Thursday, January 30, 2014

7 Key Points for Sleep: Getting Off to a Good Start

Sleep is a very important subject for new parents because we know that good sleep is not only essential to your baby's growth and development, but the whole family's well being. The key points listed below are designed to help you put good sleep habits into practice so that as your baby grows and develops, he or she will have the tools for healthy sleep.
  1. Between the ages of six-eight weeks and four months is the best time to start to establish good sleep habits that will eventually teach your baby to sleep through the night.

  2. Many babies make the transition to sleep easier if they have "positive sleep associations" with them at bedtime. For younger babies, white noise or soothing sounds, swaddling, and/or finding their fingers or thumb to suck will help them self-soothe and fall asleep. For older babies, in addition to those things, comfort can be found in a transitional object. Examples include a very small blanket (often called a lovey), a piece of mom's t-shirt, or a small stuffed animal. Incorporating a comfort object into your baby's bedtime routine can help your baby fall asleep on his/her own, and sleep through the night. 

  3. Begin to try to put baby down drowsy but awake. You can do this best by separating feeding and sleeping. Have a small, calming activity in-between the two (i.e. a little massage, a song). Put your baby down in his/her crib while he/she is still awake (it is okay is he/she is drowsy). This way your baby learns that he/she does not need to be nursing (or have a bottle) to fall asleep. 

  4. Earth DayBabies thrive on routines and schedules. Create a bedtime routine for your baby (i.e. a bath,pajamas, feeding, massage, song, or storybook, bed) and try to put your baby to bed at the same time every night. Make sure to do the bedtime routine in the same room in which your baby is going to be sleeping. 

  5. Have the bedroom environment be consistent at bedtime and throughout the night. Black-out curtains often help babies to take longer naps. Don't over stimulate baby. If you need to feed or change your baby during the night, keep the lights low and your interactions to a minimum. 

  6. If baby awakens during the night, listen to the crying. If crying is strong, go in and soothe your baby. If crying is weak and intermittent, see if you can wait a couple of minutes to see if baby puts himself back to sleep. This type of crying may indicate that your baby may not be fully awake and is adjusting to a different stage of sleep. 

  7. Try to remain calm. Your baby will take his/her cue from you. If you feel comfortable with the sleep routine you have established, your baby will too.
Jill's Favorite Products for Sleep

1. Serenity Star by Aden + Anais
  • Continuous play option
  • Has room temperature indicator to let you know if the room is too hot or too cold
  • Feeding diary feature
  • Easily portable

2. Sound Oasis: Sleep Sound Therapy System
  • Good sound quality
  • Continuous play option
  • Many sounds to pick from and mix
  • Has an alarm clock so it can go with your baby when he/she goes to college!

3. Sleep Sheep Smart Sensor by Cloud b
  • Sound sensor to turn back on if baby wakes up and makes a noise
  • Can remove sound box so it is portable for on the go
  • Can be secured to the outside of the crib

4. Sleep Sheep "On the Go" by Cloud b
  • Smaller than the original Sleep Sheep
  • Attaches to car seat or stroller
  • Great for naps that are on the go
  • Can also remove sound box if needed
  • Comes in a Giraffe version as well

5. North American Bear Baby Cozies
  • Great as a transitional object because it is soft, breathable and small
  • Baby's often like to suck or chew on the head of the animal
  • Moms can keep it close to their chest so it has mom's scent
  • Easy to wash

6. Swaddle blanket: Aden + Anais
  • Great traditional swaddle blanket. Lightweight muslin cotton.
  • I like that you can chose if you want baby's elbows to be in a slightly bent position.
  • I like that you can transition baby out of swaddle when ready: one arm out, then two, then off.
  • A little flimsy for newborns but great for bigger babies and can be use as a car seat/stroller cover, nursing cover, etc.  
7. Swaddle blanket: Woombie
  • Better for younger babies because of its stretch.
  • Many moms have told me that they like this swaddle because it is very easy to put baby into and baby cannot break out of it.
  • Baby can have a little bit of arm movement and allows hands to be in the natural fetal position on the chest rather than at the baby's side.
  • Easy to change diaper
8. Swaddle Blanket: Miracle Blanket
  • Super strong swaddle. Some moms like this because some babies will sleep longer without any arm wiggle room.
  • Secures arms so your magician baby doesn't come out of the swaddler
  • Comes in two sizes for growing baby

9. Sleep sacks: Aden + Anais Sleep Sack
  • Great item for when baby is outgrowing the swaddle and not just yet ready for a blanket
  • Arms can be free. When baby rolls over there's no need to worry about blankets falling on his/her face 
  • Great for a lighter sleep sack. Lightweight muslin fabric for warmer weather

10. Sleep sacks: Swaddle Designs zzZip Me Sack
  • Great item for when baby is outgrowing the swaddle and not just yet ready for a blanket
  • Arms can be free. When baby rolls over there's no need to worry about blankets falling on his/her face 
  • Great for a warm cozy sleep sack


Upcoming Sleep Lectures, Classes and Consults

Sleepy - Time: Gentle Sleep Techniques for You and Your Baby
with Marilee Hartling, RN, MFT
January 31st at 1pm in Hollywood

Sleep: Getting you Newborn off to a Good Start (for Newborn-3+ months)
with Jill Campbell, Psy.D
February 28th at 1pm in Westlake Village

Sleepy Planet's Sleep School
with Jennifer Waldburger, MSW
March 23rd from 1-4pm in Santa Monica
May 18th from 1-4pm in Santa Monica

Sleep: Getting Your Newborn Off To A Good Start (For Newborns - 3 months)
with Jill Campbell, Psy.D
April 10th at 2:30pm in Santa Monica

Sleep: Your Growing Baby (For babies 4 months +)
with Jill Campbell, Psy.D
May 8th at 2:30pm

Sleep Consultations with Dr. Jill Campbell
Call any of our store locations to set up an appointment 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Baby Hates Tummy Time!

By Lindsay Anderson, LCSW, a Mommy & Me Group Leader of The Pump Station & Nurtury™

So, you’re sitting in a big circle of moms, all with babies the same age as yours, and the class leader asks, “how many babies in here hate tummy time?” You’re surprised and secretly relieved to see that all but one hand goes shooting up and heads start to nod vigorously.  Ohhhh, so it’s not just my baby. . .  none of them like it . . . .  yet!

It’s always a relief to learn that your baby is perfectly normal and it turns out that the one mom who didn’t raise her hand, has a baby who is a few weeks older than the rest and she’s been “working” on tummy time for a while.  “Trust me, my baby hated it in the beginning too!”

So what’s the big deal?  Do we have to “work” on tummy time and if so, how do we help our babies get comfortable and eventually, come to love it? 

Let’s talk first about the benefits of tummy time and why it’s so important.

-    Tummy time strengthens neck, back, arm and hand muscles, and improves agility.

-    Tummy time is the logical way to counter all that safety imposed “on the back” time our babies do.  It’s a must to put babies on their backs to sleep and they are also often in carseats and other devices during the day. 

-    Tummy time helps babies develop cognitive skills, otherwise known as thinking and reasoning skills, due to the perspective and view of the world they gain in an upright position. Believe it or not, once they get strong there, they love it!

-    The deep pressure on the belly during tummy time aids in neurological organization, which is connected to the ability to regulate in and out of sleep. That pressure is also soothing to their immature digestive systems and helps with gas!

-    Tummy time optimizes your baby’s gross motor development, which at this age looks like rolling, squirming and moving around. This ability is directly related to improved sleep, as babies who choose their own favorite sleep position typically sleep better, just like we big people!

-    Research shows that future fine motor skills are enhanced by plenty of tummy time early on. These include any refined movements of the hands such as writing or playing an instrument.

-    Tummy time is the first step in the natural developmental progression to crawling, pulling independently to a stand, cruising and eventually, walking.

So why do they hate it so much in the beginning?

We find that so much of what babies appear to dislike are merely things they are not yet accustomed to or familiar with. Tiny babies need to move into tummy time very slowly and parents need a lot of support. Babies spend the first nine months of their lives in the liquid space of the womb. The concept of gravity is dramatically different when compared to their previous floating experience. The key is to start early and build gradually.

Also, as mentioned above, these days, our babies are definitely overly familiar with being on their backs. 

The good news is that there are many techniques and creative tips for turning this “work” of tummy time into “play!”

Here at The Pump Station and Nurtury™, I am part of the team of class leaders who support parents in reaching that seemingly insurmountable goal of “10 minutes of tummy time per waking hour,” in our Mommy and Me classes as well as in my special Hot Topics class “Tummy Time Fun”.  

Parents will learn how tummy time can be an easy and fun part of your baby’s daily routine.  Each baby and parent leaves the class with concrete strategies to help ease their baby’s transition to happy, purposeful, and consistent tummy time play. 

Claudia Kerns, PT, a pediatric physical therapist, joins me for the Hot Topics class, lending her expert guidance as we practice different modifications and support the progress of each baby and parent.

One of the cutest ways to get your baby to stay longer in tummy time is to place her face to face with a fellow baby in the class.  They love looking at each other!  Meanwhile, you’ll get lots of support from your mommy classmates for how challenging this can be, especially in the beginning.

So come and join us, get down on the floor and let’s have some fun with tummy time! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Feeding Your Infant While Passing the Pope

by Wendy Haldeman, MN, RN, IBCLC, CO-Founder of The Pump Station & Nurtury

The Religion News Service recently reported a story of Pope Frances passing a mother holding a crying baby who needed to be fed. The pope asked the mother to please feed her baby but the mother was too shy to breastfeed in public. Many new mothers share her concerns. Although women have the legal right to breast feed in any public location where children are legally allowed to be present (38 states including California have laws with language specifically allowing a woman to breastfeed in a public place), we continue to hear stories of women being ejected from a public area because they were trying to nurse their baby.

The most recent known location where several of “our moms” were harassed was The Self Realization Center in Pacific Palisades. As those of you who have been there know, this is a lovely, tranquil, idyllic spot. Two mothers were sitting quietly on a bench at the center breastfeeding their babies. They were approached by a security guard who told them that they were to leave the premises immediately for exposing themselves. To date, the most outrageous incident occurred years ago at the Third Street Promenade. One of our clients was trying to feed her baby when a young woman stormed up and loudly demanded to know if the mom also fornicated (not the word she used) in public.

The thought of trying to breastfeed a new baby in public is stressful for many moms. In my prenatal breastfeeding class, countless pregnant women have expressed their concerns about how to meet their infant’s needs while outside the home. I have even had women say they were not going to breastfeed because they are just too embarrassed or afraid to “expose themselves in public”. For helpful tips on learning how too successfully breastfeed in public, see Breastfeeding On The Go - Breastfeeding in Public.

Women continue to be challenged, despite the fact that breastfeeding in public is legal. Most of us don’t have Gloria Allred on speed dial. In leaving the house each day it can be challenging to run down the mental check list of remembering the car seat, diaper bag, baby sling, stroller, and oh yes, my copy of the state law that insures my right to breast feed anywhere.

So what should a mother do if harassed while nursing in public? The first action a mother takes is to protect her child. Most of us simply pack up and retreat to the car. Then we sit there and fume and perhaps shed some frustrated tears. You may have had the where with all to secure your free laminated card from which states the law. You could present this to the individual who is demanding that you leave the premises.  If you have your wits about you, you could follow the advice of the breastfeeding task force of Los Angeles and state to the employee that by refusing service and being ejected from their business you will be filing a sex discrimination complaint under the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Lastly, the website Best for Babes has an excellent information page under “What to do if You’re Harassed While Nursing in Public

In a perfect world, everyone would understand that a hungry baby needs to be fed. That nursing in public is not considered indecent exposure. Bless you Pope Frances (oh wait, that’s his job), rather thank you for your compassionate common sense approach. If your baby is hungry, please feed her!
  • A mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present (California Civil Code 43.3)
  • Every employer shall provide a reasonable amount of break time and provide the use of a location other than a toilet stall to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for the employee’s infant child (California Labor Code 1030-1031)
California Protects the Right to Breastfeed: