Posts Tagged: new babies

How to Keep Your Family’s Sleep on Track This Summer (Even With Multiple Kids)

With summer approaching days are getting longer and longer. While brighter evenings can make summer barbeques and outdoor play more fun, they can also mess with our internal biological clock. Sunshine in the early morning and at bedtime can send our natural circadian rhythms for a loop. Luckily, there are healthy sleep remedies that the entire family can follow to avoid summer insomnia problems.

Summer Proof Your Sleep Environment

  • Block out that early morning sun with black out blinds or drapes. Promoting a dark cave like room is going to keep our sleep drive revved up for sleep success. Heading to the cottage this summer? Purchase a travel black out blind or for a quick and affordable solution throw some garbage bags and painters tape in your overnight bag.
  • White noise machines can help mask those early morning bird calls and noisy afternoon lawnmowers acting as sleep remedies. The consistent lull of the white noise machine helps eliminate external sounds.
  • Keep things cool this summer by layering accordingly and keep your families sleep zone between 68-72 degrees.

Bedtime Routine – It’s Not Just For Kids

Practicing a consistent calming bedtime routine with our children helps cue them that sleep is approaching. It promotes a safe and secure environment for them, one that makes it easier to fall asleep. A calming bedtime routine can work well for mom and dad too. Turn off electronics, take a warm bath, listen to calming music, or read a bedtime book before drifting off to sleep.

A Consistent Schedule Means a Well-Rested Unit

We all have a personal baseline for rest. It’s the amount of sleep our bodies need to remain well rested each night. During the summer months it can be difficult to meet our basal sleep needs. We go to bed later, perhaps wake up earlier, and when we aren’t focused on maintaining our usual sleep schedule, our family’s sleep debt can build and build leading to eventual insomnia problems.

It can be difficult remaining consistent with your baby’s schedule when you have multiple children. How can you stay on track with a newborn sleep schedule while still keeping your eldest busy and having fun? It’s something I myself struggled with my daughter when I was training my twins and there are a few things you can do to help during this phase.

Don’t Do it Alone - Get help if you can. Recruit Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, or your neighborhood baby sitter and work them into your weekly schedule. They can keep your eldest busy and you’ll be reassured knowing you’re able to provide both the engagement for your older child and naptime for your baby.

Take Advantage of Quality Bonding Time - Use your time alone together while baby naps to work on that attachment that may get overlooked while you are busy with the baby. This is a great opportunity to focus all of your attention on them and them only. Bring out the crafts or have some cuddly storybook time. This time is all about you and them, make the most of it.

Keep Things Simple - So maybe you can’t do everything you used to be able to do when you only had one child. It’s okay to slow down and not overschedule yourselves. I always like to follow my 80/20 rule. 80% of the time you should be protecting your family’s sleep at both bedtimes and naps if they still apply. 20% of the time you can veer off course a bit as everyone is easier to manage when well rested.

 

Alanna McGinn is a mother of three (1 + twins!), Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site, and Representative and Director for the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants (IACSC).  When she’s not on route to the bus stop or tripping over fire trucks and tea sets, she’s working with families to overcome their sleep challenges.  Follow Alanna on Facebook and Twitter for daily sleep tips and advice.

The PANK Perspective: The Second Child

“It’s okay, it’s the second one.”

I heard this from my SIL the other day. I have heard it from my parents in relation to me. I have heard it from friends. You ‘care less’ about the second child. Now, I’m not saying that in the literal sense you ‘care less’ – but I think you parents know what I mean when I say second child syndrome. The first child was the learning experience; you learned how to hold them, feed them, and burp them. You mastered the one-handed diaper change. You learned that if they fall, they will get back up. You learned that you don’t need to worry that you might fail at some things – because it’s inevitable that you will. You learned that you could and did adapt to being a new parent. So, once the second one came around, you were a Pro.

My brother’s second child and my newest nephew joined our family just before Christmas last year. For almost 4 years, his brother was the only baby in our family and we didn’t think we could love another more. Then, the second one arrived and I was smitten. There’s just something about him that I have instantly fallen in love with. It’s almost like there’s an unspoken bond between us. I’m the baby of the family; the black sheep – and I think I see that in him. As the youngest, we must stick together.

I was pondering my instant affection for him the other day, and realized that when his older brother was born I had to learn how to be an Aunt. I too had to learn how to hold, feed and burp him. I had to learn how to be a friend and role model to an easily influenced little human. I quickly got comfortable with talking in a kid-friendly voice, helping him put on his shoes and being stern with him when required. Perhaps I do in fact have a special bond with the second one, or perhaps this time around as an Aunt I’m just more comfortable and have become a Pro too.

Did you feel differently towards your second child?

 

About the Author:

Diane Morris is a PANK; Professional Aunt, No Kids and works for Mabel’s Labels as the Sales Coordinator. She’s an Aunt to two boys, and an “Auntie” to her boyfriend’s niece and nephew. She’s a sucker for romance, country music and peanut butter.

Three’s Company

There have been studies that indicate that three children is the most stressful number of kiddos to have.

Three is no easy feat. As the picture shows, I had my hands very full back when I had only half the number of kids that I have now. As you can see, I’m sitting in my yard, looking happy but a bit tired and maybe like I could use a good meal. That time was a bit of a blur – new baby, a toddler with a broken arm, and a bigger toddler smack dab in the middle of getting an autism diagnosis. Those were trying times.

Despite those trying times, I went on to have three more kids. I guess it goes to show that there’s no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to having kids. So, what makes a parent think they’re ready to go on and have another baby?

There are so many factors in determining how easy or difficult it will be to add another to the family.  The three biggest factors for me included:

1)      How close in age the kids are. Packing them in tight is my preference but it means several consecutive years of diaper changing and night time feeds. Although the years seem to zoom by, trying to get through a day with children after having only a couple hours of sleep can drive a mama towards the edge.

2)      Is there a bigger health or developmental issue to be dealt with? Raising babies is tough enough. Imagine having to go to appointment after appointment, sitting in waiting rooms, having your baby poked and prodded, living in fear of what is going on – all this while possibly dragging small siblings along to all of these appointments.

3)      What is the child’s personality? I’ve often seen first time parents experience the joy and pleasure of a settled and uncomplicated baby. I’ve seen these babies develop into sensible and fairly unadventurous toddlers. Parents of these children take great pride in their parenting savvy, wondering why all parents don’t have the mad parenting skills they have. Then the most amazing thing happens – they have a second child and are faced with the shocking reality that not all kids are the same. Not all the same strategies and tactics work for each of them the same way. I hope it’s not wrong to say that I get a bit of pleasure watching these parents tumble off their parenting high horses when they realize that some little personalities are more difficult to manage than others.

What helped you decide you were ready for another one? Do you have children with very different personalities, making you have to parent each one very differently?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six. Happy Hockey season – grab your Hockey Label Combo today!

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