Baby sleep patterns : References

These are the references cited in my article “Baby sleep patterns: A guide for the science-minded parent.” For related articles, see “Newborn sleep,”“Baby sleep requirements,” and “Infant sleep problems.” Akerstedt T, Billiard M, Bonnet M, Ficca G, Garma L, Mariotti M, Salzarulo P, Schulz H. 2002. Awakening from sleep. Sleep Med Rev.6(4):267-86. Anders TF. 1979. … Continue reading

Baby sleep patterns: An evidence-based guide

father holding sleepy infant

© 2018 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Baby sleep patterns vary from infant to infant, and they change over time. So there is no one, universal chart or instruction manual that can predict when and how your baby will sleep. But scientific research can help us understand the range of variation, and the general trends. … Continue reading

Colicky babies and brain chemistry: Understanding the effects of temperament and pain sensitivity

colicky baby crying in father's arms

© 2009 – 2017 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved By definition, colicky babies cry excessively and inconsolably. But why? As I note in this evidence-based overview of colic, some babies may suffer from specific physical ailments, like allergies, migraine, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. But there is also evidence that some infants are “wired up” a little … Continue reading

Ferber method: What is it, and how does it affect babies?

infant in crib looking sad or pensive

What is the Ferber method? The Ferber method, also known as “graduated extinction,” is an infant sleep training program developed by Richard Ferber.  In a series of training sessions, parents leave their children alone for strictly-timed intervals, ignoring any protests and cries they might hear. When the method works, children gradually accept that no one will … Continue reading

Newborn sleep patterns: A survival guide

asleeping newborn with pacifier in mouth

© 2008 – 2017 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved As every parent knows, the world of newborn sleep is exotic and strange. Babies rack up lots of sleep overall, averaging 16-18 hours a day during the first two weeks. Yet they awaken frequently, and rarely sleep more than 4 hours at a stretch, even … Continue reading

Infant sleep problems: A troubleshooting guide

tired father watching nighttime TV with sleepeless infant

Are you struggling with infant sleep problems? Baby sleep is different than adult sleep. A lot of the stuff that drives us crazy is developmentally normal behavior. For example, newborns need to feed frequently (8-12 times every 24 hours), and the transition to longer, consolidated bouts of sleep is gradual. In general, we shouldn’t expect babies … Continue reading

Baby talk 101: How infant-directed speech helps babies learn language

father smiles, face-to-face communication with newborn

Whether you think it’s cute, or it makes you squirm, baby talk is a compelling scientific phenomenon. All around the world, people use a special register when they speak to the very young. This “infant-directed speech,” or IDS, is recognizable for its higher pitch and more melodic, emotionally-charged tone. These features capture a baby’s attention, … Continue reading

Evidence-based tips for breastfeeding moms: A guide for the science-minded

Gaugin painting detail of breastfeeding

© 2008-2014 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Breastfeeding may be natural, but it isn’t automatic (Volk 2009). Here are some tips for breastfeeding moms, based on research by lactation experts, anthropologists, and social scientists. For more evidence-based information about breastfeeding, see this collection of Parenting Science articles. 1. Don’t be bamboozled by the myth … Continue reading

What is SIDS? An overview for the science-minded parent

© 2009 -2014, Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What is SIDS? Scientists can offer only partial answers. But we know this much: SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, seems to involve a failure to arouse from sleep during a life-threatening event–like a severe episode of sleep apnea or esophageal reflux (Franco et al 2004). … Continue reading