The Checklist

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Night time parenting is often one of the toughest things for new parents to adjust to. Let’s face it, that baby might be cute as a button, but he didn’t come with a set of instructions. And even if he did, you probably wouldn’t be able to read them through your bleary eyes after the third wake up call of the night.

The first thing to realize as a new parent (preferably before the baby is even born) is that you’re in for a few sleepless nights. That’s just the way it has to be. Babies can’t sleep through the night until they’re at least four months old, because they need to eat every two to four hours. If you’re breastfeeding (and you should be if you can), that time unfortunately tends to be closer to every two hours.

Of course, milk (or formula) isn’t the only thing on baby’s mind when she wakes up. There are a number of things which can cause babies to wake up. We’ve found in dealing with our babies’ night time waking that it’s a good idea to have a checklist of things to try to help baby go back to sleep. Dads especially find these lists helpful, as they tend to lack some of the instincts mothers seem to be born with.

So, here’s the checklist:

  1. Does the baby need a diaper change? If baby has made poo, this should be fairly obvious. Even if baby is just wet, you should be able to tell baby needs a new diaper by feeling her bottom. If you’re not sure, go ahead and change the baby. Fresh and clean is always a good thing.
  2. Is the baby cold? Babies should sleep in the same amount of clothing or layers that adults to. If you like, you can add one additional thin layer.
  3. Is the baby too warm? If baby’s becoming clammy, it’s an obvious sign that she’s too warm. Remove a layer. If she’s still uncomfortable or clammy, check her temperature. If she’s running a fever, consult her pediatrician.
  4. Is the baby hungry? The solution to this one is fairly straight forward: feed the baby. If you breast feed, of course, this will be mom’s job. If you use formula, dad can help. In either case, it helps to have everything you need placed conveniently so you can find it easily in the middle of the night.
  5. Rock the baby. Usually, if baby is full, clean and comfortable, rocking them will help them fall back asleep.

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This entry was posted in About Your Baby.


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