Feel like your infant is having more than normal difficulties with crying, sleeping and feeding? Women & Infants hosts the one-of-a-kind Infant Behavior, Cry and Sleep Clinic. We can help families adjust to the disruption caused by having an infant who is difficult to manage in the first few months and/or years of life.
Early Childhood Development
If your child is under five years of age experiencing developmental difficulties, talk to your pediatrician about the Women & Infants Early Childhood/Family Services Clinic. Our clinic serves infants, toddlers and pre-school age children with behavioral, developmental, and/or emotional concerns.
Learn more about these services by clicking on the links below.
We offer clinical services to children of broad age ranges with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or parental concerns for an ASD.
Services for families include:
- Diagnostic and behavioral assessments.
- Psychiatric consultation for behavioral and/or emotional concerns related to an ASD diagnosis.
- Child and family therapy to optimize the strengths and capacities for families and their children.
Our multidisciplinary team includes child psychiatry, psychology and clinical social work. Ask your pediatric provider if a consultation at our clinic is appropriate for your child.
Our staff are part of the Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment (RI-CART).
Our Early Childhood/Family Services Clinic serves infants, toddlers and pre-school age children with behavioral, developmental, and/or emotional concerns. Our clinical staff includes professionals in clinical and developmental psychology, clinical social work, clinical nurse specialists, and occupational therapy.
Our program specializes in:
- Diagnosis of early childhood difficulties including behavioral disorders, developmental delays, communication, disorders, and autism.
- Child and family treatment for behavior and development issues.
- Working with families around parenting, parent-child relationships and family relations.
- Consultation to outside service providers such as schools and early intervention programs.
Who do we serve?
- Children under five years of age and their families.
- Children at risk for developmental/behavioral concerns due to drug/alcohol exposure, lead exposure, or maturity.
- Children with sleep, behavioral, developmental, and/or emotional difficulties.
- Children in need of psychological testing/neurodevelopmental assessment.
- Our services are covered by most insurance plans after pre-authorization.
The Infant Behavior, Cry and Sleep Clinic (also called the Colic Clinic) is a one-of-a-kind clinical service for infants with crying, colic, sleep, feeding, and behavior concerns.
We can help families adjust to the disruption caused by having an infant who is difficult to manage in the first few months and/or years of life. Our goal is to treat the infant’s difficulties with crying, sleeping and feeding. We work with parents to help them promote healthy sleep habits for their infants and toddlers.
In the Clinic, our behavioral pediatricians, clinical social worker, and clinical and developmental psychologists work together to develop treatment plans for families whose infants are having early behavioral concerns. Occupational therapy is also available.
Our services are covered by most insurance after pre-authorization.
Who do we serve?
- Infants from birth to two years old.
- Infants presented with significant difficulties in sleep, feeding, colic, or crying.
- Families with adjustment issues around the birth of their baby who may be experiencing regulatory difficulties.
Questions parents ask about their infant
- "Why isn't my baby sleeping?"
- “Will the crying ever end?”
- “Why aren’t things like I expected?”
- “I am so frustrated. What can I do?”
If your baby...
- Cries more than 3 hours a day, every day.
- Takes as long as an hour to finish a feeding.
- Cries and fusses throughout a feeding.
- Cries each night for more than one hour at bedtime.
- Has difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep.
The Center offers individual adult services to support women during the perinatal and postpartum periods through outpatient behavioral health services, as well as services during infancy around sleep and regulatory difficulties.
- Working collaboratively with Women & Infants' Center for Women's Behavioral Health, services for women support their needs around mood and anxiety disorders during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
- The Infant Behavior, Cry and Sleep Clinic is a one-of-a-kind clinical service for infants with crying, colic sleep, feeding and behavior concerns.
- The Infant Toddler Sleep Service works with parents to treat infant/toddler sleep problems and develop healthy sleep habits.
Healthy sleep habits help babies and children to grow, develop, and be healthy. Sleep influences the baby or child’s mood and behaviors. Being well rested promotes positive mood and well-being for babies, toddlers and their parents. Soothing, predictable bedtime routines that gently prepare a baby or toddler for a night of sleep can be one of the closest, most enjoyable times of the day for parents and their little ones.
Safe Sleep Practices for Infants
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends (2008):
- Place infants on their backs to sleep. Since 1992, when the American Academy of Pediatrics began the Back to Sleep campaign, the annual SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) rate has declined by more than 50%.
- Place the baby on a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib, with a well-fitting sheet.
- Make sure nothing covers the baby’s head.
- Do not use pillows, blankets, sheepskins, or crib bumpers anywhere in your baby’s sleep area.
- Do not allow smoking around the baby.
- Avoid letting the baby get too hot.
- Dress baby lightly for sleep, and set the room temperature in a range comfortable for lightly clothed adult.
Work towards making bedtime the “anchor” of the day
Instead of thinking of the baby’s day as revolving around when he wakes up in the morning, try to think of the day as revolving around the set bedtime.
- Try to structure the day so that the baby’s last feed will occur about 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Space naps so the baby will be sleepy for bedtime.
- Avoid napping two hours before bedtime.
- Choose a bedtime that works for the family, but consider that a baby or toddler might benefit from an early bedtime.
Benefits of bedtime routines
Bedtime routines can be a close, loving way to end the day.
- Bedtime routines may include a quiet feeding, a bath, low lighting, singing a lullaby, listening to a music box or musical mobile, sharing a picture book, or rocking gently.
- By doing the same thing, at the same time, in the same place every night, the baby can develop sleep associations that will help him learn how to fall asleep and put himself back to sleep when he experiences normal night time wakings.
- When the baby has become used to the routine, place him into bed on his back, drowsy but awake. Often the more parents do to try to get the baby to fall asleep, the more dependent the child becomes on parental intervention and the less sleep everyone gets.
- Night wakings are a normal part of sleep.
- Sleeping through night is defined as not waking between midnight and 5 a.m.. It usually occurs between three and six months.
- 25 to 50% of children over six months continue to have night wakings (Mindell, et al., 2006).
- Night feedings are typically not physiologically necessary after six months (for full-term, healthy infants).
- Make night time feedings a different experience than day time feedings by keeping them “business only.” This means, try not to rouse the baby very much, feed at the bedside, do not turn on the TV, and get the baby back to sleep quickly. Don’t change the diaper unless you feel it is necessary.
- Infants who transition to sleep at bedtime using bottle or breast, may want the bottle or breast to transition back to sleep in the middle of the night, even if they are not hungry.
Nap Best Practices
- Choose a regular time for naps.
- Anticipate your baby’s nap needs. Being overly tired contributes to increased fussiness and more difficulty falling asleep.
- For children taking one nap a day, having that nap immediately after lunch helps create clear routine.
- Sleep in the same place for naps and at night. Introduce naps with a shortened version of bedtime routine.
If your infant or toddler continues to have challenges around sleep, call the Women & Infants’ Center for Children and Families at (401) 274-1122, ext. 48935 for clinical support.