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March 17, 2015

Tired? How to Know When it is More Than Just Fatigue

 

There is no doubt about it; the first few weeks with a new baby are tiring! In addition to recovering from birth, you have a new baby requiring 24 hour a day care.

It is normal to feel tired for several weeks after having a baby. Sometimes, however, an underlying medical issue can compound the fatigue.

 

Red flags:

  • Feeling excessively tired for more than 6 weeks after baby’s birth.
  • Fatigue prevents you from doing everyday activities.
  • Friends or family members notice your low energy level and voice their concern.

 

If you are experiencing one or more of these red flags, please consult your healthcare provider. The cause of your fatigue should be investigated.

New mom fatigue or more than just fatigue

Potential causes of excessive fatigue:

 

1.  Anemia

Losing a lot of blood during delivery can result in anemia or “low hemoglobin”. In addition to feeling exhausted, an anemic mom may feel overwhelmed, irritable, dizzy or unable to concentrate.

What helps?

  • Resting. It will take time to rebuild your hemoglobin.
  • Taking prenatal vitamins. The extra iron they contain will help to boost your hemoglobin. Iron is better absorbed when taken with a source of Vitamin C (e.g. orange juice). Caffeine interferes with iron absorption so avoid drinking tea or coffee within 1 hour of your vitamin pill.
  • Eating iron rich food. Great sources include:

            – Red meats

            – Egg yolks

            – Poultry

            – Dark green leafy vegetables

            – Iron enriched cereal

           –  Dried fruit (such as prunes and raisins)

            – Nuts

            – Beans, lentils, chickpeas and soybeans

           –  Liver

Note: If your hemoglobin level is quite low, your healthcare provider may suggest iron tablets.

 

2.  Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

Excessive fatigue can be a sign of an underactive thyroid. Talk to your healthcare provider about having your thyroid level tested. An underactive thyroid can be treated with medication.

 

3.  Postpartum depression

Excessive fatigue can also be a symptom of postpartum depression. Learn more about the difference between normal new mom stress and postpartum depression in this excellent article by Katherine Stone.

 

If you or your loved ones are concerned about your level of fatigue, please talk to your healthcare provider. Early treatment will mean a quicker recovery and more energy to care for your new baby.

 

 

Other posts that may be helpful: 11 Ways to Cope with Sleep Deprivation and Nutrition Necessities for New Moms


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About the authors:

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

Photo courtesy of Flickr: RelaxingMusic

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March 13, 2015

6 Powerful Ways You Can Help Brand New Parents

 

We have the greatest jobs in the world! We visit families with brand new babies.

Our jobs give us a glimpse “behind the scenes” as families adjust to the reality of life with a newborn. Families are tired! And almost without fail, they tell us they have had too much company!

Here are our suggestions for showing a new family that you care — without overwhelming them.

 

6 Powerful Ways You Can Help Brand New Parents

 

1.  Send congratulations via text or Facebook but be sure to wait for an invitation before dropping by to visit. New parents are sleep deprived; while they would probably love to show off their new baby, even a short visit can interrupt a much-needed chance to nap!

 

2.  Please do not visit if you have a cold or are unwell in any way. This will not only protect the newborn; it will protect the health of the new mom and dad as well.

Wash your hands before holding the new baby — without being asked!

 

3.  When you receive an invitation, try to keep your visit short. Unless you are cooking or cleaning, 20 minutes is likely long enough.

When you visit, don’t let the new mother serve you coffee or tea. (We have visited moms who were expected to serve an entire holiday meal to their guests!)

 

4.  Please don’t give advice unless you are asked. Parent’s hearts are tender as they learn their new role. Help them to feel confident by pointing out the things they are doing well.

“Look how your baby calms down when you hold him.”

“You are so loving with your baby; I know you are going to be a great parent.”

 

5.  If there is an older sibling, bring a small gift for them as well. It can be difficult for an older child to watch a new sibling get all the gifts and attention.

 

6.  Offer to do one or more of these practical things:

  • Cook a meal for them. Deliver it in a disposable container so there is no dish to return.
  • Get their groceries for the week.
  • Take their dog for a walk.
  • Drive an older sibling to and from school.
  • Invite an older sibling for a special play date.

 

The birth of a baby is a great opportunity to show a new family how much you care. Being sensitive to their need for rest is one of the greatest gifts you can give.

 

Know a mom with a newborn 6 ways to provide practical support.

 

What would you add to this list?

 

 

Other posts you may enjoy: 6 Tips for Surviving the Newborn Period and Top 10 Websites and Apps for New Families.


 

phpTJhnGTPMAbout the authors:

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

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March 10, 2015

Do You Need to Drink Milk to Make Breast Milk?

 

Question:

“I am breastfeeding. Do I need to drink milk?”

 

Is it necessary to drink milk to make breast milk

 

Answer:

No, you do not need to drink milk in order to produce breast milk.

Cow’s milk is a great source of calcium but many other foods contain calcium as well. If your diet is low in calcium, you will continue to produce nutritious breast milk by using calcium from your body’s stores.

 

If you are not a milk drinker, try to include these calcium rich food sources:

 

  • Yogurt, hard cheeses and ice cream
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli or bok choy
  • Tofu
  • Canned sardines or salmon with bones
  • Almonds
  • Calcium fortified orange juice
  • Calcium fortified rice milk
  • Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)

Store-bought cow’s milk has Vitamin D added. If you are not a milk drinker, consult with your healthcare provider to see if you should be taking a Vitamin D supplement.

Other related posts: Nutrition Necessities for New Moms and I am so TIRED… More than Just Fatigue?


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About the authors:

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

2635700039_273cc432b3_o(Photo by flic.kr/p/51UDN8)

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February 6, 2015

How to Fit in Exercise as a New Mom

 

 

My name is Autumn and I’m the founder of Tailored Fitness, a home workout program for moms. I am a mom myself and I’m passionate about helping other mothers squeeze in exercise so they can experience the benefits and set a healthy example for their kids. I am honored to be here with Cindy & Jana to share with you a few tips for how to squeeze in exercise as a new mom. So let’s get started.

 

Fit in Exercise

 

I’ve been in your shoes. You can hardly find time to take a shower and shave your legs. How are you supposed to fit exercise into your day as a new mom? The pressures in your first few months as a mom are overwhelming. And the broken sleep you are getting makes things even tougher to handle.

 

But all these reasons are exactly why you NEED to exercise in this crazy phase.

– For your sanity.

– To do something that is just for you.

– So you can be the best mom for your little one(s).

 

Although it definitely isn’t easy, there are some things you can do to find time to exercise. Here are a few simple tips you can try this week!

 

1) Redefine your definition of a workout – Before kids, your idea of a workout was probably driving to the gym, taking a spin class, lifting some weights, and then driving back home to shower up and blow dry your hair. The whole affair probably took 2+ hours!

As moms, we simply don’t have that kind of time. The good new is that you don’t have to find 2 hours a day for exercise. We just need to redefine what a workout looks like in these two ways:

a) Exercise at Home – Embrace the idea of working out at home! It saves so much time to be able to exercise at home and there are lots of great ideas for what to do for your workout (we will cover than in a bit).

 b) Quality over Quantity – With a focused, well-designed plan, you can get an awesome total body workout in just 30 minutes! That’s how long most of my workouts are these days and I am thoroughly whooped by the end.

So there you have it. Your new definition of a workout is 30 minutes at home 3 or 4 days a week! Now that sounds a little more do-able right? Now, let’s take a look at what to do for your workout.

 

2) Workout WITH your baby – Bottom line, newborns are demanding! Since you will be working out at home, your workout will likely get interrupted by a diaper change, nursing, or a fussy baby. Instead of giving up, just involve your baby in your workout! Here are two great ways to do that:

 

a) Walk/Jog Outside – Put your little one(s) in the stroller or a carrier and head outside for a walk. The fresh air will bring good perspective for both of you. Once you get clearance from your doctor you can add in some jogging intervals as well. Here’s a sample workout for you to try!

 

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b) Strength Exercises with your baby – There are also a ton of strength moves you can do with your baby in a carrier. Here are 2 of my favorites:

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1) Squat and Squeeze – With one foot on the step, lower into a squat with the weight in your heels. Keep your chest up and let the legs do the work. Rise up from the squat and step onto the step lifting your outside leg up into a side glute squeeze. You will need to engage your abs to maintain your balance as you lift your leg. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 10 reps, then switch legs and do 10 reps on the other side. Rest and then repeat another set.

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2) Tricep Dip – This move tackles the wiggly wave! Sit on a chair with your hands by your sides gripping the edge of the seat. With your feet flat on the floor move your hips away from the bench (keeping your butt near the edge). Bending your elbows back along your sides, lower down slowly, then press up to the starting position. Complete as many repetitions as you can in 1 minute, then rest and repeat for 1 more minute. Your little one provides some extra weight to challenge your triceps.

c) Try the Tailored Fitness App – You can also head over to MyTailoredFitness.com and get our free app. We have a workout you can do with your baby that has lots more great ideas like these. Just click play and follow along!

 

I hope these tips help as you take care of yourself during this busy season. Don’t forget to give yourself a little grace. Some days you might need a nap more than a workout! Give yourself permission to rest when you need, but don’t forget that a little exercise can help tremendously with your energy level.

 

Thanks Jana and Cindy for having me here and feel free to hop over to our Tailored Fitness blog for more health and fitness ideas for moms!

Thanks for sharing these tips Autumn! – Cindy & Jana

Learn more about Exercise and Breastfeeding here.


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Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

Download their app NuuNest – Newborn Nurse Answers and Baby Tracking for expert guidance through the first crucial weeks after childbirth.

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January 2, 2015

What you need to know about Breastfeeding and Exercise

Although it can be challenging to find the time, we all feel better when we exercise! Many women have asked if vigorous exercise will affect breastfeeding.

Autumn Bonner summed up the answers in this wonderful post on her website, Tailored Fitness, reposted here with permission.

 

My resource for all things exercise and pregnancy related has been Dr. James Clapp’s book Exercising Through Your Pregnancy. He has a chapter on breastfeeding and exercise that has a lot of great information. Here are the highlights.

  • Regular exercise, even at high intensity, does NOT alter with the quality or quantity of breast milk produced.

That’s great news! Dr. Clapp refers to several studies that looked at the effect of exercise and breastfeeding and none of them showed that there was any difference in the milk production of exercising and non-exercising women.

  • Women who exercise and breastfeed should be sure to eat at least 1500 calories per day so that their breast milk production is not reduced.

2CPEiNg7.jpg-smallWhen you exercise, you burn calories, and breastfeeding also burns calories (about 500 per day), so breastfeeding moms need to make sure they are consuming enough calories to cover the extra they are burning off during exercise and breastfeeding. If the number of calories consumed drops below 1500 total, milk production can be affected. You will also need to increase your water intake, especially if you workout outdoors in warm weather.

  • Exercising while breastfeeding DOES NOT affect infant growth rate.

Since the quality and quantity of breast milk stays the same, you do not need to worry about your exercise affecting your baby’s weight gain.

Ok, now onto some practical tips that will help make exercising while breastfeeding more comfortable:

  • Buy a supportive sports bra.

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Prior to being pregnant, I never really had to worry about supportive sports bras because, well, I wasn’t to well endowed on top. But that changed when I became pregnant and even more since Sienna arrived. Luckily, the girls in my Stroller Strides class told me about the sports bra Juno by Moving Comfort. It’s a great, supportive bra that even has adjustable straps. They also have a non-racerback version called Fiona. Lululemon also sells a bra called the Tata Tamer. Don’t you love the name? It doesn’t have the adjustable straps, but it works well too. I wrote a blog post about supportive sports bras that you can read here.

  • Feed your baby right before you exercise.

This will help a lot with comfort during your workout, especially for high impact activities like running or kickboxing. If you are exercising at a gym or outside, this may involve breastfeeding in public. Pick a workout top that will be easy to either pull down or pull up for nursing. Side note, did you know that there are laws that protect the right for women to breastfeed in public? My lactation consultant Robin was actually just involved in resolving an incident here in San Diego where a woman was told she could not breastfeed her baby while she was waiting in traffic court. She wrote a really interesting article detailing the incident here.

  • Try low impact exercise if you still have pain.

If you still have any pain, try switching to lower impact exercise until your milk supply regulates and you are able to move around more comfortably. You can still get a great workout without any jumping. In all the Tailored Fitness videos, I give low impact options. I also just filmed a series of exercise with your baby videos, which are all low impact and designed specifically for the newly postpartum mom.

I hope these tips help you be able to breastfeed and exercise comfortably!

Thank you, Autumn, for allowing to repost these tips. You can see Autumn’s post in its entirety here

 


 

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Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

Download their app NuuNest – Newborn Nurse Answers and Baby Tracking for expert guidance through the first crucial weeks after childbirth.

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December 3, 2014

The Importance of Skin to Skin with Baby

During your pregnancy, you have satisfied all of your baby’s needs. Your baby has been fed, protected, and kept warm by your body.  Snuggling your baby skin to skin is a gentle way to transition your newborn from the protected womb to the outside world.

A recent study divided new moms into two groups. One group had skin to skin contact with their babies immediately after birth. The other group’s babies were examined by doctors, then brought back to the mother in blankets. The babies in the first group learned to breastfeed more quickly.

Ideally, babies will be placed on their mother’s chest immediately after birth for at least the first hour of life. The benefits of skin to skin continue through the newborn period and beyond. If you happen to be separated from your baby at birth, start skin to skin as soon as you can.

 

How to do skin to skin with your babyphoto

Dress your baby in a diaper only and place him against your bare chest. Cover your baby with a warm blanket or wrap your shirt or bathrobe around both of you.

If you are in hospital, try putting the hospital gown on backwards, tying the bottom edges together in a knot to support your baby’s bottom.

Advantages of skin to skin for baby

  • will be more content and will cry less
  • will have a more stable body temperature
  • will have a more regular heart and breathing rate
  • will have a more stable blood sugar
  • will have better tolerance for painful procedures such as blood tests (when snuggled skin to skin with a parent)
  • will find it easier to latch to the breast

Babies that have been held skin-to-skin are more likely to breastfeed exclusively and longer. Premature babies will gain weight more readily.

Note: Get more great tips in our free ebook 5 Crucial Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding. Download it here.

Advantages of skin-to-skin for mother

  • easier to know when her baby is hungry
  • easier to help her baby latch to the breast
  • easier way to wake a sleepy baby
  • easier to soothe a fussy baby skin-to-skin
  • higher production of the hormone prolactin, helping her body to make more milk
  • enhances bonding with baby

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Dr. Nils Bergman, a physician and researcher, is passionate about the benefits of skin-to-skin. He explains the amazing benefits in this video.

** Even if you do not plan to breastfeed, consider doing at least some of the feedings skin to skin. Both you and your baby will benefit.

 

 

References and More Information:

  1. Dr. Nils Bergman on the Social & Emotional Intelligence of Infants.YouTube. KidCareCanada, 14 Oct. 2010. Web.
  2. Moore, E. R. and G. C. Anderson. “Randomized controlled trial of very early mother-infant skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding status.” Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, Mar-Apr 2007: 116-25.
  3. Moore, E. R., G. C. Anderson, N. Bergman, and T. Dowswell. “Cochrane.Early Skin-to-skin Contact for Mothers and Their Healthy Newborn Infants.” Cochrane Library, 16 May 2012. Web.
  4. Newman, Jack, MD, FRCPC, and Edith Kernerman, IBCLC. “The Importance of Skin to Skin Contact.nbci.ca. International Breastfeeding Centre, 2009. Web.
  5. Skin-to-Skin Contact.lllc.ca, La Leche League Canada,N.d. Web.
  6. The First Feeding.”HealthyChildren.org. American Academy of Pediatrics, 21 Nov. 2015. Web.

 

 

Other newborn posts you may enjoy: The Newborn Period, A – Z and Can I Spoil my Newborn?

 


thumbnail-cindy-and-janaCindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.



 

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February 28, 2014

When Breastfeeding Does Not Go as Planned

“After weeks of crying more than my newborn, I made the choice to switch to formula. I am consumed with guilt! The message that “breast is best” is EVERYWHERE.”

 

“I feel like I am not a good mother. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed this baby and now I have to supplement with formula.”

“I feel like I have failed as a mom because I couldn’t stand the pain of breastfeeding any longer. I feel guilty and heartbroken. I really wanted to breastfeed.”

 

Our hearts go out to these mothers.

 

Sometimes, despite her best efforts, a mother may need to supplement with formula. Others discontinue breastfeeding altogether after weeks of struggling.

 

How do women who were intent on breastfeeding end up in this situation? It may be due an issue that is beyond a mother’s control.

 

  • Mothers may be given incorrect advice from friends, family members or perhaps even from those in the medical community. Women may not always have access to qualified support and information at the time they need it.

 

  • Women with certain underlying medical conditions may develop a less than full supply. (You can read more here.) adorable-19638_640

 

  • Babies can also have underlying issues that make it difficult to extract milk from the breast or to stimulate milk supply (e.g., medical conditions, the anatomy of the baby’s mouth, prematurity).

 

Other women for personal reasons may decide that breastfeeding is not for them.

 

We recently worked with ‘Nikki’ who, despite weeks of hard work, was unable to exclusively breastfeed her baby. She told us this made her feel guilty, like she was “not a good mother”.

 

What is the definition of a “good mother”? It absolutely has to be more than how a mother feeds her baby. Did Nikki love her baby? Of course. Was she doing her very best? Of course she was.

 

Is there a way to prevent Nikki from feeling guilty? There would be no guilt if Nikki did not know why breastfeeding is important. Does this mean that health care professionals should stop educating? Seems illogical.

 

We believe it is our job to deliver evidence-based health information. The timing of the delivery of this information, however, is very important. Information about the importance of breastfeeding and the risks of formula is meant to be delivered when women are requiring or requesting feeding information. For women like Nikki, reading this information after breastfeeding has not gone as planned may stir up further feelings of disappointment and guilt.

 

As Lactation Consultants, we want to be there for moms when breastfeeding does not go as planned. We want to say:

 

red-83810_640“Good job! Pat yourself on the back for all the hard work you have done for your baby.”

 

“Let’s celebrate the breast milk your baby received.”

 

“Sometimes things happen that are beyond your control”.

 

Everyone’s experience is different. No two journeys are the same. If you are struggling with guilt, please know that we respect you and the choices you have made for your family, no matter how you feed your baby!

 

In the word of other mothers:

 

“Do what is best for you and your baby. Guilt has no place in parenting… Enjoy your baby and be proud of your ability as a mother.”

 

“Surround yourself with people who care about you. Take in what is helpful and supportive and ignore the rest.”

 

“It’s OK to feel sad if you have to give up nursing. Accept that you did your best and get on with the business of parenting.”

 

Other posts you may enjoy: 8 Myths of Motherhood and 12 Ways to Pamper Yourself Without Leaving Home.

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About the authors:

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

Download their app NuuNest – Newborn Nurse Answers and Baby Tracking for expert guidance through the first crucial weeks after childbirth.

 

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October 31, 2013

Postpartum Depression Recovery: Tamara’s Story

 

We first met Tamara through her blog, Discovering Parenthood. We admired her openness and honesty about her journey through postpartum depression. At our request, she has written this guest post.

Thank you, Tamara for sharing what has been helpful during your recovery.

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Tamara’s Story

I found myself dealing with postpartum depression very soon after my daughter’s birth. I was overwhelmed with being a first time Mom, and I also had my hands full supporting my little girl who was suffering from severe reflux, and ptosis of the eyelid.

It took a little while for me to fully admit, and to address that this was what I was going through, and that it was also okay to be going through it. I had no reason to be embarrassed about it, or to hide it.

I have been through times of depression before, so I knew that there was a strong possibility that postpartum depression may occur after the birth of my daughter. I went through denial about it, anger about it, and through thinking that I just needed to change some things in my lifestyle. Eventually I got to a place where I knew I needed to address what I was up against.

It took me a little over nine months to finally feel like I was conquering this mountain in my life, and to start to feel like myself again. I am still addressing postpartum depression on a daily basis, but I am getting there. There are a few things that helped me along the way.

  • Knowing the symptoms

I knew all of the red flags, signs, and symptoms of postpartum depression. My husband also knew them. Together this helped for us both to realize what was going on, and why I felt the way I did. This helped me to get to a place where I knew what I was up against, and that I could not go at it on my own.

 

  • Talking to my doctor

I suspected that I was walking a fine line that was bringing me near postpartum, and I knew when I was completely dealing with full on postpartum depression. I went and talked to my doctor. My doctor was a huge help in helping me decide what direction I wanted to go with help in dealing with postpartum depression. We talked about different sorts of medication options; we talked about counselling, about even just having someone to confide in about what was going on, and so much more. This was a huge moment for me, as it was also the moment when I first realized that I could and would get through this. It was also when we figured out a plan to help me start dealing with my postpartum depression.

 

  • Being confident in the path I took

I went with the option that was best for me, and my family, and what fits into our life style. This ties back to why talking to my doctor was so important. I knew that I needed to deal with this for my baby, for my husband, and for myself. I was not going to let anything make me feel ashamed for getting help in some form.

 

  • Getting back into what I loved, taking time for myself, and trying something new

I have always enjoyed crafts, and painting. I soon started to realize that some days I needed time to myself, time to do something I loved and enjoyed. Doing something that made me happy was a great push in the direction I needed to go. I had forgotten to do things that once would have always done, I was consumed with taking care of my daughter, that I never made time for even just a few minutes to draw. I started to do craft projects, and I also started blogging as a way of sharing and it also became a great way to remember the good things. I also made sure to take time for myself. I took the time some evenings to paint my nails, to read a book, or to even enjoy a nice warm shower or bath and to not feel rushed in doing so. I always felt human again after taking time for myself.

 

  • Talking to others

1016843_10151725928521303_1057077870_n copyI found a couple people who are very close to me, who I could confide in and share how I was feeling. I also started to let others know what I was going through and ask for their support. Talking to my husband, and letting him know how I was feeling each day was a major stepping-stone. I am one who often just tucks away all my emotions, and just does not share about what I am feeling, or how I am doing. I needed to talk; I needed to express what was going on. Doing this helped not only me, but also helped those around me to understand what was going on for me even just on a day-to-day basis. It also helped me to know that I was not alone, that others have gone through this too.

 

  • Sleeping

The need for sleep was huge. When my daughter had her waves of poor sleep during the night, which in turn made me get little sleep, I noticed that was when I really struggled. Some days I just had to ignore the housework, and go take a nap when she was napping. I had many people remind me that sleep is what helps to keep a mom functioning at her best. This was so true for me.

 

  • Walking did wonders

I started walking with my daughter, and with my husband. We made it family time to get out and about. Even if we just took a quick walk around the neighbourhood or a walk on a trail at one of the local parks. Walking has so many health benefits. I always felt so much happier after going for a walk. My daughter also loves being outside, seeing her smile and be full of joy on our walks also started to make me feel the same way.

 

  • Making a commitment to smile

When my daughter was five months old I made a commitment to always smile at her. Some days I did find it to be so incredibly difficult to smile, and to just be full of happiness around her and for her. I needed to smile though; I needed to show her how much I loved her. She gave me smiles and giggles so freely; I needed to do the same for her. Her smiles and giggles were a source of encouragement for me.

These are some of the things from my own, personal experience that helped me. Your safety and the safety of your baby are of the utmost importance. Please seek professional help if you need assistance.

 

What things did you find helpful in dealing with postpartum depression? 

 

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Twitter: @tamaraelda

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Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

Download their app NuuNest – Newborn Nurse Answers and Baby Tracking for expert guidance through the first crucial weeks after childbirth.

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October 12, 2013

New Baby? 11 Ways to Cope with Sleep Deprivation

Being a new parent is hard work with very few breaks. One of the most difficult things can be the ongoing sleep deprivation.

Here are some tips to help you make it through this tiring stage of life.

  1. Try to lay down when the baby sleeps. This is difficult as there is always more laundry or housework to be done but try to make your own rest a priority. A nap in the day can make nighttime feeds much less stressful.

  2. Take a day to stay in your pyjamas and rest. Even if you are unable to sleep, lie down and read a book or listen to music while your baby sleeps.

  3. Try not to look at the clock at night. It can make you more concerned about the sleep you are not getting and make you feel worse in the morning.

  4. Every baby is different and will have different sleeping patterns. Young babies cannot be spoiled. If they wake due to hunger, feel reassured that you are doing the right thing by responding.

  5. Breastfeed lying down. Ask your partner to do the burping and changing for some of the feeds.

  6. Say yes to anyone who offers to help you with household tasks.

  7. Try to get outside every day. Feeling sunshine on your face and getting fresh air can lift your mood, even if you are tired.

  8. Limit caffeine. Caffeine can interfere with sleep when you get the opportunity. It also also increases anxiety.

  9. Discuss with your partner ways that you can both get more sleep. Can you take turns napping? Can your partner be with the baby until midnight while you go to bed to get a 2-3 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep? Knowing that you are working together to maximize available sleep may make you both feel better.

  10. Take care of yourself in other ways so that your body is getting what it needs (even if sleep isn’t one of them). Drink enough water. Eat healthy foods that give you energy and try to fit in some kind of physical activity.

  11. Know that the sleep deprivation is temporary. It may seem like it will last forever, but it is a phase of life that will eventually come to an end.

coping-with-sleep-deprivation

 

Other related posts you may enjoy: I am so TIRED… More than Just Fatigue? and Baby’s “Days and Nights Mixed-Up“.


About the authors:IMG_9687 4

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

Download their app NuuNest – Newborn Nurse Answers and Baby Tracking for expert guidance through the first crucial weeks after childbirth.

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September 13, 2013

12 Ways to Pamper Yourself Without Leaving Home

 

Last week we wrote about the Myths of Motherhood and the importance of taking time to nurture yourself. This can be difficult given the demands of raising a baby. Sometimes at best you can squeeze 20 to 30 minutes to yourself. We have 12 suggestions for ways to pamper yourself on those busy days. Keep a mental list of the ones that appeal to you most so that when your baby’s nap time hits or your partner is available, you can have a mini-pamper session.

1. Write in your diary, journal or blog

If you are a person who loves to journal, pick up your pen or computer and take guilt free time to express yourself.

2. Indulge in a warm cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

Next time you are at the grocery store, buy a “special treat” variety of your favorite hot beverage and stash it in the back of the cupboard. When you have 20 minutes, boil your brew and take it to your favorite chair. Slowly sip and relax, focusing on the moment instead of your to-do list.

3. Do a home pedicure

Soak your feet in a tub of warm scented water for 10 minutes. Rub off rough spots with a pumice stone. Use your favorite moisturizer on your feet and apply a coat of your favorite colored toe polish.

4. Dress up, style your hair and put on makeup

In the busyness of life with a new baby, the majority of our days may be spent in sweatpants. However, when you need a lift, pamper yourself and put on your favorite outfit. Dig out some earrings and style your hair.

5. Take a long soothing bath

Negotiate with your partner to keep the little ones quiet while you indulge in a long bath. Playing music, lighting candles or using bubble bath or scented oil can make it feel extra special.

6. Read a good book or your favorite magazine

It can be a treat to curl up with a good book or your favorite magazine. Try to choose something other than a “how to” book about parenting! This can be doubly relaxing when combined with suggestion #5.

7. Watch an episode of your favorite series

Is there a series you used to love in your “pre-children” days? Take the time to watch an episode, guilt free.

8. Burn your favorite scented candle

We often purchase scented candles for special occasions. Make today the special occasion and burn your best scented candle. This can be relaxing and a wonderful stress reliever. Even if you can’t get a break a real break, the flickering of a candle can help you to relax.

9. Phone a friend.

When you have 20 minutes, telephone a friend to have an adult conversation. Catch up on news, trying to focus on talking about anything other than parenting.

10. Yoga

Put on some soft music, get out your mat and do a few of the most relaxing yoga poses. Try to quiet your mind and focus on something you find relaxing, perhaps your favorite vacation spot.

11. Go for a walk

This technically involves leaving your house but you wouldn’t have to go far…When your partner gets home, take 20 minutes to go for a walk by yourself. Put on earphones with your favorite music and go for a brisk walk. The exercise, combined with music and the outdoors can really lift your mood.

12. Do absolutely nothing

This is quite possibly our favorite way to pamper ourselves when time is tight. Sit in your most comfortable chair and do absolutely nothing for 20 minutes, guilt free. Concentrate on the feeling of relaxation. Sit in a lounge chair in the sunshine if weather allows.

Do you have other mini-pamper ideas that have worked for you? We would love to hear them.

 

Other suggested posts for new moms: I am so TIRED… More than Just Fatigue? and New Baby? 11 Ways to Cope with Sleep Deprivation.

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About the authors:

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

Download their app NuuNest – Newborn Nurse Answers and Baby Tracking for expert guidance through the first crucial weeks after childbirth.

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(Photo courtesy of Flickr: dMap Travel Guide)

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