Friday, April 10, 2009

Baby questions on sleep and other...

I was answering a parent's (5 month old child) question and though I would post the answers I gave her. One was about sleep problems and the other was about just general developmental guidelines. Hope this helps others...

We coslept with our baby from when she was 2 weeks old until just this past Christmas, but I know not every family is up for that. I had never intended to, at birth we had her in a bassinet by our bed but we couldn't get her to sleep for more than an hour at a time. Then one night I had pulled her in bed to feed her and I accidentally fell asleep. She slept through that whole night! Voila, a family bed was born! There is a great book about sleeping, Elizabeth Pantley's The No-Cry Sleep Solution (she has a for babies version and a for toddlers and preschoolers version). I would suggest reading through that to find the solution that fits your family best. It coveres almost every sleep problem that is not medically related. It also covers naptimes. If you decide to cosleep there is a great book, Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent's Guide to Cosleeping. It goes over all of the dos and dont's. I used both of these. Good luck! One thing to keep in mind is that at this age you still can't spoil him, so I would go ahead and provide the comfort he needs.

At five months they are starting to do such cool things! Definitely provide him with an abundance of the things he is interested in, whether it is looking in boxes, balls, whatever (not necessarily store bought things, they usually prefer things that are already in their environment). Try to have him be as much a part of your lives as possible. By this I mean keeping him at conversation level, or bringing conversation level down to him. Social skills and vocabulary develops much more quickly when they are "incuded" in the conversation. You could be talking about nuclear physics, but if you look at him and let him have turns babbling back to you it teaches him how conversations happens. It is much better for them than looking at adults' feet all day. Dr. Montessori discovered this when she was with a baby who was crying while the adults were conversing. As an experiment she "included" him in the discussion and he was instantly soothed. Because the warm weather is coming it is great to try and get him outside as much as possible. Dr. Montessori found that when children are connected with the natural world learning comes at a faster rate, she surmised because they are fasinated about what is in their world and want to explore and discover what is happening there.

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