Moms need friends too

March 4, 2020

Happy Wednesday!

I was recently reading that according to a study done in 2018 by the Global Health Service Company Cigna, 46% of adults in the United States reported feeling lonely and 47 % reported feeling left out. I don’t know about you but these numbers are not only sad but they are alarming. Here we are 2 years later and I wonder if these numbers are even higher than they were then!

I have definitely seen an increase in sadness, depression and anxiety in my patients and their parents. While we do not specifically ask patients if they are feeling lonely, I suspect that many would answer yes to that question.

We are living in a time where we are fooling ourselves into feeling connected via social media and chats but is it makes you wonder if it is really fulfilling our innate human need for relationships. Humans are social. We thrive when we feel included, loved and worthwhile. This is not just children, its adults too.

New moms often feel isolated as they find themselves for the first time home alone with one or more kids that depend on them for everything they need leaving little time to do anything for themselves. Feeling alone and with feelings of guilt for being sad when the world expects them to feel grateful all of the time for being moms. The problem is that along with those feelings of gratitude in parenting there are days that are just hard, and that doesn’t make you a bad mom.

When a mom is feeling sad or overwhelmed this affects her ability to show up as her best self day after day. This affects her relationship with her kids and sometimes results in yelling, frustration and impatience. The worst part is that usually when we lose our temper we feel terrible about it.

So try to put yourself out there. Join a mommy and me class if you can. Try to find another new mom that maybe you can walk with or meet up with once a week. You need to make it a priority in the same way that you make it a priority to take a shower. Relationships are what help our minds healthy and we need to prioritize this. Do not let motherhood isolate you from your friends or the rest of the world.

Even if you feel like the friends that don’t have kids just don’t get it, keep the friendships that mean something to you. You are still the same person you were before you had kids just with a lot more responsibilities. Don’t shut people out because they aren’t going through what you’re going through. Grow together and forgive each other when you make a mistake.

I know you know how important it is for your kids to have friends, so make sure you remember that you do too.

Have a wonderful week!

10 Strategies for getting babies to sleep through the night

 

January 22, 2020

Good morning! If you just had a baby and you’re wondering how you are ever going to make it through this parenting thing on such little sleep, you are not alone! Having a baby can bring with it so much joy but as the initial stage of bliss begins to wear off, the extreme lack of sleep really starts to break you down. Before you start thinking that you will never sleep again, I am writing 10 strategies to help you get your baby sleeping through the night when he/she is ready.

I will add that newborns need to eat small amounts frequently. It is not appropriate to think that your baby will be sleeping through the night from Day 1, and if they are then something is wrong. So the strategies I am listing below are to help you approach sleep with your baby from Day 1, keeping in mind that you and your baby will change along the way and you need to be willing. Just when you think you found the best way, the baby will do something different. As baby’s grow, their needs change and as they become more and more aware of their surroundings, so do their reactions to what we do in response. This is especially important to understand as it related to sleep.

1. Less is more. When you are setting up a bedtime routine, remember less is more. I know there are many gadgets, sound machines, lullabies, etc out there to get your baby to fall asleep but you need to make it simple. You may not have that gadget when you travel or as your baby grows so remember less is more

2. Establish routines from Day 1. Babies thrive in routines and sleep is no different. Although it is difficult with a newborn it is not impossible. Try to create a pattern that the baby can recognize. For example: Bath, Story, Bed.

3.Β  Create a quiet time 1 hour before bed. Studies show that it is more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep when you use computers or electronics before going to bed. Establish this as a rule in your house from Day 1. This is the perfect time for reading and engaging your baby. (This means YOUR phone too…put it down)

4. Help your baby to fall asleep but do not put them to sleep. In other words, you can help your baby relax if he/she is upset but once they appear relaxed, just lay them down. Let them learn from the beginning how to fall asleep without you.

5. Once a baby is between 3-4 months old try to separate feeding from sleeping. You do not want your baby to associate falling asleep with breast feeding or even bottle feeding. Not only does this create a bad habit, but once a baby has teeth, you increase their risk of cavities if they fall asleep drinking milk.

Β 6. Try to create a clear difference between day and night in your home. Daytime is when we speak freely, sing, dance and our lights are on. In the middle of the night we do not sing and dance! (at least not with a newborn).

7. Do your best to not run to your baby with every little sound. Newborns make lots of sounds and even a slight cry when they are settling in or trying to fall asleep. Let them try to get to sleep without your help after you have checked all your boxes: a.full tummy b. clean diaper. (you will begin to recognize your baby’s cries as you get to know them).

Β 8. It’s never to early to introduce a “lovey” or a special blanket. While newborns can not sleep with blankets in their crib, older kids can. However, you can place a lovey or special blanket near your baby while you are helping them transition from day to night with your bedtime routine. Just don’t put it in the crib.

9. Say goodnight. Sneaking away from a baby will create anxiety. The earlier a baby learns that he/she is going to sleep alone the less anxious they will be about going to sleep. (imagine if you’re a baby and you fall asleep in your mother’s arms, thinking you are there all night, only to find yourself alone in your crib at 2 am!-ANXIETY!)

10. Setbacks will happen when a baby is sick or you travel. It is totally fine! Somedays you just have to do what you have to do to make it through. Just try to get back into your original routine as soon as you and your baby are ready!

Sleep is one of the most overlooked aspects of health that many of us take for granted. Our bodies need to sleep. Being proactive in creating healthy sleeping habits will not only help your baby but it will also help you. You will be a better parent with a good night’s sleep and it’s never too early to begin preparing for it with your new baby!

Happy zzz’s!

Elizabeth Vainder, M.D.

Pediatrician

DRVCARES

 

 

Reaching for the Stars

May 15, 2018

My entire life I have tried to set high goals. My parents always made me feel as though I truly could do anything. I suppose I took for granted that everyone’s parents were the same. The truth is that sadly it is not this way at all. So many kids are going through life day by day thinking that they are destined to live the life their parents have created. It is sad really when you think about it. Who knows what talents and traits lay hidden inside of these children.

Take the time to sit with your children, even as young as 5 years old, and set goals. Let your child lead in what they want those goals to be. Do not laugh or ridicule a goal even if it seems ridiculous or unreachable to you. It is important to instill in them the idea that with hard work and perseverance anything is possible.

I believe that short term goals are just us as important as long term goals. The short term goals are what will bring you closer to the long term goals,Β  so choose them wisely. Help your children see the bigger picture but help them by coming up with a plan to get there. Write down the goals. Perhaps buy a “goal notebook” that they can keep and look at from time to time. It will keep them motivated.

Explain to your child that anything that is worth attaining will not be easy. There will be setbacks and they will fail. When this happens, the focus must be on what you do after this happens. Do you chose to stop and give up on your dreams?… or do you stop and reflect on what happened and learn from it. Sometimes we need to make a mistake to learn a lesson or see something more clearly. Do not get discouraged from these setbacks. These moments are the ones that you learn from the most.

Encourage your child to be proactive when they fail. If they failed a test and didn’t understand something, have them set up a meeting with the teacher to learn what they didn’t understand. It is not only about the grade. It is important to learn for the sake of learningΒ  and to explore what you can do differently in the future. Otherwise, these mistakes and grades mean nothing. Do not allow the final grade to determine your child’s self worth or potential. Help your child go back and review how they studied and perhaps find new strategies to improve their grade on the next assessment.

Always “talk” to your kids. Listen really….the truth is when you REALLY listen to your kids, you will learn so much about what they are thinking, what they are worrying about, etc. This pertains to small kids and teens. We all want to be heard.Β  WhenΒ  you stop to really listen to your child, without judgement, you will see that relationship grow in ways that you could only dream of.

So, go out there and sit with your child, set goals, listen and enjoy their journey into adulthood. It is the best part of being a parent-helping your child find their true potential. #parenthood #settinggoals #teens #schoolanxiety #drmom #drvcares

Elizabeth Vainder, M.D., F.A.A.P