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excerpt from baby center

As you’re creating a schedule for your baby, keep in mind that at 5 and 6 months most babies need:

• 12 to 36 ounces of breast milk or formula in a 24-hour period. (Get specific tips on how to tell whether your baby is getting enough breast milk or formula.) Most babies start solid foods at this age, though they’ll still get most of their nutrition from breast milk or formula.

• About 14.25 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period — this includes nighttime sleep and naps. Two naps during the day (morning and afternoon) is typical, though many babies will still take three naps. Read more about sleep needs at this age.

• Time for playing, developing important muscles, working on new skills, and interacting with you. Try reading to your little one, giving your baby a massage, or going for a stroller walk.

How to tell how much formula your baby needs

excerpt from baby center

Getting young children to sleep — and stay asleep — is one of the most daunting tasks of parenthood. Even parents of “good” sleepers face nap time or bedtime struggles occasionally. In fact, up to 40 percent of children suffer from some sort of sleep problem.

Our experts have identified six common mistakes parents make when it comes to their kids’ getting good shut-eye. But the good news is, those mistakes can be turned around without too much trouble. Children’s sleep experts and veteran parents alike confirm that simple changes to sleep routines and environments can make a big difference in preventing or correcting common sleep difficulties.

And once you’ve achieved success — meaning your kid goes to bed on time and stays asleep all night — you’ll not only have a happier, well-rested child but a happier, better rested family, too.

1. Mistake: Putting children to bed too late

Kids sleep less these days than their parents did growing up. “In infancy and throughout early adolescence, children today get less sleep than they did in the mid ’70s and ’80s,” says Marc Weissbluth, pediatrician and author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. One study found that 2-year-olds now get 40 minutes less sleep than 2-year-olds a generation ago or two. The result of later bedtimes, Weissbluth says, is more bedtime battles, nap difficulties, and night waking.

Maybe you don’t have your infant or toddler on a regular sleep schedule or you don’t have much time with her after work, so you keep her up a little later to play. “Letting children go to sleep too late as babies and toddlers creates overfatigue,” says social worker Jill Spivack, cocreator of The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5. “When they become overtired, they have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep, and they get up earlier than if they were put down at an appropriate time.”

but it’s not true for you, baby. mama is always trying to coax & rock you to sleep at 7-8ish pm. however, you will wail hysterically, until papa comes in to your rescue with playing high high (areoplane or choo-choo train, etc). after which, then you will sleep, which is about 10ish or so by then.

In preschool and elementary school, a jam-packed schedule with multiple sports or after-school activities may cut into sleep time. “A lot of kids have too much to do,” says Jodi Mindell, associate director of the Sleep Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and coauthor with Judith Owens of Take Charge of Your Child’s Sleep.

Think about it: By the time your whole family gets home, has dinner, does homework, and so on, sleep may become a forgotten priority. Or you might put off bedtime to avoid battles or in the hope that your child will crash, fall asleep without any intervention, and sleep in late. But this is folly, says Mindell, because when kids are overly tired, they get wired.

Good habit: Set regular bedtimes (and, if appropriate, nap times) and stick to them. And don’t wait until your kid is rubbing her eyes, yawning, or whining — that’s probably too late. Put her to bed earlier. Even 15 to 20 minutes of extra sleep can make a difference.

While every child is different, Spivack says that during the night, babies and toddlers typically need 11 hours of sleep, preschoolers need up to 12 hours once they drop daytime naps, and older kids should get 10 to 11 hours. Figure out what time they need to be up in the morning and plan accordingly.

2. Mistake: Relying on motion

What parents haven’t breathed a sigh of relief watching their baby snooze in an infant swing or doze in the backseat of the car? Often these wonderful moments occur when you least expect it — and most need a break.

But some moms and dads fall into the trap of using motion to get their young kids to nap or fall asleep at night. “If the child is always sleeping in motion — in strollers or cars — he probably doesn’t get the deep, more restorative sleep due to the stimulation of motion,” says Weissbluth. He likens motion-induced sleep to the type of sleep an adult might get while flying in an airplane.

Good habit: Use motion for calming, not naps

Before you throw a tantrum at the notion of giving up the musical swing, listen to Weissbluth’s next bit of advice: It’s okay to use motion to soothe a cranky child. But once your child has fallen asleep, cut off the swing or park the stroller. “The child has better-quality sleep,” says Weissbluth. Guilt-free bonus: If you’re taking a long car ride and your child slumbers, just sit back and enjoy the moments of silence.

3. Mistake: Overstimulation in dreamland

Take the ubiquitous crib mobile (please): “I did what I thought all new moms are supposed to do — put a mobile on the crib,” says Kelly Ingevaldson, the mother of a toddler in Atlanta. But she soon learned that the mobile — with its rotating toys, sound, and lights — was too much of a distraction for her little one. “She wasn’t falling asleep with the mobile. There were so many bright colors, it was keeping her awake instead of teaching her it was nighttime.”

It’s not just babies who may be overstimulated at bedtime. If older kids have lots of toys in the bed or other distractions, they may not be getting the shut-eye they need.

Good habit: Keep it dark, and cut the action at nap time and nighttime

To maximize sleep, put infants and toddlers — who are too young to have developed nighttime fears — to sleep in nearly pitch-black rooms. “For babies to sleep well, on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the darkest, the room should be an 8 or 9,” says Spivack. Use a fan or white noise machine to muffle any sounds from the street or the next room.

Older kids can have a soft night-light to soothe any fears, but no bedtime entertainment. Think long and hard before allowing a TV or computer in your child’s bedroom. Even kids who fall asleep with a favorite DVD on are probably losing a half hour or so of precious shut-eye — a loss that can affect their mood and behavior during the daytime — and it’s easier to keep the electronics out of the bedroom than negotiate the issue every night.

4. Mistake: Skipping the bedtime routine

With a baby, you might assume that a routine consisting of a bath, a book, and a lullaby isn’t yet necessary. But “having a series of calming, pleasing activities leading up to lights-out is very important,” says Judith Owens, director of the pediatric sleep disorders clinic at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. It prepares your child for sleep, she explains.

Parents of big kids who used to have a bedtime routine may drop it because they mistakenly believe their child is too old or because they are too tired themselves to do it. But even adults benefit from having some kind of routine to wind down each night. “We can’t expect our kids to go from a busy day to lights off,” says Mindell. Plus, she adds, research has indicated that “school-age children who do not have a routine clearly do not get the sleep they need.”

Good habit: A comforting bedtime ritual

Regardless of your child’s age, the key is to have a predictable series of steps — or what Spivack calls “sleep cues” — that help her wind down from the day. For an infant, that might mean a simple change into pajamas and some cuddling; with older children, the routine might entail a bath, reading books, singing songs, or saying a prayer.

You can create your own ritual: “What we’re talking about is having consistent activities that happen in the same space, in the same order, at roughly the same time every night,” Spivack says.

5. Mistake: Inconsistency

A couple of times a week, when she’s really whiny, you lie down with your preschooler in her bed until she falls asleep. Or maybe you put your big kid down in her room but allow her to crawl into bed with you in the middle of the night.

The problem is not the sleep method but the inconsistent practice of it. Many parents don’t mind having their child in bed with them, but too often parents end up with a “family bed” that they didn’t plan on.

“Parents bring the child into bed but don’t want her to stay in bed with them,” says Owens. “The first couple of times the child gets up during the night, the parent will put her back in her own bed and around 3 a.m. let the child get into bed with them.” She says this scenario creates “intermittent reinforcement.”

“It essentially teaches the child to hold out and persist even longer, as she learns she will eventually get what she wants,” Owens explains.

Good habit: Set guidelines for where to sleep

Although it’s best to decide whether you want a family bed early on, it’s never too late to establish rules. Karen Tinsley-Kim of Oviedo, Florida, has a 3-year-old son who recently started waking up at 11 p.m. a few nights a week and finding his way into his parents’ bed. After a couple of months of night visits, sleep deprivation spurred Tinsley-Kim to take action.

Once Tinsley-Kim laid down the law, her preschooler stayed in his room. “I wouldn’t let him out of his toddler bed, telling him as gently but firmly as I could that it was time to sleep, and it was time to sleep in his bed,” she says.

There are exceptions, of course. If your child gets sick or is afraid of a loud storm, feel free to comfort him by staying with him in his bed or sleeping on an inflatable mattress in his room. But as soon as the illness passes or the storm subsides, return to your usual routine.

A child who has had the comfort of snuggling with Mom or Dad might protest, of course. In that case, Mindell suggests taking a few days to slowly ease yourself out — perhaps by standing in the doorway until your child falls asleep for a couple of nights before leaving altogether.

6. Mistake: Going from a crib to a big bed too early

Your child turns 2 — what a big guy! — and you want to celebrate by buying that cute toddler bed you saw on sale. But as soon as you make the switch, he starts getting up after lights out or waking up in the wee hours.

Why? Before the age of 3 or so, many kids are just not ready to leave the crib behind. “They don’t have the cognitive development and self-control to stay within the imaginary boundaries of a bed,” says Mindell.

Good habit: Wait till your child is ready for a big bed

When a child is close to 3 years of age, it might be time to move him to a bigger bed. Might is the operative word: If your preschooler has difficulty staying in bed at that age, you can always give it more time.

Much like temporarily going back to diapers after a few disastrous attempts at potty training, returning to a crib is not a failure. “If it’s not working out, there’s nothing wrong with switching back,” Mindell says. Your child will eventually be able to handle a big-kid bed — and may even ask for one. “There’s no child going to kindergarten who is still sleeping in a crib,” says Mindell.

excerpt from baby center

“Ninety percent of babies who are born full-term and are healthy can go through the night without a feeding by 6 months,” says Susan E.C. Sorensen, a pediatrician in Reno, Nevada. By the time they’re this age, she explains, most babies can sleep comfortably for at least six hours without waking up to eat.

alrighty, it’s 1 month more to go before 6months. 6 hours of straight sleep. will papa & mama be able to see light at the end of the tunnel soon? well, not that bad, isn’t it? mama is enjoying the contented look on your face in the wee hours in the night after your feed. mama can’t help but steal many kisses from you! hehehe ;p

Even if you don’t mind getting up at night to feed your baby, it’s a good idea to wean her off nighttime feedings around the 6-month marker. In fact, says Sorensen, there’s no harm in starting to work on letting your baby learn to put herself to sleep — by putting her down when she’s sleepy, but awake — around age 2 months. At this age she’ll still need to be fed during the night, though.

The goal is to separate eating from going to sleep, so that if your baby does wake up at night, she won’t need your breast or a bottle to return to slumber. Signs that your child’s ready to give up her midnight snacks include not nursing for as long, not finishing the bottle, and falling asleep during feedings.

excerpt from baby center

When babies are able to sleep through the night and when they actually do are often very different things. Some infants as young as 3 months old can snooze for six to eight hours at a stretch. Others won’t sleep this long until they’re 12 months. But most babies (70 percent) do sleep through the night by the time they hit 9 months, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

9 months! oh well, wait on…
Not that “sleeping through the night” means a full night of uninterrupted sleep for you. “‘Through the night’ is defined as from midnight until five o’clock in the morning,” says Judith Owens, a pediatrician and director of the Pediatric Sleep Disorders Clinic at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.

huh? that’s only 5 hours. hmm, that’s parenthood, isn’t it? well, at least there is a loving & sacrificing papa to share the night feeds too 🙂

You may have heard that bigger babies and babies who eat solids are better sleepers — but it’s not true. Your baby’s ability to sleep through the night is related to age, not size or diet.

There’s no research to prove that adding rice cereal to the evening bottle, for instance, will help your baby sleep better or longer. In fact, this practice is a choking hazard, and offering solids too early can deprive your baby of the necessary nutrients in breast milk or formula. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first four to six months.

oh yah, mama has weaned you off. 5 months. milk supply has dwindled to a bare minimum. a couple of engorgements over the weekend. but all is good. baby, grow strong & healthy!

You play a big part in your baby’s sleep habits. “Put her to bed drowsy but awake by the time she’s 4 months old,” says Owens. “This will help her avoid developing a dependence on you to fall asleep and make it easier for her to fall back to sleep on her own when she wakes at night.”

easier said than done. if you are not drowsy enough, mama will be in for lots of wailing! why are babies so clever? do they have this self-sensing mechanism in place that can sense the slightest movement? strange & odd.

hmm, that was last week. so sorry baby. mama is kinda busy launching bagsidentity. well, we played a lot, don’t we?

excerpt from baby center

How your baby’s growing:

Your baby can’t express her emotions in the same complex way you can. Although she can clearly let you know when she’s happy or unhappy, her ability to demonstrate her love and sense of humor is just developing.

As your baby gets older, she may start to cry when you leave the room and get excited when you come back in. She may also raise her arms when she wants to be picked up and give you pats on the back.

And you’ll probably see her getting your jokes — she’ll laugh at funny expressions and try to make you laugh too. Keep the laughter flowing with your silly faces!

mama always feel like a clown with all those exaggerated gestures & funny voices. however, guess it’s all inculcating humour in you. it’s worth it, doesn’t it? but papa still wins mama hands-down. he’s still the patient & loving one. lots of patience, i mean. & lots of love too. that’s sacrifice…

excerpt from baby center

Sitting

Sitting independently gives your baby a new perspective on the world. Once her back and neck muscles are strong enough to hold her upright and she’s figured out where to put her legs so she won’t topple over, it’s just a matter of time until she moves on to crawling, standing, and walking.

it would be exciting but scary as well. considerations like child-proofing the home is not an easy feat, especially with our very child-unfriendly furniture.

When it develops

Your baby will probably learn to sit independently between the ages of 4 and 7 months. This is about the same time that she’ll master rolling over and holding her head up. About 90 percent of babies can sit well for several minutes without support by the time they’re 8 months old. (Even babies who’ve mastered sitting will topple over eventually, often because they lose interest in being upright.)

oh, only by 8months! baby can now sit upright for a while, though baby still needs some support & close monitoring.

How it develops

While you can prop your baby in a sitting position almost from day one, true independent sitting doesn’t begin until she has head control. Starting at about 4 months, your baby’s neck and head muscles strengthen rapidly, and she’ll learn to raise and hold her head up while she’s lying on her stomach.

yup, baby kinda props her head up & did the “supergirl” pose!

Next she’ll figure out how to prop herself up on her arms and hold her chest off the ground, sort of a mini-pushup. By 5 months she may be able to sit momentarily without assistance, though you should stay nearby to provide support and surround her with pillows to cushion a possible fall.

Soon your baby will figure out how to maintain her balance while seated by leaning forward on one or both arms. By 7 months she’ll probably be able to sit unsupported (which will free her hands for exploring), and she’ll learn how to pivot to reach a desired object while sitting. At this point she may even be able to get from her tummy into a sitting position by pushing up on her arms. By the time he’s 8 months old, she’ll likely be sitting well without support.

What’s next

You can guess what comes after your baby figures out that she can lunge forward from a sitting position and balance on her hands and knees. She may get the hang of moving forward (or backward) on all fours as early as 6 or 7 months, and master crawling by 10 months. Your child is now both very mobile and very curious, so childproofing is very important now.

By the way, most pediatricians recommend waiting until your baby is sitting with minimal support before starting her on solid foods.

Your role

Lifting her head and chest helps your baby strengthen her neck muscles and develops the head control necessary for sitting up. You can help by encouraging her to play facedown on the floor and then prompting him to look up. Using a bright toy that makes noise or a mirror is also a good way to make sure that her hearing and vision are on the right track. Once your baby is a fairly confident sitter, put toys and other intriguing objects just out of reach — they’ll hold her attention as she learns to balance with her arms.

As always, and especially when she’s just learning to sit, be sure to stay close to your baby in case she falls — or wants to show off her new skill.