How To Ease Your Child39s Nighttime Fears

Newborn Tips#1: Don't Hush-A-Bye-Baby
You don't have to be quiet while the baby is sleeping. The womb is loud, and newborns are used to the noise. When ours first came home, we watched television and I would vacuum, wash dishes and talk on the phone around her while she slept. She got used to sleeping with noise, and I could get stuff done. I am still able to vacuum in her room while she sleeps (she is 14 months), and she is peaceful and well rested when she wakes up.
Newborn Tips#2: Soothe Your Wailing Newborn
When my baby cries, I comfort her by patting her back in a heartbeat-like rhythm. That helps her burp more quickly, and it also helps her relax if she's crying from insecurity. If this doesn’t work, I also try one or all of Dr. Harvey Karp's five calming moves: swaddling, shushing, holding her on her side, swinging her or letting her suck. Sometimes it takes all six!

Additional Information:

Those of us who have children know how heartbreaking and frustrating it can be when our children suddenly develop a fear of the dark. Most of the time, the fear comes on suddenly with no explanation and is likely a part of growing up. However, when you see your child in tears and throwing a tantrum because they are afraid to go to bed, it can be challenging to figure out just what to do.

Read them a bedtime story- most children just want to know that their parents are going to be around after they are in their room and settled in for the night. Establish a nighttime routine where you have story time, while your child or children are in their beds. Whether you read one story or two stories, make it a point to say that after the story is bedtime. Sometimes, the simple act of you reading to your children is enough to ease their fears.

Choose a bedtime buddy for your child to snuggle with- use this snuggle buddy and let them know that the sole task of their buddy is to chase away all bad dreams and ease their fears. Knowing that they have a buddy looking out for them while they are sleeping is a great way to calm your child down when nothing else will. Children have very active imaginations and it only takes a little bit of feeding into their imaginations to establish a fear block.

Newborn Tips#3: Help Get Your Baby to Latch
If you are having latch-on issues while breastfeeding your baby, you can use breast shields to help the process. This was a wonderful tip that I learned from my lactation consultant. I had to use the shields for an entire month before my baby would latch onto my own nipple without them. Had it not been for the breast shields, I would not have been able to continue nursing my baby.
Newborn Tips#4: Get Prepped
At 3 weeks, babies’ days and nights become more predictable, and you can focus on yourself in addition to your newborn. One way to do that is by reducing your stress level - and having everything ready for your hungry baby and yourself is one way to do that. Start by prepping for the next feeding as soon as the previous one is over. For example, after an 11 p.m. feeding, get ready for the 2 a.m. one by prepping whatever you need for feeding and putting out fresh drinking water for yourself so you don’t have anything to think about in the middle of the night. During the day, take advantage of the baby’s naps to work out, shower or catch up on e-mail, or take a nap too.

Fill a bottle of water and label it “Monster Spray”- whether it comes from cartoons or a scary movie, every child at one time or another is going to be afraid of monsters hiding in their closets or under their bed. Take a bottle of water – it won't damage anything – and label it monster spray. For additional selling purposes, put a single drop of food coloring in – enough that it will not stain your child's room and surroundings. Spray it in the closet and around the perimeter of the room just before your child goes to bed. You will be amazed at how handy water becomes in this situation.

Put a night light in their room or in the hallway- sometimes submerging children completely in the dark is not the wisest idea, especially if they are already afraid. Choose a night light that is designed to be motion activated or turned on when it gets dark in the room. A motion activated LED light will work wonders. This will help ease your child's fears if nothing else does.

It is never a good idea to lose your patience with your child, although it can be challenging to say the least. Try some of these tactics when all other measures fail and hopefully, your child will be going to bed with no problems at all.

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Newborn Tips#5: Keeping Your Baby Awake During Feedings
When our baby was eating slowly and sleepily, my husband and I would massage her cheek to stimulate her to eat faster. A gentle stroke with a fingertip on her cheek was all it took, and on those long sleepless nights, this simple trick was a godsend! Our friends have found it works great with their infants too. When babies eat efficiently until they're full before going to sleep, they sleep for longer between feedings. And that means you’re both likely to be calmer!
Newborn Tips#6: Help Your Baby Bond with Dad
Make sure your baby has ample time alone with Daddy. His touch and voice are different than yours, and this will begin a bonding process and give you a break. Plus, it gets the baby used to being with someone other than you. The first few times can be hard. Make sure your baby is fed and well rested, as this will give you at least one or two hours before you're needed again. Then leave Dad and the baby alone. If you stay nearby, make sure the baby can’t see or hear you, and resist the urge to go into the room and "fix" things if she starts crying. Your baby cries with you and you experiment to find out what's wrong. Dads need time to do this too - in their own way. By allowing this time, your child will learn there is more than one way to receive comfort, which will help immensely when you leave your baby with a sitter or another family member for the first time. You could have your partner bathe her, put her to bed or just read or talk to her.
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