Jacalyn Burke

5 Hacks to Get Your Baby’s Sleep on Track

5 Hacks to Get Your Baby’s Sleep on Track

By Amy Lage, Sleep Expert at Well Rested Baby My first daughter was a terrible sleeper.  That is what got me into this business.  Before she came, we expected that this little being could simply be toted around with us and would just sleep when she needed to…easy breezy.  No, not so much.  When we realized our error we quickly digested every sleep book we could get our hands on.  Still, we were at a loss with so much conflicting advice and information.  At around 9 months we hired a sleep consultant and within 2 days our “terrible sleeper” was suddenly an incredible sleeper.  It turns out that all along she (like all babies) had this ability, we just had not taught her.  So what’s the secret? Introducing the Well Rested Baby Cheat Sheet, 5 Simple Rules to get your baby’s sleep on track: Rule #1 – Your Baby Needs to Sleep in His Crib.  Period. Unfortunately, as I learned babies are not fashion accessories that we should just expect to fit into our social calendar.  The sooner you can come to terms with this the better.  Life would be much easier if we could tote our kids anywhere, at anytime and expect that they will get the sleep they need, but unfortunately that’s not the case.  Babies and toddlers will achieve their very best sleep in their bassinet, crib, or bed, and it should be your goal for them to do the majority of their sleeping in this consistent location.  Yes, very little babies have the amazing ability to sleep through anything, but once they reach about 2 months old they start to become social beings and have a much harder time blocking out what’s going on around them.  Sleeping at home in their own darkened room will make sure there are no distractions.  Also, babies and toddlers have better quality, more restorative sleep when they are sleeping in a stationary location like their own bed. Vibrations or motion during sleep (think strollers and car seats) force the brain into a lighter sleep state and reduce the restorative power of the nap.  It’s similar in comparison to the sleep that you get on an airplane: ok, but not really restful.  A nap on-the-go here and there is fine, but most naps should be taken in your child’s bed.  This does make you a bit of a slave to your house but ask anyone who has kids – that first year flies by.  Before you know it you will be out and about and personally, I would rather stay in and have a well-rested child than be out with a cranky, overtired baby. Rule #2 – Your Baby Needs to Nap at the Correct Times Naptime should follow your baby’s biological clock.  We all have internal clocks called circadian rhythms that make us feel drowsy at certain times.  It is easiest at these times to fall asleep and get our most restorative sleep.  These times change as your child grows older. If you can base your child’s nap schedule so that they sleep in sync with these rhythms they will be able to achieve their best sleep.  While it is sometimes daunting to follow a schedule, it will provide you the confidence to know exactly when your child will need to sleep and that he is getting the sleep that he needs. Rule #3 – Insist on An Early Bedtime Bedtime should be early enough to ensure that your child goes to bed before they become overtired.  A child who is overtired has a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep.  This is because when we get overtired we release the stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline.  This is a primitive fight or flight response, which is intended to keep us going.  While this was probably helpful to cavemen, it is not when it kicks in for your baby and he gets a “second wind”. When this response occurs on a regular basis these hormones actually build up in your baby’s system and then cause him to wake-up in the middle of the night or early in the morning.  Although it sounds counterintuitive, an early bedtime WILL NOT cause your child to wake earlier in the morning.  In fact, early bedtimes help children to sleep later as they are better able to self soothe and consolidate sleep without the presence of these hormones.  In short, an early bedtime allows babies to achieve longer stretches of better quality sleep.  As an added bonus, it provides more time for you to unwind and have “you” time in the evening.  What parent doesn’t need that? Rule #4 – A Consistent Routine: This one is so simple to achieve, yet so important!  Babies and toddlers crave routine in their daily schedules as it helps them know what to expect.  They follow patterns and your cues, so if you create a consistent soothing routine before sleep times then they will know to expect sleep to come next.   Your soothing routine does not need to be anything complicated – maybe a book and a nice soothing song – but it needs to be consistent and should always end with your child going into bed sleepy, but awake. Rule #5 – Teach Your Child to Fall Asleep If your child relies on you to be with them until they are fast asleep, how will they know how to put themselves back to sleep when a sleep cycle ends during nap time or when they wake at night? Self-soothing is a skill that every child must learn to be an independent sleeper.  Once your child is on the correct schedule and is falling asleep before he becomes overtired, self-soothing will come much more easily.  There are lots of methods for teaching your child to self-soothe.  Some methods involve more tears but work very quickly and some have little or no tears but take a bit longer.  They all accomplish the same end goal – teaching your child to fall asleep on their own. This is one of the best skills you can teach a child as it enables them to become well rested, independent and better able to handle the opportunities and challenges each day presents. Amy Lage is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Family Sleep Institute certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant.  She is founder of Well Rested Baby (www.wellrestedbaby.com). She offers a host of services including in person, phone, email and Skype/FaceTime consultations that can be tailored to meet any family’s needs and schedule.  Amy, her husband Jeff, their 5 year old Stella, their 2 year old Harley, and their two dogs Jackson and Cody live in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts.  Please email her at amy@wellrestedbaby.com with any questions.  Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook too more great sleep tips!
The Safest Sunscreens for Your Baby

The Safest Sunscreens for Your Baby

Originally posted on www.babydoesnyc.com

In the third part of our baby sunscreen guide we introduce you to the EWG safe list of sunscreens.These sunscreens pose a LOW health threat in terms of the ingredients used on those products. Baby Does NYC urges parents to check all products with their pediatrician before using these sunscreens.

Before you use sunscreen follow these two guides. 1)    Sunscreen for babies is your LAST resort, instead dress your baby in light sunscreen clothing to protect their sensitive skin,  buy approved UV filter baby sunglasses

When a charge becomes a tyrant

When a charge becomes a tyrant

By Jacalyn S Burke, Perhaps you helped raise him from birth and he has morphed from a loving child into a despot. Or maybe you’re a new nanny and the honeymoon period is over. Most nannies will face working with an angry, or even violent child during their career. For the majority of children there is a good reason behind a negative shift in behavior:

a change in the home: a parent goes back to work, parents separate, parent absent from the home for long periods of time, family has moved home, a new baby is born, the family pet dies, etc. a

Protecting Your Kids from Sun: sunscreens the low down

Protecting Your Kids from Sun: sunscreens the low down

By Jacalyn S Burke,

In the second part of our report on sunscreens and your baby – what you need to know  – we wanted to clarify the difference between sunscreens. This information was originally provided by the U. of California San Francisco – UCSF School of Medicine.

Physical Sunscreens Physical sunscreens reflect or scatter UV radiation before it reaches your skin. Some sunblocks combine both chemical and physical sunblocks. The two types of physical screens that are available are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Both provide broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection and are gentle enough for everyday use. Because these are physical blocking agents and not chemicals, they are especially useful for individuals with sensitive skin, as they rarely cause skin irritation.(source UCSF) Do not use sunscreen on infants younger than 6 months unless the doctor directs you to do so. It is best for infants to stay out of the sun and wear protective clothing (e.g., hats, long sleeves/pants) when outdoors. Some ingredients can increase skin sensitivity. If a sunscreen causes redness or irritation, wash it off and stop using it. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about using another sunscreen product with different ingredients. Chemical sunscreens Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the energy of UV radiation before it affects your skin. Most chemical sunscreens are composed of several active ingredients. This is because no single chemical ingredient blocks the entire UV spectrum. Instead, most chemicals only block a narrow region of the UV spectrum. Therefore, by combining several chemicals, with each one blocking a different region of UV light, one can produce a sunblock that provides broad spectrum protection. The majority of chemical agents used in sunblock work in the UVB region. Only a few chemicals block the UVA region. However, there is a real question mark on the safety of its use as research has shown that the use of chemical sunscreen is linked to the higher incidence of skin cancer due to its free radical generating and DNA/hormone disrupting properties. What’s more concerning is the way in which Oxybenzone (a common sunscreen component) filters ultra violet light on the surface of the skin by converting light to heat that can be absorbed through the skin. This is disturbing because if light is converted to heat in the basal layers of the skin, damage to growing cells is very likely. Organic sunscreens Organic sunscreens also work by providing a reflective barrier against sun damage using active blocking agents zinc oxide or titanium oxide. Organic sunscreens are chemical free and will not contain any
chemical UV-absorbers, synthetic preservatives, benzoates,
petrochemical, artificial fragrances, parabens, artificial flavors or
color and other harmful chemicals.
For people with sensitive and allergy prone skin and for people who are concerned about cancer inducing chemical ingredients used in chemical filters, then an organic sunscreen may be a more suitable option. Also please be aware that nanotechnology is being used even with the physical sunscreens zinc oxide and titanium oxide. More studies are needed to determine their safety. Please read below our shocking findings about Nanotechnology on sunscreens Our advice Before buying a sunscreen read the ingredients carefully before buying, and understand what chemicals are harmful if they are allowed to build up in your infant’s body. There are other ways to protect your children. These include dressing your infant in sun protective clothing, and placing a wide-rimmed hat, and using infant sun glasses, and providing adequate shade such as an umbrella or using natural shade and limiting exposure on the hottest time of the day. Please see the Environmental Working Group EWG list of the safest sunscreens in the market. This guide will give you the best advice on what is safest to use on your baby’s delicate skin.

photo credit <a

“The Age of Dignity” Ai-jen Poo’s explosive new book

“The Age of Dignity” Ai-jen Poo’s explosive new book

Ai-jen why did you become involved in the care industry as a cause? At a young age I noticed that the work that women do is so central to everything else in our society functioning, yet it is undervalued and often invisible. I saw this first with my mom, who worked full-time, went to school and took care of me and my sister, and then later on I saw it compounded when I began working with domestic workers who earn low wages caring for families as their profession, in addition to their own.  Work that that has historically been associated with women, in particular caregiving, is the work that makes all other work possible. The fact that we’ve not recognized or valued that work makes the very foundation of our economy unstable.  I learned this from another vantage point when my grandfather needed care and my family was unable to provide it. We ended up having to place him in a nursing home against his wishes, where he passed away after only three months.  We’re going to need more supports for families and our elders, which will require valuing caregiving in a whole new way. With so many families struggling like mine to care for their aging loved ones, it is clear we need new solutions. The Age of Dignity is a great title. How did the book come about? Over the years I met countless inspiring women and men whose stories were untold, everyone from family caregivers to home care workers to older adults and people with disabilities, all of whom are connected by the challenge of maintaining dignity while managing care for our families. Millions of us — about 100 million of us — are directly impacted by the fact that our caregiving infrastructure is patchwork at best, outdated and unworkable at worst. The Caring Across Generations campaign, which I co-founded with a dozen national and local organizations, is working to bring caregiving to the forefront of our national conversation about the future of our economy. Care touches so many aspects of our lives and society — it’s a women’s issue, it’s an immigration issue, it’s an economic issue, it’s a racial equity issue. And of course, at its core it’s about families.  But too often, we’ve quietly survived our caregiving struggles behind closed doors, in the isolation of our homes. Our stories and struggles with care need to be part of the public debate about what working people need in order to succeed in this economy. My book, The Age of Dignity, was written with the goal of highlighting not only the personal stories of hardship and strength, but the solutions that can help move us toward a vision for the future where we are all supported to live to our highest and best potential. As a fellow activist in the care industry, the care of citizens at both ends of the age spectrum is an important subject. But what makes it a pressing issue? It’s a pressing issue because we’re aging rapidly as a nation. Every day, 10,000 Americans turn 65, and by 2030, an unprecedented 20 percent of our nation will be over the age of 65. Sooner rather than later, we will have to confront what this means, both culturally and politically. This Elder Boom will shape our society in ways that we’re only beginning to understand and grapple with. In many ways, these changes present a huge opportunity. Living longer means we have the chance to love longer, teach longer, connect longer. But we don’t yet have the supports in place that would enable all of us to live and age with dignity, with the kind of quality of life we want. We’re already experiencing the impact of the Elder Boom. More than 40 million of us are caregivers, the vast majority for our aging parents, yet our workplaces and public policy have yet to catch up. We have no social safety net that provides quality, affordable long-term care. And because people overwhelmingly want to age at home, home care is already the fastest-growing industry in the country, and is projected to add at least one million jobs to our economy over the next decade. But this workforce, despite performing physically and emotionally strenuous tasks, is paid so poorly that half must rely on public assistance to care for their own families. Many of these care professionals don’t even have access to health insurance. I believe that we have the opportunity to respond to the need by creating a whole new approach to caregiving, with bold solutions that benefit family caregivers, home care workers, and the aging Americans and people with disabilities who rely on assistance to live independent lives at home and in their community. This will require an investment in what I call the Care Grid — the systems, supports, policies, and programs that can bring quality care to every home. And this doesn’t only apply to elder care — this infrastructure would support working families with young children as well. Critics of change argue that reform is costly to tax-payers in general and that the ‘market’ should be expected to resolve social issues to do with child and elder care. Is this an erroneous thought? The market has had many years to address these issues and hasn’t.  Private enterprise will be a key part of the solution, but what’s needed is really at the scale of a national infrastructure program.  With 27 million people in need of care by the year 2050, it’s an all hands on deck situation.  Addressing these issues requires all of us to come together — families, communities, government at all levels, and private enterprise. Already, we’re beginning to see really creative solutions bubble up from the community level, whether it’s the development of NORCs, the Village Movement, or Cooperative Homecare Associates, a worker-owned homecare cooperative with thousands of members. Both private sector innovation and public resources will be needed to bring these creative solutions to scale. And we shouldn’t think of it as extra costs. An investment in home care in particular has the potential to generate significant cost savings in our health care system — these workers often are on the frontlines of health care provision, with a focus on quality of life — the best prevention., Investing in training and job quality for the workforce could transform the management of chronic illnesses for the elderly and prevent expensive emergency room visits and rehospitalizations. And with the increasing cost of nursing homes, where the average cost of a private room is approaching $100,000 per year, home care is much more cost effective, while allowing people who wish to age at home the opportunity to do so. The economic impact of NOT providing affordable, quality child care and elder care is already proven. The total costs of not doing so are in the hundreds of billions of dollars every year, in lost productivity, wages, and benefits.  And from a non-economic perspective, who doesn’t want to be able to care for our families? Addressing these issues would give us all real choices that enable us to be free, to love, to plan, and to have peace of mind. Why should baby boomers and even younger generations be invested in this subject? Baby boomers, especially what I call the sandwich generation or more appropriately, the panini generation, are the ones who are grappling right now with how to care for their aging parents. The urgency that many caregivers feel is real, because they’re living it right now in their own lives. Elder care is an issue that even millennials care about. This generation of young people is quite connected to their grandparents, in ways that previous generations weren’t. I’ve met so many high school and college students who have shared stories about their caring for their grandparents, or the other way around. This idea that young people don’t care about older generations is a false one. And the young and old have more in common than most people think! Millennials and boomers are similarly driven by values and a desire to change the world. Boomers gave us rock and roll and social justice, I believe they’ll be the generation that changes how we think and feel about aging and caregiving, hand in hand with millennials.

All of us will need care or will provide care at some point in our lives. This is truly an issue that touches all of us. 

About the book Buy the book About the author Ai-jen Poo