Sleep tips

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These tips are simply what I did with my kids and should not be taken as medical advice.

 

Feeling tired?  Another mom kindly pointed out, that if I’m not willing to share sleep tips, I should not be bragging about having 4 awesome sleepers.

First off, I wasn’t always getting 12 hours of sleep from my kids, with good naps.  With my first, he had terrible colic, and I honestly had moments wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into.  I was exhausted, my baby was up screaming all night, and I could not seem to console him.

I surveyed all my friends who had good sleepers, and read every book on the market that came recommended.

Babies can be watched for signs of sleepiness right from the early days.  When they are getting sleepy, I try to put them down awake.  I also try not to rush in if they are fussing.  To clarify, that doesn’t mean I leave my baby unattended.  It means, if baby is looking sleepy, I may put them in the playpen nearby and start working on the dishes.  If they start crying, I may finish doing one or two more dishes before I go pick them up because they may fall asleep on their own.  However, under 4 months old, I pretty much cater to any whim a little one desires.  And if having them sleep in a carrier is the only way to get them to sleep at their regular naps, I am (mostly) game.

Between 3 and 4 months, although I am usually hoping that the baby will settle nicely into a sleep pattern, they tend to become increasingly erratic sleepers.  They require more frequent nursing to sleep, rocking or holding, and seem to wake even sooner.  The erratic sleep patterns need to be addressed ideally at this stage, because of the huge developmental milestones taking place.

Around 4 months of age, healthy  babies are able to sleep through the night.  Some may still require one feed at my bedtime, but otherwise, I count on baby sleeping from 7pm to 7am. The most important point that works for us is,  I place my babies in their crib, completely awake, in a very dark, quiet room.  We also start an age appropriate nap schedule at the same time so that my babies can grow and develop well. I use a variety of methods to teach the baby to sleep through the night, depending on each baby’s personality.  But they have all learned to sleep through the night within a few days and napped well within 2 weeks.

At our house, all 4 kids sleeping well is a high priority.  It is necessary for them to recover from their activity, be pleasant little people and grow.  It also gives my husband and I quality time together in the evening, ie binge watch something on Netflix.

Feel free to e mail me or comment if you have specific questions though.  I will do my best to help.

PS. I do consult families on getting their little ones to sleep.  I have a couple spots available in April.  E-mail or comment if you want more information.

(SleepEasy Solution, Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, Happiest Baby on the Block)

Preparing your body for Pregnancy 2

Part 2: Natural Health Tips & Tricks

Today, let’s go through a few extra steps you can take at home to make your journey to motherhood a little less bumpy.

The reason I say less bumpy is because if you end up needing a fertility expert, you will most likely be introducing unnatural chemicals into your body.

Here are some vitamins and supplements for the future mom:

  1. Pre-natal.  You’re thinking, DUH!  But just hold on… For all 3 of my pregnancies, taking a pre-natal vitamin caused me to throw up within a minute.  However, I had been taking pre-natals for years just in case.  Since, I had been taking prenatals regularly, I was able to quit taking them as soon as the vitamins caused the vomiting.
  2. Folic acid.  This should be part of your pre-natal.  However, if you have any predispositions to genetic issues, (I have a heart condition), I was advised to take twice the recommended amount of folic acid leading up to and between pregnancies.  As far as research shows at the moment, taking a higher dose of folic acid is fine.  It has also been found to decrease the risk of genetic issues.  Before taking any supplement or vitamin at a dose different than the recommended amount, check with your health care provider.
  3. Chaste tree is helpful for women who have long cycles, or are having anovulatory (non ovulating) cycles.  Take it for 1 month, max 3 months while trying to conceive, and stop as soon as you find out you are growing a little person.
  4. Vitamin D.  This boosts your immune system, and no one wants to get busy with a snotty spouse… so take it and make sure your guy is taking it too! (note: if your guy is willing, give him a zinc supplement, it will boost his virility.  Some men’s vitamins have it included.)
  5. B6.  During my first pregnancy I had extreme issues with vomiting/nausea and grudgingly ended up needing to take anti-nausea medication.  However, when I got pregnant for the second time, I researched the contents of the medication (diclectin), it is essentially gravol and B6.  So as soon as I find myself pregnant, I start taking B6, and it is MAGIC!!
  6. Fish Oil.  For so many reasons, you need to be taking your omega 3’s.  It thins your blood, which is excellent for pregnancy, (note: stop taking this as you get close to your due date so you can clot easily).  But the highlight of fish oils is that it boosts your baby’s brain, and helps mom with “pregnancy brain”, which has been frequently attributed to the baby stealing all your omega 3’s.
  7. Magnesium at night for leg cramps, difficulty sleeping, and …. umm… no nice way to say it.. but bathroom challenges… *blush*

*Note: Excessive drinking, smoking and coffee should be eliminated, because they affect your absorption of nutrients.

3 Further steps to take when thinking of getting pregnant:

  1. Get your spine checked by a Chiropractor that has experience in this area.  The nerves that go to your reproductive organs come from the lower back.  If your spine is not aligned properly, it’s like the wifi signal is low in your ovaries and uterus.  They are not going to function properly, because they are not getting the signals sent from the body.
  2. Try acupuncture.  Acupuncture has been getting great results with fertility.
  3. If you are overweight, or obese, lose the weight!  Fat stores impact your hormones and can decrease your fertility.

Breastfeeding Bites!

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You thought you had the hang of nursing, you’ve been comfortably nursing for 9 months, then WhaM!  Baby bites!

You’re not alone.  Not all babies bite, but all of mine have.  Some were more persistent biters.  But I got all 3 to stop, and I was able to continue nursing to around 18 months for each.

With my first it was a big surprise.  With my second… it was a big surprise.  And with the third, guess what?  It was still a big surprise.

Once your baby has bitten, it feels like every time the baby wants some milk, you’re about to stick your nipple into an alligator’s mouth… or a bear trap… or a stapler… you pick the metaphor.

If this is happening, first you should congratulate yourself, very few babies are exclusively breastfed until they get their first teeth!  Between 35-40% of babies are still breastfed at 6 months according to the CDC.

The two most effective strategies I have used are startling and negative reinforcement.

The first strategy does not take a genius to figure out, as soon as the baby bites, scream!  Let it all out mama!  The baby will let go, and probably cry.  Comfort your baby, because they’re scared, but you’ve got they’re attention.

Some babies are more persistent biters, my third baby went through a longer biting phase and what worked with the other two, a couple big screams, didn’t phase her.  If anything, she thought it was funny.  After speaking with my network of longer term nursing mothers, I decided to discontinue any nursing session where biting occured.  When she bit, I would say “No” firmly, remove her and her teeth, and put her down on the ground, or to bed if it was bedtime.  I would then get up and walk away.  I would not let her nurse again for a couple of hours.  For the more persistent biter, I have found they are the babies that frequently nurse for comfort and are not necessarily for hungry.  If they are biting, they are most likely not hungry, but looking for comfort, which can be given with a hug, kisses, tickles or reading a book together.

This is a really tough stage, that can result in blood and tears.  Don’t despair.  If one nipple is damaged, apply breastmilk and allow your nipple to air dry.  Optionally, you could pump 2-3 x a day for 1 to 2 days to allow for more healing.

This too shall pass.  Your baby will learn in a day or two that biting is not tolerated, and you’ll be back to your happy nursing.

Feel free to email me if you have any more specific questions about biting or nursing at DrKatherine@MommyCoach.ca.

Day 3 of 100, no processed foods

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Day 3 went spectacularly well.  My normally picky kid, ate all his lunch, and his sister’s… and a few extra handfuls of greens that I had put out for a side salad for myself…

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was I hallucinating??

20150107_091035 …It’s possible … this little bundle of cuteness woke me up every hour last night… but with those cheeks… she’s forgiven!

Some highlights of what we ate: re-heated baked oatmeal, with steel cut oats and raisins, with a side of fantastic local strawberries.  Lunch was pitas with hummus, shredded greens sprinkled on top.  Dinner was a quick veggie stir fry with shrimp and brown rice.

Are we feeling any different yet?  Yes, I think so.  The kids helped clean all the bathrooms without any big meltdowns… and they seemed quite mellow this morning.  Could replacing their sugar-coated convenience cereal with more natural foods be the reason??  We have  97 more days to find out.

Yuummm! Day 2, no sugar or processed food

Caleb is proof that healthy food can be DEE-Licious!

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A quick sample of the amazing delicious food we ate today: Oatmeal with a maple syrup smiley face and loads of blueberries, banana bread with blueberries,

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and the big TA-Dah!!! Mac and cheese (used whole wheat flour and pasta, and doubled the recipe; and froze half) with bacon sprinkled over the top.

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So we all seem to be adjusting to all the treats going in the trash… although I can’t promise I wouldn’t eat a piece of Keg steakhouse cheesecake… even if it fell in the dog food bowl.  I am sure it will get easier in a few days… right?