Monday, April 19, 2010

Reader Questions: Fast Answers

Recently, we've had several questions that don't require long explanations. In this post, we'll respond to several of these questions at once. We've paraphrased the questions to make them a bit shorter.

1. What is a nursing strike?

A "nursing strike" often refers to older babies' refusal to breastfeed by turning or pushing away from mom and refusing to latch. Some mothers might interpret a "nursing strike" to mean that their babies want to quit breastfeeding. This can be very disappointing for moms who haven't yet reached their breastfeeding goals. Nearly all older babies will refuse to breastfeed occasionally, but most will return to breastfeeding fairly quickly. It is common for babies to turn and even arch away from moms when they are using disengagement cues. If they are distracted or disturbed by loud noises, over stimulation, illness or discomfort, babies may use disengagement cues to let their moms know that they need something to change before they feed. Remember, babies can't be specific about what is bothering them. It is up to parents to figure out what might be wrong. If mothers ignore these early cues, babies will escalate the cues and may start to fuss or cry. When hungry babies refuse to feed, it is important to look around the environment and reduce distractions or help babies feel more comfortable before trying to feed them.

2. Why does my baby like squeaky toys?

Babies' sense of hearing is well developed at birth and most babies love repetitive sounds. They like music with repeating melodies and toys that repeat sounds over and over. Squeaky toys can be particularly fun because they are associated in babies' minds with games they've played with mom or dad or with their own ability to predict the noises the toys can make. Babies love to anticipate experiences and events and will squeal with glee whenever they are able to predict the end of a game, like peek-a-boo, or the result of an action like squeezing a toy. See our earlier post to read more about why babies are so happy when their predictions come true.

3. Is it ok for a 5-month-old who can roll over on his own to sleep on his tummy?

As long as your baby's sleeping place is safe (e.g. firm surface and free of heavy bedding, stuffed animals, or anything that could trap your baby) babies who can roll over on their own do not have to be returned to their backs if they rollover from back to tummy during the night. However, it is best that all babies be put down to sleep on their backs no matter what they do when you turn out the light.

Next time: More reader questions and we'll introduce a new series!

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