I'll start with a few generalities on how to care for
little babies, newborns to about 6 months. I spoil mine.
I love them, I hold them, I talk to them, I cuddle them,
I nurse them as much as they want, I pick them up when
they cry if possible, and I spend a lot of time
trying to get them to smile. That is so important.
Always try to get them to smile.
your babies as often as they want, and cuddle them as
much as possible. Just
sit and hold them; not just when they are fussy or
is a good time to read the Bible to yourself or the
other children. Carry
them in a sling if that works for you. I
try not to pick them up when they are angrily screaming
at me. Instead, after checking to be sure they are all
right, I try to wait for a pause in their crying, then I
cheerfully pick them up and cuddle or feed them.
whenever they sleep! Don't try to do it all. Enlist older children to help whenever possible.
Be sure you teach the older ones to enjoy
helping and not to do it grudgingly.
I think the first three months are the hardest, so I
just don't expect to get too much done until after that.
Sometimes it seems like it takes a full year before I
start feeling organized again. Try to relax and enjoy.
I hold my new babies often, I don't "wear"
them in a sling frequently because my 47 year old
back can't take it. I don't think I'd "wear"
them even if I were 25 because, with several other
toddlers and other kids, I don't know how I'd physically
manage it. I had a front pack with my very first baby
and I used it a lot. I tried several different styles of
baby carriers with subsequent babies and found them very
useful on many occasions. I have a sling now and used it
with my last baby and I liked it for the most part.
Still, I don't think I could do it all day every day. I
want my babies to feel loved and secure, but I don't
think you have to wear them every waking moment to have
that happen. I would never discourage anyone from
"wearing" their baby, but I don't think that
it is essential in order to have a secure child. A baby
can feel loved and secure without being carried by mom
alone, 24 hours a day.
My dedicated editor and dear friend tells me that a
sling is "absolutely essential" if you have
twins (which she does). One baby goes in the sling and
the second is held in one arm, and mom still has a free
hand and arm to work with!
don't co-sleep because I think it is very dangerous for
me. (If you want to, I think you should be free to do
it.) I love to have them cuddle up to me, but I've just
read too many sad stories and had too many close calls
to feel comfortable with it myself. I keep the little
babies in a bassinet right next to the side of my bed. I
nurse them in bed with me (as long as I am not falling
asleep) then tuck them right back in their bed. They can
sleep with me when they are a little older and bigger.
Today my 1 1/2 year old took a nap with me and the 2 1/2
often does too. I usually don't have them in bed with us
at night because they get overheated and I get a back
ache. I've written more about co-sleeping in the section
about "Sleep Problems".
To avoid problems getting a new baby to go to sleep at
night, I try to establish a bedtime routine. For example, this is what I have been doing with
Michael (six months at time of writing): First I turn
the lights out as I carry him upstairs. (We have a
night-light in the room so I can still see.) Next I turn on a soft classical music CD or a
Bible tape then lay down and nurse him. If possible, I let him nurse as long as he wants
to or until he is just nursing in his sleep, then I tuck
him in bed. I
try not to wake him up by burping him. (He usually burps
naturally when I lay him on his tummy) Other possibilities might be singing a song or
rocking, etc., but it helps to do the same thing each
time. I don't try to get my little babies to
sleep through the night or anything like that. If they
wake up, I nurse them back to sleep. "Sleep
training" can wait until they are older.
babies, and I have had a few like this, seem to need to
cry themselves to sleep. As long you know they are otherwise all right, go
ahead and let them. If you keep picking them up you may actually be
making the problem worse by keeping
them awake. Michael,
for the first five months or so, seemed to cry all
evening, every evening, especially when we were visiting
at someone else�s home where we could not lay him
did not seem to be able to fall asleep in my arms and
only wanted to nurse. At home I realized that he was crying from
fatigue. If I went through the above mentioned routine
he would still cry, but if I let him go ahead and cry
for fifteen minutes or so then picked him up (quietly,
without turning on the lights) and nursed him in bed
again, he would usually fall asleep this second time and
stay asleep for the night. I do NOT keep picking him up every fifteen
minutes all night. That just encourages him to stay awake.
First, I try to be sure he is not hungry, etc.,
then I may pick him up once, but the second time I let
him cry himself to sleep. Use common sense.
are times when nothing seems to make a little baby
happy. Try everything you can think of, then try
it all again, and if you can't get anything to work,
consider the possibility that they might just be tired
so I just put them down in a safe, comfortable spot and
let them cry for a few minutes (I always keep checking
on them). They will often go right off the sleep If they
don't, you can always pick them up again and start over.
let screaming and crying bother you to the point of
frustration, anxiety and anger. All babies cry, some more than others. Crying,
itself, won't hurt them. If their crying upsets you to the point where you
feel you are at risk of losing control, and if you know
they're all right, and you have tried everything, but
they are still crying; put them in bed, close the door and go sit down
in the other room for a little while. You can check on them again after YOU calm down.
My mother (who raise 6 children including a set
of twins) once said to me, "Babies need to cry some
every day to exercise their lungs." I don't know if that's true or not
(probably not), but after the first 2 or 3 kids I got so
I wasn't quite so upset by their crying. Now, with 10
children, I sometimes hardly hear it! If I can pick them
up I do, but if I am tending to the need of another
child I don't always drop everything and rush to the
baby. A minute or two of crying won't hurt them.
Please remember that babies cannot talk and MUST
cry to try to tell you their needs and wants. They are NOT just trying to be bad!
a little baby will struggle and stiffen himself in your
arms (usually screaming at the same time), and you know
there is not a problem with colic, hunger, weariness, or
other. If that is the case don't give in to him. Hold him firmly and tell him "No", in a
quiet, but firm voice.
Do this every time and the incidents will lessen.
With a little experience most mothers can readily tell
if their baby is crying for a legitimate reason or if it
pure anger at being held or whatever. I always treat
them gently, but with a firm attitude if needed. I don't
discipline beyond this with a little baby.
through the night:
don�t mind if my babies wake me up once or twice
during the night to nurse. That's
great. I wouldn't have it any other way. Babies are
supposed to wake up a couple of times during the night.
I like to cuddle them and hold them and nurse them back
I don�t like it too much when they get a little
older and start waking up out of pure habit and refusing
to lay down and go back to sleep!
Once they are old enough to begin understanding
�no�, you can teach them to obey you in this area.
Usually I do this, if needed, when my baby is old
enough to get up on his hands and knees, and definitely
by the time he can pull himself up on the rails of the
you have fed and changed your little one and tucked him
in bed, tell him to �put his head down� and go
If he is very sleepy he will probably go to
sleep, but sometimes he won�t.
If he starts to cry and lift his head up, then is
the time to train him.
Push his head gently, but firmly, back down on
its side (don�t push his face
into the bed and don�t hold
his head down), and say pleasantly, �Put your head
down, go night-night.�
If he pulls his knees up under him, gently and
firmly pull his legs back down or push his bottom down,
and say, �No, go night-night.�
course this will not work.
What you must do to succeed, is to stay there and
repeat this until
he stops fighting you.
Within a minute or two he will stop picking
his head up and squirming, but he will probably keep
him cry and in a few minutes he will be asleep.
Don�t leave the side of the bed! You
can pat him on the back if you'd like. Although it may
seem like forever, it usually doesn�t take more than
fifteen minutes the first time and often less.
If you do this every time thereafter, it will
usually take only two or three times to train him
completely, and each incident after the first, will
usually take only one or two minutes.
The crying will stop as soon as you have
completely convinced him that he must do as you asked.
As with everything, be consistent.
How nice it is to have a baby who, when laid
down, will stay there and go to sleep without a battle
every night! This
has come in very handy for us as our little ones get
older, since we keep their crib in our room.
We can just look at them and say, �Put your
head down,� or �Go night-night�, and they do it.
(I don�t even have to get out of bed!)
CIO or not to CIO? (Should you let your baby Cry It
How do I "CIO"? I nurse my baby to sleep then
try to lay him down on my bed without waking him, but he
often wakes up immediately. Since he is 5 months old,
I'm afraid that he will soon start moving around when he
wakes and will fall off the bed. I need to get him to
stay asleep and am willing to try CIO.
Answer: Well, I've never really read any books on
"CIO" so I only know what I hear from other
parents and most of them these days think CIO (crying it
out) is a horrible, terrible, thing to do to a child.
They define "CIO" as "allowing your child
to cry alone". Well, that's their official
definition, but the clear impression I get is that they
believe that all CIOers dump their child in bed when they
selfishly want to sleep, then ignore hours worth of
pitiful crying on a regular basis. They believe the baby
must be crying out of extreme hunger or insecurity, and
what the baby really needs is nursing and comfort from
Now I don't know about all of that, but here is what I
have done/do: When my babies are very little, I nurse
them, hold them, cuddle them, etc., as much as possible.
I nurse on demand, but I even push nursing a bit more
because I usually have problems with low milk supply.
(If and when I don't, I may try to gently steer the
nursing into a loose 2 hour pattern.) At nap times, I
don't really "nurse the baby to sleep" in the
sense that I deliberately nurse him to try to get him to
sleep. What I do do, is nurse him, and if he falls
asleep and it happens to be a good time, I put him in
I do not think it is ever safe to leave a small baby
unattended on a bed, if he is able to roll over or
crawl. I have both a crib and a play pen for this
purpose. I don't put my baby in the play pen to play,
but it is a safe place for them to sleep when I am not
with them. It keeps the other children and the pets from
disturbing him as well.
I do not hold to the Ezzo method of scheduling. I'm
reading his book right now and I don't like it any
better than I did the first time I read it. He says he
does not advocate "hyperscheduling" but I'd
say he comes awfully close. (Sears says he is not
permissive, but I'd say he too, comes awfully close.)
What I do is gently nudge my babies into a
"general" routine that works for me. In my
experience, they do sleep better if I put them to sleep
following the same pattern every night. I feed them,
sing to them, rock them, maybe feed them again, then lay
them down. If I KNOW they are not hungry and are
otherwise okay, and are just waking (or refusing to
sleep) out of habit, then I sometimes do
"train" them to sleep.
Here's what I would do with a very small baby (but
usually over 6 months). If I do my routine and lay him
down, but he doesn't go to sleep, and starts crying
instead, I stay right there. I tell him pleasantly,
"Go nite-nite" and I rub his back a little and
if he curls his knees up under him, I gently pull his
legs back down and push his little bottom down and say,
"Go nite-nite". I basically stay there and
don't let him get up or roll over, until he stops crying
and goes to sleep. In my experience, it usually takes no
more than 15 minutes the first time, and less the next
time, and there is usually no third time. Now that is
mostly how I'd handle a smaller baby who won't go to
sleep to begin with, or who is waking up shortly
thereafter, or who wakes and won't go back to sleep in
the middle of the night, or a baby who is just in the
habit of waking too frequently. I DON'T try to get a
small baby to sleep through the night. Waking once or
twice at night is fine with me (as long as they go back
to sleep after nursing).
Once my babies are over a year old, if I want to, and am
not having milk
supply problems, then I sometimes do train them to sleep
through the night. I basically do what I suggested
above. By then they are sleeping in a crib in my room
and when they wake, I tell them, "Go nite-nite"
and I let them cry if they want to for awhile. If they
stand up, I may get up once or twice and make them lay
down, and if I have to, I'll stay there and make them
stay laying down, but I don't pick them up. I talk to
them matter-of-factly, not in a sympathetic voice. I
tell them what I want and then I let them cry. I don't
think that it has ever taken more than 2 or 3 nights
before they just stopped waking up.
NOTE: Remember that I started out by stating that this
is for babies who are NOT hungry and do NOT have some
other problem, but are waking out of HABIT only.
Toddler who won't go to sleep:
I'm at my wit's end. I'm so upset I'm crying over
this. My 2 year old just will not go to sleep at naptime
or night time. I spend literally hours trying to get him
to go to sleep. I go through an evening routine with him
and put him in bed only to have he keep getting up every
5 or 10 minutes. for one thing or another. I've tried
yelling, threatening and even spanking. Nothing works. I
don't know what to do. Please help!
Answer: Let him stay up. Obviously he's not tired
or is too interested in life to go to sleep. My just
turned 3 year old is just like that. I put everybody
else to bed, but keep him up with me. He has to play on
the floor next to me while I work at my computer, etc.
He has to behave but he can play. I never put him to bed
until I go to bed, which is usually midnight or later.
Then I make a little bed for him on the floor next to my
side of my bed. I get him a drink, a stuffed animal, and
I make sure he's gone potty, then I tuck him in and I go
to bed too. He will remain awake and talking to himself
(or me if I let him) until I turn the lights out. Then
he goes right to sleep. Try that and see how it goes.
Here's another idea: my little guy will go to
sleep if I sit there and police him for 5 minutes
or so. I never put him to bed too early, but once in a
while I'll put him to bed about an hour before me and I
want him to go to sleep. He absolutely will not
unless I police him. Example: Tonight I sent the younger
kids to bed about 11pm. I gave the 1 year old a bottle,
(can't nurse this one anymore, sad to say) and put him
in a play pen, then I made a bed on the floor next to
the play pen (and my bed) for the 3 year old, 4 year old
and 6 year old. The 6 year old is the quietest, so I
parked him in the middle with the 4 year old and the 3
year old on either side. Then I turned the lights all
out and sat there at the 3 year old's feet, making
him "be quiet" and telling him to "close
your eyes". The others all obeyed immediately, but
I had to tell him (firmly) a few times. In five minutes
he was asleep. It was well worth the time it took. He
would have been up for hours if I had just
kissed him goodnight and left the room. He would have
awakened his siblings too.
Now if you are going to try policing them to sleep, they
have to understand "no" first before this will
work like it does for me. Let them ask you one question
if you want, then say "No talking" and refuse
to answer any more questions. If they ask again,
say, "You can ask me in the morning". Tell
them to "stop talking."
Now I do believe in spanking and I would swat a child if
he kept it up, but I don't have to, because I've already
taught them to obey me during the day on other matters,
and when they know I mean "No talking" then
they obey. I'll also tell them to "Lay still"
or "Turn over and face the wall." Once you've
removed all other distractions and options like this,
they will go to sleep (if they are tired). Separate him
from your other children if you have to, but keep him
near you where you can insist that he be quiet, close
his eyes, and stop talking.
Note: Many parents want their children to go to bed
early so they can get caught up on their housework
without their little ones being under foot. One thing I
try never to do is wait until the kids are in bed
to do housework. I try to do all my house work when the
kids are up. I try to include them as much as possible.
KIDS LIKE THIS!. You don't have to entertain them and
play with them all day. All they really need and want is
to be with you and do what you are doing. LET THEM HELP
YOU. Sure, it takes longer (for awhile, until they can
really help) but they are happy and learning something
too. Even the little ones can fetch and tote for you.
Babies love to throw things in the waste basket and
pretend to "dust". Teach them to enjoy picking
up their toys, etc. My 1 year old comes running every
time he hears me open the dishwasher or the dryer. I'll
tell him to "hand me a spoon" or I'll hand him
a sock and tell him to "throw it in the
dryer". He LOVES to help. Then, when they go to
bed, I can relax myself, instead of doing housework. And
my house is neat all day too!
Question: My girlfriend's daughter is almost 5
years old and has night terrors. She wakes up all
through the night and doesn't remember them in the
morning. Her mom knows she is overly tired and she needs
to sleep through the night for the sake of the whole
family. Any suggestions other than medication?
Answer: I don't know what the official
definition of "night terrors" is, but I'll
share my experience and if it fits maybe it will be of
help. One or two of my boys did that for awhile; they'd
wake up at night kicking and screaming. They'd do this
every single night. Well, I know that my bad dreams
(when I have them) are ALWAYS related to something that
is going on in my life. Maybe not something that
happened that very day, but something. Usually something
rather recent. Sometimes it is some old unresolved fear
or conflict. For example, I have many times dreamed that
I am in a hurry and late for an appointment and can not
find something to wear. I can easily trace that back to
when I was in high school and I was trying to find
something to wear to school and was running very late,
which happened all the time, since I didn't have very
many clothes. Another dream I have had repeatedly is
about how I am about to ride a horse, but I can't
because I can't find the bridle. I know I can trace that
back to a couple of pieces of equipment I had for my
real horse years ago that I lent to someone and they
never returned it. I also sometimes dream that I have
forgotten to feed my horse for days and he is about to
starve. I never forgot to feed my horse when I had one,
but I can trace that dream back to one time when I
forgot to give my cat water and she drank some
antifreeze instead and died! It was an incident that
made me very sad and ashamed, and occasionally surfaces
in my dreams, usually at times when other tense events
are going on in my life.
Do you see how these bad dreams are coming from old bad
experiences that haven't been completely resolved? As
for current things, we recently drove to Washington D.C.
and we had to drive through the mountains in
Pennsylvania. I did most of the driving and found it
pretty scary especially since I was pulling a trailer.
At one point my husband was driving, but it was still
VERY scary for me. The highway had sharp turns and was
on the side of a very steep mountain, so there was a
sheer cliff on the passenger side that dropped off to
the Allegany River far below. Sure enough, I've had
several bad dreams since then about similar driving type
things like running out of road or falling off a
I am just guessing that children go through the same
thing with their dreams. I had 2 little ones who had
more of a problem with this than the others. In trying
to stop it, first I looked to what was going on in
their daily lives. Were they being frightened by
something in real life? Were they getting into too many
squabbles with their brothers and sisters? What was
emotionally upsetting them during the day that might
come out in a dream at night?
didn't know for sure what was upsetting these children,
but with one in particular, I felt it was related to
excessive bickering with his siblings. So I set out a
plan to change that and increase his over all sense of
security. I began spending extra time with him every
day, just being a buddy, and I also put ended to the
bickering. I watched all the children more
carefully, stopping fights before they began, and making
sure the troubled one was not getting picked on. It
worked and his bad dreams disappeared.
other troubled child seemed to have a problem during the
day with "separation anxiety" even though I
never left him with a sitter. He would get very scared
if I even left the room he was in, and would scream in
panic and fear, and would run to look for me. At night
he would seem to be dreaming about some similar fear. So
with him, I made sure that I never left his sight. If I
even had to go to the bathroom, I took him with me. I
made every effort to see that he was never frightened.
Well it worked. After a few weeks of this extra
effort during the day on my part, and he too stopping
having those bad dreams. Later I was also able to slow
wean him away from needing to see me every second, he is
now a very confident little boy with no fears and not
thing I did was to take naps WITH the child involved, so
I could tell exactly when he was starting to have the
bad dream and wake him up immediately. I didn't do a lot
of comforting though, just enough to make him feel safe
and secure, then I treated it kind of matter-of -factly
and pleasantly. I didn't want to draw more attention to
it than I needed to. I'd usually talk to the child for a
few minutes to get their mind on something else before
they went back to sleep.
are just some ideas your friend might try. I really
think that what you dream at night is related to your
emotions during the day and if you are having bad dreams
you need to identify and solve the problems that are
causing it during the day. I have also heard of a more
severe form of "night terrors" and I don't
claim to be an expert on that, so please use common
My child has begun waking up in the middle of the night
screaming and crying. He keeps it up for a while and I
don't seem to be able to comfort him. I know the experts
say we should not try to wake a child having nightmares,
but is there anything else I can do to help the
situation? I hate to see him go through this.
This may be the more severe form of "night
terrors" I referred to about, but I still think it
is insane not to try to wake a child up who is
having a nightmare and I don't care what the
"experts" say. Maybe I'm wrong, but I
certainly hope someone wakes me up when I am having a
nightmare, why not wake a child up? That said,
when my children (or I) have a nightmare, it is usually
pretty easy to see how it is related to something that
is going on in our daily lives. Often it is a scary
movie or TV show. My oldest child began having repeated
nightmares after watching the movie "Short
Circuit" at age 5 year old. Apparently he had
misunderstood the ending of the movie and thought the
nice robot had been "killed" and that upset
him. The nightmares stopped when he was finally
convinced that the robot was fine and hadn't died.
Needless to say, that was the end of our movie-going
I always wake my kids when they have a nightmare. I
don't dwell on the dream unless I think it might be
about something that can or should be resolved. If it is
just due to a recent average scare (watching a scary
show just before bed) then I get them up and awake, and
I assure them that they just had a bad dream, then I
change the subject and try to get their mind on
something else before they begin dwelling too much on
the dream. I make sure they are thinking about something
else before they go back to sleep. Usually I take them
in bed with me for a while, and we try to listen to
bible stories on tape as we go to sleep.
out of bed
My child (18 months) keeps climbing out of his
crib. He doesn't see frightened or lonely, he just wants
to get out and play. What do I do?
Answer: If this is just a matter of him
"wanting" to get out, then I would put the
side down on the crib and teach him what
"no, no" means. I'd take the time needed to
teach him that he must obey mom. With the side
down, he will be far less likely to get hurt if he tries
to climb out, and since he will no longer be restrained
in any way, his focus will be turned to whether or not
he is going to obey you, not on whether or not he can
master that climb. To keep the side up is childproofing,
to put it down facilitates teaching obedience.
18 months he is plenty old enough to learn that he must
obey you and stay in his bed (or on a mattress on the
floor if you are worried about him falling). If you
don't have time to train him to stay in his bed, train
him to take his naps on a couch near you where you can
correct him immediately if he tries to get off.
It is important to correct him (with a firm
"No" and probably some other immediate
negative correction) before he actually gets out
of the bed. You must watch him carefully and catch him
just when he begins to try. Teach him to chose to obey
your words, do not force him to obey you by restraining
him physically or locking the door or keeping the sides
up on the crib.
I think my child is afraid to go to sleep alone, but I
don't want to have to have him in bed with me every
night, what should I do?
When my firstborn was about 1 1/2 years old, he
stopped going to bed nicely in his own crib. He'd
learned to stand up and he'd hang onto the sides of his
crib screaming until I came and got him. Nothing I did
seemed to help. Every night it took a half hour or more
to get him to go to sleep. Eventually he began trying to
climb out of his crib and soon he was pounding on the
door crying. I finally decided this was more than a
simple discipline issue, maybe he was really scared.
the time, we were living in a small apartment with two
upstairs bedrooms. I took my son out of his crib and
placed a mattress on the floor and made it up so we
could both lay down on it. Then, every night when it was
his bedtime, I tucked him in and laid down with him
until he went to sleep. That worked very well and he did
not fight me or try to get up. I'd get up myself after
he was asleep. After about 2 weeks of this new routine,
I changed it a little. I'd go lay down with him as
before and read him a story and cuddle with him for a
few minutes, but then I'd get up and putz around the
room for a bit. I'd leave his bedroom light out, but the
hall light on and the door wide open. He didn't
fuss when he knew I wasn't leaving the room, and he'd
soon be asleep. After a week or two of that, I began
leaving the room for a minute or two at a time, but
staying in the hall just out of his room. Eventually, I
began going into my bedroom which was right next
to his. He could still hear me in the hall, or sewing in
my room, and I continued to leave the hall light on and
his door wide open. After about a month's time, I could
actually tuck him in bed, spend a few minutes praying
with him and cuddling, then go downstairs without him
getting upset at all. I made sure that I came promptly
when he did call for me, but he really didn't much after
that. Apparently his fear of being alone and trapped in
his room and unable to get to his mom, was gone. He now
understood and believed that I was always nearby and he
was safe and secure.
what I did, perhaps you could devise something similar
that fits your home and lifestyle.