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Just Ask Children's

Babies 101: What Parents Need to Know

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Babies don’t come with instructions, which can make even the most confident parent uneasy. Here are some tips on sleep, breastfeeding, vaccines and how to calm a crying baby from the pediatric experts at Children's Hospital Colorado.

Safe Sleep

What can you do to make your baby’s sleep as safe as possible? Your baby should sleep:

  • On his/her back.
  • In his/her own space, whether it’s a crib, bassinette, or play yard
  • In the same room as you. The room should be a comfortable temperature. Use a fan or keep the room cool.
  • In a onesie or sleep sack with nothing soft in his/her sleep space, including no:
    • Blankets
    • Pillows
    • Bumper pads
    • Stuffed animals
  • On a firm, flat mattress. If he/she leaves a dent in the mattress, it’s too soft.
  • Without a hat so he/she doesn’t overheat.
  • With a pacifier:
    • Consider a pacifier if your baby is bottle fed or at higher risk for SUID.
    • If you’re breastfeeding, wait until he/she is a month old before putting him/her to bed with a pacifier.
  • Without any wedges or positioners.

Find more information on infant sleep safety.

Sleep issues

  • Set up a quiet routine for bedtime and be consistent.
  • Put your baby to bed when drowsy but still awake to help him or her learn to fall asleep on her own.
  • Wait a few minutes before responding to your baby’s fussing to see if he/she can fall back to sleep on his/her own.
  • For older children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elementary school-age kids need at least 10 hours of sleep and teenagers need 9 to 10 hours daily.
  • Children using or watching electronics should turn them off at least one hour before bedtime.

Find out more about our Sleep Program.


  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby's life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby. This recommendation is supported by the health outcomes of exclusively breastfed infants and infants who never or only partially breastfed.
  • Breastfeeding provides a protective effect against respiratory illnesses, ear infections, gastrointestinal diseases and allergies including asthma, eczema and atopic dermatitis. The rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is reduced by over a third in breastfed babies, and there is a 15% to 30% reduction in adolescent and adult obesity in breastfed vs. non-breastfed infants.
  • According to the CDC, one of the most highly effective preventive measures a mother can take to protect the health of her infant is to breastfeed.
  • Guidelines for safe storage:
    • Wash your hands before expressing or handling your milk.
    • Use only clean containers to store expressed milk. Use collection containers specific for the purpose of storing human milk. Don't use ordinary plastic bags or formula bottle bags for storing milk.
    • Freshly expressed milk can remain at room temperature for up to 4 hours.
    • Use refrigerated milk within 48 hours.
    • Freeze milk if you will not be using it within 24 hours. Frozen milk is good for at least 3 months.

Learn more about Lactation Support Services from Children’s Colorado.


  • The flu shot is approved for children 6 months of age and older, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions. Parents with babies younger than 6 months of age should ensure everyone who cares for and lives with your baby has had the flu shot.
  • Whooping cough is one of the most commonly occurring vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States. We can protect infants by continuing to vaccinate them and everyone around them. Learn more about whooping cough.
  • The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all infants and children. The vaccine preparations available in the U.S. contain a purified part of the virus protein. It cannot cause infection and is very safe. Read more about Hepatitis B.

How to calm a crying baby

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