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Baby Problems

How to Comfort Your Child Following a Nightmare

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Nightmares and night terrors can be equally frightening for both child and parent, especially when they start happening frequently. Nightmares occur during the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep. They might vary in length, but the child will usually remember what the nightmare was about.

Night terrors, on the other hand, happen about an hour or two after the child has gone to sleep, and can last anywhere from a few moments to an hour. They happen during the non-REM part of sleep, and even though his eyes are wide open, the child is asleep the entire time. When he awakens though, he’ll have no memory of it.

But there are things you can do before your child goes to sleep and after he awakens from one of these to help calm and comfort him. Ensure that the period before bedtime is a calm, quiet and relaxing time for everyone. Babies find the voices of their parents very soothing, so talk quietly to your child before he goes to sleep, perhaps by softly singing a lullaby or telling a short story.

This will also help after the child wakes. It’s important for mom and dad to remain calm. If you’re tense, your baby will sense that and it will make it even more difficult to get him settled down again.
Be sure your can clearly hear your child if he cries out in the night. Baby monitors work great for this reason. It’s important to get to your little one as soon as possible in order to comfort and reassure him. If you should hear him cry out, don’t wake him if he hasn’t woken up on his own.

Stay with him to make sure he goes back to sleep peacefully, or wait for him to wake up. Don’t let him sleep with you after a nightmare, either. This may end up having a negative effect and giving the impression he should be afraid of his own room and bed. If it becomes habit, it could become a difficult one to break.

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Baby Problems

Sleep Talking and Sleepwalking in Children

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Sleepwalking and sleep talking are members of a group of sleep disorders called parasomnias. Though it’s not known just exactly why children walk and talk in their sleep neither are considered to be serious disorders, and are not result of any physical or psychological problem. Both occur during a child’s deep sleep, approximately one to three hours after falling asleep.

Sleep talking occurs more often than sleep walking in children, though they often do occur together. Parasomnias tend to run in families, and children may experience one, two, or all three types.
Of course, the main concern parents have for their sleepwalking child is their safety.

A sleepwalking child does not have the judgment capabilities he normally does during waking hours, which makes the likelihood of injury when sleepwalking great. It may be difficult for parents to protect their sleep-walking children, since they don’t make much noise, which makes it difficult for parents to tell when their children are sleepwalking. The best way to protect their children is to be prepared.

Parents should completely evaluate their child’s room for any potential hazards. Bunk beds or any bed that’s high off the floor is probably not a good idea for a sleepwalker. Toys, shoes, and any other objects on the floor should be picked up and put away prior to bedtime.

Bedroom doors should be shut and windows should be locked, which will help ensure the child stays in his room and does not wander around the house. Alarm systems for doors, windows and even the sleepwalker’s bed might also be considered by parents.

Sleepwalking usually stops by the child’s adolescence, and as long as safety precautions are taken, should not be a great cause of concern.

Sleep talking is much more common parasomnia. Children who talk in their sleep may speak very clearly and be easily understood, while others may mumble, make noises or be incoherent. If children are speaking loudly and seem upset, it might be a good idea for parents to go to their children and comfort them without waking them. If they’re simply talking, it’s best just to leave them alone. The episode will probably end within a short period of time.

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Baby Problems

Moving from the Bottle to the Sippy Cup

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Most children, by the time they are about 9 months old, have the motor skills needed to drink from a cup. If you think your baby’s ready to make the move from bottle to sippy cup, try filling a sippy cup with water and let your child try and drink from it.

Don’t expect perfection with the first tries. He’ll probably drool, spit and dribble a bit, which will probably delight him! But within a few weeks and lots of practice, he’ll be willing to take all his drinks from the sippy cup. He’ll most likely be a sippy cup pro by the time he’s about 14 months old.

If you start the transition from bottle to sippy cup early, you’ll save yourself frustration – the longer a baby stays on the bottle, the tougher it is to get him to kick it. If the bottle is a security object for your baby, choose one with a special favorite animal or character to help increase his willingness to try and use it.

“Bottle rot” is common concern for parents of children who drink from bottles. A child’s teeth are susceptible to decay if he’s always drinking a sugared drink from it — formula, milk, or juice. Natural bacteria in his mouth feed on these sugars and attack the teeth for 20 minutes every time he takes a drink.

What that boils down to is this: if he’s taking sips from a bottle every few minutes for an hour, his teeth are exposed to the sugars for at least 80 minutes. Over time, that causes tooth decay, or ‘bottle rot.’ If he falls asleep, tooth-decay causing sugars can pool in his mouth for hours. Children are less likely to nurse drinks for long periods of time if they’re offered in sippy cups.

The best way to avoid bottle rot is to give your child his drink and have him finish it within about 20 minutes. Then use a toothbrush or washcloth to wipe his teeth clean. Never put a baby in his crib with a bottle or sippy cup.

Finally, consistently emphasize what a ‘big boy’ he is by drinking from the sippy cup instead of his bottle, and he’ll reach for his sippy cup more and more each day.

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