Tuesday, June 28, 2011

To Swaddle or Not to Swaddle, That is the Question.....

Well of course the answer is YES in our house. Our babies (and most babies I have heard) LOVE to be swaddled. It makes them feel safe, and keeps the startle reflex from waking them up. Dr. Karp's Happiest Baby on the Block (a Godsend and must read for any new parent, imho) highly recommends swaddling to help baby sleep. Since our first son was a sleeping champ from day one, we planned on doing all the same things that had worked with him, including swaddling, with Baby #2.

He is a pretty good sleeper also, although not quite as unbelievable as his big brother. I can't complain though, because he is still much better than the average 5 month old.  I guess we were just so spoiled the first time around that we think he doesn't sleep for long enough stretches at night. When I asked our pediatrician why he was still getting up once (or twice) a night to eat, he basically laughed at me and replied, "Because he's hungry!" He also told me that most babies his age only sleep about 6-7 hour stretches, and that is considered "sleeping through the night". This was news to me, as our older son slept 12 hours straight (and napped for two hours TWICE during the day) at this age. No wonder the other mommies at Gymboree hated me when I would tell them that...

Anyway, I am getting way off topic. I am supposed to be talking about swaddling. We LOVE swaddling. I am a big fan of several swaddling blankets, but baby #2 was/is quite the Houdini and was able to get out of many of them. Then I found the Miracle Blanket, which I love. However, now that my monkey is bigger, he can get out of that one too. Such a bummer, because I was sure it was unescapable. The thing is, though, that the miracle blanket's website, and many other mommies, recommend discontinuing swaddling at about 4 months. So once he could get out of it, and he was almost 5 months old, I figured it was time, even though we had swaddled baby #1 until he was 6.5 months. Well, baby #2 was PISSED. He would not sleep and clearly was waking himself up when he was not swaddled. I was able to find two swaddling options that are for longer babies (you can find them here and here), and they really are IMPOSSIBLE to get out of. My question is, is it dangerous to keep swaddling him at this point? He will be 6 months old on July 7. He can roll over very well, but he never does when he is swaddled. I am afraid of him getting stuck if he rolls when swaddled, but then again, he needs to sleep (and so do we) so I think he needs it for a little while longer. The doctor says it is ok, as long as we are diligent about checking on him to make sure he doesn't get stuck face down. Hmmm- that doesn't give me the best feeling.

Anyone else swaddle their baby past the 5 month mark?? He has to be able to fall asleep eventually without being in a "baby burrito", so should I force the issue now? With our older son it was so easy.  One day, all the swaddlers were dirty, so he went to sleep without one and he never looked back. Our new little man seems like he is not going to give this up without a fight! Help!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Got Cradle Cap?

Cradle cap is gross. It's also harmless. Nevertheless, it bugged me. Especially when it was time for 3 month portraits. I literally tried almost EVERY product to get rid of it, with both babies, to no avail, unitl now. I finally know the cure! Yay! With my older son, I never found the solution, so until he outgrew it, I just had him in a lot of different hats. Our new baby's cradle cap is even more stubborn than his older brother's though.  So fun!

Cradle cap is basically baby dandruff, but it sticks to their scalp instead of flaking off. It's caused by the hormones in the womb or something like that. (Sorry, babies!) Again, it is harmless, and I know, I know, there are worse things in life to worry about, but whatevs! It basically looks like dried orange juice on top of baby's head, so it freaked me out at the first time I saw it! After being told (over and over) by the doctor that it wasn't some awful disease or anything, I was reassured, but then just wanted to GET RID OF IT. I have heard that dandruff shampoos, like Head and Shoulders, work, but that just seemed too harsh for baby's delicate and sensitive skin. So I tried tons of different home remedies, lotions, creams, oils, etc. Many didn't work at all, and the others worked for a day or so, but then the flakes would be back with a vengeance.  After tons of experimenting, I finally found the cure, at least for my little monkey. Here's what you do to get rid of the dreaded cap:

1.  Apply a thin layer of Mustela Stelaker on the scalp before baby goes to sleep at night.

2.  In the morning, rub organic Calendula oil on the scalp, applying liberally to any areas where you can actually see the sticky flakes. Let it sit for about 20-30 minutes to soften the skin.

3.  Use a "cradle cap" brush (I used the Bean-B-Clean and it worked great) to gently brush the flakes off baby's head. The brush is super soft, so it doesn't hurt them (like using a comb might), but works surprisingly well.

4.  Finally, use Bella Bee Gone Cradle Cap shampoo to wash baby's hair.  All the oil will get washed away, and the cradle cap will be gone! YAY!! An added bonus, the shampoo smells great!

We did this routine twice in one week, and now just use the cradle cap shampoo and brush in the bath, and the cradle cap has stayed away for almost a month!

Yay for no more hats!  Especially since my baby has a huge old melon like his brother and it is hard to find hats that fit anyway!!! ;)