Windi the Gas Passer Hack That You NEED to Know

Windi the Gas Passer Hack That You NEED to Know

Are you tired of getting kicked with shit every time you use the Windi?

Me too.

That little butt straw is oh so effective, but oh so gross at the same time.

Lucky for both of us, I discovered a hack to keep the mess to a minimum.

Check it out. 

 

Windi Hack

 

1.  Rub baby’s bell or cycle her legs as usual.

 

2.  With one arm, hold her over the sink.

3. Using your opposite hand, insert the Windi into her bum.

 

If you are doing this with a girl, be super careful. Always use a mirror so that you can see what you are doing.

After the Windi is inserted, you can continue to rub your baby’s belly with one thumb while bicycling her legs with the other hand. 

 

The more your baby relaxes, the easier it is to get the gas out, go get her laughing.

 

The poop will shoot out, as usual. You can let it drop directly into the sink, or use a plastic bag to catch it.

 

When you are all done, simply rinse out the sink, spray it down with a disinfectant, and wipe any excess poo off of their bum. Whala!

 

Check out the hold below at 3:40.

 

 

 

 

And of course, if you haven’t tried the Windi yet, or you need to restock, you can buy them here on Amazon. 

  

Mommy Matters is an affiliate of Amazon Services, LLC. This doesn’t affect the prices of the products you buy whatsoever. You can read my super anticlimactic disclosure here.

 

 

Feeling like a hot mess?

 

Download our FREE meditative affirmations for new moms.

You deserve to be happy. These can get you there.

 

 

Other posts you might find helpful

How to Soothe a Colic Baby

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Never Change Another Wet Diaper at Night

How Much Sleep Does Your Baby Need?

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How Much Sleep Does Your Baby Need?

How Much Sleep Does Your Baby Need?

Your baby- and his schedule- are both changing quickly.

As the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months, your baby’s sleep needs are constantly evolving.

So how much sleep does your baby need?

It depends on his age.

The Importance of Sleep

I think most people underestimate the importance that quality sleep has on the entire family.

 

When my oldest daughter was born, she didn’t sleep. Her naps usually maxed out at 20 minutes, and she rarely slept for more than an hour straight at night.

 

Everyone said that sleep deprivation was normal, so I accepted it as a horrible reality of this phase of life.

 

That period of time, which should have been beautiful and full of joy, was marred by inhumane levels sleep deprivation for all of us.

 

My daughter had permanent bags under her eyes, and screamed for hours a day. 

 

I had lost my sanity. My marriage was crumbling.

I’m not even kidding.

 

Sleep is absolutely vital to your mental health, physical health, and quality of life.

 

And you know what? It’s just as important for your baby.

 

0-11 Weeks

The first few days after your baby is born, he will be very drowsy, assuming he wasn’t overdue.

This is a beautiful honeymoon phase when most parents think that they birthed the best sleeper in the world.

Soak it up and enjoy it. Also, use this time to recover as much as possible.

Your baby’s sleep will be erratic for a while, as he has not developed a circadian rhythm yet.

Remember, he has just spent his entire life in the dark where there is no difference between day and night.

During this time, place more of your focus on feeding and bedtime routines.

These routines will eventually signal your baby that it is time to sleep.

Pay close attention to the awake times, looking for signals that your baby is tired.

Some infants are naturally poor sleepers and will not go to sleep without prompts.

If you let your baby stay up for too long, he may quickly become overtired and overstimulated.

 

When your baby hits the 6 week mark, she will begin to sleep for longer stretches at night; typically between 4 and 6 hours.

The length of night sleep will probably vary from night to night though.

 

Number of naps: 6-8

Length of naps: Varies widely from 15 min to 4 hours

Awake time between naps: 30-60 min

Total hours of sleep needed per day: 15-19 hours

 

 

3-5 Months

Over the course of these couple of months, your baby’s midday naps will become more predictable (generally around 9am and 12pm), and she will begin to drop many of her night feedings.

During this time your baby will also experience a 4 month sleep regression, which is often marked by restlessness, fussiness, and increased night wakings.

The important thing to know about this sleep regression is that it is normal, and that night wakings don’t necessarily mean that your baby is hungry or in need of anything.

 

Simply put, her sleep patters have changed, so she now wakes up between sleep cycles.

 

If you haven’t already, work on establishing a consistent bedtime ritual to help signal to your baby that it’s time for bed.

It is also a good time to consider sleep training.

Number of naps: 4-5

Length of naps: 30 min – 2 hours

Awake time between naps: 1-2 hours

Total hours of sleep needed per day: 15-16

 

 

6-8 Months

By six months, your baby should be consolidating her naps into fewer, longer chunks.

If she isn’t already sleeping through the night, she should be able to do that now.

 

If babies are consuming enough calories during the day, they should be able to go the whole night without eating.

 

That being said, some parents are still quite uncomfortable letting their baby go all night without eating.

 

There is no harm in continuing to provide your baby with a dream feed (feeding without waking them) until they are 10-12 months old.

 

Number of naps: 2-4

Length of naps: 1-2 hours

Awake time between naps: 2-3 hours

Total hours of sleep needed per day: 14.5 (this includes 11 uninterupted hours at night)

9-12 Months

Your baby’s 9-12 months will be marked with both another sleep regression, and reduction in naps. Cool. 

 

Generally speaking, babies don’t get better at sleeping after this point.

If your baby isn’t learning to put herself back to sleep now, chances are incredibly low that she’s going to start doing it on her own in a few months.

If you want to sleep train, now is the best time. From here on out, your little one’s lungs and willpower are only going to get stronger.

 

Number of naps: 2

Length of naps: 1-2 hours

Awake time between naps: 4-5 hours

Total hours of sleep needed per day: 14

13-17 Months

It might be tempting to let your baby drop her second nap when she’s about 13 months.

After all, she’d rather stay up and play than go to sleep.

Trust me on this though, you should really try to wait until she’s 15 months old before you ditch the second nap. Most babies can’t handle that drop in sleep without getting overtired.

There are occasional babies who launch a nap boycott no matter what you do. Those are rare though.

 

Baby should be able to sleep through the night without eating.

 

Number of naps: 1-2

Length of naps: 1-2 hours

Total hours of sleep needed per day: 13-14 

What Will it Take?

Getting the right amount of sleep is critical for your baby’s brain development and the wellbeing of everyone in your family.

 

That being said, I realize that getting babies to sleep is much easier said than done.

 

I’m not even going to try to give you a lecture about that. You know. You’re not an idiot. And you’re already trying like hell.

 

What I’m trying to say is, if your baby isn’t getting the sleep he needs, find out how to change it.

 

Do you need to sleep train?

Put him to sleep earlier?

Pass off bedtime duties to your partner?

 

You need to do this for you, because without sleep, you can’t be the mom that you want to be.

 

Do you ever feel like you're constantly failing at this mom thing?

 

No? That’s awkward. Maybe it’s just me.

But if you do, I created some awesome, FREE meditative affirmations for new moms.

You know, to remind you of how freaking hard you’re working.

You can totally have them if you want.

 

 

 

Other content you might find helpful on your parenting journey:

How to Soothe a Colic Baby

 

How to Do an Elimination Diet for Your Breastfeeding Baby

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SIDS: Causes and 13 Tips for Prevention

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How to Soothe a Colic Baby

How to Soothe a Colic Baby

There are two types of parents in this world

  1. Parents who have had a colicky baby
  2. Parents who haven’t

If you’re reading this, welcome to camp #1.

 

Colic: It’s Complicated

 

The problem with colic is that there isn’t just one solution. Colic, by definition, has no known cause.

While colic is defined by relentless screaming (3+ hours/day for 3 days/week for 3+ weeks), babies do it for different reasons.

Pediatricians and medical experts are still speculating about whether it stems from gas or their nervous system.

Because different treatment works for different babies, I’m confident that the cause of colic differs from child to child.

 

The Most Common Colic Culprit: Diet

 

Because babies have underdeveloped digestive systems, it’s not uncommon for them to experience discomfort from their diet.

This discomfort can range from mild irritation to extreme gas pain.

 

Both breastfed and formula fed babies experience gas pain.

 

If you are breastfeeding and unsure if the problem is your diet, begin with an elimination diet to see if you notice a difference in your baby’s behavior.

Here is more information about different elimination diets.

 

If you are formula feeding, the issue could be with the bottle, or the milk. Consult with your pediatrician before changing formulas.

If your pediatrician feels that your baby’s formula could be the problem, you will need to transition your baby to a new formula over several days or weeks.

You can read more about how to switch formulas here.

 

Tips to Help Your Baby’s Tummy

 

In the meantime, there are several other things that you can do to help your baby’s digestive system and ease his gas pain. 

 

Belly Massage

Apparently, being able to fart is something we take for granted.

Most babies need a bit of assistance getting gas to travel through their intestinal tract.

Here’s a short video to show you how.

 

Rectal Catheter

A rectal catheter is a great way to quickly relieve baby’s gas.

Babies can have a difficult time relaxing their sphincter muscle, thereby making it difficult for them to fart.

A catheter gently opens up their sphincter, helping everything pass as needed.

Before you write this off for fear out of pure disgust, check out my review Windi the Gas Passer.

Weird? Yes

Gross? Yes

Worth it? Absolutely

Probiotic drops

Because your baby hasn’t been digesting food for very long, her digestive system is still pretty underdeveloped.

Probiotic drops are a natural way of giving your baby good bacteria needed for her gut to digest food correctly.

Many parents (myself included) have noticed a big difference after giving their baby probiotic drops.

Gripe water

Gripe water uses a combination of herbs and sodium bicarbonate to dissolve gas bubbles in your baby’s belly.

It’s a sweet liquid that’s not too thick. I’ve never met a baby that doesn’t love it.

Gas drops

Gas drops use simethicone to break up and dissolve gas bubbles in baby’s belly.

A little bit goes a long way. You can mix it with water, formula, or breastmilk.

The bottle

For bottle fed newborns, it’s important to use an anti-colic bottle. 

To be anti-colic just means that the bottle allows air to flow while your baby is drinking.

This prevents a vacuum effect which causes your baby to inhale large amounts of air at one time.

My personal recommendation is these Dr Brown’s bottles, but there are many other great bottles on the market too.

 

 

 

Is A Birth Injury Causing Colic?

 

Babies can also experience pain and discomfort from their nervous system being out of whack. The biggest reason for this is trauma during birth.

 

While it’s possible for any baby to experience some level of misalignment from birth, it is most common in babies who experienced:

 

  • A prolonged labor
  • Extraction by vacuum or forceps
  • Posterior positioning (sunny side up)

 

If you have tried the approaches listed above, and they didn’t seem to work, or if your baby experienced a traumatic birth, there’s a good chance that your baby’s nerves could be bothering her.

 

Here are your options:

 

Craniosacral therapy

This is a technique which includes a Craniosacral Therapist applying gentle pressure (no heavier than a five cent coin) to baby’s head and spine.

This is done to correct any twisting or misalignment of the cranial bones or spinal column that may have occurred during the birthing process.

It often takes 2-4 sessions to notice a marked difference.

I don’t have any personal experience with craniosacral therapy, but I have several friends who swear by it.

 

Chiropractic care

Some parents notice a significant difference in their baby’s colic after having them adjusted by a chiropractor.

Spinal manipulation of an infant is a pretty big deal though.

Not only has little research been done about how safe it is, but it could also cause significant adverse effects.

If you do decide to bring your baby to a chiropractor, make sure that he or she has been trained to adjust infants.

Not every chiropractor is qualified to do this.

Overstimulation Can Cause Screaming Too

 

Most parents overlook the stimulation in their baby’s environment, but it can have a huge impact on your little one.

When your baby came into this world, he began to experience everything for the first time- sights, sounds, smells, touch.

His new environment is completely different than his old one, and he can quickly become overwhelmed.

Additionally, while most babies will naturally fall asleep when they’re tired, some won’t.

They want to stay awake to see everything.

These babies get overtired, and in turn struggle with even more overstimulation.

You can help your baby by reducing the stimulation in their environment, and making sure that they don’t go too long between naps.

The Baby Sleep Site has a phenomenal chart, as well as tons of advice about how often babies should nap by age, how long, and how many hours they should be awake in between.

 

Fun fact: a newborn should only be awake for 30-60 minutes at a time.

 

Tips for When All Else Fails

 

The frustrating thing about colic is that there is rarely a fail-proof way to soothe your baby. This is not only difficult for the baby, but for you too.

 

The best thing you can do is to build up an arsenal of tricks to pull out, and cycle through them as needed. 

Here are more tricks for your bag:

Bring baby outside

For some reason, many colicky babies are often comforted by going outdoors.

It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s hot or cold outside.

Just make sure to dress her appropriately for the weather, and never leave her unattended.

Movement

Babies are great at sensing when you sit down. So grab your sneakers, because you’re about to get a workout.

Some babies have a preferred type of movement to force their parents into such as lunges, while others are content with simply walking, jogging, bouncing, or going for a ride in the stroller.

Better yet, many parents have found solace in strapping their baby into their carseat and going for a ride.

White noise

Do you know that it’s ridiculously loud inside your womb? Silence can actually be quite uncomfortable for babies.

Try using a white noise machine, vacuum, blowdryer, or bringing baby into the laundry room when the dryer is on.

Each of these types of white noise have been found to be extremely helpful for fatigued parents.

The 5 S’s

In his book, the Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp shares his theory that our womb provides a comforting environment for babies, and that we can continue to comfort them in a similar way using what he calls the 5 S’s.

They are swaddling, side lying, shaking (more like bouncing), shushing, and sucking. Karp insists that they must be done in that order.

Will you Survive Colic

 

With all of these tools in your bag, you should be able to use the process of elimination to determine what is causing your baby’s colic.

 

And even if you can’t pinpoint the exact cause, you should at least have some tricks to cycle through.

 

When dealing with a colicky baby, the most important thing to do is find ways to take care of yourself.

 

You can’t take care of your baby if your own needs aren’t being met.

 

So enlist help and do whatever it takes to stay sane because you matter too, mama.

 

 

 

Windi the Gas Passer: Does it really work?

 

breastfeeding elimination diet for your colic baby

elimination diet breastfeeding

 

 

Sudden infant death syndrome: causes and 13 tips for prevention

 

 

 

 

 

Sleep Training for Confused Moms: Considerations, Preparations, and 5 Methods

Sleep Training for Confused Moms: Considerations, Preparations, and 5 Methods

 

You’re in desperate need sleep, but the thought of letting your sweet baby cry for hours is unbearable.

 

If you’re an exhausted, sleep deprived mom, you’ve probably thought about sleep training at least once this past week, if not all last night.

 

It’s confusing and scary. I get it. I’ve been there. I am there right now.

 

Meanwhile, everyone around you is quick to offer their opinion, insistent that their favored approach (or lack of approach) is best for your baby, and anything else will traumatize them.

 

Let me fill you in on a little secret.

 

What works for one child will not necessarily work for the next, and the same goes for parents.

 

And while the You need to sleep train! camp and the Sleep training traumatizes babies! camp are constantly trying to intimidate each other with research, it’s really difficult to study the long-term effects of infant sleep training.

The number of variables is overwhelming!

 

What Do We Know About Sleep Training?

 

When you look up sleep training and all of the different approaches, the important thing to keep in mind is that there is no right answer.

 

We know that:

1. We all go through multiple sleep cycles every night. This is often the cause of arousal in young children.

2. Sleep is crucial for optimal health and proper brain development.

3. Sleep training does not cause long term problems in children with a normal parent-child attachment.

4. Sleep training does not harm the parent-child bond.

 

How you and your family manage to get sleep is a very personal decision, and one that may even vary from child to child.

 

Nobody can tell you what the best approach will be for you. Only you can determine that.

What Are The Different Approaches to Sleep Training?

 

It’s important to realize that sleep training does not always mean Cry It Out.

 

On the contrary, there are several very gentle approaches to sleep training. Cry it out, or CIO is by far the most rigorous of the approaches.

 

There are five major approaches to sleep training. Each one has its own benefits and drawbacks. None of them are easy, however the approaches that are most gentle for babies tend to require more hours of ‘work’ on the parent’s part.

 

We suggest beginning with a more gentle approach, and if it doesn’t work, move toward a more rigorous one.

 

Fade it Out (FIO) or Fading Method

This is also known as a “no-cry” approach.

 

With the Fading Method, you continue to help your baby fall asleep using the current sleep crutches that they already rely on. Examples of sleep crutches might be feeding, rocking, bouncing, or shush-ing.

 

Over time you gradually shorten the amount of time spent doing these activities, with the goal being that your baby learns to put himself to sleep.

 

The Fading Method is a good approach for young babies and parents who are afraid to let their child cry, however it is exhausting.

 

What age can you begin this method? Any age.

 

Pick-up-put-down method (PUPD)

The PUPD method is exactly as it is described.

 

You put baby down drowsy but awake. When they cry you pick them up and comfort them. After they have settled you put them down again. When they cry, you pick them up and comfort them and repeat as necessary.

 

This is another approach to sleep training that is gentle for the baby but exhausting for the parents.

 

The PUPD method is less effective for temperamental or colicky babies. It tends to just make them angry. It can be good for children with a mild temperament though.

 

Again, if you are afraid to let your baby cry for an extended period of time, this could be a good approach for you.

 

What age can you begin this method? Any age. 

 

Chair Method

The goal of the chair method is to allow your baby to fall asleep on his own with the assurance that you are still there.

 

You begin by setting a chair next to the crib or bassinette. When your baby cries, you do not engage with them. Over the next weeks or months, you slowly begin to move the chair further and further away from your baby’s bed until they are falling asleep on their own.

 

This approach is less gentle the those mentioned above, and is by far the most taxing for the parent.

 

Children may be confused about the parent’s presence but lack of interaction or comfort, and parents are exposed to extended periods of crying, possibly multiple times a night, for weeks or months.

 

If this is an approach that you would like to try, I recommend noise cancelling headphones.

 

What age can you begin this method? 3 months.

 

Ferber Method/Graduated Extinction

Similar to the Chair Method, the goal of the Ferber Method is to teach your baby to self soothe while reassuring them of your presence.

 

The difference is that with the Ferber Method, you enter and exit the room at gradually increasing, predetermined intervals of time.

This is a popular approach when the more gentle methods are not effective, yet parents are too nervous or unable to implement the cry-it-out method.

 

One of the appeals of the Ferber Method is that it can easily be tailored to your and your baby’s emotional capacity.

There are no strict guidelines about how long the intervals must be or at what rate they need to increase.

 

Here is a sample schedule of the Ferber Method:

 

Night 1: (1st interval) 3 min, (2nd interval) 5 min, (3rd interval) 10 min. Continue checking in every 10 min until baby is asleep.

 

Night 2: 5 min, 10 min, 15 min. Continue intervals of 15 min.

 

Night 3: 7 min, 15 min, 20 min. Continue intervals of 20 min.

 

Night 4: 10 min, 17 min, 25 min. Continue intervals of 25 min.

 

What age can this approach be implemented? Can begin at 4 months, but 6 months is optimal.

 

 

Cry it out (CIO)/Extinction

This is the most rigorous form of sleep training, as it often involves a significant amount of crying for the first few nights.

 

The method is pretty straight forward.

After all of your baby’s needs have been met and you have gone through their bedtime routine, you put them in bed drowsy but awake, and leave the room.

If they cry, you do not go to them.

 

The reasoning is that when they “cry it out,” they learn to soothe themselves so that eventually they can put themselves back to sleep between sleep cycles.

 

The only time that you go to them is if they need to eat, and those times should be determined before you begin sleep training.

 

Critics of CIO argue that it causes emotional trauma, however there are no long-term studies to back this up.

 

Advocates of the CIO method argue that there is less crying overall because babies learn to put themselves back to sleep more quickly, however the total hours of crying can vary greatly from child to child.

 

For parents, cry it out is often emotionally brutal for a few days. However, most children begin sleeping for long stretches of time within 3-5 days, so parents who use this approach often state that they found the increase in sleep to be worth a few days of struggling.

 

Regardless of if you agree with this approach or not, it has been very helpful for many people, but is not recommended for everyone.

 

What age can this be used? Not before 6 months. If implementing at 6 months, do not expect them to sleep through the night without eating. Make sure that you schedule age appropriate feedings. Look back at past feeding records to determine when they ate larger quantities and plan to give them a “dream feed” shortly before those times.

Questions to Consider Before Sleep Training

 

Before you jump into sleep training, there are several things that you should consider to determine if sleep training is right for you and your baby, and if so, which approach you should take.

How old is your baby?

Certain methods of sleep training are not recommended for children under the age of six months. If your baby was born prematurely, you must count their age from their due date.

What is your emotional state? How much exposure to crying are you able to tolerate?

Parents are a critical part of sleep training, so it’s important to factor in your own limitations.

Dr Weissbluth from Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child recommends that fathers sleep train their babies because most often, mothers are already bearing the brunt of the sleep deprivation.

But again, only you and your partner will be able to make that decision.

How would you describe your baby’s temperament and attachment?

The combination of your baby’s temperament and attachment will play a role in the approach that you take to sleep training.

Some babies respond well to gentle forms of sleep training, whereas some do not. And likewise, some babies do well with strict approaches, while others will cry for up to 5 hours.

 

Does your baby have a history of neglect?

If you have an adopted or foster child with a history of neglect, you should not use methods such as cry it out.

 

Preparation for Sleep Training

 

The process of sleep training does not begin on the first night that you decide to implement your plan.

 

If you want to succeed at sleep training, it is important that you spend about a week preparing.

 

Make a detailed record of your baby’s current routine for a while, even if its sporadic.

If you are trying to put him to bed but he is not ready, does he cry when you walk into the bedroom or you try to feed him in a certain chair? If so, those may be sleep associations for him.

This is helpful information when establishing a bedtime routine so that you can work with your baby.

 

Develop bedtime and nap time routines

Use your notes about sleep associations that your baby has already developed, and build a routine from there.

You could give your baby a bath, massage them with a special lotion, sing a song, and nurse them in a certain recliner.

The logistics don’t really matter. The important thing is that you do the same thing every night before you attempt to put them to sleep.

 

Determine the age-appropriate length of time that you baby can go between feedings at night

Because a baby’s stomach is growing rapidly, every month of age can make a significant difference.

Here are conservative estimates for how long babies can go between eating at night.

    • 0-3 months: every 2-3 hours on demand
    • 3-4 months: every 3-6 hours on demand/2-3 feedings total
    • 5-6 months: 1-2 feedings, scheduled
    • 7-9 months: 1 scheduled feeding, but possibly 2
    • 10-12 months: Able to be night weaned. However you could still do 1 night feeding if you are concerned.
    • 12 + months: Night feedings not necessary.

 

Track current eating patterns

Take note of when your baby has large feeds, and when they snack. If your baby still needs night feedings, this will help you find the best time to feed him.

 

Get your baby on a feeding schedule to ensure that they are getting enough food during the day

One of the biggest anxieties parents face with sleep training is that their baby is crying from hunger.

The best way to handle this is by keeping track of how much food your baby is consuming during the day.

 

Block off a time when your family’s schedule will be relatively consistent for at least 1 month

Don’t attempt sleep training before a move, in the month prior to the birth of a new baby, or while on vacation.

Make a plan

The worst way to begin sleep training is by jumping in head-first without hashing out the logistics.

Susie Parker from Sleep Baby Love recommends that you ask yourself these vital questions:

  • Are you ready to make a change
  • What soothing method are you going to use?
  • Where will your baby sleep for nights and naps?
  • What changes are you going to make to your baby’s room to create the optimal sleep environment?
  • What will your bedtime routine look like?
  • How many night feeds will you have?
  • What will your soothing method be for nighttime?
  • Is the soothing method the same for night wakings, naps and bedtime?
  • What time will your day start?
  • Will you work on nights and naps at the same time?
  • Will your feeds be before or after naps?
  • Will naps be based on a set time or flexible times from when your baby is up?
  • What will you do if your baby takes a short nap?
  • Are you ready to be consistent?

How Can You Choose the Best Approach to Sleep Training?

 

When choosing a method of sleep training, there is no right or wrong answer. The best approach is one that works for you and your baby.

 

For first time parents that are scared to let their baby cry, we recommend beginning with more gentle approaches such as the Fading Method or the Pick-up-put-down Method. These are usually the approaches that new or nervous parents are most comfortable with.

 

If they don’t work, it may be helpful to transition to the Ferber method, and if that is ineffective, move to Cry-it-out.

 

Seasoned parents are more likely to be comfortable with the Cry-it-out method, however they may need to adjust their approach depending on their child.

 

Whichever approach you choose, give it a week before determining if it is effective or not, assuming you have the capacity to pursue it for that length of time.

Remember that while consistency is critical, so is your emotional health. If you have tried an approach for a week and things are only getting worse, do not hesitate to throw in the towel and come back to the drawing board.

 

The most important thing for your baby is a happy mom.

 

 

You might also like:

SIDS: Causes and 13 Tips for Prevention

SIDS causes and prevention

 

How Much Sleep Does Your Baby Need?

baby sleep needs

 

How to do a Breastfeeding Elimination Diet for Your Colic Baby

elimination diet breastfeeding

 

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Causes and 13 Tips for Prevention

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Causes and 13 Tips for Prevention

We are all afraid of the same thing: walking into our baby’s room to find her cold and lifeless.

It’s the story of our nightmares, and many of us know someone who has lived it.

So what causes this nightmare to become a reality for some mothers, and how can you prevent it in your own life?

 

While the exact cause is unclear, researchers have discovered several factors that increase a baby’s risk for SIDS, as well as ways to reduce the chances.

*This post contains affiliate links. Feel free to read my super anticlimactic disclosure here.

 

Risk Factors and Causes of SIDS

 

Brain Defects

This one is probably the most nerve wracking.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the portion of the brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep is underdeveloped or immature in some infants.

This means that if they fall into a deep sleep, they may stop breathing and never wake up.

The problem is that there is no way to screen for this, so the only way to find out is when it’s too late.

Prematurity

Babies who were born prematurely are at especially high risk for SIDS because their brain is still underdeveloped.

Thankfully, the risk goes down as their brain development catches up.

Respiratory infection 

Many infants who die from SIDS have recently had a cold or other respiratory infection.

Sleeping on their stomach or side

Because infants have limited control over their head and neck, sleeping on their side or stomach puts them at a high risk for suffocation. 

Babies should always sleep on their back to keep their airway open.

Sleeping on a soft surface

This again increases their risk for suffocation.

It is easy for your baby to accidentally roll or turn their head, and be unable to move their face to get more air.

Co-sleeping

While there are many new advocates for co-sleeping, such as Dr. Sears, the American Academy of Pediatrics still warns against it.

Risks of co-sleeping include rolling over the baby and accidental asphyxiation.

Chances increase greatly if one parent is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If you are unable to stay awake for night feedings, I recommend a co-sleeper such as this one to keep baby near, but still give them a separate surface. 

This co-sleeper folds down on one side so that you can slide baby in, and flips up again if you need more physical separation.

Overheating

Overheating is another significant risk factor for SIDS.

Babies should always sleep in a cool room between 68-72 degrees F, or 20-22.2 degrees C.

 

Secondhand smoke

Secondhand smoke increases your baby’s risk of respiratory infection or illness, which in turn increases their risk of SIDS.

You should never smoke near your baby.

 

Baby’s Sex

Male infants are at a slightly higher risk of SIDS, but only slightly. 

Ethnicity

Non-caucasian babies are at a higher risk for SIDS.

Again, researchers do not understand why.

Vaccinations

I’ve been hesitant to include this, because I don’t want to get into the debate.

 

However, several of the vaccine inserts given to infants at ages 2, 4, and 6 months (when they are most at risk for SIDS) specifically list SIDS as an adverse side effect.

 

Here is the Dtap insert from the FDA where SIDS is listed at the bottom of page 12.

 

That being said, the AAP is extremely firm in their stance that vaccinations are safe for babies.

 

 Maternal risk factors

There are several maternal factors that increase a baby’s risk of SIDS.

Factors include smoking, being under the age of 20, using drugs or alcohol during or after pregnancy, and not receiving proper prenatal care. 

 

Tips to Prevent SIDS

While there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of SIDS, there are many steps that parents can take to ensure that their baby is as safe as possible.

Related: My Baby Almost Died of SIDS- These Products Saved Her Life

 

Here are 12 tips to keep your baby safe:

1. Always put baby to sleep on their back

This is the biggie. Since the launch of the Back to Sleep, recorded cases of SIDS have dropped 71%.

That being said, there is speculation that the real number is somewhere between 30-40% because of a change in the way that infant deaths are classified.

Either way, it’s significant.

If your baby is able to roll onto her tummy by herself, there is no need to worry. But until then, it is important to always lay your baby on her back.

2. Always Place baby to sleep on a Firm, flat surface

Use a firm mattress with a well-fitted sheet. The use of loose sheets, soft cushions and fluffy blankets pose a suffocation risk to small babies.

3. Share a room, but not a bed

The AAP recommends room sharing with your baby until he is at least 6 months old. 

It is speculated that rooming in enables parents to catch bouts of apnea more easily.

Some parents can’t do this because of the finicky sounds that babies make when they sleep. 

In my experience, sometimes room sharing is not the best sleeping arrangement for a family.

If room sharing is not for your family, rooming out can be done safely with the use of a an oxygen and heart rate monitor such as the Owlet.

 

Standard audio and visual monitors can be used as well- or none. People have had their babies room out on and off for centuries.

 

What it really boils down to is both your comfort level and your baby’s risk level.

 

If your baby is premature or has a heart defect, and you are unable to sleep in the same room, an oxygen monitor can decrease the risks of SIDS significantly, and help you get more sleep too.

 

4. Keep crib or bassinet bare

This is pretty straight forward, but always a little disappointing (baby toys are and blankets are so cute).

 

No crib bumpers, pillows, blankets, or stuffed animals.

Sorry.

5. Don’t use blankets

 

Opt for warm clothing or a swaddle such as this one. Do not use the blanket-style muslin swaddles when your baby is sleeping.

 

I know, they are the most adorable thing. But babies can easily squirm out of them, causing the blanket to ride up over their face and suffocate them.

 

When your baby is able to roll over, stop using the swaddle immediately. They could get stuck face-first on their belly.

If your baby still has a strong startle reflex and struggles to sleep without a swaddle, consider a Magic Merlin’s Sleep Suit or Zipadee.

 

 

6. Breastfeed for as long as possible

 

Researchers agree that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of SIDS.

 

At a minimum, it keeps you from falling asleep with the bottle in their mouth.

 

7. Keep the room cool

To avoid overheating, keep the room temperature between 68-72 degrees F, or 20-22.2 degrees C.

8. Turn on a fan

An overhead fan is the best option for air circulation. 

Realistically, most of us aren’t going to install one though.

In that case, a standing fan pointed in the direction of your baby’s crib will be just fine.

9. Give a pacifier

A pacifier? Who knew.

Pacifiers reduce the risk of SIDS by creating a gap between your baby’s nose and their sleeping surface or blankets.

Cool, huh?

10. Practice tummy time

As soon as your baby is able, get into the habit of practicing tummy time.

This helps to strengthen his back and neck, giving him the ability to move his face if it were to become covered while sleeping.

11. Don’t smoke around the baby

Smoking around babies is pretty taboo nowadays, but it should still be noted.

Secondhand smoke greatly increases a baby’s risk of respiratory infection, which in turn increases the risk of SIDS.

You can protect your baby by giving up smoking, or committing to smoking where they will not be exposed.

12. Research vaccinations

 

Vaccinations are seen as both a personal and public health matter. With the debate in full rage, I don’t feel that this is the place to get into it.

 

As noted above, during the time that your baby is most at risk for SIDS, they are scheduled for routine vaccinations that list SIDS as a side effect.

 

That being said, the AAP, CDC, and WHO are all very insistent that vaccinations are safe.

 

Whichever side of the fence you are on, consider reading the research and listening to concerns from the other side.

 

If you are unsure where you stand, I would also encourage you to take a look at the European schedule where fewer people are coming forth with experiences and concerns about adverse effects.

 

13. Use an oxygen monitor

Oxygen monitors such as the Owlet can alert you if your baby’s oxygen level begins to drop too low, or if their heart rate falls out of the normal range.

This is especially helpful if your baby falls into a deep sleep and is unable to rouse himself.

Of course an oxygen monitor should never be used to compensate for placing your baby in unsafe sleep conditions.

 

As a mom, I know that you would do anything for your baby. You would throw yourself in front of a bus for her if you had to.

 

While you can’t completely eliminate your baby’s risk of SIDS, there are a hellova lot of things you can do to protect her.

 

Twenty years ago (and beyond), moms would have killed for the resources and knowledge that we have today.

 

So act. Put these things into practice.

Live every day knowing that you have done your best to keep your little person safe and happy.

And remember

.

.

.

You are a good mom.

 

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Comparing the Snuza Hero and the Owlet

Comparing the Snuza Hero and the Owlet

 

When my second daughter, Petra, was a month and a half old, she stopped breathing.

She was wearing a movement monitor called the Snuza Hero, when the alarm went off during her afternoon nap.

 

I ran over to my daughter, picked her up, and gave her a shake. She took a big gasp of air and continued sleeping.

In that moment I knew we could have lost her. I also knew that I was never letting her sleep without a baby monitor again.

And I’m glad that I didn’t. Over the next month, her alarm went off two more times.

Related: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome- Causes and 12 Tips for Prevention

 

 

Switching to the Owlet

One of the big hurdles we faced with Petra’s Snuza Hero was night time sleeping.

I wasn’t confident in my ability to hear her alarm if it went off in her crib, especially wrapped under a swaddle. 

To make things worse, she struggled to stay asleep on her back. She slept best on her side or belly, which goes against the AAP’s Safe Sleep Recommendations. Sleeping in either of these positions also renders the Snuza Hero ineffective.

 

The only way that I could get any sleep was to put her on top of me with her face next to my ear.

 

Did my logic make sense at the time?  Probably not. Was it the safest sleep solution? Um, the AAP would say ‘no’.

 

It was the only short term solution that made sense to me. But clearly, it was not going to be sustainable.

 

So for Christmas I asked that my only gift be the Owlet.

 

 

 

 

What is the Owlet?

The Owlet is a baby monitor that is placed on the baby’s foot. It monitors both oxygen and heart rate.

When your baby’s oxygen level drops too low, or their heart rate rises or falls outside of the normal range, a very loud alarm will go off on both the docking station (placed anywhere inside of your home), and on your phone.

 

This means you and any other caregiver can monitor your baby’s heart rate and oxygen level from anywhere in the world, and be alerted the moment your baby is in danger.

 

My Experience with the Owlet

The first week that we were using the Owlet, the alarm went off. This affirmed my suspicion that the Snuza Hero was probably going off appropriately.

 

The Owlet has two types of alarms. One alarm will sound if the monitor has shifted out of place or goes out of range of your Wifi. It’s a loud, somewhat annoying melody. It’s annoying enough to get your attention, but not as bad as a phone alarm.

 

The other alarm sounds like an amber alert on steroids. It’s goes off on both the docking station and your phone, simultaneously. It also causes your phone to light up and flash rapidly.

 

If you’ve never crapped your pants before, this will do it for you.

 

Why I prefer the Owlet over the Snuza Hero

 

The Snuza Hero was a huge asset for us. It saved my daughter’s life, and for that I am beyond grateful.

 

That being said, it has some significant flaws that the Owlet makes up for.

 

The first flaw is that the Snuza can easily be placed incorrectly, resulting in false alarms.

 

It must be placed quite snugly against your baby’s belly. If your baby tips to their side or on their stomach, it could shift, resulting in false alarms.

 

The Owlet does not have false alarms. If it is struggling to get an accurate reading, the melody will play. It’s not possible to mistake it for the alarm indicating low oxygen levels or change in heart rate.

 

The second flaw is that it can be easy to miss the Snuza’s alarm.

 

The Snuza clips onto your baby’s diaper, and can be covered with clothing, swaddles, or blankets. Each layer muffles the sound of the alarm a little bit more.

 

If your baby rolls onto their stomach and stops breathing while wearing the Snuza, you will not be able to hear the alarm. But with the Owlet, you will. This is extremely beneficial when your baby starts rolling over but is still at risk of SIDS. 

 

The third flaw of the Snuza Hero is that it is difficult if not impossible to hear the alarm if you are in a different room.

 

Our apartment is small, so it wasn’t a concern for me. But if you live in a big house or want to take a step outside, the Snuza would be pointless.

 

A huge perk of the Owlet is that you can hear the alarm from anywhere. Not only is it loud on the docking station, but because it can link to your phone, you can be notified from virtually anywhere in the world.

 

My only criticism about the Owlet is that occasionally the Owlet Smart Sock would fall off, triggering the melody to play. It was more annoying for my husband than it was for me.

 

To fix this problem I just slip a sock over my daughter’s foot. It helps keep the Smart Sock securely in place.

  

HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE OWLET

I have always been paranoid about my baby’s breathing to some degree, but having the Owlet puts my mind at ease.

 

As long as my daughter is wearing the Owlet, I know that she is safe.

 

The Owlet is hands-down my most recommended product for parents of small babies.

 

Between assurance that your baby is safe, and the extra sleep you will get from not worrying, it is well worth the investment.

 

 

 

 

 

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