Caesarean Awareness Month

April…Caesarean Awareness Month

I didn’t know this was even a thing until this April. I had two c-sections and boy am I happy there is an entire month dedicated to the awareness and education surrounding the topic.

Very few people truly know all the details of Noah’s birth, we notice some people like to down plan the severity of it while others just don’t agree that a c-section was the only way. So, here’s the story;

He was an emergency section. I was in labour for nearly 12 hours when the doctors and nurses realized something was wrong. Looking back at everything that night and truly recalling the details my husband and I start to realize that we almost lost our first born. No one told us how bad it was, they all just kept a smile and lovingly told us what to do next. It wasn’t until they purposely broke my water that things really took a turn for the worse. I now know they did that because they knew something was already wrong and needed confirmation on what to do next. Noah’s heart rate dropped to non-existent, they tried putting fluid back in me which did help…until it drained out and his heart rate dropped again. Alarms were going off, countless nurses and doctors were in and out constantly, they told Darion to get out of the way. And still smiles and reassuring words were all we knew. These people did everything they could to never let on that something was wrong, they wanted us to have a happy stress-free experience. When they told me, they had to call the on-call doctor to come in that should have been the first sign that this was serious. But she came in like a breath of fresh air, held my hand, smiled at me and looked into my eyes and said “We’re going into surgery now because something is wrong, and we don’t know what. Everything is going to be ok, we will take the best care of you and baby, but this is not up for discussion.” Even then I didn’t believe something could be wrong, honestly, I was just thankful I wasn’t going to be in pain anymore. Within minutes I was in surgery and they were pulling him out. His umbilical cord was so tightly wrapped around one of his legs that it was cutting off all circulation…all oxygen. Had I once not trusted the nurses and doctors involved in his birth, we might not have him today. The series of events once looked back upon were clearly all done with purpose and careful thought.

I have been told straight to my face that I made the wrong decision to have a c-section. I want to say to anyone that thinks that is; would you have chosen possible death over surgery? Would you have let your ego get in the way of people honestly trying to help? And then why would anyone feel they are entitled to have an opinion on how I chose to birth my children? I have two healthy and happy boys. Why does my choice to birth them differently than you make me wrong? Sometimes I am almost ashamed to tell people I had an elected c-section with Myles. But what those people don’t understand is the mental anguish I have gone through thinking about how we could have lost Noah, and how if I had let me ego get in the way that sweet boy wouldn’t be here today. How if he had died… Myles probably wouldn’t be here either because I wouldn’t have been strong enough mentally and emotionally to go through it all again.

Remember everyone’s birth stories are different and unique and almost none of them are wrong. Use kindness and empathy when listening to someone’s story, not judgement. Educate yourself on the topic so you can better understand what someone has been through. And listen with open ears and an open heart and remember it’s their life and they did what any mother did…they brought a child into this world.

~ 5 Common Sleep Myths ~

When I had my first son, I had no idea what would happen to our sleep. I knew babies woke up a lot in the night, but nothing prepared me for just how much! Or what to do when he woke, what not to do and what advice was real and what was “old wives’ tales”. Everyone had an opinion… and at the same time no one had an opinion. People told us “Don’t worry that’s what babies do” “Try to get used to it” “Sleep when baby sleeps” (that last one was the worst…our baby never slept). And then we turned to Google for help. BIG MISTAKE! Bad advice was everywhere, my most hated…it’s just a natural part of being a parent or baby will sleep when they are ready.

 

So today let’s focus on the

Top 5 Sleep Myths and why they are Myths

 

  1. Sleeping too much during the day will keep baby up at night.

Not likely, except in extreme cases. Unless your little one is sleeping practically all day and up all night, you probably don’t need to worry about the length of their naps. Newborns especially need ton of sleep. In fact, up until 6 months, I wouldn’t recommend your little one be awake for more than about 2-2 ½ hours at a time. For newborns, that number is more like 45 minutes to an hour.

What keep babies awake at night, more than anything, is over-tiredness. You might think that an exhausted baby is more likely to sleep a full night than one that slept all day…your wrong. The reason we refer to it as being “overtired” is because baby has missed the “tired” phase and their bodies start to kick back into gear, which keeps them from falling and staying asleep. A baby who has gotten a decent amount of sleep during the day is far less likely to miss a sleep window.

There are substantial variations depending on baby’s age and the length of their naps, but up to that 6-month mark, it’s really not uncommon for baby to be sleeping around 5 hours a day outside of nighttime sleep, so if your little one is still within those guidelines, let them snooze.

 

  1. Sleeping is a natural development and can’t be taught.

Sleeping is natural, absolutely. Everybody wakes up and falls back to sleep multiple times a night, regardless of their age. So no, you can’t teach a child to be sleepy. What can be taught, however, is the ability to fall back to sleep independently.

The typical “bad sleeper” of a baby isn’t less in need of sleep or more prone to waking up. They’ve just learned to depend on outside assistance to get back to sleep when they wake up. Once your little one has figured out how to get to sleep without assistance from outside sources, they start stringing those sleep cycles together absolutely effortlessly, and that’s the secret to “sleeping through the night” as most parents understand it.

 

  1. Babies will naturally dictate their ow sleep schedule.

Our babies need extensive care and help in their development, and their sleep, cycles are unbelievably erratic is left unregulated. If they miss their natural sleep cycle by as a little as a half hour, their cortisol production can increase which causes a surge in energy, and things quickly spiral out of control. So as much as I wish babies could just fall asleep when they’re tired, it simply doesn’t work that way. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t respond to their cues, but you shouldn’t rely exclusively on them either.

 

  1. Sleep training is stressful for the baby and can affect the parent-child attachment

According to study by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2016, behavioural intervention (A.K.A Sleep Training) “provide(s) significant sleep benefits about control yet convey(s) no adverse stress responses or long-term effects on parent-child attachment or child emotions and behaviour.” Not a whole lot of grey area there.

 

  1. Babies are not “designed” to sleep through the night

I think we can all agree that, even if babies were “designed” somehow, whoever did the designing left plenty of room for some upgrades. Trusting your child’s physiology to dictate their sleep schedule, their eating habits, their behaviour or just about any other aspect of their upbringing is a recipe for disaster.

Is your toddler designed to eat three pounds of gummi bears? Probably not! Will they if you don’t intervene?

Our little ones need our expertise and authority to guide them through their early years and probably will for decades after that. This is especially true when it comes to their sleep. Some babies are naturally gifted sleepers, for sure, but don’t rely on the advice of those who tell you that babies should dictate their schedules. You’re in charge because you know best, even if it may not feel like it sometimes.

Remember, there are endless posts on social media and websites that portray themselves as factual but there’s nothing stopping them from making that claim, regardless of their accuracy or basis in actual scientific evidence. Google scholar is a great place to find peer-reviewed scientific study on all things baby-related and trusted sources like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institutes of Health, Britain’s National Health Service, Canada’s Hospital for Sick Children, The World Health Organization, and other national children’s health organizations are excellent sources of information you can feel confident about using to answer questions about your baby’s health.

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Why Your Baby Will Never Sleep Through the Night

That’s right, I said it. Your baby will never sleep straight through the night… and neither will you, for that matter.

In fact, pretty much anyone who isn’t heavily sedated before going to bed can expect to wake up multiple times in the night.

This isn’t due to stress, caffeine, lack of exercise or any other factors that can contribute to a lousy sleep, it’s a normal and natural part of the human sleep cycle.

We are all familiar with the various stages of sleep from our own experiences. You might not be able to put a name to them, but you’ve certainly felt the difference between waking from a light sleep and a deep one.

Simply put, when we fall asleep, we spend a little while in a light stage of sleep and gradually progress into a deeper one. We stay there for a little while and then gradually re-emerge into the lighter stage, and when we do there’s a good chance that we’ll wake up.

That all sounds great, right? You fall asleep at 11 or so, hit that deep stage by midnight, hang out there for 6 hours or so and then start to come back to the surface around 6:00 or 7:00, gradually waking up refreshed and ready to face the day.

Except the whole process only takes about an hour and a half.

That’s right. From start to finish, going from light sleep to deep sleep and back again takes between 90-110 minutes! [i]

Luckily for us (and for those who have to interact with us) the process repeats itself pretty easily. Either we’ll wake up for a minute or two and fall right back to sleep, or we might not even really break the surface at all.

Ideally, this happens five to six times in a row. We get a restful, restorative snooze in the night, and we reap the benefits of it throughout the day.

But enough about us grown-ups. What about our little ones?

Infants, despite their increased need for sleep, have a much shorter sleep cycle than adults. On average, an infant goes from light sleep to deep sleep and back again in an astounding 50 minutes.[ii] So, whoever coined the term “Sleep like a baby” was clearly misinformed.

This is where the essential element of sleep training comes into play, the program doesn’t teach your child to stay asleep or spend more time in any one stage of the sleep cycle.

What we do is teach your baby to fall asleep independently initially, and when they wake up.

That’s it! That really is the heart of what we’ll be doing together. We’ll be helping your baby to accept these wake-ups as a non-event.

Once they’ve learned the skills they need to fall back to sleep on their own, they’ll wake up after a sleep cycle, their brain will signal them to go back to sleep, and that’s exactly what they’ll do.

There are a few reasons why I feel it is so important for parents to understand this. First, I want you to know there we’re not doing anything that actually influences or alters your baby’s natural sleep. We’re just giving them the skills to fall asleep independently after they wake up, which, as you probably know by now, they’re going to do multiple times a night.

Second, one of the biggest arguments you might hear from critics of sleep training is, “Babies are supposed to wake up at night!” And that’s absolutely, 100% correct. Babies, just like adults, are supposed to wake up at night.

All that we’ll be doing together is teaching your little one to stay calm and content when they do wake up and giving them the ability to get back to sleep without any help from mom, a pacifier, or any other exterior source that might not be readily available in the middle of the night.

So, if you’re wondering whether or not sleep training is going to put your child at an increased risk for SIDS, if it will somehow alter their natural sleep patterns, make them nocturnal or damage them in any way, I can assure you with the full support of the American Academy of Pediatrics, that it will not. [iii]

What it will do is keep them calm and assured when they wake up in the night and help to ensure that they get the sleep they need to be happy and healthy.

So, although your little one is going to wake up numerous times a night, every night, they can quickly and easily learn the skills to get back to sleep on their own.

 

[i] US National Library of Medicine – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072506/

 

[ii] US National Library of Medicine – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3439810/

 

[iii] American Academy of Pediatrics – https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/Infant-Sleep-Training-is-Effective-and-Safe-Study-Finds.aspx

Carlee Byerley

Be Still Sleep Co. 

Why We Sleep Train

Not every child needs help getting a good nights sleep. Some babies are naturally great sleepers right from the start. They go down happily at bedtime and only wake up when they’re hungry, or even sleep straight through the night from a very early age.

Some families co-sleep or bed share, some prefer that baby sleep in their own room. Some feed on demand throughout the night, others prefer to adhere to a feeding schedule.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those approaches. As long as a family’s sleep situation works for them.

Families hire sleep consultants when their sleep situation IS NOT working for them. They are tired, no one is getting enough sleep at night, and they feel they need to make some changes.

Creating healthy sleep habits takes time, patience and commitment. Together, we will tailor a personalized, step-by-step plan specifically based on baby’s needs and it has an extremely high chance of success if it is follow consistently.

What are the Benefits for Children who Sleep Through The Night?

Sleep Helps Babies Grow

Growth hormones are primarily secreted during periods of deep sleep. Babies need to spend about 50% of their time in deep sleep for adequate growth.

Sleeping Helps Prevent Obesity

Babies who learn to sooth without feeding are less likely to be overweight and have lower rates of childhood obesity. Well-rested children are also typically more active, which helps them burn off calories and develop muscle tissue.

Sleep Helps Boost the Immune System

While we sleep our bodies produce infection and stress-fighting proteins known as cytokines. The less sleep we get the fewer we produce and the more prone we are to infections and illness.

Rested Babies are Less Injury-Prone

Kids who do not get enough sleep are clumsier and more impulsive than those who do. Getting enough sleep significantly reduces the risk of injury.

Sleep Helps Babies Learn

Adequate sleep has been shown to increase creativity and cognitive ability in newborns and infants. In fact, a 2010 study showed that newborns actually learn while they sleep.

What About the Adults?

Babies are not the only ones who benefit from a good night’s sleep. Mom and Dad are just as likely to enjoy the advantages of getting enough shut-eye and suffer the consequences if they do not.

Sleep Keeps You Healthy

Adults who get less than 8 hours of sleep a night are at an elevated risk for a whole laundry list of health problems, including hypertension, high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depressive disorders.

Well Rested Parents Are More Alert

Getting a good night’s sleep helps to keep you focused and aware of your surroundings. A recent study from the AAA showed that even getting 6 – 7 hours of sleep a night can double your chances of getting into a traffic accident.

Sleep Boots Memory

Learning new skills, memorizing schedules, and establishing routines are abilities that are going to come in very handy for new parents. Getting enough sleep at night will go a long way to helping them adapt to their new responsibilities and retain the vast amounts of information they are learning on this journey.

Sleep Helps You Stay Fit

Sleep debt affects your metabolism and glucose tolerance, as well as your energy levels which can lead to weight gain and all of the health issues that go along with it

Babies, as you are no doubt aware, require a tremendous amount of time and attention. Sleep allows people to be the parents they want to be, happy, attentive, patient, and on the ball, rather than just surviving day to day dependent on coffee to function.

This transition may appear to cause some short term stress for babies, but the research shows that it has no negative psychological impact or effect on the relationship and bonding between parents and their children.