Rock-A-Bye...
Sleep Better With A Baby Cradle

Why is a baby cradle so important? Because rocking is one of most soothing things you can do for your new baby.

Infants grow accustomed to motion in the womb. Often when they wake during the night, a quick response of gentle rocking can soothe them right back into sleep.

Place the cradle right next to your own bed, and you can reach over to rock and comfort the baby without even getting out of bed, before the baby has a chance to fully wake up.

There's a good reason parents have lovingly crafted and cherished cradles for hundreds of years. Check out these great pictures of the baby cradle (a precursor of the rocking chair), dating from as far back as the Middle Ages (www.designboom.com).

The cradle's small size makes it the logical place for the littlest baby to sleep. Many parents say their babies seem to feel more secure in a small bed, and that their babies sleep better.

Parents also report that newborns actually nap more soundly when their beds are placed in a living area full of noise and activity, rather than in a peaceful bedroom. Scientists tell us that the womb is not a quiet place ... so perhaps all the hubbub is reassuring.

A cradle can be moved from room to room for daytime napping. This baby furniture is worth every penny of the investment.

Tips On Selecting A Baby Cradle ...

  • Some cradles come with a "hood". This is cloth strung over a retractible frame, to shield baby's face from sunshine or indoor lighting. If you purchase a bed with a hood, make sure the hood is easy to fold up out of the way when you want to lay the baby down.

  • Make sure the cradle is sturdy and not easy to tip over.

  • There should be no rough patches or edges on the inside of the cradle where the baby will sleep.

  • The mattress should fit snugly. (Check for less than two adult finger-widths of space between the mattress and the sides of the cradle).

  • If there are spindles or slats, the space between them should be 2 and 3/8 inches or less. (Baby can become entangled in slats which are further apart.)

Best version of the age-old lullaby:

Rock a bye baby, on the tree top ...
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall -
Mama will catch you, cradle and all.

Don't use any soft bedding where your baby is sleeping, other than a cotton sheet covering a firm mattress. Pillows or blankets are suffocation risks.

You can use a cradle until your baby is about four months old. Because babies sleep so much in those early months (up to twenty hours per day!), this can add up to a lot of intensive use.

Enjoy your baby cradle until your baby starts rolling from side to side on her own - then switch to a crib.


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