May 12, 2021
According to the ASAA, about 1.2 million children have parents on active duty worldwide. Military parents make a sacrifice for our country that is uniquely brave and difficult. Being away from your child is never easy, especially in the early months when baby is just beginning to develop and deepen connections with their caregivers.
Luckily, there are still several ways military parents can create special bonds with their kiddos, both when they are deployed and when they’re spending time at home. At Baby Merlin Company, we want to do our part to encourage this meaningful bonding between military parents and their babies, whether it’s your first child or your fifth!
Here are some valuable ways military parents can create profound bonds with their babies:
Parenting is hard in general, but the distance that an active soldier has can make it harder. That said, there are still lots of ways military parents can stay connected to their children, even after being deployed.
Create a regular schedule for video calls between baby’s naps. If possible, try scheduling regular calls with your baby’s primary caregiver between baby's nap times so you can stay connected over video. Seeing your face regularly will certainly make your baby smile and help them bond with you.
Leave a recording of your voice home with your baby. One of the primary ways babies recognize their parents is by their voices. In fact, they can actually recognize your voice in utero! To bond with your baby, you can leave a recorded video message that your child can watch while you’re away, or even leave a recordable teddy bear with a special voice-recorded message inside.
For older children, set up a countdown calendar for the day you return. For kids that are a little older and anxiously awaiting your homecoming, a countdown calendar or app can help them channel their anticipation and prep for the big day. While you may not know the exact date of your homecoming, even a countdown to the general month or week you expect to come home can be very reassuring and help strengthen your bond with your kids.
Bonding with baby while you’re away is a great way to make your time with them that much more special once you’re home. Here are some tips for continuing to bond with your kids after arriving home from deployment:
Feeding and bathing are some of the most intimate ways to create bonding moments that last a lifetime. Babies learn quickly that they can rely on you when you are regularly helping with their daily activities. If your baby is being breastfed, even just sitting near them or holding their hand while they eat can help you bond.
Whether your baby has a complex or simple bedtime routine, participating can help you deepen your connection with them. Implementing a baby sleep sack or baby sleep suit from Baby Merlin can be a great way to bond and help your baby recognize that you are there to help them sleep well. The suit is Baby Merlin’s Magic Dream Sack and Magic Sleepsuit are designed to ensure your baby feels protected all night long, almost as if you were right there with them.
Tummy time, when a baby is placed on their stomach to strengthen their trunk and neck, can be a sweet time of bonding with your baby while they are awake. It is a great time to play, listen, and talk to them.
Supporting baby’s primary caretaker can help you develop a strong bond with your baby. Babies recognize tension, so the more supported your baby’s primary caretaker feels, the more supported your baby will feel. It takes a village to raise a child, and helping a child create a positive attachment with family and friends ensures positive mental and emotional growth.
We at Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit Baby Merlin Company greatly appreciate your efforts and sacrifice. We believe in helping each other bond with our children and providing the best environment for babies to feel loved and cared for.
If you are an active-duty military family expecting a new baby between April 20th, 2021 and October 20th, 2021, you are invited to attend our “Boots and Babies” virtual celebration on Wednesday, May 19th, from 9 pm to 10 pm EST.
We have partnered with Postpartum Support International, Kiinde, Homefront Pumps, and other top brands to celebrate your newborn's arrival! There will be wonderful speakers with insightful information and gifts, including the chance to win a $200-value Baby Bundle Box stuffed with goodies. Don't hesitate to sign up here!
Ultimately, remember that relationships are built a day at a time. Every parent is discovering how best to love and care for their children every day, and while it may look a little different for military families, your bonds with your children will become unbreakable over time!
For more information on Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit and our mission, check out our story!
January 31, 2023
January 24, 2023
The team at NAPS helps you tackle the issue of early wakeups. *BONUS* NAPS is hosting a webinar on February 24th. Register here and use the extra-special code MAGICMERLIN and you can join the webinar FREE of charge!
The sound of cheery calls of “MAAAAMAAAAA” from the next room may be lovely at 7am. At 4am, or 5 am, not so much. Your baby may be up and ready to start the day, but you probably aren’t.
Answering the questions below may help you get there.
This might seem like an obvious question, but your baby’s sleep needs will change fast in the first few years of their lives. A quick look at the average nap number and duration might give you an idea:
Part of the reason you might be seeing earlier wakeups is that your baby has graduated from one nap cycle to the next.
We call this an “awake window,” and it can make a big difference. It might seem strange that your baby went to bed fine the night before, and you’re seeing a response to nap scheduling in the pre-dawn hours, but if your kiddo’s sleep is disrupted at night, it will impact the morning.
Black 0ut curtains can make a big difference here. Remember that our brains signal wakeup when the light changes. So if dawn is at 430am, and even a little bit of light comes into your baby’s room, their little brains will PING with wake up juice.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but a late bedtime can actually backfire on you. Overtired kids don’t sleep as well. If you made their bedtime later and it didn’t fix the problem, try an earlier bedtime and see if that helps. You might be surprised.
Try to make one change at a time; just one. Stick with that change for 3-5 days to see if it impacts things. (One night is usually not enough to see substantial change.) Be as consistent as you can with the change you made. For instance, if you decide to increase the space between bedtime and final nap wakeup, make sure to stick to the wakeup time you planned.
If your baby is waking up and chirping happily to themselves, feel free to leave them there for a little while. Let them get used to being alone in the crib. If you can, try to delay the start of the day by 5-10 minutes each day. This can make a big impact.
Everything else aside, remember that this is a short time in your kid’s life; as they get older, their sleep will become more regular, and so will yours. Don’t let yourself get too discouraged. Things are hard now, and you’re doing a great job.
January 10, 2023
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