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Poor Sleep Affects Baby’s Eating Habits and Digestion

poor sleep affects baby's eatign habits

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

Did you know the best way to help improve your baby’s eating and nursing habits beyond the age of four months old is to improve the quality and quantity of their sleep?  

Many parents, and even well meaning pediatricians, don’t realize that when sleep continues to be fragmented for multiple middle-of-the-night feedings (beyond the point that a healthy, baby’s nighttime circadian rhythm fully develops), sleep deprivation sets in very quickly. Fragmented sleep creates sleep deprivation just as much as prolonged wakefulness does.

When humans, even little humans, are chronically deprived of sleep, it elevates stress levels to chronic states. This often triggers the stress response system to operate in fight-or-flight mode for prolonged periods of time, beyond what is healthy and normal, throwing homeostasis off kilter. We know the result of this for older children and adults is typically obesity, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, gastro-esophageal reflux, liver disorders and even colorectal cancer, according to a study published in World Journal of Gastroenterology (2013). [1]

Poor Sleep Affects Baby’s Eating Habits and Digestion After carefully evaluating the thousands of infant sleep training cases I have worked on over the years, I began to notice a very clear common thread and pattern with babies age four months to twenty-four months old. Children of this age, who are chronically sleep deprived tend to engage in lighter, more snack-like feedings at the breast or bottle, and it seems they experience increased, more dramatic spitting-up. It also appears that they tend to struggle with acid reflux beyond age four months, along with excess gas, upset tummy, constipation, diarrhea, resistance of solid foods beyond age seven months, and are often underweight. However, after about day four or five into the sleep training process, using my 4 Pillars of Sleep HygieneTM (in combination with a properly matched behavioral sleep training method, if needed), parents were reporting that the severity of all of these issues were alleviated dramatically! Their once picky, light and snacky eater that they had to practically chase around with bites of food, or force feed and feed around the clock, because they were so underweight, began taking heartier more focused feeds at the breast, bottle, and during solid food feedings during the day. And, get this! They were able to digest these larger intakes of milk or food a lot better. This, in turn, helped parents to press on with the struggle of jumping out of their part in the vicious cycle they were previously caught up in with compensating for the poor daytime eating and nursing habits (i.e. continuing to fragment their child’s sleep with the “all-night open bar” throughout the night to get them to consume more calories in a 24 hour period). Parents began to trust in the natural process of allowing the power of the sleep hygiene to consolidate sleep at night, since it was clearly helping to consolidate calories during the day and improving their child’s overall nutrition, eating, and digestion habits, without any effort at all.  

baby's eating habits

I want to add a word of caution, however. Behavioral sleep training methods alone will not provide these results.  Your chosen method must be combined with a developmentally appropriate sleep hygiene plan, the science-based foundation of sleep. The purpose of good sleep hygiene is to kick-start a baby or child’s natural melatonin production, and to signal to the brain and body that sleep is about to come. This ensures that you are laying your little one down to sleep within that delicate window when that powerful sleep hormone is plentiful at sleep onset, and in an environment that supports it. When you do this, you are enabling your baby to experience the slow wave components of their sleep cycles, which also ensures that they will not feel hunger or even teething pain throughout their long consolidated period of night sleep. On the other hand, if sleep hygiene is poor, we do feel such things as hunger or pain. If fact, poor sleep quality may exacerbate a problem.

So, if you’re asking me what comes first, “the chicken or the egg?” (the meals or the sleep), when needing to improve nutritional health and eating habits for your baby and child, I believe the answer is sleep: Everything else will then fall into place!

[1] Ali, T., Choe, J., Awab, A., Wagener, T. L., & Orr, W. C. (2013, December 28). Sleep, immunity and inflammation in gastrointestinal disorders. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 19(48). doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i48.9231

 

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: Jenni June, sleep

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Clean Air Tips for the Nursery

Clean Air Tips for the Nursery

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Specifically, it’s your responsibility to keep the air in your baby’s nursery as clean as possible. Use this month to make some simple clean air changes in your child’s room.

 

1. Clean Humidifiers Regularly

If you use a humidifier, such as a Crane USA humidifier, in your baby’s nursery to help relieve their congestion, be sure to clean it regularly. If you don’t change the water, the humidifier can harbor bacteria, which can pollute the air in your nursery. 

 

2. Purchase a Non-Toxic Mattress

Many conventional crib mattresses contain materials that contribute to off-gassing, such as flame retardants and polyurethane foam. Pick a mattress such as the Lullaby Earth Healthy Support Crib Mattress. It’s non-toxic and contains no flame retardants, so it will not off-gas harmful chemicals into your child’s nursery.

 

3. Add Purifying Plants

Plants add a beautiful natural element to your baby’s nursery and are also great agents for cleaning the air. There are a number of plants proven to purify the air, such as Gerbera Daisies and Lavender. Plants add some color to your kid’s room and help them breathe a big breath of fresh air.

 

4. Choose Natural and Non-Toxic Rugs

Rugs can be a great addition to your baby’s nursery, adding a little personality to the space. When choosing this accent piece, pick a non-toxic option as to not bring air pollutants into your baby’s space. Lorena Canals rugs are perfect for any nursery and use raw materials and natural dyes.

 

5. Go Non-Toxic With Your Cleaning

Branch Basics, a company that specializes in simple, affordable and sustainable cleaning solutions.

 

How do you clean the air in your baby’s nursery? Let us know in the comments!

 

Mom Job Description

Mom Job Description

Job Title:

Mom (possible promotion to Grandma years down the line, please be patient.)

 

Job Summary:

Are you interested in a life-changing experience that literally never ends? Have you ever wanted to work around the clock with no pay and no indication that you’re doing well at your position for at least 18-20 years? Do you like locking yourself in closets and crying so no one can see you when it all gets to be too much?

  • No vacation days or personal days

  • No 401k or insurance

  • No training—learn on the job

  • Overtime is required

  • Must be OK with working nights, weekends, and holidays

We know this job looks terrible on paper.

But we promise, it will be the most rewarding experience of your life, and once you’re hired to be Mom, it will be impossible to imagine life as anything else.

 

Job Responsibilities:

*Will change overtime with age and experience—everyday is filled with new adventures, pressures, expectations, and duties so be prepared for anything, always.

  • Feeding, changing, and bathing a mini version of you for the first few years, all while enjoying minimal sleep and an exhausting schedule

  • Trying to decipher what Mini-You needs when crying because your new job is one big guessing-game filled with the inability to communicate

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Job Qualifications:

Unconditionally loving another human being more than you ever thought possible, to the point where sometimes you look at Mini-You and your entire heart wants to explode with pride because YOU made that special little person and even on the worst days, you wouldn’t trade any of it for anything in this world.

Top Toddler Naptime Tips

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Listen To Your Child

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Change The Script

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Think About Your Schedule

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Substitute Sleep For Relaxation

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What are your tips for getting your toddler to embrace naptime? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Tags: dads, moms, parenting

Earth Month Scavenger Hunt: Week 4

Earth Month Week 4

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During the past three weeks, we’ve worked together to help kids love, appreciate, and conserve the planet. We hope you’ve enjoyed the Scavenger Hunt as much as we have, but it’s not over yet!

It’s the fourth and final week of Earth Month, and this week we are showing kids how to nurture Earth in a variety of fun, family-friendly ways. From picking up litter to discussing the importance of plants and trees, our final Scavenger Hunt activities focus on making our planet better, cleaner, prettier, and healthier. 

 

Week 4: Nurture Earth

 

This week, challenge your child to complete these tasks:

Pick a meatless meal. Caring for Earth means caring for all its inhabitants, including plants and animals. Challenge your child to think of a meatless meal & make it together!

Find an area to clean up. It doesn’t take much effort to make our planet look pretty. Take your child on a walk or to the park & pick up trash.

Find something to re-purpose. Challenge your child to create a craft using only reused materials.

Pro tip: Milk cartons make a great rocket ship!

Find a tree taller than your house. Help your child learn the importance of trees by showing them how small trees become big trees that breathe oxygen and give birds a home.

Plant seeds. Not only is a garden good for the environment, but it also gives you and your child a special bonding experience.

While completing the Scavenger Hunt, you can also take part in our Earth Month Giveaway to enter to WIN over $1,000 in prizes!

Sign up to WIN the weekly prize bundle & share photos on social media with the hashtag #LEEarthMonthHunt to enter to win a Grand Prize worth over $1000 from our Planet-loving friends: Bitsy’s Brainfood, Bumbleride, EZPZ, Happy Family, Lullaby Earth, Olen Organics, and organicKidz.

Each photo shared counts as a unique entry - the more you share, the better your chances of winning!

For more details on how to enter please visit, Earth Month Scavenger Hunt.

Earth Month Scavenger Hunt

Earth Month Scavenger Hunt: Week 3

Earth Month Scavenger Hunt: Week 3

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Here are a list of fun Scavenger Hunt activities that you and your family can do together this week.

 

Week 3: Conserve Earth

This week, challenge your child to complete these tasks:

Create a mini compost. Make a mini compost with a clear plastic bottle. The clear bottle allows curious kids to see daily changes within the compost, and it’s a great way to recycle food. If you’re not feeling up to the compost challenge, make a list of biodegradable and non-biodegradable foods.

Catch the rain. An important part of conservation is re-purposing. This week, grab a bucket and designate it as the “rain bucket.” When it rains, catch the rain and encourage your child to use the rainwater for watering the house plants or for other activities.

Find a pollinator. Get outside and search for insects that pollinate. Use this opportunity to share why flowers need those special insects.

Have a candlelight night. Electricity isn’t needed to have a fun night at home! Replace the TVs & tablets with books and shadow puppet shows using only candlelight.

Make or play with pinwheels. Teach your child about wind energy with pinwheels! By playing with pinwheels, kids get a visual representation of how powerful the wind is, and it offers the perfect way to start a conversation about wind energy.

While completing the Scavenger Hunt, you can also take part in our Earth Month Giveaway to enter to WIN over $1,000 in prizes!

Sign up to WIN the weekly prize bundle & share photos on social media with the hashtag #LEEarthMonthHunt to enter to win a Grand Prize worth over $1000 from our Planet-loving friends: Bitsy’s Brainfood, Bumbleride, EZPZ, Happy Family, Lullaby Earth, Olen Organics, and organicKidz.

Each photo shared counts as a unique entry - the more you share, the better your chances of winning! Check back each Monday in April to unlock the week’s Scavenger Hunt activities and to enter to WIN.

For more details on how to enter please visit, Earth Month Scavenger Hunt.

Scavenger Hunt