29 Parents Reveal the Secret to Improving Your Baby’s Sleeping Habits

Image credit: http://www.babysleepsite.com

Before you become a parent, you take sleep for granted.  After all, you can completely control how much sleep you get simply by adjusting your bedtime or wake-up time.
After having a baby, however, sleep becomes this unknown variable in your life; it becomes this elusive concept that changes from night to night.  As a parent of an infant, you often find yourself thinking…

CAN I JUST GET SOME F@#%!#& SLEEP PLEASE?!

Somewhere in the back of your mind, you know it’s temporary.  But when you’re going on your 10th straight night of only sleeping in 1-2 hour blocks, you start to lose that part of your brain that thinks logically.

After experiencing something like this, we knew there had to be a way to make it better.

But because every baby is different, there isn’t any ONE thing that will work for every baby.  So, we set out to compile the wisdom of many parents who have been through this and have found a strategy that works for improving their baby’s sleep habits.

And just as important, improving their own sleeping habits.

We tracked down 29 parents and asked them this question:

What’s the #1 thing that worked for you when it came to improving your son or daughter’s sleep habits as an infant?

 

Keep reading, and we’ll reveal what everyone told us (and even share what’s currently working for us).  

(Warning: This post contains a ton of content – you may want to bookmark / pin it so you can refer back to it later. 🙂 )

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Pros and Cons of Cloth Diapers (As Gross as it Sounds?)

Several years ago, long before I ever thought about becoming a parent, I heard about a family member who had begun using cloth diapers for her baby.  And to be honest, my initial gut reaction was: that’s disgusting.

It’s true that today’s society is often criticized for embracing a “throw away” culture, and I agree it’s a valid complaint.  We’re far more wasteful now than we’ve ever been, in a lot of ways.

But let’s be honest here – when it comes to poopy diapers…

Doesn’t it make sense to throw them away?  

Before coming to some grand conclusion, I want to take a deep dive into cloth diapers (not literally, of course – eww) and examine how they stack up against disposable diapers.

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Best Rock ‘n Play Sleeper Review 2017 (at least, we think it’s amazing)

Best Rock 'N Play SleeperBefore our daughter was born, I’ll admit, we were pretty clueless about most baby products.

Like most people, we set up a baby registry and put a bunch of stuff on there.  Some of it was pretty straightforward – clothes, blankets, etc.  But there were definitely other products where we had no idea if we’d ever actually use them.

One of these mysterious products was a rock ‘n play sleeper.

Between the pack ‘n play, the crib, the bouncer, the bassinet, and everything else you could put a baby into, were we really going to use a rock ‘n play?

Yeah, sure, add it to the list.

Little did we know it would become not only our favorite purchase, but we would go on to buy a second one. A different one. It would end up being the very reason that we were finally able to get some sleep in our little girl’s first few months of life.

So which ones did we buy? And what we do we think is the best rock ‘n play sleeper? Allow me to explain…

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62+ Smart Ways for Parents to Save Money Online

If you’re anything like us, you probably make some attempts to be mindful of your expenses, but always feel like you could (and should) be saving more money.

Kids are expensive – especially when you consider things like paying for their college tuition one day.

For us, saving money is challenging because we’re fortunate enough to be in a position where we can get by without squeezing every penny.  In some ways, the people who absolutely need to save money have an easier time doing it – because they’re doing it out of necessity.

So whether you need save as much as possible or simply want to get better at it, I think we can all agree that saving money allows us enjoy other areas of life (hobbies, vacations, etc.) and meet our financial obligations.

There’s one word I don’t really like, and this isn’t going to be popular with many personal finance bloggers.

You know, the “F” word.

Frugal.

To me, the concept of “being frugal” always seemed to have this connotation that you’re somehow sacrificing quality (or lots of time) in order to save money.  Whether it’s spending hours on end hovering over a newspaper, clipping coupons, or it’s buying a vastly inferior off-brand TV to save a few bucks, I think frugality has lost some of its luster.

Frugal used to be cool, but now it feels like a fancy word for “cheap.”

There needs to be a better word for smart spending where you aren’t sacrificing a lot of time or quality.  I’ll let you know if I come up with it, but for now we’ll just stick with smart spending.

With all of that in mind, let’s get to the point here.

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Ultimate Guide to The Best Childcare Options for Infants

Best Childcare Options for ParentsOne thing my wife and I have discussed and debated with regards to our baby girl is how we want to handle childcare, considering we both work full time jobs.  And I’m guessing we’re not alone in trying to figure out the best childcare options (for infants especially).

Our general debate was “daycare or in-home nanny” because those were really the only viable options to us, especially at an age when our daughter isn’t yet going to school.

However, there are obviously a lot of other options available that we first considered before narrowing it down to the two options that seemed most realistic to us.  So before I get into my specific analysis of the best childcare options, let’s go through the different types of childcare available, and the pros and cons of each.

I promise, this isn’t as difficult as it seems.

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How to Pick a Baby Name in 2017 (And Not Screw It Up)

how-to-pick-a-baby-name-smallFiguring out how to pick a baby name is highly subjective process.  You might like one name…that your spouse absolutely hates.

In fact, it’s very likely that this is the case.

You go through the baby name lists online, each of you striking names from the list that you don’t like.

Your wife loves “Emma,” but Emma was the name of your 5th grade teacher who you despised.

You like “Carrie,” but your wife fears the name will inspire a telekinetic power used for evil massacres (+1 if you get the movie reference).

So how do you actually pick a baby name that you both can agree on?

Or what if you find yourself at the point where you can’t seem to agree on any name?

Let’s figure this one out…

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Should I Start a 529 (College Savings) Plan for My Child?

As a parent, one of the hot topics in personal finance that you’ll often see discussed is saving for your child’s college education.

While some parents prefer to save their child’s college fund in a glass jar or underneath their mattress, there are certainly a lot of better options out there: one of which is a 529 Plan.

(Whether or not you think saving for your child’s college tuition is a good idea is a separate discussion – I discuss that here.)

The 529 plan sounds a lot more confusing and intimidating than it is, and I think that’s why some people ignore it.  And you don’t need to hire a CPA or a financial adviser to set one up – it’s actually quite easy to do yourself.

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Top 10 Books to Read to a Baby in 2017 (And the Benefits of Reading to Them)

top-10-books-for-kids-smallerThere’s no doubt you’ve heard about the importance of reading to your child, especially as he or she gets a bit older and can comprehend what you’re saying.

But even when your child is an infant – before he or she can talk or comprehend language – reading still has benefits.

But what should you read? Does it even matter when your child is a baby?

Keep reading, and not only will I get into the benefits of reading to a baby (and the science behind it), but I’ll give you a rundown of the top 10 books to read to a baby in 2017.

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How to Split Nighttime Duties with a Newborn (Even When Dad is Working)

Undoubtedly the single greatest challenge of raising a newborn child is something you’ve likely taken for granted your entire life: how to manage sleep.

And no, not managing sleep for the baby: the baby will sleep whenever it feels like sleeping.

Before becoming a new parent, you commonly hear two seemingly contradictory things:

  1. Newborn babies sleep all the time (somewhere in the range of 16-20 hours per day)
  2. As a parent of a newborn, you will get very little sleep

“What the f**k?”  you think to yourself.  If the baby is sleeping 16-20 hours per day, surely I can find my usual 6-8 hours of sleep in there somewhere, right?

Here’s the part where experienced parents laugh at you.

I thought the same thing when my daughter was born.  I knew sleep was going to be rough in the beginning, but with the baby sleeping most of the day, I thought for sure there would be some way to still get something close to my normal amount of sleep.

Ha…I was so wrong.

I’m not going to get into the exact details of why I didn’t sleep much, because it’s irrelevant for the topic of this post.  Every kid is different, and I can guarantee your experience will be at least somewhat different from mine.

But…we can all agree that nighttime sleep will never be the same while a newborn is in the house.  So, with that in mind, I want to discuss some strategies around how to tackle these nighttime duties in your average two-parent home.

It won’t be easy, but here it goes…

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How to Start a Baby Registry Online (Everything You Need to Know)

how-to-start-baby-registry-onlineSetting up a baby registry is one of those fun things you get to do before the baby is born (maybe as fun as designing the baby’s nursery).

It’s kind of like writing a Christmas list when you’re a little kid…you pick out things you want, you don’t pay for them, and you just wait and see if you get the items on your list.

It used to be that you would physically go into a store and set up a registry there (and some people still do it this way).  Friends and family would then need to go into that store to make a purchase off your registry.

But with the internet as it is today, you can do it all online much more efficiently, with a lot more options.

There are a few things to know about how to start a baby registry online, however.

I’ll get into those here, along with the many places you can register (with my personal recommendations).

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Can You Influence a Baby’s First Words? (and Should You?)

influence-baby-first-wordsA baby speaking its first word(s) is often viewed as one of the key milestones in its first 9-14 months of existence.

Which means, as a parent, you’ve spent nearly a year being babbled at.

It’s cute and all, but you’re dying for some real conversation with your infant child. The babbling has taken a toll on your vocabulary as the gibberish nonsense has now become a part of your daily conversation.

Even the dog looks confused.

confused-dog

Naturally, some parents try to speed up the process and even attempt influence their baby’s first words (see Jimmy Fallon’s book, Dada).

Can you actually influence a baby’s first words? And should you?

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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Push Presents (2017): Gifts for Mom After Birth

If you or your wife is giving birth for the first time, you’ve probably heard of the “push present.”

A push present is exactly what it sounds it like: a gift for pushing out the baby – to the woman who did all the pushing – typically given by the baby’s father.  Makes sense.

Giving birth to a child isn’t easy.  It’s an accomplishment of sorts; after all, it’s commonly referred to as a “miracle” (despite the fact that having children is incredibly common, and has been since the beginning of the human race).

Okay, I’m only kidding (a little bit); I don’t mean to downplay the monumental event that is childbirth. It is literally life-changing.  So naturally, it’s an occasion that may be worthy of a gift.

When is this gift generally given? What are the best push presents?

Where did the idea of the “push present” even come from? And why is it semi-controversial?

Relax, I’ll explain all of this – so keep on reading…

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First Time Dad Tips: 10 Things You Should Know

Image Credit: Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty Images
Image Credit: Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty Images

Becoming a dad for the first time is pretty scary.

Every day you find yourself facing issues you’ve never dealt with before. And not only are you dealing with a new child, but likely a new mother as well (I think most mothers would agree that this adds a layer of complexity to the father’s experience).

The good thing is, billions of people before you have managed to become parents and more or less did an OK job. You aren’t expected to know everything, and most of what you need to know you will learn along the way.

As a first-time-dad-to-be, I researched this topic quite a bit.  There’s a lot of information out there for “first time parents,” but most of the writing is from a woman’s perspective and therefore tends to skew toward first time moms.

A lot of first time dad tips are the same, but there are some key differences.

What are they? Let’s get right into ’em.

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5 Critical Things to Consider When Designing a New Baby Room

baby-nursery-designDesigning a new baby room is definitely one of those fun things that couples get to work on together prior to a baby’s birth.  From colors, to furniture, to overall style – there’s definitely a lot of room for creativity.

My wife and I had a pretty unique situation, in that our future baby room was, at the time…

…occupied by a bunny.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Our pet bunny had its own room.  That’s what happens when you move into a three bedroom condo and don’t have kids for a few years.

So, on top of the usual room designing tasks, we had one extra step: find a new place for the bunny to live.  I won’t bore you with those details, because chances are, you don’t have to deal with this exact scenario.

Regardless of what your situation is, however, you are probably looking to fully transform the current space.  And in doing so, there are some important factors you will want to think about.

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11 Things Parents Should Know about the Cost of Raising a Child

(This is a guest post by Jenn Matthews)

Raising a child is not cheap and it is rarely ever easy. Those who wish to be parents someday and those who are new to the parenting world will find out that the cost of raising a child is astronomical and, if you plan to have more than one child, you really need to think about your budget and how you will allocate your money.

A study performed by the Department of Agriculture estimates the total cost to raise a child from birth through the age of 17, as of 2015, is about $233,000. This boils down to about $14,000 per year.

For many households in the US, this is a BIG chunk of parents’ paycheck, especially those who work in lower wage jobs and only bring home around $52,000 per year (the median household income in the US).

It is estimated that the cost of raising a child will rise about three percent every year, so it is safe to say if you do not have a child yet, you will pay more to raise your baby.

Below, we will take a look at 11 things you should know about the cost of raising a child. These 11 things will help you rethink your situation and budget a little better to afford the things your child needs.

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62+ Smart Ways for Parents to Save Money Online (free digital guide)

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