Providing Professional Doula Services to Families in Greenwich, Westchester and NYC

Sleep Issues

Ever wonder why you feel so grey and down when the seasons change?

You might be experiencing some biological changes and imbalances from a condition called seasonal affective disorder.

Everything slows down in the winter. The trees die, the wildlife hibernates, the world turns grey and human beings are no exception to these changes.

But when does this winter grogginess become a bigger problem? 

Our bodies regulate sleep and mood with hormones and the changing of the seasons can disrupt the body's natural circadian rhythm or biological clock. In the winter for example, the days are shorter and your body tends to release more melatonin to help you sleep. Less sunshine also means a reduction in seratonin also known as the hormone that regulates your mood. 

Misconceptions

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding seasonal affective disorder is that it only appears during winter months. That's actually false and seasonal affective disorders can appear with any season change including summertime....Read more

Sleep /slēp/ noun
A condition of body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended. 

A good night sleep can do more than boost your mood and get rid of your under eye circles.

Getting the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep can provide a variety of other benefits that play a role in your physical and mental health. Although most people are aware of the benefits of a good night sleep, sleep deprivation is something that most of us have struggled with at one point or another. 

Sleep Deprivation is something that many postpartum women struggle with.

Sleep deprivation comes with a lot of extra baggage (not just the ones under your eyes). Ongoing sleep deficiency can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, clumsiness and weight loss or weight gain and is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

Whether you had a vaginal or cesarean birth your recovery is equally important.

Your recovery is greatly impacted by two things. Your nutritional care and rest.

...Read more

My new family had just arrived home from the hospital with their new baby. 

They were totally overwhelmed by holiday stress! Their concern was that Christmas should be perfect for the entire family.  They seemed more overwhelmed by holiday stress than baby stress!   I helped them through their first day, but on my way home in the car, I thought of these 7 ways to help them enjoy the holidays even more with less stress and more sleep.

My list started out with one family in mind but I think that this list can help everyone!

The most important thing is

1) To simplify.  Try not to focus on perfection and how the holiday should be.  Start new, less complicated traditions.  Last year you baked cookies, this year you buy them;  simplify your decorations.  Shop at fewer stores or shop online.  Be able to ask for help.  Release yourself from an idealistic vision of the holiday and embrace a more realistic one.

2) Say "No" and focus on what is important to you and your family.  Be able to say "No, we love you, but we really need to be alone for a while with our new baby."  (If you do let people visit, they must come with food in their hands!)

3) Do not overspend. Simplify your gift giving.  Financial stress, worrying about money, is one of the biggest triggers of insomnia.

4) Avoid the relationship clash.  You know the button that a certain relative pushes every year to cause a blow-up. ...Read more

 

The baby (2-16 or so, weeks old) is sleeping.

She is in your room with you in a bassinette, it is 11pm, you are exhausted and ready for as much sleep as she will let you get!

Your brush your teeth and your head hits the pillow hard! You are expecting a good 2.5 hours and you need it badly!

Your eyes quickly close to the hum of your sweet bundle’s breath and you're there. Your body and mind are finally at rest. You are in recovery mode. I mean you might even have a dream, you’re so asleep and then… she sighs and moves (a tiny bit). You’re up! All the way up! You’re standing over her, ready for action… she is asleep. It is 11:23pm, you get back into bed.

OK… You are filled with gratitude for that sweet little girl and you are back to sleep. Ahhhh…

You don’t know how you are able to hear her move her mouth but somehow from a full on sleep, her tongue moves off of the roof of her mouth and her pucker wakes you like a 5 alarm fire! You bolt out of bed. You are standing over that bassinette staring at a …sleeping baby! You make your way back to bed. It is 11:41pm. You drift off to sleep with thoughts about whether or not your husband needs a hearing check…

At 11:57, she is screaming! At least you thought so, because in the .2 seconds it took you to whip the covers off and RUN 1 step to her bedside… she fell back to sleep.

You chug some water, rub your face and let you weak and exhausted body melt back into bed. You pull...Read more

 

“DON’T TALK TO ME”, I snapped!

I need 20 minutes of quiet to just chill!

I’m completely fried.

I have to decompress… Oh my gosh, my mind is spinning. There’s electricity raging through my body and I have to drive this car and get this kid and I home safely!

It was a bowling event with the Girl Scouts. Erica was in 2nd grade. There were millions of them! Kids EVERYWHERE! The noise, the lights, the music, the worry that I might lose one of them, the incessant questions that started with Rannnndyyy???

As much as I loved being a leader and being involved in scouting with my girls…. That shit can also blow your mind!

Now think about a newborn…

The smells, the sounds, the lights, the people, his parents nerves, the dog, the sister, THE GRANDMA!

The kids mind is blown and he needs to decompress!

He cries!

You bounce him! (adding more stimulation…)

He cries more!

You walk him into another room! (adding even more stimulation)

He cries continuously!

Dad takes him! (adding more stimulation)

He looses his mind!

You try a bath…. (stimulation OVERLOAD)

He screams his fucking head off!

You cry! (adding more stimulation!)

So what can we do for an over-stimulated baby?

                       -       Relax (well, try to anyway) your baby used to live INSIDE you. He shared your body with you and he responds...Read more

Well, here we are! It’s the end of summer, and another school year has started.

As most of you know, my blog posts about sleep usually focus on infants and toddlers. For now, I’m stepping out of the box to look at sleep among teenagers, or more accurately, LACK of sleep among teenagers.

According to the National Institutes of Health, sleep deprivation among young adults is at epidemic proportions.

Many teenagers flock back to school with a feeling of excitement. They want to be liked, to belong, and to succeed academically. Maybe they want to participate in new activities, experience the responsibility and financial benefit of holding a part-time job, or hang out with friends. Whatever the reason, teenagers are filling their lives with more activities than a healthy lifestyle can support.

Our biological clocks work best if our sleep is consistent.

When we are running on one schedule during the week, another on Saturday, and yet another on Sunday, we throw off our body’s rhythms, causing exhaustion.

This sleep-time discrepancy between school nights and weekends is the biggest culprit.

Between attending school, struggling with homework and maybe extra credit projects, playing sports and instruments, participating in other extracurricular activities, working at part-time jobs, spending time with friends, texting and social networking—not to mention, eating, maintaining general hygiene, and driving to all of the above—...Read more

 

Attachment Parenting on a Schedule

I only breastfed for a few months, I fed on a schedule, my children slept 8-10 hours a night at 3 and 4 weeks old and no child of mine ever slept in the bed that I make love to my husband in. And still… We are attached. Incredibly bonded and attached.

I ran a tight ship around here. There was a schedule for everything and we stuck to that schedule. Modifications were made to the schedule when necessary and those modifications were quickly maintained. This was our choice for our family; it was never open for debate or discussion. It was our decision to make and we made the right one for us.

That being said, my confidence level hovers around the 10+ mark on any given day and I don’t seek the approval of others, ever. I make decisions with my partner; Jerry Patterson and we act on that decision. Together, as a team.

If you are the judging type and I hope for your sake you are not, judge away.  It will have no impact because I have the advantage of watching it in action for two days shy of 21 years and I wouldn’t change a single thing.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do anything as powerful as parenting. I simply know what my family needed.

The part that I have a difficult time with, is the assumption that “scheduled parenting” creates less of a bond or a disconnect. The bond I have with my girls can only be compared to the bond between...Read more

CIO is how it is referred to in books, blogs and magazines.

I am ashamed to say, I did this.

Once.

For three days.

For 3 long and agonizing days.

It went against every fiber of my being and yet, I did it.

I was advised to do it by my pediatrician, the authority (in my mind, at the time) on all things baby.

I was encouraged to do it to by my mom and my mother in law and I was “supported” to do it by my friends who had or who were doing it themselves.

You see, prior to doing it, I would bathe my baby, usually in the tub with her.

I would pass her out to her dad who would dry her and love on her and put on her pajamas.

While he did that, I would get out of the tub, dry myself off and put my own pajamas on.

The two of us would meet up again, a few minutes later on the couch and I would nurse her to sleep in my arms. I remember this with peace and softness. It was right and I knew it. My baby and I knew it. Next I would slip her quietly into her bed and she would sleep until early in the morning.

At about six months old, I stopped breastfeeding and she was taking a bottle before bed. The routine was the same and things were going well. At this point, she was sleeping later into the morning and we were all feeling pretty much “normal”.

As a few more months passed, that before bed bottle, no longer helped her drift off to sleep. Instead, she would slurp it down and...Read more

When I sat down to talk to the parents, my heart went out to them. The mom had tears welling up in her eyes, and her story came spilling out. No one in the family was happy because of sleep deprivation. The husband couldn't concentrate at work, she felt like a zombie, and her baby was always cranky.

She felt like the joy was sucked out of her day before it even began. She wondered... “How did it ever get this bad? My son was sleeping well at one point. Then it just got worse and worse, and here we are.”

Their little one was eight months old and waking every two to three hours through the night. She knew she needed help when she looked down her own street for a full ninety seconds before it registered in her brain that, yes, she did live there.

I listened to this sensitive mom. She talked about her situation, her life, and her hurdles....Read more