Sleeping positions your baby
Never put a baby down to sleep on her back. If she brings up a little milk she could easily breathe it in and choke. Let her lie instead on her tummy as shown in the sketch. It is a good position for colick) babies, especially if you raise the head of the mattress by putting a book or folded towel under* to raise it about 6 cm. If your baby slips down the slope, wedge a rolled towel or blanket across the bottom of the crib so that her feet rest against it. Put your baby down to sleep with her head facing a different way each time so that it does not become flattened on one side. The position of the feet should also be changed. If a baby has a slightly turned-in foot, make sure she lies with it turned outwards.
Some babies do not like lying on their stomachs and are happier sleeping on their sides as shown in the sketch. Roll a towel or blanket and wedge it behind the babys back so that she cannot slip over on her back because this can cause problems if she brings up.
You can also raise the head area to help bring up winds as described. Pillows are unnecessary and dangerous. Do not use them until your child is three or four. See p. 26 for how to make up a babys bed.
not usually the best person to consult for breast feeding advice, unless he or she has had a lot of practical experience.
Remember that all things being equal, if your baby is gaining steadily and looks well, even if she does have periods of fretful crying, chances are she is thriving and well, though you may be a little ragged.
If you are bottle feeding 102 for details and then reread the previous sentence it still applies.
Demand or schedule feeding? Another subject that attracts a barrage of conflicting advice is when you should feed your baby. Some will tell you to feed every four hours on the dot and that you will soon have a predictable schedule worked out. Others will suggest you feed your baby as near to four hourly as you can, while others will say feed any time your baby demands it.
Certainly we would all like our babies to be fed at exact intervals of four hours. But babies are not motor cars that run out of fuel every four hours; they are tiny humans and like the rest of us they have varying appetites at different times.
So if you want to get your baby to take a feed at exactly four hourly intervals you are going to have to be prepared to have her crying desperately for possibly an hour or more. You will probably be near to tears yourself while you sit watching the clock until it strikes the magic hour and you can feed her. I consider this a fundamentally wrong approach and one which furthermore can have very negative consequences.
Put yourself in the childs place: you are hungry, your body cries out for food, you cannot get it yourself so you send the only signal you know. You niggle then you cry, then you scream for food. And nothing happens. Then, when you have cried yourself to exhaustion and have learnt your first painful lesson of life – that the person who should satisfy your needs is not going to help she appears and gives you a feed. What have you learnt? That your mother is not on your side, that she does not care about your needs; and that help is not forthcoming from the one person who you should have been able to trust. No wonder there is a generation gap. People who have used this method will tell you smugly that if you persevere and stick to the timetable your baby will soon learn to be good and wait for her feeds.
What will happen is that she will soon discover that asking for something in the only way she knows does not bring results. It is true that children of mothers who do not respond to their needs cry less than babies whose needs are met as soon as is reasonably possible. Babies in understaffed institutions also cry less than most other babies after a while. They too have been trained to be good – but are they good or are they confused and eventually apathetic?
A human baby is a budding life with all the complexities of the human psyche, and it needs to be nurtured to develop strong and straight and confident of its own worth. From the above you will have deduced that I’m against the rigid four hourly schedule. It upsets the mother, and it hurts the child, to say nothing of the rebound effect it has on the poor father.
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