Welcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up which focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family. Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health. If there’s a topic or recipe you’d like featured on Health Happy Round-Up, let me know! [drgarnecki at gmail dot com].
There was never a
Child so lovely but his
Mother was glad to see him asleep.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
My husband and I were stuck in the trenches of a baby that was often waking throughout the night for many, many months. I blogged about it, blogged s’more, then I blogged about it again, and again, and again.
I have nothing but the utmost compassion and empathy for parents with a baby or toddler that has difficulty sleeping. Yes, I know there are parents who are blessed beyond belief with children who can easily sleep 12+ hours at night from 7 weeks onward, but that was not our child.
When we finally moved to a place where our son had his own room, his sleep duration grew longer and more consistent. Such a sweet reward!
We made it through teething, growth spurts, and a few colds which interrupted this blissful pattern of sleep, but we’d survived 8 months of bitter wakefulness, so we could endure a few days or weeks of sleeplessness every few months.
With that in mind, I humbly share the following:
7 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep for Children:
1. Keep a consistent bedtime and wake-up time.
Maintaining a consistent bedtime (plus or minus 15 minutes, if necessary) helps your child regulate sleep and wake habits. Changing bedtimes by 30 minutes or an hour or more on a daily basis creates confusion for your child’s body clock. Help your child with consistency to help with healthy sleep.
2. Create a regular bedtime routine.
I fondly recall the post I wrote about our bedtime routine with our son when he was a year old. A regular routine helps your child know what to expect next, and it encourages a sense of security. Over time, your child will be conditioned to be sleepy at bedtime once the routine is established and followed regularly and consistently.
3. Keep daily naps at consistent times.
Consistency is the key to success in most things, and that definitely applies to promoting health sleep. Daily naptimes and duration vary depending on a baby or child’s age, but they are essential to good rest and night time sleep. Most cultures throughout the world participate in a mid-day naptime. Not only is a regular nap beneficial for children, but it’s highly beneficial for adults.
4. Give your child adequate nutrition.
Avoid processed foods and sugary foods. Refined carbohydrates such as breads, pastas, and baked goods cause increased energy, yet they’re harder for the body to break down for nutrients. Avoid these types of foods at dinner time. Instead, feed your child fresh fruits, fresh or stir-fried vegetables, hormone-free and grass-fed beef or chicken, or wild-caught fish. Fermented foods are easier for the body to break down: pickled cucumbers, pickled beets, kefir, etc. Yogurt is full of protein and healthy probiotics. This is a great dessert to promote digestion and help your child feel pleasantly full throughout the night.
5. Encourage your child to be mentally and physically fit.
Playing outside or inside to expend mental and physical energy encourages exercise and mental alertness. Read with your child throughout the day. Encourage creative playtime. Most importantly, avoid television time which doesn’t require physical movement or much mental thought.
6. Help your child relax before bedtime.
Children are often wound-up and excited just before bedtime. Help them to relax and unwind by playing soft, soothing music. Dim the lights while you’re helping your child into his pajamas. Read a bedtime story. Apply essential oils to the feet and massage for ultimate relaxation.
7. Create a comfy and inviting sleep environment.
Studies indicate that people who sleep in rooms where temperatures are at 65 degrees Farenheit (plus or minus 2 degrees) are more likely to have better sleep and reduced health problems. Don’t let your child go to bed with wet hair. Body temperature drops in the middle of the night, and body heat is released from the head. Your child will feel too cold at night with wet hair. Make sure the room is dark, the temperature is adequate, blankets are clean and warm, the mattress is comfortable, (if necessary) the white noise maker is on, and pajamas are soft and breathable.
Speaking of pajamas, our favorite line of pajamas is by Canadian-based Hatley Clothing. This green company aims to keep children’s pajamas chemical free. To adhere to strict manufacturing standards, in order to avoid flame-retardant chemicals in children’s clothing, they have to keep them tight, and not loose fitting.
Hatley’s fun print and applique pajamas are available in a number of styles (long-sleeved, short-sleeved, long pants, and shorts) to outfit the entire family. The stretchy cotton is incredibly soft, and I love the superior quality of the fibers, finishing details, and contrasting cuffs.
As soon as Calvin donned his new pajamas, he smiled in the mirror and tugged at his “space car” shirt. I don’t know who loves them more, Calvin, or us.
Hatley’s clothing is eco-friendly, utilizing organic cotton fibers and natural, alternative sustainable fibers where possible. They use non-chlorinated bleach and closed-loop dyers which ensures waste water doesn’t contaminate the water table in the communities where they work. The dyes they use are azo-free. All Hatley products are PVC-free. So rest assured, your little one will sleep warmly and comfortably without irritation from chemicals in his pajamas.
If you submit a photo of your child wearing Hatley pj’s, you could win a monthly photo contest and get another pair of kid pajamas. How cool is that?
Hatley’s kids’ pajamas retail for $28.99. They offer free shipping on orders over $39.
Note: Order 1 size larger if you want a slightly loose fit. My son wears 2T in every other type of clothing, but we ordered 3T Hatley pajamas and they’re perfect with room to grow.
Thanks to your rad response, this prize has been elevated to Editor’s Pick on Prizey. Yay!
1. Primary entry method (must complete primary entry in order to be eligible for other entry methods), visit Hatley clothing and tell me which pajama design, other than the Aliens, that you adore, and who you’d like to win them for.
2. Earn a second entry by subscribing to Hatley’s e-mail newsletter at the top of their home page. Leave a comment letting me know you subscribed, and the address you used.
3. Earn a third entry by blogging about the giveaway and linking to Traveling with Baby using “Sweet Dreams with Hatley Pajamas” as the title in your blog’s post. Then, leave a comment here with a link to your post.
4. Earn a fourth entry by subscribing to Traveling with Baby’s RSS feed. Leave a comment that you’re subscribed.
5. Earn a fifth entry by following me (drdolly) on Twitter and tweeting this contest with the following “RT @drdolly Win a pair of Hatley kids’ pajamas on Traveling with Baby! http://tinyurl.com/ncwrqm ” Leave a comment with the weblink to your tweet.
6. Earn sixth entry by adding Traveling with Baby’s button to your website/blog.
Leave a valid e-mail address, so I can contact you to claim your prize, or it’ll go to another amazing person. The contest is open to U.S. shipping addresses only.
This contest runs until 11:59PM (EST) on July 17th, 2009.
One winner will be randomly selected (via random.org) and announced on this post and e-mailed sometime shortly after July 17th. If a winner doesn’t respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.
Congratulations to the winner: #37 Katie. FYI, she won with an extra entry for her blog post.