“My six week old baby will only sleep in my arms, whenever I put him down, even when he has fallen asleep, he wakes almost immediately.”
I (Pinky McKay) receive emails and facebook messages every single day from new mothers who are confused that they cannot simply pop a newborn down to sleep. Of course it’s stressful to be ‘the one’ who is holding your baby most of the day but it’s even more stressful to wonder, am I doing something ‘wrong’? Or to worry, am I creating ‘bad habits’?
It may help to know you are not alone and that it is very normal for newborns to want to be held against your warm body, close to your comforting heartbeat – in fact, many experts call this the ‘fourth trimester’ . What this means is that human babies are born immature so they really need some extra time to adapt to being ‘on the outside’ while their little bodies and nervous systems develop some more. This isn’t a time for ‘training’ or ‘teaching’ your baby to ‘self-settle’ or to worry about whether you are making the proverbial ‘rod for your back’ but a time for getting to know your baby and helping him feel secure outside the safe womb world.
Just for a moment, put yourself in your baby’s bootees and consider how overwhelming the physical and sensory changes must be for your newborn: imagine yourself soaking in a warm bath by candlelight, listening to the sounds of hushed voices drifting from another room or sift music playing in the distance. Now imagine standing on a buy street corner in the middle of winter, with the headlights of a car shining in your face and loud traffic noise all around you.
In the watery world of the womb, your baby was weightless and warm, he was comforted by the rhythm of your heartbeat and the gentle rocking motion of his “mother home” as his body was gently massaged by the uterine wall and contained by the boundaries of your own body. Now, from this dark warm world of muffled sounds, the newborn must get used to new sensations: air moving across his skin and into his lungs, lights, direct sounds, smells and stillness.
Another thing that makes it difficult for your newborn to fall asleep without help is that for the first few months, your baby will enter sleep from an active sleep phase, he will also have a strong ‘startle’ reflex that will wake him as his tiny body jerks and his arms flail uncontrollably. So, it’s perfectly fine to cuddle, rock or breastfeed your baby to sleep – you can make changes gradually as your baby grows or whenever this becomes unsustainable. And if you want to put your baby down when he has dozed off, one tip is to hold your him until he is in a deeper phase of sleep before you pop him down – when his arm flops it’s a good sign that he is in a deep sleep.
Instead of worrying about what you are doing ‘wrong’ because your baby needs to be helped to sleep, you can ditch the pressure and remind yourself that ‘this too shall pass’. It will, all too soon and you may even miss those delicious newborn cuddles. Soon, when you feel your baby may be ready to settle in a cot you can snuggle him until he is relaxed then give him the opportunity to snooze by himself. For now, when you feel ‘all touched out’ call for help. Hand your baby to a partner, friend or willing family member – you are not imposing, most people love baby cuddles. And try not to feel offended if your baby settles more easily in another pair of arms – it is probably just because he can’t smell your milk!
Meanwhile, by offering what I call ‘womb service’, you can help your baby adapt to being ‘on the outside’.
Womb service involves recreating the sensations your baby experienced while he was safely carried inside you. To help you remember the important aspects, I have called these the five Ws:
Inside your body, your baby didn’t experience cool air blowing on his tiny body or entering his lungs and these new sensations can be quite disturbing. So, at first, warm the space where you are going to be with your baby (16–20˚C will be a comfortable room temperature for your baby), and take care not to have fans or air-conditioners blowing directly onto him in warmer weather. If you are popping him into a cradle to sleep, he will be more comfortable (and likely to sleep better) lying on sheets that have been warmed slightly. You do need to take care not to overheat your baby, but you can warm his sheets slightly with a heat-pack before you place him into bed – test the sheets with your forearm to make sure they aren’t hot.
Just as your newborn was tucked snugly inside your body, supported by the uterine wall, you can provide a sense of security by swaddling him. With his limbs tucked securely against his body, just as they were in the womb, this will help your baby feel safe as well as inhibiting the newborn reflex known as the ‘startle reflex’, this is a primitive survival response that produces spontaneous, jerky movements and can be disturbing for your baby, literally. Snugbags Snuggle Pods are amazing for settling a newborn baby. Find out more here.
Wearing your baby
Inside your womb, your baby was lulled to sleep by your body movements as you went about your daily work. Now, the motion of being carried in a wrap or carrier against your moving body and your comforting heartbeat, as he breathes the familiar scent of your body, will help your baby feel safe. This feeling of familiarity will reduce stress hormones and help your baby relax – and a more relaxed baby will sleep more easily. Wearing your baby may have a balancing effect on his irregular rhythms of waking and sleeping, and is also thought to help him regulate his developing nervous and hormonal system, promoting day waking and night sleeping. Best of all, if your baby falls asleep in the sling, you will have two hands free to do a few chores, or you can go out and enjoy a walk.
Help your baby recall his watery womb world by taking a bath together. Remember that in your womb, your baby was confined, not floating all stretched out, and his womb world was gently bathed in filtered light. By dimming the lights or bathing by candlelight with your newborn, you will help her recall the safety of her womb world and you will be able to hold her close and support her as she gradually relaxes and ‘uncurls’ her limbs. Bathing together is especially helpful if bonding has been interrupted by early separation or a difficult birth or feeding experience. It can also be lovely bonding time for father and baby.
The calming, repetitive sounds of traditional lullabies recall the ‘womb music’ your baby heard before birth (your heartbeat, and fluids whooshing through the placenta). If you are feeling anxious or stressed, try humming, it will slow your breathing and help you relax so your energy will be more calming for your baby too. Baby music that incorporates elements such as the rhythm of a heartbeat or ‘white noise’ can have remarkable soothing effects, especially if played continuously through the night. Of course, your own singing voice is transportable ‘music’ that doesn’t rely on the availability of a CD player, and it will help induce calm and sleepiness just as well as any commercial music –even if you don’t have a fabulous voice!
Pinky McKay is an Internationally Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and best-selling author of the newly revised and updated Sleeping like a baby.
Original Article here: http://www.pinkymckay.com/help-my-baby-will-only-sleep-in-my-arms/
Get your tissues out and watch as these new mums get a beautiful, heartfelt surprise on their baby's first birthday xx
Nobody saw you,
nobody at all
at 3am when
they woke again.
Nobody saw you
picking up the peas,
wiping up the beans,
emptying the laundry basket,
taking out the bins
Nobody saw the crust of toast
that fell out of your bra when you got undressed at night,
such a glamorous life
trying to stay calm.
Nobody saw you
when you were so bored of playing princess ninja pirate turtles
but you said, ‘ok,
just five more minutes,
just one more time,
just one more go,
just one more round’
and then said it again ten minutes later.
Nobody saw you
holding the toddler who wouldn’t be put down
but also wouldn’t go in the buggy
but also wanted to walk but only in the opposite direction
and ‘oh look!
a stick/discarded lolly/dog poo/pebble/cigarette butt/the sky!’
Nobody saw you holding the sick bucket in the night
or on the way back from school
nobody saw you holding a jacket,
a rucksack, a book bag, a sunhat,
a scooter, the baby, a half-eaten apple
and an art project made out of three cereal boxes taped together
and covered in glitter glue,
holding soft little hands at bed time,
holding angry little bodies still kicking and shouting,
holding it together,
holding a hungry....... read more here
Original post from Like Real Life Blog by Abi.
"I write this blog about being a mum and generally my life. I live in Kent with my husband and two young children. I work part time and try to update this blog roughly once a week. I hope that my writing helps other mums, parents, or any other human beings really, to feel less alone. I aim for honesty and sometimes write about difficult stuff to do with my experience as a mum etc but generally I think there’s probably more funny stuff on here."
Follow Abi on her blog here:
Regardless of what stage you are in your parenting journey, there will be good days and bad days. If you’re having one of those rough patches with your newborn, toddler, preschooler or school-aged child, then please, take the time to read this.
In the eyes of your children, you are many things, especially as they grow up. Some days you may be the enemy. Some days you may be their best friend. But every day, no matter how old your children are, you are the most important person to them.
To newborns, you are their world.For nine months they had you close. You were all around them. And, then, all of a sudden, you are nowhere in sight. Sure, you may only be five metres away in the kitchen as they sleep in their cot, but they cannot smell you. They cannot feel your warmth. They cannot hear your beating heart.
As time goes by, they will learn to establish new connections to comfort objects and areas, but this takes time. It may not happen overnight. It may not even happen over the course of a month.
So, for now, let the dishes stay dirty, let the laundry stay wrinkly and let the beds remain unmade. Focus on how your newborn sees you – you are their everything.
And, for now, that’s all you need to be.
To toddlers, you are their missing piece.At this stage, it’s difficult for children to have a sense of identity, unless you are part of it. To a one-year-old, you are their missing limb. And when you are not together, they can feel a little lost.
Sure, they can explore their surroundings on their own, but having you by their side just feels better. Having your hand to hold, your smile to encourage them and your arms to run back into if things get too scary is all they need to find the confidence to grow.
To preschoolers, you are their favourite friend.Preschoolers are full of curiosity and wonder and you are their tour guide on this imaginative journey. Sure, playing ‘camping’ when you have a million other things to do can be painful, but to the little person tugging at your shorts and smiling up at you, this is the most important thing in the world.
Look for fairies in the garden. Hide from the monster in the backyard. Sail around the world in the laundry basket. Visit the stuffed animals in the bedroom zoo. With you by their side, the sky is the limit.
To five-year-olds, you are their teacher.And as their teacher, you can expect to answer a lot of questions. You can expect to explain why dinosaurs no longer exist, why superman can fly but they can’t, why rocks are so heavy, why fish breathe underwater and how Santa can make it around the entire world in just one night.
You can expect to be teaching them, leading them and showing them how to behave with every single thing you do. Yes, it’s a daunting thought and, at times, it can be the most frustrating thing in the world, but it’s also so amazing to think just how much these little ones need you to help them understand their world.
So, whether you are reading this while rocking your newborn back and forth, playing dolls with your toddler or watching Ice Age for the 30th time, take a minute to remind yourself of just how incredible a job you are doing and just how important you are to the little ones in your life.
Written by Jenna Gallina for Babyology.com.au.
Click here for original article.
An Internationally Certified Lactation Consultant, infant massage instructor and best-selling baby care author, Pinky McKay is the author of 4 books, including ‘Sleeping Like a Baby ‘ which offers research, evidence and gentle sleep solutions from birth to three years
Pinky McKay tells that she believes it’s important to look at reasons why babies and toddlers are waking and address those, rather than use a one-size-fits-all approach. She says, “By seeing your baby’s waking as an expression of a genuine need, rather than ‘bad behaviour’ you are likely to remain calm and this will help your baby develop a positive association with sleep and bedtimes – which is more helpful in the longer term”.
Some reasons babies wake and what to do
Hunger: Is your baby feeding well during the day or is he distracted? Is he experiencing a growth spurt and corresponding appetite increase? Or have you been advised to space out feeds? Your baby needs a certain amount of food in a 24 hour period so if you restrict feeds during the day, he will wake more at night to get his quota. It’s normal for babies to need night feeds throughout the first year – this can be influenced by mother’s milk storage capacity if she’s breastfeeding, baby’s activity levels (imagine the calories burned by a crawling baby!) and growth spurts.
What helps: Try offering your baby extra feeds in a quiet space during the day and for older babies and toddlers, try an evening snack of carbohydrate foods such as oats or yoghurt and banana – bananas are rich in tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin which is a calming chemical that encourages sleep.
Food intolerance: Food additives are present in ever-increasing numbers in almost all processed foods and these can dramatically affect sleep patterns. Some babies and toddlers can also become restless after eating foods containing salicylates. These are naturally occurring chemicals which are found in otherwise healthy foods such as berries, grapes, apples, citrus and tomatoes, as well as in some processed foods.
What helps: If you suspect foods in your diet may be making baby unsettled, keep a food diary – jot down what you eat and times on one side of the page and your baby’s unsettled/wakeful times on the other. See if there is a connection and eliminate the suspect foods for a week. If you suspect dairy is a culprit, you will need to eliminate all dairy (milk, cheese, yoghurt) for at least two weeks as it can take some time for any gut damage to heal. If you are breastfeeding you will need to eliminate suspect foods from your own diet too.
Teething: Although you are sure to be told by someone that teething has no side effects, some babies and toddlers seem to have an awful time, especially as they cut molars. The first set will usually appear between 12 and 18 months and the ‘two year old’ molars can erupt around two but for some children this may be a bit sooner or as late as almost three years.
What helps: Lying flat means more circulation to the head and jaw area and this can create more pressure and pain for teething infants. There is also more saliva during teething to gag on and cause waking. A simple solution is to elevate your baby’s head – either with a folded towel under the mattress or, if you have an older toddler (over 18 months) and feel comfortable about his safety, you can give him a small pillow (try this during the daytime to see how he manages).
Separation anxiety: As he moves through developmental stages from crawling to walking to running and developing language, your baby’s world is expanding at an incredible rate. This can be overwhelming so it’s natural for him to want to be close to his secure base – you! Also, when you have a baby, you are constantly attending and responding to their needs. As these needs become less intense when your baby becomes a mobile toddler, it’s easy to let him ‘get on with it’. This is fine but it can mean that without little refills to his emotional tank through the day (cuddles, eye contact and focused attention), he will express a stronger need for connection at bedtime. He may also be experiencing separation (such as childcare) for the first time, so it is perfectly natural for him to want to catch up on time with you at bedtime.
What helps: Be patient with your clingy baby – pushing your child beyond his limits will usually result in more clingy behaviour. Sit in your toddler’s room and cuddle or hold a hand on him as he falls asleep – this will elicit relaxation hormones that will help him reach a deeper sleep. Please don’t try to force your baby or toddler to self-settle before he is ready as bedtime should be a calm and welcoming space, not a time of stress. Not only does a stressful bedtime make little ones even more resistant to going to sleep in the first place, it can result in them waking more due to elevated stress hormones that make it difficult to relax and sleep soundly. Try to see the time spent helping your little one fall asleep as an investment in your relationship as well as a healthy way to encourage sound sleep.
My baby wants to breastfeed or rock to sleep: Rocking is a very natural intuitive way to calm babies. Some babies crave more movement and sensory stimulation than others and this is important to brain development. Falling asleep on the breast is one of the easiest ways for most babies to settle. This is due to hormones released while your baby feeds but if you are concerned about it becoming a habit, alternate feeding with other sleep cues.
What you can do: As baby grows, you can make changes, gradually with love, by playing some calming music on a low volume as you rock or feed him to sleep in a dimly lit room. After a week when your little one is conditioned to the music, you can gently remove him from the breast or stop rocking when he is drowsy and cuddle him to sleep. Eventually, he may fall asleep in his bed with the music playing.
Allergies including asthma and eczema are increasing at an alarming rate in developed countries like New Zealand. In fact we have the second highest prevalence of asthma in the world (after the UK) with one in four kids experiencing asthma symptoms. One of the reasons for this increase is believed to be our fear of germs and obsession with cleanliness, which means our babies and young children aren’t being exposed to the numbers of bugs and germs necessary to help them develop healthy, strong immune systems.
Below you’ll see a quick list of ideas for helping you make your home a healthier place for your baby, we’d love to hear if you have anything else to add.
Tips for creating a healthier home for your baby
Potential asthma triggers in the air include cigarette smoke, fly sprays, air fresheners, strong perfumes and aerosol cleaning sprays. Some building materials, furniture and carpets also give off fumes that might make asthma worse. It’s best to clean your home with the windows open wherever possible and preferably with your baby in another room. If you have an older child that wants to ‘help’ with the cleaning then give them water and a cloth rather than exposing them unnecessarily to potentially harmful chemicals in cleaning products.
It pays to be extremely careful of the fumes which come from fresh paint or new carpet. Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint is available, in fact most paint companies now offer an ‘eco’ range. New carpets can release powerful toxic fumes from any adhesives or latex backing. The best alternatives are pure wool carpet, sisal flooring if the budget allows or polished wooden floors with rugs for warmth.
In the laundry
Use laundry products that are free of enzymes, optical whiteners and synthetic perfume. These can leave potentially harmful residues in baby’s bed linen and clothing which is up against their skin 24/7. If they become damp, as babies’ linens often do, the moisture can reactivate residual chemicals and potentially cause irritation.
New baby clothes and linen
If possible buy organic fabrics or clothing that is dyed with eco-friendly and child safe dyes (certified by GOTS for example). If that is not an option - always wash first with a gentle liquid detergent. New linen is often dressed with toxic chemicals. During the processing of conventional cotton into clothing, toxic chemicals may be added at each stage: silicone waxes, harsh petroleum scours, softeners, heavy metals, flame and soil retardants, ammonia, and formaldehyde to name a few.
In the kitchen
Bisphenol-A (BPA) can be found in baby bottles as well as in the lining of aluminium cans of food and drinks. Studies have shown that BPA disrupts hormones in animals, leading to early sexual maturity, changes in development and reduction in sperm in the affected organism’s offspring. Use glass or stainless steel wherever practical or look for plastics that are labelled ‘BPA Free’.
In the bathroom
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is a widely used cleaning agent found in detergents and body care products. It’s a strong detergent for removing stains and it is also used to create foam, so is often used in children’s bubble bath. SLS can be absorbed through the skin and penetrate systemic tissues such as the brain, heart, spleen and liver. Check product labels and avoid this ingredient and its close cousin Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES)
Washing your hands with antibacterial soap
New parents change a lot of nappies and are forever in the bathroom washing their hands. It might seem like the right thing to use an anti-bacterial hand wash or soap, yet antibacterial soaps have been proven to have no better cleaning properties than normal soap, and are often loaded with nasty chemical ingredients like Triclosan that strip your skin of its natural protective oils, and can aggravate the skin, leaving it red and itchy.
Non plastic toys
Plastic toys can be made of polyvinyl chloride, a type of plastic that’s made with phthalates. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has raised concerns about phthalates because of their toxicity, the cumulative effects of exposure to multiple chemicals in this family of chemicals, and evidence that human and environmental exposure to these chemicals is pervasive. Look for toys that are non toxic and PVC free such as wood. Soft toys can be placed in the freezer overnight – the cold will kill any germs and dust that may be present making the toys safer to play with or chew on.
Any house built before 1980, was probably painted with lead-based paint. When it’s removed there are risks of absorbing the lead through contact with skin, or from the atmosphere through sanding dust or flakes. To remove lead-based paint, take precautions by keeping your children and pets well away.
This year's nursery trends are more beautiful than ever. Here is a look at 2016's favorite new design ideas for the most precious room in your home and we have matched them with our New Zealand made merino sleeping bags!
According to the worlds leading design websites these will be the hottest trends this year - Which one is your favorite?
1. Back to Basics with Pastels. Soft colors and baby’s nursery go together like peas and carrots, so it’s no surprise that pastels are back and better than ever! On the heels of Pantone’s announcement last month of not one but two pastels, Rose Quartz and Serenity, we’ve got two pastels that confirm this trend.
2. Clouds clouds clouds. Our heads are in the clouds in 2016! With arrows and triangles so last year, we are excited to see more nursery design inspired by our friendly skies. These fluffy and light puffs in the sky are too cute and a must have in your nursery.
3. Inspired by travel & adventure. Parents love a cool theme to set the design tone in nursery. This year, travel and adventure stand out as the nursery theme of the year. Art declaring encouraging words such as “You are our Greatest Adventure” and “Never Stop Exploring” or “Always Take the Scenic Route” sing from the walls. We are keeping our eye out for this theme to inspire nurseries globally.
4. It’s All about Color. Nurseries, toddler rooms and playrooms are alive and in technicolor this year. In the past, color palettes, even bright hues, have been limited to a more monochromatic scheme, but this year it’s all rainbow. Bold and bright colors and lots of them are paired together in a fun and cheerful way to add drama.
5. Cosmic. An updated spin on the classic navy blue nursery, cosmic is both dreamy and sophisticated. We are seeing deep navy paired with gold, gray and black. Throw in some brass accents, and you’ve got a nursery that is out of this world!
6. Everything Modern. Modern is back and more stylish than ever! From mid-century sleek to bright white and clean, modern designed nurseries will wow us all year long.
Which trend or sleeping bag is your favorite and would you like to see in your nursery? x
Looking to keep your baby sleeping cool this summer?
Merino is Natures wonder fibre and is the safest fabric to dress your little one in - even on those hot summer nights!
This is why merino wool keeps your baby cool:
Why have baby sleeping in merino even when it's really hot?
Babies are not as adaptable as adults to temperature change. Because infants and children have a higher surface area to mass ratio than adults, they can lose heat rapidly, as much as four times more quickly than adults. This means that babies under 12 months have difficulty regulating their own temperature, even in a warm environment.
What should my baby be wearing when it's hot?
We recommend our Snugpods for newborn babies and from around 12 weeks a Standard Weight merino sleeping bag. You can vary clothing underneath depending on the room temperature (see guideline).
Standard Weight merino sleeping bag
27-25 degree C - just a nappy
25-23 degree C - short sleeve merino body suit
23-21 degree C - long sleeve merino body suit
27-25 degree C - short sleeve merino body suit
25-23 degree C - long sleeve merino body suit
23-21 degree C - long sleeve merino body suit + pants
I remember my childhood camping holidays well. They were always beside a Lake, a beautiful beach or surrounded by mountains. The sun always shone and our days were full of fun and freedom. I’m sure the reality was very different, but for me it’s those memories – rose-tinted as they may be – that drives me year after year to pack everything into a trailer, hitch it to the car and hit the road.
A couple of weeks of a simpler life are good for the soul – yet so many people make camping so much harder than it needs to be. Here are my top 10 tips for a successful family camping trip:
What a gorgeous way to end Christmas dinner or lunch with this delicious & healthy RAW chocolate tart!!! xxx
CHOCOLATE PUDDING TART WITH COCONUT CREAM & GOJI BERRIES
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dates
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons coconut nectar (or date paste)
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of Himalayan salt
1/4 cup nut milk, as needed
See this recipe
To make the crust: pulse the walnuts into powder then add the dates until it all begins to stick together. Press into a lined tart tin (mine was about 8 inches) and put in the fridge.
To make the chocolate pudding: blend all the ingredients together in your food processor until smooth and thick... it should taste a-freaking-mazing. Spread evenly into your crust.
Make the coconut cream, spread it on top of the pudding layer, and put back in the fridge overnight. Serve with goji berries, coconut flakes and cacao nibs. Nom.
Kim is the owner of SNUGBAGS - Merino for Kids. Together with her partner James and their little girl Neeva Rose, she lives in a little beach town called Piha on the West Coast in New Zealand. They love surfing, building sandcastles and all things natural and organic.