Are your sleep habits healthy ones?

Are your sleep habits healthy ones?

Q: There is so much talk about the importance of sleep and healthy sleep habits for our babies and children. How do I know if we have healthy sleep habits in our home?

A: It’s true: We know so much about the importance of sleep nowadays, maybe because so many of us are sleep-deprived. But we can’t deny the science that shows us how important healthy sleep is for our children’s growth and development.

Growth requires several hormones to stimulate various biological events in the blood, organs, muscles and bones. The production of human growth hormone (HGH) is affected by nutrition, stress and exercise. But in young children, the most important factor affecting its production is sleep. The most intense period of HGH release in children is shortly after the beginning of deep sleep. Without adequate sleep, growth problems can result. A lack of sleep at night can also...

Read More

What to hand a hungry toddler

What to hand a hungry toddler

My kids are great eaters. Foodies, you might say. We raised them that way from the get go. Instead of chicken nuggets and french fries, we offered miso soup loaded with tofu as an early staple. Now 23 and 19, I could have paid for their college education with all the sushi they’ve eaten over the years. 

My daughter makes French macarons to die for. My son has a whole science project going on in his kitchen with all kinds of homemade fermenting vegetables, kimchi and kombucha. He even got me making my own sauerkraut and it's delicious. But I digress. ...

Read More

12 doula tips when visiting new parents

12 doula tips when visiting new parents

Do you have the perfect family and friends who know (or knew) just how to support you after your birth? They realize that recovering from childbirth, whether natural or otherwise, takes time, and that the new baby (or babies) need time to adjust to the world and bond with their new family. They understand how to nurture the new or growing family with food, household help and space. 

Oh, that’s not how it was/is for you? Then we can help. It’s called Tips From the Doula and was written by our own doula extraordinaire, Erica Aday. It works well posted in plain view or distributed to well-meaning friends and family in advance of visits. Here’s how it goes:  ...

Read More

Is it time for a big boy or big girl bed?

Is it time for a big boy or big girl bed?

One critical factor used to consider whether your child is ready for a “big girl” or “big boy” bed is if they are saying they want one. Often it seems it’s the parents driving the readiness train and not necessarily the children. It’s better to be a little late in the game than too early when it comes to sleeping in a bed. Why? Because if they are too young, they won’t have the cognitive ability to understand staying in their bed all night or all nap, which means Mom or Dad are now dealing with that issue.

I often hear from parents who moved their little ones into a bed hoping it would promote better sleep. ...

Read More

Books for your babies

Books for your babies

As postpartum doulas and baby experts with close to a quarter of a century experience (for some of us) working with babies and young children, we have opinions about STUFF. You know, the stuff that takes over your home and changes it from DINK digs to something resembling an indoor playground. 

Let me quickly add, when it comes to stuff, we think less is more. More stuff does not make parenting easier or better. It doesn’t make children smarter or happier. In fact, too much stuff can overwhelm a baby, toddler or young child. (If you already have too many toys and books, learn about how to manage them and make playtime more fun here.) 

Read More

Planning ahead makes for smoother summer travel

Planning ahead makes for smoother summer travel

Summer is almost here and that means many of you will be traveling with your little ones. Many parents find the idea of traveling with their babies, toddlers and preschoolers anxiety producing out of fear of upsetting well-established sleeping routines. This is understandable since children tend to do better with consistent routines. However, with a little forethought and planning, and some extra attention paid to your child’s needs, summer travels will yield treasured times with family and friends. 

Read More

The "right" way to solve a sleep problem

The "right" way to solve a sleep problem

I’ve had two sleep support inquiries recently that were on opposite ends of the spectrum. Both were from parents with 10-month-old little girls. Both baby girls bed share and still breastfeed during the night.

One question went like this: “Is it okay that my 10-month-old still wakes during the night and nurses back to sleep? I don’t actually know how often she’s up because I pretty much sleep through it. I like having her with me but people keep telling me I shouldn’t be doing this.”

The other question went like this: “How can we get our daughter to sleep in her crib? She’s up all night crying and the only thing that gets her back to sleep is nursing her, and we’re exhausted and at our wits end. One of us always has to be in bed with her and we have no time together anymore for just the two of us.” ...

Read More