DFW · Houston

New Year, New Habits!

Happy 2019! Whether you’re a resolution maker or not, there’s nothing quite like the clean slate of a new year. While we can’t help you get to the gym or eat more greens, we can help when it comes to establishing good habits for the littles. From dropping swaddles to ditching the pacifiers and bottles, we’ve got you covered on how to make the new year full of new, great habits!

How do we drop the swaddle? 
Babies over 3-4 months old who show purposeful movements of their hands and arms need freedom to move around and self soothe. At this point, they are telling you they are ready to be free from the swaddle. When babies tell you they are ready to be in just a sleep sack, it only takes a night or two to figure it out if all the other pieces (schedule, sleep associations, routines, circadian rhythm, intake, environment) are appropriately in place. 

What if baby is using Merlin or Zippity Zip… how do we drop this habit? 
It is tempting to buy something to “wean” from the swaddle beyond a simple sleep sack, but it is not needed and only delays development. This also causes more head molding with baby stuck on their back longer. Do not fear though! As mentioned above, it only takes a night or two without the sleep crutch for them to figure it out if all the other pieces are in place. 

When and how is the best time to drop the pacifier?
Once babies have their hands free from the swaddle, they have other ways to soothe and do not need the paci if you are ready to take it away. Babies under 6 months old have a hard time finding it and placing it in their own mouth, so when you take the swaddle away is a good time to also take the paci away. For babies over 6 months who love the paci (and you want to keep it), keep the paci only in the crib so they know they only have it for sleep. This helps with speech development and lowers the chance of dental issues.

What if my toddler still uses the pacifier?
It is fine, but make sure it stays in the crib. If you’re ready to ditch the pacifier for good though, no magic paci fairy here. Tell them they are a big boy or girl, and they do not need them anymore. Throw them all out (not in front of them), and don’t look back.

When and how is the best time to drop the bottle?
The goal is to be bottle free by a year.  Starting around 6 months, start working on the sippy cup so you can slowly transition to all sippies by 12 months.  

What if my toddler still takes a bottle?
After the first year, you want your toddler to take in 2 servings (16oz) of milk per day. If they drink more than this, they are not as interested in eating solids. They do not need a full belly to sleep all night. Switch bedtime bottle to sippy of water and don’t look back! They can do it, and so can you. 

We wish you a Happy New Year filled with great sleep habits! 

Need more swaddle info? Check out this post.
We briefly mentioned head molding. If you’d like more info on flat head syndrome, follow along here

Author: nightingales

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