One of our first blog posts was one Melissa wrote about turning off your monitor. It was a helpful article about the importance of allowing you, as parents, to get a sound night’s sleep without being disrupted by the small and frequent noises our babies make when they shift between sleep cycles! I remember when our youngest (now 8-months-old) was about 4 months – I had moved her into her own room and was still using the baby monitor. I was being woken up frequently throughout the night – not only when she needed to be fed and cried but also when she was “fussing.” I was not getting any uninterrupted sleep and doctors say that undisrupted sleep is just as important, if not more so, then length of sleep. So, although my daughter was sleeping for a total of around 13 hours, I was really only getting about three hours at a time and I was exhausted.
I know I’ve said it before, but I am so amazed by how much has changed in the 5 years since my first daughter was born. I’ve already written about a number of new products that I love and I’m thrilled to write about yet another amazing discovery. In a recent blog, I wrote about the challenges of transitioning out of a swaddle blanket. Our babies really slept noticeably better when they are swaddled, so the thought of having them OUT of the swaddle and just in a sleep sack made me extremely nervous. It seemed cruel to have my daughters go straight from feeling like they were back in the womb to the openness of the world!
We believe strongly that babies sleep much better when they are swaddled. Melissa and I read the book by Dr. Karp called Happiest Baby on the Block (and watched the amazing DVD) and found that Dr. Karp’s advice for soothing newborns was very helpful and holds true for all the babies with whom we have worked.
Babies feel calmer when they are in an environment that mimics the womb – dark, cool, noisy, and confined! Babies have a very strong startle reflex (the Morrow Reflex) and when they are swaddled, this reflex is dampened. When they are not, they wake frequently and are, well, startled! We believe that these wakings are unnecessary. Swaddling is the solution.
A few months ago, I heard about a product that helps clears the mucus from a baby’s nose when she’s congested. Nosefrida The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator is a Swedish product that has parents suck the mucus through a straw out of the baby’s nostril. GROSS – right?!?
Check out their video of how to use the product: NoseFrida Demo Video
“No way,” I said when I heard about this. “There are limits to my love for my daughters,” I thought! Fast forward to this week and I am a new mom….
There are many causes for night-time wakings in toddlers. Many of those are behavioral; however, it is not uncommon for children to start experiencing nightmares and night terrors at this age, as well. Unlike children who wake up with phantom aches and pains, or who want a snuggle or a glass of water, nightmares and night terrors can be a little more tricky to deal with.
Melissa and I are celebrating “significant” birthdays this year. For the first time in a long time, we decided to go away together – without the kids (mine went with my husband to his parents’ house)! Our mom and aunt (also celebrating important birthdays) met us in NYC for the weekend. We were so happy to have some time together. Melissa and I spent the first hour just sitting in our hotel room in bathrobes, drinking diet coke and reveling in the silence! We had both called our husbands and were assured that all was well in both households and so we were actually able to relax. Joy!
May brings us Mother’s Day, the one day each year when we are encouraged to recognize the awesome gifts our mother has given us, as well as the sacrifices she has made to give us life and guide us safely along our path. At least that’s what I want my children and husband to do!
In all honesty, I’ve been thinking about how important it is for our families that as moms, we are as healthy and happy as we can be. Getting enough sleep is not only critical for our children, but for ourselves, too. Even if you have a baby who isn’t old enough to sleep through the night, there are things you can do to improve your own sleep.
So with that in mind, here are my seven ideas to help mom sleep, at least this month. (Hint, hint…some of these make great Mother’s Day gifts!)
Try a white noise machine. They are not only great for babies, but many grown-ups love ‘em. Or do what I do, and just get an App for your phone. I use White Noise. If you use an iPhone, just make sure to turn off the sounds from the other apps, so you aren’t interrupted with phone calls or email bings.
Make your bed an oasis. Treat yourself to a new luxurious pillow or new sheets. Debbie likes this Temper-Pedic Neck Pillow. Buy some snugly pajamas or a silky nighty (whichever is more your style). We spend one third of our life in bed, so splurge a little and make it a real refuge.
Spend time relaxing before bed. Turn off your screens. Enjoy a nice cup of tea (caffeine-free, of course). I like The Republic of Tea Ginger Peach Decaf and Cardamon Cinnamon Herbal Tea. Maybe throw in a bubble bath.
Book a babysitter. In the SF Bay Area, we have this great service, UrbanSitter, that can help you find a sitter quickly. Then spend some quality adult time – by yourself, with your significant other, or with friends. Go to the gym, see a movie, or have a nice dinner – anything that will recharge your batteries.
Go to the spa. Do something really therapeutic for yourself. Whether it’s a massage, facial, or other treatment, you will not only enjoy it at the moment, but most spa treatments have lasting physical effects and even positive emotional benefits. Spa Finder Gift Cards are accepted at spas around the world.
Schedule a day to sleep in. This one might be tough, but if you can figure it out, it is soooo worth it. There’s just something about getting an extra hour or two of sleep in the morning that feels so much better than going to bed early. Ask a grandparent or friend to take your kids to the park the morning. Or have your partner do what my husband does on occasion – get the kids out of the house first thing and go to the 24-hour doughnut shop.
Get away for the night. If you are lucky enough to have grandparents nearby or a sitter you trust, leave the kids and escape with your partner to a nearby hotel for an overnight. Ask for a quiet and dark room – the idea is to maximize sleep. Put out the “Do Not Disturb” sign and tune out the world for the night.
Shortly after my daughter moved to her big girl bed, she developed an early waking habit that we just couldn’t kick. After two-plus years in a crib, she hadn’t quite figured out that she could just get out of bed, thankfully. But she was a screamer and would call out in full voice, “Mommy…I want to wake up!” over and over. In addition to waking my husband and me, I was terrified she was going to wake our peacefully sleeping infant who was in the same room. So I needed to address this problem pronto!