The baby name game

Are you having trouble finding the perfect name for your soon-to-arrive baby? Check out the 25 most popular baby names of 2017 so far, collected by, along with our tips for choosing the perfect name for your little one:


  • Emma
  • Olivia
  • Ava
  • Isabella
  • Sophia
  • Mia
  • Charlotte
  • Amelia
  • Harper
  • Aria
  • Ella
  • Emily
  • Abigail
  • Madison
  • Evelyn
  • Avery
  • Lily
  • Sofia
  • Scarlett
  • Mila
  • Riley
  • Chloe
  • Layla
  • Penelope
  • Aubrey


  • Liam
  • Noah
  • Mason
  • Lucas
  • Ethan
  • Oliver
  • Elijah
  • Aiden
  • James
  • Benjamin
  • Logan
  • Jackson
  • Jacob
  • Carter
  • Sebastion
  • Jayden
  • Jack
  • Alexander
  • Matthew
  • Luke
  • Michael
  • Gabriel
  • William
  • Wyatt
  • Henry

Tip No. 1: Practice saying the name out loud, and think about possible nicknames that might be derived from it. Also, consider what the initials may spell (D.U.H. isn’t a great monogram).

Tip No. 2: Take your time. Once you think you’ve decided on the perfect name, sit on it for a while. See if it still feels right after a few weeks (or even months). And don’t let friends or family dissuade you too easily. Your opinion is the one that matters most.

Tip No. 3: Ultimately, it’s most important to go with your gut. Pay less attention to the meaning behind the name or to current fads, and focus on what’s really significant for you – whether that’s a traditional family name, or just a name that feels meaningful.

See the full list from BabyCenter here:

3 reasons your baby should always sleep alone

Babies often wake up in the middle of the night – it’s what they do. Keeping your newborn in your bed so you are close by when the baby wakes may seem easier. However, sharing a bed with your infant increases his or her risk of injury and suffocation. Here are three reasons why bed-sharing is not worth the risk:


Loose blankets and sheets put your infant at a higher risk of suffocation. As a baby squirms and wiggles during sleep, a blanket or sheet could move and cover his or her nose, impairing breathing.


Your baby could fall off your bed. Cribs include barriers to keep your baby from rolling off during the night, but your bed doesn’t have the same safeguards. The few feet from your mattress to the floor are dangerous for an infant, or he or she could become trapped between the mattress and headboard, footboard or wall.


You could roll on top of your baby. Just like your baby squirms during sleep, you do the same, and you likely won’t notice if you roll on top of your baby. Across the U.S., there have been many reports of infant deaths related to these circumstances.

To reduce your infant’s risk of injury or death, it’s best to allow your baby to sleep alone, on their back, in a crib or other safe sleep surface. To learn more about how to ensure your baby sleeps safely, check out this blog post or visit


Disclaimer: If your baby has a fever or other symptoms, or you have concerns about the growth and development of your child, always seek care with your healthcare provider.

Q: How can I help my older child adjust to our new baby?

A: Welcoming a new baby is a big change for the entire family – especially siblings. Your older child may resent the new baby for taking away your attention. If you’re worried about whether your older child will adapt to a new baby in the house, here are some tips to make the transition easier.

  • Prepare in advance. During your pregnancy, teach your child what having a new baby will be like. Read age-appropriate books about new siblings, pretend a doll is the new baby or visit friends with newborns so your child knows what to expect once the baby arrives.
  • Encourage prenatal bonding. Let your child feel the baby kick, listen to his or her heartbeat and watch ultrasounds so siblings already have a connection before birth.
  • Introduce the baby. Make your children’s first meeting a special event. Let the older sibling give a special gift to his or her brother or sister, like a stuffed animal or onesie, and allow him or her to touch and hold the newborn. You may also want to arrange for someone to take him or her on a special outing, such as to the park or to get ice cream, to make the day feel really special.
  • Let your older child be a special helper. Allow him or her to help with daily tasks like feeding, dressing or rocking the baby. This will help your older child feel like an important part of the baby’s life and encourage bonding.
  • Spend time with your older child. Even though babies take a lot of effort, make sure to set aside some daily one-on-one time with your older child, such as a special bedtime routine or singing a song together. Let the older child know he or she is still special to you.

Although sibling rivalry may occur, following these tips can promote bonding and make the adjustment to a new baby easier for your entire family.

Have a question for the blog? Email it to


Disclaimer: If your baby has a fever or other symptoms, or you have concerns about the growth and development of your child, always seek care with your healthcare provider.

3 signs a crib isn’t safe

Since 2011, the federal government has required crib manufacturers to follow strict guidelines, making newer cribs safer for your infant. However, there may be occasions when a new crib is not available, such as when you are away from home, or you may prefer to use a secondhand crib. Be sure to check a used crib for these three signs that it may not be safe for your baby.

  1. Wide slats – If the spaces between a crib’s slats are more than 2 3/8 inches, your baby could get trapped between them.
  1. Drop side – The government’s 2011 standards banned drop-side cribs, which have been responsible for the deaths of more than 30 babies. If the movable part of the crib malfunctions, it could suffocate or strangle an infant.
  1. Gap between mattress and crib – Make sure the space between the mattress and crib is no more than two fingers wide in every direction. If it is bigger than that, your baby’s hands or feet could get caught.

Reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS and other causes of infant mortality by providing a safe sleep surface and following the ABC’S of Safe Sleep. If you are in need of a crib for your baby, contact your local health department; the number is listed in our resource guide. To learn more about how to ensure your baby sleeps safely, check out this blog post or visit

Disclaimer: If your baby has a fever or other symptoms, or you have concerns about the growth and development of your child, always seek care with your healthcare provider.



4 tips for helping your baby sleep better

It’s important to realize that every baby is different – and that includes sleep habits.  From how fast they fall asleep to how long they sleep, babies often have minds of their own. But there are some easy things you can do to help promote better – and safer – sleep for your infant.

No. 1: Back to sleep

Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep – not on the stomach or side. Your baby will breathe better in this position, and it reduces the risk of SIDS and other suffocation hazards.

No. 2: Avoid overheating

You’re not comfortable when you’re too warm, and neither is your baby. Make sure your baby isn’t over bundled during sleep time. Dress your baby appropriately for the room’s temperature and avoid using loose blankets or unfitted sheets, which can pose suffocation hazards. A sleep sack is a good alternative to blankets.

No. 3: Keep the crib clear

Your baby should sleep in a crib or other safe sleep surface with a tightly fitted sheet. Do not put stuffed animals, quilts or bumper pads in the crib with your infant. These all pose suffocation hazards.

No. 4: Stick to a schedule

Having a set bedtime routine is beneficial for children of all ages, but it applies to babies as well. Experts say that between six and eight weeks of age is a good time to start following a set pattern leading up to bedtime.  This may include a bath, followed by a diaper change and pajamas, reading a bedtime story or singing a song.

If you’re having continual sleep challenges with your infant, be sure to discuss them with your doctor to identify possible causes and solutions. Got a bedtime tip of your own? Share it with other parents on our Facebook page:

How to safely swaddle

Swaddling is a way of snuggly wrapping an infant in a blanket. Although special swaddling blankets are available, a basic receiving blanket will also work. Newborns love to be swaddled because the warmth resembles their mother’s womb. When done correctly, swaddling can be a great way to calm infants and promote sleep.

Babies can be swaddled at night and naptime. To make your baby safe and comfortable, keep these swaddling tips in mind:

– Stop swaddling by two months of age, before babies start to roll over.
– Put babies to sleep on their backs in their own cribs.
– Keep cribs free of blankets, bumper pads, pillows and stuffed animals.
– Check babies for signs of overheating, such as sweat, flushed cheeks and rapid breathing.

And if you’d like to learn more, check out this BabyCenter video: How To Swaddle Video

To learn more about how to help your baby sleep safely, click here


Disclaimer: If your baby has a fever or other symptoms, or you have concerns about the growth and development of your child, always seek care with your healthcare provider.

Q: Will getting a new tooth hurt my baby?

Getting new teeth can be uncomfortable for your baby. You may notice more crying around three months as your child starts to teeth, but babies can begin teething anywhere from three to 12 months. Some symptoms to watch for include drooling, redness around the mouth because of drooling, extra coughing or gagging, biting and unusual crying. Babies may also fidget with their faces, wake up in the middle of the night or be too cranky to feed.

While your baby should be fine in the long run, incoming teeth cause more than a little discomfort. Help your baby coax teeth through by

  • Rubbing a clean finger over sore gums. To reduce the spread of germs, cover your finger with a gauze pad.

  • Giving him or her something cool to chew on, such as a washcloth or chilled teething ring. The coldness will numb the pain, like an ice pack.

  • Feeding your baby hard foods if he or she is old enough to eat solid foods. A peeled cucumber or carrot can apply pressure to gums that relieves pain. Usually, a baby cannot eat solid food until four to six months, when he or she can sit up in a high chair

Be patient while your baby endures these new sensations, but always take your baby to a healthcare provider if you suspect there is a different underlying cause.


Disclaimer: If your baby has a fever or other symptoms, or you have concerns about the growth and development of your child, always seek care with your healthcare provider.

Q: When will my baby start sleeping through the night?

Newborns sleep approximately two to four hours at a time and will start to sleep for longer periods around four to six months old. However, they probably won’t start sleeping through the night until after the six-month mark. All babies are different, so your baby’s sleeping habits may develop at a faster or slower pace.

To make sure your baby sleeps soundly and safely, place him or her alone in a crib with a firm mattress and tightly fitted sheet.


Tips for baby’s safe sleep

  • Babies should always sleep on a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet

  • Keep the crib free of stuffed animals, bumper pads, blankets and other objects that pose suffocation hazards

  • Babies should always sleep alone. Do not share a bed with your baby.

  • Always lay your baby on his or her back to sleep.

  • Use an up-to-date crib. In 2011, the federal government introduced new safety standards for crib manufacturers, making newer cribs more sturdy, durable and safe.

Following these tips will help your baby get the sleep he or she needs while reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). To learn more about safe sleep, visit our website:

 Disclaimer: If your baby has a fever or other symptoms, or you have concerns about the growth and development of your child, always seek care with your healthcare provider.

Q: How can I protect my baby during flu season?

Babies are especially vulnerable during flu season, which typically starts in October and lasts through May. In fact, around 20,000 children under five years old are hospitalized with the flu each year.* Follow these tips to reduce your baby’s risk of getting the flu.

  • Keep your baby away from crowded areas and public places as much as possible, especially during his or her first months of life.

  • Disinfect frequently – carts, baskets, steering wheels, toys and other surfaces or items that may host germs. Wash your own hands often, relying on hand sanitizer if you’re unable to wash your hands with soap and water.

  • Do not let people with fevers or other symptoms handle your baby. In fact, it would be best if you do not allow recently ill people in your home or near your baby until they are fully well.

  • Get vaccinated. While babies cannot get vaccinated for the flu until after six months, family members, and mainly Mom, should get the flu vaccine. Reasonably priced vaccines are available at your local health department.

If you suspect your baby might have been exposed, watch for symptoms like loss of appetite, lack of energy, vomiting, diarrhea, sneezing, coughing and congestion. Check your baby frequently for fevers, and schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Do NOT give your baby medicine without first consulting your doctor.


*Parents magazine


Disclaimer: If your baby has a fever or other symptoms, or you have concerns about the growth and development of your child, always seek care from your healthcare provider.

What exactly is a safe sleep surface?

We’ve all seen the store displays or the photos in magazines showcasing beautiful cribs overflowing with bedding, bumper pads, pillows, stuffed toys and more. It may make a pretty picture, but it can be a deadly combination in real life.

Not only are those things unnecessary for your infant, they can actually be suffocation hazards that lead to infant death. More than 200 babies have died in Missouri’s Bootheel since 2004 – most of them from unsafe sleep habits.

That’s why it’s critical for parents and all infant caregivers to know the ABC’S of Safe Sleep:

Babies sleep best: Alone, on their Backs, in a Crib or other safe Sleep Surface.

So what makes a safe sleep surface? A firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet is the first step. Also, avoid blankets, crib bumpers, pillow and stuffed toys. Those all represent suffocation hazards to babies under the age of one year.

Do you or someone you know need help creating a safe sleep environment for a baby? Let us know.