A sleeping baby is a beautiful sight, but getting your 18-24 month old to sleep may be more difficult than it sounds. Just when you think baby has this sleep thing figured out, boom something happens to throw it all off balance like baby gets a cold or is teething. Before you know it, you are back to square one and up during the night. 
Events like illnesses, teething and even separation anxiety will happen at this age but you can keep baby's sleep schedule on track by having good "sleep hygiene." Sleep hygiene refers to specific things you do before going to bed that increase the likeliness of getting good sleep. For baby, setting up a consistent bedtime routine is the first step in creating good sleep habits. Continue reading to find out important steps for the bedtime routine.

Brain Science for Your Baby


Good sleep hygiene can help you feel better too.  A study of 405 mothers and their infants or toddlers (Mindell, 2009) found that starting a consistent nightly bedtime routine improved all kinds of things. Babies and toddlers fell asleep faster, woke up less often, and slept for a longer period of time without waking.  The researchers also measured mothers' moods.  For mothers of toddlers - using a consistent nightly bedtime routine were less tense, less irritable, less tired, and less confused.  Which makes sense - since adult brains need sleep too! 

A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby

Develop a bedtime routine so your baby will know what to expect each night before bed.


Set a consistent time for naps and bedtime...and stick to it!


Avoid heavy meals, excess fluids and high activity before bedtime.


Make bedtime routine tasks such as bathing, diaper changing, and dressing calm and relaxing events.


Include one-to-one activities such as reading a book or listening to music with baby.


Encourage your child to bring a favorite object, or "lovey" to bed.


Put baby to bed when they are tired but not completely asleep.


Give baby lots of love and hugs and tell them you will see them in the morning 

A Baby Buffer Prescription for You  


Make sure you are following good sleep hygiene too!  Here are some tips:


Get up at the same time every day (or within an hour). Even on weekends. When your sleep cycle has a regular rhythm, you will feel better.


Don't ignore tiredness. Go to bed when your body tells you it's ready.

Don't go to bed if you don't feel tired. This will only reinforce bad habits such as lying awake.
Get some sunshine. Exposure to light during waking hours helps to set your body clock.


Regular exercise is recommended to help you sleep well, but the timing of the exercise is important. Exercising in the morning or early afternoon will not interfere with sleep. Don't exercise straight before bed as your body needs time to wind down. 



What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Children in this age range are moving away from their "baby" stage and toward the greater world that they have never been physically able to explore before. Talking, walking and asserting their independence are the hallmarks of this stage, developmentally. Children need to explore...we just need to help them do so safely!


Gene's Research Tip

Is "Spring Cleaning" in the air, or at least a thought?  Well consider safety issues for your little ones, before you start!  The American Academy of Pediatrics has some great information at www.aap.org  and I will paraphrase.  Each year about 2.4 million people, more than half under age 6, swallow or have contact with a poisonous substance.  Most poisonings occur when caregivers are home but not paying attention.  The most dangerous potential poisons are medicines, cleaning products, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, pesticides, furniture polish, gasoline, kerosene and lamp oil.  Read More

Baby Buffer Blog
Written by Cathy Mancina Smith, PhD

April is Autism Awareness month. It's a time to recognize and reflect on this disorder that has unfortunately become more common in our society. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disability that is characterized by delays or deficits in social interaction, social communication and the presence of restricted and repetitive behaviors and interests.


I have been working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) which is referred to as autism, for over 20 years. When I entered graduate school in the early 1990's, the prevalence of autism was somewhat rare, affecting 1 in every 10,000 individuals. Since that time, the prevalence has been increasing. Last week, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released new data estimating that 1 in every 68 children in the US has a diagnosis of autism. This estimate is even higher than the one from 2012 that estimated of 1 in every 88 children having autism. Read More

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