One of my many roles in life is that of a volunteer peer support counselor. I provide support and resources to women with specific hormone based mood disorders including premenstrual dysphoria and (at times) postpartum depression. Both of which I have had the displeasure of experiencing myself. Any new mom can find themselves in a state of shock after giving birth. Especially when it comes to the (seemingly) never-ending cycle of feeding. The sleep deprivation alone is enough to transform even the most blissful mommy bubble into a total waking nightmare.
Now that my own babies are well past round-the-clock feedings, I can look back in a wise-old-sagey kind of way and see an undeniable connection between lack of sleep and my emotional well being. Even now our four and a half-year-old still wakes us every so often; making sure we are still in the house and right down the hall. As expected, our 17-month-old calls out as well but doesn’t always need our attention. Together, our little ones contribute almost nightly to interrupted rest.
And sometimes it’s not even the kids who wake us. Just last night I vaguely remember shouting “SPRINKLES!” in my sleep which woke me up of course. Basically, Hubby and I have not had restorative sleep since 2011. (I should note that I am writing this very post at 11:42 pm knowing full well the kids will be up by 6:30 am.) I already know that tomorrow’s forecast will be mid to high-60’s and grumpy.
Whenever a fellow mama contacts me to talk about possible depression or baby blues, I want to know two things: what else do you do outside of being a mom and how much sleep are you getting? No amount of therapy or medication (professional or otherwise) will compensate for maternal isolation or a severe shortage of quality sleep.
Looking back at all the tricks we’ve pulled to coerce our daughter to sleep, I realize many of our tactics allowed me to fulfill my own need for creativity and rest. Creating our own version of Sweet Dreams Spray was not only a lovely way to prepare our daughter to go to bed, but also an opportunity to feed the part of me that desperately needed feeding: my mind.
Sleep, food, love, and laughter are all we really need.
One day our babies won’t need a little more backrub and one night they won’t ask for an extra story before bed. It’s a struggle of hearts to want them to be better sleepers and also still need us to smell the tops of their heads. I regularly ask my daughter if she will always be my baby, and for now, she still says yes. Until my little cute and curious balloons float completely away, I’ll hold on to their strings as gently as I can. Maybe sleep can wait… not too much, but some.
I wish I could find the original art I did for my daughter’s bottle to share with each of you. If and when I do find it, I will definitely post it here to download for you to use. Before misplacing it, I made several bottles of this Sweet Dreams Spray as baby gifts. The labels are printed at home on 8 x 10 white shipping labels, covered with self-adhesive laminating film, and then cut down to size. They are a nice touch but not entirely necessary.
The essential oils and loving intention are what give this potion it’s pleasantry. Even after all these years of smelling the hints of Lavender, Chamomile, Sandlewood, and Ylang Ylang at bedtime – I still inhale deeply to absorb it’s calming effects. I’m quite certain our daughter still does too.
- 1 (8 oz) Glass (or Plastic) Blue Bottle with Pump for Essential Oils
- Peaceful Sleep, Sleep Blend essential oils by NOW
- 8 ounces distilled water
- Fill the blue bottle with 8 ounces of distilled water. Distilled water is best as all the contaminates have been boiled out in the distillation process. This kind of water won’t compromise the quality of the essential oils you decide to use.
- The recommendation is 30 drops per 1 ounce of water. This would mean an 8-ounce bottle will need about 240 drops. There are 600 drops in a 1-ounce bottle of essential oil meaning almost half is needed for a single sprayer. Personally, I have found that 30-40 drops are quite enough. You can add more or less to your personal preference.
- Attach the sprayer top onto the filled bottle and securely tighten. Give the bottle a gentle shake prior to each use. Spray around the room at bedtime or towards a ceiling fan to disperse. Spray gently on pillows and blanket just before bed to ensure a peaceful sleep and sweet, sweet dreams.
All of the above can be found via the provided links or at your local Whole Foods or Sprouts stores. The blue bottles are available in plastic or glass and come in multiple sizes. All items are usually found near each other over by hair care, lotions, and cosmetics. Additionally, any blend of oils will do including lavender, ylan ylang, jasmine, bergamot, and mandarin oil as these scents are particularly calming.
Bonus mommy tip: Touch a few drops of essential oil on to the bottom of little feet then cover with socks before bed for a little added peace. (Thank you to the brilliant and beautiful Cara Harjes for coming over and saving me that day no naps were to be had). I am very grateful for the village.