7 Essential Infant Tips For New Parents

This guest article was written by Heather Irvine,Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, Postpartum Doula, Newborn Care Specialist, and Certified Lactation Counselor

There is nothing more magical and exhilarating than becoming a new parent. Those first few weeks are filled with wonder, amazement, and pure joy as you get to know your baby.

Through the years, I’ve given birth to five children of my own, and have spent numerous hours consulting with families just like yours. I’ve found that there are some simple steps you can take that will help you get into a nice groove during the first few months with your baby. These essential infant tips will also help reduce the stress and overwhelm of adjusting to life as a new parent.

Keep things low-key during the first few months

Your newborn baby needs an adjustment period once you bring him home, and so will you. Keeping things low-key in these early months will help tremendously.infant tips

Babies can be very sensitive to new changes, especially sights, sounds, smells, and new people. These new experiences can be overwhelming to your baby’s fragile nervous system, and he will need you to help protect him from overstimulation.

Try to limit visitors to once per day, and when you do have visitors, try to limit how many people handle your new baby. Too much passing around or running about town may cause a major meltdown for your baby and leave you exhausted. You may have lofty goals of getting out and showing him off, but you will find very quickly that staying close to home is probably a better bet.

Arrange for Help

Take up offers from any friends and family that are willing to lend a hand. Your only goal during these first few weeks should be to rest and bond with your baby. Ask others bring you meals, clean your house, or run errands for you.

If you can, consider calling in a part-time sitter or nanny after your partner returns to work so that you have some relief. Taking care of your baby 24/7 is a challenging job, and you will need time to relax and take a brief rest break from caring for your baby.
Plan this ahead of time if you are able, and ensure that you have support scheduled for at least the first 2 to 3 months. You can alternate between friends, family, neighbors and paid help to get you through this time. Trust me, you will be glad you did!

Be Prepared with some Essentials

There are many products I recommend new parents have on hand, but there are a few staples I have at the top of my list.

For parents: Stock your pantry and fridge with healthy and easy-to prepare snacks and meals. You won’t have the energy or time to do much cooking and having food that takes no prep or very little – will help you stay energized and less overwhelmed.
If you are a breastfeeding mom, make sure to have a good breastfeeding book on hand to reference and the number to a Lactation Consultant or Center. When problems arise, you will want quick solutions.

For your baby: Have a swing, swaddle blankets and white noise machine on hand. They are wonderful calming tools!

Establish good feeding patterns for your baby

You’d think that this would be a no-brainer, right? Believe it or not getting feeding off to a good and healthy start takes some work.

If you are bottle-feeding, make sure to watch your baby as he feeds, so that you can pick up on his cues and catch when he is done or needs to be burped. This can help feeding times go smoothly and avoid unnecessary feeding challenges.

If you are breastfeeding, follow your baby’s lead and feed him when he is hungry. Breastfed babies feed quite often in these early weeks, and you may feel like nursing is all you do all day. Rest assured that this is normal, and it does get easier as time goes by. If you struggle at any time with breastfeeding, be sure to contact a lactation specialist for help at the first sign of trouble. It’s the quickest and easiest way to get things back on track.

Learn which items can calm your baby

Parents have the greatest ability at finding creative ways to calm their babies (this includes you!). Try a variety of things and observe what works best for your baby. Don’t be afraid of relying on soothing tools (pacifiers, swings, holding, rocking, etc.) in these early months. Your baby will likely need help, and it is perfectly fine to use these items. Don’t worry, they will NOT cause any long term bad habits and can eventually be phased out once your baby is older.

Make a plan to get the sleep you need

These first few months are all about adjustment, and this includes sleep. There will be a period where sleep is different than what you are used to during these first few months. Make a plan to share the baby duties so that each parent can get a good 5-6 hour stretch of sleep EVERY night.

Consider split shifts, nights, or bring in help during the day so that BOTH parents can rest. Feel free to use the swing, bouncy seat, or rocker if it helps everyone get more sleep. Take nap breaks and sleep when your baby does in order to get those extra few hours of rest your body needs.

Slowly weave gentle routines into your day

It’s easy to find yourself still in your pajamas at 6:00 p.m. when you’re a new parent. After these first few weeks, start to weave some gentle routines into your day. As hard as it seems, try to get up and take a quick shower and get dressed, throw on some comfy yoga pants and soft t-shirt and save those pjs for evening time.

Take a walk every day and get some fresh air. Getting a good dose of sunshine will be good for you and your baby! Try singing the same song or reading the same book before you put your baby to bed. Doing these things can help bring more predictability to your day and make your baby feel calm and secure.

Heather IrvineHeather Irvine is a Certified GSC, Postpartum Doula, Newborn Care Specialist & Certified Lactation Counselor. As if those specialties weren’t enough, she also has 5 (yes, 5!!) children of her own!

What is YOUR essential tip for new parents? Was it covered here?

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photo credit: David Terrazas via photopin cc

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Bottle Snugglers Receives the Baby Planner Seal of Approval

Bottle Snugglers

Often times you hear a mom say “I wish I had one more hand so I could get things done.” As many of us know, taking care of our children and running a household on a day-to-day basis can be overwhelming at times. Is there such a thing that will help us tend to our kids while, at the same time, allowing us to be productive at home? Well, I am here to tell you about a product that can help!

Jennifer Marko, Founder of Bottle Snuggler, wants to help moms take a two second break from feeding one child so that they can either tend to another or simply take a quick mommy break. This doesn’t mean that a child should be left alone while using this product. Marko’s incredibly useful idea is an adorable bottle holder that doubles up as a stuffed animal for a child.  You have the choice of: Pinky Pig, Charming Teddy Bear, Cuddly Cow, or Precious Puppy. We received the ultra soft, well made, Precious Puppy for this review. I had mommy tester, Lovelyn (Jasmine’s mommy) from California, test out the product and here is what she had to say:

“Thanks for letting Jasmine try the Bottle Snuggler! I have 9 oz. Avent bottles which are wide and short, and I found it a little difficult to slide and adjust the Bottle Band around the bottle even when positioning the Bottle Band over the nipple end first.  Although she’s already knows how to hold a bottle, she still lets go of it sometimes and it would roll on the floor; the Bottle Snuggler kept the bottle in place even when she let go, which was great!  She also liked to chew on the dog’s ears!”

I contacted Jennifer after reading Lovelyn’s testimonial and told her about the bottle band issue, but Jennifer was way ahead of the game. Jennifer wrote back immediately to let me know that she appreciated the comment and that a change to the bottle band was already in the works. The Company is updating the design of the bottle band in their next production round so that they wrap around the bottle and Velcro, rather than being a full loop that goes over the bottle. This will definitely help people with wide or skinny bottles get an easy fit!

It’s important to remember that a product like this one is to help mom temporarily. A child should never be left unattended. It is extremely important that child be encouraged to hold their own bottle 98% of the time for developmental reasons.

Thanks so much to Jennifer for thinking of ways to help mommy out. As she knows firsthand, we try to be everywhere to do everything, but sometimes we just need a helping hand.  Thank goodness for the Bottle Snuggler! You can purchase the Bottle Snuggler for yourself or as a gift on their website, www.bottlesnugglers.com. The product retails for $20.95, which is a very reasonable price for something so helpful, especially if you are a mom of multiples!

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HANDS TO HEART SWADDLE EARNS BABY PLANNER SEAL OF APPROVAL!

I have to admit my youngest has totally been my guinea pig these past few months. It’s hard not to elect him since many of the wonderful things that come across my desk, given the line of work I am in, are for his age group. I recently had the pleasure of having him try a new sleep aid, the Hands to Heart Sleep Swaddle, designed by a well known pediatric sleep consultant, Angelique Millette.

I know what you are thinking! With the many sleep options for babies these days, what is the difference with this one? Angelique used her 15+ years of experience to create what she tags as “The Natural Way for Babies to Sleep” swaddle. The swaddle consists of a swaddle wing and a side zippered sleep sack. It’s made of 100% non-dyed cotton, made in the USA, natural in color and the swaddle sack comes in two different sizes, small and medium. The access zipper on the sleep sack makes diaper changes possible and quick!

Our sample arrived in beautiful packaging along with a thank you note and instructions. The company also included a fact sheet titled Ten Important Sleep Facts for Babies 0 -12 months. They gave us the small to try out. Unfortunately, we used it for just a couple of weeks because my little guy out grew the sleep sack pretty fast. The small is good for infants 0 to 4 months of age and my little guy was 3 months at the time. The swaddle wing grows with your baby, but you know that it is not recommended if your baby is starting to turn over. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I also had to stop using the swaddle wing because my little guy started turning over before he was 4 months old….that is quite unusual.  The swaddle is wonderfully soft and easy to put on. As part of his bed time routine, I bathe him then nurse him and he usually falls right to sleep. I was able to put him in the sleep sack after his bath, nurse him and then lay him down on the swaddle wing and wrap him up. Can you believe he didn’t wake up? Like many other infants his age, he wakes up a few times at night, but I do have to admit that he did sleep a bit more. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long…..growth spurt and developmental changes got in the way! Hahahaha. You can read many rave reviews from other parents, watch video demonstrations, obtain sleep information and purchase your very own swaddle system by visiting their website, www.heartswaddle.com.

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A Study in Sleep Training Part 2

A Study in Sleep Training Part 2

When we last left Penelope Pittstop she was tied to the train tracks while Snidely Whiplash was & hellip; wait, wrong damsel in distress.

We were chatting about a clever, thoughtful, AP Mother who had reached the end of her tether and counted on sleep training to help get the entire family back on track. Just things went south, everybody sobbed for hours and felt typically terrible about it till lastly at 11:30 PM she pulled infant back into her bed, nursed her to sleep, encouraged that she was both a horrible individual as well as one destined a lifetime of desperate sleep deprivation and anguish.

Dudley Do-Right was not available for remark. However I was and this is exactly what I had to say & hellip;.

Below’& rsquo; s exactly what I think happened & hellip;

. Her bedtime began relocating back on you –– from 9:00 PM till 11:00 -12:00 AM. Which you’& rsquo; ve already found out was method late leaving her means overtired. So you thoughtfully tried to repair it by mixing it to a more age proper 7:30. Which appeared like a grand idea due to the fact that all guides say she needs to be going to sleep at 7:30.

But right here’& rsquo; s the rub– the reason CIO at bedtime works is that there are a whole lot of biological and chemical things going on in your baby at bed time that make it almost impossible for them to remain awake. So while they can protest for a while, eventually (often under 1 hour, in some cases even less) they WILL fall asleep. It’& rsquo; s inescapable.

This nonetheless presumes that you have a consistent bedtime. You did(ish) just it was 11:30 PM at night. So exactly what occurred was she decreased at 7:30 and successfully rested. Then she got out of bed and shouted at you for hours till her body-clock ACTUAL bedtime came up and those biological/chemical processes pitched in to make sleep happen. Obviously you provided her the boob which also assisted however by that time, the tides were with you so to speak.

So at this point you have two issues –– the registered nurse=sleep routine AND the too late bedtime issue. Sadly you can only deal with one at a time. I would start with the nurse=sleep habit but concentrate on a bed time of no earlier than maybe 10:30. So CIO at bedtime but bed time is still late (for now).

When she is sleeping solo you gradually begin shifting bedtime up. Possibly 15 minutes a day: 10:15, 10:00, 9:45, and so on until you get to that wonderful age proper goal of 7:30. Don’& rsquo; t forget loud white sound. Also since she’& rsquo; s a co-sleeper, possibly you stick a lovey in your bra all day and offer it to her in her baby crib. It’& rsquo; ll smell like you. Might help, definitely won’& rsquo

; t hurt! Just a fast response (my husband just said leave that inadequate woman be!), just to say we put her down at 10.30 and its only been 12 minutes up until now but its simply been recurring calling out up until now. Not sobbing or shouting like last night, definitely seems various. Tired and confident as opposed to livid! Anyway yes I will go since I require sleep myself but i will give you an update tomorrow. I am so grateful and in such a healthier more confident position compared to this time last evening!

And then & hellip;

I wish you can see the grin on my face. I am so delighted !!

So last night we did the bed time regular but in a better order, and in dimmer lighting (boob first, bath, jammies, book, bed)& hellip; she began fussing by the jammies phase and I was a bit worried but stayed calm and comforting and told myself that was since she was wheelsed, not terrified. I put her in bed at 10:30 PM. She cried off and on for numerous minutes on, then off, then on & hellip; but each time more faintly, and it never ever appeared like a real distress cry, more like worn out and hoping that she might call me back.

She was asleep by 10:53 !! No shouting and no guilt on my part.

And then she awakened at 2:20 AM. I felt so delighted when she got up, she had actually slept for 3 and a half hours! I could cope if she only awakened 3 or 4 times a night. I fed her and she fell asleep in my arms, I put her in the cot & hellip; she awakened, scrabbled about and cried out. Usually I would scoop her back up but I held company to see what would happen and sure enough she settled herself back to sleep in less than ONE MINUTE !!

And afterwards she slept for 7 HOURS STRAIGHT !!!!!!

So I may appear totally crazy, and maybe I am going a bit over the top due to the fact that I am so worn out & hellip; but I truthfully seem like I have experienced a fantastic epiphany which life for my household has actually simply begun to take a a lot more positive instructions. And I thank you so much since it was you that pointed me in that instructions. Ok, I did all the effort –– I understood I was on the wrong track and should take a various path but I was totally lost and mystified (am I laboring this whole trip metaphor too much ?! ha ha) –– it was so intimidating but right here we are!

This was a long story however I hope you all got a lot out of it. I understand I did. For example I learned that & hellip;

  • Small mistakes can cause big problems.
  • This is KEY so let me duplicate it. Small errors can cause big issues.
  • Even actually clever well-read people can make small errors.
  • Sleep deprivation makes it truly hard for us to solve problems.
  • You can be an attachment moms and dad and still sleep train your child. Attachment and rest are not equally special goals.
  • If sleep training seems like it’& rsquo; s going terribly wrong, it probably is. Take a step back, review the huge photo (whole day, sleep regimens, organizations, eating habits, and so on). See if you can’& rsquo; t determine what small tweak is making things blow up on you.
  • Read everything I’& rsquo; ve put together on rest training.
  • Have faith in yourself. Billions of people have sorted out rest things and so can you.

Is there anything you’& rsquo; re eliminating from her story?

5 Things I Learned from Doing Sleep Consults

5 Things I Learned from Doing Sleep Consults

A couple of weeks ago I chose to provide away a few complimentary individual sleep gets in touch with on Facebook. I totally expected to get a handful of remarks and wind up doing 1-2 complimentary consults. I ended up with over 400 remarks and 13 households to deal with.

Thirteen. Not one or 2. THIRTEEN.

So that’& rsquo; s what I & rsquo;

ve depended on. And’while they & rsquo; ve taken a heap of time it & rsquo; s been incredibly revitalizing. When you invest hours keying in away on posts, comment replies, and so on you in some cases forget that there are real people out there. Delightfully wise funny individuals with adorable squishy infants. With crazy child hair. And ape toes.

So I’& rsquo; ve been Skyping, emailing, and chatting with an array of weary households. And they instructed me a lot.

1

People wear’& rsquo; t truly know exactly what a & ldquo; bad

sleeper & rdquo; is. ALL the moms and dads I had the enjoyment of talking with began the conversation by informing me what a horrible sleeper their cherished peanut was. However fact be informed, less than half actually HAD a bad sleeper on their hands. What I gathered from this is that ALL babies are HARD. Even the most convenient infant is a lot of work. So no issue exactly what is going on with your child, from your point of view, it is a real obstacle.

2

Take down awake isn’& rsquo; t

enough. Everybody in the infant rest world stresses the significance of taking down infant awake. So it’& rsquo; s practically difficult to discover a new parent who hasn & rsquo; t discovered this principle and is either currently struggling with it or plans to as quickly as they muster up the nerve to do so.

But “& ldquo; put’down awake & rdquo; isn & rsquo; t really the FULL solution. The OPTION is to put down WITHOUT SHOCKS. This consists of putting them down awake so they aren’& rsquo; t surprised to find you missing later. But that is just one possible surprise. So if you are putting your baby down awake WITH A PACIFIER, you aren’& rsquo; t quite done. Unless your baby is one of those savant infants who can happily find and change the paci during the evening on their own, putting baby down awake with a pacifier in their mouth frequently causes getting up all evening since they’& rsquo ; re a)pleasantly surprised when they wake up with the paci (mysteriously) missing and b) are unable to fumble ready to change it.

3

There IS no fast fix.

Everybody is trying to find the magic elixir that will deal with things. And they desire instant proof that whatever they are doing is working. Infants wear’& rsquo; t work like this. You have to commit to a new strategy for a few days or potentially a week. Not a day, or one nap. A week. Too commonly people attempt things as soon as or twice and compose it off as a failure. When the only failure was not sticking with it long enough to actually know.

4

Desperate measures are for newborns.

Newborns are really really tough. Relaxing newborns is challenging company. Getting them to fall and remain asleep can be difficult and ruthless. So for a while, you do whatever you should do. Child just naps on your lap, infant only sleeps connected to your boob, infant only sleeps while being pushed in a stroller, and so on. Often you should just make it through the day and no one should look askance because you are doing what you need to.

But eventually you require to work with breaking out of desperate habits. Or instead of being “& ldquo; what we did you endure a specifically bad phase or sleep regression” & rdquo; it becomes & ldquo; exactly what we do every day.” & rdquo; And this will backfire on you on two fronts. For beginners, desperate acts to obtain baby to sleep are generally not fun and typically drain the ever-loving life out of you. It’& rsquo; s just not sustainable. And second of all as your baby gets older (certainly older than 2-3 months) many of these desperate acts lock you into the course to cryitoutsville. And I UNDERSTAND no one wishes to go there.

So at some point, preferably quicker than later, you should develop some alternative techniques to assist your baby rest. Which is tough due to the fact that & hellip;

5

Everybody is definitely FRIGHTENED of modification.

Modification is scary. People are so tired that the idea of things becoming worse, even temporarily, is definitely horrifying. Even individuals who are so brutally sleep deprived that it would actually be impossible for things to get even worse hesitate of doing things in a different way. This is how they get locked into non-functional sleep situations for months or years. Not because they haven’& rsquo; t read the right books. Not because they aren’& rsquo; t smart enough. Not since they don’& rsquo

; t care. Modification is scary. But the key to resolving any obstacle with your kid (and count on me when I tell you that rest is only the first of a billion you will face) is to be ready to do something different. YOU should do something various. You can’& rsquo; t wait it out or hope your child will alter. Everything beginnings with you. This is frightening and awkward. But there is no other way.

Put on your huge girl/boy panties. Have faith in yourself. Know that if billions of various other parents can figure this out, you can too. Exactly what you’& rsquo; re doing isn & rsquo; t working. Attempt something new. It & rsquo; s the only method things will get much better. And it will get much better. I promise.

Most of the 13 sleep consults are concluded and if I can pat myself on the back, effectively so. To those of you who were prepared to share your families and obstacles with me, thank you a lot! As you can see I got a lot out of the experience. I hope you did too!

Has anyone else struggled with discovering the nerve to make a modification? (Please note if you are struggling, there is no shame in it. Nearly everyone else is too.) Or do you have some suggestions or experience that might help those that are struggling?

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Dr. Karp Interview Part I Baby Swings and Safe Sleep

Dr. Karp Interview Part I Baby Swings and Safe Sleep

Dr. Karp Happiest Baby Guide to Great SleepMost of you understand who Dr. Karp is. If you put on’& rsquo; t? Well he & rsquo; s amazing. And frankly the reality that he’& rsquo; s outstanding most likely surpasses the fact that he’& rsquo; s a fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics, is a USC teacher, and a best-selling author. Further, as you can see from the picture above we’& rsquo; re almost BFFs (there is a small chance that I’& rsquo; m overemphasizing that fact and this could simply be a picture taken after he spoke at a conference). Most of you know him from his terrific Happiest Infant DVD. I’& rsquo; m wishing to see to it you know him due to the fact that of the fantastic book The Happiest Child Guide to Great Sleep (offered in paperback on March 19th –– WOO HOO!).

Seriously peeps, this book is right up there with Ferber and Weissbluth in the “& ldquo; have to buy & rdquo; category

. Anyhoo for a broad range of reasons Dr. Karp is an all around cool man. He was catapulted into the classification of uber-cool when he accepted an interview by Skype where I might pepper with him with questions about swaddle-hating children, pacifier troubles, child swings, the eat-play-sleep approach, and a lot of various other things.

Nevertheless because obviously nobody will see a YouTube video longer than 3 minutes (this is internet law, right up there with thou shalt not look for infant assistance on Yahoo Responses) I’& rsquo; m breaking our interview into small pieces and will be posting them below in a series. There is a bunch of fantastic baby rest ideas right here and I urge you to subscribe to my newsletter (over there on the right) so you’& rsquo; ll understand when every little thing gets uploaded.

[KEEP IN MIND: This IS Dr. Karp although he appears like he’s talking to me through the witness protection program which has actually blurred his face to keep his identity a trick. Sadly it’s just an inadequate web connection. However you can hear what he’s stating which’s the fundamental part right? RIGHT ?!?]

If you aren’& rsquo; t familiar with Dr. Karp then begin right here with a brief intro on why I enjoy him so.

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I’& rsquo; ve been rather clear in my support for infant swings as an effective rest aid. Plainly not ALL infants require the swing but bunches of newborns succeed in them and a lot of older infants nap like champions in a good infant swing.

But invariably the question turns up –– is it safe? Plainly the AAP suggestion is that babies oversleep their baby cribs at all times. And definitely the objective is that at some point your baby will be happily oversleeping the baby crib too. And for this reason I always recommend you run the concept of your baby sleeping in the swing by your very own cherished pediatrician.

Dr. Karp has also long been a supporter of infant swings. He talks about the power of motion for infant soothing in his Happiest Baby on the Block DVD. However what about the wellness concern for rest? I asked Dr. Karp this question, examine out the video to see what he needed to state about it.

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I’& rsquo; ve got even more excellent stuff with Dr. Karp you succeeded’& rsquo; t desire to miss out on out on. Subscribe to my newsletter and I’& rsquo; ll let you understand when it’& rsquo; s offered. Next up the best ways to get out of reinserting the paci all night long!

Anyone relieved to have a pediatric celeb back up your choice to let infant nap in the swing? Delighted by the potential customer of video content (yay or nay on the video things)? This is all brand-new ground for me and I welcome your ideas!

Dr. Karp Part 2 Answers Two Key Swaddling Questions

Dr. Karp Part 2 Answers Two Key Swaddling Questions

I have actually made no secret of my unassailable love of swaddling. Swaddling babies could be the just thing I love more than Game of Thrones (Winter is coming, unless you live right here in VT where obviously winter is currently right here and evidently, never ever ending). Swaddling offers numerous advantages (not even consisting of how adorable little infant burritos are) that it’& rsquo; s among the couple of things that I recommend for ALL children. So please stop asking me the best ways to get your unswaddled newborn to sleep much better due to the fact that my response will always be to swaddle that child.

However obviously the moms and dads of these unswaddled babies put on’& rsquo; t’live under a rock. It & rsquo; s not that they put on & rsquo; t understand exactly what swaddling is’or haven & rsquo; t attempted it. They tried it and and have concerned the conclusion that, “& ldquo; Their child DESPISES THE SWADDLE.”

& rdquo; So this appeared like a perfect question to ask the Grand Poobah of infant swaddling, Dr. Karp. Do some infants just hate the swaddle? Or must ALL infants be swaddled?

The various other big swaddling issue that comes up regularly is, what do you do when your child absolutely ENJOYS the swaddle, however has found out how to flip over in it. You can never ever let a swaddled child rest on their stomach (seriously NEVER) so these safety-conscious parents ditch the swaddle only to wind up with an unswaddled non-sleeping child. Does Dr. Karp have any handy recommendations for the parents of flipping swaddle-loving children?

Also exactly what is the finest method to swaddle a child who is oversleeping a swing, rock n play, and so on that should be strapped in? I have long advised to merely leave the legs FROM the swaddle. Ends up there is a better means. Look into the brief video below and discover how!

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Happiest Baby Guide to Great SleepTrying to find more from Dr. Karp? If you’& rsquo; re struggling, it may be time to find a neighborhood certified Happiest Child teacher for some hands-on support. Or get his excellent book which will be readily available in paperback on March 19th. I understand, you’& rsquo; re most likely thinking you need an additional infant rest book like you require a great case of athlete’& rsquo; s foot. However honest, this one is worth a look.

Has Dr. Karp persuaded any of you moms and dads of swaddle-hating babies to offer it another go? Is anyone anxious about getting their swaddle-loving baby FROM the swaddle?