Guidelines to newborn sleepRead More
Below is a jumping off point for families looking for baby monitors but not quite knowing where to begin!
The good—you can see your baby from anywhere, as long as you have a WiFi connection. There are so many additional features you can get with a WiFi monitor, like heat sensors, a microphone, and more.
The bad- Other people have been supposedly known to hack into networks. Does this actually happen? I don't know of anyone this has actually happened to, but it seems to be what the circulating chain email everyone got said.
This monitor is made by Kodak (remember those disposable cameras you brought to school dances, vacations, and Bar mitzvahs? I DO!). It was voted top monitor by Wired. It has all the bells and whistles!
Video Monitors, not connected to WiFi
The good- You can see baby when you need to and all the other great features, like monitoring room temp and a mic to talk to baby, are easy to come by. What’s even better?
The bad-If you are traveling on work, you cannot connect to the monitor via WiFi. (In some ways this is a blessing. You can trust your childcare to make sure your baby is safe, so you don’t have to.)
My spouse and I swear by this monitor. It gives us exactly what we need for peace of mind and the signal is strong enough to see our little girl from our back deck!
The good- Less is more here. These monitors are reasonably priced, and if you’re someone who lives an “out of sight, out of mind” mindset, this might be a good route. You can hear when baby is crying and if baby isn’t crying, he or she is ok.
The bad- For parents who need an extra piece of security to sleep at night, actually seeing baby can help relieve anxiety. It’s comforting to watch as your baby’s chest rises and falls. I get that.
This monitor is reasonably prices and still has some excellent features, like talk-back, a great range, and battery or plug-in choice.
But what about the Owlet?
Many times our fears dictate what we buy in the postpartum fog (ask any mom or dad that awakes to several Amazon packages but forgets why they bought what they did!). I always ask new parents, “why do you want the Owlet over other monitors?”
Typically what I uncover is that parents are worried that baby will stop breathing overnight. Is this irrational? Maybe a little. Have we all been there? YES. To be clear, an Owlet is not going to save a baby that stops breathing. It will simply alert you. Sometimes that alert does more harm than good because it’s set off by an overactive baby foot! (the Owlet is a monitor, if you didn’t know, that goes on the foot. It CAN be kicked loose). False alarms stoke the fear, and we don’t need that. For others, paying $299 gives us peace of mind when we need it. I was this person—only I was lucky to borrow my Owlet from a very kind cousin that understood my fear (thanks, Rachel!)
So overall, think about what you want from a monitor. The basics—to be able to hear your baby cry? A middle-of-the-road video monitor? A monitor that you can watch while you travel for work? Or the peace-of-mind knowing you can monitor baby’s heart rate and oxygen intake? If you’re still having trouble deciding, you are probably a libra. Just kidding. You’re a normal person. Schedule an hour consult with a postpartum doula you trust. We can help mitigate some of those fears and help you settle on a monitor you’ll be happy with.
The baby is out of your body.
You both survived—are thriving even—and your loved ones have stopped asking about you.
The question you get now is a version of “How is baby?” on repeat.
Maybe you get the “How are you” from a kind distant relative who isn’t sure what to ask, and you don’t believe they are looking for an honest answer.
The most common question you get directed to yourself, mom, is the kind of question that is designed to get information about your parenting style and not you— the “Are you breastfeeding baby?” “Are you staying home or going to send your baby to daycare?” “Are you letting the baby cry it out?” The kind of questions that incite very strong feelings of judgement. The kind of questions you don’t have to answer, not from family or coworkers.
These are questions very deeply engrained in our culture, but what if we shifted our mindset?
What if we trusted mothers?
We don’t need to mine moms about how they feed and put their children to sleep.
Trust that mothers know their babies best.
So what can you do, when you can’t change society or the people around you?
You can respond to these questions in a way that takes a stand.
“Mary, I appreciate your concern about how our baby sleeps. Our baby is sleeping biologically normal for her age.”
“Mary, you seem very concerned about how our baby is sleeping, but she’s in very good hands in this loving family.”
Honesty seems hard to come by in the digital era, where we mostly post happy pictures. It’s ok to answer someone’s question honestly when they seem to care about baby and not you—especially close family. In fact, I encourage you to do so. “Mary, the baby is just fine. Thank you for being concerned with her. I am having a kind of rough time, however. I know you didn’t ask, but it feels good to share that.”
Ask other moms how they are doing without judgement and without giving advice
This one is harder than it seems. Just ask another mom how she is doing and listen. You don’t have to offer any advice. In fact, you really shouldn’t unless someone asks you. Remember all the unsolicited advice you got when you were pregnant? Yeah, you remember now. You probably didn’t love it.
When people stop asking about mom, it sends the message that mom doesn’t matter.
Let’s change that.
For my entire life, I have valued relationships deeply. I’ve had life-long childhood friends I’ve kept in contact with, college friends who I did most of my personal growth with, graduate school friends I’ve commiserated with, work friends, friends to drink beer with, and above-all else—new mom friends that understand the struggles I experience in a way that I perhaps thought my former friends could not.
None of these friends receive(d) equal time from me. Instead, I found myself wandering between friendships because each one gave me something I needed in a moment of time.
Something shifted recently and that has all changed. A friend I cherish the most reached out and said he felt like I had cut him out of my life.
Through the process of becoming a mother, balancing being a supportive wife, and hard working employee, I had unintentionally cut him out of my life.
Which is to say my precious time was spent for me instead of by me.
Instead of meaningfully choosing what I did with my time, I spent it going grocery shopping, putting Ivy to bed, showing up at work early for a training, putting toys into a bin just to be pulled out again, doing laundry when I didn’t need to, complaining about it, staring at my phone mindlessly until minutes passed without me realizing. This
He sent me a podcast that encouraged me to think differently about my time and relationships, and I want to share it below because it changed me.
With the ever-increasing online persona we manager and decreasing in-person contact, it is harder than ever to be in control of how we spend our time and energy and with whom. It’s exponentially harder when you have a newborn and people don't realize in what ways your priorities have shifted.
So I have a few tips below I have summarized from the podcast.
Decide how much time you have
How much time do you have between feeding baby and putting baby down? How much time do you have to yourself after work (whatever it is you do besides being a mother) and putting the baby to sleep? Do you have three hours at night or in the morning or one?
Who are the most important people to you and what are the most important activities?
This can be family and friends or maybe just friends, if you have cut toxic family members out of your life. Who are the top ten people in your life? Why are they there? Do a little introspection and ask yourself, “how much time am I giving the ones I love and it is enough?” As an example, I decided on three people I most love and have been neglecting, and I decided how I wanted to communicate with them going forward.
Great, I know who I want to spend time with. Now what? STOP overextending yourself by doing a lot of extra activities you don’t want to. Feel obligated to go to every single birthday party, happy hour, work event? Stop. Reclaim your time. Plan that trip with your sister. Ask your college friend over for dinner. The rest can go on hold.
Communicate those boundaries
Y’all. I’m not going to lie—this part is hard as hell. Most of us hate conflict and don’t know what to do when it happens. Hello, hi, this is me. Share those boundaries with the people you are prioritizing and those you are not. This could be as simple as, “Hi, Sara. I'm sorry I’ve not communicated better. Parenting a newborn has been hard in a way I wasn’t anticipating. Can we get together and talk about what our friendship looks like now that I’m a mom?” OR "Kennedy, we haven’t talked in a while, and I think that’s going to continue. I am prioritizing what’s important to me right now, and I want to spend the few moments I have with my family more. Can we talk about this?” These conversations are best in person, as the podcast suggests.
Birth is not just a physical event. As our bodies heal in the following months from delivery, so do our minds.
There is much to process after baby is born. We continue to process our pregnancy, the stages of labor, delivery (and sometimes the complications that we associate), the journey to feed our baby-- all while our bodies heal, hormones shift, and sleep deprivation sets in (and we mentally process that too! We’re amazing).
The best way to evolve through this complex experience is through talking to someone who is equipped to listen and (when necessary, which is not all the time) provide insight.
Depending on the complexity, us doulas will sometimes refer families to a doctor. We do this when we recognize signs of anxiety, OCD, and depression. I most often see these when a mom has not had the opportunity to process her birth or there remains unresolved feelings of inadequacies, failure, isolation, and disappointment—anything outside of the normal baby blues.
To squash these feelings before they happen (and sometimes talking is enough prevention), It's important to schedule time with a postpartum doula.
The benefits to scheduling time to process your birth
Resolves feelings of inadequacies and failure
Let's you be heard and not judged
Allows you to gain valuable insight into ways/options you can heal (rebirth, skin to skin, etc)
Could potentially free you of negative feelings attached to delivery
What that time looks like varies from client to client. To learn more, give the Modern Doula a call.