Infant Sleep: Dos and Don’ts

As a new parent (or parent again), the common worry is not being able to get enough sleep. Sleep is crucial! I typically get 9-11 hours of sleep a night (no, I’m not joking); however, I recently started caring for 2 newborn twins a few nights a week, which sparked a desire to share the dos and don’t of infant sleep with you all. 

Sleeping baby with chelsea vail

First thing’s first- do NOT expect your babies to “sleep through the night” or even sleep longer than 3 hours, the first few weeks, or even months. Babies need food! Their only job right now is to grow, which means they need to eat and sleep; that’s it.

(Instant Baby Sleep Secret)

What do I do?

1. Create appropriate daytime and nightime environments

Daytime: open the blinds to let natural light in, go about your business talking, cooking, doing laundry, etc., and keep feeding ’round the clock (on demand)

Nighttime: the nursery or bedroom should be DARK, warm, and have a white noise machine on full blast (this recreates the sounds of the womb)

2. Swaddle tight!

I personally love Woombie swaddles and Mod S’wads. If you have a Summer Infant Swaddle or Swaddle Pod be aware that the velcro is loud and likely to wake baby during nighttime changing. Also, the fit of these swaddles can be poor so you may need to double swaddle by using a breathable blanket first.

Chelsea Vail, newborn care expert

3. Feed before they’re hungry

Yes, you’re tired and you’re hoping they’ll sleep 4 hours…let’s be real, you’re hoping they’ll sleep 8 hours; however, if you don’t feed them every 2 hours (newborns) or every 3 hours (if that’s their schedule), you’ll be sorry. They will wake up MAD and you won’t be ready with a warm bottle or they could have difficulty latchingbecause they’re so pissed off.

4. Nighttime is business time

We all love babies (if you don’t, get the hell off my blog, lol), but it’s important not to interract too much at night. Keep stimulation to a minimum. Pick up, feed, burp, change, swaddle, put down. Repeat a few hours later.

NOTE: “Sleeping through the night” is technically 5 hours so pat yourself on the back when they reach that long between feeds. They’ll eventually do 10-12, but only when they’re no longer infants.

 What DON’T I do?

Don’t pick them up everytime they grunt or fuss; this doesn’t mean they’re awake. Babies are still learning how to sleep and it ain’t always pretty. They tend to channel their inner “Master P” (uhh, uhhh, na na na na)

Don’t fall asleep with them in a chair or on a couch (SIDS risk)

Don’t stare at the monitor all night! In fact, get rid of the monitor. You will hear your baby when they really need you. You’re feeding them in a few hours anyway.

Don’t lose sleep over SIDS; just follow the rules and then go to bed. A breastfed, swaddled tight, baby on their back in an EMPTY crib will be fine.

Don’t be afraid to put them in the swing or bouncer overnight as long as they’re not chin-to chest.

My favorite gear for infant sleep?

Woombie

Hats

Zipper footie pajamas

Mimo Baby Smart Monitor

4Moms Rockaroo or Mamaroo

Gas free bottle like a Mimijumi

Cloth diapers (WAY more absorbant)

Crane Humidifier (infants are nasal breathers)

Sleep train: Wait until they’re 10-14lbs or 2 months+, gradually increase feeds by 20% and begin to space out more time between feeds.

Need a sleep coach? Whole Heart has the best Sleep Coach in Austin! Click here to get in touch with her.

Shhh, I’ve got the secret here to get your baby to sleep instantly. It’s a little unconventional but…it beats crying it out. Click play and watch your baby slip away into dreamland. Here

A Guide to Baby Boutiques & Brands

We know looking at baby clothes, nursery decor, and baby gear can be downright addicting, even if you don’t have a baby, so we’ve compiled a list of the best baby boutiques and unique brands for baby clothing and gear that are “haute” right now.

Baby-boutiques-and-brands

ShopWholeHeart.com

TheCoutureBaby.com

Wee on 2nd Ave, Austin Texas, shopwee.com

Baby Bliss, Ft. Worth www.shopbabybliss.com

Stroller Depot 

Lollipops & Lace, Lake Jackson
Pink Baby Boutique
Dimples and Dandelions
Patticake Posh
Hipster Baby
Pink Taffy Designs

PokkaDots and Modern Nursery
Mud Pie Baby
NUI Organics
Shop Sugar Babies

Magic Beans

These are some of my FAVORITE brands for babies! They are totes-magotes cute! The underlined brands can be found at shopwholeheart.com

  • Smocked Auctions
  • Giggle Moon
  • Baby Bella Maya

    baby Soy USA shopwholeheart.com

    baby Soy USA shopwholeheart.com

  • Under the Nile
  • JuDanzy
  • Baby Legs
  • Swaddledesigns
  • Baby Soy USA
  • Rufflebutts
  • Hatley
  • Well Dressed Wolf
  • Matilda Jane

    Matilda Jane

  • Haute Baby
  • Oopsy Daisy
  • Posh Litle Tutus
  • Mini Rodini
  • Swanky Baby Vintage
  • Persnickety
  • Zootie B. Little
  • NUI Organics
  • Heather Hill

As the owner of Whole Heart and shopwholeheart.com, I am ALL ABOUT natural parenting, keeping it local, and keeping it clean and toxin free! Here are some of my favorite natural parenting stores and boutiques I’ve come across. 

As a regular at the ABC Baby and Kids Expo in Las Vegas as “That Girl”, I’ve come across alot of innovative designs and brands. These are at the top innovative products and brands on my list! The highlighted brands can be found at shopwholeheart.com

Choosing furniture for your little one can be difficult and unfortunately what’s in most “big name” baby stores is not the top of the line. In fact, the quality and craftsmanship can be downright pitiful. Here are my fave places to shop for furniture.

Stokke and stokke.com (I’m a bit biased towards the Stokke crib because I LOVE the fact that it starts as a basinette and grows with your child until age 4!)

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Babys 1st Furniture
Picket Fences
Poshtots.com
Laylagrayce.com
Spoiledrottentoo.com

Magic Beans

Nursery Werks is for the creme de la creme, as their designs are the Louis Vuitton’s of cribs! Check outthese two discovered at the expo this year. Product designer Mathew Grayson introduced me to these cribs…

IMG_3365 IMG_3364 Nursery Werks cribs

What’s HAUTE for babies now?

Haute-Baby-Clothes-Shopwholeheart

Ruffle butts
Hipsters
BIG bows
Baby fedoras
Prepsters
Thrift shopping
Over the top
Tutus
Smocking/Vintage

What’s NOT haute?

Cartoons or Disney characters
Cliche typography (“daddy’s little princess”, blech!)
Old stains or holes
Poor fitting clothes

What’s your baby’s style?

Major SALE at MagicBeans.com!

I LOVE Magic Beans! They have THE most legit selection of all things mama, baby, and tot and they’re having a HUGE sale right now! So Jack, get off your heiny and get up the beanstalk now…MagicBeans is waiting!

Magical-Magic-Beans-shopwholeheart

$100 of Lego Mindstorms EV3 Set normally (normally $449.99, now $349.99)

30% off Kidoozie Royal Princess Playhouse

30% off Quercetti Georello Kaleidogears

30% off Snap Circuits Sound

30% off Melissa and Doug Plane & Luggage Carrier Whittle World

30% off Loopdeloom Spinning Weaving Loom

30% off Ravensburger Frozen Cool Collage 300pc

30% off Ravensburger Elsa’s Snowflake Puzzle 73pc

Click HERE and start shopping!

How To Avoid Raising an Asshole

I hear you, “You can’t call a child an ‘asshole’!” Um…if you’ve known as many kids as I have, you’ll agree, some kids are definitely assholes. But, more importantly, I got your attention! No one wants their kid to be an asshole. 

How-to-avoid-raising-an-asshole

So…how do you avoid raising an asshole?

1. Set limits and create structure

I can’t tell you how many parents reach out to me for parenting support or a workshop AFTER the kid starts acting like a maniac. Kids get maniac when they lack routine and structure. Their world is chaoitic, therefore they behave chaotically.

Limits begin DAY 1 of the child’s life in the form of swaddling. A swaddled infant feels safe, secure, and knows their position in space, rather than feeling lost. HINT: Those flailing arms are not because they “enjoy feeling their environment” and they’re certainly not dancing or happy, those flailing arms are a symbol of stress and a sign your baby is seeking boundaries and containment.

Watch your baby and follow their lead intially to create a routine, but as they get older, it’s okay to create a routine. It’s best for the child if you adhere to mealtimes, naptimes, bedtimes, bathtimes, etc.

2. Allow for choices and freedom wherever possible

Offering choices is not about being permissive. It’s about giving your child control where control is allowed. Ironically, the more control you give away, the more you keep.

“Good morning! It’s time for breakfast. Would you like eggs or yogurt for breakfast?”

“It’s almost time to head home. Would you like to leave the park now or in five minutes?”

“It’s time for your bath. Would you like your monkey towel or dinosaur towel when we’re done?”

With offering choices where choices are possible (and offering choices you’re comfortable with), the parent is actually maintaining control, but the child is also experiencing the feeling of decision making. Kids who don’t feel in control of their lives will act out of control in order to regain control.

3. Feed your child as if they’re training for the greatest race of their lives

Fact is, they ARE training for the greatest race of their lives..life! I have watched kids go from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde in under 30 minutes flat simply from drinking high sugar juices or eating junk food. Ever wonder why toddlers always seem to be constipated and cranky? Let me tell you, if it’d been three days to a week since I’d had a poopy diaper, I’d be enraged, too!

Our bodies were not designed to run on trash, just like cars can’t run on trash although we all wish they could. Our bodies need whole foods, clean foods, and organic foods as fuel. Toddler, just the same, require a diet full of clean, lean proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables of all different colors and textures.

Your child will feel at their best physically, but also mentally, emotionally, & socially.

healthy foods for tots

Major tips for avoiding an asshole:

  • Don’t bargain with them
  • Tell them what they CAN do, instead of what they CAN’T
  • Smile, kiss, hug, and provide positive touch often
  • Create chores and assign responsibilities as early as 15-18m (picking up toys, wiping their face, stacking plastic cups, putting shoes in a basket, etc)
  • Use feeling words in daily conversation (share your feelings, identify their feelings for them, validate their feelings, and respect their feelings)
  • Remember: Kids don’t need to be “entertained”. They need to utilize imagination and evelop comfort during times of silence and delayed gratification
  • Allow for various caregiving experiences (church nurseries, school, gym childcare, grandma’s, etc) to create a healthy secure attachment
  • Encourage children to solve their own problems, but guide them in using effective problem solving skills
  • Keep their environment organized (label, color code, sort, stack, etc) so they know where to find what they need. An organized home is an organized heart.
  • Allow for free play without forcing your own agenda
  • If you can’t say it in 10 words or less, don’t say it. Kids respond to chunks or words at a time, not lengthy lectures or winded explanations

Most important? Love!!

Whole Hearted Love

I’ve been in Siloam Springs, Arkansas this past week waiting on the arrival of my nephew, Zade. My sister has an eighteen month old and a full-time job so this has been a great opportunity for me to spend some quality time with my niece, Evelyn. At eighteen months old this little girl demonstrates love with a “whole heart”. 

Love with a whole heart

It’s inspiring the way that she loves!

I love watching her playing on her own, perfectly content, and then suddenly getting this overwhelming urge to kiss somebody. She’ll jump up and run across the room and give a huge, open-mouthed kiss to whoever is willing, lol. When she was a baby she would “eat” our faces, covering us with wet, slobbery love!

IMG_1193

We took her to the local library on Saturday morning to sing songs and see Santa. She started the visit by sitting in her mom’s lap during the first songs, but then sat in my mother’s lap, whom she calls “Captain”. Then, she moved over into my lap for a song or two and then on to her other grandmother’s lap. It was as if she knew we each wanted a piece of her love and she had no problems sharing it.

IMG_1832

I love when she’s sitting next to you or being held and she suddenly screams and grabs your face with both hands to pull you in for a hug. Or, when she runs full force across the living room to wrap her hands around you.

Yesterday at Target she saw a mentally disabled woman and she smiled and waved at her and chased after her momentarily just to say, “Hi”. When she sees my dog she pats her head gently or strokes her paws and smiles at her. She has a babydoll in a cradle that she kisses or pats whenever she walks by. She LOVES!

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She loves with her whole heart!

The question is: Did she learn this from those around her being so loving to one another? OR is this just her personality?

Or even better…

“Are ALL children born filled with love?”

If so, when is it lost? When do children lose that overwhelming urge to hug, kiss, touch, and smile at those around them? When do they become scared to show affection? When do we become so hurt and jaded that we can’t grab a friend and kiss them when we feel love towards them? When do we begin to fear looking vulnerable by showing love?

Hmmmmm…..

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Grown Up Christmas List

My Grown Up Christmas List

When I was a kid I wanted the Nina Camping Barbie (with matching camper) SO badly! I begged my mom and dad, I begged Santa, and I told everyone I knew how badly I wanted this. I even snuck into my parent’s closet (where toys were often hid) to search for Nina. My sister worried I’d be spoiling Christmas, but I thought if I found her, I could rest easy. Do you remember wanting anything that badly?

My “Nina” came with a camper, too!

Now, my Christmas list looks a bit different, but the ache for what’s on it hasn’t changed. I still ache for these things and tell everyone in my life how badly I want them in hopes that my wishes will be granted.

Dear Santa, this Christmas I want…

1. My nephew to be born this week, healthy and strong

2. My student loans and credit card debt to be forgiven

3. My best friend to be able to eat without worrying how her stomach will react and for an angel to heal her ulcers and hurts

4. My stepson to discover something he can be passionate about

5. My brother-in-law to be accepted into the Game Warden Academy

6. A president who respects the constitution, values character over skin color, and doesn’t have a hidden agenda

7. Schools that inspire learning and teach students how to be thinkers and creators

8. A car that doesn’t smell like it’s about to catch fire and grunt at me while I drive it

9. A society that takes a stand against the media and boycotts trash on tv, in music, and in games

10. For infertility treatments to be covered by insurance companies and to hear those magical words from my doctors, “You’re pregnant!”

Chelsea Vail, That Girl

Ny nephew, Zade

As Christmas nears closer each year, we tell our kids if they were “good” this year then Santa will bring them gifts and treats. The only problem with this is that as an adults we start to wonder if we’ve been bad and that’s why we’re not getting what we want. I think to myself, “I’m going to be really, really good this month and maybe things will work”, but then when they don’t, I think it’s something I’ve done wrong.

No matter what I do, I can’t make a baby. No amount of caroling, gingerbread house making, ornament hanging, or letters to Santa will put a baby under the tree for me.

We all know Santa has helpers, right? Well, perhaps Dr. Silverberg is one of Santa’s helpers. Maybe Texas Fertility Center is one of his toyshops and perhaps tomorrow when I go in for my consult they’ll see just how badly I want this and they’ll know how good I’ve been this year and maybe, just maybe, I’ll get it next year.

Texas-Fertility-Center