Tummy, Back, or Side Sleeper? Does Your Kid Need a Standard or Less-Fill Toddler Pillow?

Choosing the right toddler pillow for your small sized sleeper is the perfect way to ensure comfort while supporting the neck and spine throughout the night.

By deciding to choose a toddler pillow or youth pillow instead of a typical “grown-up” pillow, you’re already off on the right foot. The smaller size of these options automatically ensures a better fit.

That said, depending on whether your son or daughter sleeps on his/her tummy, back, or side (or all three!), you may also want to adjust the amount of fill within those kids pillows. This will help to make sure that your child’s spinal alignment and even respiration will receive the support they need all night long.

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The goal is to try to achieve a neutral position for the spine. This means that the head, neck and upper back should line up nicely while in the preferred resting position. If a toddler pillow is forcing the head and neck into another position, it may add unnecessary pressure to muscles, nerves, and discs.

Consider the following as you choose a standard fill, less fill or custom fill for your child’s toddler pillow or youth pillow.

  •         Back sleepers – Back sleepers are often given thicker pillows than are actually ideal for their spinal alignment and their comfort. Many people feel that back sleepers need a thick and fluffy pillow, elevating the head slightly. However, this causes the spine to curve and can make it tougher to breathe comfortably. The ideal pillow for a back sleeper will usually be a standard fill pillow.

For kids who are back sleepers, the standard fill pillow is usually perfect because its loft is not too great, and it is very soft, allowing the back of the head to sink into it while the neck remains supported.

  •         Tummy sleepers – Although it’s usually recommended that we don’t sleep onour stomachs as it makes it quite difficult to maintain a neutral spinal position, try telling that to your little one when he or she is sound asleep! If your son or daughter is a tummy sleeper, the best thing you can do is to make sure he or she has the right kind of pillow. Choosing a thinner, low-loft pillow is usually best for a tummy sleeper because it stops the head from being forced upward and the spine from being bent unnaturally backward.

Kids who sleep on their tummies usually do best with the less-fill pillow, instead of the standard.This will help to keep the spine aligned and the head and neck comfy.  Extra tip: using a breathable, hypoallergenic pillowcase and a washable pillow is particularly important for tummy sleepers.

 

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  • Side Sleepers – Side sleeping is the most common position for kids and adults alike. Fortunately, it’s also one of the best ways to keep the head, neck, and spine aligned, provided the right pillow is used.

Kids who sleep on their sides usually sleep best with a standard fill pillow, that keeps the spine aligned.

Naturally, no child stays in one position all night long.  Usually, they change it up quite a lot, turning in many directions (sometimes upside down!).  Choosing the pillow based on their most common sleeping position can help to ensure the most comfortable and restful sleep at night and during naptimes.

March 08, 2018 by Anastasia Gibson

Travel Tips – How to Get Your Toddler to Sleep When You’re Away from Home

The holiday season is a wonderful opportunity to see family and friends you don’t typically get to visit throughout much of the rest of the year. This sends families on car trips, train trips, on busses and to airports across the country. After all the excitement of the trip and seeing the people you’ve been missing, it would be easy to assume that your little ones will fall asleep very quickly at night…until reality kicks in.

That said, when you’re away from home and you’ve tucked your little one into a different bed, it’s incredible how determined that little rascal can be to keep those tired eyes open! Trying to get your child to settle at night when you’re away from home can suddenly become more daunting than you’d expected.

We’re here for you! After going through this many times with our own children, the Little Sleepy Head team has come up with a list of tried-and-true tips and techniques to keep those excited travelers on  as close to a normal sleep schedule as possible

  • Bring your child’s pillow and pillowcase from home – The familiar fill, fabric and even smell of your kid’s own pillow and pillowcase can help your little one settle down more easily at night.  Most of us struggle to sleep in a strange bed, but the pillow your child is used to can make things feel more “normal” at night no matter where they are. When your kid uses a toddler pillow and pillowcase, it’s not difficult to toss it into a carry-on, backpack or tote as it’s not nearly as large as a standard pillow.
  • Never forget your child’s lovey at home – For similar reasons that a pillow can be comforting to your child, so can his or her lovey. That favorite toy is a friend that provides comfort to many different senses and should be considered as important as your passports and cell phone. Many kids hold their loveys in special ways when they’re falling asleep. Ensuring these toys or blankets are present makes sure kids don’t need to try to come up with a new sleep position when they’re already sleeping in an unfamiliar place.
  • Stick to regular bedtimes – When you’re away from home, it’s tempting to throw all schedules out the window. After all, you’re on vacation! However, this can throw off your child’s internal sleeping and waking clock.  It will only make it harder for him or her to fall asleep at night and can set them up for meltdowns the next day due to exhaustion. It’s better to maintain a bedtime and waking time just as you would at home, to keep your little one’s clock on time.
  • Lean on aromatherapy – A little spritz from a lavender linen spray can help to create a calming bedtime environment.  If you’re already using this scent at home, that’s even better as it will feel very familiar to your little one, especially when he or she closes his or her eyes. Lavender has been used as calming aromatherapy for centuries.

When it all comes down to it, the key to easing your little one to sleep at night no matter where they are is to create a soothing, comfortable and familiar environment. Enjoy a calming bedtime routine, keep the lights dim, leave devices with screens out of the bedroom and try to encourage restfulness as much as you can. Even if that first night is a bit rough, don’t give up on the next one!

December 21, 2017 by Anastasia Gibson

How to Keep Kids From Losing it Over the Holidays

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends – we’re all guilty of it. We absolutely love to give presents to kids during the holidays. Of course we do! Giving is fun and it’s heartwarming to see little ones light up when they receive something they truly adore.

Unfortunately, this glut of excitement can be overwhelming to kids and going overboard with gifts can turn little cherubs into ungrateful monsters who are never satisfied and always want more.

Does this mean that you should stop giving your kids gifts over the holidays? Of course not! However, if you want to make sure your incredible little boy or girl stays as amazing as you know they are, even at this time of year, it’s a good idea to help them to stay down to earth.

The following are some helpful strategies you can add to the holiday experience for your kids to help to make sure that gift giving remains fun, but they don’t end up with unwanted outcomes.

  • Teach the joy of giving – The holiday season isn’t just about receiving. It’s also about giving. Give kids the chance to feel good from altruistic activities. Encourage them to be happy helpers. Teach them about the importance of sharing. Set an example by making them a part of donations and volunteer work you do and explain why it’s important. Helping those in need is, after all, the true spirit of the holiday, and the earlier a child is exposed to it, the more it will mean to them throughout their lives.
  • Focus on esteem-building activities – Instead of focusing exclusively on the gift giving, concentrate on esteem-building activities that will help to turn the holiday season into a more complete experience. Holiday themed crafts are perfect for this, allowing kids to discover new skills, feel proud of what they’ve made and contribute to the decorating in your home. Crafts can also make wonderful gifts for grandparents, aunts and uncles, letting them share in the fun of giving. We recently posted a Snow Covered Pine Cone DIY on our blog and it has been a hit!
  • Stick to schedules – The holiday season is a special time of year but sticking to schedules such as set eating times, bedtimes, and waking times, it can make it easier for kids to cope with the excitement and remain in control of what they’re feeling.  Maintaining a bedtime routine is especially important because a good night of sleep can prevent all sorts of unpleasantness the next day. If you want to make bedtime festive, consider a holiday themed toddler pillowcase (we happen to love reindeer) and bedtime story.

By showing kids that the holiday season has a lot more to it beyond receiving gifts, it can become much more enjoyable to the entire family, while it offers the family the opportunity to create traditions you’ll always cherish.

December 18, 2017 by Anastasia Gibson

DIY Snow Covered Pinecones

The holiday season is upon us and that means time to decorate. Maybe you’ve finished and the house looks b-e-a-utiful. Or maybe you’re searching the isles of your local home store for the perfect accents before your in-laws roll into town for that annual holiday party your family convinced you to host. Either way, this DIY we’ve put together is the perfect addition to your mantle, coffee table, or that side table you can never figure out how to spruce up.

What you will need: 

1: A bag of pinecones. We used 5, but you can make as many as you would like! :-) 

2: Mod Podge glue. This can be found at your local craft store

3: A bag of fake snow. This can also be found at your local craft store 

4: Two paper plates 

How to make: 

1: Poor a good amount of glue onto a paper plate 

2: Poor the bag of fake snow onto another paper plate 

3: Take one pinecone and roll the sides of the pinecone into the glue

4: Take the glued pinecone and roll it in the fake snow 

5: Repeat steps 1 - 4 for each pinecone

How easy was that?

We hope you enjoyed this craft as much as we did! :-)

 

December 10, 2017 by Anastasia Gibson

5 Natural Scents to Encourage a Restful Night for Your Child

Aromatherapy is a surprisingly powerful technique for using certain scents to promote various responses from the body and mind.  It’s funny to think that something as simple as a smell can change a mood, but it is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and that increasingly is being used in conventional medicine, too.

Our sense of smell is actually quite underrated as it is not as well understood as our other senses and it doesn’t feel as though it is quite as vital as sight, touch, and hearing, for example. Still, if the smell of baking cookies can make you smile and think back to special times with your grandma, or if the smell of a compost heap can make you want to rapidly back away, then it becomes much easier to understand just how much an aroma can affect us.

When bedtime comes around, natural scents can be a perfect choice for helping to create a calm and soothing sleep environment for kids and adults alike. The key is to choose something soothing such as lavender and chamomile and to avoid more invigorating smells such as eucalyptus.

The following are some of the top essential oils used in aromatherapy to promote healthy sleep habits:

  1. Lavender – This is the scent you’re most likely to have known would be on this list. The soft floral smell of natural lavender is exceptionally widely recognized as one that promotes calm and relaxation. It can help to ease anxieties and concerns and promote restfulness, preparing the body and mind for sleep throughout the night. Check out our new linen spray made from lavender essential oils.
  2. Chamomile – With its sweet scent comparative to a combination of herbs and apples, inhaling the smell of chamomile has been linked with relaxation of the mood, muscles, and even brain waves!  It has been studied for its impact on reducing hyperactivity in children as well as moodiness in adults.  It can help to ease headaches, bruises, digestive cramping, and pains associated with sprains and certain allergies. This scent is also considered to be one of the gentlest and is often recommended for babies and children. Some research has looked into its positive influence on colic symptoms.
  3. Frankincense – This exotic scent comes with a soothing capability to balance the emotions to calm the mind and body and support healthy sleep.  It may even promote a better response to the body’s natural healing processes.
  4. Cedarwood – This inexpensive essential oil is highly fragranced, so a very small amount goes a long way.  It is believed to help support pineal gland function.  Why does that matter? Melatonin is produced within the pineal gland and melatonin is the natural hormone associated with the body’s sleeping and waking clock.
  5. Vetiver – This essential oil comes from the roots of the vitiver plant.  For that reason, its scent is quite earthy.  This makes it a subtle addition to a sleep environment, though it also combines well with other essential oils because, when used with thrift, it will not overpower them.  Among the scents with which it combines very well is lavender. It is believed to help to promote psychological calm and stability to ease stresses anxieties and an overactive mind at night.
December 01, 2017 by Anastasia Gibson

9 Must-Have Items to Make Holiday Travel Bright

Traveling with Kids: 9 Must-Have Items to Make Holiday Travel Bright!

The holidays are a wonderful time for visiting with friends and family. Sometimes that means traveling across the city, state, or even part way across the country. Especially when flying with your little ones, your packing will likely involve more challenges than simply trying to remember how many ounces of liquids you’re allowed in your carry-on luggage.

After all, regardless of whether you’re traveling by car or by plane, that’s a long time to ask a kid to sit still and be quiet. The key to a happy trip is to plan ahead, pack strategically, and know how to keep your small-sized traveler comfortable and entertained.

The following are a few handy items to bring with you on your trip this year, to keep all your spirits bright and (hopefully) stress-free:

  1. A wheelie bag – A kid having his or her own roller bag feels all grown up, looking just like you with your luggage. This can also make it easier to find his or her carry-on items because they’re all stored together.
  2. Travel games – Depending on your child’s age and the activities he or she enjoys, there are lots of fun, small-sized travel games you can pack for regular sources of entertainment. These can include mini magnetic games (tic tac toe, etc), drawing pads, coloring books, crayons, toy "friends," a tablet, and headphones.
  3. Portable charger – That tablet full of fun game apps is only helpful when it has enough juice to keep going. A portable charger can help to keep the batteries all powered up for hours of extra entertainment. Our favorite is made by Mogix. It's small and convenient, yet super powerful! You can use code MOGIXPOW to receive 15% off on Amazon.
  4. A Lovey – The cuddly familiar look, feel and smell of a lovey can be extremely soothing to a child.  If he or she is anxious to travel or you just want to make the trip as calm as possible, don’t leave home without your kid’s lovey. Our new lovey animals do just the trick.
  5. Snacks – These are great for keeping a child busy, happy and quiet.  They can also double as a makeshift lunch when the airport terminal doesn’t have kid friendly food available or when you’re a long way from the next rest stop or town.
  6. A pillow – A small sized pillow in a snuggly pillowcase can instantly turn an uncomfortable car seat, plane seat or airport lounge chair into a comfy place for your kid to relax or even get a bit of sleep.
  7. Lavender spray – A small spritz of lavender linen spray can help calm a child and ease him or her to sleep, particularly if it is a scent used at home at bedtime. This item is best saved for car trips as many airports and airplanes have regulations against spraying fragrances due to the sensitivities of other passengers. Or you can pre-spray a pillow or article of clothing.
  8. Emergency bag – This is a small bag to slip inside your carry-on luggage which contains a change of clothes (because you never know), wet wipes, bandaids, tissues, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a hairbrush, a thermometer or fever strip, or anything else you might need on hand.
  9. Sunscreen – A long car ride near a window on a sunny day could be a recipe for a sunburn, even in winter. With a tube of sunscreen on hand, you’ll be ready to apply and re-apply to keep skin moisturized and protected from burns.

The last thing you’ll want to bring with you is a great attitude, a lot of patience, and some great songs to sing together to keep the feeling festive.

November 29, 2017 by Anastasia Gibson

What No One Tells You About Swaddle Blankets (But You Really Should Know)

Swaddle blankets – and choosing the right ones – isn’t really something people talk about. It seems like it should be self explanatory. Step one: get blanket. Step two: make baby burrito. Step three: all set. Then comes reality when you realize it’s not quite that obvious. Any baby shower will usually provide a parent-to-be with half a dozen different options. Where do you start?

Whether you’re the parent, a guest at a baby shower, or you want to bring something with you when you meet a new baby for the first time, you’ll want to choose the right kind of swaddle blanket, not just any soft cover. That can feel like an overwhelming choice when you realize that there are dozens upon dozens of designs, fabrics, and colors from which to choose…especially when the mom-to-be isn’t registered for any of them. What do you do? How do you know which ones are perfect for a baby bundle and which should be avoided?

If your gift basket or your baby’s nursery is in need of a swaddle blanket, here are some great tips to head you in the right direction:

  • Fabric – The fabric is an exceptionally important factor to consider and is the perfect place to start when choosing a swaddle blanket. The best ones are made from a premium quality 100% cotton material. The reason is that they’re gentle, hypoallergenic, soft, lightweight, and washable.
  • Type – There are lots of different styles and designs from which to choose.  Traditional ones are easily foldable and square. They’re the right size to tuck and fold around an infant. Others have various fasteners meant to make it easier to wrap the little one without as much of a learning curve. Either will do the trick, but they also each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Many parents have their own reasons for their preferences.
  • Size – Many doctors recommend using only swaddling blankets for swaddling. Just because a blanket is soft and hypoallergenic, it doesn’t mean it’s ideal for wrapping an infant. It needs to be big enough to get the job done, but too much fabric can risk loose portions that can end up covering a baby’s face, increasing the chances of suffocation – clearly something that needs to be avoided at all cost. Leave regular blankets for older kids and keep the right size of swaddling blanket for that task.
  • Price – It’s important to find a careful balance between affordability and quality.  While it’s always great to find a deal, the cheapest option isn’t always the best one.  Savvy shoppers find premium products and use coupon codes or wait for sales to get the best product at the lowest price.

That said, beyond choosing the right swaddle blankets, there are some additional facts about these soft and snuggly cloths that are also helpful to know.

  • One at a time – New parents may be tempted to double up (or more) with swaddle blankets on cold days. Unfortunately, that is more likely to cause a baby to overheat than to make him or her feel toasty. It’s better to use only one blanket, wrapped properly, in a room of an appropriate temperature.
  • Don’t rush – When you’re not running on any sleep, it’s easy to want to rush through the swaddling process. Especially when you feel you’ve got the hang of it.  Try to avoid that inclination and put the same amount of care into it every time. This will help to prevent the wrap from being too tight, too loose, or from holding the infant’s body in the wrong position – each of which come with risk that you can easily avoid.
  • They’re great multi-purpose blankets – Experts may recommend that you use only swaddle blankets for swaddling. That said, most babies end up with more of them than they actually need, and they grow out of them very quickly. While you can easily donate them, keep one in a memory box or store some for a possible little brother or sister in the future, there are other uses for them, too. For instance, many parents love to use this breathable cotton as a car blanket or seat cover, a breastfeeding cover, a toddler naptime blanket, or even a lovey as the baby gets older.

The health, safety, and comfort of a baby is always the top priority when choosing a swaddle blanket. When you make the right choice, that gentle cover can make all the difference to that newest little family member.

November 27, 2017 by Anastasia Gibson

Is Your Baby Ready to Wear Sunscreen?

We’ve all come to know how important it is to protect our skin from the sun. Our babies may be small, but the sun will find them just as quickly as it will find the rest of us. Since a baby’s skin is thinner and more delicate, it is important to start using proper UV protection right away.

For the first few months of your baby’s life, that means staying in the shade, using additional sun shades and covering with the right clothing. The reason is that until a baby is six months old, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against using sunscreen and sunblock products. That said, the latest guidelines do say that if enough shade and clothing cannot be provided, small areas of a newborn’s skin can be protected with baby-safe sunscreen with a minimum of 15 SPF (and usually no more than 30 SPF). The sunscreen should be applied to as small an area as possible.

That said, once your baby is 6 months old and older, the AAP recommends protecting all exposed areas of your baby’s body with baby-safe sunscreen.

The first time you are going to use sunscreen on your baby, it’s a good idea to patch test your product of choice to make sure it will be well tolerated. Even the best quality products may cause a reaction if an allergy or sensitivity happens to be present.

Forty-eight hours before you plan to use the sunscreen, dab a small amount of the formula onto a little patch on your baby’s skin. Keep an eye on it for the next two days, even after it has been washed away, and check for signs of irritation. If your little one develops a rash, talk to your pediatrician about how to go about choosing a formula that won’t cause a reaction.

As you select a sunscreen that will be appropriate for your baby, there are certain tips you can use to make the right choice:Little Sleepy Head Sunscreen

  • Select a sunscreen designed specifically for babies and/or children. Looking for a formula that uses safe ingredients, like our Daily Rehydrating Sunscreen made for baby and the whole family.
  • Look for a product that specifically describes itself as a provider of “broad-spectrum” protection. This means it will protect your baby against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Choose a product that offers an SPF 15 at the very minimum. SPF 30 is even better. At the same time, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) advises against using a sunscreen with an SPF higher than 50 as the sun protection in those products is frequently of lesser quality than those at an SPF 30. Moreover, those that do provide an SPF 50 or higher increase the chances of skin reactions to the ingredients.
  • Avoid sunscreens that combine both sun protection and insect repellants. If you need both products, apply them separately. Make sure to get the thumbs up from your baby’s pediatrician before starting the use of an insect repellant.

Don’t forget that it’s important to continue using sunscreen on your baby year-round.  Many people forget that the sun’s rays are just as bright in the winter as they are in the summer. Eighty percent of UV rays penetrate even the thickest clouds and the snow can reflect sunlight and cause unexpected sunburns.

November 21, 2017 by Anastasia Gibson

Pumpkin Scrub for the Mamas

The trees are pouring leaves, the weather is getting just a tad chillier each day, and you started wearing your "fuzzy socks" - it's Fall, ya'll! There are so many things we love about this time of year, but making pumpkin scented/flavored things all month long tops the list. It's only fitting that we tell you about our favorite Pumpkin Spice Body Scrub. It's super easy to make, and can be done with a just a few ingredients in the kitchen.

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You will need:

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1/4 Cup Coconut Oil

2 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

2 Tsp Vanilla Extract

How to make:

Grab a bowl large enough to fit all of your ingredients. Pour each one into the bowl, and mix. We recommend that you don't use a whisk as chunks can easily get caught in the spokes. Once thoroughly mixed, put the scrub in mason jars, or any container with a lid will do. Store in room temperate for up to 8 weeks (but we're pretty sure you'll run out by then :-).

58821830 - homemade sugar scrub with a pumpkin on a wooden background

 

Enjoy Mamas!

November 17, 2017 by Anastasia Gibson

Top 3 Ways a Lovey Benefits Your Little One

Loveys can take many forms. Most of us have one in our lives. Traditionally, they’re something very soft and snuggly like a rag doll, a blankie, or a plush toy. For reasons only the little one knows, one toy will stand out above all the rest and becomes a beloved companion that will go everywhere with him or her.

Loveys are so special that they are often kept for a lifetime, well beyond childhood years.  These are among the most common items to be kept in memory boxes that contain only the most important possessions from a person’s life.

Many kids start becoming interested in their loveys at around six months old, though some start earlier and others might take longer. There are significant benefits to having a lovey and many parents encourage their children once one has been selected.

Here are three of the top reasons your child will benefit from having a lovey in his or her life:

  1.      Improved coping – Having this soft extension of their parents with them can help to make new or stressful situations easier to cope with. Kids commonly deal with separation anxiety more smoothly when they have the company of a lovey with them. It is soft, familiar and comfortable, helping them to keep their confidence when Mom or Dad aren’t there or when they have new surroundings to explore.
  1.      Improved restfulness at bedtime – Loveys aren’t just soft. They’re an entire experience that is familiar and comforting to a child. They have a uniquely familiar scent. They have a way to be held.  They feel nice to the touch. These are all very soothing to a child’s senses, right from the most basic and instinctual levels. Many kids will suck on their loveys, rub parts of them between their fingers, or brush them against their faces. These help kids to self-soothe, relax, and sleep more restfully.
  1.      Reduced fearfulness – Similar to the way a lovey can help with coping in new circumstances or when parents aren’t around, it can also help to keep fear at bay in familiar situations. For example, kids who develop a fear of the dark can feel calmed and protected against the shadows and monsters under the bed. This can assist them in relaxing on their own instead of feeling the need to call out for Mom or Dad.

While there is no guarantee that your little one will form a lovey-level bond with a toy just because you hope he or she will, there are certain types of items that are more likely to become loveys than others. These are usually very soft – possibly  with more than one fabric texture but without any hard parts such as plastic eyes or buttons – as well as being washable (to avoid having to throw it away if it becomes heavily soiled) and huggable.  Ideally, it should be replaceable, too, just in case.

November 13, 2017 by Anastasia Gibson