Recently I had an epiphany while babysitting my 13 month old nephew. Over my last 10 years in supporting parents, it seems that new moms and dads are having a harder time parenting and the problem seems to be getting worse! Our resources and support seems to be getting better since I was a new mom but up until now, I couldn't understand why!
Indulge me for a moment while I rewind to 17 years ago when my first daughter was born. A time where dial up internet was the newest and hottest trend...remember having to put the AOL CD into your computer and listen to the screeching sound until your internet connected? A time where cell phones were only used for making phone calls...we couldn't send pictures, surf social media and texting was a challenge. I know...the dark ages right!
At that time, as a new mom, the only distraction or connection to the outside world was really our TV and talking to people on the telephone or in person. So when I needed advice I had no choice but to call a friend, family member, my doctor or speak with them in person. When my daughter was sick, I needed to call my doctor. When I had issues with breastfeeding, I needed to contact a breastfeeding consultant. When I was having problems getting her to sleep, I called a few friends and family for help. Whenever there was something I needed help with I called someone and asked for help or advice or many times just followed my intuition. Further to that, we can all agree how exhausting and life changing those first few months with your baby are. So when I had to feed her I fed her, when i had to change her I changed her, when I was playing with her I was playing with her, when I was cuddling her I was cuddling her. I was 100% present in every interaction I had with my child...absolutely 100%. Looking back now, that was what help me have a close connection with my daughter and start to trust my intuition with how to parent her. And when she was sleeping, of course I tried to get onto the internet but truthfully it took so long to connect and was so slow that I really didn't have much time on it.
Fast forward to now...we have instant connection to the world through high speed internet and smart phones. We can connect with anyone in the world in seconds. This is fantastic...or is it!?
Now as a professional I have seen so many people resort to their social media to find advice. Asking questions that really should be addressed to your doctor, your nutritionist, your IBCLC, your sleep consultant, your best friend, your parents... people you know and trust. I have seen this going on for a few years and it seems to becoming even more common. There's absolutely nothing wrong with using social media to obtain advice BUT it certainly shouldn't be your primary source for health and parenting support. And with all the controversy around certain baby related topics, I've seen exhausted frustrated upset mothers post a question on social media and then get bombarded with horrible responses only making the situation even worse!
So now comes my epiphany, last week I cared for my 13 month old nephew for 5 days. Keep in mind, this is one of the first times in 15 years that I have cared for a young baby for this long therefore I was acting as "mom" for the week and I've never had to worry about caring for a baby in our new technological world. Each morning we woke up and started our routine. From getting dressed, to having breakfast, to playtime, nap time, lunch time and so on for the rest of the day. And of course, the entire day my phone was binging and going off every time I received a text, an email, a Facebook comment, a call...the stress and anxiety that it caused me was indescribable. I tried to ignore it several times however when I wasn't responding people kept messaging me over and over until I did. A few times I gave in and responded which then led to more binging. And more binging meant my anxiety was growing because someone was trying to reach me and I wasn't answering. After a couple of days of being home with this amazing little guy, I started to get lonely and now found myself gravitating to social media for that outside connection. So at one point I was sitting on the floor on facebook, with my nephew playing in front of me and as he climbed onto my lap with that handsome smile, I thought to myself..."OMG technology is sabotaging parenting!" I remember with my daughter playing on the floor, rolling around, singing songs the entire time she was awake. But with technology being so accessible to us now, it was so easy for technology to steal me away from my nephew. For the rest of the week, I really tried hard to only use the phone when he was asleep. This made the rest of our time again much more enjoyable and I'd like to believe that my nephew and I are closer now.
So my message here is "Technology is sabotaging parenting!"
So here's a few tips.
1. If you need any kind of advice for your baby, seek an expert or trusted family/friend. Try not to seek advise from 10,000 strangers around the world, it will only make it worse! PS...Dr Facebook and Dr Google are not a great resource. Instead, pick 2-3 people you trust and admire as parents and ask them for advice when you need it. After a while of doing this, you will start to realize that you have an internal intuition guiding you as a parent and helping you along your journey.
2. Living in today's' technological world, Steve Jobs did a great job of making our smart phones an extension of us, part of us, part of our daily lives. But it really doesn't help new parents. So as difficult it may seem. Put your phone on silent and only allow calls to come through. Check your phone and surf social media when your baby is sleeping so you can be 100% present with your child when he is awake. This is being mindfully present. Your stress and anxiety will go down and you will be able connect with your little one.
I can't believe what a difference parenting in today's world really is. Parenting is hard as it is but throw technology in the mix and you've just made it 100x harder. Throw in another child or 2 or 3, and now it's next to impossible!
Coming from a cell phone (social media and texting) addict, I know it's hard but this may be the most important life-changing parenting advice you will ever hear!
Advanced Sleep Consultant, PNSW, PD, ANCS
The well known Finland Baby Boxes have come to Ontario and with it a huge storm of parents eagerly waiting to get their box filled with goodies! Babeez is so excited to help with this initiative by helping with distribution. We had given away all the boxes within less then a week!
With September being safe sleep month, it seemed perfect that these boxes made their debut in perfect timing! We hope that this initiative will shed light on some of the safe sleep practices recommended here in Ontario.
Here are a few safe sleep tips suggested by Health Canada
For more info on the Baby Boxes visit www.babyboxco.com
Here's a great money saving tip for breastfeeding moms. Don't waste your money on a rocking chair. They are useless and uncomfortable. Especially if you have twins. Instead, buy yourself a nice arm chair with wide arms that support your arms during breastfeeding. Make sure there is enough room for your breastfeeding pillow or regular pillows you can tuck under your baby's' body. Coming from an expert who works with moms every day, they regret the rocker. If you have twins, the armchair will help support babies during tandem feeding as they get older. Another tip, use a stool to support your feet. Moms feet shouldn't be daggling from the floor. Using a stool will give your feet a rest and help position for better feeding!
This holiday season I decide to try something new with my family…the Gratitude Jar…and wow was I impressed!
Every year around the holiday it seems to be more and more about gift giving and receiving and the true spirit of the holidays were being fogged
away! This year I really wanted to enlighten my children about how lucky they really are so over the last 2 weeks, we used dinner time to write down one thing every night that we were thankful for. I thought my family would be unimpressed with this as they are in their teens but to my surprise, they had the jar out every night before I even mentioned it. They loved the idea. They loved writing and sharing what they were thankful for and I was so happy to hear that none of the things they wrote were materialistic at all. They were thankful for friends, a family, food for dinner, health and so many more things. This really melted my heart. But what I couldn’t believe was their excitement about paying it forward which is step 2 of the Gratitude jar lesson. Now that we are full of gratitude, it’s time to share it and that’s what the next 3 weeks will be all about for our family.
Every day for the next 3 weeks will be about doing something for
someone else. It can be small or big but the point is that every day we will do something. At our dinners, we will still pull out the jar and write down what we did to share our gratitude. I could not have expected his to go any better. My family seems to surprise me every time. I thought this was going to be a lesson on gratitude for them but I realized that this was actually confirmation for me
as a parent that I’m doing a good job…and at the end of the day, that’s all any parent wants!
This holiday season will be the best ever because I have realized
that with giving to others and sharing our gratitude, our heart is filled with more joy and love. I am so excited to share this with my
Here are a few things I will be doing to help pay it forward over the next few weeks. Hope you will join me and make this a brighter season for others!
Buy a coffee for the guy in line behind me.
Let the person behind me move in front.
Say something nice to a stranger
Bring something to your neighbor
Open the door for someone
Let someone in front of you while driving
Bring a coffee to a friend
Call a family member you haven't spoken to in a while
Drop off some new mittens to local charity
Help someone shovel their snow
Return a shopping cart
Donate at least $1 to charity
Thank the mailman
Send a thank you to first responders (Police, Paramedics & Firemen)
Leave a positive comment on a blog
Spend 15minutes being silly with family
Fill in donor card or ask someone to fill in theirs
Give away my parking spot.
Did you know that you can catch the W.O.O (window of opportunity) an teach your baby great sleep skills from early on! Here are 3 things you can do for your baby from the day she's born to help start those self soothing and sleep skills off right:
1. Be sure to use a white noise machine.
The soothing sound will help your baby sleep faster, longer and not be disrupted by the noises happening in your home.
2. Swaddle your baby for all sleeps. This will help your baby feel cozy and secure while offering a safe blanket. It will help to minimize wakes from your babies startle reflex and help them sleep much better.
3. Place your baby to sleep in a dark room. Your babies natural sleep hormone, melatonin, will increase in a dark room and naturally help your baby relax and calm faster.
Don't forget safety...always place baby on their back to sleep, use a firm crib mattress and keep their crib/bassinet free from stuffed toys, blankets and
Sweet dreams with your newborn!
From Certified Sleep Consultant Debbie Fazio
Many new parents are concerned their baby is not getting enough sleep. Here is a guide of approximately how much sleep your baby needs by age. Please keep in mind that baby must be eating well to encourage longer sleeps and that parents should always speak to their doctor or a sleep consultant for more specific information on their situation.
Babies 0-2 months will spend more of their time sleeping. They may have wakes that last between 30-60 minutes depending on how long your baby can handle being happy awake. Your baby
should be sleeping approx. 8-10 hours in the day with feeds in between and an additional 8-10 hours per night which may also include 2-3 feeds.
Babies 2-4 months may start to shorten their day sleep but have longer stretches overnight. Babies of this age should be sleeping approximately 7-9 hours in the day with feeds in between and approximately 8 hours overnight with possibly 1-2 feeds.
Babies 4-8 months can start to work towards a regular schedule. Having a 1.5-2 hour nap in the morning and again in the after, then 1 short evening nap a around 30-60 minutes and finally sleeping though the night for 10-12 hours with 0-1 feeds.
Babies 8-12 months will eliminate their final evening catnap and only sleep 2 times a day from about 1.5- 2 hours per nap then sleeping through the night for approx. 10-12 hours.
Babies over 12 months may
need to move to 1 nap a day ranging from 1.5-2 hours and sleeping through the
night for 10-12 hours.
When it comes to cloth diapers, I never
thought I would say I’m a believer! I’ve always had preconceived notions of
cloth diapers and the difficulty and amount of work behind using them. Although, as a mother, I always want to do what is best for my kids, I couldn’t imagine having to use cloth diapers and worry about the care and time I would need to invest in them while caring for 3 children under 2 years old. WELL THAT WAS 12 YEARS AGO, AND I'M SO HAPPY TO HEAR THAT CLOTH DIAPERING HAS CHANGED!
Last week I was invited to visit the Comfy Cotton Diaper Service company and while I thought I knew all there was to know about cloth diapers, I was amazed to learn the benefits of not only using cloth diapers but also the advantages of using a diaper service like Comfy Cotton.
The benefits of using cotton diapers for your baby, your family and the environment are endless. Just like we feel comfortable in cotton under garments, babies feel more comfortable in cotton diapers. Using cloth diapers have shown to reduce bum rashes because baby is not being exposed to any harsh chemicals and babies have even been potty trained almost 6 months sooner because they understand the feeling of being wet and uncomfortable and are able to understand the sensations they are feeling. The money that is saved long term by using cloth diapers as well as having your child out of diapers sooner, can be upwards of almost $2000. That’s a pretty good start to an education fund! And don’t forget that you are helping the environment by reducing almost 1 ton of garbage that ends up in the landfills.
The use of cotton diapers has also changed drastically over the years. Diaper covers now come in every style, pattern and color you can imagine. The old safety pin diapers are no more. Now diaper covers come with handy Velcro tabs just like a disposable diaper or snap on buttons. And many of the diaper cover companies are now designing these diaper covers to grow with your baby by adding different stage Velcro or buttons so as your child grows the diaper can be adjusted in size. The inserts that are in the diapers can be doubled up for the extra wet babies or even adjusted for if you have a boy or girl, since they need protection in different areas of the diaper.
The maintenance and ease of cloth diapers was my biggest concern and this is where Comfy Cotton Diaper Service comes in. Comfy Cotton has been around for 25 years. Their umbrella company has been a major launderer for many Ontario Health facilities, hospitals, universities and institutions for over 27 years, so if anyone knows about laundering, it’s Comfy Cotton. Taking a tour through their facility, I was amazed at how knowledgeable and efficient they are and how they believe in offering the best and safest service for their customers but also reducing their own carbon imprint on the environment. Their facility houses huge washing
machines that are perfectly balance for soap and water by their own on site
technician. The water temperature that these machines reach, are so high, that
the diapers are literally disinfected with every wash. Their extra rinse cycle
ensures that the minimal soap is left on the diapers before placing them into
their huge dryers which are also at high temperatures. These machines are much more efficient than any home laundry unit and because of this, the amount of chemical, water and electricity that is used by Comfy Cotton is less per diaper then what a family would be using at their own home. Comfy Cotton prides themselves on cleanliness so much that all of their racks, trolleys and tables are disinfected several times a day and any diapers that are not completely stain free, are no longer used. Their dedicated staff work over 15 hours a day to make sure that clients have their diapers cleaned perfectly and delivered on time. The Comfy Cotton drivers deliver diapers every day to families across Southwestern Ontario to make sure that no family goes without their diapers. The best part is that all you
have to do, is put the clean folded diapers on your shelf and dump the soiled
diapers (with their poop inside) into a sealed odor free bucket they provide
you with. Comfy Cotton Diaper Services clearly knows what they are doing, they
have made using cloth diapers so much easier for families and the best part was
when I learned that the cost of using cloth diapers and a diaper cleaning
services is still less expensive long term then disposable and your helping your
baby, your family and the environment at the same time.
So if you’re a new or expecting parent wondering if cloth diapers and Comfy Cotton are for you, I strongly advise you to give them call and learn as much as you can. I was so impressed with their knowledgeable staff, their passion to help families and the environment and how easy cloth diapering actually is. Although cloth diapers are not for everyone, educating yourself on the options is important, as it may not be what you think. Taking this tour definitely exceeded my expectations and has made me a believer!
For more info on Comfy Cotton Diaper Services visit www.comfycotton.ca
Thank you Comfy Cotton for an amazing tour!
Many of us would love to keep our children babies forever. It’s a little bittersweet to watch our children grow from newborns to babies and then to toddlers. Although we try to cuddle them a bit more and breastfeed a little longer, the inevitable will still come that your toddler will need some help with those unavoidable changes and transitions.
If you are considering transitioning your toddler from his crib into a bed there are a few things to consider. Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic age, as children’s mentality and understanding develop differently, however we do discourage moving your toddler into a bed until at least 2 years of age. When your toddler begins to understand and communicate with you, this is a good indication that he is ready for a bed and the freedom that comes with it. If you can explain to your toddler that he needs to stay in his bed for sleeps, it will make the transition much smoother. I also suggest that parents try to keep the same room that the toddler has been in all along. Often parents will transition a child out of his room and into a spare room with a whole new look because a new baby is coming and they need the nursery. However, children can often struggle with such a big change. Keeping the toddler in his current room and only making the change of introducing the bed to start will be the best option. It’s also important to make sure that parents are keeping safety in mind. Now that the toddler will have the freedom of getting out of his bed without supervision, it’s important that the entire room is safety proofed. Keeping the bed away from windows, securing all furniture to the walls, make sure there are no small or dangerous objects that the child can reach and even adding a gate at the door and door handle locks on the closet. Keeping your child in his room and safe must be a priority. Introducing the Gro Clock and ensuring there is a low watt nightlight will help you toddler feel safe and understand when he can come out of his bed.
Be sure that you have prepared your toddlers room for the change and also be sure to prepare your toddler. Make sure to talk about the transition for about a week prior to moving him into the new bed. Encourage him that this is a great change by telling him he is a big boy and mommy and daddy are so proud of him. Include him in the transition by letting him pick a new blanket and toy that he can sleep with and also teach him about the meaning of the Gro Clock and how it works. Try to continue the same bedtime routine that he has always had and limit the length of time you spend in the room once you have completed his routine.
Although we can try to prepare our toddler and ourselves for this transition, be prepared that there may be some crying and frustration with the first few nights in his new bed. But rest assured that consistency and reassurance will help him quickly love his new
This is a great place to ask your questions. Anything from prenatal to preschool. From feeding to sleeping...ask away!