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). Read More »

Baby development: Information for the science-minded parent

© 2009-2014 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Researchers who study baby development aim to understand one of the world’s most intriguing stories: How the human mind comes online. The discoveries are fascinating for their own sake. But they also offer many practical insights for parents. What does normal baby sleep look like? How frequently Read More »

Baby sleep problems: Does your baby suffer from GERD, a milk allergy, or snoring?

© 2008 – 2014 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved According to sleep researchers, most ongoing baby sleep problems are caused by behavioral factors (France and Blampied 1999). You can read more about these behavioral factors–and how to change the—in this scientific guide to solving common baby sleep problems. But some sleep problems are caused Read More »

Potty training tips: An evidence-based guide for the thinking parent

Evidence-based potty training tips? There haven’t been many experimental studies of toilet training, but helpful research exists. Here you will find a collection of evidence-based articles, including: What research reveals about the timing of training Signs of toilet training readiness: Should you wait? How to prepare reluctant kids for toilet training The anthropology and biology Read More »

Infantile colic: References about the causes of colic or inconsolable crying

Compiled by Gwen Dewar (last updated 12/2013) Here is a list of references about infantile colic and inconsolable crying. I cite them in my articles “What is colic? A critical review of the scientific evidence” “The causes of colic: How disease and differences in brain chemistry can explain excessive, inconsolable crying in young babies” I’ve Read More »

SIDS prevention: Hypotheses about reducing risk

© 2009 – 2013 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Guidelines for “SIDS prevention” are like guidelines about cancer prevention. Researchers don’t claim they know how to prevent SIDS in any given individual. But they’ve identified a number of practices that appear to increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Practices to AVOID include: Read More »

Math before words: What babies know about numbers

© 2008 – 2012 Gwen Dewar, all rights reserved What do babies know about numbers? Back in the 20th century, people assumed that infants lacked “number sense.” But today’s cognitive scientists have overturned the old ideas. Experimental research reveals a fascinating new world of baby cognition, one in which babies can recognize the approximate difference Read More »

The physiological causes of colic: How ailments and differences in brain chemistry can sometimes explain excessive, inconsolable crying

screaming infant

Colicky infants cry excessively and inconsolably. Why? There are many possible answers. Long ago, people assumed that colic was caused by abdominal pain. But the link was unproven, so many researchers have adopted definitions of colic that make no reference to causation. In fact, some have argued that colic isn’t about pain, or indeed any Read More »

Excessive infant crying & irritability: Which comes first — the unhappy baby or the stressed-out parent?

© 2009 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Some people believe that excessive infant crying and irritability are caused by anxious or moody parents. According to this idea, young babies cry because their parents are anxious or depressed and transmit their negative emotions to their infants. Plausible? Sure. It’s clear that distress is contagious. But Read More »