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Mr. Dad: Distractions hinder baby’s sleep

Mon., Nov. 16, 2009

Dear Mr. Dad: We’re having trouble getting our almost-4-month-old daughter to take naps. Until a week or two ago, everything was fine. Now she won’t go down for more than 45 minutes.

We’ve heard all kinds of advice on what to do, but we’re trying to let her soothe herself to sleep – and trying to strike a balance between running to her crib whenever she wakes up versus letting her scream until she passes out.

What’s your take?

A: You’re definitely on the right track with trying to get her to soothe herself. You say she was napping fine until recently.

Did something change in her schedule, diet, routine or surroundings? Babies are remarkably sensitive little creatures, and their behavior is often a response to what’s going on around them.

Pay close attention to “sleep hygiene.” Are you putting your daughter down in a room where there are lots of toys around? If so, that could be the problem.

Who’d want to sleep with all those cool things to play with? If all she sees around her is her crib, though, she’s more likely to drift off to sleep for a bit longer.

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m a 37-year-old mother of two, ages 18 and 5. I really want another baby, but my husband had a vasectomy immediately after our second child was born.

At the time, I was exhausted and fighting post-partum depression. When he announced that he was getting the surgery I agreed. But now, when I tell him he can get it reversed and that we could start trying for another baby, he just says, “Oh” and leaves the room.

What can I do to change his mind?

A: There’s no quick solution to your problem. It sounds like your husband really has no interest in having a third child.

This is too big an issue to ignore. The two of you need to have some long, serious discussions in which you both listen carefully and respectfully to each other.

Dear readers: With the holidays looming, I’m already getting requests from people looking for the perfect gift for the dads in their life. Some advice: The last thing he wants is another tie.

Most dads tell me that what they really want are games, ideas, or other activities to help them build stronger relationships with their spouse and kids. As you may know, we created the Mr. Dad Seal of Approval to help families find exactly that. And we’re now accepting submissions for our holiday list. Information and applications are at

Armin Brott is an Oakland, Calif.-based author of six best-selling books on fatherhood. Find resources for fathers at

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