Toddler Sleep – is it all in the timing?

I share this post knowing and understanding the difficulties most parents can have with newborn, infant and toddler sleeping behaviors.  I have had my share, trust me.  I am curious after reading and re-reading well written books on sleeping habits, blogs, posts, community discussions and more on the topic, if it all just comes down to timing.  Timing of your child’s temperament, age, timing of your family environment, as well as your particular parenting style.

I have read some amazing books on the topic and have taken away great tips and ideas along with my most beneficial aspect, knowledge on sleep and what we need at different aspects of our developing early years.  I am thankful to have read these books along with the “real” dialogue I have had with moms throughout on this topic.  Everyone has their “thing” when it comes to sleep and it seems to be top of mind to most moms.

In the past 6 months, my 2.5 year old has accomplished many of these sleep milestones without needing to utilize any structured sleep training methods or CIO methods.  I must say, I am not against any of these methods, we have just chosen our own method of timing and persistence. Or should I say perseverance?

For me I found communicating with my little one expectations of what was to come (ie. no more bottle, no more mommy staying in the room with you, and no more milk at bedtime, etc) in a slow, consistent and patient nature is what worked well for us. Now, I am not good with sudden changes in behavior, so the “rip the band-aid off” approach is not typically the approach I take with my little ones.  For some, my approach might take too long and can be not only tiresome but lengthy.  It works for us.

In my previous career, an executive in the Spa & Hospitality industry, I always introduced new programs and changes within the business to my team this way and always had success with adults.  I thought, why not try this same approach to my children?  Communication and defining the end in mind, I found was the key ingredient to successful transitions.

Most recently my LO achieved the milestone of not having milk at bedtime with no resistance and definitely no tears.  At almost 2.5 most families took care of this months ago and I applaud each of you for doing so.  I made the mistake when my LO weaned from nursing to introduce a bottle in the crib – yes BIG mistake!  Fast forward to now and yes, this is a milestone we are just now achieving.  I must say though with 7 days of discussing this change with my LO every day when waking up in the morning, at nap time as well as bedtime of what was to come, taking the milk away happened easier than I ever thought possible.  We chose the date together and when the big day came, my LO told me what was going to happen and how it was going to happen.  Yes, a proud mama moment.

Now transitions like this are not all peaches and cream, it did require a few extra hugs and I love you’s along with an additional song.  I also checked in for another tuck in for a few days to ensure my LO just how proud mommy and daddy were of accomplishing such a difficult achievement.

And now I can take another long exhale and move on to the next toddler achievement.


Ahhh the Benefits of Steam

It is always amazing to me how the world of spa and the world of motherhood crossover on an almost daily basis.  As a spa professional, the benefits of steam are numerous and the majority of spas have steam rooms or steam showers for guests to enjoy.

In a spa setting, relaxing in a steam room and taking deep long inhalations boosts the immune system, clears out impurities in the skin’s pores, loosens congestion, eases sinus pressure and more.

At home when infants and young children are feeling sick, congested, coughing or having difficulty breathing, sitting in the bathroom with the hot water from the shower running to produce a steamy room benefit the children.

Why is it then when we grow up and become young adults do we forget this natural remedy when it is there all along whether in our bathrooms or at our favorite spa? Exposing our children to spa in the teenage years keeps these natural remedies top of mind.  Spa is a way of life, a necessity, not a luxury.


Berries ~ Superfood to Boost the Immune System

As today’s headlines continue to show alarming rates of the flu across the US, I am focusing on increasing the quality of nutrient dense foods at our dinner table.  It is so very important to boost the immune system during times as the present, where our bodies are being exposed to viruses and bacteria wanting to attack the body.  Top of this list are the amazing super powerhouse foods ~ berries ~ full of anti-oxidants, phytochemicals, fiber and flavonoids.  When I am talking about these superfoods, I am referring to blueberries (my favorite), strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and the delicious blackberries.

I mentioned 4 reasons that the berry is such a powerhouse as they contain anti-oxidants, phytochemicals, fiber and flavonoids.  You might be wondering what these benefits are and why they are so beneficial to your health.

Anti-oxidants:  known to boost the immune system and neutralize damage caused by free radicals trying to attack the immune system.  Brightly colored foods with rich, deep blues, oranges, reds, greens and yellows are full of these immune booster and disease fighting superheros.  Berries are rich in anti-oxidants and blueberries have the highest levels of antioxidants than any other berry.

Phytochemicals or Phytonutrients: these are plant-based nutrient rich foods full of vitamins and minerals, which focus on preventing disease and sickness.

Fiber: the stringy stuff holding our fruits and vegetables together encouraging healthy active digestion, lowers cholesterol and gives you that full feeling without over eating.

Flavonoids: part of the phytonutrient, flavonoids aid the immune system by protecting the cells of the body against environmental pollutants and work with the body to allow for proper functioning.  Assisting the body in fighting off infections, flavonoids are responsible for bringing the rich reds, oranges and greens to fruits and vegetables.

As all fruits and vegetables are important in boosting the immune system and protecting the body from infections and disease, I am particularly fond of the berry…especially during the cold and flu season.  Lets hear what your powerhouse food of choice is for protecting your immune system…