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Your baby: 4 weeks old

Sleep solutions, what nobody tells you about baby’s first year and dealing with diaper rash. Learn about your 4-week-old.

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Photo: iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

Sleep like a baby?
Are you wondering who on earth came up with this expression? As you can probably attest by now, babies wake up every couple of hours and they just don’t sleep very tranquilly.

That’s because newborns have a different sleep cycle than adults. As we sleep, we alternate between light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. During REM sleep, we dream, and are more likely to waken, whereas during deep sleep, we’re zonked out. But research reveals that newborns cycle into REM sleep more often and spend twice as much time in REM sleep as we do. No wonder they’re more prone to waking!

And babies aren’t born with a circadian rhythm, which is what allows us to differentiate between day and night. Learn how to manage this sleep stage, which one expert calls “random chaos,” and find tips on soothing your newborn to sleep.

Baby care 101: diaper rash
Your baby’s skin is very sensitive and, sooner or later, its frequent encounters with wet diapers, urine, and stools are bound to prove too irritating to take. The result? The dreaded diaper rash.

The principal instigator of diaper rash is excessive moisture. That’s why the best way to avoid diaper rash is to keep your baby’s bottom dry.

Fun fact
According one study, women take on average 2 minutes and 5 seconds to change a diaper, whereas the average man takes 1 minute and 36 seconds! Ready for a change-off with your partner?

What nobody tells you about baby’s first year
In so many ways before you have a baby, ignorance truly is bliss. (Do you really want to know every detail of labour before your water breaks?) But there are nuggets of information that can really help as you settle into parenthood. From the shock of the early weeks, to relationship issues and poop obsessions, here are things moms who’ve been there wish they’d known.

Tips from the trenches
“When the baby sleeps or takes a nap, you sleep or take a nap, at least for the first few months. After that, you get used to going non-stop on a few hours of sleep per night! Don’t burn yourself out.” — Laura-Lee, mom of one

Breastfeeding troubles
Don’t despair if you and your baby are having trouble getting the hang of breastfeeding. The first few weeks are the toughest. Here are solutions to some of the early challenges.

It’s important to seek out skilled help as soon as you can to boost your chances of success. If you’re worried about baby’s intake or need troubleshooting assistance, contact your local La Leche League (1-800-665-4324) or another breastfeeding support group, or get in touch with a lactation consultant through the International Lactation Consultants Association.

Originally published on Oct. 11, 2011.

Read more:
White noise machines: Safe for babies?
Dealing with diaper rash
Insomnia? How new moms can cope