by Edward Norton | Jun 5, 2018 | Fitness, Tips
Mindfulness apps are trending in a big way. Here are five we’re happy we downloaded.
There’s no shortage of mindfulness and meditation apps these days, promising to help you combat anxiety, sleep better, hone your focus, and more. We scoured the app stores to find the most popular, educational, and easy-to-use mindfulness apps that are available for free.
1) Insight Timer
Available for iOS and Android
Insight Timer is one of the most popular free meditation apps out there, and it’s easy to see why. The app features more than 4,000 guided meditations from over 1,000 teachers—on topics like self-compassion, nature, and stress—plus talks and podcasts. If you prefer a quieter meditation, you can always set a timer and meditate to intermittent bells or calming ambient noise.
Right from the beginning, the app feels like a community; the home screen announces, “3,045 meditating right now / Home to 1,754,800 meditators.” After you finish a meditation, you’ll learn exactly how many people were meditating “with you” during that time; by setting your location, you can even see meditators nearby and what they’re listening to.
Insight Timer doesn’t recommend step-by-step sequences of meditations to follow; it’s more like a buffet.
Despite its extensive collection, Insight Timer doesn’t show you a list of teachers—which would be helpful, especially since they feature experts like Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, and Sharon Salzberg. And Insight Timer doesn’t recommend step-by-step sequences of meditations to follow; it’s more like a buffet. But these drawbacks hardly matter in the face of all the tempting choices.
Available for iOS and Android
Aura is a meditation app with a simple premise: Every day, you get a new, personalized, three-minute meditation. The same meditation never repeats; according to cofounder Daniel Lee, Aura’s teachers are constantly recording new tracks.
To personalize the experience, Aura initially asks about your age and how stressed, optimistic, and interested in mindfulness you are. The daily meditation that appears also depends on your mood: If you’re feeling great, Aura might suggest “Your Brilliant Heart;” select stressed, and you might get “You Have the Power.” If you like the day’s meditation, you can save it to your library for later listening.
Aura claims to target stress, anxiety, and depression. If a short meditation isn’t enough, you can also listen to relaxing sounds or try their Mindful Breather feature, where you synchronize your breath to an animated circle that gently expands and contracts—surprisingly effective. The home screen encourages you to jot down something you’re grateful for, another tool for well-being.
Aura is straightforward and sparse, but that’s part of the beauty. Particularly if you’re just getting started, or you don’t have lots of time to meditate, the simplicity of one meditation a day could be just what you need.
Available for iOS and Android
Sleek and image-heavy, Omvana is a beautiful meditation app created by personal growth company Mindvalley. Its library contains thousands of meditations, and about 75 of those are free, from “Laser Focus” to “Cat’s Purr.”
According to cofounder Vishen Lakhiani, about 50,000 people around the world meditate to their popular “6 Phase Meditation” every morning, which is recommended for intermediate practitioners. (Beginners are encouraged to start with an eight-minute “Day 1” session.) The “6 Phase Meditation” guides you through different practices over the course of 20 minutes, including forgiveness, gratitude, and connection.
When you first download Omvana, your library includes about 10 meditations; to add more, it’s necessary to navigate over to the store, and then click on Top Tracks > Free or Categories > All free. Once you find a meditation you like, clicking the “Free” button will add the track to your library.
Like Insight Timer, Omvana is more of a grab bag than a guided learning experience. And much of its library is off-limits to the free user. But if you’re looking for a solid morning meditation, or you’re overwhelmed by all the choice on Insight Timer, you might enjoy Omvana.
4) Stop, Breathe & Think
Available for iOS and Android
If other meditation apps expect you to dive right in, Stop, Breathe & Think wants to help you get acquainted with mindfulness first. A section called Learn to Meditate explains what mindfulness is, why it’s beneficial, and what to expect when you press play on your first track. It even covers some of the neuroscience of mindfulness and the physiology of stress, in case you’re still skeptical.
If other meditation apps expect you to dive right in, Stop, Breathe & Think wants to help you get acquainted with mindfulness first.
Then, it’s time to get started. Stop, Breathe & Think features nearly 30 free sessions, many of which come in different lengths (and different voices—from placid Jamie to friendly Grecco). Most of them are short, up to 11 minutes, and you can choose to work around themes like Breathe, Connect with Your Body, or Be Kind. Or, simply set a meditation timer and find calm amid the silence or relaxing forest sounds.
A progress page keeps track of how many days you’ve meditated in a row and your emotions, which you can record before and after each meditation. Plus, you can earn cute stickers: As a newbie, I’ve collected “Good Start” and “Tick Tock of Presence.” Stop, Breathe & Think is ideal for people who need some more structure and motivation to jumpstart their meditation habit.
Available for iOS and Android
The moment you open the Calm app, you might feel a sense of…calm. Relaxing sounds of falling rain play automatically in the background, but you could also opt to be greeted by a crackling fireplace, crickets, or something called “celestial white noise.”
The relaxation continues with Calm’s free meditations, a smaller selection than several of the apps above—16 in total, some of which come in different lengths, from 3-30 minutes. You can start off with 7 Days of Calm, or try their sessions on Loving-Kindness, Forgiveness, or the Body Scan. Plus, like many other apps, you can set a timer for silent meditation or meditate to intermittent bells. For nighttime relaxation, Calm features four free “sleep stories”: bedtime stories for adults on everything from science fiction to scenic landscapes to help you transition into slumber.
Unfortunately, some of the most interesting-sounding sessions, like Commuting and Emergency Calm, are locked unless you subscribe. (Calm’s subscription costs $4.99 per month when you buy a year—one of the cheapest out there if you decide to make the investment.)
Photo by Chevanon Photography from Pexels
by Edward Norton | Jun 5, 2018 | Kids, Motherhood
The life of a two-year-old isn’t always easy.
One minute you might be happily coloring with your new markers, and the next your mom snatches them from your hand and scolds you for drawing on the wallpaper. At the moment, nothing can feel more devastating.
Anyone who’s parented a toddler knows what happens next. The young artist bursts into tears, possibly hits mom, throws the nearest object or runs away. Of course, as soon as she sees another cool, new toy, she’ll settle right down.
It’s perfectly normal to have a moody toddler, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. Understanding what life is like in the world of a toddler can help you learn how to deal with terrible twos.
What is time?
Your toddler has a very limited concept of time. When he wants something, all he knows is that he wants it now. Not in five minutes, not in an hour (what’s an hour, anyway?). As such, when he doesn’t get his peanut butter and jelly exactly when he’s hungry, he may think he’ll never get his sandwich, even if you’re already in the process of spreading the jelly.
In some cases, the tears will stop as soon as you hand your toddler his lunch (or whatever it is he’s asking for). In many other situations, your toddler is making a request you can’t oblige. No, he can’t play with your kitchen knife. No, he can’t have candy before dinner.
Being told “no” isn’t fun, but luckily you can use that limited concept of time to your advantage, Parents explained. You can’t take him to the park right now, but he can play with his dinosaurs or his blocks. A new distraction becomes his new focus, and he’ll be happy once more.
Learning words takes time
Your toddler knows exactly what she wants. Unfortunately, she might not have the vocabulary to dictate that want. Even if she does, it might come out sounding like slurred and garbled nonsense. If parents had a nickel for every time they asked their child “what?,” they’d have very heavy pockets.
Not being able to clearly express their wants and needs is the source behind many toddler meltdowns. When your 18-month-old wants a cup of apple juice, but doesn’t know the word “apple” and can only ask for juice, she feels frustrated when she’s handed a cup of orange. She might yell, cry or throw the juice on the ground.
In time, she’ll learn the word “apple” and know how to ask for what she wants. Until then, be careful to communicate the names of her favorite items whenever possible to help her learn. When you pick up the apple juice, say “This apple juice is yummy” or “Do you want the apple juice?”
Additionally, teaching your child some simple baby signs can help alleviate language frustrations, LiveStrong explained. For example, to sign for “apple,” make your hand into a fist with your index knuckle extended. Touch the knuckle to your cheek and twist.
Emotional intelligence doesn’t come easily
When something has upset your toddler, all he knows is there’s a burning rage inside him. He might not know the words “mad,” “sad” or “frustrated.” He probably doesn’t know how to properly express those emotions, either; he’s only just developed them, after all.
Help your toddler learn about his emotions and how to display them. When his older brother knocks over his block tower, he feels mad. He might pick up his blocks and throw them at his brother. Tell your toddler, “That must have made you feel really mad.” Vocabulary will help your child understand that feeling mad is normal. Teach him that’s it’s OK to feel mad, but not OK to throw blocks.
Help your toddler learn about all his emotions, not just the negative ones. Help him identify when he’s happy, excited, sad, frustrated or mad. In time, he’ll not only learn how to determine his own emotions, but he’ll also start recognizing these in others – the first steps toward developing empathy, Parents noted.
Dealing with tantrums isn’t easy, especially when you’re in public or witnessing the third meltdown of a very tough day. It’s important to let your toddler know that throwing a fit isn’t the way to get what he wants.
Wait for him to calm down, then get to the bottom of the problem. In time, your toddler will develop a bigger vocabulary, a realistic concept of time and the emotional intelligence to stay calm, even when frustrated – it’s all a part of growing up.
by Edward Norton | May 27, 2018 | Motherhood, Tips
Baby’s first steps mark an exciting time of transition to toddlerhood and a whole new world to explore! It also means your baby is ready for some proper footwear. We spoke to pediatric podiatrist Dr. Louis DeCaro, president of the American College of Foot & Ankle Pediatrics and a father of two toddlers, about what a mama needs to know when it comes to first shoes.
1. They’re for Protection
Unusually poor coordination, poor balance, and bad posture are some signs that a little one might have a developmental issue. Other signs are premature fatigue—if your child requests to be carried frequently—and exceptional clumsiness. If your child exhibits any of these behaviors, take him in for a screening. Pain is usually not the overriding symptom in pediatric podiatry cases.
2. Think Flexible
Above all, toddler’s first pair of shoes should be flexible, says Dr. DeCaro. It’s important to avoid shoes that are too stiff because they could impede foot development. Parents should also seek out shoes that are lightweight and made from breathable and natural materials.
3. You Don’t Have to Spend a Lot
It’s not necessary to buy very expensive shoes for toddlers, according to Dr. DeCaro. And while a recommendation from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) indicates that the shoes are of good quality and developmentally appropriate, parents shouldn’t feel it’s essential to seek out shoes bearing their Seal of Acceptance.
4. It’s Best to Get Professionally Fitted
In an ideal world, parents would have their child’s foot measured with every pair of new shoes. Children have flat feet until their arches develop at about age four, and that can affect the way shoes fit, says Dr. DeCaro. Try to have your child’s foot measured and shoes fitted by a professional whenever possible.
5. At Home, Use the Pinky
If you’re unable to get your child’s shoes professionally fitted, you can check for fit by using your pinky finger—not your thumb—to gauge how much space your child has in the toe box of the shoes, Dr. DeCaro suggested. The shoes are well-fitting in that area when there is a pinky’s width of room between the tips of the child’s toes and the toe of the shoe. After the first few times of wearing, check your child’s feet for red marks or indents; if there are any that don’t go away after 10 minutes, the shoes aren’t a good fit and are probably uncomfortable.
6. Transition Shoes When They’re Running
Keep little ones in very flexible shoes until they start running a lot or playing sports—usually around age four or five. That’s about the time a child’s arch begins forming.
7. Kids Grow Fast!
On average, children’s feet can grow three-quarters to a full size larger every three to four months, according to Dr. DeCaro. He recommends checking the fit of your child’s shoes quarterly, or when their shoes are worn out, whichever comes first.
8. Screen Early if There’s a History
Genetics are the best predictor of future foot problems, Dr. DeCaro points out, so it’s important to get your child screened early if there is any history of major foot problems in your family. Parents with flat feet or other issues should take their child to a pediatric podiatrist as soon as their little one is walking.
9. Watch for Signs of Trouble
You’ve been dealing with Braxton-Hicks or “practice” contractions for a while now, but one day things are going to ramp up. That first real contraction is typically unmistakable. Try to relax and go with the flow—no amount of planning is going to make this adventure go exactly the way you expect. The good news? Baby is almost here!
10. Secondhand Are OK
Although many experts discourage them, Dr. DeCaro doesn’t have any issues with used and hand-me-down shoes. Secondhand shoes that are in good shape and fit well are fine for toddlers to wear, he says.
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by Edward Norton | May 19, 2018 | Kids, Motherhood
Summer hasn’t even started and weather is getting very hot already. According to The Weather Channel, some areas of the U.S. have to wait until September to reach their highest temperatures. This means there’s plenty of time for fun left, but it’s also important to keep summer safety in mind. Here’s how to keep your child cool and cute:
Grab a light wardrobe
Kids’ fashion has come a long way, so you have the chance to get really creative. You can dress your toddler like a super-chic Anna Wintour in the making, or grab a sleeveless flannel shirt and some baby Doc Martens for a mini-punk look. Just make sure the clothes you choose are summer-appropriate. The right cuts and fabric keep your child cool and help prevent heat-related illnesses.
When shopping for a summer wardrobe, choose loose, breezy fabrics made from 100 percent cotton. Avoid dark colors like black and navy; such hues absorb heat, increasing your little one’s body temperature. Opt for sturdy footwear with thick soles, especially if your toddler likes to climb and explore.
Also, if you plan to stay home all day and aren’t expecting any visitors, feel free to let your child run around naked! Just make sure to lather your baby up with sunscreen before going into the backyard – clothes or no clothes. The Environmental Working Group has a list of 19 baby sunscreen products with top ratings, so your summer safety regimen won’t include any harsh chemicals.
Guard against bugs and poisonous plants
Bug bites and the itchy, inflamed skin they leave behind are probably the least-liked aspect of summer. What’s worse, the number of insects infected with diseases is on the rise. This past June, a press release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an increased number of disease-carrying mosquitoes were seen across the southern U.S. this year. These insects are known for spreading Zika virus, West Nile virus, Dengue fever and many other illnesses.
If you live in a grassy or wooded area, you must also look out for ticks. These pesky bloodsuckers are notorious for spreading Lyme disease, which affects the joints, heart and nervous system if left untreated. Additionally, toddlers that are allergic to bee stings need to be exceptionally careful in spring and summer.
To keep your toddler safe from insects, coat your child with an insect repellant. The brand you choose doesn’t matter, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends repellant with at least 10 percent DEET, the active ingredient. A higher concentration doesn’t increase your child’s protection; the repellant just lasts longer. A product with 10 percent DEET lasts for about two hours, while one with 30 percent lasts around five hours.
Below are a few other bug safety tips:
- Ditch scented soaps and sprays, which might attract insects, for fragrance-free versions.
- Avoid areas where bugs tend to nest, including pools of water (mosquitos), summer-blooming flowers (bees) and wooded areas (ticks).
- Stay inside during mornings and evenings when gnats and mosquitos are most active.
Prevent heat-related illnesses
According to the CDC, children under 4 are most at risk for developing a heat-related illness. These ailments include heat rash, sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and symptoms range from small red blisters to nausea, headaches and possible loss of consciousness.
Of course, as with any medical condition, prevention is always best. Use the following tips to improve your toddler’s summer safety and avoid heat-related illnesses:
- Dress your toddler in breathable, lightweight clothing that’s light in color.
- Use cool, but not cold, water when bathing your child.
- Stay indoors when it’s overly sunny and warm. Sunlight is strongest at noon, but the temperature doesn’t reach its peak until about 3 p.m.
- Give your toddler plenty of access to cool (not cold) water.
- Never leave your child in a parked car, even if the window is open.
Enjoying the last bit of summer
Summer is officially over by the end of September. Choose the right clothes, grab a bottle of baby sunscreen, protect yourselves from bugs and heat, and you’re all set to enjoy the season safely.
by Edward Norton | May 3, 2018 | Motherhood, Tips
Exhausted doesn’t even describe the newborn days. Waking up delirious from sleep deprivation multiple times a night. Struggling with the initial discomfort of breastfeeding, all while recovering from childbirth.
Life with a newborn also made me doubt myself and question every decision I made. I wondered what in the world I got myself into as I wished for easier days (and reminisced about my old life). I wasn’t sure whether I was even fit to be a mom.
(Read more about the expectations and realities of life with a newborn.)
Baby tips and tricks
But as with all things parenthood, I learned on the job. I discovered little hacks that made the days easier and more manageable. I researched baby tips and grew more confident and better equipped to handle a new baby. And I reached out to fellow moms and discovered their secrets to surviving the newborn stage.
In short, these are the cool baby tips I wish I knew from the start. They’re quick wins when we need them most—baby care tips for new moms to better manage.
Below are my best baby tips I hope you find useful as well:
1. Onesies can also be pulled down during messy accidents
Nearly every onesie will come with those envelope flaps near the collar. At first I thought this was designed to accommodate different-sized heads and to make it more comfortable for baby to pull a shirt over his head.
Turns out, those envelope flaps are much more functional than fitting over a baby’s head. They allow you to pull the onesie down.
Normally, you’d undress the baby by lifting the onesie over the head. But at some point, you’ll likely face the dreaded poop explosion. One so full it spills out of the diaper and onto the onesie—not exactly something you’d want to pull over the baby’s head.
The envelope flaps allow you to then pull the onesie down over the baby’s shoulders, removing it without going near the baby’s head.
Onesies can also be pulled down in case of poop explosions.
2. Eliminate gas with the elbow-to-knee trick
One of the biggest challenges with newborn baby care after birth is the baby’s gas and digestion.
My little guy had a serious case of gas, so much so that he was difficult to put to sleep. He’d fuss and cry, and I felt helpless with how to help him. I tried gas drops, which only seemed to help a little. I even tried different bottles, hoping that a new brand would ease his troubles.
Nothing seemed to work—that is, until I learned the elbow-to-knee trick.
Now, I had heard about doing bicycle kicks with a baby to expel gas. I tried this move, moving my baby’s knees closer to his chest, hoping he’d toot a little gas out of his tummy. It still didn’t work.
But then I tried the elbow-to-knee trick, which instantly removed my baby’s gas. Every time I’d touch his elbow to the knee, he’d give a little fart, then another when I repeated with the opposite limbs. It seemed like a miracle!
So, here’s how you do it:
- Lie your baby down on his back.
- Move his right elbow and left knee towards each other as if they were going to touch.
- Do the same with the opposite elbow and knee: Move his left elbow and right knee towards each other.
- Alternate a few times until your baby stops farting.
Hopefully each time you connect one elbow to the opposite knee, your baby will fart and expel some gas. This will keep him be more comfortable and better able to sleep.
3. Keep your baby awake no longer than an hour and a half to avoid over-stimulation
Before I had kids, I figured babies sleep anywhere. After all, at family parties, we’d pass babies from person to person, and I never considered whether they were asleep or not.
When I had my first, I did the same. I didn’t follow any type of routine, much less look at the clock to see how long he’s been awake.
The result? He felt cranky and overtired, which made it harder to put him to sleep. I couldn’t lay him down drowsy and awake—instead, I had to hold him in my arms, rock or feed him to sleep.
Turns out, babies can only stay awake for so long. And more importantly, they don’t “just fall asleep” when they feel tired. If they’re overstimulated, hungry, uncomfortable or tired, they have a hard time falling asleep.
I then began to be more conscious of how long my baby was awake. I learned that an hour and a half is about the most a newborn can stay awake. And I looked for sleep cues and didn’t hesitate to put my baby down for a nap, even he’d only been awake for 45 minutes or an hour.
And guess what—he began to sleep better. He was less cranky and overtired and instead seemed to welcome his next nap. When I had twins a few years later, I remembered this handy trick and avoided keeping them awake too long, making them easy sleepers from day one.
Sure, this isn’t always convenient, especially if you feel stuck at home, but it can make a huge difference with how easy it is to put your baby to sleep.
4. Track your baby’s feedings and diapers
Your doctor will likely ask a few questions about your baby’s progress:
- what types of bowel movements he’s had
- how often he pees
- how many ounces of milk or minutes he nurses
And if you breastfeed, you’ll want to track how many minutes he nurses and on which breast. If he’s bottle-fed, track how many ounces he drinks.
For accurate answers, record your baby’s feedings so you don’t have to pull the information from memory.
Track your baby’s diapers as well, including, the kind of poop he had, such as color, texture, and how often he peed or pooped. Not exactly enticing, but necessary.
Keeping track of all your baby’s latest feedings and diaper changes can feel overwhelming. Get a convenient way to track feeding and diaper times with my FREE printable tracker! Download it below:
5. Feed your baby after he wakes up
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase.
It didn’t take long for me to see that my baby would fall asleep with nursing. I even prided myself for being the only who could put him to sleep—I had “mama’s touch,” I assumed.
Trouble is, he’d only fall asleep through nursing (or rocking). Nap times became horrendous—I’d spend several minutes rocking him to sleep only for him to wake up the minute I laid him down.
This also made nap times short. Forget about two-hour naps—each time he stirred, he wouldn’t know how to put himself back to sleep. I’d either resort to rocking or nursing him all over again, making both of us miserable and sleep deprived.
Then I read Tracy Hogg’s E-A-S-Y technique (eat/awake/sleep/you). Rather than feeding your baby to sleep, you’d feed him after he woke up. At first, I was doubtful. This was, after all, one of the ways I could put him to sleep. But when I saw how much he relied on external sleep aids to fall asleep, I knew I had to try a different way.
I then changed my routine. Rather than feeding my baby to sleep, I fed him after he woke up, which allowed him to try to fall asleep on his own. He stopped tying nursing with sleeping and instead expected to eat when he woke up.
Here’s how it works:
- Feed your baby (eat) after he wakes up (awake) so he’ll have energy for her awake time.
- After your baby has been awake a while, put him to sleep drowsy but awake (sleep). He can explore different ways to put himself to sleep, such as sucking on his thumb or rocking his head side to side.
- Once he’s asleep, you can tend to yourself (you) and repeat the cycle.
6. Find alternative ways to hold your baby
The first day I was home alone with my twins felt like a juggling act. With two babies to care for and only one set of arms, I needed to bounce between one baby to another to get them to sleep.
Because a baby’s preferred position? In your arms. The snuggling feels good, but isn’t sustainable. After all, you need your arms to get things done, from using the restroom to preparing food. And it’s not always safe to fall asleep with the baby in your arms.
Instead, use other techniques to hold the baby. I relied so much on baby gear to hold my babies, giving me time to tend to the other twin or catch a break.
These are the items I recommend the most:
- Swing: The swing was perfect for lulling my babies to sleep, where they often fell asleep for a nap. The motion soothed them when nothing else seemed to work, or at least kept them entertained during awake time.
- Baby wrap: A baby wrap allows you to keep the baby close while freeing your arms to do other tasks.
- Stroller: Many babies will fall asleep in a stroller, making for convenient errands or a walk around the block. A stroller is also helpful for quick shopping trips, placing the baby in the stroller while you put items inside.
- Infant cushion: The infant cushion below uses the baby’s weight to give the feeling of being held.
Infant cushions mimic the feeling of being held in someone’s arms.
Using several baby items to hold your baby is also convenient so that, should he fuss with one, you have other options handy.
7. Swaddle your baby for better sleep
For months, your baby grew accustomed to the tight spaces of your womb. To go from the fetal position to lying flat on his back isn’t the easiest transition. He also has the Moro reflex, which explains the sudden flailing of the arms that can startle him awake or even hit him on the face.
Enter the swaddle. By wrapping your baby systematically in a blanket, you’ll prevent his arms from flailing and waking him up. And by recreating the snugness of the womb, you’re more likely to help your baby sleep longer stretches.
Here’s how to swaddle your baby:
- Place a square swaddle blanket (like these Aden+Anais ones I loved) flat on a surface like a diamond.
Aden + Anais
- Fold the top corner down 5-10 inches towards the middle so that the diamond now looks like the top part got cut off.
- Place your baby on top of the swaddle with her neck aligned with the straight line you folded.
- Keep your baby’s arms straight next to her body. Then fold the left corner of the swaddle over her body and tuck it under her back. Her left arm should still be free.
- Fold the bottom corner up and over her left shoulder, tucking it inside the swaddle.
- Holding her left arm down, fold the right corner over her arm and entire body, tucking the flap into the swaddle.
Swaddles help babies sleep longer and feel snug.
Follow this step-by-step illustration of how to swaddle a baby.
For a more convenient option, use a Velcro swaddle blanket or the Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit. Both keep your baby snug, are less likely to come undone and take less steps—especially useful in the middle of the night.
A Velcro swaddle is a convenient way to keep baby snug with less steps to do.
The sleep suit is another option to keep your baby snug during sleep.
8. Use white noise so your baby doesn’t startle
In the womb, your baby heard a constant white noise, from the beating of your heart to the muffles of the outside world. But now, he wakes up over the slightest sound.
I learned the magic of white noise early on, when the constant hum of a fan would help my baby sleep much longer than when I didn’t have it running. I was better able to shuffle around the house without tiptoeing, and I didn’t have to worry about noises from the neighbors.
Place a fan or heater in the room your baby is sleeping in to help him fall and stay asleep. Not only is the white noise comforting, it also muffles sounds from elsewhere. If you’d rather get a white noise machine so you don’t affect the room’s temperature, check out these highly-rated options:
9. Hang darkening curtains to extend baby’s naps
You may have heard that you should have your baby nap in a bright room during the day to help him learn day from night. You’re avoiding long naps in the day that he should reserve for nights.
Yes, we want our babies to sleep longer at nights, but we want them to take long naps, too. Hang darkening curtains in your baby’s room—even during the day—so he can sleep longer stretches. As anyone with a baby who only naps in 30-45 minute chunks, a dark room can make a huge difference.
Another benefit of a dark room? Drawing the curtains helps signal that it’s nap or bedtime. These routines let your baby know that he should be sleeping rather than playing.
Rarely does a baby nap for five or more hours during the day (I can count twice for mine). And should you want to avoid those long naps, then wake the baby up. Otherwise, dark curtains help your baby stretch shorter naps to longer ones.
And even with darkening curtains during the day, your room won’t get pitch black the way it does at night. So even then, your baby will still learn that darkness means long stretches of sleep at night.
I hung darkening curtains like these:
Welcoming a baby can be one of the most challenging periods in a parent’s life. While nothing can make the hardships disappear completely, we can rely on baby tips to make those months much smoother.
As a recap, here are the newborn care basics we learned:
- Onesies can also be pulled down during messy poop accidents
- Expel gas with the elbow-to-knee trick
- Keep your baby awake no longer than 90 minutes for better sleep and less fussiness
- Record your baby feedings and diaper changes to monitor his progress
- Feed your baby after he wakes up to reduce the reliance on feeding to sleep
- Find alternative ways to hold your baby to free up your arms
- Swaddle your baby for longer stretches of sleep
- Use white noise to muffle outside noises that might startle your baby
- Hang darkening curtains to help your baby fall and stay asleep
Taking care of a newborn is tough enough as it is, but with these baby tips, you’ll have an easier time caring for your baby.
p.s. Want resources to help your baby sleep well, especially if he only sleeps in your arms? I created a guide just for you! Learn about “How to Get Your Baby to Sleep without Being Held” here.
Image Source: https://www.thebump.com/a/life-with-a-newborn