Interview with a Stay At Home Dad | Lullaby Earth Blog – LullabyEarth.com

Interview With A Stay At Home Dad

Stay At Home Dad

In a month that’s all about dad, we celebrate all kinds of fatherhood! Good dads deserve our respect because they’re helping raise the next generation of happy, healthy kids who will grow up and make big changes. Lots of people imagine dads going to work and supporting the family financially, but there’s also a growing number (an estimated 1.75 million in the US) of dads who stay home and support the family in less typical but no less important ways. We reached out to talk to at-home dad Ryan. R, who takes care of his kids at home each and every day.

Ryan is 38 years old and has a degree in Video Production and Recording Audio Engineering, but his career path was varied with all sorts of jobs over the years, most not even related to his degree. When he told his wife he wanted to stay home with their first child, Ryan had an excellent job with great benefits, good pay, the works!

He says, “It wasn’t like I was in a job I hated and couldn’t wait to get out of - I left a good job to take care of my boys.”

We asked about when, how, and why Ryan and his wife decided he would be a stay-at-home dad. Ryan said that when his wife was about five months pregnant with their first baby (L, now three and a half), “we realized daycare was going to cost almost as much as our mortgage payment. We could have afforded it with our income at the time, but we were planning on more kids later. After a second child, the cost of daycare just wouldn’t be worth it.”

Ryan’s own father was a temporary stay-at-home dad while recovering from an injury and unable to work, and Ryan always appreciated that time with his dad. It wasn’t something strange or outside of a gender role to him, it was just normal - a parent taking care of his children. Ryan says, “I’ve always liked the idea of staying at home. I have a ton of respect for all stay-at-home parents, mom or dad.”

At-home parents are subject to flack from friends and family, since “mommy wars” and mom guilt are ubiquitous. A mom who works is seen as selfish (hardly!), while a mom who stays home is seen as decadently not doing anything all day (seriously?). Both of these stereotypes and assumptions are dead wrong, and stay-at-home dads are subject to some of the same issues.

Ryan remembers, “We went to our baby shower and I was talking to her uncle. When I told him I was going to stay home with the baby, he laughed. He thought I was joking.” Ryan also says that he got just as much negative feedback from women as he did from men. “It’s not seen as a ‘manly’ job.”

After a brief chat about how raising your kids is about the most fatherly thing a dad could do, and how that could possibly be seen as unmanly, we chatted about stay-at-home dad challenges and the best parts of being an at-home parent.

The conversation about people’s expectations and stereotypes continued into our chat about the challenges Ryan faces on a regular basis. He says, “The world expects women to be stay-at-home parents. It’s understood that it’s what a mother is supposed to do. I get a lot of comments like ‘When are you going to go back to work and give your wife a chance to stay home with the kids?’ that assume she wants to stay home and my role is at work.”

We talked about the isolation that is so prevalent among stay-at-home parents regardless of gender. “I absolutely feel isolated. The only thing I miss about having a job is the adult interaction with somebody who doesn’t care about the wheels on the bus.” He’s joined a stay-at-home dad group on Facebook but hasn’t had luck with in-person meetups.

“When I take the kids to the park, the moms don’t talk to me. The moms usher their kids away from mine because it’s ‘weird’ for me to be there.” He even tried to join local stay-at-home parent groups, but hit a wall there too. “I’d be okay if I could get into a parent group, but nobody would take me because I’m a dad. I reached out to 20 groups in the area, and they all wouldn’t take dads.” When we asked if he had thought about starting his own group focused on dads he said, “I’ve thought about it, but I’m a little busy!”

He struck up a weekly game night with some friends and now he has an outlet where he can get out and interact socially without having to be in dad-mode. He says, “It’s as important for the parents to socialize as it is for the kids.” Time alone with his wife is important too, and Ryan makes sure to get a date night on the books at least once or twice a month. He spoke a lot about how much he values his wife’s support.

“She’s 100% supportive of whatever I want to do. When I said I wanted to stay home, she said OK. She’s always right there on board.”

He says it’s hard sometimes because “when [L] sees me all day, he gets a little tired of me and he wants mommy. But other times he hugs me and says ‘You’re a good daddy, daddy’ or tells me he loves me.”

Discussing the best parts of being a stay-at-home dad, Ryan says, “When you’re working with them on something - letters and numbers, walking, anything - when they start to get it and do it on their own, it’s really rewarding. It’s something they’ll know or do for the rest of their life, and they learned it from you. It’s amazing. It’s awesome.”

Speaking of teaching the kids new things, we asked if Ryan planned on homeschooling in the future. “Absolutely not,” he says, “I’d like to say that I’d do it right but I don’t think I’m the homeschooling type.” He is, however, very attracted to the idea of staying home to manage the house while the boys are at school. “The longer I stay at home, the more I like the idea of being the PTA dad, the house-husband, the community dad. I want to be there when they get home from school and be there for their activities.”

In closing, Ryan had this to say about staying home to care for his children as a stay-at-home dad: “It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had. But it’s also the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.”

Thank you for chatting with us and talking about your experiences as a stay-at-home dad, Ryan! We appreciate all your hard work.

Tags: dads, parenting

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Sleep and Your Baby’s Immune System

Sleep and Baby's Immune System

By: Jenni June, Certified Child and Family Sleep Consultant, CLC and Mom of 4!

There are few things worse than seeing your baby or child suffer through the symptoms of a cold or flu. As parents we do everything we can to keep them as healthy and safe as possible. One powerful preventative measure we parents can take is to teach and provide quality sleep, a necessity for maintaining the health of our child’s immune system. Here’s why:

Our bodies have a natural circadian rhythm that is dictated by the earth’s rotation and the rising and setting of the sun. When we are sleeping within these natural biological rhythms, we get optimum, quality sleep. Sleep cycles are whole and healthy and most importantly, we get what’s called slow-wave sleep. This component of a sleep cycle helps clear waste, toxins, and stress that build up on the brain each day. It has incredible protective and restorative benefits. But if we are not sleeping within our natural biological rhythms, sleep is fragmented multiple times during the night and we prevent this slow-wave sleep from taking place.

Another important key to a healthy immune system is our microbiome, the healthy bacteria living in our bodies, which is affected by our circadian rhythms as well. If our babies are sleeping poorly, the essential bacteria in their gut and colon have trouble digesting fiber and other vitamins and nutrients from their food. These same gut microbes also help manufacture serotonin, which is a building block to melatonin production. What this means is that all in all, poor gut health negatively impacts sleep.

One way to improve your baby’s sleep health is to work to consolidate sleep with as few wakings and fragmentation as possible throughout the night (once the child is old enough to consolidate calories during the day, meaning they don’t need to be fed every few hours). This process may begin as early as between four and six months, depending on your child’s health and development, as well as your pediatrician’s recommendations.

Napping well during the day and going to bed early at night can help with this. The timing of sleep really impacts how healthy the sleep cycles will be. Poor sleep-timing results in incomplete sleep cycles and fragmentation, no matter how many hours of sleep your child gets.

Lastly, it is always important to consider your child’s chemical exposure. While we can’t control it completely, we can make a significant impact in one area that really counts: the mattress they sleep on. Make sure their mattress is free of dangerous chemicals that are known to cause significant health problems, such as fire retardants, phthalates and formaldehyde. A waterproof mattress with a removable machine washable cover helps prevent unhealthy bacteria growth, as a mattress can be a breeding ground for all kinds of things with the accumulation of spit up, vomit, sweat and leaky diapers! My go-to recommendation is the Lullaby Earth Breathable Breeze Crib Mattress. It’s an amazing, non-toxic and hygienic option that fits the bill nicely, and without breaking the bank. Free from all of those dangerous chemicals found in standard crib mattresses, your baby will be able to safely sleep and truly restore as you work to improve and restore their immune system.

Sleep well and stay well!

About Jenni June:


jenni june Jennifer Metter, founder of Jenni June™ LLC, is a Certified Child and Family Sleep Consultant, specializing in pediatric and adult sleep hygiene; A Certified Lactation Counselor, Host, Nationalspeaker, and Mom of 4!

With thousands of successful sleep cases under her belt since 2011, she is a valuable resource for everyday and celebrity parents all over the country, including Guiliana and Bill Rancic for the Style Network! And, she is the sleep training expert on The Doctors TV show! She is a practitioner member of the National Sleep Foundation and collaborative health care provider as a certified sleep coach for infants, children and adults for the Breathe Institute, and the go-to sleep trainer for LA’s top pediatricians!

Jenni is also a popular national speaker and guest on CBS, FOX, NBC news and the host of series, “Baby Care with Jenni June” and the resident sleep expert for the BabyLeague and FamiLeague Networks.

If you were to ask Jenni why she has joyfully dedicated her entire life to building up and equipping families (including her own, who are now all grown!), she will tell you, “Because the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” She is gifted in encouraging new parents to raise the standard of their significance. 

Tags: baby, parenting, sleep

Five Holiday Gifts for New Moms

5 Holiday Gifts for New Moms

After your friend, family member, or coworker has her first baby during the holiday season, your mind probably drifts to what to get for the new child. However, don’t forget about spoiling the new mom too!

To help with your search, we have compiled some options that would be great gifts for the new mom in your life. 

 

1. Organic Food Delivery Service

A new mom will be dealing with a lot of firsts while also juggling a very different lifestyle, so often the last things on her mind are grocery shopping and cooking for herself. Not to mention she may not even have the time for these activities. That’s why a membership for an organic meal delivery service is a great gift idea.

One organic delivery option is Thrive Market. Thrive Market offers a number of delivery options, including snacks, healthy meal ingredients, non-toxic cleaners, and much more. It’s a one-stop, non-toxic shop.

 

2. Baby Carrier

A baby carrier is a practical gift option to consider buying for a new mom, and there are now a few organic carrier options on the market. Ergobaby Baby Wrap is ergonomic, comfortable, and easy to take on-the-go for the traveling new mom. If you are looking to keep mom and baby connected and healthy, a baby carrier like ergobaby Wrap is the way to go.

 

4. Earth Mama New Mom Organic Gift Box Set

Just because a new mom is excited about her baby doesn’t mean she doesn’t need some TLC like everyone else. In fact, she probably needs it more than others due to the changes in her body and life. The Earth Mama New Mom Organic Gift Box Set is a convenient package of organic essentials to comfort mom and help her get the relaxation she deserves.

 

5. Diaper Bag

For many new moms, they often replace designer handbags with the most durable and attractive diaper bags on the market. A good diaper bag is essential to any new mother. The Lassig Green Label Neckline diaper bag not only has removable compartments and fun designs, it’s made of recycled plastic bottles, making it eco-friendly!

 

6. ZizzyBee Bags

Almost no one is more busy than a new mother. Anything to help mom keep her life streamlined is a smart gift idea. ZizzyBee bags are eco-friendly and reusable, all while making organization easy! These cute bags are great for that new mom who always has to have diapers, snacks, or toys on hand and doesn’t want to waste time digging through a cluttered bag to find them. Share Your Gift Ideas We’d love to hear what you got the new mom in your life for the holidays! Share in the comments below.

 

Share Your Gift Ideas

We’d love to hear what you got the new mom in your life for the holidays! Share in the comments below.
Tags: moms, nontoxic

Meet the Wisp Air Breathable Crib Mattress

Meet the Wisp Air Breathable Crib Mattress

We’re pleased to announce our newest arrival to the Lullaby Earth lineup, the Wisp Air Breathable Crib Mattress. It combines a flat, firm crib mattress (featuring our patented waterproofing and lightweight design) with a washable breathable pad to allow airflow between your baby and their mattress. This means a cooler, more comfortable sleep without overheating, plus easy cleanup. It’s another way we provide Breathability Done Right.

 

Why Breathable?

Many parents want a breathable mattress for safety reasons, because they’re worried about baby rolling onto their tummy during sleep. However, the most important safety consideration for your crib mattress should be firm, flat support. A breathable surface doesn’t mean much if you have a soft mattress or bedding in the crib, both of which pose a suffocation risk. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, babies should be placed to sleep on their backs, on a firm, flat crib mattress, with no soft bedding or toys in the crib. So if breathability isn’t crucial to your baby’s safety, why get a breathable mattress at all? While a breathable surface may offer some safety benefits if baby lays face-down, the primary benefits of a breathable mattress are comfort and a cooler sleep. When air can flow freely underneath your baby, they’re less likely to overheat and wake up sweaty and warm. Read more about the benefits of Breathability Done Right.

 

Why the Wisp Air?

We developed the Wisp Air at a happier price for families after feedback that our Breathable 2-Stage Mattress, the Breeze, was a little out of some people’s budgets. The Wisp Air offers the same benefits of breathability and easy cleanup at a more affordable price. Meet the Wisp Air Breathable Crib MattressBy combining a breathable pad with a waterproof crib mattress, you can remove the mess and easily keep the mattress clean. The Wisp Air Pad is machine washable, so you get all the benefits of breathability without the drawbacks of a hard-to-clean breathable mattress. Breathability Done Right means a safer breathable sleep for baby and peace of mind for parents. The Wisp Air Breathable Crib Mattress Pad is also available separately so you can have a backup pad or convert your existing Lullaby Earth Crib Mattress into a breathable mattress.

 

What’s The Difference Between The Wisp Air and Breeze?

The main difference between our two breathable crib mattresses is that the Breeze has a 2-Stage firmness design, flipping from firm for infants to a cushion firm toddler side. The Wisp Air has the same firmness on both sides, suitable for infants and toddlers alike! So you’ll never have to worry about having the right side up in your baby’s crib, because both sides offer unbeatable firm support ideal for your growing baby. Another minor difference is color and material. The Wisp Air pad is white and is 100% polyester, made with a breathable mesh fabric. The Breeze is available in five colors and has a waterproof backing for double protection. Don’t worry about cleanup though -- as long as you’re using the Wisp Air as intended with a waterproof crib mattress, you can still enjoy easy cleanup and bedding changes. Put the pad in the wash and wipe the mattress clean with a damp cloth.

 

Get Some Air Time

We hope you’re as excited about the Wisp Air Breathable Crib Mattress as we are! Let us know your thoughts as we continue to develop new products to meet your needs for a safer nursery.

6 Times Parents Were Thankful For Sleep

6 Times Parents Were Thankful For Sleep

We’re in a thankful, grateful mood this season, and we asked our readers about times they were thankful for sleep as parents. Read on to hear the stories and be sure to share your own!

1. When They Can Get Some Uninterrupted ZZZs

Laura M. says, “When I had a stomach bug and hubby let me sleep all day and night. It was two years ago and I still think about it.”

Renee C. says, “My husband works shifts, and when the baby has a rough night my husband will take her in the morning so I can actually get some uninterrupted sleep. It’s the best.”  

Cindy H. says, “I was in the hospital with my newborn for three days all alone and probably got four hours of sleep the whole time. I was so thankful to finally get some sleep once I was home with my husband.” Sarah C. says, “The time I collapsed into my hotel bed at a conference after a three week sleep strike conducted by my three year old.”

 

2. When Baby Sleeps Through The Night

Ariel F. says, “I’ve been grateful for every night since my son was 18 months old and he started sleeping through the night. Before that, he woke up every 90 minutes.”    Shanan W. says, “My kids are only 14 months apart, and my newborn son slept a solid six hours a night right from the start. I felt like he was my reward for surviving the long nights with my daughter.”  

Emily M. says, “When my first born was about 9 months old, we went out for a family dinner and one of us gave her a tiny sip of pop to see her reaction to the bubbles. Big mistake. She was up until 1am bouncing off the walls, but she slept until 9am the next day. I’ve never been more thankful.”  

Andrea H. says, “I’m thankful [daughter] is a good sleeper. She fusses at first but when she’s down she’s down! And our other daughter is up all night singing to herself, running around her room, coming into our room…I’m grateful the older one sleeps so I can take care of our other daughter and new baby without having to worry about all three of them at once.”

 

3. When They Reconnect

Elizabeth S. says, “When baby sleeps, parents can reconnect with each other and refuel their relationship. For example, snuggling on the couch and watching Stranger Things 2 in one weekend” 

 

4. When They Get A Good Routine Going

Maggie B. says, “When we switched from bedsharing to having our son in his own bed. The lack of kicked kidneys was amazing.”  

Clarissa O. says, “I worked eight-hour night shifts after my first child was born, and I was a zombie the whole time. I feel like I missed so much with my son because I was so exhausted all the time. I switched shifts when I was pregnant with my daughter and was able to get a more consistent sleep schedule. Having a consistent routine made all the difference and it made me a better mama.”

 

5. When They Know Baby is Okay

Amy C. says, “My little one had reflux as a baby. Before we knew her medicine was working, I would sleep in small increments and wake up alarmed, always worried she would be choking. After a month of her reflux being under control, I was finally able to sleep without someone watching her.”   Genevieve M. says, “Our kiddo was sick and throwing up all day. We were so thankful when he finally slept.”

 

6. When Their Child Wants a Good Snuggle

Alx G. says, “My daughter is a total daddy’s girl and merely tolerated me until she was about four. After spending a week in the hospital with her newborn brother, we were finally home. I was in the spare bedroom on the main floor with the baby since I couldn’t go upstairs while I recovered from an emergency C-section. I was trying to get him to sleep, and my husband told our daughter it was almost time for bed. This normally meant she would go upstairs, but she climbed into bed with me and her brother. She put one hand on him, patting him gently, and used her other hand to wrap my arm around her. She said, ‘Don’t make the baby up, mama? Don’t make the baby up, please?’ I realized she meant herself, that she didn’t want me to make her go upstairs. We all fell asleep snuggled in that bed. It was Valentine’s Day and I spent the night sleeping with my two biggest loves that I fought 13 years of infertility to get.”  

Tracy T. says, “I was pregnant with my daughter, and so very very tired. I had fallen asleep on the couch on my side while my husband made dinner. When I woke up, I had a blanket over me and my toddler snuggled up between me and the couch. My husband said that my son had grabbed a blanket, told him mama was asleep, and got him to help cover me up. Then my son snuggled in with his own blanket to nap with me.”

What If My Child Gets Sick While Sleep Training?

sleep training while sick

By Jenni June Certified Child and Family Sleep Consultant, Lactation Consultant and Mom of 4!

 One of the most important components of sleep training is knowing how to discern the difference between your child’s tears of temporary struggle (such as learning a new skill), versus tears of potential suffering.

When it comes to tears of suffering, we should always respond immediately to those. But how do we differentiate between the two when our child is sick? Is our child crying because they are frustrated with adapting to a new routine, or are they in pain? This is a very valid concern for us parents, as it may make the process of sleep training harder as well as hazardous.

If your child does happen to be sick with a cold or fever, but you are far enough along in the process of sleep training (meaning your child has already demonstrated that they have the basic skills necessary to independently connect from one sleep cycle to the next without you), you may choose to give them 5 to 7 minutes to see, via video monitor, if they can re-connect to the next sleep cycle on their own, or if your intervention is required (should something minor like a runny nose, arouse them all the way awake).

However, if your child is in the beginning processes of developing the basic skills of self-soothing, and/or you notice any of the following, put the process of learning on the back burner and respond immediately if your child is experiencing...

· A high grade fever (102.4) within 24 hrs
· Two or more bouts of watery diarrhea or vomiting within 24 hours
· A new or unfamiliar vaccine or medication (OTC or prescribed)
· Hacking, uncontrollable coughing
· An ear infection or UTI
· Any other health conditions that your pediatrician advises your round-the-clock vigilance over

Remember that interruption to your routine responses with sleep training will cause a temporary setback., but don't worry. It's better to be safe than sorry. Attend to your child and help them through their illness, but once your child is well again (for a full 48 hours), get right back on track with your routines and consistent parenting responses. Sleep, after all, is the foundation of wellness and recovery. So listen to your gut! You know your child better than anyone else.

About Jenni June:


jenni june Jennifer Metter, founder of Jenni June™ LLC, is a Certified Child and Family Sleep Consultant, specializing in pediatric and adult sleep hygiene; A Certified Lactation Counselor, Host, Nationalspeaker, and Mom of 4!

With thousands of successful sleep cases under her belt since 2011, she is a valuable resource for everyday and celebrity parents all over the country, including Guiliana and Bill Rancic for the Style Network! And, she is the sleep training expert on The Doctors TV show! She is a practitioner member of the National Sleep Foundation and collaborative health care provider as a certified sleep coach for infants, children and adults for the Breathe Institute, and the go-to sleep trainer for LA’s top pediatricians!

Jenni is also a popular national speaker and guest on CBS, FOX, NBC news and the host of series, “Baby Care with Jenni June” and the resident sleep expert for the BabyLeague and FamiLeague Networks.

If you were to ask Jenni why she has joyfully dedicated her entire life to building up and equipping families (including her own, who are now all grown!), she will tell you, “Because the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” She is gifted in encouraging new parents to raise the standard of their significance.

Do I Need a Sheet with the Breeze Breathable Crib Mattress?

Do I  need a sheet with the Breeze Breathable Crib Mattress?

Our Breeze Breathable 2-Stage Crib Mattress is all about #BreathabilityDoneRight - but do you still get the benefits of breathability when you use a crib sheet?

Breathability Done Right

First, let’s quickly recap how the Breeze does breathability right. Rather than a completely breathable mattress, the Breeze combines a breathable pad over our firm, lightweight, and waterproof mattress made without harmful chemicals. This way, when baby makes a mess in the crib, from sweating, drooling, or an inevitable diaper blowout, your whole mattress isn’t compromised and you can just machine wash the pad. The mattress itself is usable without the pad, so if you have a late night bedding change, you don’t have to miss a beat. You can put baby back to sleep with a new sheet over the mattress alone.

Does the Breeze Need a Sheet?

The short answer is: not necessarily, but we recommend one.

The Breeze does not strictly require a sheet, but many parents who use the Breeze prefer to use one anyway. A sheet provides a soft, cozy surface for baby. Plus, you may have crib sheets to match your nursery decor! However, it’s important to use a crib sheet with a loose weave fabric, such as muslin or natural cotton, with the Breeze Breathable Crib Mattress. If the fabric is too tightly woven, air can’t pass through as easily. To take full advantage of the Breeze’s airflow, choose a looser weave fabric.

Benefits of Breathability

The number one safety feature of your little one’s crib mattress is firm, flat support. To reduce suffocation risk, baby’s mattress should be firm and there should be no soft blankets, pillows, bedding, or toys in the crib. These are the recommendations from child health and safety organizations including the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Once you’re set with a firm, flat crib mattress, it’s time to talk about the benefits of a breathable crib mattress! The big benefit is maximized airflow, which helps baby sleep cool and comfortably without overheating. Of course, a breathable surface also gives parents peace of mind in case baby happens to roll over onto their tummy from being placed to sleep on their back.

As we mentioned above, an added benefit of a system like the Breeze is that you can remove and wash the breathable layer when it gets messy - something you simply can’t do with a one-piece breathable mattress.

Any Questions?

Let us know your other questions about Lullaby Earth products to be included in a future post!