Insightful Articles

National Sleep Foundation: How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need?

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Babies, children, and teens need significantly more sleep than adults to support their rapid mental and physical development. Most parents know that growing kids need good sleep, but many don't know just how many hours kids require, and what the impact can be of missing as little as 30 to 60 minutes of sleep time.

One of the reasons it's so hard to know when our kids are getting insufficient sleep is that drowsy children don't necessarily slow down the way we do—they wind up. In fact, sleepiness can look like symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children often act as if they're not tired, resisting bedtime and becoming hyper as the evening goes on. All this can happen because the child is overtired.  

(Click button below for the entire article including a chart for sleep requirements per age)

CDC: Creating a Safe Sleep Area for Baby

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  • Place your baby on his or her back for all sleep times—naps and at night.
  • Use a firm, flat sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved cribExternal, covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Keep your baby’s sleep area (for example, a crib or bassinet) in the same room where you sleep until your baby is at least 6 months old, or ideally, until your baby is one year old.
  • Keep soft bedding such as blankets, pillows, bumper pads, and soft toys out of your baby’s sleep area.
  • Do not cover your baby’s head or allow your baby to get too hot. Signs your baby may be getting too hot include sweating or his or her chest feels hot.

View a safe sleep environment at What does a safe sleep environment look like? Cdc-pdf[PDF – 1.5KB]External from Safe to Sleep®.

ADHD & Sleep Problems-National Sleep Foundation

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In general, sleep deprivation is a problem among children in America. According to NSF's 2004  Sleep in America poll, more than two-thirds of children experience one or more sleep problems at least a few nights a week. For children with ADHD, poor sleep (too little sleep or symptoms of sleep disorders) may profoundly impact ADHD symptoms. In fact,  one study found that treating sleep problems may be enough to eliminate attention and hyperactivity issues for some children. 

Children and adults behave differently as a result of sleepiness. Adults usually become sluggish when tired while children tend to overcompensate and speed up. For this reason, sleep deprivation is sometimes confused with ADHD in children. Children may also be moody, emotionally explosive, and/or aggressive as a result of sleepiness. In  a study involving 2,463 children aged 6-15, children with sleep problems were more likely to be inattentive, hyperactive, impulsive, and display oppositional behaviors.

The Cause and Treatment of Baby Gas Problems

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1. Some pediatricians and lactation specialists assert that traces of gas-producing foods, such as cruciferous vegetables and legumes, can be passed from mother to baby. Other experts also warn against excessive acidity in the maternal diet.  Dairy products in mother’s diet can also lead to “intolerances” in baby... (See article)

2. Air bubbles can also be taken in through baby’s mouth. 

3. Another possible reason for infant gassiness is hyper-lactation syndrome. When a mother has a very abundant milk supply, she may produce a larger amount of foremilk.  A baby that gulps the quickly flowing milk also tends to take in more air, thereby getting gassier. Because the baby may not be getting enough of the rich hind milk, he or she tends to want to eat more often, which perpetuates the problem.... (See article)

4. Over-stimulation can also lead to increased gassiness.  (See article)

Parent Magazine: The 7 Reasons Your Kid Needs Sleep

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1. Sleep promotes growth.  "Growth hormone is primarily secreted during deep sleep," says Judith Owens, M.D.

2. Sleep helps the heart. "Children with sleep disorders have excessive brain arousal during sleep, which can trigger the fight-or-flight response hundreds of times each night," says Jeffrey Durmer, M.D., Ph.D. "Their blood glucose and cortisol remain elevated at night. Both are linked to higher levels of diabetes, obesity, and even heart disease."  (See full article)

3. Sleep affects weight.
There's increasing evidence that getting too little sleep causes kids to become overweight, starting in infancy.  

 4. Sleep helps beat germs. 

 5. Sleep reduces injury risk. 

 6. Sleep increases kids' attention span. 

 7. Sleep boosts learning.  (See full article)

Baby Sleep Study-Bedtime Routine:The Earlier, the Better

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In another article published in Sleep, researchers carried out two studies, one with infants, 7-18 months and the other with toddlers, 18 months to 3 years.  The mothers in the routine group were provided a 3-step bedtime routine: bath, massage (infants) or applying lotion (toddlers), and night activities (cuddling or singing), with lights out 30 minutes after the bath.  After 2 weeks of a bedtime routine, infants took less time to fall asleep, had fewer and shorter night wakings, and mothers perceived sleep as less of a problem than the control group. For toddlers, there was a significant decrease in number and duration of night wakings, increase in duration of continuous sleep, decrease in reported times the child called out at night and climbed out of the bed/crib, and a decrease in the mother’s perception of sleep as a problem. These changes in sleep outcomes occurred regardless of how the child was put to sleep after “lights out”. This Is The Real Difference Between Breast Milk And Formula

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So, does this mean that breast milk and formula contain vastly different things just because they look so different next to each other? We obviously wouldn’t expect babyformula to contain white blood cells that miraculously appear when our babies are sick, but is it pretty much the same in most other aspects?

In some ways, the answer is “yes.” Formula does contain the essentials like fats and carbohydrates but they’re often far from natural—carbohydrates in formula might include corn maltodextrin, while fats might include palm or soybeans oils.

For most parents, these types of ingredients are far from ideal, but the trade-off comes in the form of convenience. Ultimately, baby formula is designed to give your kids everything they need, and they can get it from anyone at any time."  (See full Article)

Kelly Mom: How Do We get Started with Solids?

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 What we’re aiming for during the first year is to have solids complementing breastmilk, not replacing it. This means that when solids are introduced the breastfeeding pattern is not interrupted at all, but baby is fed solids in slowly increasing amounts as his appetite increases. Baby will be getting about the same amount of breastmilk  as he gets older, with increasing amounts of solids on top of that.

Nursing before (rather than after) the solids is a good way to help keep the transition to solids proceeding slowly so that mom’s milk supply is maintained and baby gets the breast milk that he needs."   (see full article)

Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard: Get Sleep-What's in it for You?

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 What we do know is that sleeping fewer than about eight hours per night on a regular basis seems to increase the risk of developing a number of medical conditions.  The study results show that reducing sleep by just two or three hours per night can have dramatic health consequences. 

While sleeping well is no guarantee of good health, it does help to maintain many vital functions. One of the most important of these functions may be to provide cells and tissues with the opportunity to recover from the wear and tear of daily life. Major restorative functions in the body such as tissue repair, muscle growth, and protein synthesis occur almost exclusively during sleep. 

Sleep experts say there is ample evidence that shows that when people get the sleep they need, they will not only feel better, but will also increase their odds of living healthier, more productive lives. 

More Resources

Fussy Baby Site: Do you have a "spirited" or high needs baby?

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“Having a fussy or high need baby or toddler can be an exhausting and isolating experience. We are here to support you through this journey!"

Between 10 and 20% of babies are fussy, colicky or "high need". If you're struggling with crying, fussiness, soothing or sleep, we offer resources that can help you find the cause of the issue, as well as proven strategies to help you cope.

Health Lines: How to Safely Use Essential Oils for Teething

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Teething can start as early as 4 to 7 months. Because young babies are sensitive, only two essential oils are recommended for topical use during this early stage: chamomile and lavender.

Always dilute essential oils in a base oil. Do not apply essential oils directly to the baby’s skin. Mix it with a base oil such as a vegetable carrier oil.

How to Get Your Baby to Sleep in a Hotel Room

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Yes, you’re on vacation (kind of?), but to keep your baby in her normal rhythm, you should try to stick as close to your regular routine as possible. Pack a toy to create some familiarity, along with your baby’s blankets. Sing your lullaby, read a bedtime story, and do whatever you usually do.

Once your baby is asleep for the night, you can either 1) go to sleep, too (a wise choice); 2) party quietly in the dark with your iPad and headphones...

Pregnancy & Postpartum Mental Health-Postpartum Support

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  • Are you feeling sad or depressed?
  • Do you feel more irritable or angry with those around you?
  • Are you having difficulty bonding with your baby?
  • Do you feel anxious or panicky?
  • Are you having problems with eating or sleeping?
  • Are you having upsetting thoughts that you can’t get out of your mind?
  • Do you feel as if you are “out of control” or “going crazy”?
  • Do you feel like you never should have become a mother?
  • Are you worried that you might hurt your baby or yourself?

Any of these symptoms, and many more, could indicate that you have a form of perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, such as postpartum depression. 

Darkness Matters: How Light Affects Sleep

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The body needs time to prepare for sleep. A sleep routine that includes a gradually darkening environment can help. Dim the lights a full hour before bedtime to encourage your body to begin its physiological progression toward sleep. Use a dimmer switch on overhead lights to control their brightness, or install low-watt, dimmable bulbs in lamps. Avoid screen time the hour before bed: turn off the television, power down computers and tablets, and put your phone away for the night. The light from digital devices contains high concentrations of blue light, a wavelength of light that research has shown is especially detrimental to sleep.

Curtains and shades on windows keep outside light from disturbing your sleep. Make sure window coverings are heavy enough to fully block light, and are well fitted to avoid slivers of streetlight or early morning sunlight from filtering in. Even brief exposure to light can interfere with sleep. 

Reading Aloud to Young Children Has Benefits for Behavior and Attention Span

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“We think when parents read with their children more, when they play with their children more, the children have an opportunity to think about characters, to think about the feelings of those characters,” he said. “They learn to use words to describe feelings that are otherwise difficult and this enables them to better control their behavior when they have challenging feelings like anger or sadness.”

“The key take-home message to me is that when parents read and play with their children when their children are very young — we’re talking about birth to 3 year olds — it has really large impacts on their children’s behavior,” Dr. Mendelsohn said. And this is not just about families at risk. “All families need to know when they read, when they play with their children, they’re helping them learn to control their own behavior,” he said, so that they will come to school able to manage the business of paying attention and learning.