How to Establish a Good Bedtime Routine for Baby

Don’t hate me for saying this, but the best bedtime routine we’ve adopted for our baby is from Daniel Tiger.

(We have a love/hate relationship with that show. Our 4-year old daughter has loved it her whole life. It teaches some good lessons, and explains some difficult concepts for kids in a way that helps them understand. There are some strange and incredibly annoying things about the show as well, but I digress.)

Creating a routine is critical for babies to go to bed without a fuss, and a simple one that lets them anticipate what’s next and feel comfortable and relaxed before falling asleep is not difficult to achieve. It will take some getting used to, as do all changes and new routines. But once your baby knows what happens after dinner, knows what happens after bath time, knows what happens after their story, they will be ready for bed.

Okay, ready for it? Our simple, universal, Daniel Tiger-inspired bedtime routine is:

  1. Bath time. We bathe our kids every night, or almost every night. Even if it’s not a full-on bath, they know the wipe-down is coming because they always, inevitably make a mess at dinner. So whether it’s a legit bubble bath or just a clean-up after dinner, they know this is part of the routine, and that it’s leading to them being put in clean clothes.
  2. PJ’s. This also means clean, fresh diaper for the baby so he’s dry and clean for the night.
  3. Brush teeth. Even if they don’t have teeth, using a wet washrag or special gum brush is a good idea to get them in the habit of brushing their teeth, and will prepare them for good teeth hygiene once they come in.
  4. Story and song. Sing the same 2 or 3 songs every night. You’ll be surprised that at only a few months old, your baby will know the song. Here’s how you’ll know: start singing it differently. For example, I always sing “You are my Sunshine” to my babies. When my son was only 6 months old, I paused in the middle of singing it, and he started laughing. If that were the first time I sang it, he wouldn’t have laughed because he would’ve assumed that was how it went. I experimented with the 2 other songs I often sang and, sure enough, singing them with pauses here and there resulted in adorable baby laughs. I always read the story with the light on, then turned the light off and rocked them while I sang a song or two. Worked like a charm.
  5. Time for bed. Once the story and songs are done, it’s time to lay down for bed. Once my baby is laid in his crib, I slip the Owlet monitor on his foot while he’s tired and will hardly notice it, then close the door.

So there it is: Bath time, PJ’s, brush teeth, story and song, then time for bed.

But STOP! It works better when it’s an annoying song that gets stuck in your head for eternity, so go here and listen to the song, and then come back.

 

There.

Now you might hate me because this song will be sung in your head every night for the rest of your life, but if it helps you adopt and maintain a bedtime routine then it’s worth it. That’s the whole love/hate thing with Daniel Tiger. So clever, so annoying.

The trick is to do this from the time they are born. Sticking to a consistent, calming routine will help your baby learn when it’s time to go to bed, and make connections between the events leading up to bedtime. They may fuss at first, but after a while, maybe even a few weeks, they will learn that once the story is done, they will be laid down in their crib where they will be expected to fall asleep. Your efforts at sleep-training, meaning how you handle night-time waking and crying once they are old enough to sleep through the night without feeding and changing, can be a lot easier or even nonexistent if a good bedtime routine is established and your baby has no health issues or other issues that could interrupt sleep.

The steps for the bedtime routine can also be used as calming mechanisms once your baby has associated them with winding down for the night. On a trip, after a doctor’s appointment, or after a long day, these activities can help calm and soothe your baby.

Would you add anything to the list? Is there anything specific that made your baby know it was time to go to bed?

 

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7 Questions You May Be Too Embarrassed to Ask About Pregnancy

Congratulations! You’re pregnant! If you’ve never been pregnant before, we know you want to know what it is REALLY like. Lucky for you, we’ve got answered 7 questions for you that may be a bit too embarrassing to ask:

#1: Will my breasts change during pregnancy?

Yes. Your breasts will change during pregnancy because your milk ducts are growing in preparation for breastfeeding. So, your breasts will become tender and will begin producing colostrum, which is a sweet and watery pre-milk. Your nipples also will change in preparation for your baby, so they’ll become bigger and darker.

#2: Will I grow more hair on my body while pregnant?

Maybe. And, your thick, long waves? Well, that may change too. Many pregnant women experience increased estrogen levels that alter the natural hair cycle on their head. This symptom affects every woman differently, which is why some women experience thick and shiny hair and some experience limp, thin hair.

Your hair’s texture may also change either leaving it curly or straight. This is because of the hormones your body makes while pregnant. And, guess what? These hormones also affect the hair on the rest of your body. Androgens, which is a hormone that is increased during pregnancy, are thought to make your hair grow faster, so you may be shaving, waxing or plucking more often.

#3: Will I be using the bathroom more while pregnant?

Yes. The extra blood flow in your body while pregnant will make the kidneys produce up to 25% more urine soon after conception. The increased urine production peaks at 9 to 16 weeks of the pregnancy, and then will settle down.

So, visiting the bathroom more isn’t just because of the pressure on the woman’s bladder from the growing uterus.

#4: Will I be gassier during pregnancy?

The intestines during pregnancy are sluggish because of all that progesterone circulating in your body. So, yes, the bloating and sometimes painful cramping in your belly, will give you the urge to pass gass often.

#5: What is that in my underwear?

Let’s just say, you’ll want to pack an extra pair of underwear with you. You may find that you have pale yellow or sticky white discharge that constantly appears during pregnancy, leaving you in frequent need of new undies. This is caused because of the increased hormones that are produced during pregnancy as well as an increase in vaginal blood flow.

#6: My voice does what?

Your voice may change while pregnant and become raspy, and even lower by a couple of octaves, while pregnant. Your hormones are changing so much during pregnancy, especially estrogen and progesterone, which can cause swelling in your vocal cords. So, don’t be surprised if your husband does a double take when you walk in the door saying, “Honey, I’m home!”

#7: Are bloody gums a thing when pregnant?

Yes. When brushing your teeth while pregnant, don’t get nervous if you find a bloody toothbrush when you’re done. When you’re pregnant you have extra blood flow to your gums and oral cavity. With all of that extra blood in your gums, they can swell and become more sensitive.

You may suffer one or all of these symptoms while pregnant. If you are concerned about any of these, do not be embarrassed to ask your medical provider. They only want to help you have a comfortable pregnancy, or you could always have your significant other ask for you?!

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15 Incredible Facts About Baby’s First Year

We all know that the ability to grow and give birth to a baby is miraculous. And, we found even more fascinating facts about your baby’s first year that will leave you in extra awe of your miracle.

Here are 15 incredible facts about your baby’s first year:

1. When your baby is born, they have 300 bones and don’t have kneecaps. Adults only have 206 bones!

2. Most newborns cry without tears until they are three to six weeks old.

3. Approximately 80% of babies are born with a birthmark, either red birthmarks, which take their color from blood vessels and may even appear shortly after birth, or pigmented birthmarks, which are always present at birth.

4. Babies make their first social smiles between four and six weeks after birth.

5. Most newborns will lose all the hair they are born within 3-4 months.

6. In baby’s first three months of life, they can only see things that are eight to nine inches away. This is the perfect distance to see your face when you’re holding and feeding your baby, but it also lets him focus on his hands and the rest of his own body.

7. According to research conducted by the University of Helsinki, babies recognize the music they hear in the womb for up to four months after birth. In fact, songs you played a lot while the baby was in the womb, may eventually soothe them.

8. Once your baby learns to laugh, they can laugh up to 300 times a day! Adults? They only laugh approximately 60 times a day.

9. Touch is a newborn’s most advanced sense. And, a baby as young as 25 weeks can respond to touch. The development of the sense of touch starts at the head and stretches down to the toes, which is why babies put things in their mouths.

10. A baby can swallow and breath at the same time until they are seven months old.

11. Babies forget. Babies forget the majority of the first three years of their life. Neuroscientists call this “infantile amnesia.”

12. An average baby will have 2,700 diaper changes a year.

13. A new baby will deprive their parents of 350-400 hours of sleep in the first year. This adds up to one entire sleepless night per week!

14. A baby’s brain will be 60% of its adult size by the time the baby reaches their first birthday.

15. If your baby continued their first year’s growth rate, they would be 170 feet tall by the time they become an adult!

WOW, right?

(Via: momunction.com, kinsahealth.com, babypreppers.com, mom365.com, and distractify.com)

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Valentine’s Day-Inspired Names for your Baby

Choosing a baby name is difficult, and always seems to be inspired by the people we know, events going on in the world, famous celebrities, and special geographical locations (either for good or bad). As you and your partner navigate the waters of naming your baby, read this list of names inspired by love stories, songs, and legends that will hopefully keep your brainstorming peaceful and productive.

Boys:

Lennan: We’re not talking about John Lennon. This is an Gaelic/Irish name that means ‘lover’.

Thaddeus: or Thad for short, this masculine Aramaic name means ‘heart’.

Darrell: The meaning of Darrel is ‘beloved’. It was one of the beach boy names in the 1960s. It is an evergreen choice for traditional parents.

Davis: Davis is derived from the name David, and means “beloved” in Hebrew.

Noah:  Noah and Allie from the novel and then movie, “The Notebook” is a classic love story beloved by all.

Heath: The shortened version of Heathcliff from the classic love story Wuthering heights is a strong name for a boy.

Anthony: This name is inspired by ‘Antony,’ derived from the tragic love story of Mark Antony and Cleopatra.

Rhett: Another strong and timeless name from the famous love story Gone with the Wind.

Tristan: Tristan was the lover of Iseult from the romantic Celtic legend dating back to the 12th century, when the story was retold by French medieval poetry and since retold numerous times.

Jay: Such a simple, sophisticated name inspired by Jay Gatsby from the tragic love story, The Great Gatsby.

Girls:

Vida: The name Vida is an elegant, lovely name of Scottish descent, and means ‘beloved.’

Annie: If you’re a lover of the classic “chick flicks,” you’ll love the name Annie, from Sleepless in Seattle.

Karenina: This beautifully underrated name is inspired by the classic love novel Anna Karenina. The name can be shortened to Kara, Karen, or Nina, all adorable names for a girl.

Scarlett: Another beautiful name inspired by one of the most famous love stories of all time, Gone with the Wind.

Rose: A romantic name that can be shortened to Rosie or extended to ‘Rosette,’ ‘Rosemary,’ or any other variation.

Milada: Milada is a Slavic name that means ‘love.’ It’s unique and romantic, and can be shortened to ‘Mila’ if desired.

Priya: This name is beautifully pronounced PREE-AH, and is a common Indian name meaning ‘beloved.

Amara: This name comes from the Igbo language in Nigeria, and means ‘grace.’ It could also be derivative of the name ‘Amora,’ which is Spanish for ‘love.’

Mina: This name is popular among many cultures, and means ‘love’ in several of them as well. For a universally-accepted name that means ‘love,’ Mina is the way to go.

Juliet: Some people prefer to spell this name ‘Juliette,’ but either way, the name is symbolic of the classic, tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet.

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