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Six Tips to Help You Fight Postpartum Insomnia

I’m thinking I must have Pregnantsomnia because much of what I faced with postpartum insomnia I am now facing as a pregnant mama with my toddler running around. Nonetheless, these six tips to fight postpartum insomnia apply to me now too and I think they can help many a mamas, but especially those new moms.

I am by no means a professional and I am only sharing what worked for me. If you are battling insomnia then I would encourage you to seek guidance from your physician.

I remember when Bubby started to sleep longer stretches at night as a new baby. He’d sleep four, five maybe six or even seven hours of sleep. Not me. I’d roll over and look at the clock and it’s 2:00AM. I’d start thinking “I’ve got a couple more hours, maybe even one, before he’s awake again. Go back to sleep. Go back to sleep.” Nothing. No sleep at all.

Some women it hits right away. For some, it takes its time, showing its ugly face right when you start to feel “normal” again. Insomnia. Unfortunately, for most women who suffer postpartum insomnia, depression may be lurking around the corner. According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia and depression tend to go hand in hand. We already know that those who suffer with sleep disorders need to be wary of the onset of depression. So why does postpartum insomnia get so easily overlooked for moms who experience postpartum depression?

Most women are told it’s normal to run on no sleep during those early newborn months. We laugh about the 30 minute power naps we take a few times a day to get through a 24 hour period. Women are made to believe that sleepless nights are normal and will pass. You know, maybe in a year or two when the kid starts sleeping through the night. Most women need the tools now to curb their sleepless nights which may dial down postpartum depression. Here are a few strategies that you can try right right now in an effort to get a better night’s sleep.

Postpartum insomnia is tough. Here are six tips to help you fight postpartum insomnia.

Quit trying to nap when the baby naps.
Some women just don’t nap well or can’t pull off the power nap.  If anything, you lie there, agonizing over the fact that you’re not sleeping while the baby is sleeping. Instead of trying to nap every time the baby does, use those times as rest time but only pick a nap during the day when you know you just might actually fall back to sleep.

Get some exercise and get outside.
Many moms groan at this one but don’t underestimate the power of stimulating your body. Let’s define exercise real quick for the new mom. It is NOT jumping right back into your old workout routine. It is NOT pushing your body too soon physically.  Sometimes a simple walk around the block will do wonders for your morale and your body. Maybe it’s doing that annoying 10 minute total body workout video you bought from WalMart. Whatever is, give it a simple try. We think we should be able to sleep because we haven’t had very much sleep to begin with, but studies show that a short time of physical exertion helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Quit surfing Facebook before bed.
If you’re like most of us smartphone-loving moms, you check your Facebook during that middle of the night bottle feed or nursing session.  Studies upon studies tell us we need to put our electronics down at night. For this strategy to be effective, we should put them down about an hour before we turn out the lights. This definitely eliminates checking your Instagram while you’re nursing at 2:00A.M. The simplest way to explain this reasoning:
the lighting on your electronic devices makes it hard for your brain to shut down to fall asleep and to stay asleep.

Try to not look at the clock when you wake in the night.
This strategy alone helps some individuals reduce anxiety with mid-night wakings because they aren’t aware of how long they’ve been awake. Keep yourself from running in a vicious circle, agonizing over how you’ve been awake for the last hour. Turn off the stress, and you may fall back to sleep sooner than if you were aware of the time on your clock. Plus, looking at the lighting on your clock may be too stimulating for your brain.

Try turning the baby monitor down a notch.
This doesn’t mean turn it off. We already know that women are more sensitive to their baby’s noises than men are. But sometimes we hear every little move the baby makes and wake when we don’t need to. Try different volumes during the day to gage what you’re comfortable with. Maybe move the monitor in your room so it’s not so close to your bedside. Find an option you’re comfortable with so you won’t worry about it.

Just get up and do what you can’t stop thinking about.
This might sound counterproductive, but if you’re laying there thinking about laundry, the grocery list or something else you want to get done, then it might serve you better to get up and do it quickly so you can quit thinking about it. Don’t make this a habit but it could be a valuable option if it will help you go back to sleep.

Seek help and counsel if you feel your sleep loss is greatly impacting your mood and attitude.
While this is the last strategy, it is certainly not the least. Many women fight a silent battle against postpartum insomnia, while they’re dealing with depression. Don’t let yourself be one of them. Talk to your provider or a friend who may be able to give you some advice on how to receive help.

What about you Only a Season Mamas? Any other tips you would add to help encourage one another?
Don’t forget you can PIN THIS article to save for later or share with another mama. And if you’re interested in getting tips like this to your inbox, check out our Mom Tribe.

Peace,
Glo

How to Swaddle Baby in a Car Seat

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Does your baby get fussy while riding in the car seat? Have you tried ways to swaddle your baby in the car seat, but haven’t had success? Here is an easy way to calm your baby, particularly a newborn, while in the car seat and still be safe.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click through and end up buying something, I get a tiny commission to add to my coffee and writing fund. Thank you 🙂

Bubby was not much of a sleepy newborn. We could go places with him in his car seat and some times he would fall asleep, but not very often. He always wanted to see what was going on. Such a silent observer, like his dad. So, we would try covering the car seat with a blanket to block out too much stimulation when we wanted him to try and catch a catnap while we were out, but he’d begin to scratch his face off. Newborns look so funny when they do this. It’s sort of like watching a monkey hit himself in the head over and over. He gets mad, but he just. Can’t. Stop.

I wish I could say that this ingenious idea came from me. I was too sleep deprived to come up with something like this. But it did come from a friend of ours. How many of you use the Summer Infant swaddle with velcro tabs? We were able to use these on a regular basis for only a couple of weeks before Asher figured out how to get out of them BUT we were able to use it in the car seat!! Here’s how.

First you got your Summer Infant Swaddle. Duh.

Ever wonder why there is a hole in the back??

Lay the swaddle in your car seat and pull the straps over it, as pictured below.

Pull the snap part of the buckle through the hole, as pictured below. Aha!

Place baby in seat and buckle in.

Place baby’s feet in the bottom pouch of the swaddle.

Pull the baby’s right side of the velcro over his body and attach the velcro to the center like you would normally. When I do this. I gently put baby’s arm to the side so it’s not rubbing on the seat buckles.

Finish by gently pulling baby’s left side of the swaddle over to velcro across the baby’s chest. Again, I gently put baby’s arm to the side so it isn’t rubbing on any part of the buckle.

There you have it! Easy way to calm baby while riding in the car seat!

If it was warm out, we had Asher in only a diaper and t-shirt. We were always in air conditioned locations so we never had an issue with heat. If I got paranoid, I would leave his feet out of the bottom pouch. I would not do this if you are planning on being outside when it is warm. I can’t say this is technically pediatrician approved, but our pediatrician saw how I did this with Asher and he thought it was super awesome. Seriously. He said super. He planned to pass the good news on to his patients if they had a fussy baby in the car seat!

Please, pass the good news along! Live long and prosper, my friends.

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How to Transition Baby from a Rock n’ Play to the Crib

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Photo credit: D. Garding via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

How do you know when it’s time to transition baby from his Rock n’ Play? I remember feeling conflicted about it. The crib just seemed ginormous compared to him when we brought Bubby home for the first time. Not only that, but I had no idea how I would go about transitioning from the Rock n’ Play to the crib. Mamas, if you feel like you’re in the same boat as I was, then this newborn life hack is for you.

The Fisher Price Rock n’ Play is an awesome baby product. I would highly recommend one to my friends if their little one likes to be held and feel snuggly. When we came home from the hospital, our friends loaned us one and it was just what we needed. We used it for naps and his short spurts at nighttime. I used it during the day when I needed him to be in the room with me while I cooked dinner. I liked it for sleeping because it keeps baby elevated and Bubby was a spitter, so the inclined feature was a great bonus. This could be especially beneficial if you have a reflux baby.

Can we stop for a minute and talk about how annoying it is to type Rock n’ Play? Too bad I lean towards having a perfectionist problem, so I’ll be typing it correctly. We could make it a drinking game. Every time it’s mentioned, you take a swig of your drink. No judging here whatever you got in that cup of yours 😉

Eventually, I knew we needed to transition. If you’re like me, you Google a lot and I started realizing that having him in the Rock n’ Play (shot please?) too long as he started to sleep longer was probably not a great idea. I realized it was time to go to the crib for full time sleep (well, that was if we weren’t surviving with him sleeping in the swing, but that’s another story, another day…sheesh).


WHEN SHOULD YOU TRANSITION BABY TO THE CRIB FROM THE ROCK N’PLAY?

If I could do it over, I would have transitioned Bubby sooner. He was 2 1/2 months and going from the snuggly feeling of the Rock n’ Play to the crib was a little tough for him. Also, he was used to the incline, so laying flat seemed odd to him, I think.

I think the best indicator is when they start sleeping longer stretches. Head shape, neck muscle development and all that jazz that occurs by sleeping on a flat surface is something to take into consideration when you start using the Rock n’ Play for long stretches of time.

Another indictator we needed to transition was because Bubby kept pushing himself off the bottom while laying in the Rock n’ Play. I was a little paranoid about this, even with the built in buckle! This also caused him to struggle to fall asleep because bouncing around was more fun than napping! If your baby starts to act restless, you might want to consider the possibility he is no longer comfortable in the Rock n’ Play.

HOW TO TRANSITION FROM THE ROCK N’ PLAY TO THE CRIB

I hate to be annoying, but this really depends on your baby and their disposition and if you are dealing with any reflux issues or colic. I am NOT an expert, so as everything you read here, I can only give you my experience.

Bubby had eventually fallen into a somewhat predictable nap routine. I knew he would take so many naps a day. Since I didn’t want to mess with the possibility of poor sleep starting at the beginning of the day, I decided to start with the end of the day naps.

My advice, start with the last nap of the day. I did this so if his sleep was disrupted, we could survive with an early bedtime or cluster feeding. For this nap, I placed him in his crib. Once he got used to this nap in the crib, I moved up to the next nap and so on. It took us almost two weeks before all day sleep was a go in the crib.

The results for this can vary depending on how you put your little one to sleep. If they are used to being rocked to sleep and wake mid-nap for you to come rock them back to sleep, then waking while in the crib doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like the crib over the Rock n Play. I would pay attention to how long it takes for them to fall asleep in the crib over behavior with midnap waking.

Once I felt like he fell asleep with ease in the crib we moved to nighttime. He did it with no problem at that point.

SHOULD YOU USE A CRIB WEDGE TO MAKE THE TRANSITION SMOOTHER?

I had this epiphany that maybe we should incline his crib as part of the transition process. Looking back, I feel like it made me feel better about the transition. My husband thinks it didn’t matter. Either way, the $25 made me feel good about the process. We used this one and I plan to keep it incase I think we need it for baby #2. I figured I can resale it when we’re done having kids so I don’t lose all my money. Hey, peace of mind and some sanity go along when you have a newborn in the house. I gladly paid the $25.

We used it for a few weeks until things got wiggly for him and he became a ninja sleeper.

Alright, how did your transition go? Have any extra tips about this to share with our other mamas? Let us know in the comment section! (Anyone keeping track of how many drinks they took?)

Peace,
Glo

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How to Transition from the Swaddle

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Something wasn’t right. Asher was starting to go down for his naps rather fitfully. I’m not saying he’s always an angel for naptime, but I could tell something was off. I made a note to keep an eye on it. He did this for three days in a row. One morning, I went in to wake him up for the day and was greeted by this sneaky face.

Yep, he got his arm out of the Miracle Blanket. It was time to rethink the swaddle. I knew it was coming, but I think I was in denial. I had read horror stories about no sleep when you transition.  I knew I just needed to take the plunge.

WHEN SHOULD YOU TRANSITION FROM THE SWADDLE?

I am no expert, (I like to think I am!) but this can vary. Depending on who you read and believe, either you swaddle or you don’t. Either you swaddle forever because if it aint broken, what’s there to fix? Or you get tired of it (like me!). It’s also possible that your little one is starting to sleep a lot more, shall we say, fitfully. For me, I felt like this was the case for Bubby.

Some people go by age and if/when they decide to sleep train. They remove all sleep props and go from there. Hey, you do whatever works for you!

HOW DO YOU TRANSITION FROM THE SWADDLE?

I started with one nap with one arm out of his Miracle Blanket. It was the first nap he wasn’t fitful. It only took him about ten minutes to fall asleep in his crib. I did the same thing with the next nap of the day. He tried to rip his face off and realized he could suck his hands For. Like. Ever. Google immediately showed me the Zipadeezip. I was skeptical, but read about their great service, so I figured if we ended up not liking it, we would send it back.

Couple days later when the package arrived, we did the one arm thing with his hand in one of the arm “pouches.” He didn’t rip his face off, didn’t go to sleep fitfully and barely sucked his hand. Success. It’s taken us some time, but the weaning process has worked.

I did something similar as I transitioned him from the Rock n’ Play. We started with one nap towards the end of the day, and went from there. Once he started sleeping easier at first, we moved on to the next nap. It didn’t take too long. About a week of whacky sleeping and then we did nights.

Alright, tell me how you did it? What did you find that worked well???

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