby just wants to wind down from the day.

Sound: Certain sounds can be a powerful way to trigger what Dr. Karp calls the “calming reflex.” Vacuums and fans that create white background noise can produce this effect. And it never hurts to put on some peaceful music, Dr. Jana says.

Touch: “Human contact is important for healthy development,” Dr. Jana says. “And I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like a good massage!” Gently rub a part of baby’s body, such as her legs, arms, or feet. In addition, try kangaroo care — lay your naked baby belly down against your bare chest for skin-to-skin contact.

If your baby becomes fussy, what will you do? Try some of the following techniques, or perhaps a combination of them, to soothe your baby. As you offer comfort, pay attention to what your baby is trying to tell you. Through trial and error, and with loving patience, you’ll soon discover together which soothing methods work best. Here are some techniques to try:

New Positions:-
*Hold your baby facedown over your forearm with his head at your elbow and your thumb and fingers wrapped around his thigh.

*Hold your baby seated in your hand with his back to your chest and your other hand across his chest, wrapping your thumb and fingers around his upper arm.

*Hold your baby high over your shoulder so his stomach is being pressed into your shoulder bone.
Cradle your baby in your arms, holding him tummy-to-tummy tightly against you.

*Rhythmic Motion:-

Babies are most comforted at a pace of 60 times each minute, so try these methods:

#Walking around.
#Rocking vertically by doing deep-knee bends.
#Swaying side to side or back and forth while standing up.
#Rocking back and forth in a comfortable rocking chair.

*Warmth:-
#Swaddle your baby tightly in a receiving blanket.
#Hold your baby close to you so she can receive your warmth.
#Put a heating pad in your baby’s sleep area to warm the sheets before putting her down. Take out the #heating pad and check the temperature of the sheets to be sure they’re comfortably warm.
#Lay your baby facedown over a wrapped hot-water bottle on your lap.

*Soothing Sounds:-
#Speak reassuring words in a soft, low voice.
#Hum and sing familiar songs you enjoy.
#Make a tape recording of a dishwasher, washing machine, vacuum cleaner or clothes dryer to let your baby hear repeated swooshing sounds. A fan or humidifier in the baby’s room can sometimes do the trick, as can a radio tuned to the static between stations.
#Play classical, new age, soft rock or soft jazz music. No heavy metal, please! It makes babies nervous.

*Touch:-
#Firmly but gently massage your baby’s back from the neck down to his bottom.
#Firmly pat or rub your baby on his back and bottom.
#In a warm room, lay your baby on a firm surface and gently massage his tummy with clockwise strokes. If you think his discomfort may be resulting from gas, this can help move down the gas. Then gently press his knees into his abdomen to push out the gas.

Resources:
http://parenting.ivillage.com/newborn/ncrying/0,,lz_6r6b-3,00.html#ixzz0j9bDJxNX
Sign up for iVillage Special Offers

http://www.parents.com/baby/care/crying/smart-solutions-for-soothing-baby/

http://www.sixtysecondparent.com/_webapp_184659/15_ways_to_soothe_a_fussy_baby_(2-12_months)

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Co-sleeping With Babies

Why Do Some People Choose to Co-sleep?
Co-sleeping supporters believe : and there are some studies to support their beliefs  that co-sleeping:

1.Encourages breastfeeding by making nighttime breastfeeding more convenient .

2.Makes it easier for a nursing mother to get her sleep cycle in sync with her baby’s .

3.Helps babies fall asleep more easily, especially during their first few months and when they wake up in the middle of the night.

4.Helps babies get more night time sleep (because they awaken more frequently with shorter duration of feeds, which can add up to a greater amount of sleep throughout the night) .

5.Helps parents who are separated from their babies during the day regain the closeness with their infant that they feel they missed .

But do the risks of co-sleeping outweigh the benefits?
Is Co-sleeping Safe?
Despite the possible pros, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns parents not to place their infants to sleep in adult beds, stating that the practice puts babies at risk of suffocation and strangulation. And the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is in agreement with the CPSC.

Co-sleeping is a widespread practice in many non-Western cultures. However, differences in mattresses, bedding, and other cultural practices may account for the lower risk in these countries as compared with the United States.

According to the CPSC, at least 515 deaths were linked to infants and toddlers sleeping in adult beds from January 1990 to December 1997. More than 75% of those deaths involved infants who were under 3 months old. Between January 1999 and December 2001, the CPSC reported that more than 100 children under the age of 2 years (98% were less than 1 year old) died after being placed to sleep on an adult bed.

The CPSC identifies four primary hazards of infants sleeping in an adult bed:

1.Suffocation caused by an adult rolling on top of or next to a baby .

2.Suffocation when an infant gets trapped or wedged between a mattress and headboard, nightstand, wall, or other rigid object .

3.Suffocation resulting from a baby being face-down on a waterbed, a regular mattress, or on soft bedding such as pillows, blankets, or quilts .

4.Strangulation in a headboard or footboard that allows part of an infant’s body to pass through an area while trapping the baby’s head .
Despite these potential risks, some people dispute the CPSC’s findings. Cosleeping advocates say it isn’t inherently dangerous and that the CPSC went too far in recommending that parents never sleep with children under 2 years of age. According to supporters of cosleeping, parents won’t roll over onto a baby because they’re conscious of the baby’s presence — even during sleep.

Those who should not cosleep with an infant, however, include:

1.Other children   particularly toddlers   because they might not be aware of the baby’s presence.

2.Parents who are under the influence of alcohol or any drug because that could diminish their awareness of the baby.

3.Parents who smoke because the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is greater .

But can co-sleeping cause SIDS? The connection between co-sleeping and SIDS is unclear and research is ongoing. Some co-sleeping researchers have suggested that it can reduce the risk of SIDS because co-sleeping parents and babies tend to wake up more often throughout the night. However, the AAP reports that some studies suggest that, under certain conditions, co-sleeping may increase the risk of SIDS, especially co-sleeping environments involving mothers who smoke.

In addition to the potential safety risks, sharing a bed with a baby can sometimes prevent parents from getting a good night’s sleep. And infants who co-sleep can learn to associate sleep with being close to a parent in the parent’s bed, which may become a problem at nap time or when the infant needs to go to sleep before the parent is ready.

Making Co-sleeping as Safe as Possible
If you do choose to share your bed with your baby, make sure to follow these precautions:

1.Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS.

2.Always leave your child’s head uncovered while sleeping.

3.Make sure your bed’s headboard and footboard don’t have openings or cutouts that could trap your baby’s head.

4.Make sure your mattress fits snugly in the bed frame so that your baby won’t become trapped in between the frame and the mattress.

5.Don’t place a baby to sleep in an adult bed alone.

6.Don’t use pillows, comforters, quilts, and other soft or plush items on the bed.

7.Don’t drink or use medications or drugs that may keep you from waking and may cause you to roll over onto, and therefore suffocate, your baby.

8. Don’t place your bed near draperies or blinds where your child could be strangled by cords.
Transitioning Out of the Parent’s Bed.
Most medical experts say the safest place to put an infant to sleep is in a crib that meets current standards and has no soft bedding. But if you’ve chosen to cosleep with your little one and would like to stop, talk to your child’s doctor about making a plan for when your baby will sleep in a crib.

Transitioning to the crib by 6 months is usually easier — for both parents and baby — before the co-sleeping habit is ingrained and other developmental issues (such as separation anxiety) come into play. Eventually, though, the co-sleeping routine will likely be broken at some point, either naturally because the child wants to or by the parents’ choice.

But there are ways that you can still keep your little one close by, just not in your bed. You could:

1.Put a bassinet, play yard, or crib next to your bed. This can help you maintain that desired closeness, which can be especially important if you’re breastfeeding. The AAP says that having an infant sleep in a separate crib, bassinet, or play yard in the same room as the mother reduces the risk of SIDS.

2.Buy a device that looks like a bassinet or play yard minus one side, which attaches to your bed to allow you to be next to each other while eliminating the possibility of rolling over onto your infant.

Of course, where your child sleeps   whether it’s in your bed or a crib    is a personal decision. As you’re weighing the pros and cons, talk to your child’s doctor about the risks, possible personal benefits, and your family’s own sleeping arrangements.

Source: kidshealth.org