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?

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Feed A Sleepy Baby

 

It seems counter-intuitive to wake a sleeping baby. You were warned about how little sleep you'd be getting but now that you're settled in with your newborn you find yourself concerned by how much your baby sleeps. A sleepy baby can interfere with breastfeeding success or make it difficult for your infant to get enough formula to gain weight.

Your baby may be extra sleepy as a result of:

·       Not getting enough breastmilk or infant formula

·       A difficult birth

·       Medications you were given during labor or while you are breastfeeding

·       Overstimulation due to bright lights, noise, or interaction

·       Jaundice or other medical conditions

If your baby isn’t waking up to feed every 2-4 hours around the clock or has trouble staying awake to feed, you may want to try to keep your baby awake by using one of these tricks.

·       Unwrapping or undressing your baby

·       Talking to baby

·       Stroking or massaging baby’s body

·       Rubbing baby’s face (babies have a reflex that opens the mouth when the chin is touched), stroking the cheeks, circling the lips, kissing

·       Expressing breastmilk or dripping a bit of formula onto baby’s lips

·       Changing your baby’s diaper

·       Switching breasts or arm that you hold baby in to bottle feed

For babies that fall asleep too quickly at the breast, you can try compressing your breast to increase the milk flow which may stimulate your baby. Stroke your baby’s face, or nudge your baby underneath the chin. Keep your baby undressed and skin to skin. These techniques can be used throughout the feed to keep your baby eating.

Be sure to seek the support of your doctor or midwife if your baby is too sleepy to eat effectively. An infant that is not getting enough to eat can get sick very quickly.

Family Doulas of Ottawa is happy to offer suggestions and provide support for your feeding journey. Contact us today for information on infant feeding.

 

Do We Need a Night Nanny or a Baby Nurse?

night nanny

 

 

There are many reasons Ottawa families hire professional postpartum care when they have a new baby. Be it a desire to have an expert to look to, a lack of supportive family and friends nearby, or your independent nature, choosing to hire professional postpartum care can significantly improve your experience. 

 

If your birth was traumatic or you are struggling with postpartum depression you many have heard a Baby Nurse will aid in your recovery.

 

For families with multiples, an extra set of hands is always useful, especially if that extra set of hands is attached to someone experienced in infant care!

 

A Baby Nurse or a Night Nanny can be a helpful option. People who work under these titles specialize in infant care only. You can expect to have your baby whisked away and looked after. The Night Nanny or Baby Nurse manages newborn related tasks while you get much-needed rest or attend to your other responsibilities. If your goal is to have someone else care for your baby, a Baby Nurse or Night Nanny might be right for you.

 

But what if you want more? Or something different?

 

Similar to a Night Nanny or a Baby Nurse, a Postpartum Doula can spend her days and nights in the nursery with your baby if you’d like. She could also bring the baby to you for feeds if that is your preference, providing breastfeeding support and managing tasks while you’re feeding.

 

Unlike a Baby Nurse, your Postpartum Doula’s focus is on the recovery of your entire family. Her goal is to assist you in finding a new normal and smooth the transition taking place as you integrate your newest family member. She isn't solely focused on the baby unless that's what you need. She may assist with household chores, run errands, engage your older children, make meals, provide information for your physical and emotional recovery or even just be the unbiased listening ear who brings you a hot cup of tea.

 

For families that would prefer to care for their baby most of the time but would like additional support, a Postpartum Doula is an ideal option. A Postpartum Doula's broad scope of practice creates flexibility for your family.

 

 

With compassion, knowledge, and expertise on all things birth, postpartum and newborn care related, a Postpartum Doula will meet your needs day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wait and wait and wait

Near the end of your pregnancy the number one question that you encounter is "Have you had the baby yet?"  Hopeful first time mothers and seasoned moms of more know the waiting game is hard. Not knowing the day can be stressful for planners or anyone who needs to make arrangements for pets or older siblings.

A scheduled birthday due to induction or planned cesarean section.can be moved or delayed, and can be disheartening and disappointing when you thought it was a planned birth day for so long. 

In honour of those who have to wait, here is top 10 list of ideas to pass those long hours, days or weeks.

Ten Ways to Pass the Time While Waiting For Your Baby to Arrive

1. Make a family tree and save a copy for your baby to cherish. Go back as far as you can, and write in fun facts remembered by family members of those your new baby may not get to know.  

2. Meal prep! Having a freezer full of hearty food and healthy snacks can make your first few days at home with a newborn easier and more satisfying. Muffins, lasagna, soups, and  Lactation cookies are great to have on hand. Check out Ottawa Family Doula on Pinterest for ideas!

3. Write and mail thank you cards for the shower gifts you received. You think you might have time after, but you might have your hands full (literally!) and you look extra organized. 

4. Make a birthday cake! In early labour I made cupcakes for my older boys to share on their sister's birth day. 

5. Go out for dinner with your partner. You might not have enough space to eat a four course meal, but take your time, enjoy a romantic night out in a kid-free restaurant. You'll soon know the great kids meal places, so enjoy something fancy even if you still only fit in stretchy yoga pants at 41 weeks pregnant :)  

6. Go for a pedicure or massage. Have them focus on your ankles and feet to alleviate swelling and feel great. Even if you can't see your toes anymore! 

7. Go for a swim. Letting your body float in water relieves pressure and feels great. If you're not comfortable in a family swim, look for preschool swim. Lots of moms with small kids there who will remember how it feels to float with a belly. 

8. Grab some gelato! Stella Luna Gelato Cafe is said to have some labour-inducing gelato and even if it doesn't work (it didn't for me!) you still get to enjoy shopping locally and tasting some great award-winning gelato! 

9. Reorganize your kitchen or paint some baseboards.  What better time than the present? Nesting can look funny but can also keep you busy! Of course, listen to your body and take it easy if something doesn't feel right. 

10. Go for a walk. Hold hands with a loved one and watch a sunset together. Feeling connected can make that waiting time into a cherished memory of time spent together before the next big chapter of life begins.

Ottawa Family Doula is a birth and postpartum doula supporting families in Ottawa. Exceptional and confident care for your pregnancy to have your birth and your baby, your way. Specializing in all types of birth at all hospitals and birth centres in Ottawa. 

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Where in Ottawa do I go with my baby?

You prepared for your birth experience and packed your hospital bag weeks in advance of needing it. Your nursery is organized and clean, and tiny sleepers are washed and ready to be worn. Your bedside table has What to Expect The First Year, Breastfeeding Basics and two half full glasses of water and a record of all baby's first poops, pees and feedings.

You finally feel like you would like to leave this nest and try going out with your new baby. But where? And how?

Ottawa has so many family-friendly activities and places to visit, but if you're new to parenthood it might be daunting to go out. Your diaper bag might not have everything in it, or you're scared you'll forget something if you venture out with baby. Fear not! You have everything you need as long as you have your baby and your keys, and maybe a pacifier.

Your local Early Years Centre has drop-in programming for 0-12 month olds, and is a great place to start if you want to meet other new moms in your community.  A trip to IKEA can be easy because it's a very family friendly store, with clean washrooms and lots of places to change the baby. You can enjoy a cinnamon bun while your baby snoozes in a carrier or the stroller. The Ottawa Public Library offers baby story time at all locations (check your location for times) and is another free activity that's great for making new friends with babies. Pop Up Painters offers three week baby sensory classes, a perfect amount of time to try it out without weeks of commitment.

Finally, remember that not all outings are successful. Sometimes just getting in the car is exhausting and baby cries once she is placed in the car seat. Sometimes finding a drive-through coffee is enough to get out of the house and change the scenery, and make you appreciate that spot in bed just that much more.

Ottawa Family Doula is a birth and postpartum doula supporting families in Ottawa. Exceptional and confident care for your pregnancy to have your birth and your baby, your way. Specializing in all types of birth at all hospitals and birth centres in Ottawa.