The Best Baby Sleep Gadgets

 

The baby product business is booming! Tired parents are desperate for sleep and always on the lookout for the latest and greatest that will help their family get that elusive 6-8 hours of rest at night. Let's get real, how many of us wouldn't be happy just to have a few solid hours of sleep each night? 

There are an endless array of products that guarantee your baby will sleep better. You may have tried or heard about many of these items. Sleep gadgets can even be expanded to include baby carriers, cribs, playpens, and bassinets. A quick trip through Babies R Us may leave your head swimming with all of the things available to you that just might get your baby to sleep.

Swaddles

In the last few years, a myriad of adorable swaddling blanket sets and special devices have flooded the baby product market. From the cute prints of classic swaddles from aiden + anaise to the easy to use HALO Sleep Sack Swaddler, there's something for everyone. Not sure how to swaddle safely? Our Postpartum Doulas can teach you! We promise it’s not near as complicated as it looks!

Sleep Apps

Like they say “There’s an app for that!” What isn’t there an app for these days?

From soothing sounds apps to apps for tracking and charting your baby's sleep a quick search for "sleep" in the App Store should pull up some excellent options. We love the 10 Best Apps for Better Bedtimes by Parents.com. Many of these sleep apps can be used to help children of all ages improve their sleep, and even adults.

Soothing Devices

This category includes pacifiers, lovies or security objects, and even aromatherapy. Every baby is different and what soothes one may not work for another child.

Pacifiers have been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS but should be used with caution if you are breastfeeding until your feeding relationship is well established.

Many children are soothed by a special to them object or lovey. Most children will choose this item for themselves.

The use of aromatic oils and herbs goes back thousands of years but has become increasingly popular. There are some studies to back claims that essential oils can have an effect on relation and stress hormones. We always recommend you consult a certified aromatherapist before using essential oils with your baby and never use undiluted essential oils on your skin or your child's.

White noise machines, sleep sound apps, and night lights are also in the Soothing Devices category. The Skip Hop Moonlight and Melodies Nightlight Soother is a client favourite that has both lights and sounds to soothe your little one.  

Remember that you are your baby’s favourite soothing device!

The Ultimate Sleep Tool

Have you booked your Postpartum Doula? Whether you choose to co-sleep with your baby, bedshare, or have your baby sleep in a sleep space of their own, a postpartum doula can be there to help you maximise the amount of sleep you're getting.

For parents that are bedsharing, a Postpartum Doula can help with changes, keep you company, or work with older children to ensure they're getting a good nights rest. Often breastfeeding parents choose to have the Postpartum Doula bring the baby in for feeds and then handle diaper changes and soothing so that you can go right back to sleep.

If your baby is sleeping in their own space, you can choose to have the doula care for your baby throughout the night. A Postpartum Doula can handle all of baby;s needs while you enjoy time with your partner and get a full night of sleep. This is especially valuable for parents who are returning to work or feeling overwhelmed by sleep deprivation or a lack of intimacy in their partnership.

During the day, Postpartum Doulas are happy to look after your home, meal prep and children while you catch a nap, with or without your baby.

The beauty of Postpartum Doula care is that is can be customised to match your needs, day by day, night by night. Postpartum Doula care is the ultimate sleep tool!

What is your favourite tool for getting a good nights sleep with a baby in the house?

 

 

Doula Myths Busted!

I'm probably not what most people picture when they hear the term doula. No paisley, no Birkenstocks, no sage smudge. In fact, you could confuse me for any professional, because that's what I am, a professional. Don't get me wrong; many doulas do wear paisley and Birks, and smudge their spaces. Those attributes have nothing to do with how professional a person is. I guess what I am trying to say is that the doula profession is like any other, we are diverse individuals with a job to do. Some wear slacks and blazers; others wear flowing skirts, still other wear denim and leather. Stereotypes about the way doulas dress are just the beginning.

Doula work as a profession is a relatively new career path. Anything new has its misconceptions. Let's get right to it and clear up a few of the most common myths about doulas!

“Oh! Like a midwife!”

Yes, and no.

When I tell people that I am a doula, this is the most common response I get. Like midwives, doulas work with pregnant people and new parents. Doulas and midwives both tend to approach birth as a normal physiological process, and have a passion for supporting pregnant people. That’s where the similarities start to fade. Midwives catch babies; doulas do not. You see, a midwife’s job is to focus on the physical health of the parent and baby. Midwives manage all of the medical and clinical aspects of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Doulas fill the gap with emotional support and assistance with comfort measures during childbirth.

Doulas are only for homebirths.

Doulas are for every birth! Doulas work with clients planning homebirths and water births, un-medicated births in hospitals, birth centre births, birth with the use of medical pain relief, including epidural and even planned caesarian birth. Doulas are for people giving birth and people who have recently given birth.

A doula will replace (or displace) my partner.

You or your partner might be concerned about how a doula could interfere with how your partner experiences your baby's birth. A doula can never replace a loving partner, who knows you intimately, loves you, and is going through the birth on a personal level. In fact, a doula can help facilitate bonding between you and your partner during labour. Reassuring your partner, guiding them, and teaching them techniques to comfort you are a big part of what your doula can do. Further, I find partners are relieved to have someone else that can stay should they need to eat, step out for a phone call, or use the bathroom.

Doulas don’t do epidurals.

Totally false. Doulas love epidurals. Many of us have used epidurals as pain relief for our own births. For clients that are planning to have an epidural or decide to have an epidural placed during labour, doulas continue to provide the same level of committed support.

Most of the myths and misconceptions surrounding doulas focus on a preference for "natural", un-medicated birth or being a replacement for a midwife. However, at the core of this work is a belief in supporting choices. I am a doula not because I want people to choose or experience a specific way of birthing but because I want people to have the experience they wish. I am a doula because I believe people need support and reassurance, and to feel safe and educated. It doesn't matter to me if the birth they dream of takes place in a birth pool in their living room or an operating room at the local hospital.

 

Is It Colic?

It is normal and healthy for your baby to cry. Crying is a way your baby communicates with you telling you that he is hungry, needs a diaper change, wants to be held, is uncomfortable or is tired. It’s a very effective way of communicating that there is an immediate need.

When babies cry for more than 3 hours at a time, 3+ days a week, it is sometimes said the baby is "colicky." Colic used to be considered a condition that some babies either had or didn't have. Now, these crying bouts are thought to be part of an infant's healthy development.

All babies go through a time when they cry more, usually between three and eight weeks. This stage often starts at about two weeks of age and intensifies by week four. The crying may be intense and seem impossible to soothe.

On the bright side, the crying bouts can come to an end as quickly as they start. You may notice a steady decrease or sudden ending to this stage, usually around three to four months of age.

Some Babies Cry More Than Others

 

Doctors and scientists have suggested that babies who cry more, the ones people call colicky, have sensitive temperaments. These babies have increased difficulty self-soothing. They take longer than others to settle into their natural rhythm. Totally normal.

This crying, formerly known as colic, was thought to be caused by gas, bowel pain, allergies, and other upsets but these have not been shown to correlate to these normal, intense crying bouts. On the contrary, the excessive crying can cause babies to swallow air and then cause tummy pain and gas. (This is not to say that all excessive crying doesn't have an underlying cause that can be remedied. You should discuss crying that's hard to soothe with your family doctor or pediatrician, just to make sure!)

How You Can Help Your “Colicky” Baby

 

Every baby is different, and what works for your baby today may not work tomorrow. We have a few suggestions about how you can soothe your baby, or at least feel like you are doing all that you can.

  • Cover all the bases: change baby’s diaper, feed baby, check that baby is not too warm or too cold, does baby have a fever?
  • Swaddle your baby.
  • Hold your baby.
  • Reduce stimulation: keep the lights low, use a white noise app, try to be in a calm space like the nursery
  • As suggested above, use white noise.
  • Soothe your baby with motion. You can try rocking, putting baby is a swing or going for a car ride.
  • Try a warm bath.
  • Use a pacifier or your clean finger and allow baby to be soothed by sucking.
  • Remember that your baby’s crying is not your fault.
  • Never shake your baby.

If you feel particularly stressed out and unable to remain calm (which is normal when your baby has been crying a lot), put your baby down in a safe place such as their crib or let someone else care for your baby. Medications and remedies for colic should be discussed with your family doctor or pediatrician before use.

It’s Normal to Need Help     

Caring for a baby is hard! Pregnancy and birth drained you not too long ago, you're probably not getting the sleep you need, and your baby has needs around the clock.

Ask for and accept help whenever you can. Whether you have family or friends assist you, or you choose to hire a postpartum doula, real help can make a big difference. A postpartum doula can assist you with your baby, care for older children and help around the house, and even offers overnight care so that you can get the rest you need.

When your baby cries for long periods of time, and you are unable to help them settle, it is extremely stressful. This time will pass but until them, remember to make time to care for yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Multiples on a Schedule



Two (or three, or more!) of everything- how exciting! Until, of course, you start to consider that there will always be multiple babies to feed, bums to change, naps to facilitate, and bedtimes to prepare for.

Almost every book and every expert on twins, triplets, and multiples suggests that having your babies on a schedule is key. Many parents get more rest and feel less overwhelmed by feeding, changing, and putting multiples to sleep on the same schedule. If this kind of routine-based parenting is for you, here are five tips for getting your babies on a schedule:

1.       Hospital to Home
If your babies had an extended hospital stay, you’ll get off to the best start by sticking to the schedule they were already on. You can ask the nurses for a written record of their current schedule for feeding, changing, and sleeping.

2.      Sleeping Together
Letting your brood sleep together will help them snooze more soundly, while also encouraging them to wake together. On a safe sleep surface (link: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/dca-dea/stages-etapes/childhood-enfance_0-2/sids/ssb_brochure-eng.php#safe-sleep), place your twins, triplets, or multiples side by side. This practice is appropriate until one or more of them have learned to roll over – once that happens, opt for separate sleeping solutions instead.

3.      Let Sleeping Babies Wake
Forget that saying about never waking a sleeping baby. If one of your babies is awake and needs to be fed, changed, or otherwise attended to, wake the other ones as well. This prevents you from going through the whole routine again an hour later, when the next one calls.

4.      Bedtime Routine
Have a bedtime routine that is calm and familiar each evening. For many families that routine involves bathing, feeding, and, finally, bed.

5.      Be Flexible
Take it as it comes - life happens! Your babies’ schedule is meant to make your life simpler, not deprive you of social interaction. It’s okay to deviate from the routine now and then. Also, if your babies have a different schedule in mind some days, just roll with it. Just try to give your babies the same things at the same times - so if one wakes up or feeds early, wake or feed the others, too.

 

 

Over time, your twins, triplets, or multiples will have different needs. Your schedule will need to evolve to meet these dynamic requirements. Always pay attention to their cues, even if they go off-schedule - feed babies that seem hungry, put sleepy babies to sleep, etc.

If you follow your intuition, trust yourself, and roll with the punches, you’ll soon find you have the tools to navigate through anything. A solid schedule will help you get there.