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A point of view – Infant Sleep and Parenting

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Encourage Cortisol and Melatonin with Controlled Light

Remember the awe you felt when your baby was born? That yawning rosebud that could turn into an unconscious smile that said ‘hallo’ or grim paroxysms of displeasure?! I remember my son’s first cries – those of mutant rage – but when he was laid on my chest, that glow of wonder, that instant connection made through teary eyes seemed so magical and real, though, of course, babies can’t see when they’re born. Yet, it seemed like it was our secret, his and mine! The invisible mother and child bond! And today, they say that being a biological mother is overrated….I want to stick it to whoever says that!

 
But do you also remember that sense of isolation when you took your baby home? That feeling of being swallowed by a dark cavern or being thrown into the deep end of the pool! Oh, it was scary to be so wholly responsible for this tiny being, the margin for error being zero, and you actually were playing by ear! But as long as your baby was feeding well and sleeping round the clock, all was well! Never mind your mother saying that the baby should be woken every two hours for a feed! Listen to your instincts and you could never go wrong because no matter what anyone says, motherhood is an instinctive process, with only the new mother understanding a child’s elemental needs during those first couple of months! And woe betides anyone who says no!! And lucky are those who slept through the night only to wake for a quick feed and diaper change – all in the dark, even on moonless nights!

 
My daughter was an entirely different story! A week after we brought her back home, she got restless, crying all the time, apparently for no reason – her diaper would be dry and she would be happy only with her lips clamped to the breast, but in no time, she would start yelling, her body stiff with rage, spitting up what she’d taken in. it took a few days for it to dawn on me that she l’il one was just not burping! Hence, the distended tummy, fermented stools, and the constant crying, all of us distressed and not knowing how to pacify her, till a visit to the paediatrician, where we were shown how to support her into a sitting position and to rub her tummy just below the sternum that would produce loud belches! And boy were the loud burps music to my ears! But needless to say, the little angel settled down slowly, and was sleeping round the clock and gaining weight steadily, albeit slower than her brother, but then, she was a much bigger baby than her brother was. But a colicky baby can be a nightmare!

 
In those days, 15 to 20 years ago, I never heeded friends and doctors’ advice that sharing a bedroom with my baby was counter productive. It was said that both the infant and the parents slept better when apart and that it was much safer for the baby. Again, I say, follow your instincts! There’s no easier way to losing sleep than to getting off the bed and walking to the baby’s room to feed him/her, taking the l’il one out of the crib, changing the diaper on the changing table and then putting the tiny mite back in the crib and rocking him or her back to sleep – by then, you’re wide awake and wound up! Sleep deprived! And you’ve just got to function the next day! What worked beat for me was to have a full sized baby cot next to my bed, with its side operable by raising up and down, because let’s face it, I didn’t want any of those horror stories I’ve heard about mothers turning over and lying atop their babies and killing them in the process, happening to me! When my little one woke for a feed, I would simply lift the side of the cot, lift my baby out and feed with pillows propped to keep my back straight. I would efficiently burp the baby, change the diaper, swaddle securely, and put him/her back into the cot, and slide back down to sleep! A ten-minute process that happened twice every night in the first three months! None of the baby monitor and new baby room for me! So quick and efficient, and bright eyed and bushy tailed babies and mother, come morning!

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The Benefits of Using Wood Window Blinds in a Nursery

The other thing I insisted on was to develop my baby’s circadian rhythm! To me, feeding, bathing, singing to put the baby to sleep would be pointless if I didn’t help my baby understand the difference between night and day. Newborns sleep through the day and night, in bursts of half-an-hour to four hours! I insisted on installing blinds on the bedroom windows, and later in the kids’ rooms, so that during the day, I could control the amount of light coming in, and I could even leave the windows open – living in the ’burbs had its advantages. At night, I would shut the vanes of the blinds tight so that even the light from the street lamps wouldn’t sneak in. I had cloth tapes covering the route holes, and I had decorative color coordinated four-inch beadings fixed around the window frames to curtail the halo effect that is a downside of inside mounted blinds or any window shading for that matter, unless it’s the blackout cellular shades I recently read about, that come with side rails to nullify the halo effect. The Traditions Wood Blinds in white from Graber was what I used, and still have, but as I was telling my newly expectant niece, today, there are so many advanced options of window shading available, and I cannot emphasize the benefits of outfitting a baby’s room with blinds or shutters with operable vanes that allow lighting to encourage the neural system in newborns, and when deprived of light, the brain automatically produces melatonin, the sleep hormone, which in coordination with lowering levels of cortisol that decreases alertness, encourages the sleep-wake pattern that is absolutely essential to infancy, and to a mother’s sanity!

 
So, Sandra and I surfed the net to come up with the Normandy Wood Blinds that matched the wooden elements in the baby’s room. The blinds feature SmartPrivacy, which means that there are no route holes for the cords to pass through, eliminating any light seepage with the vanes closed, and helps do away with the need for cloth tapes. They also feature the patented Insta-Lock, which ensures that the blind and vanes remain at any position that you want them to be at, helping control the light, view, and privacy effortlessly. I hope Sandra has as easy a time as I had with my babies. All luck to her!

 

 

 

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