Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mama Knows Best #4 - Sleep

 **Today my guest blogger is Nicole from Adventures, Memories, and Love.  Nicole owns a small business with my sister Kara in Bremerton, WA.  I was excited to hear about her topic choice because I know this particular topic is one I will definitely worry about.  She has some great suggestions!

Hi everybody! My name is Nicole and I am lucky enough to be Mama to two amazing little girls, Noelle (5) and Brylee (4). I am so happy to be a guest blogger for Kira, I remember being pregnant with Noelle and being overwhelmed and feeling like I needed to read anything and everything out there to prepare myself.

I have been around kids of all ages for the most part of my life, I have three younger siblings and many younger cousins and close family friends. I started babysitting when I was 13 years old. I taught swim lessons and worked in a daycare up until I had my own children. I felt very confident in my ability to be a Mom since I have been around kids forever. Once I got pregnant with Noelle I started thinking about the fact that the most time I had ever spent around a newborn or a baby for that matter was only about two to three hour babysitting sessions, or visiting my baby sister every other weekend. I started thinking about feedings, diaper changes, sleep schedules, and oh my gosh, what if my baby gets sick? I think I read "What to Expect When Expecting" cover to cover in two days!

Once I had Noelle I immediately relaxed, everything was so natural, you learn as you go and if you have questions, well that is what Mothers and Doctors are for! For me the biggest cause of anxiety was sleep. How is she supposed to lay? What about blankets? What is better a crib or a bassinet? When should she be in her own room? Is it okay to co-sleep?
I decided that I felt most comfortable with my daughter in a bassinet right next to my bed. I got a simple bassinet that had a mobile as well as a music player. The next thing I got was a wedge*.
I was so scared of SIDs (sudden infant death syndrome), I talked to our pediatrician and found out they recommended babies to sleep on their backs and these wedges were helpful with keeping them in place and keeping their heads elevated. Both my daughters slept so peacefully on the wedge. The next item I swear by and recommend to any new parent is a sleep sack.
The use of a sleep sack eliminates the need for blankets in the crib or bassinet with a newborn. (I actually kept my daughters in sleep sacks until they were walking.) There are long sleeved fleece sleep sacks that are good for winter, you can even put your baby in jammies and then in the sleep sack. For the warmer months there are sleeveless sleep sacks and you can have baby in just a diaper or a onesie and the sleep sack. I swear by these, they helped me sleep better at night knowing there was nothing in the crib with my daughters that could harm them.

A huge issue is co-sleeping. This is where baby sleeps in bed with Mom & Dad. It works for some, and it doesn't work for others. My only advice is to do what is best for you and for your baby.  There were many nights when my newborn would wake up for a feeding, I would put her in bed with me and feed her and we would both fall asleep. I would wake up later and burp her and put her back in her bassinet. Whenever I tried to sleep through the night with her next to me I just couldn't do  it. I was aware of exactly where she was and I was too scared I would roll over on top of her that I just wasn't able to sleep for more than about thirty minutes at a time. The most important thing to remember is that you need to do what is most comfortable and natural for you and your baby.

I moved my daughters to their own bedrooms when they were around 6 months old. In their cribs they had the wedge still, and had their sleep sacks. The next item I recommend is a good baby monitor set.

These days they make baby monitors with video so you can actually see your baby in her crib in her own bedroom, those are amazing and I'm sure I would have bought one when my daughters were newborns if they had them. 

You learn as you go, trust your gut and if you have any questions there will be many people to give you advice! Congratulations again Kira, I cannot wait to see a picture of your sweet little girl!


*It has been brought to my attention that at least some wedges have been recalled.  I'm not sure which are considered unsafe and which are ok to use.  Please fill me in if you know.  How did you keep your baby sleeping on their back?
-Kira

6 comments:

  1. Awesome post nicole, I didn't feel safe if maleah wasn't in her wedge/ sleep positioner. Plus it was a must with her reflux! Sleeping was the one thing that made me the most nervous about having a newborn.
    Kara

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  2. Great post! Just a heads up though, I seem to remember just a few months after Audrey was born a big discussion about the FDA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission saying sleep positioners/wedges are not safe. You might want to double check what the current recommendations are.

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  3. I totally agree that sleeping situations are the scariest part of having an infant! For the first three months Bennett slept in our room in a pack n play (on the bassinet insert that raises them up so you don't have to lean all the way over). We really like that we still put the pack n play (without the bassinet) to good use when we travel too!
    We swaddled Bennett in the beginning but once he was over being swaddled, we used sleep sacks too...they are awesome since you can't cover them with blankets until they are at least one.
    I remember registering for a wedge but before my shower they all dissapeared from the store because they were recalled. Anything in the crib can be a suffication hazard (even blankets and bumpers!). It's so hard to know what has/hasn't been recalled, especially for new parents. Get on the CPSC recall notification list and it will email you when things have been recalled, and you can see what has been recalled in the past on their website.
    It's kind of sad when things that work so well for some families get recalled, but I guess it's better to play it safe. The recall happened well after Nicole's girls were using it... I'm sure, so she was doing what was considered the safest thing for babies at the time. Regualtions change SO fast it's crazy! (sorry Nicole, I didn't mean to put a damper on your post...it was super good advice!)

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  4. I highly recommend swaddling! We started swaddling Enzo when he was a couple weeks old and it allowed him to sleep for more than three hours at a time at night. They don't have control over their little arms, so when they startle (even in their sleep) their reflex is to raise their arms up (my husband calls it "the crab") and it wakes them up. Even now, if he somehow gets free from his swaddle he will wake up earlier than normal. I use the kind with velcro because I couldn't figure out how to keep him wrapped in just a blanket. Great post Nicole!

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  5. Thanks everybody! With baby and child items things get recalled all of the time! Even when my daughters were babies things we used on a daily basis were recalled, like cribs, strollers, toys etc. The sleep wedge was not recalled when my daughters were little, but honestly, if I were to have another baby I would still use it. My youngest had reflux and it didn't always happen right away, sometimes she would spit up after she fell asleep. Our pediatrician recommended the wedge in case she did spit up in her sleep, less risk of choking.

    Becca brings up a great point of checking out items to see whether or not they have been recalled. Most stores (Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, etc) have a bulletin board where they post recalled items they carry (or used to carry) in the store.

    And swaddling is something that totally slipped my mind! Learn how to wrap that baby up and it makes bed time so much better for both parents and baby!

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  6. Great post... I'm loving this series!

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