As a practicing doula, this is probably the topic most often brought up. New parents are exhausted. Bringing home a new baby involves so much more than just the new baby! Your family has to come to a new state of “Normal”. Even those who prided themselves on being night owls find that they can hardly keep their eyes open after 9:00 PM. Mom is exhausted and recovering from her delivery. Dad is doing everything he can to help Mom and Baby acclimate to their new life. Everything is different. You have begun a wonderful lifelong adventure and the physical and emotional tole is major. Plan for it. Keep your schedule open for several weeks to allow yourselves to get up to speed. If you do it more quickly good, but do not pressure yourself. The hospital staff will tell you to “Sleep when baby sleeps.” This is truly your best defense against utter disaster. Ha!
Once you are reasonably recovered the next question is how often should baby be waking to eat at night? Every baby is different. If you are breastfeeding baby will awake more often than if bottle fed. This is because breastmilk is so pure, it digests more quickly. There are incremental changes in the amount of milk babies need. Generally at three weeks baby will need more milk and feed more often. The second typical change is at six weeks, then at three months (twelve weeks). Few babies are right on the dot with these dates, but it gives you a general idea of what to expect. Each time baby has a growth spurt he will want to eat more often.
As baby sleeps longer stretches at night he will eat more during the daytime hours. This is great news for parents, as those night hours are the most coveted for sleep! Below I have included several articles discussing how much sleep your baby needs at particular benchmarks in life and information on how to smooth the path. Remember, your baby is a unique individual. The hours of sleep and awake time change baby to baby. These are given as general guidelines.
(There are many more articles you might find interesting. Just let me know and I will forward them to you.}
Baby sleep basics: Birth to 3 months
Sleep and Your Baby
The Center for Advanced Pediatrics
How much sleep do babies and toddlers need?
TIPS FOR GREAT SLEEP
The Center for Advanced Pediatrics
So, what do you think of the articles I provided in my last blog entry? What interesting conversations have you shared on this topic? It is a hot one!
My history: When my kids we small we did not own a TV. Yup, we were trail blazers in more ways than one! (I homeschooled too) So why no TV? My personal belief is that time is our most precious commodity. No matter how much money you have you can never get your time back. Sure, you can pay others to do things for you, but once a moment has passed, it is gone forever. In my personal opinion most of the stuff on TV is entertainment rather than educational. It is fun, but really a waste. Children’s TV is worse. These days when I spend daytime hours with little ones I cherish the moments. I would rather take them to the park, read, draw, swim, really anything but sit in front of a box and veg.
In researching the affects of electronics on the brains of babies I find the evidence to be massively against them! Infants brains are developing at an astronomical rate! They need eye contact, conversation, touch, audio stimulus, and challenge. Electronic babysitting is a thing of the past. Yes, time with your kids is challenging, but the habits you set for them and yourself now will impact them more than you an imagine. If your go-to activity is to get outdoors and walk, this will be the go-to for you kids in their later life. If they see you pick up and book and read they will be far more inclined to this behavior. Kids learn far more from watching your behavior than listening to what you say.
This is a tough reality. None of us live the way we know is best all the time. Setting a personal goal of interacting with your babies, rather than ‘entertaining’ them will satisfy you all. I promise you, you will not regret it!!! So how do you make this happen? Talk with you spouse. Set goals together. Enjoy time with each other and your kids. Don’t allow your TV to be the background music of your life. Learn to enjoy silence!!! It sounds pretty weird to listen to the birds and the wind chimes but they bring peace. Again, this is a break from electronics…..but you will enjoy it! Ha!
Talk with other adults involved in the lives of your little ones. Encourage them to bring out the books, Legos, Brio Trains and put away electronics. Pass on the articles I included last entry. Find more of your own. This topic is gaining momentum within the infant care establishment. Those of us willing to cut against the grain and push the boundaries are waking up to the fact that modern electronics have their place, but not in the lives of our babies.
I would love to hear your thoughts!!! JUDY
This is a controversial topic. TV has been the master babysitter for youngsters since it’s inception. So what is the problem? Aren’t our kids ahead of the game if they are computer/tablet/TV literate at an early age? Experts on both side of the argument have very strong ideas. The longterm ramifications of this can affect your children throughout their lives. It is important to investigate……
Below I have included three differing articles. Please read them and let me know what you think. I will share my thoughts in the next blog entry.
Raise Smart Kids ‘TV usage robs kids of much needed time with others’…
- The first 2 years of your kid is a critical time for brain development. Watching TV steals time away from your kid’s exploring, interacting, playing with you and others, and actively learning by manipulating things around him. These are activities that help your baby develop the skills he needs to grow intellectually, socially and emotionally.
Kids Health ‘TV is OK for kids in moderation’
Most kids today are plugged into devices like TVs, tablets, and smartphones well before they can even ride a bike.
Technology can be part of a healthy childhood, as long as this privilege isn’t abused. For example, preschoolers can get help learning the alphabet on public television, grade schoolers can play educational apps and games, and teens can do research on the Internet. But too much screen time can be a bad thing:
HealthyChildren.org ‘No Tv for the first 2 years’…….
What infants and toddlers need most to learn is interaction with the people around them. That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t video-chat with a distant grandparent or a deployed parent, but when it comes to day-to-day learning they need to touch things, shake them, throw them, and most of all to see the faces and hear the voices of those they love the most. Apps can teach toddlers to tap and swipe at a screen, but studies tell us that these skills don’t translate into real-world learning. See Healthy Digital Media Use Habits for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers.
It is barely September and I see halloween decorations, costumes, and treats everywhere!!! Wow! In previous blog entries we have discussed the celebration of holidays and events, and your take on them. The great thing about having kids, is you have the opportunity to input into their lives as you choose. As a parent you select the experiences you want them to enjoy.
Halloween is a particularly controversial holiday. Most parents with small children are not interested in the creepier side of this celebration. Little ones are so impressionable. Scary witches and zombies can cause nightmares. How do you filter Halloween for your kids? If you have small babies it is really not an issue. Once your kids are cognizant of their environment, it is important to prescreen what they see. For your benefit and theirs. Waking up with night terrors affects the entire house.
No doubt as children become more aware of their surroundings they are going to see Halloween decorations that frighten them. Think about how you will explain these. Do what you can to avoid such visuals if possible. Talk with your spouse about what you think will benefit your family. Talk with extended family members about your thoughts. If Uncle Joey shows up with a zombie mask it may put your kids over the top!! Ask your friends and extended family to consider your desires. Some won’t, but you have an idea of who they are and can meet them outside the door to prescreen costumes.
Forewarned is Forearmed! Prepare, think ahead, and have a wonderful Halloween!!!