Our little lady turned one month old this week and we have been learning the art of sleeplessness.
Child number two brings with it a great lot of experience, but no matter the lessons learnt on our initial prototype, we (as is any parent of a newborn) are always looking for ways to get more sleep.
Honestly though, no matter the tricks of the trade, babies have tiny stomachs that need to be filled and feeding every few hours is imperative, so all the people that say their newborn slept 8 hours, many would say this is not healthy for the baby or the breastfeeding Mum. So if your little one wakes often, it is very normal and you are not a bad parent.
In the first week of Liberty’s life we had the most profound experience. It sounds bizarre but we learnt sleep lessons from a photo session we had with Shining Light Photography.
We arrived at Natalie’s home, to find an environment ready for our one week old to be photographed in.
Each photo was carefully taken, with love and care treating our new little human with the utmost respect.
My little girl goes from zero to one hundred in the crying department and there are two times that she screams;
When she has wind and also when she is naked.
That is why I found this photo shoot amazing. Our little Liberty spent most of the photo shoot naked, but cried maybe once in the three hour session.
Natalie the owner of this business does portrait photography but specialises in newborn shoots and these are the lessons I learnt in sleeping like a baby from this creative experience.
1) Shut out the light;
We went into her front room and it was really dark. You would think you would need bright lights, camera, action. This was not the atmosphere for this shoot, dark, moody lighting, as dark as possible to keep our one week old asleep.
The lesson I learn’t is there are many lights that make their way into our bedrooms, much more than daylight behind a blind. Often we go to bed with our phones and the light penetrating the darkness, conditions our bodies to stay awake, rather than fall blissfully into sleep. Does your mobile charge next to your bed? Is there computers, modems, televisions, in your sleep space that shine little technology shaped light into your sleep cocoon? If so and you are having trouble sleeping, maybe work on the little bits of light that come in and create as much darkness as possible.
The environment that my little girl had her photo taken in, was really warm. Heaters and reverse cycle air conditioning, kept her toasty.
How is the temperature of your room? Are you cold? Are you hot? Are your blankets sufficient? I think whether its our children or our own rooms, the temperatures for sleep are really important. A warm room, is inviting and brings a huge sense of sleepiness to a household, especially in winter. The other thought I had from this lesson in sleep, was if you are struggling to fall asleep, the old wives tale; a hot shower or a hot drink of milk. I have been drinking a tea called Sleepytime tea. Especially because I am waking every two hours to feed our little lady, by the time I have fed her, re-wrapped her, burped her, laid in bed waiting for sleep to take over, then the cycle is happening again. So this tea has been helping fall asleep quicker. Warmth is a great tool to help with our sleep cycles.
Our little lady was surrounded by the most beautiful sounds as she laid on the soft furnishings for her photo shoot. Coming out of the womb only a week earlier, sounds are really important in helping newborns sleep.
For the first year of our little man Maximus’ life, we had music playing twenty four/ seven. Worshipful, peaceful, lullabies that helped our whole house relax. When I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed at 3am trying to get Libby back to sleep, soft music encourages and helps me to relax and let go of my need for perfection. There is something powerful about music. Especially meditative, worshipful tracks. If you struggle to fall asleep, have you tried music to help you relax and centre yourself in this time of transition from wakefulness to sleep?
4) Physical Touch;
The girls who were moving and shaping our little baby to take her photos, keep a hand on her back the whole time, to help her feel centred and nurtured.
Whether it is a two year old who is struggling to sleep, your husband or a tired mumma, the power of physical touch is amazing in helping our bodies to relax. Giving our children simple and safe massage, on their shoulders, on their hands…Whether its our partners and giving them a massage or whether you are single and you get regular massages from a professional. The power of physical touch to help us sleep is immense. I have found with my little libby, if she is unsettled in the middle of the night, I put my hand on her stomach and rock her gently, reassuring her back to sleep.
Throughout our whole session, the most amazing vanilla candle was burnt, creating an atmosphere that was so inviting.
Lately I have been burning candle melts most days in our house, to bring a sense of warmth, peace and atmosphere to my sleep deprived home. I found an electric lamp that safely burns candle aromatherapy melts, without an open flame which can be really unsafe with little toddlers around. Whether it is vanilla or lavender, mint or coconut, calming aromatherapy smells can really help you relax into a state of sleep fulness.
These five simple sensory tools, made for the most delightful experience for our family. As you can see from the photos, we are blown away with the results.
I highly recommend Natalie and her staff for a newborn shoot or any other family portraits if you live in Perth or its surrounds. Jump on her website and say you saw her work on my blog.
For all those sleep deprived mumma’s and papa’s out there, I hope these little tips, help you and your family to find the sleep we all so desperately need.
Speak again soon