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?

 

 

New Parents Need Naps Too

No matter how smooth your pregnancy and birth go, your body had undergone some intense changes. You have been working very hard growing your new little person. In many traditional cultures, new mothers are cared for and given a month or more to recover. North American culture tends to forget new parents need for rest, trading the peaceful "lying in" tradition with numerous visitors, expectations to get your body back, and pressure to take your new baby out and about.

Postpartum expectations, both internal (the expectations you have for yourself and your experience) and external expectations (the expectations that come from society, family and friends) can wreak havoc on your need to recover from pregnancy and birth. You have so many demands put upon you, on top of learning to care for a baby, keep yourself nourished, sneak in an occasional shower and get the sleep you need. Let's face it, "Sleep when the baby sleeps." just isn't very realistic for most new parents.

At the very least, do your best to take it easy when your baby is sleeping. It may take some adjustment mentally to accept that you have a need for more rest that you are used to. Being unable to do it all is okay. Your need for recuperation is far more important than texting, phone calls, tweets, and even housekeeping.

As a new mother, you should feel confident letting others know you need a nap. Take your baby with you, or have someone else care for the baby while you get some quiet time or a nap in, any time you need.

Napping is harder for some people than others. You may not be used to sleeping during the day. If you're having trouble adjusting to short periods of sleep during the day you can try:

Lay down.

Take every opportunity to lay down in the early weeks and months. As a new parent, don't stand if you can sit, don't sit if you can lie down. Caring for a newborn is very draining and just laying down for a little while can go a long ways towards your sleep debt.

Enlist support.

Clear your mind by having someone else help with that mile long to do list. Family and friends who come to visit are happy to help with tasks around the house. If you don't want to ask for favours, you can hire assistance with the care of older children, housekeeping and laundry, and order takeout to save on meal prep time.

Postpartum Doulas are a tired parent's secret weapon. Families who choose doula support get more rest and feel better prepared to care for their growing family. At nap time (your nap time) a Postpartum Doula can care for your baby and older children, tidy up, and tackle on tasks on your to-do list. When you're awake, you can save your energy by actually utilising the unique role of your Doula by having her help with whatever it is you feel like you need. No one knows just how exhausting having a baby is like a Postpartum Doula.

 

You deserve to get proper rest.

 

You cannot genuinely care for others if you're not caring for yourself. You'll be happier and healthier if you make rest and recovery a priority during the postpartum period.

May Fun in Ottawa

Spring is in full swing here in Ottawa, and it's time to start putting away the rain gear and enjoy a little sun. We know you’ve been restless and waiting for warmer weather to get the kids out and about and now is your chance. Ottawa has so many fun activities for your family to do this month! We hope to see you at some of them!

 

Meet The Doulas | May 6, 2017

Come join us at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre from 10-3. Meet our doulas, check out our packages, and get some great deals while you are there! We can't wait to meet you in person.

Ottawa Children’s Festival | May 10-14, 2017

The list of fun activities to do with your children at Ottawa’s annual Children’s Festival at LeBreton Flats is too long for one little blog post! Facepainting, the Long and McQuade Instrument Petting Zoo where children can explore musical instruments with professional guidance, and the Africa Land Circus are just a few of the activities you can take in with your kids. We’re looking forward to the Puppets Up! Workshop where little ones can make their very own finger puppets!

Canadian Tulip Festival | May 12-22, 2017

You know what they say, April showers bring May flowers. In Ottawa, that means it's time for the Canadian Tulip Festival! What better way is there to welcome spring than painting wooden tulips with the children or eating tulip cookies at the Tulip Julip Tulip Café at Aberdeen Pavillion in Landsdowne Park? With a variety of children's entertainers, millions of tulips, and special events like Yoga in the Tulips, there's something for all ages at the Tulip Festival.

65th Annual Tulipmania Fireworks | May 21, 2017

Celebrate Victoria Day long weekend with a big bang at the Tulipmania Fireworks show!2017 marks the 65th years of the Tulipmania Fireworks in celebration of Queen Victoria. Don’t miss the show at TD Place at Lansdowne (1015 Bank Street, Ottawa, ON). The music and fireworks show promise to be some of the best you'll see! Bring your lawn chair or a blanket and enjoy the pre-fireworks show entertainment CTV’s Sarah Freemark. Admission starts at 7:30 PM.

Ottawa Welcomes the World | Ongoing in 2017

Since March, our city has been celebrating Canada’s diversity with Ottawa Celebrates the World. Embassies and high commissions from around the globe have been marking their country’s national celebrations at Aberdeen Pavilion and the Horticulture Building. Each unique event encourages attendees to enjoy a variety of cultural food, music, art, performances and more! May 2017 brings celebrations from Poland, Mexico, Haiti, Cuba, Guyana, Serbia and Ethiopia. 

We know that checking things out when you are pregnant or have a brand new baby can seem overwhelming. When getting your shoes requires help, heading out for festivals and activities can see as challenging as getting to Mars. But getting out, especially with your new baby, can help you to reconnect with your community, meet other new parents, and even find some playdate friends. And remember, there is no rule that says you can't spend most of the time sipping a latte on a patio!

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.

 

Scared To Have Sex After Baby?

If you've recently given birth, you may be wondering if you'll ever want to have sex again. Perhaps you're missing intimacy with your partner, but you're afraid it will hurt. If you had a vaginal birth with small tears, you would likely be advised to wait until you are six weeks postpartum to have sex. You might need more time if you experienced severe tearing, had an episiotomy or gave birth by caesarean. Be sure to use a condom if you're not yet on birth control, which will generally be discussed at your six-week postpartum appointment with your doctor or midwife.

First of all, it might be a little while after your baby’s birth before you’re ready for sex. That doesn’t mean you must miss out on intimacy with your partner. Start slow, with cuddling, kissing, caressing, bathing and showering together. Make time for each other either when the baby is sleeping or while someone else cares for your baby for an hour or two. Maintaining your bond with your partner is important for both of you and your baby. 

Once you are ready to have sex after your baby is born, there are a few things that can make it more comfortable:

1.     Make time for romance. Run a hot bath with salts and bubbles, pour a couple of glasses of wine and enjoy each other's company. Even a bath by yourself while your partner puts the baby to sleep can help you feel refreshed and ready to enjoy some serious couple time.

2.     Foreplay goes a long way. Think candles, massage oil, music and taking it slow. Hot and heavy make-out sessions, oral sex, lots of touching, eye contact and kissing.

3.     Use a water-based personal lubricant. Varying hormonal levels following birth and while breastfeeding can leave you feeling dry. Combined with tender tissue, dryness can make sex after birth painful. Many couples find postpartum sex is more enjoyable when using a personal lubricant. Use something unscented and avoid lubricants that tingle or have hot and cold sensations.

4.   Hire a postpartum doula. When you're feeling rested, supported, and understood, you're going to feel sexier and less "touched out." Your postpartum doula can help you throughout the day and even care for your baby at night allowing you and your partner some alone time and sleep.

The most important part of having a positive experience with postpartum sex is communication with your partner.

Let your partner know how you’re feeling. Share your fears, your frustrations and your hopes. Let them know how much they mean to you and be sure to show your partner affection in other ways until you are ready to have sex again.

It's a good idea to talk about the points above with your partner. Let your partner know that it's normal to need to take it slow. Explain that your need for a personal lubricant is hormone related and not because you lack desire for them. Ask them to be attentive and gentle. Plan a romantic evening together.

Postpartum sex doesn’t need to be scary. With communication, patience and these little tips, you’ll be feeling like your old self in no time

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.