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Sleep & Naps

Getting your little one to sleep like a baby can be a lot easier said than done. Huggies has compiled articles, advice and answers on how to get both you and your newborn snoozing soundly.


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On Stroller Naps

By: Natalie Holbrook

One of the things I remember most clearly about all of the sleep training books I read when Huck was brand new was, "Don’t let them get used to falling asleep to motion!" I let that advice stress me out for approximately two days before realizing… no but I want my baby to fall asleep while in motion. And while nursing. Possibly while I rock him, and definitely while I’m shopping…..

Huck and the stroller and I went on to have a very beneficial, very lovely, quite perfect little love affair. One that I am taking advantage of to this day! Because I am here to tell you, dear friends: as a city mom, the stroller nap is the meaning of life.

Tips on how you can find your own meaning of life with your young one, after the jump.

The genius of the stroller nap is in its sneakiness. Your child can let his drowsiness come on slowly while the rhythmic bumping over cracks in the sidewalk will lull him gently to sleep. The noises on the street provide the perfect white noise and will help him learn to sleep through the occasional loud noise, which can only help naps at home when the doorbell goes off unexpectedly.

We’ve found that the best position for falling asleep is just ever so slightly inclined, so that he can see out and about while nodding off, yet just reclined enough that his head can droop comfortably when sleep overtakes him. And though it flies in the face of all our motherly instincts, if he does fall asleep in an awkward position, experts say it’s best to just let him sleep. If he’s uncomfortable, he’ll wake–hopefully just long enough to adjust his position before drifting back to dreamland–whereas if you try to adjust for him, he might wake with a startle and a grumpy reentry into wakefulness.

Is it cold out? Gear up! We like a zip-up stroller muff (stays in place better than a stroller blanket) and a plastic rain guard comes in especially handy on days when the wind is brutal. There are plenty of holes for ventilation, but not enough that those little cheeks are exposed to any hostile breezes.

Don’t shy away from rough ground like cobblestones or (if you’re in the city) subway grates. Those fun textures can sometimes do the trick and put him right to sleep.

When in doubt, opt for on the side of just a little cool. Take off his socks, or remove his hat, or push his sleeves up to expose his wrists. In my experience, a warm baby is sleeps blissfully, and an overheated baby sleeps not so blissfully.

Make sure he has been recently fed, watered, and changed. Make those sweet babies as comfortable as possible.

Make a phone call while you walk. The constant, low murmur of his mother’s voice just off in the distance is so soothing to a little guy, and multitasking just feels so good, doesn’t it? :)


Working Around Baby's Nap Schedule

The first year of Baby’s life revolves around very few things other than eating, playing, and (hopefully) lots of sleeping. Of course the ‘sleeping through the night stage’ is the end goal for all new parents, but napping during the day can be just as important in creating a calm and happy environment for Mom and Baby. If your baby does indeed nap, it can sometimes leave you feeling house-bound in order to preserve the nap time schedule. Here are a few tips to help preserve a nap routine, and also allow you to get out of the house.

Typically a consistently good napper will have at least one nap that is better than the other — for instance Baby will sleep for a longer and more sound stretch in the morning than the afternoon. If this is the case, schedule your activities around the one “good” nap, staying home so Baby can sleep in his own bed, and then venture out for the afternoon and possibly sacrifice the nap that usually isn’t as good. This will ensure Baby gets at least one good solid stretch of sleep during the day.

Plan outings closer to home so that if Baby starts getting fussy, you can make it home rather quickly…and before Baby falls asleep in the car. Ask just about any veteran mom and she’ll tell you that the car to crib transition doesn’t always go smoothly, so keep an interesting toy or book with Baby to keep them awake on the short ride home.

If the plan is to have Baby sleep in the car during nap time because of a road trip, or timing issues, plan on playing music softly in the car as to not disturb Baby too much, and always keep a book or magazine with you in case you arrive at your destination and Baby is still sleeping. Sometimes an extra 15-20 minutes added on to a Baby’s nap makes all the difference in their mood, so it can be worth it to sit back and relax a bit while you wait for Baby to wake.

If visiting a friend or family member for the day, plan ahead. Instead of rushing through your visit, bring a portable crib with you and set up a nursery away from home for Baby, complete with favorite blanket, pacifier and favorite book. Keep your nap routine consistent and try to settle Baby down for a nap on-the-go so that you don’t have to cut your visit short. While this doesn’t always work, it’s at least worth a try. The added bonus is it gets your baby used to sleeping in other environments, which is especially great if you plan to travel with Baby.

Consistency is key in any sleep routine, but the occasional alteration will not veer you completely off course, especially during the first 3-4 months. During this time newborns usually haven’t quite settled into a consistent routine anyhow, so this is the time to be a bit more flexible with your outings and straying from the routine. Once Baby is 4-6 months old though, a solid nap routine usually starts to settle in, so you’ll want to stay on course more than veer off it. Skipping the routine 2-3 times a week is perfectly okay, especially if it helps mom feel better.

Remember that a sleep routine and schedule only works if it works for the entire family. If Baby’s routine is preserved at all costs, at the expense of mom being able to occasionally visit with friends and get important errands done, then it’s not working. But making a few minor adjustments and not being afraid to alter off course every once in a while will ensure a happy, well-rested baby, and a happy, well-rested mom.


Your Top Baby Sleep Questions, Answered…Fast!

We know you’ve got a lot of questions about your baby’s sleep habits but not much time to read the answers. Voila! Los Angeles pediatrician Harvey Karp, M.D., creator of the popular book and DVD The Happiest Baby on the Block, shares super-quick advice—we’re talking 25 words (or less).

Q. How much sleep do babies need in a day?

A. On average: Newborns, about 16 hours; 6 to 9 months, 14 hours; 9 to 12 months, 13 hours.

Q. What’s the fastest way to get a newborn to calm down for sleep?

A. Wrap your baby snuggly in a blanket—it mimics the close quarters of the womb.

Q. Do babies really need to sleep on their backs?

A. Yes, to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Once baby’s a year old and can roll over, he can sleep on his stomach or back.

Q. Will feeding baby more at night or putting cereal in her bottle help her sleep longer?

A. No. It can actually lead to indigestion, which makes it harder for baby to sleep.

Q. If you keep baby up late, will he fall asleep faster and sleep better?

A. Nope. Being overtired amps up baby’s stress hormones and leads to more night wakings.

Q. Should I be waking my baby up for feedings at night?

A. Possibly—it depends on how a baby is gaining weight. Discuss with your pediatrician.

Q. What’s the deal with crib bumpers—do or don’t?

A. A don’t for newborns, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. They increase the SIDS risk.

Q. Crib aquariums and white noise machines: good idea or not?

A. Good idea: They’re soothing. Also, your baby will associate whooshing sounds with sleep (and sleep)!

Q. When do babies start sleeping through the night?

A. More than half of babies sleep five to eight hours at a stretch anywhere from 2 to 6 months old.

Q. If baby sleeps well in a car seat, is it OK to have him sleep in it at night?

A. No—babies can’t breathe as well sitting up, another SIDS risk. Transfer him to a crib.

Q. How do I get my newborn to sleep nights instead of days?

A. Keep her awake more often during the day and do several feedings in the evening.

Q. How important is it to have a bedtime ritual for babies?

A. They’re key. Routines help even newborns know what’s coming, so they’re more ready to snooze.

Q. How do I discourage nighttime wakings, as baby gets older?

A. Don’t be fun or playful and keep the lights low. Baby will get the message.

Q. When is it time to "sleep train" my baby?

A. Wait until at least 6 months, when baby’s brain has matured enough to establish patterns.


Tips for Coping With Long Term Sleep Deprivation

While we were in Ethiopia with Elvie, my husband and I took turns taking the night shift, but once we got home, it became clear that it would be best if I would just do the night feedings every night. Not only did Jarod have to get out of bed at a reasonable hour and have his mind functioning clearly at work, but I tend to hear Elvie before Jarod wakes. As much as I’d love to still be taking turns, it simply makes more sense for me to take the night shift every night.

For awhile, Elvie was waking every hour, sometimes even after just 45 minutes, simply because she was hungry, and her teeny, tiny stomach couldn’t take in enough nutrition to hold her over for very long. Now that she has grown and gained plenty of weight, she doesn’t wake as often, but still needs to eat more frequently than most babies her age due to her birth defect and history of malnutrition. Teaching her to sleep through the night just isn’t an option right now, so I’ve figured out some ways to help make the days go more smoothly and ensure that I’m not a grump to my family 100% of the time. If you’re riding in the sleep deprivation wagon, I’m so sorry, but also: welcome! Feel free to try any of these tips to help you make it through.

Generous Amounts of Coffee

No one wants to get jittery, so I wouldn’t say more is always better, but starting the day with a gigantic cup of hot, delicious coffee not only gives me a little caffeine kick, but also provides a regular starting point for my day. Some days I need a second large cup, and that’s okay.

Make Time for Slow Mornings

If at all possible, I schedule appointments and activities for the afternoon so that we can just ease into our day. We usually just hang out on the big bed until Elvie is ready for her first nap. There’s plenty of space for all of us to read and/or play. I set my coffee on the nightstand, and it’s perfect.

Embrace Unconventional Breakfasts

Normally, I like to make something hot for breakfast, but right now I just need mornings to be simple. Most of the time I’ve got muffins or granola bars and fruit handy, but sometimes I break all the rules and we eat cookies. These pictured have oats and nut butter, so I figure they’re no worse than a chocolate dipped granola bar, and with much better ingredients.

Eliminate or Procrastinate Unnecessary Chores

The bed really doesn’t need to be made if you don’t have the time or energy, and sometimes the laundry can serve as a very comfortable cat bed for an extra day. While I don’t want to live in a trash heap, sometimes it’s worth it to conserve my energy for nurturing and teaching my children as opposed to using it up dusting.

"Make" an Easy Dinner

We can’t eat out every night, but there are a lot of affordable options for the days I am the most tired. I count ordering enchiladas and bringing them home as making dinner. If I didn’t order it, my family wouldn’t be able to eat it, right?

Have a Sleep In Morning Once a Week

If you’re the only one who gets up with the baby in the night, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect the other half of your parenting team to wake early on his or her day off so that you can get a few uninterrupted hours of sleep. Getting a solid two or three hours of sleep on Saturdays does wonders for my energy level. When I’m getting discouraged during the week, I can always look forward to Saturday and know that I can make it until then.

Feel Free to Just Stay Home Sometimes

As a stay at home parent, I often feel guilty that we don’t get out and do more some days. But it is good for me to have a day that I don’t have to pack everyone up and get them out the door, and it is good for my kids to have a day to relax and just play at home. Committing to at least one play-at-home day per week has made a significant difference in how smoothly our week goes.

Remember That It Won't Be Like This Forever

Babies eventually learn how to sleep through the night, and while the length of time between now and then is uncertain, I know that it will happen. I also know that Elvie will only be little once. So as much as I don’t enjoy the frequent night wakings, I do enjoy have a tiny baby in my life, and I will take the difficult with the wonderful any and every day of the week.


The 4 Hour Schedule At 4 Months That Helped Us All

By:Andrea Howe

Right around the time my son turned four months old, we started to notice a bit of a change in him, in particular to his sleeping and eating patterns. I tried to be very loose and laid back about his schedule from the get-go, and didn’t force a strict timeline to our day, but a rather consistent routine developed anyhow. He would get really sleepy and ready for a nap every 1-1.5 hours, and then nap for roughly 1.5-2 hours, so he naturally was eating about every 3 hours. His schedule for the most part was very “textbook”. At about 4 months old though, as I said, he started to change. Here’s how a slight adjustment to his routine made for a smoother day (and night).

When Hayden turned four months old we noticed that after 3 hours he just wasn’t that hungry and was starting to eat less and less, but seemed hungrier more often throughout the day, and he was also waking up more at night, starving and taking full feedings. We also noticed that he wasn’t really sleepy and ready for a nap anymore after being awake for an hour or so. He was starting to fight his naps a bit more. He was definitely changing.

One of the parenting books that I followed quite closely when I was a new mom dedicated an entire chapter to baby’s development and growth during the fourth month of life, and talked in detail about how important it was to change their routine a bit to account for this growth. I briefly remembered this so revisited the topic and sure enough, it stated that at four months, babies are growing so much that they can handle being up for longer, and need a bit more stimulation and awake time to get them properly tuckered out for a nap. In terms of feedings, they are also starting to be ready to eat more per feeding, and less often. The idea is to stretch out their feedings so that they are hungry enough to take a full feeding and not just snack. It seemed clear at this point that Hayden was snacking throughout the day, and by night time was ravenous because he wasn’t getting enough calories during the day.

So we gradually over the course of about 3 days started to stretch out his feedings to every 3.5-4 hours. We also then kept him up a bit longer, more like 2 hours, before we put him down for a nap. By the end of the transition he had dropped a feeding completely, but he was eating much more at those feedings than he was before. He also dropped a nap.

His schedule now looks roughly like this everyday:

Wake 7 am and eat.

Nap from 9-10:30/11 am

Eat at 11 am

Nap from 1-3:30/4 pm

Eat at 4 pm

Catnap from 5:30-6

Eat and bedtime by 7:30

Eat again at 10:30-11pm

Sleep till about 4:30 and eat again

Up for the day at 7:30 to start again!

Moving from a 3 hour routine to a 4 hour routine definitely helped all of us. Hayden is happy hanging out with us a bit more during the day and is less hungry between feedings and at night. We’re happy to be waking up less, although the routine is by no means perfect. Just last night he was up about 4 times just wanting to hang out with us! But for the most part we are all doing great now that we are on a 4 hour schedule.


The Basics of Newborns and Sleep

newborn sleep basics
From EverydayFamily

Newborns sleep about 16 hours a day! This may come as a surprise to any new parents who feel like their newborns need them every minute of the day. These 16 hours, however, are broken up into periods of 3-4 hours. Newborns normally don't (and shouldn't) sleep through the night. Their digestive system is so small that they need to eat every few hours, and they should be woken and fed if they haven't eaten for 5 hours.

In the beginning, you should try to get as much sleep as you can while they are sleeping. Grabbing an extra hour or two during the day will help combat sleep deprivation from all sleep interruptions at night.

Be sure to remove all fluffy bedding, quilts, stuffed animals, and pillows from the crib to ensure that your baby doesn't get tangled in them while they sleep.

Your child should start sleeping through the night at around three months of age. In fact, 90% of 3 month olds sleep 6-8 hours a night. If your infant is not yet sleeping through the night, don't worry. Some babies just take a little more time to develop their own sleep cycles.

Image: Getty Images


Sleep. What Is That?

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

Ahh, sleep. The ever-elusive, always-coveted thing that parents never seem to have the secret answer for getting. If you're lucky, you have a baby who is a great sleeper from the start and goes for five or six hours from the day you bring him or her home. None of mine were great sleepers at the beginning, but I will give them credit for being very punctual. As in every two hours. On the dot.

Night after night of three to four wakings is tough-more than tough on some days. Of course, as the kids get older and you start to regain that sleep you so craved, the memories of those hundreds and thousands of night wakings start to fade away, but the minute another baby comes into the picture, you're thrust back into it.

That's where I am now. Baby No. 3 came along and all of a sudden, getting seven straight hours is merely a pipe dream. My baby just isn't on board with the whole sleeping-through-the-night idea. All of my cajoling, pleading, begging and monetary incentives haven't helped. It has taken a long nine months to get to the point where I'm getting a little more sleep, but it has been a process in the making.

Ironically, now that I am getting sleep, I'm actually more tired than before. I have a theory that sleep is like money in a bank: You can make sleep deposits and save up. But on the flip side, when you're not getting cumulative sleep, it's like you're constantly withdrawing from your sleep account and eventually you'll hit zero. I was at a pretty low balance for a long time and I'm building myself back up, which is why I think it's taking my body a long time to get back into normal mode.

The body has an amazing way of adapting, though. To think that I could function, drive, work, carry on conversations and even sound coherent at times on such little sleep is pretty impressive, if I say so myself. If you're going through the rough period of interrupted sleep, just know that you'll come out of it eventually. It may take a little bit of time, but until then, try to bank the sleep you are getting. And make coffee your friend, if not your constant companion.

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Getting Baby to Sleep Tips and Tricks

By Charlene O'Hanlon

When I was pregnant with my youngest, I received as a gift a decorative door plaque that read, "Baby Sleeping - Be Quiet or Babysit." At the time I thought it was a cute tchotchke and playfully hung it on the door of the nursery. It wasn't long after his birth that I started using that as my mantra, shushing everyone from the neighbor with the loud truck to the lawn guys with the leaf blowers down the street.

It wasn't so much waking my youngest as it was getting him to sleep in the first place. Especially at night - Little Man would fuss and fight the sleep he obviously needed until he would literally go limp in my arms (which scared the wits out of me on more than one occasion). Eventually, my husband and I learned a few tricks to get him to sleep somewhat easier.

Rock 'til he drops: Our wooden rocker got a lot of use in the first three months, when our baby could do little more than squirm around in my arms. There were countless times when the motion of the rocking chair coupled with a rhythmic "shush shush shush" was enough to lull him to sleep. Of course, sometimes it took the better part of an hour's worth of rocking and shushing before he nodded off. But once he did, he was out.

The baby shuffle (a.k.a., the perp walk): When the rocker didn't work (or my bottom was tired from sitting), often my husband or I would walk back and forth down the hall leading from our bedroom to the nursery, singing the shushes and gently bouncing him in our arms. Rarely, however, did the baby shuffle work for me; my husband, on the other hand, was so good at getting our baby to sleep doing the perp walk that I began to call him the Baby Whisperer.

Make some (white) noise: Occasionally, especially when he was fussy, the only thing that would relax our baby was some good old-fashioned noise. At the sound of the vacuum cleaner, his cries would cease. Put on some white noise, and he'd be happy. And once he relaxed, sleep wasn't far behind. I think in his first six months our vacuum was used more to calm Little Man than to actually vacuum the rugs.

Take a drive: When all else failed (and occasionally they did), we'd strap him into his car seat and take late-night driving tours through the neighborhood. We were careful to stay in areas without a lot of ambient light or outside activity, lest he get even more excited. Our outside excursions were the last resort only because we knew they were a sure thing - we didn't want him to get used to the idea of going out late at night. Consequently, we only did this when we had to pull out the big guns.

Of course, every baby is different (a friend of mine had a baby who would only nod off to the "Today's Hits" playlist of online radio), and what worked for me might not work for you. But if you've exhausted all your methods, grab the vacuum. You might get baby to sleep while getting the dirt out of your rugs. Talk about multitasking!

Read More by Charlene O'Hanlon

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When to End the Naps

Your toddler always seems refreshed after his mid-afternoon nap and, let’s be honest, you appreciate the free time. But at some point, the day-sleeping ends. Here’s when to quit insisting on naps—and how to make the transition smoother for both of you.

Experiment with nap-free days. If your child’s fighting you on the naps, go ahead and give her a few days off—and watch her behavior closely. "If a child still has a consistent temperament from morning until bedtime, goes to bed at a reasonable time, and sleeps well all night long, he may be ready to give up his nap," says Elizabeth Pantley, co-author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways To Help Your Baby Sleep Through The Night. "If, however, a child gets wired and won’t settle down easily, often falls asleep in the car, or gets more whiny or cranky as the day progresses, he may not be ready."

Let kids snooze if they need to. In most cases, the nap doesn’t completely disappear overnight (so to speak). "Your child may be weaning off naps, but on some days he’ll still want to sleep in the middle of the day," Pantley says. If your toddler seems tired or overly irritable, try some quiet time, which can result in a good (and much-needed) nap. He can lie down quietly and look at books; you can also read to him or play calming music.

Make sure they have a good night’s sleep. "When our kids were transitioning from naps, we stuck to an extra-strict schedule at bedtime," says Amy Smith, a mom of three in Rockville, Maryland. "We also found that a warm bubble bath was a great way to get them relaxed and sleeping better—so they didn’t crave sleep the next day."


How We Started Sleeping Through The Night

By: Becka Robinson

That’s right folks, this is the story of how our son started sleeping through the night. And then stopped. And then started again and stuck with it. Sleep and the lack of it that comes along with having a new baby is a hot topic. There is no one right way to teach your baby how to sleep. This is the very true, very unscientific way we regained our sanity and started getting more than 4 hours of sleep a night…

Our son has been a pretty good sleeper always. As much as a newborn can be a good sleeper. For the first weeks we were up with him at one hour and two hour intervals around the clock. At around 3 months, magically, he started to sleep for 5 and 6 hour chunks of time all on his own. Cue the hallelujah chorus! We reveled in our consecutive sleep. And then… like a cruel, cruel joke from the sleep gods, our son stopped sleeping through the night at exactly 4-months-old.

Naturally, I turned to the internet and begged google for the answers. And I got them. In the form of a dirty little phrase known as "4 month sleep regression". Did you know that this was a thing? Because no one told me this was a thing. I learned that sometimes babies will just randomly stop sleeping through the night at 4 months. The experts think it has something to do with sleep cycles and growth spurts but no one knows for sure. Message boards were filled with stories about babies who continued sleep regressing until almost a year old.


There was no way I was going to continue waking up every 2 hours at night for the rest of my son’s first year of life. We tried to wait it out but after 2 months of waking up every 2 hours we were at the end of our rope. We asked everyone we knew with kids, we read sleep training books, we scoured the internet, we asked our friends on Facebook, and we talked to our pediatrician. Advice and tips were all across the board. One person said "do this". Another said, "No, don’t ever do that." It was like a puzzle but no one had the big picture on the front of the box to show us which way to go. If you have gone through this with your baby or are currently going through this let me tell you, there is hope! Also, I feel your pain.

What we learned from the experience was that there is no one right way. And as parents you’ve got to take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt. You’ve got to decide what you want for your family and then make the best decisions you can. For us, that meant that we went with our instincts and combined a lot of the advice we got and did a bit of trial and error until something worked. If you’re curious… the combination that worked for us was…

  • Increasing the number of ounces of formula he had during the day so we could decrease his night feedings (this was advice from our pediatrician)
  • Adding some scoops of powdered rice formula to his bottles in the evening to help fill him up (this was advice from a bunch of moms and grandmas)
  • Introducing fruits and veggies as solids (this was our own gut instincts)
  • Watering down the bottles we gave him when he woke up in the middle of the night. (this was a tip from our pediatrician that sounded so strange to us but worked like a magic charm in just three nights)
  • Putting him to bed a bit earlier. (this was a tip from the sleep training books)

He is now sleeping (knock on wood) about 12 hours every night and has been for almost 3 months now. We’re so happy to have our nights back to ourselves and he’s happier since he’s so well rested. It’s a happy house nowadays. I hope that by sharing this story some of you might find an answer that works for you and your family. And please know that I am, in no way, saying that this is the only right way or that everyone should follow these tips. You’ve gotta find what works for you. So to all you sleep deprived mamas out there, keep your chins up! Trust your gut and you’ll find your way.

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