Thursday, May 5, 2011

May 6, 2011: Military Spouse Appreciation Day



Military Spouse Appreciation Day is the Friday before Mother's Day, May 6th, 2011.  It is a day to recognize the contributions of the Military Spouse to our US Military.

 "At the heart of our Armed Forces, servicemembers' spouses keep our military families on track.  They balance family life, military life, and their careers, all while supporting other military families and giving back to their communities.  Many have served in uniform themselves and, understanding the obligations involved, can provide unparalleled support.  They are pillars of strength in their families, often celebrating their children's life milestones while the other parent is away."
- Barack Obama

I was featured in the "Spotlight on the Military Spouse" on MilitaryAvenue.com, a service supporting the military relocation, travel, and lifestyle needs of the American military family. The community is comprised of millions of military active duty, retirees, veterans, DoD civilians and contractors, as well as military spouses and children.

I am honored to be a part of such an important national event.
 

Friday, April 8, 2011

White Noise

We currently live in a medium sized apartment in a 2-family home while we are building our new home.  I started putting white noise on while my son naps very early on because he is a very light sleeper and will wake up at the slightest noise.  While he has the ability to fall back asleep on his own of he is still tired, that doesn't mean he always will!  So, I like to avoid that situation all together by keeping the white noise on whenever he is sleeping.  There are certainly fancy white noise machines, as well as CD's, and mp3's that you can download on the internet, but I just use an old clock radio set in between stations to static.  It works like a charm!  My son sleeps through the cats racing around the house, my husband dropping his boots on the floor and even the door slamming.  I highly recommend that parents sue some sort of white noise while their children are sleeping

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Routine, routine, routine

The magic words in real estate are "Location! Location! Location!" and the magic word when it comes to helping your child prepare for sleep is "routine."  Even in infancy, a short routine that is completed every time you lay your child down for a nap or for bedtime can be very important in establishing consistency.  Every child thrives on routines and consistency and making this a part of your daily routine will be so helpful for many years to come.  The routine itselff is meant to signal to the child that sleep is coming and help him or her get relaxed enough to fall asleep peacefully.  It is not meant to actually put the child to sleep.  I recommend that routines be short and sweet and last no longer than about 5 minutes for naps and maybe about 10 minutes for bedtime. 

Routines can consist of rocking or swaying, reading books, or singing lullaby's.  It is a great way to connect with your child before they slip off to dreamland.  Routines should help the child relax.  For many children, you are able to feel their body go limp in your arms as all of the days exciting events and stresses slowly slip away. 

The events leading up to the routine are also important and should be the same every day.  Some common events that lead up to the bed or nap time routine are: dinner, bath, a quick nursing session or bottle feed, and reading books.  I recommend that playing not be a part of the last hour leading to bedtime.  If you'd like to allow your child some time to play after dinner while you get the dishes done, make sure that it is quiet play and not running all around the house.  This will only serve to get your child more riled up and make it harder for him or her to relax at bedtime. 

Let's all focus on setting up a good, consistent routine so that our children know that sleep is on the way!  

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Drowsy, but awake...

Family Clipart Image: Young Mother with Baby Boy

All the books recommend putting your baby down drowsy, but awake.  What does that mean and why should you do it?  In my opinion, drowsy means helping your baby get into a relaxed, calm state and ready for sleep.  Timing is so important here because if you wait too long, your baby starts producing a stress hormone called cortisol, that winds up helping your baby stay awake...and that's the opposite of what you want when you want your baby to take a nap!  But then wait, if you jump on the nap band wagon too early, baby isn't ready for sleep and all he wants to do is play.  So getting the timing just right is what you want to strive for. 

What about being awake?  Why does the baby need to be awake?  Its all about mastering a skill here.  Just like any other skill your baby will learn like rolling over, sitting up, etc., your baby needsto learn the art of falling asleep by himself at some point.  You might as well start allowing him to practice from the get-go because if you wait too long, things can get a little hairy.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let's start Helping Your Child Sleep!

My goal with this blog is to write about all of the different parts of helping your child sleep.  No one told me how complicated it can really be!  So, I would like to help others out who struggled as much as I did.  I also plan to review sleep-related products out there so that you can make a more educated decision about what products work and are right for you and your child.