Should children follow a bedtime and sleep routine during the summer?

Summer sleep routines for children

Summer holidays are in full swing and the kids are out of school.  Once school is out, many of us have a tendency to let routines fall by the wayside, without the usual structure to our week. Kids don’t have to abide by a strict bedtime anymore as they don’t have to wake up early for school.  It’s too light and too hot to go to bed.  There are just too many fun summer things to do outside to even think about sleep.  The list goes on and on.

However, lack of structure and routine in the summer, especially when it comes to sleep is not necessarily healthy.  Young children are tuned to waking up at the same time every morning.  So if you are putting them to bed late due to having fun in the sun, they are still likely to wake up early in the morning due to their internal clocks.  Unlike adolescents and adults, they will most likely not sleep late in the mornings to catch up on their sleep.  So the buildup of sleep deprivation can create moodiness, crankiness and irritability which then lead to tantrums.

To avoid major meltdowns and to keep the household functioning happily, follow some of these tips for a happy, healthy summer.

  • Honor nap schedules if your child is still taking a nap and honor bedtimes.  It’s tempting to schedule a lot of activities, but try to do these around nap schedules.  Your child will have a lot more fun (and so will you) when they are well rested.
  • Blackout shades are essential in your child’s room for blocking out the light and heat. Even though it’s light outside, the darkness in the room will let them know that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep.
  • Keep the room cool so that they are not sweating.  Being too hot or humid doesn’t help with sleep.  Maintaining a temperature between 68 and 72 degrees is ideal.  But if that is not ideal for your family, then a fan is just as good.
  • Have them take a cool bath before bed.  It helps calm them down and lets them know that sleep is coming soon; as part of a regular bedtime routine.  It cools down the body’s internal temperature, which helps with falling asleep easily.
  • Keep sugar and junk food to a minimum – I have started to notice the ice-cream and juice intake for my son has increased during the summer months.  Setting limits and monitoring the junk food intake will help with this.
  • Too much sun exposure can also affect sleep.  If their skin has been damaged or they are in discomfort, it will be hard for them to relax and get a good night’s sleep.  They will struggle to get comfortable. So slather them with sun block and limit the amount of time they spend in the sun.

 

  • Keep TV, video games and computer time to a minimum in the evening hours!  Nothing gets them more worked up than this and makes it super hard to fall asleep.

Follow these simple, easy tips to keep your children happy and well rested this summer.

Please comment below on whether your family follows a summer bedtime schedule or not.

4 tips on how to deal with your toddler’s sleep regressions

Toddler sleep regression

I have been getting many questions from parents lately on what to do when their toddler’s sleep regresses.  This is every parent’s worst nightmare.

So I thought I would put together an easy list of tips to follow, when your toddler throws some curve balls at you at bedtime.

So what exactly are we talking about when we say regress?  Your toddler has learnt to sleep on their own without your help and things have been going great for a few months, when all of a sudden they start to leave their rooms, wake up early, cry when you say good night etc.

Regressions do happen due to family events (birth of a sibling, new house, new school, new care giver, developmental milestones etc.)  Here are some tips on how to get back on track:

1. Don’t panic.  Toddlers are a tricky bunch and they are learning a lot about the world around them.  They learn by asking questions, pushing boundaries and rules.  So be consistent in your response by sending them to bed at the regular time. Don’t give in to new demands like “will you please just stay in the room for a little bit more”?  (sound familiar)?  If you give in to one thing, then they start to wonder what else is up for negotiation.

2. If there is a new baby in the house, then you might be worried about letting your toddler cry for a few minutes for the fear of waking up the baby.  Yes, this is a toughie. But, your toddler will only do this for a few nights.  They will quickly learn that their new tactics are not getting the results they want and will go back to sleeping again.  If you start bending the rules, instead of a few nights of disruption (for both kids and yourself), you will be looking at a few weeks of disruption for yourself and your toddler……….trust me, before you know it, you might be giving in to their demand of wanting to sleep in your bed again, so that they don’t wake up the baby!

3. Do a careful check of their sleeping environment to see if anything new could be causing the sleep disruption.  Is the room as dark as it can be?  I know my 4 year old son is now old enough to realize that it’s still light outside when he goes to sleep and he questions me on why he has to. So we have had to heavy up on the room darkening stuff, by taping the drapes and stuffing the gaps so that the light doesn’t peek through.  It’s not pretty but it does the job!  Do you need to get a noise machine to mask any early morning noises? A toddler clock will help them understand when it’s time to go to bed and when it’s time to wake up.

4. It might be time for them to transition nap schedules.  If they are tossing and turning in bed at night, it could be because they are getting too much daytime sleep.  Keep a sleep log for a few days to see if a pattern emerges to give you some clearer answers.

Just remember that this regression is a part of growing up.

Toddlers are light night watchmen.  Their job is to go around opening doors.  But they don’t want to find anything behind those doors!

You will feel an immense amount of guilt about being so strict and drawing a line in the sand.  But DON’T!  They are comforted and feel secure in the fact that nothing has changed.  It makes them feel good and safe that everything has stayed exactly the same despite all their negotiations and pushing.  Sounds crazy, right?!

Post your thoughts below in the comments section on what you think about these tips.

 

Lack of sleep can ruin your love life – Take action this Valentine’s Day

Couple feet poking outLack of sleep and sleep deprivation is very common amongst couples with young children.  According to a recent study, it is estimated that a new mother loses approximately 740 hours of sleep in the first year of baby’s life and that is at the low end of the scale.  Regardless of whether you are a working couple or a one parent stay at home kind of couple, when you don’t get enough sleep, the entire family is affected.

When you don’t get enough sleep, you are probably going to be cranky, irritable, and not able to be fully present in what you are doing.  When you are feeling this bad, how do you have the time to connect with your partner, the single most important person that you decided to embark on this journey with?  Countless studies have been done and here are some of the ways lack of sleep affects relationships:

 

1. Couples appreciate each other less and feel less gratitude towards one another

2. There is less empathy toward your partner

3. You become more selfish

4. You are less inclined to solve problems and conflict in your relationship

5. Lack of sleep basically saps away all the traits needed to make a relationship successful.

 

I can personally vouch for this as I have just recently had a 2nd baby.  Though I am a trained sleep consultant, having a newborn in the house is no easy feat.  He was an ‘easy’ baby and fed great and slept fairly well.  Despite all of this, the 3 hour Eat-Play-Sleep Cycle took it’s toll on me.  I was irritable, angry and exhausted and took it out on my husband.  Fortunately, my son is now 4 months old and is sleeping 12 hours through the night, which has made me feel like a whole new person. 

I have more patience for my older son and my husband.  I am willing to listen and talk through issues with my husband.  Hell, I actually want to listen and talk, as opposed to just crawling into a cave and curling up in a fetal position to sleep. 

So, do you want to have time for your spouse/partner and go back to re-discovering the magic you once had?  Well, get working on the amount of sleep that you are getting.  If your children are up late into the night and need your help to get to sleep, then you don’t have a lot of hours for yourself or your loved one. 

  • Put your children to bed early so that you can relax over dinner and talk.  

  • Teach your children to sleep independently, so that a care giver (other than yourself) can put them to bed when you go out (now, there’s a radical thought!)    

  • If your children don’t have the sleep skills yet read some sleep books to come up with a strategy to do this.

  • Give the gift of sleep to your spouse and surprise them this Valentine’s Day by hiring a sleep consultant (shameless plug). 

As a Valentine’s special, if you mention this blog post, I am offering 15% off my services in Feb, if you book before Feb 14th.

 So what are you waiting for?  Show your partner how much you love them, by telling that you want them to get more sleep!

 

 

 

 

Sleep Training Myths

Sleep training or sleep coaching (I much prefer the term coaching) is a very touchy topic.  People are either for it or against it, but one thing is for sure – it’s a very personal and passionate topic.  You almost don’t want to bring it up in conversation with a stranger, at the risk of offending them or finding that you have very different opinions on it, thus ending a potential friendship!

There are a lot of myths floating around about sleep training and I have wanted to debunk a lot of these ever since I started out on this career.  So here it is – the top 10 myths

10. All sleep consultants are against breast feeding – this is so not true!  A good sleep consultant’s entire focus is on making a family whole and happy again through sleep.  If the family wants to continue breastfeeding then we will absolutely support, encourage and find ways to continue breastfeeding, while instilling healthy, sleep habits at the same time.

9. Breastfeeding and sleep coaching are mutually exclusive – most people think that if a baby is to sleep through the night, then that means breast feeding has to end cold turkey.  Again this is not the case.  Sleep coaching and breastfeeding go hand in hand.  When a mom starts to sleep well, she is well rested and therefore has the energy to continue breastfeeding for a long time and her milk supply is also well regulated as the baby is on a schedule/routine.  So the mom’s body and mind are more in tune to the baby’s needs.

8. Sleep coaching means Cry it Out – a reputable sleep consultant will not recommend letting the baby cry endlessly.  They will work with the family to find out what their comfort level is and come up with a plan to minimize the crying as much as possible while providing strategies and tips to handle the crying.

7. If I keep my baby up late he/she will sleep better and sleep later in the morning – if you keep your baby up late, they become over tired and exhausted and it makes it harder for them to fall asleep easily and stay asleep.  It sounds counter intuitive, but putting them to bed early is the best thing you can do if you want them to learn to sleep well.  Putting them to bed early will not mean that they will wake up early.  They will continue to wake up at the time they always have.

6. Babies cry in the middle of the night because they are hungry – this is probably true until they are 3 to 4 months of age.  Babies do need to be fed in the middle of the night as they are only capable of holding a certain amount of food in their stomachs.  However after that, nursing becomes a prop to go to sleep.  It is no longer about hunger, but about soothing themselves to sleep through nursing.  They lack the skills to put themselves back to sleep in the middle of the night, so cry out for their prop.

5. My baby will start to sleep through the night once they start eating solids – if your baby hasn’t learnt to self-soothe, then they are going to continue to wake up at night.  They will be waking up because they don’t know how to get themselves back to sleep, not because they are hungry.

4. My child is different and there is no way he/she will learn to sleep well – I get this from almost every client I work with.  They believe that their baby will not respond to the recommendations that I make. Of course every child is unique, but each one of them is capable of learning to self-soothe and we need to give them every opportunity to learn this lifelong skill.

3. My child will eventually outgrow this – research shows that if a child hasn’t learn to sleep well, they will continue for 3 to 5 years with unhealthy sleep habits.  A baby who can’t self-soothe, will most likely become a toddler who can’t self-soothe, who then will become an adolescent and then an adult who will have sleep issues. Is that something you want to risk and live with for such a long period of time?

2. I am emotionally hurting my child by trying to teach him to sleep well – it is an universal truth that babies cry!  Research has shown that there are no negative consequences to a child’s physical and emotional development when they cry as they are learning to self-soothe.  However, the effects of not sleeping well has negative effects on both child and parents – such as depression, behavioral problems, development, mood, growth etc.

AND the NUMBER 1 myth that I hear from parents ALL the time is:

1. It will be easier to get my child to sleep through the night as he/she gets older – this is so not true!  As they get older, they have more stamina, they understand the world around them better and the milestones come faster.  Sleep props/crutches become harder to change.  As your child learns to sit up, crawl and walk, they are more mobile and more independent, making sleep coaching harder.  It doesn’t mean they can’t learn the new habits, it just means there is more resistance to change.

So there it is.  What other sleep training myths have you come across which you are wondering whether it’s a fact or fiction? Post them on the comments section and I will be happy to answer it.

Why the holidays are a perfect time to teach your child to sleep independently?

It’s the holiday season and you are busier than ever attending holiday parties, shopping for gifts and getting the house ready for visitors. If you haven’t been getting a good amount of sleep, the holiday season just adds more stress as you are running yourself ragged.

I get quite a few calls this time of year (more than normal) with parents desperate for sleep and ready to take charge and teach their children good sleep habits.  If you are on the fence about whether the holidays are a good time or not to teach your child to sleep well – I say “it’s the perfect time“.

 

WHY?

1. You get some time off work and time off is what you need when you start to teach your child to sleep on their own.  You have already faced sleepless nights and you will face a few more, when you start on this journey.  The benefit is that you don’t have to take any extra days off work if you time it right.

2. More help is available during the holidays – your partner/spouse might travel less and work might be a little less hectic, thus letting you have more support and flexibility during this period.

3. You can also ask family and friends to lend you a hand – especially if you have an older child that needs to be taken care of while you concentrate on your other child.

4. Imagine starting the New Year refreshed after getting a good night’s sleep in a while!!

So what are you waiting for?  Take charge and take the next step to getting a good night’s sleep for yourself and your family.

 

Bedtime Tips for Surviving the Flu Season

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

School is back in session and you have a good schedule in place.  You are handling bedtimes like a pro and there isn’t too much drama.  Just when you think things are going great – the inevitable happens.  Somebody falls sick.

The first thing to happen when a child falls sick is they become a lot more attached to the parent and seek one on one attention.  There is nothing quite like mum and dad to make you feel better when you are feeling stuffed up, feverish and throwing up. This can lead to your child requesting that you sleep in their room “just for one night” or they want to crawl into bed with you. You might be tempted because you want to keep an eye on them and save yourselves some extra trips back and forth in the middle of the night.  But children are born boundary pushers and limit testers.

So what are some things that you can do to be attentive, but still ensure that everybody gets a good night’s sleep?

1.  Sleep and plenty of rest

It is the best thing you can give your child to recover quickly from their illness.  Our body’s immune system goes to work when we are in deep sleep.  So giving them the opportunity for a good night’s sleep will ensure that their body goes into repair and recovery mode.  Maintaining early bedtimes is always important.

2. Sleep in their room if you want to keep a close eye on them  

Put an air mattress or a sleeping bag on the floor of your child’s room for a night or two until they are better again.  This is better than bringing them into your own bed as it is less disruptive for your child.  Maintaining their sleep environment is key and it is far easier to remove yourself from their room than removing them from your bed.

3.    Hydration

If your child has dropped all feeds in the middle of the night and now they are sleeping 10-12 hours through the night, you want to be careful about starting these feeds again.  If your physician is worried about dehydration, then you need to follow the doctor’s orders to keep your child safe and healthy.  Give them sips of water if you can.

4.    Don’t panic

If you do fall into some bad habits and you have slipped into some old ways, there is no need to panic.  You might need to start from square one, but go back to the methods that you used when you initially taught them to sleep well and speed up the process a little bit.  Go back to the nap and bedtime schedule that you have been following.  You know that they are perfectly capable of doing it again, since they have already mastered the skill once.

Bending rules every time they fall sick sends confusing signals to children, especially little ones.  In fact when you stick to the same rules children feel more secure, are comforted and reassured by the consistency and routine.

Here’s to flu season and tackling it like a pro!

3 Most Common Mistakes Made by Parents with Newborn Sleep

I just had my 2nd baby 3 weeks ago and I thought I was pretty well prepared for the sleepless nights and the roller coaster ride of emotions.  I WAS better prepared than my first time, but it is still hard to deal with the never ending pooping, peeing, spitting up and the 3 hour sleep cycles.  I am a lot more knowledgeable when it comes to sleep, but I still find myself having emotional outbursts and being exhausted and frustrated. To top it all off, I hosted a massive family reunion in my house, 2 weeks after having a newborn (long story). I had 14 family members staying in my 4 bedroom house.  No hotels for my family!

When we came home from the hospital, I got the baby into a WAKE-EAT-PLAY-SLEEP schedule right away and he was doing great.  Here is a great link to how a mother of 3 did her scheduling.

He was showing signs of being a good sleeper and was taking 2 hour naps and soothing himself to sleep if he woke up in the middle of a nap. I was giving myself a pat on the back for how well both of us were doing.  But once the family started arriving, things started to go downhill.  He was not settling down and was staring into space like a zombie when he was supposed to be sleeping.  I was panicking and had a couple of nights in a row where he wanted to be held all night long.  He was inconsolable when he was put into his crib and I thought that I had ruined it all.  But I am happy to report that the first chance that I got to put him back into a routine, he took to it again.  So I wanted to write a post about the most common mistakes that parents make when it comes to their newborns’ sleep, because I made the same mistakes, despite the fact that I am trained as a sleep expert.  I still react like a parent when it comes to my own children.

1. Over tiredness Newborns and all children show SUBTLE signs of being tired.  We need to get them prepped and into their sleeping environment before they get overtired.  When I had my family staying with me for the reunion, my son was over tired despite my best efforts.  I became distracted with running errands and chores, that I missed the window of opportunity to put him to bed.  Then no amount of rocking, patting or walking would get him to sleep. I also fell victim to the fact that everyone around me was convinced that the baby wasn’t sleepy.  

By the time I was done nursing, changing the diaper and burping him, there was barely 5 to 10 mins left in the 45 min awake window before he had to be put down again.  So he spent most of his time in the bedroom. In order for my family to spend more time with the baby, I made the mistake of letting him stay up longer than he should, which then sent us down the vicious cycle of over tiredness.  He became a little zombie, who just stared into space.  I could tell that he was exhausted from his multiple yawns and fixed stare, yet he was too exhausted to sleep peacefully.  It was a tough cycle to break, but after one good night, the following days got better.

2. Over stimulation– Newborns can’t handle too much noise, light or interaction.  They have been in a place that doesn’t get any sunlight, muted sounds and no interaction.  So when they are exposed to people and loud noises, they get over stimulated and find it hard to wind down and sleep.  With all the people in my house, and a party being hosted, he was exposed to too many voices.  Imagine being bombarded with music and lights that are akin to a nightclub when you are incredibly tired and all you want to do is sleep.  Well, that’s how your newborn feels when they are being handled by lots of different people.  So if you have visitors ask them kindly to visit when its convenient for you and the baby’s schedule and pace them out.

3. Helping too much – Newborns spend a lot of time in REM sleep (50%), which is way more than adults (25%).  This means that when they are in REM sleep, they are incredibly light sleepers and make a lot of noise and movement.  To an adult, it looks as though they are not asleep at all.  I had to teach myself to sit on my hands and just WAIT every time I heard him groan, let out a cry, squawk etc.  It was incredibly tempting to jump in and pat him or rock him back to sleep so that he didn’t wake up, but then I would have made the mistake of helping him back to sleep each time.  It is important that we let them learn on their own to self soothe at this incredibly early age.  I am not telling you to let them scream and cry, but one or two cries is perfectly normal and its OK to stand back and just let it be.  You will be amazed at how many times they do go back to sleep.  I certainly was!
One good tip is if you are not sure as to whether they are crying for milk or just simply making sleep noises, look at their eyes.  If it’s just a sleep disturbance, they most often have their eyes closed.  If they are truly hungry, then they will cry for 1-2 mins continuously and will most often open their eyes and root for milk.

I hope these tips help you feel more equipped when it comes to bringing your newborn home.  Good luck and just know there is light at the end of the tunnel!  These months seem like an eternity when you are feeding in 3-4 hour cycles, but you will be past this before you know it.

 

Is sleep training the right decision for your child and your family?

Photo courtesy of: Put A Bib On It Blog

I despise the word sleep training hence the reason I keep putting it in quotes in this post.  It is a popular way of referring to teach your child to sleep independently and teach them a healthy way of falling asleep – without feeding, nursing, rocking, bouncing, patting, laying down with them…….the list goes on.

“Sleep training” (for a lack of a better term) is a highly controversial subject amongst parents.  You are either for it or against it and people have very strong feelings on the subject.  As a sleep consultant, it doesn’t take a lot to guess that I am in the “for it” camp.  When I had my first child and before my career as a sleep consultant, I read all the books there were on baby sleep and scheduling.  I am a planner, so it only made sense that I planned when my baby would sleep, when he would eat and when he would play.  I also know myself well enough to know that I don’t operate well without sleep – my husband can vouch for this as I turn into a not-so-pleasant individual when I haven’t had my 8 hours of sleep every night.

Based on this information about myself, I knew I had to come up with a solution for my sleepless nights, when my baby was 5 months old. I ‘sleep trained’ him for bedtime and naps and it TRANSFORMED my life.  I am not kidding you or using those words lightly.  Once my baby and I started sleeping through the night, I started becoming the old me again, which had been lost somewhere along the way.  I re-discovered my joy for life.  I started enjoying my relationships with people around me, I started enjoying cooking, photography and truly appreciated every moment I got to spend with my son, when he wasn’t sleeping.  So far me, the benefits of “sleep training” far outweighed any of the negatives.

The same should apply for every parent out there who is struggling to make the decision on whether or not to ‘sleep train’.  Guilt plays a huge part (as written by this blogger)- how can you put your own needs of wanting to sleep above that of your child? Shouldn’t you be attending to their every need? Is it selfish to want them to sleep through the night just so that you can get some shut eye?

There is a vast amount of information out there on why you should or shouldn’t “sleep train” your child.  But at the end of the day, the decision is yours and yours alone to make.  Parenting is a very personal choice and you are doing the best you can.  Don’t judge others on their parenting choice and don’t let others’ judgment sway your decision.  Do what is your right for you and your child and if that means co-sleeping, then that’s your right.

Ask yourself,

1. What are the benefits of teaching your child to sleep independently?

  • More time for yourself and your partner to spend together
  • Your child will be less cranky as they will wake up less or not at all during the night.

2. What are the cons of teaching your child to sleep independently?

  • You might feel as though you are abandoning them during the night when they need you
  • The fear of your child crying

3. Why do you want to teach your child to sleep independently?

  • It is a life skill to that you are teaching your child like walking, talking, crawling etc.
  • Better health for everyone in the family
  • You want to have the energy to get through the day without dreaming about when and where you are going to sleep next.

4. How are you going to teach your child to sleep independently?

  • There are a myriad of ways to do this, so research and pick the method that you are going to be able to consistently stick to without giving up.

5. Are you ready for it?

  • It takes a lot of mental preparation to make this journey.  It is not the easiest thing you will do, but you need to stick to it, once you have embarked on it.
  • Make sure you have a lot of support around you and all caregivers are on board to help you through this.

Sleep is an amazing thing.  You don’t realize how much you need it until you don’t have it anymore.  It’s like food or water.  You can survive on very little of it – but you are not thriving, barely surviving.

Another mum’s take on her sleep training experience

 

Expecting Baby Number 2 – Anxious, Excited, Nervous and bracing myself for Sleep Deprivation

When you are about to become a parent for the first time, the types of worry and concern that you have is so different from the second time around.  The first time I was pregnant, I wondered how I would:

1. and IF I would love the little one unconditionally (sounds crazy, I know).  I had never done it before, so how did I know that I would fall in love immediately?!  Everybody told me I would, but I wasn’t quite sure until the event happened.  But the honest truth is that it wasn’t love at first sight.  It took me a few weeks to get to know him and bond with him and fall hopelessly in love.  I wish somebody had warned before hand that for some it takes a while to bond with their little one and come to love motherhood.  It wasn’t the fairy tale love affair for us in the beginning, but I am happy to say that we worked through it and we are hopelessly in love now!

2. juggle my career and the baby.  My work always came first and I was extremely competitive at work and the perfectionist in me couldn’t handle being anything but the best.  How was I going to be the “best” mum and the “best” at work? It was a lot to be “best” at.  But as mothers (whether stay at home or working), we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be perfect.  I learned quickly that it was a futile exercise and I was never going to achieve the “perfect” that was in my head.

3. handle breastfeeding.  I knew it was best for baby and doing formula wasn’t an option since breast is best.  Again, this is something that I took for granted that I would do, but little did I know that I wouldn’t enjoy it very much.

As I am days away from the birth of my second child, I have three years of experience as a parent under my belt, but I worry none the less about the arrival of this little one, but the list of worries this time around are:

1. Do I have room to love them both equally and abundantly?  Again, I have been told by more experienced friends (with 2 or more children) that you heart grows even bigger.  My worry – what if I am different?  What if I don’t?

2. How will my first son handle the arrival of his little brother?  He is a sweet, kind, gentle hearted soul who doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.  My worry is that my second will push my older son around!  I can already tell that my 2nd is way different than my first, even in the womb.  He is a lot more active and responsive.  I am bracing myself for having the ‘hyperactive’ 2nd child, just because – what are the chances of having two perfectly well behaved boys?  Could I get that lucky?

3. How am I going to juggle my own business and my boys? I am no longer in corporate America, but I do have a third child, which keeps me up at night – my business and how I am going to focus on it, while balancing the Stay At Home role as well.

4. How am I going to handle breastfeeding yet again?  I wasn’t someone who took to breastfeeding easily.  Though I had no trouble with my supply and my son latched on great, breastfeeding just wasn’t for me.  I am not afraid to admit it and I am not ashamed of it.  I have to come to accept the fact that it’s not for everyone and I will not pass judgement on myself or others because of this.  As parents we have enough to worry about without having to pile on the guilt for one more thing.

5. I grieve over the fact that my first will no longer be the center of my world.  I know this sounds crazy, but it’s inevitable that the amount of undivided attention and one on one time we have with him is going to be a lot less.  This thought saddens me, because our relationship is forever going to shift and change; not better, not worse, but just different. He is no longer going to be the ‘baby’.  At 3 he is already very mature and independent for his age.

6. I feel guilty all the time – I guess this never changes as a parent.  I feel guilty for the fact that my son is going to through a transition period, the jealousy he is going to feel and I worry about whether he will feel less important or displaced in any way.  I have a list of things to prepare him for a new sibling, but you know the storm is coming.  Why is it that women are more plagued by guilt that men? I am pretty sure my better half doesn’t lay awake at night thinking about these issues.  He just takes it in his stride.  Me, on the other hand,  as you can tell is a big jumbled bag of emotions.

The Upside

The two things I am excited about, despite all of this, is getting to see my son be an older brother.  He is so excited about being able to teach his baby brother all the life skills he is already mastered like rolling over, crawling, sitting up and walking.  He has already picked out a gift he wants to give him and we have hung up a finger painting in the baby’s room which my son made for him as he wanted to contribute something to the nursery.  I know he is going to be GREAT as a big brother. I look forward to seeing the relationship blossom between them.

The second thing that I am looking forward to is the fact that I now know a lot more about sleep and babies!  One of the advantages of being a certified sleep consultant is you have information and knowledge on how to handle a baby’s sleep.  I know I am going to be thoroughly sleep deprived and a zombie for the first few months, but I know how to lay down a good foundation from the beginning, so that the baby starts to sleep in longer stretches naturally when he is ready.  This was a big gaping hole with my first son.  We were just totally winging it and kept praying that we would be one of those lucky parents who would wake up one morning to find that he had slept all night – alas, that never happened to us!

Share what you went through when you were pregnant with your 1st, 2nd, 3rd……..I would love to hear it, so that I can reassure myself that I am not as crazy as I think I am!

 

Baby boys vs. baby girls

 

 

I am at the moment 36 weeks pregnant and preparing for the arrival of my second baby.  I am going to be the mother of 2 boys, which is a dream come true.

Unlike most women, I have always wanted boys each time I got pregnant.  Girls scare me (though I am one myself).  Maybe its because I know how hard it was to be an awkward girl growing up through the teenage years and the minefield of areas I had to navigate –

  • makeup,
  • boy crushes,
  • wanting to be liked by the other girls at school,
  • what to wear,
  • being flat chested,
  • getting changed in a communal changing room at school
  • feeling less prettier than the blond haired girls (I was one of 2 or  3 Asian Indians in my school and the only girl).

The list is endless.  Girls also come with a lot of drama and it starts at a very early age.  This is my own personal opinion of course, but I feel like the drama, ‘diva’ness and tears are built into a girls’ DNA.  As they get older, the emotional issues are so much more complicated.  Girls tend to harbor some deep issues, and it seems that these issues, start earlier and earlier – bullying, body image issues, food issues, self-esteem issues.  And with the likes of Miley Cyrus representing themselves as role models (scary), the world for little girls just got even more complicated.

My three year old plays with trucks, Legos and dirt.  He loves bikes and anything that moves fast.  It just seems simple and uncomplicated.  If he were to play with dolls (which if he was interested in, I would by all means buy those for him), I have visions of the American Doll store.  The thought of it overwhelms me.  Is it just me or are girls’ things more expensive?

I was never into Barbie dolls and dressing up.  Maybe that’s why I am so grateful for my boys. I was never into frilly things, pink things, flowers and bows.  I LOVE shopping for little boys clothes.  There are such awesome outfits out there for little boys and boys fashion has come such a long way in recent years, with lines such as Harajuku at Target and J Crew, Crewcuts.  I have an aversion to pink and purple things and flowers!

I know boys have self-esteem issues too and they are also plagued by self-image issues and eating disorders in today’s world.  They are not immune to it.  However, I feel as though boys are not quite as spiteful as girls, as they get older.    Let’s face it, girls can be nasty to each other and play a lot of mind games without you even realizing it’s happening.  If I had a girl, I would lay awake at night (more than I already do now) and wonder about the perils of middle school and high school. I have read a couple of books lately set in high school to send my imagination running wild.

I am not sure how I would be of any help when it comes to getting nails, hair and make up.  I didn’t get into all of those things until I was in college!  I still feel like that’s the appropriate age for young women to do all that.  Call me old fashioned and a fuddy duddy, but if I had a girl, she wouldn’t be allowed all those things until she was going off to college too.  Come to think of it, I think if I had a girl, she would have hated me for a mother, because of how strict I would have been.  Girls are growing up way too fast in my opinion and when they are little, it should be a time for playing, learning and having fun.

If I had a girl, I know I would love her just as much as my little boy – no question about it and I know I would have embraced the world of girl clothes, shoes and accessories.  In fact here is a great article on which gender is more fun from another mum.  But I must say that I am very happy and content with the fact that my dream of being a boy mum came true!

Here’s to another 4 weeks of misery before I meet the 2nd little man in my life.

What did you wish to have when you were pregnant and why? Did your wish come true?