Jun 13, Finding the right infant sleep aid: Which ones work?

Finding the right infant sleep aid: An evidence-based guide for getting your baby to sleep © 2008-2018 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Looking for an effective infant sleep aid? Here are some evidence-based suggestions for helping your baby fall asleep and stay asleep. For more ideas, see these articles about baby sleep patterns and solving infant sleep problems. 1. The bedtime routine: A helpful infant sleep aid with no apparent downside Many sleep experts suggest that parents develop a regular bedtime routine for their infants. This might include about 20 minutes of quiet, calming, low-key activities like bathing, reading a bedtime story, singing a lullaby, and giving the baby a gentle massage. In theory, such bedtime rituals help babies wind down, and make the transition from waking to sleeping more pleasant. In practice, parents instructed to introduce bedtime routines have reported rapid improvements in sleep quality (Mindell et al 2017). There is also eviden..
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Jun 5, Dream feeding: An evidence-based guide to helping babies sleep longer

Dream feeding: An evidence based guide to helping babies sleep longer © 2018 GWEN DEWAR, PH.D., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Dream feeding has been defined as the practice of feeding a sleeping infant, with the aim of encouraging the baby to sleep longer. The term has also been used to describe any big meal (delivered during sleep or waking) that is timed to occur immediately before the parent falls asleep. Are these measures helpful? There is reason to think they could provide you with more time to sleep uninterrupted. However, dream feeds by themselves probably play only a modest role in infant sleep development. To promote mature sleep patterns, the most promising approach is to combine dream feeds with other sleep-friendly practices. Here is an overview of the subject -- the definitions, the evidence, the pros and cons, and frequently asked questions. What exactly is dream feeding? Tracey Hogg, who first coined the term, defines dream feeding as feeding a young infant while he or..
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Parenting Tip: Ignore Whining

The Situation Parents frequently ask, “How can I get my child to stop whining?” It feels like kids whine a lot about doing chores, wanting to go to their friend’s house NOW, not having certain clothing or toys,… The list goes on and on. The Tip Today’s tip will help put an end to all that whining: Teach children to use a regular voice by ignoring the whining. I know, you are probably thinking it is easier said than done. But it will work if you stick with it. Why Kids Whine Often children’s whining is their way of letting you know about a need or a want. Unfortunately, it is a way of talking that can drive you nuts because kids don’t give up and because of the tone of voice is so annoying. You know the one, that sing-songy way that sounds as if they are crying with words: “But m…o…o…m, I need to go to Michele’s house now.” Are you all cringing just thinking about it? How this Tip Works When your child first starts to whine, you can say, “I cannot hear you when you whine. Yo..
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May 23, The Mozart effect, Shmozart effect: Fact or fiction?

Mozart effect, Shmozart effect: Fact or fiction? © 2018 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What is "the Mozart effect"? In the popular culture, "the Mozart effect" refers to the claim that listening to Mozart's music can increase your general intelligence. In the scientific community, the term refers to something more specific: the contention that people enjoy brief (10-15 minute) improvements in visual-spatial reasoning after listening to short excerpts of Mozart's music. The term has also been used to describe the apparent health benefits of listening to music -- including benefits for people suffering from anxiety, hypertension, and epilepsy. Fact-checking Claims about Mozart's music have fueled a mini-industry of "smart baby" products and developmental toys. Is there strong evidence to back these claims up? With regard to the popular meaning of the "Mozart effect," the answer is no. No research has ever demonstrated that merely listening to Mozart's m..
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May 18, Stanford researchers seeking participants for online study

Online parenting studies: Research you can participate in Want to participate in research? These online parenting studies are being conducted by researchers in the behavioral and cognitive sciences. As a rule, each project has been approved by a college or university ethics board. However, before you participate, you should always read the information carefully to make sure you are comfortable with the terms of the study. Disconnected Parenting in the Digital Age: The effects of smart phones Seeking parents parents that use a smartphone and have children that are 10 years of age or under Researchers at the University of Sunderland want to understand how "the expanding use of smartphones in everyday life" is affecting parent-child relationships and interactions. They have a questionnaire for parents to fill out; it takes about 20 minutes. For more information, click here. What parenting practices are acceptable to you? Seeking parents who live in the United States, Canada, Aus..
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May 16, Potty training problems and solutions

Potty training problems and solutions: An evidence-based guide © 2006 - 2018; Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved If you're struggling with potty training problems, you aren't alone. It's not unusual for children to resist training or experience setbacks. Some children refuse to sit on the potty chair. Others don't mind sitting down, but refuse to defecate. Kids may balk at using the potty when they are away from home. And parents may get frustrated by frequent accidents or soiling. What can we do about these problems? If we plan ahead, we can prevent many of them from arising in the first place. At the end of this article, I offer tips for avoiding trouble. But first, let's consider what you can do if you've already hit a stumbling block. Here's an evidence-based guide to coping with common potty training problems. 1. Solving potty training problems caused by anxiety When children refuse to cooperate, it might seem that they're ..
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May 9, What’s normal? An evidence-based baby sleep chart

HomeAboutLegalContactShopWhat's newSupportJoin a study What’s normal? An evidence-based baby sleep chart © 2018, Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved This evidence-based baby sleep chart can't tell you exactly how long your baby needs to sleep. Researchers don't fully understand baby sleep patterns, let alone baby sleep requirements. But researchers have collected information from parents about their babies' sleep habits. Based on these surveys, we have a pretty good sense of what's typical -- the normal range of variation that parents report. So what does normal sleep look like in babies? The quick answer is summed up in this baby sleep chart. 0-2 months. Total sleep duration is 14-15 hours (average)Ranges between ~ 12-16 hours for about half the population* Ranges between ~ 9-20 hours for about 95% of the population Most parents report multiple night wakings Total nighttime sleep duration approximately 8-10 hours*Babies take 3-4 daytime naps (on av..
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Apr 23, Prenatal learning: Do “pregnancy foods” affect babies’ eating habits?

Prenatal learning: Do "pregnancy foods" affect babies' eating habits? © 2009 - 2018 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Opportunities for prenatal learning A fetus begins swallowing amniotic fluid at around 12 weeks, and by 28 weeks, an unborn baby is developing a powerful sense of smell (de Vries et al 1985). So might babies learn about odors and flavors before they are born? The phenomenon has been documented in rodents and rabbits (Bilko et al 1994; Hepper 1988). And there’s evidence for prenatl learning in humans as well. For instance, babies recognize the smell of their own amniotic fluids immediately after birth. Given the choice, newborns have shown a preference for breasts that have been dabbed with fluids from their amniotic sac (Varendi et al 1996). But babies lose their preference for the scent of amniotic fluid within a few days after birth. What about long-term effects? Can prenatal learning influence baby behavior weeks--even months--after birth? ..
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Apr 16, Flavors in breast milk: Can babies taste what their mothers ate for lunch?

Flavors in breast milk: Can babies taste what their lactating mothers ate for lunch? © 2018 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Flavors in breast milk? From the food that mothers ingest? Yes, it really happens, and babies can taste the difference. It might even affect their food preferences later in life. A mother eats a spicy meal, then nurses her baby an hour later. Will the flavors make their way into the breast milk? Will her baby detect undercurrents of garlic? Top notes of ginger and coconut? The baby probably isn't mulling it over with the vocabulary of a foodie. But the basic notion isn't far-fetched. A mother's diet really can affect the taste of her milk, and babies don't just notice these flavors. They also respond to them. Here's how we know. More garlic-flavored breast milk, please. What happens if you ask a bunch of breastfeeding mothers to swallow some garlic pills? Researchers tried it, and confirmed through lab analyses that the g..
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