Sleep sharing or co-sleeping is where you regularly share your bed with your baby while sleeping.
It is a common practice in many countries around the world and is becoming acceptable in more western countries with a greater number of parents.
The decision to co-share your bed with your baby is one that needs to be made on a personal basis and you shouldn't let the opinions of others affect your decision.
There are reasons for and against sleep sharing with the major concern of those who are opposed to it being a fear for the baby's safety.
Many mothers find that the convenience of having their baby in bed with them when it is time for feeding can help them to get more sleep and to sleep better knowing that they have access to their baby at all times through the night.
There is of course the concern that it might be difficult for the baby to sleep alone as it grows older.
Some babies actually sleep better alone and if that is the case then co-sleeping is not really an option.
If you and your partner are particular restless sleepers then co-sleeping will usually make this a bigger problem and there is also the danger of a baby sleeping with restless parents getting smothered unintentionally in the night.
This is the biggest concern of those people who are opposed to co-sleeping.
There are other factors that need to be taken into consideration such as the effect it will have on your intimacy with one another.
This can place additional strain on a relationship when it is often already stressed due to the addition of a new member to the family.
Sometimes it is a little more difficult to wean the baby off breast feeding as they have had the convenience of feeding whenever they like through the night.
As with most decisions you make concerning your baby there will be pros and cons for the actions you take and your decision to co-sleep needs to be made entirely based on your own personal preferences and circumstances.
You can always try it for a few nights and see whether it is a success or not.
Stop the Crying
One of the most commonly asked questions of most new parents is how to stop their baby from crying.
There are many different reasons why a baby is crying and there are as many solutions to solve the problem. Once you know that all your baby's needs are met with feeding, warmth and toileting then other than a problem such as teething it is most likely comforting that is required to settle down the crying.
What works for one baby might not be so successful for another and you are sure to get many suggestions from people you know on what works best for them.
What makes it even more difficult for some parents to understand is why one method worked so well for one of their children and is totally ineffective for another of their children. This is just one of the many joys of parenting and an example of why so many people struggle with bringing up a child especially when it is their first born.
The simple solution is to try one method after another until you find one that works for you.
Some babies like rocking to relax them while others like a particular type of music.
Here are some options that you might like to try. I am of course assuming that your baby has been fed and doesn't have wet or soiled nappies.
First you will need to check whether there have been any changes in your baby's daily routine that might have caused an unsettling disruption? If so you might need to rearrange your plans and revert back to your former routine and make changes a little more gradually.
Are you giving your baby enough attention? It is very easy with all the additional work that has been brought about by having a newborn in the family to find it difficult to manage your time where baby gets sufficient attention.
Newborns are particularly demanding especially in the first few months. They can also pick up on your stress levels and that can be unsettling for them.
Ensure that your baby is well wrapped and warm as this will give it a sense of comfort and security. Alternatively if the weather is particularly warm then over heating could be the cause of distress.
Invest in a baby carrier that you can wear while you go about your chores so your baby is with you and the swaying motion of you walking will often put a baby to sleep.
Some babies find comfort in the motion of a ride in a car but you don't want to make a habit of having to go for a drive each time the crying starts.
A warm bath can be soothing and sometimes the simplest things like a dummy to suck on is all that is needed.
Think of things that might comfort you but don't resort to giving your baby chocolate even though that might be the first comforting thought that comes to mind for you.
Holding your baby is one of the most important aspects in its development as it creates a bond of security trust and reassurance. Nothing in the world can replace the comforting arms of a mother or father for a baby.
Initially your baby will have very little strength in its neck and will not be able to support the weight of its head so you will need to offer this support when you or anyone else holds your baby.
If other children in your family want to hold the newborn they will need to be made aware of this so they can offer support too.
Children should be taught to be very careful and everyone should handle the baby with the utmost care by keeping movements slow and smooth whilst still offering sufficient support.
If young children are cuddling the baby it is safest if they are holding them over a soft surface such as your bed and you should never leave them alone even for an instant.
Men are generally a little anxious to hold a baby as they fear they could do some damage to something so delicate however a baby will feel secure if it is fully supported when being held.
Once the baby is a little older it becomes a bit easier to handle as it will have developed the strength to hold up it's own head with increased strength of the neck muscles and this will allow the use of a baby carrier that both the mother and the father can use.
Getting the father to help reduces the strain that gets placed upon the mother's back from constantly having to pick up and carry a young child around.
With the baby held in an upright position and its head draped across your shoulder it will in the ideal position to rock it to sleep comfortably while remain fully supported even when very young and lacking in neck muscle strength.
Getting Into A Routine
Getting into a routine with your baby and the things that need to be done can actually lead to more freedom for you.
Your baby will become accustomed to this routine and that will actually free up more time for you to do the things that you desire.
One of the most important routines is getting your baby to know when it is time to sleep and if this is at the same time every day it will soon become a lot easier.
Initially you might have to adapt to the routine that dictated by your newborn but as a child gets older you will be able to start dictating the times when certain things need to happen.
A child will soon associate specific things with these various different routines such as the fact that it will be bedtime after a bath or possibly that your partner will be putting the baby to bed when he gets home from work.
Try to include fun events with these various routines as they will make it a lot easier for the baby to accept them.
Even with a very young child you need to ensure that you get out of the house enough to meet other people and include some social interaction in your life. This could be as simple as a trip to the shops a few times a week.
By doing these things at set times during the week your child will also adapt to this and will be a lot more relaxed when you go out either with the child or with somebody else minding it.
You will find that you will be able to manage a lot more tasks by staying well organized and knowing that your child will be asleep at certain times of the day or night when you need to do other things.
Coping With Stress
Stress is something that you have to be particularly mindful of if you are a new mum or dad for the first time as coping with the change in lifestyle and the fact that you could become somewhat sleep deprived in the early stages makes it essential that you take time out to look after your own health so that you are capable of dealing with the every day running of your life while managing the needs of your newborn child.
The less stressed you are the less stressed your child will be and that in turn will lead to a better night's sleep and happier and healthier child. This in turn will have a cumulative effect in reducing your stress and ensuring that you get more sleep as well.
Try not to rush too many things and give yourself sufficient time to get whatever needs to be done without becoming stressed due to the constant demands being placed upon you.
It is quite normal for you to become unhappy and have thoughts that might not be what you would expect in the initial stages of having a newborn child. If this is causing distress get professional help as there is plenty available and the professionals who deal with these problems have a full understanding of the best methods of coping so that you can enjoy all aspects of your child's upbringing.
Let others health with the workload and try to get on to a reasonable routine where you manage to get all your necessities done each day. Part of this can mean taking control of people who want to visit and take up your time. While they are most likely well-meaning in their actions some people just don't understand what is involved in bringing up a child and a lack of time that the new mother a father will have to deal with.
Even small steps can go a long way to reducing your stress so planning times during the day when you can get an extra hour or two of sleep or simply getting somebody to do some of the shopping for you can affect not only your levels of stress but your overall happiness, enjoyment of life and the ability to give your child quality time.
Getting Enough Sleep
Not only is it important that your baby gets sufficient sleep but you also need to get sufficient sleep in order to be able to care for the babies needs.
While you won't be able to change when your baby requires feeding for some time you should take advantage of the times that it is sleeping to get some additional sleep of your own.
Cat naps throughout the day when the baby is asleep can go a long way to help you cope with the sleep deprivation that is expected in the early weeks and months of the baby's life.
You should work towards getting your baby to go off to sleep while you are going about your normal work and don't get into the habit of sneaking quietly about the house as this will only train the baby to sleep when there is complete silence.
Also try to get your baby to go off to sleep on its own rather than relying on you to be lying beside it for it to go off to sleep.
It's not a good habit to get into to have to have the baby sleep with you in your own bed on a regular basis in order to settle it down for sleeping as this becomes a 'trained problem' that you will need to wean your baby off.
You will expect to have a lot less time to yourself in the beginning however if you are ever feeling down or overwhelmed then just remember that everyday you get one day closer to easier times when you will have more time and be able to cope better.
Don't use your babies sleep time to get extra work done if you are already over tired when a short sleep could do you the world of good.
Baby signing is a way of communicating with your baby before it is able to speak.
Most mothers will realize that their child begins communicating with them before they are able to talk because the baby's motor skills will develop a lot sooner than their ability to talk and they are able to communicate using what people now call baby signing.
Baby signing can help you to resolve problems such as why your baby might be crying or unsettled as it gives you the ability to communicate with your child and understand what the problem is.
As with anything else relating to the development of children the mother child relationship and the ability to communicate via baby signing will progress at a different rate for each individual but it is not uncommon for mothers and babies to be able to communicate very well with baby signing as early as six months.
This ability will naturally increase as time goes by and up until the child begins to talk and communicate on the basis that we are most familiar.
You can't rush this process with your baby as they will develop at their own pace and it is better to do so in a relaxed manner than to try to introduce any pressure at this early stage in life.
You will be surprised at how quickly your child will begin to develop these communication techniques with you once you begin using them.
They can be used within days to start communicating the everyday wants and needs that your child has such as food drink and sleep requirements.
The ability to communicate at such an early stage makes the whole process of parenting so much easier as it eliminates a lot of the guesswork and helps you to give your baby what it needs to remain contented more of the time.
Getting Out And About
Once you have overcome the initial upheaval in the home that a newborn can often bring it is time to start getting some of your life back on target and there is no better way than with a baby stroller.
This will not only allow you to get out and about and improve your fitness but it will also allow you to do so without having to pay for the additional expense of having someone mind your baby while you are exercising.
It is an excellent way to improve your fitness after your pregnancy and getting outside and exercising will also reduce your stress levels that could be elevated due to a lack of sleep and additional work required with a new baby.
The fresh air will do both you and your baby a lot of good provided of course that you have taken the necessary steps to protect your child from the elements whether it is the heat in summer or the cold of winter.
Pushing a stroller actually gives you a better workout than simply walking so you might just find that your fitness levels come back sooner than expected and that additional weight that you would have gained during your pregnancy will also reduce a lot faster.
There are many different strollers available on the market with models designed specifically for people who want to improve their fitness faster and these strollers provide better stability and elements that allow you to run while pushing your baby around.
There are also other benefits that many mothers find whereby the motion of the stroller helps to put a baby to sleep and if you have a child that is having difficulty sleeping during the day then it might be time for a little outdoors exercise.
Check online for the prices as there are lots of options to choose from and many bargains to be had as the baby care stores compete for your custom.
Mixing With Other Children
As your child begins to get a little older, at around six months or so it is good to get them mixing with other children so they begin to socialize and learn how to communicate with others and share with one another.
This is an excellent time and an opportunity for your child to start learning and in doing so reduce the chances of becoming selfish and too demanding for your attention.
Having several children playing together and sharing the same toys is a good way for them to learn how to share with one another and to enjoy the company of playing together.
It also gives you time to mix with other others and have a bit of fun and enjoyment while you all keep an eye on the activities of your children.
It also makes for a cost-effective way of letting your child have the benefit of playing with other toys and your friends get the same opportunity so this reduces the financial strain and increases the learning that the children will get from other people's toys.
Many people find that their social life takes off once they have children as they begin to mix with other people who have also had children and it becomes a lot easier to do things together where everybody helps out and everybody is mindful of the needs of all the children.
You will find that most children look forward to these occasions and by adding the stimulation to their life it results in a lot more contentment and the other benefit of this is the fact that they get tired when they mix with others and sleep a whole lot better which helps you to get a better night's sleep and everybody becomes happier and less stressed while enjoying life.
When children mix together and learn to respect each other it helps to reduce behavioral problems that can often be brought about with children who don't have enough social interaction with others to learn how to behave themselves in the company of others.
Even though most of your time will be consumed with caring for your child initially you have to realize that you have a life to and you need to get out and mix with other people.
Within the local neighborhood there are bound to be other mothers who have children of a similar age where you can get together and enjoy socializing with one another.
It is quite good to mix with people in similar situations as you can discuss various things that are going on in your lives and each will have an understanding of the others problems and the adjustments that they need to go through to cope with the changes that have been brought about by having a child.
Sometimes you might feel too tired to socialize but it is still good to get out for a change of scenery as it gives you a break from everyday life for a while even though you will be taking your child with you.
Your baby doesn't need to restrict your life all that much and even holidays are possible with a young child because there are many products on the market these days that make mobility a lot easier where you can carry your child in a carrier along with all their feeding requirements and clothing needs.
Breast-feeding makes the feeding process a lot easier as you don't have to take all the additional bottles and formulas along with you but all the same, no matter which way you are feeding your child, it is a lot easier these days to get out and about with a baby.
The happier you are, the happier your child will be and the less stressed your child will be also. Reducing stress for you and your child makes for a child that is a lot more contented and can sleep a lot easier.
Your child will soon become accustomed to sleeping in noisy situations and this makes life a whole lot easier for you as you can have friends and family around and not be concerned that your baby will have sleeping problems.
Traveling With Baby
Preparation is the key to successfully traveling with a baby. There are many things to think of and some of these will be determined by factors such as whether you are breast feeding or feeding formula from the bottle and other factors such as whether you are using disposable nappies or not.
In preparation for any travel plans you should start with a list well in advance of the date of your trip and write down all the necessities that you use for your child every day.
Then you will be able to consider what you will need to take away with you and what you can and can't do without.
Obviously there will be a lot less items to pack if you are breast feeding as you won't have to take containers of formula and the necessary bottles and cleaning products.
This is a big reason to consider breast feeding simply for the convenience.
If your travels are taking you to places that you are unfamiliar with you will need to check in advance to see whether there are suitable facilities for warming the baby formula and to sufficiently clean baby bottles and such to ensure good hygiene.
Disposable nappies are very convenient for travel as you don't have to be concerned with cleaning nappies however, depending on your time away and the availability of good shopping you will need to take sufficient to last for the time that you are away from home. This could be quite a bundle of disposables that you will need to take to ensure that you don't run out of supplies.
You might even need to take a portable crib and additional bedding with you.
Many people will delay travel plans until their newborn gets a little older and traveling becomes a little easier however there is no reason why you shouldn't travel with a new baby as long as you are well organized and remember to take away all that you need.
Take plastic bags for dirty clothing and nappies, enough creams for diaper rash and other skin irritations and plenty of tissues and cloths for cleaning up.
A suitable sunscreen and sunhat to keep your baby's sensitive skin protected from the sun if you are going to a sunny location is also something that is a necessity.
Baby carriers will make it a lot easier for you to get about with your baby too and it is well worth considering buying one of these if you don't already have one.
Take any medications that your baby is likely to need as you don't want to have to rely on a doctor you don't know for help if possible.
Child Care Centers
Finding a suitable baby care center is a difficult decision for most mothers as it is imperative that your child gets the best care at all times and it is hard to leave that care in the hands of strangers.
As with most anything else relating to your child doing some quality research in advance of making a decision will help to alleviate much of the stress and ensure that your child is getting the best care possible.
Recommendations from people you trust are the best sources of information about any childcare center that you are considering.
Interview anybody who you intend leaving your child with and don't make a decision immediately. Give yourself some time to think over whether you are happy with that childcare provider and if you are still unsure go back and interview them again.
If you have a group of friends with children of a similar age that have used a particular child care center and their children have been happy there, then it is highly likely that your child will have the same positive experience.
This is one of the benefits of mixing with other mothers of similar aged children where you can discuss various aspects of your child's upbringing and get others opinions and solutions to your everyday problems.
There is nothing better than real world experience to base your decisions on and these decisions need to be made by considering all the factors that are relevant to your child living in your particular geographical location.
You should also see whether the child care center that you are considering is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) as this is the highest form of accreditation that are child care center can get and it should give you some peace of mind knowing that your child will be getting the best of treatment.
There is however nothing better than first hand experience and that can only be achieved by taking your child to the care center than you have chosen and see whether he or she is comfortable with the people running it. You can stay there for the day and see how the staff work and how your child reacts to them. Consider their friendliness to all the children and also how they manage the interactions of the children with one another.
Most of all you will need to see whether your child has enjoyed their stay at the center for the day and whether they are happy to return there again in the future.