How to sleep train your baby

How to sleep train your baby

One day, my husband I decided we are tired of having a clean house, sleeping in, and doing whatever we want, so we had a child. But in all seriousness, what a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy and childbirth goes against everything that is usually recommended for a healthy lifestyle. You gain a lot of weight, you experience a lot of stress, and getting eight hours of sleep will seem like a foreign concept. Unless you mean getting those 8 hours of sleep in three nights in a row – that sounds a lot more likely with a newborn. Now, I LOVE sleep! Actually, not only do I love it but I consider getting the right amount of sleep per night essential to my well-being. I feel like my whole day gets thrown out of whack when I am sleep-deprived, I cannot focus and somehow eat a lot more in order to get energy from somewhere. According to a study from UC Davis, “sleep deprivation stimulates the brain to increase overeating of sweet and fatty foods, which turns binge-watching into binge eating. The theory is that people consume more calories when sleep deprived in order to give the body more energy to stay awake.” So you can imagine how eager I was to get my little one to sleep through the night. I visited a sleep training class when he was born and successfully had my little one sleeping through the night since he was 2 months old. Here a few tips and tricks on how your baby and you can get in those zzz’s.

No napping after 5 pm

Newborns sleep up to 18 hours in a 24 hour period which means they pretty much sleep all the time. They usually wake all 2-3 hours for a feeding and diaper change. In the beginning, we were inclined to just have him wake up and fall asleep whenever mainly because we didn’t know better. It was almost like time did not exist and it did not matter if it was day or night since we were always up. After my husband and I started getting dark circles so big that we looked like pandas, I decided we need to get back to normalcy. My baby needed to start understanding the difference between day and night even if that meant that he would still wake up for feeding at night. Hands-down the best advice I received is to keep him up after 5 pm. It made him so tired that he would be in bed by his 8 pm bedtime. He is 2 and a half years old and I still stick to the no-nap-after-5 rule and the same bedtime. It is very important that you do not even let them have a quick cat nap so that they are so tired out by 8 pm that they will easily fall asleep.

Create a bedtime routine

Another important piece of advice I got was to create a bedtime routine. Babies are creatures of habit and will quickly get used to their bedtime if you practice the same routine every single night. It is best to do soothing activities before they go to sleep. I would usually bathe my son closer to bedtime because the warm water would calm him down and make him sleepy. I would massage the lotion onto him and put him into snuggly pajamas. Right before he would go to sleep at around 7.50 pm, I would either give him a warm bottle or nurse him. The warm milk makes babies very sleepy and a full tummy makes them sleep for longer periods of time. However, here a few things to avoid: make sure they are not dependent on tools to fall asleep. The goal is to have them fall asleep on their own. They should NOT NEED a bottle, nursing boob, pacifier, soothing machines to fall asleep. As a matter of fact, you should make sure that they don’t fall asleep with milk in their mouth as this can cause teeth decay and other dental problems. Once your child has its first tooth, it is important to brush their teeth before going to bed. But you do not need to wait until they have a tooth, there are finger brushes that you can use from 3 months on which is recommended so your baby can grow some healthy pearly whites. Moreover, you should try to phase out the pacifier as soon as possible. A lot of babies have the habit of needing a paci for falling asleep which is detrimental to the teeth as well. Once you put your baby down in his or her crib, it is a nice bed time routine finisher to read them a good night story. Not only will this make them sleepier but it will also have a positive effect on their brain and speech development. It is super important that you actually put them in their bassinet at your chosen bedtime not only to get them used to sleeping in there but also because it is the safest way for them to sleep. Even if you would love to snuggle with the little one on the couch and have them fall asleep on her shoulder, you should refrain from doing so. Not only is it safer for them but also gives you the chance to enjoy a movie or dinner at home with your partner or to have some me-time if you are a single parent.

Comfortable PJs and sleep sacks

Last but not least, in order for your little one to fall asleep comfortably and stay like that throughout the night is that you make sure he or she only comes in contact with soft materials that are gentle to the skin. You want to make sure to not use any rough or coarse materials that could irritate their skin. Moreover, use pajamas that have zippers and not buttons to save yourself the hassle of having to unbutton a bazillions buttons in the middle of the night which could wake your baby even more and interfere with his sleep. Avoid using blankets for newborns to avoid choking accidents or SIDS. A great alternative to blankets that will keep your baby just as warm as sleep sacks. My absolute favorite sleep sack of all times is the one from Baby and Sunshine. This ultra-soft 3-layer bamboo baby sleep sack is a lot softer and higher quality than the regular sleep sacks you can buy. Even though my son is already 2 years old, he loves his sleep sacks. He doesn’t like blankets and just kicks them off. Thankfully, this sleep sack is fairly big and keeps him warm throughout the night. What’s another super cool feature is that you can zip it open at the bottom so that you can do a diaper change at night without having to take the entire sleep sack off. In addition to that, I highly recommend Baby and Sunshine’s Baby PJs as they only use high-quality products like bamboo or organic cotton making the material extra snuggly and soft.

These tips and tricks might work for your baby or they may not as every baby is different. I found it very helpful to visit a sleep training class that was offered complimentary at my son’s pediatrician. Afterward, I implemented the above steps, and ever since my son is two months old, he sleeps through the night. I am also sure the healthy South Florida ocean air attributes positively to is sleep as well. After a beach day, I see him sleeping extra well and early. Try out what works for your baby and use your motherly instinct for intuition. I also avoided listening to advice from other moms as each child is different, e.g. I was often given that old-school advice to add cereal to my son’s night-time milk in order to get him to sleep through the night. I found that completely unnecessary given that it just adds extra empty calories. So I decided to be patient instead and shortly after he slept through the night. So go by your gut feeling and professional advice instead of some old wives tale. I know you got this, mama, and will soon go back to a great night’s sleep every night!

Why Self-care is so important for moms

Why Self-care is so important for moms

If you are like most moms, you probably focus most of your energy and time on your child’s well-being. Moms are known to be one of the most selfless human beings. It starts with sacrificing your body while suffering through nausea and other side effects of pregnancies until bringing your baby to this world in the most unimaginable pain. And it certainly does not end there. Many moms spend endless nights taking care of their babies and worrying about them when they are older. I have heard a lot of parents of grown-up children say that they have never stopped worrying- they just worry about different things depending on the age of their child. While it is truly admirable that moms put their children first, it is necessary to point out that self-care is so important for moms. Ever heard the saying “you cannot pour from an empty cup?” It is so applicable to moms especially since they are in charge of caring for another human being. It is extremely difficult to help someone else if you are not well yourself. When I first had my baby, I never wanted anyone to help and felt like I should do everything on my own. But I have learned to take care of myself so I can take better care of my little one. Here is my 7-step guide on how moms should focus on their own well-being from time to time:

Step 1- Self-care: I cannot emphasize enough how important self-care is. You cannot pour from an empty cup. It is crucial to hit the brakes from time to time and enjoy some well-deserved “me-time.” Have your husband (or a babysitter of your choice) take care of your child while you have some uninterrupted time to recharge your batteries. I personally like getting my hair done or get mani-pedis. Other love to go shopping to relax. There’s a reason it’s called retail therapy.

Step 2- Find the time to work-out: This doesn’t mean you have to do some full-fledged gym workout. It can be as simple as just doing a 10 minute YouTube workout or going for a walk around the block. Exercising releases endorphins and helps tremendously at reducing stress. Start your day with a workout and you’ll feel more energized throughout the day.

Step 3- Get in your zzz’s: I know we’re all busy and have excuses but getting in a solid 7-8 hours of quality sleep at night is so crucial to reduce your stress levels. Try to not use any electronics close to bedtime. If you need extra help relaxing, you can do some light yoga before going to bed and use essential oils.

Step 4 – Have some adult time: If you keep having the song “Baby Shark” stuck in your head, chances are you spend too much time being baby stuff and not enough time doing adult things. I know from my own experience that sometimes you get so in the zone of focusing all your time on your happy that you almost forget that you are a person with needs as well. What helped me personally was to get back to work. The feeling of putting some real clothes and make-up on (as opposed to the yoga pants and top knot I was rocking for the first couple of weeks after my son was born) and having adult conversations made me feel like a woman again. Obviously, not every mom wants to go back to work but I highly recommend carving out some adults when you meet your friends for coffee or brunch.

Step 5 – Have date nights: Once you become a parent, chances are you want to spend all the time with your baby. I remember that my husband and had our first baby-free night two weeks after my son was born to go out to dinner for my birthday. All we ended up doing was talking about our baby and watching him on the camera app from our phones. However, it is so important to make time for some romance. When I talk to divorced people and ask them what led to their divorce, they tell me that the romance in their relationship was gone and that they were merely parents at the end and not partners anymore. It is important to keep the flame alive.  Try to get someone to watch your child every once in a while and spend some quality time with your partner where the two of you can bond. Remember that before you were parents, you were lovers and both don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Step 6 – Meditate: You have to believe me on this one! When your baby sleeps or you have a few moments completely to yourself, sit down in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe in and out deeply. Try to block out any negative or stressful thoughts and just concentrate on your breath. Do this for at least five minutes every day. It will help you clear your mind and focus your energies. You will feel like a million bucks if you do this properly.

Step 7 – Keep a Journal: While it is always easy to focus on all the negative things in your life, it is a lot more powerful to be grateful for the positive things that are happening in your life. Maybe your baby kept you up all night but is he a healthy baby? Maybe you gained some weight during pregnancy but did you have a healthy pregnancy? Try to journal all your blessings by stating how grateful you are for them. The universe usually rewards gratitude with more blessings. Try it out and I promise something positive will happen to you.

I hope this guide will help you practice more self-care which is so important for moms. Baby and Sunshine has an excellent subscription service that can help moms save time and energy to focus more on themselves. Their subscription boxes will be delivered right to your doorstep. They pick out and personalize high-quality items for mom and baby tailored to their needs. They offer a lot of items that help moms take care of themselves after having a baby such as nursing bras, pumping bras, belly binders, waist trainers, and a lot more. And the best thing is you can let them know your preferences in a survey and they will plan it for you. Check them out under this link! This is a great investment to save some time and money, so you have more left for yourself and your baby. Follow them on Instagram under @baby_and_sunshine and follow me under @themiamimami_ . Also check out their YouTube channel below :

Let me know your self-care tips in the comments!

“5 Things you need to know about having your first baby,” Part 2

“5 Things you need to know about having your first baby,” Part 2

In my last blog post “5 Things you need to know about having your first baby,” I covered some of the issues moms can expect after giving birth; however, there is just so much more to it that I felt like writing a part 2. I remember there was a lot that caught me by surprise after I had my first child. When I talked to other moms, a lot of them had the same experiences. But it seems that there are certain topics that people like to avoid talking about. Personally, I believe that it is very important for new moms to have a community where they can share their experiences about the good, the bad, and the ugly of motherhood. Especially, this year where moms are bringing kids to this world under the “new normal” and new challenges are arising. Therefore, I will talk about some of the more uncomfortable truths about motherhood hoping that it will help someone.

 1)     Female hygiene after childbirth

After a woman gives birth to a child, the body has to recover from the amazing job it has done of creating human life. Her body now has to rid itself of all the extra blood and tissue it needed for your baby during pregnancy. Thus, women experience bleeding for up to six weeks after giving birth. The hospital – or midwife if it was a homebirth – usually provides the new mom with all she needs for her postpartum care. This usually includes some sort of big pad, epifoam (or whatever recommended for any tearing), and mesh panty – often referred to as the adult diaper. In all honesty, it does look a bit weird and you really won’t be feeling the sexiest wearing this but the big silver lining is that this phase will pass and everything will go back to normal eventually. While you are still in this uncomfortable phase, it is important that you wear very comfortable clothing. Additionally, you want to make sure to only wear fabric that is soft to your skin. Due to the change in hormonal levels, you may be experiencing allergies on your body which is why it is important to be gentle to your skin while you are recovering.

2) Nursing and its side effects 

While many women are not very excited about having to wear adult diapers, the look of their postpartum breasts usually makes up for that. Once the milk comes in, a woman’s breast size grows by a few cups. While some may be delighted by the sight of their new boobs, it is very important to take all the necessary precautions. First, women should not wear any bras with a wire while breastfeeding or pumping. The milk needs to be flowing freely and a wired bra could lead to a clogged duct or painful mastitis. Postpartum bra and especially nursing bras are the way to go for new moms. For pumping moms, I would highly suggest to also get a bra that can hold the pump since it is very time-consuming. Also, you may be leaking milk so I can once again reiterate that it is important to wear comfortable clothing that is not too tight. In addition, nursing pads to catch any leaking milk are very helpful as well.

3) Take it easy on the movement

While you are still recovering, it is recommended to not work out for the first 6 to 8 weeks until cleared by your doctor. You want to make sure to drink a lot of water and make sure you’re resting. Try not to run around the house too much taking care of things. Most women experience postpartum swelling after giving birth which is why they are given compression socks for your legs in the hospital. Try to put your feet up and relax. However, if you want to get a head start on bouncing back before you can do any sort of physical activity, you can wear a postpartum belly binder. They come in three pieces and will help you bounce back into shape.

4) Social distancing during COVID-19 

Besides all the struggles moms normally go through during pregnancy and after childbirth, the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 has made things a little harder on new and expecting moms. Normally, a pregnant mom is celebrated throughout pregnancy and ends up getting most of the items she needs during the baby shower. I remember even outside of my baby shower, I had people come over bringing me clothes and other gifts for my bundle of joy while I was pregnant. However, 2020 put a big damper on this celebratory time. Most baby showers were canceled and due to social distancing most expecting couples couldn’t have any visitors. Subsequently, most expecting or new moms did not receive as many gifts for the baby as it used to be the case. 

Certainly, having a child can be tough on the body. Therefore, self-care and having help is crucial to postpartum recovery. Getting help this year might be a little more challenging than during previous years but rest assured – you are not alone, mama! Baby and Sunshine has an amazing subscription box service that delivers all the items you need for your little one right to your doorstep. Your box will include comfortable high-quality clothes you can wear during your postpartum recovery, functional nursing bras, as well as belly binders. If you are expecting or if you just had a baby, you can let them know what items you need and they will compile an awesome personalized box with the cutest and most efficient items so you won’t rely on anyone else. If you know a new or expecting mom, brighten up her day by ordering her a one-time box to her house. Not only will you help a mom who needs support now more than ever but you will also support mom-owned businesses. Baby and Sunshine has made it their mission to collaborate with mom and pop owned businesses. Most of the September boxes already included items from two small business owner moms Happy Momma Merch and Adry’s Boutique. This month they’ll be adding another SAHM-business Crochet Crafts by Sandy who will be providing handmade crotchet baby blankets and adorable baby hats. Check out Baby and Sunshine under this link and have an awesome month of October!