You’ve likely heard the advice, “Never wake a sleeping baby,” but it’s best to ignore this old adage during baby’s first couple weeks of life. Breast-fed babies need to feed at least every 2-3 hours, and formula-fed babies need to eat at least every 3-4 hours. While older babies usually don’t miss meals, infants can be very sleepy and difficult to wake for feeds. These tips can help you gently wake your newborn:
- Undress him to his diaper and place him skin to skin
- Gently stroke his back or rub his feet and hands
- Dim the lights so he can open his eyes
- Hold him upright and softly talk to him
If he still doesn’t wake, try again in a half hour or so, as newborns move in and out of sleep states rather quickly. This sleepy stage is usually short-lived, but it’s important to keep an eye on your little one’s output to ensure he is having adequate wet and dirty diapers and is gaining weight.
Children of all ages love beach days or play dates at the pool. But, be aware that drownings are a leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4. Here are a few tips to help keep your little one safe when in or around water:
- Practice “touch supervision” with children under age 5 – always be within an arm’s length with full attention on child
- Never leave child alone even for a minute when in water, including a bathtub
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Keep a life jacket, shepherd’s crook or safety ring with rope at poolside
- Install a four-sided, self-latching fence around home pool
- Install an underwater motion swimming pool alarm or have your child wear an alarm that attaches to their wrist like a wristwatch
- Teach children to wear life jackets when on boats, docks or near bodies of water
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says there is no evidence that swimming lessons prevent drownings in babies younger than age 1, but older babies may be at less risk if they have had some formal instruction.
Summer is here and it’s a great time to get the whole family outdoors for fun and exercise. But, remember infant skin can sunburn easily and requires extra precautions. Start by keeping your baby out of direct sunlight by shading her stroller or carriage with a canopy, using an umbrella at the beach or park and installing window shades in the back of your car. And, try these additional tips:
- Dress baby in lightweight clothing that covers arms and legs
- Put a wide brim hat on her head that shades ears and back of neck
- Cover baby’s eyes with infant sunglasses that block ultraviolet rays
- Apply sunscreen to only small areas of exposed skin, such as the face, for babies younger than 6 months. For older babies, apply to all exposed areas of body
- Plan activities before 10 am or after 4 pm when sun’s rays aren’t so strong
And, pay attention to baby’s hydration in the summer heat. If your baby is at least 6 months, you can offer small amounts of drinking water or purified, steam-distilled water, such as Nursery®. Check with your pediatrician as to how much is best for your baby.