Avoiding Bedtime Struggles

Month 10, Week 4

Bedtime can become more challenging around this age because your child is anxious about your leaving. This is another aspect of separation anxiety.

Even though she's not a year old yet, it's important to keep baby's sleep routine consistent so that she doesn't develop bad habits that keep you all awake:

  • If she's having trouble settling down, move bedtime earlier, not later. Being overtired can make it difficult for a baby to nod off.
  • Provide transition time. Let your baby settle down a bit from active play with a more quiet time and a consistent bedtime routine before going to sleep.
  • Offer a transitional object like a bear or blanket to soothe your baby.
  • Be consistent. If you let her fall asleep on the couch with you one night, she'll want to do it every night.
  • When she wakes up at night, rub or pat her back to get her back to sleep. Resist the temptation to bring her in your bed.

Your Baby's Development This Week

When your baby was 5 or 6 months old, she might have happily allowed you to pass her to the neighbor across the street or an aunt or cousin she'd never seen before, cooing and gurgling at the new face.

Not today! If stranger anxiety hasn't already started, get ready -- it will soon be in full swing.

  • Don't be surprised if she even shies away from familiar caregivers. Tell them not to take it personally -- it's just a phase.
  • Try not to resent her clinginess. It's a sign of her loving attachment to you. Comfort her and reassure her.
  • Help her get used to separation by not always following her immediately when she crawls or toddles to another room.
  • Call out to her instead of hurrying to her side right away when she fusses for you. This reassures her that you're still there when she can't see you.
  • When you leave, remind her with a ritual promise that "Mommy (or Daddy) always comes back."

You might wonder about ear infections. They're common in older babies, especially those in a child care setting. What should you do?

  • Prevent ear infections by warding off colds with frequent hand washing. And yes, a baby this young can learn to wash hands (with plenty of help from you!).
  • Some routine vaccines, including the pneumococcal and influenza vaccines, can help prevent some—but not all—ear infections. For your baby’s health, make sure all vaccines are up to date and given on time.
  • Look for signs like tugging at the ear, fever, congestion, crankiness, runny nose, and difficulty sleeping.
  • If your baby is diagnosed with an ear infection, your doctor will likely prescribe an antibiotic and may ask you to return in 2 weeks to check that the infection has resolved.
  • Frequent ear infections may damage hearing, so your doctor may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist and discuss ear tubes if the situation reoccurs or becomes chronic.

Month 10, Week 4 Tips

  • If you're out and about with your baby in a stroller, never leave her unattended or unbuckled -- even if she's asleep.
  • Don't use pillows in your stroller, just like you wouldn't use them in her crib.
  • Your baby is now old enough for a back carrier. Use restraining straps at all times, and if you bend over, squat -- don't bend at the waist -- so she doesn't fall out.
  • Family members may give your baby cherished old toys. They mean well, but the toys might not be safe and could break easily, leaving small parts and sharp edges.
  • It's not too early to start teaching baby to put her toys away. Show her how you put things back where they belong.
  • A small, vinyl photo album with pictures of family and friends makes a fun and meaningful toy for your baby.
  • For fun, safe play while you work in the kitchen, set up a low shelf or drawer full of baby-friendly items such as colanders, plastic containers, and wooden spoons.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on July 25, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Social and Emotional Development: 8 to 12 Months."

WebMD: "Make Your Kid's Bedtime Battle-Free."

WebMD: "Ear Infection Slideshow."

KidsHealth: "Choosing Safe Baby Products: Strollers."

KidsHealth: "Choosing Safe Baby Products: Back Carriers."

KidsHealth: "Choosing Safe Toys for Toddlers and Preschoolers."

KidsHealth:  "Safe Exploring for Toddlers."

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