Welcome to the SOS Parenting Weekly Newsletter. This week looks at the issue of postnatal depletion. Is your tiredness caused by more than a non-sleeping baby or child? Plus, this week's parent Q&A session is all about how to prepare a toddler for the arrival of a new baby brother or sister.
View this email in your browser
Welcome to my latest newsletter. This week looks at the issue of postnatal depletion. Is your tiredness caused by more than a non-sleeping baby or child? Plus, this week's parent Q&A session is all about how to prepare a toddler for the arrival of a new baby brother or sister.

Have a great week everyone!

New on the blog this week: An Important Letter to All Parents-to-Be.

"Trust me when I say that learning about baby sleep beforehand is something you will regret not doing. How do I know that? Because I hear the phrase “I really wish I’d known all of this before, it would have saved me from so much heartache and worry” daily from parents.

Take some time now, while you still have time and energy to read (no, I’m not exaggerating – both will soon become a distant memory!), to really learn about the way newborns sleep.".......

Read more HERE.

Is Your Exhaustion Due to More Than a Non-Sleeping Child?

There is no doubt that parenting a baby or small child is hard work. Really hard work. Lack of sleep really takes a toll on your body and mind and the physical requirements of non-stop feeding, nappy/diaper changing, bathing, dressing, feeding and entertaining make any other job in the world seem easy. Of course some mothers do all of this and balance a career too. Is it any wonder we're so tired all of the time?

For some though the tiredness is something extra. Not all exhaustion can be blamed on the baby or toddler and the accompanying sleepless nights. Postnatal depletion is a real concern, because so little know about it.

During pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding your body puts its energy into growing another human being. Sometimes this can leave us lacking in essential nutrients. This can take a toll on our body and add to the overall feeling of exhaustion that parenting brings, but often the real cause is missed because everybody experts new parents to be exhausted.

So what are some of the most common deficiences in new mothers?

B12 is an essential vitamin for energy as it can affect the body's ability to build healthy red blood cells. A deficiency can manifest in many ways including a general lack of energy and fatigue, a loss of appetite, pale skin, diarrhoea or constipation, 'brain fog', inability to concentrate and anxiety.
B12 can be easily supplemented with a daily oral spray such as THISwhich is safe to take while pregnant and when breastfeeding.

Iron deficiency can result in anaemia, where the lack of iron means the body does not produce enough red blood cells. Symptoms here include tiredness and lethargy, pale skin, shortness of breath and heart palpitations. Iron can be easily supplemented in a liquid form, which avoids the constipation which commonly comes with tablet form, such as THIS, which is safe to take while pregnant and when breastfeeding.

Magnesium deficiency is another big culprit when it comes to exhaustion and lethargy. In addition it can also be linked to anxiety, depression, difficulty relaxing and insomnia, 'brain fog', migraines and muscle cramps. Magnesium can be easily supplemented in a transdermal (via the skin) spray, such as THIS. which is safe to take while pregnant and when breastfeeding.

Zinc deficiency can once again contribute to 'brain fog' and a lack of appetite, as well as hair loss, lowered immunity and delayed wound healing. Zinc can be easily supplemented in tablet form such as THIS and is safe to take while pregnant and when breastfeeding.

Other things that can contribute to exhaustion and a low immune system in early parenthood include:

Imbalanced Microbiome
Many new mothers receive antibiotics during or immediately after the birth, for C-Section wound healing and Group-B Strep prophylaxis and many are prescribed antibiotics postnataly (rightly or wrongly) for mastitis. The antibiotics can do a good job of killing any unwanted bacteria, but they also destroy the helpul bacteria colonising the gut and imbalance the microbiome. Antibiotic usage during pregnancy, birth and or postnatally causes a need to rebalance the gut flora through the usage of probiotics such as THESE, which are safe to use while pregnant and breastfeeding.

It sounds so simple, but a lot of tiredness is caused by simple dehydration. Mothers are often so busy feeding the children and rushing around during the day that they often don't drink enough. This lack of hydration cause the body many issues, such as dry of the mouth and skin and irritability. There is no one correct amount of water to drink per day. The simple rule is that your urine should be a very pale sraw colour, similar to the background colour of this text. If it is darker you need to drink more. A good tip is to drink a full glass of water every time you sit down to feed your child.

Poor Nutrition
Too much processed food, sugar and simple carbohydrates can lead to a lack of energy and often weight gain. This often results in a tricky cycle of craving more 'trashy' food in order to try to give your body energy, yet the more you eat the more you will crave and your energy levels will suffer aside from the initial spike provided by the sugar. The real key is to eat 'clean', that means as little processed food as possible. Try to up your protein intake and switch to complex carbohydrates. Forget calorie counting and faddy diets, just try to eat real food - and as much of it as you want.

This week Anna would like to know:
Q: "What is the best way to help my son adjust to a new baby sibling?"

A: Ideally you will start to prepare your son for his new role as a big brother well before the new baby arrives. Including him in as many antenatal appointments as possible, ask your midwife if he can listen to the baby's heartbeat and share scan photos with him. Invite him to choose items for the new baby when you are out shopping and ask him if he would like to buy a special gift for the baby too. Now is a good time to read books about the arrival of new siblings and if you are planning on having a homebirth then a good book about birth is important too (for a general book I like THIS and for one more focussed on the birth I like THIS).

It's really important that if your son is currently sleeping in your bedroom, or in a nursery, that you don't move him into a new bedroom close to the arrival of the new baby. He must not associate the baby with his move out of your bed, or out of his cot or nursery. I would recommend moving no later than your 6th month of pregnancy for this reason. If you do want to move him into his own room after this point I would wait until the new baby is at least 3 months old, preferably even older. Toddlers really do not take well to being moved out of the family bed into 'a big boy room' to make way for a new sibling. if you do bedshare you may consider putting a toddler bed into your room for your son, or using a cosleeper crib for the new baby and your toddler sleeping the other side of you or your partner, well away from the baby.

I'd really encourage you to get your son a doll, so that he has his own baby to nurture when your baby arrives (and "our baby" is what the new arrival should be referred to when he or she arrives). You can get some lovely doll slings that he can use to carry 'his baby' around in if the new baby is being carried by you. Similarly you can get some toy nappies for him to put on his baby while the new baby needs changing. When it comes to feeding the new baby I'd encourage you to put together a 'feeding box' of special toys. This box should be restricted to feeding time only. When you sit down to the feed the new baby your son can choose to sit and cuddle you, feed his baby or take out his special feeding toys. These toys should go away again at the end of the feed so that they retain their novelty value.

Your son's behaviour is likely to regress when the new baby arrives. Try to understand why this is. He may wake more at night, he may tantrum more, he may regress in toilet training and have several accidents and he may become violent when he was never violent before. These are all signs that he is hurting. He is unsure of his place in your life now the new baby is here. These feelings will pass, but it's important you never punish him or tell him off by saying he's "a big boy now" (right now he'd probably rather be a baby, since babies get all the attention). Time is the healer here. Reassure your son as much as possible and each day try to spend a least 30 minutes with him without the baby around (ie the baby not in the same room as you) in order to reconnect. At the weekend if you can top that up to an hour with you out of the house together, perhaps a visit to the park (without the baby) this can really help too. This 1-2-1 time is so vital to reassure him and heal any break in the connection and is a great practice to continue over time with both children, for many years to come. In many families when a new baby arrives dad takes care of the toddler while mum takes care of the baby, but this only adds to the disconnect the toddler has with you, your son will very much need you in a way that dad cannot replace once his new sibling is here.

You may find THIS ARTICLE helpful about the emotional journey you are about to embark on. Good luck!

Coming up this month:
Gentle Parenting Workshop,
Essex, UK.
Sunday 28th February, 10am - 1pm.
Tickets still available HERE.
£25 each, or £40 per family ticket.
Gentle Parenting Book Countdown
2 weeks to go!

For more information see:

UK Pre-orders HERE
Rest of world HERE

The Gentle Parenting Book on Facebook
Why Your Baby's Sleep Matters Book Countdown
3 weeks to go!

For more information see:

UK Pre-orders HERE
US Pre-orders HERE

Why Your Baby's Sleep Matters on Facebook
Gentle sleep training that really is gentle.
Available internationally by Email & Skype.
Watch my new video about the importance of bedtime routines and how to create a good one!
Copyright © 2016 Sarah Ockwell-Smith, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp