Subscribe to Life of a Happy Mom Subscribe to Life of a Happy Mom's comments

Posts tagged ‘sleep’

That title is a little ambiguous, isn’t it? I left it that way on purpose. Because sleeping with a newborn in the house can be a challenge all by itself. And then there is sleeping with said infant, also known as co-sleeping. This is about that too.

Earlier this year I had a guest post on the pros and cons of co-sleeping. Now my third child is here, and I haven’t changed my ideas on co-sleeping one bit. However, I am having some new challenges.

In my first pregnancy, I spent 6 weeks sleeping in a recliner, but within a week I was sleeping in bed again. With my second, I never left the bed. With my third, well, I started sleeping in a recliner in the last week of March, and I haven’t moved back yet. The only position that doesn’t hurt is on my tummy, and that has never been comfortable for very long. Besides which, I can’t very well nurse on my tummy. This time around, whether due to the time I slipped on the bathroom floor reaching for my towel and pulled a ligament or something in my groin, or whether it was just a different pregnancy (maybe a bit of both), I still cannot lay on my sides, especially the right side. And if I manage to get into position on my side, rolling over is almost too painful to be possible.

I’m not complaining. I have a precious new baby, and I know I will heal and be back to normal in a while. But for now I’m still in the recliner. And co-sleeping in a recliner has it’s own unique challenges.

For instance, I can’t very well lay the baby beside me. He has to be on top of me. That is nice and cozy, but on a warm night it can be a sweat-inducing experience for both of us. Thank goodness I’m in the northwest, which has been unseasonably cool this year (while the rest of the country swelters–*ducks and runs*). Also, I have to sit up, which disturbs my sleep more than simply rolling over would (though less than rolling over would at the moment, considering how painful it still is). Nonetheless, I have had my baby with me most nights.

A few nights ago, he slept about 5 hours straight. I thought, Great! Maybe I can just put him in the baby swing that we are using for a cradle and enjoy some positions that are not practical when I am holding a baby. But the next Day, he rode with me to the chiropractor and a couple of other quick stops. The ride lulled him to sleep faster than laying around with the family drooling over him would have, so he got more sleep and less milk during that time. And for some reason he also slept a good bit in the afternoon. So come night he was more hungry and less sleepy. Between 10 and 4 he woke pretty much every hour wanting to nurse. I would nurse him and put him back in the cradle, hoping this time he would sleep for a few hours. Finally at 4 I had had it. I asked Daddy to bring him to me (since I just couldn’t face lowering the foot rest yet again and then trying to get comfortable again with a baby in my arms) and kept him. He nursed briefly, and then slept until about 6:30. And so did I!

So the next night I did start him out in the cradle, but he had been awake for a good hour and a half or more before, and nursed thoroughly right before bedtime. He slept for about half an hour, and when he woke up hungry. I fed him, then had to pee, so I put him back in the cradle. He slept 3 or so hours, then woke to eat again. I got him and kept him with me the rest of the night.

And l slept much better!

So what is your take on co-sleeping? Do you like it? Do you fear rolling over on the baby and prefer to keep him nearby in a cradle? Or does his every peep keep you so alert that you find it better to put him in a nearby room? Tell me about it!

If you use Facebook (and maybe even if you don’t), you have probably seen this picture floating on your news feed:

I have very strong opinions on Daylight Nuisance Savings Time. And I thought I’d share them.

First of all, it doesn’t save time at all. There are still 24 hours in a day. And on days like today, it actually steals an hour! Granted, it gives it back in the fall, but by that time, I’ve forgotten how annoying it was to have it taken in the first place. It’s like someone stealing the $20 bucks I planned to buy lunch with, only to bring it back a month later. By that time, I have long gotten over the loss, you know!

Where did DST originate? Well, since I don’t have time to research that (and since I’m sure you’ve already read something on that topic within the last few years), let’s just say that what I remember being told is that farmers needed more daylight at the end of the day to get their work done. But that makes no sense. I mean, farm equipment has lights, just like cars do. Why not just start an hour earlier in the morning? Or are those poor farmers supposed to skip an hour of sleep every night in the summer?

Not all states and countries have DST. Arizona doesn’t. I have a friend who dreams of moving there. Her health is very unstable and requires adherence to a very strict schedule. The time change messes with that. Although she changes the times on her schedule to adjust as though there were no DST, it makes activities like going to church difficult. Mexico has DST, but it starts later and ends earlier–as we discovered once when trying to attend a function at a church across the border. It seems that it used to start later and end earlier in the US, too, but someone keeps pushing the dates back to make it longer.

Growing up, we called DST “Man’s time” and the regular time “God’s time.” I still think of it that way.

I figure, what’s the point of changing it at all? Just pick a time and stick to it. The changing back and forth every year is annoying.

Thankfully for me, we worship on Saturday, so we don’t have to be anywhere Sunday morning. That makes it easier to adjust–we don’t need to lose the hour of sleep. Unless, of course, we stay up an hour later the night before!

So those are my thoughts. What do you think about Daylight Savings Time? Do you like it? Dislike it? Why? Please share!

I found the following post intriguing, because I co-slept with both of my children for a few months before moving them to a crib–usually by the time they were able to roll over or before. I hope you find this post helpful.

Choosing to have your baby in bed with you is an often controversial topic, and polarizes opinion enormously due to the dangers that are often spurted out in the news. But the benefits of co-sleeping also speak for themselves. So what really are the pros and cons of co-sleeping with your baby, and how is it done safely?

The Pros

  • A calmer baby – bedsharing is renowned for making your baby feel more at ease and content, having their mother right by their side. They are likely to sleep better and for longer periods, as they feel safer and more secure.
  • Bonding – if you have been away from your baby all day, you can instantly regain that connection and closeness by having your baby in bed with you. Make sure your baby is between you and the wall, and is placed to sleep on their back for the safest way of co-sleeping.
  • No cot shopping yet – for the first few months, there might not be any need for a cot or Moses basket, saving on space and money. You may want to invest in a new double mattress that is much firmer.
  • Breastfeeding made easy – having your baby right by your side means there’s no need to get up for a feed, and there’s less disruption during sleep for you and baby.
  • Body clock – your sleep cycle is more likely to stay in sync with your baby’s if you sleep together, meaning you both get better and longer sleep.

The Cons

  • Cot death – the biggest and most important negative of co-sleeping. Unfortunately, this is a possible danger due to strangulation and suffocation that could happen in your bed. To reduce the risk of cot death, it’s extremely important to ensure that you and your partner have not been drinking, smoking or are unusually tired.
  • Less sleep for you – at first, it may be an unfamiliar and strange concept of having your wriggling baby in bed with you, so it may mean less sleep for you.
  • Getting too used to it – co-sleeping may make the transition from bed to cot much harder and drawn-out for your baby, as they are too familiar with the safety of sleeping next to their parents. It might also make it harder on yourself when your baby is left with a sitter or relative.

How to co-sleep safely

  • Invest in a firm mattress, and tight sheets that lay flat on the bed. Make sure your duvet or comforter is lightweight. Remove any unnecessary cushions, throws, blankets and stuffed animals and keep all bedding to a minimum.
  • Place the baby to sleep on their back, for the safest sleeping position.
  • Keep your baby on top of the duvet to avoid overheating, and always check your baby’s temperature is warm and not hot.
  • Place your baby to sleep in between you and the wall, and place rugs and soft furnishings down if you have a hard-wood floor for extra safety.
  • Keep the bed right up against the wall, and ensure there are no gaps around the bed. Wedge pillows or tightly-rolled blankets into any visible gaps.

 

Zoe is an avid blogger and experienced freelance writer, and loves to share her knowledge through content on the internet. Zoe is currently writing on behalf of bed superstore Archers Sleep Centre.

This guest post has a lot of good ideas on healthy sleep habits. Feel free to share any comments you might have–especially suggestions that are not listed here!

 

A lot of parents go through a lot of distress in getting their kids to follow a systematic sleep pattern. There are parents who have kids that are hyperactive and do not want to sleep, whereas others have kids who sleep at the oddest of hours. All in all, it is tough for a parent to cope with sleepless nights, and frustrating as well. However, it has been medically proved that if you inculcate the following sleep habits in your kids, then you might end up establishing a systematic sleeping pattern in your kids effortlessly:

1. Maintain a consistent sleep/wake-up time for your kids

It is important to keep a consistently maintained sleep schedule throughout the week, irrespective of weekends and holidays. This will enable their body to work in a particular manner. This way, their body will automatically tell them when it is time to sleep and when it is time to wake up without any fuss whatsoever.

2. Introduce some form of exercise or a sport daily

Try to incorporate some kind of physical activity in your kid’s daily planner. Not only will it make them healthy and alert but will also go a long way in their well-being.

3. Always make sure they have dinner before bedtime

It is important that the kid’s do not sleep on an empty stomach. Try to keep the dinner ready and prepared well in time. In times when dinner is not done, then give them some cereals, milk or a fruit before putting them to bed. Also, make sure that dinner is eaten at least two hours before bedtime.

4. Do not give foods containing caffeine to kids

Avoid foods that contain caffeine in the evenings as it can interfere with their sleep. So chocolates, iced teas, colas and coffee should be a definite no-no for the evenings!

5. Tuck the kids in bed an hour before bedtime

Try to plan your evenings so that you can tuck your kids in bed an hour before lights are off. This will give them an hour of doing fun activities, reading a book, playing or listening to songs before settling off to sleep.

6. Make sure the room is adequately lit

It is important for the kids to feel safe in the room, so do make it comfortable to them in terms of buying a good night light for their room.

7. Do not put in distracting gadgets in their rooms

Try to avoid putting in a TV set in the kid’s bedroom. Kids get distracted easily and their excitement for watching television might make it difficult for them to sleep.

8. Avoid associating the bedroom with punishment

If you have to discipline a child, try to avoid using the bedroom for time outs as the kids will associate it with negative things. Try to increase the positive aspects about their bedroom.

9. Have a final interaction with your kids before sending them off to bed

It is important to give the kids a feeling of warmth and love – so do give them the kiss and hug before tucking them in bed.

10. Try to letting older kids from napping in the afternoons

As kids grow older, they refuse to sleep on time if they have napped in the afternoon. So, if you have a kid who is five or older – then try to avoid letting them nap in the afternoon so that they can sleep on time.

 

Ellen is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on latest technologies. These days she is busy in writing an article on Headphones iPod dock. Beside this she loves reading. She recently bought a Wireless Media Player from a fare. 


Yesterday was not a good day. At least, that’s how it started out.

First off, I woke up late. Not terribly late, mind you. Probably only an hour late. But on a Friday, that’s just asking for trouble. Sundown shows up at the scheduled time no matter what time I rose in the morning.

Not to mention that I have been making a commitment to spend time with God each morning. Now, if I get up early, that isn’t so hard. But if I get up late, then I am under pressure.

By More Good Foundation on Flickr

Another problem with getting up late is that it seems whenever I sleep in, I feel more tired than if I had gotten up earlier. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I have more time to really connect to God’s strength when I get up earlier, but all I know is that for the past few months whenever I get up late, I have a worse day. Of course, if I go to bed late, it doesn’t help at all!

So I was tired. Really tired. The I-can’t-focus-on-anything kind of tired. I found myself not knowing what to do next and grabbing my iPod to check email or my to-do list (usually both) more often than I really should have. That made me get more and more behind, until I realized it was 10:00 am and the breakfast dishes weren’t even done. At that point, I began to slip emotionally as well.

Of course, emotions are harder to control when one is tired. And mine were just all over the place. I fought hard to control my attitude and not fall into negative thinking, but it was so hard. I would find myself saying things like, “Why am I so tired today of all days? I mean, I got to sleep in this morinng. Why am I always more tired on days when I sleep in a little?” Or, as I lumbered up the stairs to change a diaper, “Why am I sore? I’ve been exercising at least every other day for the past couple of weeks, and sometimes more. I shouldn’t be sore. It’s not fair.” Or, “What is my husband doing on the computer on his day off? Why doesn’t he come help me?” [I knew the answer–he was working on essays in his attempt to get some scholarships to get his Master’s–but you know how the mind tends to focus on the negative anyhow!] Then something would go wrong, and I would whine to myself about it.

But as I sensed my spirit becoming negative, I also sensed God calling to my heart to surrender the feelings and thoughts to Him and to focus on something positive instead. Several times I turned my thoughts away from the negative direction they had been going toward something positive, claiming a promise or counting a blessing.

Finally, a little after noon, I just couldn’t go on. I had put Manny down for his nap, and I decided it was time for me to take one too. My husband was planning on going to town soon, and said he would take Gislaine with him. So I went to try to take a nap. Manny wasn’t asleep yet, so I put in earplugs, just in case.

I had just started to drift off–I know because my thoughts suddenly made no sense when Manny’s crying woke me up. Glancing at the clock, I figured I couldn’t have been asleep more than a couple of minutes. As his cries escalated, I decided that I might as well feed him; it was a little early (he’s on a two-meal-a-day schedule right now, partly since he takes his nap around noon and wakes up late in the afternoon, and partly because it gives his irritated digestive tract a bit of a break). So I got him up, much to his delight, and tried to fix him a lunch.

I say tried, because I was only slightly refreshed from the 2-minute nap. I still couldn’t focus. I had cooked him a sweet potato for breakfast, and planned on giving him the leftovers for lunch. But I needed a little more to make up the meal, so I cut a few slices from an unused sweet potato and started to cook them. Then I started toasting rice in a dry pan to make Spanish Rice for today’s lunch and seasoning beans I had pressure cooked earlier. Those two things took all the focus I could spare, until suddenly it dawned on me that the sweet potatoes were not bubbling in the pan behind the rice anymore. So I lifted the lid.

Sure enough… the pan was black inside.

And since I had sliced them thin–only about 1/4″ thick–I was able to salvage very little.

I forgot to mention that I had burned his sweet potatoes at breakfast too–not as badly, but still, the pan had blackened.This time was much worse. And I still hadn’t cleaned the pan from the morning. So now I had two blackened pans to clean.

It was just too much.

I didn’t think I could take it anymore.

Not to mention that my husband still hadn’t gone to town. Was he going to go or not? I had forgotten to put a book I sold on eBay in the mail box, and now it was too late; if it didn’t get to the post office, it wasn’t going out that day. And it was supposed to go out that day. Of course, I didn’t bother to consider that what my husband was working on was something he wanted to go out in the mail that day too.

Then the pile of dishes was starting to look overwhelming. And they were all dishes that had accumulated after the breakfast dishes had been washed. Sure, a few things hadn’t been washed after breakfast–my daughter had helped and hadn’t been able to handle them. And I had made teff milk and soy milk and still needed to make nut milk with the nuts soaking in the window…

I had a sort of headache, and noise was bothering me. I found myself starting to snap at the kids. Knowing that I needed divine strength, I dropped to my knees behind the kitchen island and pleaded for help. I actually did this several times throughout the morning. When I found myself dwelling on negative thoughts, I made a point to stop and ask for grace to change, and more than once I had knelt to pray. Somehow, those prayers gave me strength to fight back the tears  that would come up and helped me change my focus.

But after the sweet potatoes burned, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I went down to the office where my husband was working and my iPod was charging and sent a text to one prayer partner and a Facebook message to another, briefly describing my exhaustion and out-of-control emotions and asking for prayer

.

After that, I went back to lunch prep. I soon had Manny fed and sat down to eat myself. By the time the meal was over, I was feeling better. I got everything done just in time for Sabbath, and after worship went down to walk on the treadmill, reading a chapter from The Gift while I walked. This refreshed my body and my spirit, and I felt so much better the rest of the evening. Of course, I made it a point to go to bed early!

What did I learn from this day? Several things. First, our thoughts direct our emotions. The things we allow ourselves to think on affect what we feel. If we think negative thoughts, we can work ourselves up into tears very quickly. By the same token, if we resist the negative and focus on the positive, we can change the course of our emotions.

The second thing I learned is that it is important to firmly resist temptation. I had to choose to change my thoughts. Of course I asked God for help, but He couldn’t choose my thoughts for me. He could only point me in the right direction. The choice was up to me. Refusing to break down in tears–even when they were welling up in my eyes–was very hard and totally foreign to my nature, but I did it in Christ’s strength. And when the devil realized that I was determined to choose Christ, he got tired of trying and relaxed the temptations–no doubt planning the next one, but at least giving me a break for a while.

The third thing I learned is that I need the prayers of those I love. The temptations didn’t begin to lessen until my friends started praying. Now, I know they pray for me every day, in a general way, but on days like this if I ask, they can pray specifically for the trial I am in, and that is even more powerful.

So thank you, prayer partners!

Have you had a trial lately that you found victory in? Do you have a prayer partner that you exchange requests with? Please share how this has been a blessing to you.

Okay, this post is not for me. My son is almost two.  I am writing this for the author of a blog that I follow who just had a baby a few days before Christmas, and now she is starting to feel overwhelmed as hubby goes back to work, mom goes home, etc. She asked on Twitter if any of her followers had blog posts on the topic of surviving with a toddler and a newborn, and since then all kinds of ideas have been flooding through my mind. Of course, since my second is almost 2, I figure I am an expert on the topic (hahaha), so here is my advice, for what it’s worth:

Prioritize

I know that sounds hard to do right now. But take 5 minutes when the baby is asleep and toddler is happily coloring or playing with dollies or something that will keep her attention for that long, and decide what is really important. Spotless floors? Dream on! Making sure mother and all minors are fed? Absolutely. Making sure they get nutritionally balanced, gourmet meals? Forget it! If they get Cherrios & milk for breakfast, PB&J sandwiches for lunch, and takeout for dinner for a month, you can consider yourself a good mother! Hubby can fend for himself for at least the first month! Of course, the newest arrival will be getting nourishment from Mommy or a bottle, so make sure you keep taking those prenatals!

Seriously, though, decide what is absolutely essential to making sure the house doesn’t cave in. Things like meals, laundry (as much as you’d like to skip this–though intensive stain removal can go on the back burner now), dishes (get paper plates & bowls to make this part easier), and sleep (not necessarily in that order). Then stick to it, and only add in things as you have energy (notice I didn’t say time–energy!)

Simplify

I alluded to this in the previous section, but you really should simplify things as much as possible. When clothes get scarce, throw a load in and wash it. Don’t sweat the baby poop stains around the legs of the onsies. They will come out well enough when you have time to put them on the line later. Stock up on frozen dinners, rice-a-roni, sandwich makings, cold cereals, quick hot cereals (this time of year hot food is nice, and oatmeal only takes a few minutes to make), fresh veggies for munching (avoid broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage if you’re nursing–though if your toddler likes them, have some handy for her!), pasta and pasta sauce, and take-out menus of all your favorite places–especially the ones that deliver. The less you have to think about right now, the more time you will be able to spend recuperating and enjoying your precious children.

Nap When You Can

I know they always say, “Sleep when the baby’s sleeping.” With one, that was easy. With two, it seems almost impossible! It took a while, but eventually I was able to get my two to sleep for at least half an hour at the same time. To be honest, I usually tried to get things done then, but I wish I had taken more time to rest–even if I couldn’t sleep. Hindsight is 20/20, and lack of sleep contributed to some very difficult times for me later (especially since my son had severe eczema, and that was emotionally draining for me, and even more so because I was sleep deprived).

There is a lot of conflicting advice about co-sleeping, but I did it with both of mine for the first few months, and that really helped me get more sleep. It can also be helpful at naptime. By 2-3 weeks baby should be able to handle nursing lying down, and it allows you to relax more than sitting would. If you just can’t fall asleep for worrying that you would roll over on the baby, get a co-sleeper thingy. There are different styles available; one kind slides under the mattress and hangs over the side of the bed; the other kind lays on the bed, but has soft sides that come up to keep baby safe. It’s worth looking into. At 3 or 4 months you should be able to transition baby into sleeping by himself (especially if he does that during the day already).

Cut Down or Eliminate Caffeine

I know it seems like caffeine is your friend, but it’s not. If you are nursing, you are passing it to your baby (which means he’s going to be more hyper), and you’re taking away from tomorrow’s energy reserves to get through today.

When I was a child, I had this kid’s book about health that had a picture of a couple of tired horses trying to pull a heavy carriage up a steep hill. They were giving it their all, and yet the driver was whipping them to make them go faster. And it told me that is what caffeine does to us. Maybe that’s why I never touched the stuff. And let me tell you, it’s not because I never felt like I needed it. There were days I wished I had some around! But overall, it’s much better for everyone to avoid it.

Ask for Help

They say children are meant to be raised in a village. If you were Amish, the neighbors would be over mopping your floors, weeding your garden (if it were summer), doing your laundry, and bringing you home-cooked meals–without you having to ask anyone for anything. But we don’t live like that anymore. Nowadays you have to ask for help. And that is hard on our pride sometimes. But the sooner you do it, the better off you will be.

The first place I would look if you don’t have family nearby is your church. A good church is like a second family. Call the head deaconess or the pastor and ask for help. You will probably need to be specific: “I would like someone to come once a week for the next month and a half to mop my floors and do some important cleaning like toilets and vacuuming major walkways; also, a few home-cooked meals would be lovely!” If anyone in your church has kids your toddler’s age, see if they would be willing to come pick her up once or twice a week in the morning for a playdate to let you take a nap while the baby sleeps and not have to worry that the toddler is getting into something.

Watch Your Coping Mechanisms

For me, adding a second child was not as hard as watching that child slowly develop a severe case of eczema. It was draining for me. By the time he was 7 or 8 months, he was a very miserable baby and I was about to have an emotional breakdown. I found myself trying to cope by watching movies and playing games on Facebook. Looking back, I wish I had looked for other ways to cope, because all I did was hide from my problems while they got bigger and more overwhelming.

Now don’t get me wrong. A good movie now and then is not the issue. It’s 3 movies a day while I ignored everything around me. I wish I had taken more of that time to get down on my knees and plead for strength to get through the rest of the day, claiming promises like Isaiah 40:29-31. I wish I had taken the time to read good devotional books and other good literature instead of letting Hollywood fill my mind with useless trash.

So there you have a few ideas. I hope it helps you and anyone else who finds this post.