I wrote a post about the common complications seen with long-term neonatal medical issues The Subtle Ways Chronic Medical Care Affects Infant and Toddler Development, but the rest of the family isn’t immune to trauma reactions. A difficult pregnancy or delivery, the shock of a unexpected genetic disorder diagnosis, or the crises that arise in…… Continue reading Can The Parents of Kids in Early Intervention Have PTSD?
I usually write about children with disabilities, but today’s post is about parents with challenges. As an occupational therapist that sees children in their homes through the Early Intervention program, I meet all kinds of parents. This includes parents with disabilities of their own. Some parents have vision or hearing issues, some have orthopedic issues…… Continue reading Parents With Disabilities Need The Happiest Toddler on the Block Techniques
New parents are often shocked at how tired they are. After all, newborns don’t DO much. They eat, sleep, pee and poop, and that is about it. But they do it around the clock and they aren’t very experienced with any of it. Dr. Karp’s 5 S’s can help all of you learn…… Continue reading New Baby? Exhausted? Try Dr. Karp’s 5 S’s To Pull Things Together
OK, I won’t make you wait to get the answer to this question: your newborn won’t spend all day, every day, in the SNOO! Don’t know what the SNOO is? The SNOO smart sleeper was designed by pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp as a bassinet that uses many of his fabulous Happiest Baby on…… Continue reading Why You Still Need the 5S’s, Even If You Bought a SNOO
fpsyg-08-00789 Parents are often the first to suspect that their infant’s constant and intense complaints are more than just fussiness. Sometimes pediatricians pick up on a pattern of edginess that cannot be explained by all the usual suspects: teething, food sensitivity, temperament. Having a baby who complains bitterly about the most common events, such…… Continue reading Infants With Sensory Sensitivity: When Your Fussy Baby Takes Over Your Life
Returning to work soon after delivery can mean putting your 3-month old in daycare. As challenging as this can be emotionally, it can also be a struggle for your baby, especially if her only self-calming strategy has been nursing. Should you (or could you) quit your job or just tough it out? There is another…… Continue reading Help Your Newborn Adjust to Daycare By Using Happiest Baby on the Block Strategies
Swaddling is a skill, but it is also an art. Once you have your little one snug as a bean burrito, they don’t always stop crying right away. When I teach parents the 5 S’s as part of a Happiest Baby on the Block consultation or class, I try very hard to explain that most…… Continue reading Successful Swaddling May Take More Layers of Calmness
“Kangaroo Care” is the term your NICU used for placing your newborn directly on your chest, face turned to one side, and letting her get the sensory and regulatory benefits that neonatologists believe she can gain from this position. Then she gets stronger and you all go home. What can you do at home? Well,…… Continue reading After Kangaroo Care: Infant Massage and Tummy Time on Mommy (or Daddy)!
Discharge day for a preemie is special, but it is just the beginning of a journey that often includes therapy at home. As an Early Intervention therapist, I thought parents could use some insights into what your team is really thinking when they begin to work with you and your baby. We know that you…… Continue reading Bringing Home Your Preemie: What Your Therapists Would Like You To Know
I attended a local function last night, and this question was on my mind as parents recounted their experiences with newborns and calming. They thought that they were doing the swaddling wrong. Or that their child was abnormal. Not likely. They just didn’t realize that for most babies, swaddling alone doesn’t do the deal. As…… Continue reading Why Doesn’t Swaddling Alone Calm Newborns?
Yes, I said it. Some babies scream louder after you swaddle them, and parents assume that this means that they are horrified of being restricted. This is usually far from the truth, but you have to know a little bit about newborn neurology to understand why this is likely not to be a case of…… Continue reading Why Some Newborns Look Like They Hate To Be Swaddled
Fathers are often the partners that jump right into practicing the Happiest Baby on the Block techniques. They “shush” loud and long, they do the quick jiggle (for swinging) with enthusiasm, and they can usually use just one arm to support a newborn on it’s side to calm them. Moms are in awe of their…… Continue reading First Father’s Day? You Might Be the Best Baby Calmer In The House
This question doesn’t come up as often as it should when I do Happiest Baby on the Block consultations. The short answer is that common sense goes a long way to protecting a newborn’s hearing. The longer answer is that understanding sound conduction and newborn development will help parents use white noise confidently. Here we…… Continue reading Will White Noise Harm a Newborn’s Hearing?
Those first 2 weeks of life are pretty simple: feed, sleep, diaper. Lather, rinse and repeat. From about 2 weeks until 12-14 weeks, the Happiest Baby strategies for getting a baby calm and sleeping soundly really do work to keep newborns (and parents) happy. I am a certified Happiest Baby educator, and it is relatively…… Continue reading Out Of The Swaddle And Into The Frying Pan
Preemies often wait a long time to start playing. NICU life isn’t about fun, it is about survival. Once your preemie is home, you will want to get the party started. If she has a weak grasp or isn’t coordinated enough to easily hold every rattle and toy that you got for your shower,…… Continue reading Best Preemie Toy? Try An O-Ball Toy For Easy Grasping And Playing
The Wall Street Journal’s writers are known for great reporting, but they clearly didn’t do a lot of research when they wrote today’s article Can You Sleep Train Your Baby at 2 Months? Lots of agonizing parent reports of the cry-it-out method, and professional agreement that babies 8 weeks old don’t sleep through the night…… Continue reading Sleep Training at 2 Months? Beyond Cry-It-Out
I read The Informed Parent recently to decide whether it would be a good resource for my clients, and found that the chapters on The Art and Science of Baby Soothing, SIDS, and Sleep Training were worth reading. This book distills a lot, a whole lot, of research that can confuse those parents who want…… Continue reading The Informed Parent and Happiest Baby on the Block
This week’s New York Times ran a story Does Exercise During Pregnancy Lead to Exercise-Loving Offspring? that echoes what I told a mom last month during a Happiest Baby consult about how her behavior during pregnancy “taught” her son to love movement. She is an athletic woman, a pediatric physical therapist, and her baby really didn’t…… Continue reading Active Baby? Active Mom? It May Be Epigenetics Again….
The short answer? It almost always gives them a slightly longer sleep cycle. The longer answer: many babies need more than a good swaddle to add that extra hour or so to their sleep cycle. Interestingly enough, research and the American Academy of Pediatrics have suggested that swaddling makes a newborn’s sleep lighter. Lighter isn’t…… Continue reading Will Swaddling Affect Newborn Sleep?
I was wandering around baby blogs (I always like to see what other writers are saying!) and stumbled onto a sleep consultant’s post about the “cluster feeding” pattern. These babies nurse/feed briefly then become fussy without a good reason (diaper change, illness of some kind, lack of sleep), and get hungry soon afterward. These newborns…… Continue reading Baby Nursing For Only a Few Minutes Then Fussy? Use the 5 S’s to Settle And Focus your Newborn To Feed, Not Just to Sleep