Preparing Your Kids For A New Sibling | Lullaby Earth Blog – LullabyEarth.com

Preparing Your Kids For A New Sibling

Preparing Kids for a New Sibling

Preparing for your first baby is unlike anything else, but preparing for a second or later baby might bring its own challenges. How can you prepare your older kids for their new sibling? This blog post will offer advice and stories from our readers about helping your children through the transition of adding a new baby to the family.

Involve Them Before Baby Comes

As much as possible, involve your older children in preparing for the baby during pregnancy or your adoption process. Take them to your appointments and let them see any ultrasound photos. If you’re willing, you can involve a big sibling in picking the baby’s name. You can also let the bigger kids pick out things like baby’s coming home outfit, car seat color, diaper bag, etc. These are small things that are pretty inconsequential to you as a parent but might make a big difference in making your older children feel excited and involved with the new sibling.

It also helps to say things like “our baby” or “your baby” to make the point that your family is growing and the baby is as much theirs as anyone else’s. It’s not like mom went out to get a new baby because she didn’t like the old baby anymore. You can even create a special ritual or read a book to help you explain what’s happening in your family dynamic.

Brittany says: “We didn't say things like ‘Mommy is having a baby,’ or ‘Mommy and daddy have a new baby.’ We always said, ‘Do you want to feel your baby kick? Your brother will be tiny, will you be careful with your baby brother?’ Always your, your, your. We didn't want our kids to feel replaced or jealous. We wanted them to feel like they were gaining something too.”

Sarah says: “We focused on the idea that the older children were going to have a new baby. The baby was OUR baby. We bought big brother and sister shirts and encouraged talking to the baby in my tummy. The kids went to almost all my appointments. They heard her heartbeat and saw the ultrasounds. They helped pick her name and got to announce the news to family. They picked clothes and new baby toys they wanted the baby to have and got shirts to match her coming home outfit.”

Dianne says: “We have always done a candle ceremony. We have enough candles on the table for each person and then taper candles that my husband and I hold. My husband and I light our candles and we talk about how two people fall in love and get married. We use our candles to light a table candle. Then we talk about how love multiplies and we had a baby (light that child's candle) and each time the love multiplies the love grows and spreads. We light a candle for each child. Then we talk about how our love is growing again and light a candle for the baby. We talk about how they can see that love (the light) grows and gets brighter.”

Use Tools to Prepare Them

In our age of information, there is a product for everything. Look for TV shows and books that help kids prepare for a new sibling, like Daniel Tiger or Doc McStuffins. Caring for their own doll “baby” can also help them prepare and occupy themselves when the real baby arrives. Some parents even suggest giving the older child(ren) a toy as a gift from the new baby, to thank them for sharing their family.

Rosselyn says: "I used a book, ‘A Pocket Full of Kisses.’ My son asked me to read it almost every day and I think that made him love his sister the way he did from the start.”

Michelle says: “For my daughter, we bought her a baby doll. It came home from the hospital with us and was hers to care for. She would rock her baby and pretend to nurse while I nursed. She changed her baby when I changed mine also. Before baby was born we read books, watched shows (Daniel Tiger has some great ones) and talked about baby a lot but not constantly.”

Pippa says: “We read this really cute book given to us by a friend called 'There's a House Inside my Mummy' that we read loads of times.”

Karry says: “I got the older siblings a gift that the new baby brought them, which I gave to them in the hospital when they first met their sibling. We typically did Build-A-Bears that I bought online and had hidden in the trunk. We never had a single problem with jealousy even after three kids.”

Spend One-on-One Time

If your big kid is feeling left out, it’s more important than ever to remind them that you’re still their parent and love them. If you can get out of the house for a quick errand or lunch with your older child, take advantage of it. Even if you can’t stay long because you need to get home to the baby for a feeding, the older sibling will appreciate the individual attention. You can even give individual attention to your older children when introducing them to the new baby.

Katie says: “I birthed in a hospital. My older children were not there for the birth. When older sibling came for the first visit, I put baby in the bassinet and greeted the older children with open arms. I was able to have them sit with me, and shower them with hugs and kisses and tell them how much I missed them -- then introduce them to the new baby. It seemed to work really well for them.”

Claire says: “The first time baby meets sibling, have someone else other than mom holding baby so mom can be with big brother/sister. This gives them less cause for feeling ‘replaced.’”

Sarah says: “We make sure to have lots of family time and I set aside time for each of them individually as does my husband. That seems to have kept potential jealousy at bay.”

Expect Questions and Confusion

While you’re pregnant, and after the baby is born, curious children will ask you a lot of questions. They might even be confused about the baby. Be prepared for questions and have your answers ready.

Meg says: “I got sex ed questions out the wazoo.”

Laura says: “My older son wanted another baby sister so bad, it took almost a month to get him to use masculine pronouns after the baby was born. It also required involving him in diaper changes so he had visual evidence that the baby was in fact male.”

Hilary says: “My son was too little when I had his sister to be asking questions at the time, but when he sees pictures of me pregnant or sees my stomach when I’m getting dressed, he has made comments. He’ll ask why my belly is squishy and I tell him it’s because he and his sister grew inside me. I notice he never asks his dad this question.”

Acknowledge Their Feelings

Remember that adding a new baby to your life means that your older child is no longer the only child (or youngest child). There is a new normal for them to get used to, and if you’re sensitive to their changing feelings, the transition will go easier for everyone. Understand that your child will go through a grief process during their transition to being an older sibling.

It is important to validate your child’s feelings, especially the strong ones like anger and sadness. Even though you’re tired and it’s hard to focus on anything but your newborn, give your older children your full attention when they are experiencing their grief feelings, and let them feel what they need to feel.

Validating their feelings can be as simple as acknowledging them by saying “I understand, you are sad that the new baby is taking up mommy’s time” or “you’re angry daddy couldn’t hold you at the baby’s naptime.” When you listen and acknowledge like this, you let your children know that their feelings are okay and welcome, and you’ll be there to listen and support them.

Your child’s feelings might come out at surprising times that seem unrelated to the new baby. If they’re upset over losing a blankie or their favorite bear, or they got the “wrong” plate at lunch time or they didn’t want the ketchup you served them, use these moments to allow them to process their feelings (even if they seem out of place to you). Take as much time as you can to let your child cry if they need to cry.

Heather says: “It's important parents understand it's a grief process. And everyone grieves differently.”

Caitlyn says: “Communication was key. We'd ask what they were excited about, what they felt scared or nervous about, etc.”

Lura says: “I told each of the kids individually that we were expecting a new baby and gave them time to digest it, ask questions, and keep their own special secrets before we let the next in line in on it. It was really special and I think helped them get excited and open up with me a lot as well.”

Don’t Force It

It’s tempting to emphasize how exciting the new baby is, and how important is to be a good big brother or sister. While positive reinforcement has a time and a place, don’t force the big sibling role onto a child that needs some space. Reprimands like “Don’t shout, be a good big sister” take away the child’s valid feelings and replace them with guilt over not being “good” in your eyes. This can cause a lot of hurt feelings for your little one down the road. Remember to acknowledge their feelings and help them process their emotions.

Parenting expert Janet Lansbury suggests that parents establish a boundary and ask about the child’s feelings to open up a dialog. For example: “I can’t let you jump on the bed next to the baby... are you feeling upset that the baby is here? Big sisters can feel like that sometimes. I am going to help you down from the bed, and I’d love for you to sit on my lap or jump on the floor next to me.” (Read her blog post on adjusting to a new baby for more advice and examples).

Advice for Blended Families

What if it’s not a new baby coming, but new siblings in the form of stepchildren? A lot of the same advice applies, since kids will experience similar worries about being replaced or having reduced time with a parent. Use the same advice outlined in the rest of this post to help your children adjust and react to the addition of new siblings.

Lydia says: “When I got together with my partner, I explained to my three kids that he had two kids of his own and that even though we hadn't made them all together that they would still get to love them and now they would just have more siblings and how exciting it would be to have a big brother and sister instead of another little sibling.”

Add Your Own Tips

Have you experienced the new sibling transition? Tell us what helped your family prepare and process the addition of a new baby.

 

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When Should I Flip A 2-Stage Crib Mattress?

When to Flip A 2-Stage Crib Mattress

A 2-Stage crib mattress is a practical choice that offers long-lasting performance through the toddler years. You simply flip the mattress from the infant side to the toddler side for a cushion firm feel and a big kid transition! But when is the right time to flip?

Step 1: Identify Each Side

The 2-Stage crib mattresses have a tag sewn into the seam that lets you know which side is for infants and which side is for toddlers. The infant side of the mattress is extra firm, designed for the flat, firm surface babies need for safety. The toddler side is cushion firm for a little more comfort.

Step 2: Flip The Mattress

When you’re ready to transition from the infant side to the toddler side, simply flip the mattress over! Check with your pediatrician before flipping or adding accessories like blankets and toddler pillows. Most children transition around the age of one year, but each baby has different needs and your pediatrician can give you the go-ahead to make the switch.

Important Safety Tips

Lullaby Earth crib mattresses are designed for safety and feature a firm, flat surface as recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC recommends that you put your baby to sleep on their back, alone in the crib, with no soft toys or bedding.

Any Questions?

Whether you get a Breeze Breathable 2-Stage Crib Mattress or our Healthy Support 2-Stage Crib Mattress, we’re here to answer all your questions! Let us know how we can help you make a safer transition into the toddler years. 

When to Transition Baby from Bassinet to Crib

bassinet to crib transition

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

Transitioning your baby from a bassinet to a regular crib is actually a bigger deal than most parents realize. It’s important to both your child’s safety and how well they sleep in the future!

The ideal age to make the move is when your child turns four months old. This coincides with when we see the first big leap in gross motor development skills (such as rolling side to side, or all the way over onto their tummy, by themselves). When baby becomes mobile there are new safety concerns that are present, and we don’t want to wait for something potentially dangerous to happen before we act to protect them. We are now protecting them from harming themselves, and we must be -- not one, but two steps -- ahead of them (this is good practice for the teenage years!).

A bassinet or co-sleeper does not have sidewalls high enough to protect baby from falling out should they decide to pull or push themselves up high enough to where their little chin is at the same level as the top of the sidewall. Once that happens, because their heads are so much heavier than the rest of their body, they can go right over the edge. And because babies tend to discover, obsess over, and practice these exciting new skills in their sleep environment, which is also where there is less supervision, it must be the safest place in your home!

We must also remove mobiles. Baby is now learning to reach for and grab things. Another common safety hazard is baby monitors (and their cords) being mounted to crib railings or placed near enough where the cord can be reached by a young child. The crib mattress should be lowered, and free of bumpers, positioners, blankets, “lovies”, or stuffed animals. Nothing but a firm, tight mattress and a tight-fitting sheet should be in that crib with your sweet baby.

Four months old is also when a huge cognitive brain surge takes place, and the emergence of object permanence begins to develop. By ages five to six months, babies become more aware of, and attached to, their surroundings. They thrive on consistency and familiarity.

For that reason,

Four months old is the ideal time to transition baby to what will become a more permanent sleep environment (ideally, a safe crib).

 

This can be accomplished either in parent’s bedroom for the remainder of his or her first year, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, or in an independent sleep environment in close proximity to parent’s bedroom, equipped with a proper video and audio baby monitor system.

You may make the transition gradually, if you like, by placing your baby in their new, safe crib for one or two naps a day, then all naps, and eventually night sleep.
When baby is safe and sound, its sweet dreams for everyone!



About Jenni June:

Jenni June™ LLC, is a Certified Child and Family Sleep ConsultantJennifer 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, National
speaker, 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, nursery, sleep

Mom Life is the Best Life

Mom Life Is The Best

Make no mistake about it: Being a parent is hard work. You’ve created a tiny little person and you’re completely responsible for raising them, feeding them, and taking care of them. It’s a big responsibility and you find yourself full of all the fear (and all the love, like more than you ever thought possible) in the world. You celebrate their milestones as they learn to walk, and talk, and eat food by themselves, and then you’re hit with the realization that they’re mobile, demanding their favorite foods, and throwing snacks on the floor.

But it’s not all butts and runny noses. Otherwise, we’d never do this again and our species would be in big trouble. Lucky for kids, they can also be charming and adorable, reminding us that even when it seems like we’re going to melt down and we can’t do this anymore, our role as parents is one of the most important things we’ll ever do. And it’s so worth it.

We reached out to moms in our community to hear about what makes #MomLife worth it. And their responses might have you reaching for the tissues, so get ready to wipe your own runny nose for a change.



When Kids Know Just What You Need



Sometimes when you’re feeling your worst, your little ones can brighten your day and remind you that you’re the star of their world.

“I was in the front seat of my van trying not to cry over my home insurance/water damage disaster. In the back seat, I heard my four-year-old say to my three-year-old, ‘Emmy, you’re such a good sister. I love you.’ And I couldn’t help but smile.” Chantel G.

“I’ve been on prednisone for 7 months and I’ve gained weight. I put on a dress and a little makeup the other day and my three-year-old exclaimed, ‘Mama! You beautiful! You princess?’ Day made.” Mal E.

“I’ll be completely losing my mind annoyed with everything and before I know it I have little arms around me and a little voice telling me she loves me and asking for a kiss.” Rogue B.

“My kids and I were killing time at the mall before parent teacher conferences and I don’t remember why, but I said ‘I know I’m a horrible mom’ and my nine-year-old said, ‘Mommy, you are the best mommy! You are so nice and you always do stuff for us and you discipline us and that’s really important so we can grow up to be good people.’ She made me cry and my heart sang. As often as I feel like I’m doing everything wrong, my sweet, amazing, wiser-than-her-age little girl reminds me that it’s not how I see myself or how others see me, it’s how my kids see me. It’s moments like this that make me realize I’m doing OK.” Jaclyn M.

When Kids Appreciate The Funny Things



Knowing you’ve imparted your sense of humor onto the next generation is its own reward. Sometimes children can be so funny and there’s no denying they inherited your impeccable wit (or your talent for terrible knock knock jokes).

“Mine can sing the entire ‘Bad Lip Reading of Star Wars” song. It’s HYSTERICAL. I made a funny human!” Renee L.

“It was Christmas Eve and my husband was working late, so I decided it was finally time for my Sesame Street-obsessed son to try one of my favorite movies: The Christmas Toy. He snuggled in my lap right up until the funniest bit, where he sat up, pointed at the screen, and laughed like he was getting tickled.” Jennifer L.

 

When Kids Show You How Much They Can Love



Kids truly show us the meaning of unconditional love and those little moments are what keep you going when you feel like giving up.

“We were at the grocery store as a family, and my daughter stayed with me while my son went with my husband to a different aisle. We met up in the middle of an aisle and the kids ran to each other from opposite ends, called each other’s name, and hugged like they hadn’t seen one another for years. That’s the kind of thing that makes it so worth it for me.” Brittany M.

“For me, it’s seeing how loving and selfless she is. Her cousin is eight months younger but she was upset she wasn’t finding any Easter eggs, so my daughter put down her own basket and helped her cousin find them instead. She gives me hope. I love her giving spirit.” Misty W.

“The little ‘I wuv you’ I get, the kisses, the hugs, the super excited ‘Mama!’ when they want to show me something.” Andrea H.

“When I just let his utter joy in life be contagious.” Kat B.

“When they stop mid-play to come give me kisses and hugs.” Auna K.

 

When Kids Remind You How Much They Need You



There’s something bittersweet about your child growing up and becoming more independent, because you start to feel like they don’t need you anymore. But then you realize that they still need you, and they’ll always need you, even if it’s in a different way than when they were babies.

“My daughter refuses to go to bed until I hold her in my arms and sing her the ‘Abbey Song.’ It’s her own little lullaby. She hums along, and it’s the most precious minute of my day.” Bethany N.

“Anytime they are hurt they come running to me (or their dad) for help and snuggles. They trust us to make it all better, to reassure them that while it hurts now it won’t hurt forever.” Erin O.

“I feel like he needs me the most when HE tries to take care of ME. I was up late working the other night and had taken a break from it long enough to feed him and take him to a movie. When we got home, I sent him to take a shower and go to bed. I got back to work, and he said, ‘You’re obviously tired, go to bed and finish that tomorrow.’” Renee L.

“My daughter was playing at the park and came running to me saying she hurt her leg. All she needed was a kiss and a hug and she was off to play again. As she grows, she needs me less and less, but moments like that remind me that she’ll always need her mama in some capacity, even if it’s not what it was.” Misty W.  

What Do YOU Love About #MomLife?



We want to hear your stories about what makes parenting in the trenches worth it. (Did you need those tissues?)
Tags: moms, parenting

What Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day

mothers day gift

Moms are hardworking people, and there’s a day coming up that’s just for them. There are so many options, so many commercials, and so many recipes for breakfast in bed… you have to wonder, what does mom really want this year for Mother’s Day? Put down the tissue paper and glue, everybody, we have the answers.

 

Mom Wants Quality Family Time (And a Break)

 

- “Time with my boys!” Erin O.

- “To be able to enjoy the day with my kids and not have to worry about cooking, cleaning, or any of that jazz.” Brittany M.

- “I’d like to go out with my family on a picnic or to the beach and NOT have to plan and be in charge of everything.” Crystal J.

 

Mom Wants Something Nice

 

- “I tried to put a bug in my son’s ear… ‘mom wants a pretty bouquet of flowers.’ He said, ‘OK, mom, I’m on it!’ So we’ll see if mom gets flowers.” Jessica H.

- “Something I never get, that I’ve asked for for three years now. I want silhouette art of my kids. This year I’m just going to do it myself.”Hilary T.

- “I would like a necklace or ring with my boys’ birthstones. I’m not a huge jewelry person but if it was something for my kids I would love it.” Jaime B.

 

Mom Wants To Tap Out (You Know, Like a Break)

 

- “Honestly, I have three mothers-in-law in addition to my own mom and our grandmothers. Gifts are neither my husband’s nor my love language, but it falls on me to purchase gifts and arrange the Mother’s Day plans. I just want my husband to take over buying presents, making cute crafts, and making Mother’s Day plans so it’s a day of rest for me rather than a hassle.” Sara M.

- “To wake up to a clean house.” Millissa B.

- “I want one day of my kid doing his chores without complaining about it. He agreed to do this, so we’ll see if he pulls it off.” Renee L.

 

Mom Wants You to Remember She’s a Mom Too

- “For someone to take me out for a fancy dinner instead of focusing on just my mom.” Jaclyn M.

- “To not hear my mom, stepmom, or mother-in-law talk about their wants and needs are for Mother’s Day because they forget there are mothers with young kids that need to relax. Mother’s Day is great, yay moms! But I’m a mom too.” Stacy C.

Mom Wants Something Delicious (And a Break)

- “Let me sleep and feed me good food.” Sara D.

- “A date with my husband, a backrub, whatever food I crave on demand, the dog not to pee in the house… I can keep going.” Andrea H.

- “Dark chocolate covered pears that I don’t have to share.” Terra J.

Mom Wants Her Privacy

- “I want to use the bathroom alone.” Khari M., Maile A., Amanda B., Renee C. and moms everywhere

 

Mom Just Wants A Break

 

- “I just want to sleep for eight hours without a single person touching me. Also, I don’t want to wipe a single butt.”

- “An empty house and no expectations of me to do anything.” Brianna H.

- “To drink my coffee hot and read a book for a few hours uninterrupted.” Katie C.

- “I want to be left alone. Your dad knows where the juice and snacks are, kid!” Jessica R.

- “A day with no kids. Yep, ‘horrible mom’ here - no guilt.” Kaila K.

- “First, all the kids would go to Grandma’s house. Then I would like candles lit all around the bathroom and a hot bath with bubbles. Bring me a bottle of wine, a box of salted caramel turtles, and my Kindle. Let me soak for however long it takes to wash away all the stress and spit-up and poop. Then, I want to lay in bed alone and watch Netflix. Bring me more wine, a large bowl of popcorn, and a pint of cookie dough ice cream. Finish all that off with a back massage.” Heather S.

- “A day on my own, in a fancy hotel, with room service, a massage, and no one else. I don’t care if the house burns down while I’m gone - someone else can deal with it.” Eve B

- “Just ten minutes of peace and quiet.” Augustine V.

 

What Do You Want, Mom?

  

What is it that YOU really want for Mother’s Day this year? Tell us all about it. And let us know if you find that private island with room service we’re all waiting for.

Tags: moms, parenting

7 Parent Self Care Tips for Better Sleep

parent sleep self care

As parents, we tend to make sacrifices for the good of our children, even when it means sleepless nights. Unfortunately, many of us lose touch with the importance of healthy sleep for ourselves because we’re so focused on helping our little ones sleep better. But healthy sleep is important for you too, parents! For Sleep Awareness Week (April 23-29, 2017), we’ve put together some easy tips to remind you that self-care is a top priority. After all, you cannot pour from an empty cup (and if you’re too tired for that metaphor, it means you’re not doing anybody any favors if you run yourself ragged and forget that you deserve care too).

Parent Self Care Tip #1: Have a Cup of Tea. Not while you’re running around the house, not when you’re trying to get the kids ready for daycare, and not when you realize you haven’t eaten food all day. Before bedtime (or in the morning), brew yourself a cup of calming herbal tea and give yourself just five minutes to sit quietly and drink it. Hide in the bathroom if you have to - but get those five minutes. This is a quick and easy way to center yourself and get in touch with your body. Where do you feel stress? Are you hungry or thirsty? Have you washed your hair recently? Just check in, and breathe, and drink your one cup of tea today. Repeat tomorrow.

Parent Self Care Tip #2: Eat Your Veggies. If you’re grabbing quick convenience food because you forgot to eat (again), take a breather and see if you can find another option for lunch. Add one serving of vegetables to your day each day for a week, and then add another serving. By focusing on healthier, nutrient-dense veggies, you can stave off hunger pangs and reduce the craving for a quick sugar boost. You know that a sugar high makes it hard for your kiddos to wind down, and it works the same for you. Next time you’re craving an easy snack, reach for veggies or something with healthy protein like a hard boiled egg or handful of nuts. Small changes to your diet will help you feel better (and sleep better) day after day.

Parent Self Care TIp #3: Take a Bath. Just a ten minute soak can help you center and focus on yourself, like the cup of herbal tea. You can even combine the two tips and have a cup of tea in the bath. We know, crazy, right! Lock that bathroom door and take a quiet moment to yourself while you soak in a warm bath. Add epsom salt for a relaxing muscle soak that will provide natural magnesium for easier sleep.

Parent Self Care Tip #4: Take Your Vitamins. We know it’s impossible to have a Pinterest-perfect meal plan every day. And we know a vitamin won’t fill all your nutritional voids. But at the very least, a high quality multivitamin can help provide vital micronutrients your body might be lacking (which show up in cravings for junk food). Magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin D are all linked to healthy sleep, so grab a multi with your breakfast to build on this healthier habit.

Parent Self Care Tip #5: Practice Breathing Exercises. Mindful breathing can help you get through the stressful moments in your day and can help you relax when your mind is racing at bedtime. Breathe in deeply through your nose for a count of four, hold for four, and release through your mouth for four. Repeat until you are calm and relaxed, or even until you fall asleep. (Tip: You can even teach this method to your children to help them calm down in stressful situations).

Parent Self Care Tip #6: Read Something You Enjoy. Some people’s self care comes from reading non-fiction, self-help, self-development, or religious books. Other people’s self care comes from reading a fiction or fantasy adventure. Whichever you prefer, reading a chapter each day can help you to unwind and enjoy something YOU like to do that doesn’t center around caring for everyone else. Reading can be part of your waking or bedtime routine (but be careful with e-readers at bedtime, as the screen’s light can interrupt your healthy sleep patterns).

Parent Self Care Tip #7: Exercise. Moving your body throughout the day helps promote healthier sleep at night, but late night workouts might have the opposite effect and wake you up. However, the best time of day to exercise is when you’ll actually do it, so take advantage of your energy levels and fit in a few minutes of exercise to promote a healthier mind and body. 

Not everyone’s self care is the same, and what YOU personally need to recharge your mind and body might be totally different from someone else, even your spouse. As you browse this list of seven tips to promote self care, we hope you’ll find one or two ideas that speak to you. Try them out and let us know if they help!

Tags: parenting, sleep

4th Trimester Baby Sleep

4th Trimester Baby Sleep

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

“The fourth trimester” is the newborn stage from birth to 16 weeks old. While it is a magical time, the colic and/or sleepless nights begin to take its toll for many parents. Moms who plan to go back to work fear doing so if the baby is not yet sleeping better at night. Months of sleep deprivation have reduced her energy, memory, creativity, patience, and emotional well-being.

The pressure to bounce back, perform well, and still return home to care for and nurture her little one, is immense and may even cause some postpartum anxiety or depression. This is usually when I get “the Call”: The desperate plea to help sleep train the young baby under 4 months old before mom goes back to work.

Unfortunately, this cannot, and should not be done.

You see, babies are not born with a circadian rhythm. They are not born with the ability to produce melatonin on a timed basis. Nor are they able to experience the deeper stages of sleep that older babies can. But, this isn’t a bad thing. Their sleep is designed to be light, active, sporadic, and disorganized. This type of sleep helps babies to easily resuscitate should their physical vitals fall below normal, protecting them from SIDS. A baby this young must eat constantly and on demand, especially if mom has chosen to breastfeed. These months are critical in establishing healthy milk supply and positive breastfeeding behaviors. The foundation of secure attachment must also be laid for optimum infant mental health.

“Ironically, this on demand -- unscheduled, round-the-clock care, and nurturing of your child during the fourth trimester -- does not spoil your baby or make sleep worse.”

It is what sets up the best beginnings for good sleep in the future, when they are capable of consolidating and organizing sleep.

In the meantime, the absolute best way to take the edge off of things is still the age old cliché: Sleep when baby sleeps. The problem is, this does not happen. I'm sure every mom knows why; there is not sufficient help with the mounds of laundry, shopping, prepping or cooking of meals, dishes, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, extra help caring for older children and so on.

This generation of parents forgets that we were never meant to do this alone. This last 60 years is the first time in human history that parents no longer have older parents and grandparents living in the home with them, helping to raise and care for little ones and the home. It still takes a village!

If you are expecting, have a special “village people” baby shower where the theme and gifts revolve entirely around “sleep and sanity support” for at least 12 weeks! This can be gift certificates for meal delivery service, house keeping, mother’s helper, or volunteer tasks with pre-organized shifts and duties. Invest everything you have to get lots of extra support in these areas. This will not only help you take the pressure off of yourself, but it will take the pressure off of your baby to do something they aren’t biologically capable of doing until they’re beyond the fourth trimester.

About Jenni June:

Jenni June™ LLC, is a Certified Child and Family Sleep ConsultantJennifer 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, National
speaker, 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.