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Guest Post: How to Get an Early Start on Healthy Sleep for your Baby

Guest Post: How to Get an Early Start on Healthy Sleep for your Baby

Today, I'm featuring Becca Campbell of Little Z's Sleep Consulting, who has penned a wonderful blog about how to set yourself and your baby up for the best sleep during those early newborn days. Read on for her excellent advice!

Congratulations! You are awaiting…or have already welcomed your sweet baby into this wide and wonderful world! That’s a tremendous accomplishment and I urge you to take pride in the work your body did these past nine months. You are incredible!

By now you probably realize your baby only does a few things. Sleeps, eats, poops…and sleeps…and eats…and poops. It’s a pretty simple daily routine yet can cause tremendous stress on new moms.  

As a Pediatric Sleep Specialist, I like to guide new moms in what to expect…and what not to expect during your child’s first 0-12 weeks of life. I find it to be freeing and powerful when you know the basics around newborn sleep, so I am opening up to you now in hopes that these few foundational strategies will take some of the New Baby stress away. 

  1. Tiny Baby, Tiny Clock. The birth day of your baby is quite an event! Typically your child will spend the majority of their first few days catching up from the exhausting journey into your arms. Once they begin to open up their eyes and explore the world using their senses, remember not to overload them. Up until 3 months old, your baby can really only handle about 45-60 minutes of awake time. Learn your baby’s cues (typically yawning at this stage) so you can time the next nap easily.
  2. All About Routines. From the beginning establish a solid bedtime routine (between 8-9pm). A bedtime routine helps cue your little one that it’s time for night now, and begins to teach their body the difference between day and night. Even though their circadian rhythm isn’t set until 6 weeks, every little bit you do to help is beneficial. An example of a bedtime routine would look like: bath, massage/lotion, diaper, pajamas, feed, into crib/bassinet.  
  3. Relax! Remember to take time for you. Even if your newborn is only down for 30 minutes, use that time to lay down yourself. Every moment you can take to reenergize and refocus is key. Go easy on yourself, and again, praise all the hard work your body has done! 

If you are a new mom (or a fourth-time mom!) with lots of questions about your baby’s sleep, I invite you to book a free 15 minute discovery call.  I would love to hear your birth story, your baby’s story, and help get everyone on track. My ultimate goal and passion is to help families find peaceful sleep so they are all happy and healthy. 

Sweet Dreams,

Becca Campbell

Becca Campbell Sleep Consultant

Guest Post: Five Things I Know about Perinatal Mood Disorders

Guest Post: Five Things I Know about Perinatal Mood Disorders

Most of us know someone who has had some experience with a Perinatal Mood Disorder (PMD).  It’s an all-too-common condition that approximately 14-25% of women who are pregnant or who give birth will experience.  That doesn’t mean that it is limited to the most commonly known PPD (postpartum depression).  There are a few different conditions that can affect the mental health of pregnant and postpartum women.  

Two recent studies have shown that postpartum anxiety and postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are much more common than previously thought.

As it turns out, not only is postpartum OCD much more common than previously thought, it appears as though postpartum anxiety may actually be more common than Postpartum Depression (PPD).  It is not nearly as frequently screened for as PPD, but we have learned recently that it can affect as many as 17% of women as early as two weeks post baby, and that it can remain more common than PPD even 6 months later.

You can develop postpartum mood disorders up to 12 months after you have your baby.

You can also develop them anytime during your pregnancy.  If you are experiencing symptoms, even at your baby’s first birthday, don’t write them off, seek help.

It can be difficult to differentiate between the exhaustion and disorientation that comes with pregnancy and new parenthood and a mood or anxiety disorder. 

New parenthood (and pregnancy) usually includes times of sleep deprivation, exhaustion, and can even be accented with loneliness, increased or lack of appetite, and sadness.  All of these things can be symptoms of PMD or anxiety.  Having a postpartum doula to offer unconditional support, a safe space to ask questions and let out fears and concerns, and to have help with finding the right rhythm for your particular family’s unique needs can help when you feel overwhelmed.  Support and rest is critical for new families, and while a doula can’t guarantee that you or your partner won’t experience PMADs, he or she can help with the other stuff so you are better able to discern when medical help is needed.

And speaking of partners…

Your partner may be just as likely to experience postpartum depression as you are.

While most of the information focuses on fathers, all partners can experience postpartum depression.  They may experience similar symptoms as their partners, but they also experience other unique symptoms such as irritability, detachment, and emotional withdrawal.

Your birth experiences will affect your postpartum year, and can affect whether you develop a PMAD.

Stay with me on this one.  It isn’t the actual end result of your birth that matters on this point.  In fact, it is “a [mother’s] perceptions of those experiences.”  We all know (or we should all know) that neither a doctor, nor a fully prepared couple, nor a labor/birth doula can guarantee the outcome of any birth.  The good news is that even when your birth throws you a curveball and things don’t go according to plan, if you and your partner feel prepared, supported, and not judged, you can still come away from your birth feeling positive and empowered, even when it doesn’t go the way you had hoped.  

This where a doula can truly help.  As a doula, our job is to provide a space for the expectant parents to voice concerns, ask questions, feel listened to, and to facilitate their ability to communicate with their chosen and trusted care provider(s).  Even when their birth plans go awry, if they are adequately prepared and supported, they can have the beautiful birth they desire.  

If you or someone you love is struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, or PTSD, please seek help from your trusted medical providers.  The wonderful news is that it is 100% treatable and you can recover!  

 

 

Erin Stephens is a labor and postpartum doula, ALC, and the Education Director of Mom2Mom-Ft. Bragg located in Fayetteville, NC.  View her website at www.erinstephensbirth.com