This week I wanted to talk a bit about the bedtime routine, and the number one mistake parents make when they are creating a bedtime routine. Nowadays, if you go to any baby site on the Web, search “my baby won’t sleep,” or whatever you’re looking to resolve in regards to sleep, almost every single site will tell you about the importance of a bedtime routine. I absolutely agree!
I think a bedtime routine is a crucial first step in creating predictability to your baby and teaching your baby that it’s time to make that transition from day into night. Even adults have routines. We all do things in the same order before bed every night. Without them, we would feel a little anxious or out of sorts, and it would be harder to sleep. So it definitely is important, but there is one mistake that parents make.
Do you want to know something that really gets me fired up?
It’s when Moms (either online or in real life) are talking about sleep, and I hear comments like this:
“You should just enjoy getting up to nurse all night – someday he’ll be all grown up and you’ll miss it.”
“It's all part of having children. Going without sleep is par for the course!”
Or my all-time favorite…
“Well, you’ll just have to figure out how to deal with it!”
With the holidays approaching, many new parents who have recently gotten their babies sleeping on a schedule are worried that they might regress a little over the holidays.
And I can assure you, those fears could not be more well-founded.
Between the travel, the excitement, the constant attention and then travel all over again, the holidays are the single easiest way to throw all of your hard work out with the wrapping paper and turkey bones.
But I’m happy to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way! With some strategic planning and an iron will, you can keep that carefully orchestrated routine running just the way you did at home.
That’s right, I said it. Your baby will never sleep straight through the night.
And neither will you, for that matter.
In fact, pretty much anyone who isn’t heavily sedated before going to bed can expect to wake up multiple times in the night.
This isn’t due to stress, caffeine, lack of exercise, or any other factors that can contribute to a lousy night’s sleep. It’s a normal, natural part of the human sleep cycle.
As the parent of a new baby, the number of questions you’re going to find yourself asking are, to put it mildly, astronomical.
The old saying about babies not coming with instructions has cemented itself in parental lore for a good reason. Even after spending nine months doing endless research on what to expect when baby arrives, as soon as we’re sent home from the hospital with our little ones, there’s an unavoidable feeling of unpreparedness.
Every baby is different, after all, so no manual, no set of instructions, no amount of coaching from friends and family, is going to prepare you for your child in particular. And since this is just about the biggest responsibility that a human being can have, to raise another living person, we feel an incredible obligation to get it right.
In the beginning, most babies sleep. A lot. Of course, with just about any scenario, there is always a few exceptions to the rule, in this case, having a newborn that doesn’t sleep much at all. However, for the sake of the topic of examining the 4 month sleep regression stage, we will focus on the babies that slept a lot the first 3 months of their lives, to all of a sudden, not sleeping well at all.
Many parents chalk this up to a sleep regression, as if it’s a way to explain why a child, that had seemingly mastered a skill, isn’t quite so good at it anymore. However, a question I like to ask parents who label their child’s sleep struggles as a regression is, “If your child had been doing so well and “practices” sleeping every day, how would it work that their sleep would get worse?”
Is it possible that it's not a regression after all? What if I told you that it is actually a sign of transition?
I love the changing of the seasons, particularly what happens during the fall season - the changing of the leave, warm cups of hot cocoa, snuggle hats and mittens for me and my littles. It's such a great and cozy time of year!
However, one particular event that happens during the fall that I don't enjoy is Daylight Savings Time, the event in which we turn our clocks back one hour. When this time change happens, this year on November 5th, it feels like it is dark, ALL OF THE TIME. Additionally, I also don't like the impact it has on my littles and my families' littles. Moving the clocks back just one hour can really affect their body clock and sleep schedules!
Luckily, I have five tips that you can use to help navigate the time change and help make it less stressful for you and your littles.
Introducing the Overtired Series - examining what being overtired looks like in littles and how to stop it from happening.
In my line of work, this question comes up constantly: "How do I tell if my child is overtired? They never want to go to bed when I tell them to." or "It takes forever for my child to fall asleep at night, are they really tired?"
I hear you and completely feel your pain.
As adults, when we are tired, we exhibit, what we feel are typical, behaviors showing our fatigue. We generally start quieting down, not moving as much, start doing quiet activities, find yourself craving a snack, and get ourselves ready for bed. This makes sense right? When it's time to rest, we start doing things that helps us get ready for rest. Kids? Not so much.
While it does happen, it is pretty rare that a child who is tired will just quietly start getting themselves ready for bed and put themselves in bed with nothing more than a sweet hug and kiss from Mom and Dad and its lights out.
Wouldn't that be nice though?
In recent years, co-sleeping has made a large resurgence in new parents looking for ways to be close to their child, in terms of bonding, physical contact, and ease of care. While in terms of attentive parenting, it is encouraging to see more and more families strive to develop close bonds with their infants, it is also quite troubling at the amount of misconceptions that are floating around about bed-sharing. From a variety of well-meaning sources, such as KellyMom, LaLeche League International, Dr. Sears, and anthropologist James McKenna of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory, there is an abundance of false platitudes that bed-sharing with your baby is "perfectly fine if you do it safely".
Let's be honest here.
There is no way to make bed sharing safe enough without putting your baby at a real risk of suffering a preventable sleep death in your own bed.
In the efforts to educate parents about babies and safety, organizations and associations have tried to come up with catchy acronyms and short, memorable sayings to help highlight the main point of the recommendation being imparted while making it easy for parents to remember.
Among some of the catchy phrases and acronyms that you may be familiar with, such as "stop, drop, and roll" or TICKS (as it applies to babywearing), one that was developed for sleep is ABC - Alone on their Back in the Crib.
A = Alone
B = Back
C = Crib
Since this acronym has been developed and marketed in 1992 by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), we have seen Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) rates drop. In 2000, the rate had dropped 50 percent.
During the summer months, it is easy to slip into "vacation mode" even after a busy day at work or a hectic day running around at home with the kids. The weather is ideal most of the time - it's warm and the sun is out. There are activities and events to do - BBQs, games and events, treks to the beach or the park, taking the dog for a walk, or enjoying a bike ride. Depending on where you live, this type of weather is very temporary - so it's easy to want to cram everything in and make the most of the summer months. Having been there, I'm here to share with you, a PSA about the importance of keeping to your child's schedule, even during the summertime.
It is something that I learned firsthand.
This is such an exciting time for Sleeping Littles! One year ago, we officially opened our doors to work with families after doing so on the side for the past five years. This year has been an incredible learning experience and we are so excited for what the future will bring!
As a result, we are celebrating our one-year anniversary in a huge way: A sleep package giveaway!
One lucky family is going to win a sleep package from Sleeping Littles - this means that you will receive the same high quality sleep package services that many of my families have benefited from and will see amazing results in the form of a child who sleeps so much better in three weeks or less.
The giveaway includes:
What Do I Do?
If you want your chance at winning this fabulous prize, you need to make sure you meet the criteria:
If you know of someone who may be interested in applying, do not hesitate to share the giveaway with them and help them have a chance of getting on their way to better sleep!
Please note: This giveaway is for a standard sleep package as listed on our Packages page. Any additions, including text support, in-home consultations, half-night, or overnight packages is not included in the giveaway and will require payment in order to receive the additional support services.
The giveaway ends May 6th, 2017, so hurry up and get your application filled out to have your chance at winning!
Have a great week and good luck!
It’s a well-known fact that sleep is important to your health, whether you’re young or old. However, the value that sleep has on the younger ages; especially in babies, toddlers, school-aged kids and teens is even more so. Sleep that is inadequate, in terms of quantity and quality, can adversely affect one’s development and growth. It has also been learned that children who don’t sleep well are more likely to have issues with behavior issues, obesity, cognitive development and other serious issues.
This coming Sunday is Daylight Savings Time, and as the adage follows, we “spring” forward and move our clocks an hour ahead. The changes in time can create anxiety for parents of young children who are greatly dependent on a routine-based schedule that follows consistent sleep times everyday. It’s proven that children thrive better when bedtimes and naptimes are structured and consistent everyday, so it is no wonder that a change in time can throw a wrench in parents’ best-laid plans and increase the worry that the hard-earned sleep schedule could be derailed.
As a parent, you want to provide the best for your child. You want them to have the best education, healthiest foods, be active and strong, strong immune systems, and every advantage that we can afford to give them. Parents also want these things to happen with the best ingredients, resources, and methods. With this in mind, it's only natural for parents to want their child to be healthy as they can be and part of achieving that is making sure that their child gets a good night's rest.
But what if your child doesn't sleep well?
Over the last week, the country has been in a bit of an uproar when the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released their newest guidelines regarding babies and their sleep. Many of the recommendations were considered to be "old news" and fairly common sense, such as laying baby on their backs to sleep, sleep should occur on a firm surface, no bumper pads on the crib, etc. But there was a new recommendation that took everyone by surprise and created a stir among parents.
During your pregnancy and shortly after your child’s birth, there are many anecdotes, words of wisdom, and advice regarding your future as it comes to sleep. Or really, lack thereof.
“Enjoy the sleep while you can!”
“You can sleep when they move out of the house!”
“Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
The title says it all doesn't it? The dreaded early wake ups - the mornings where your sweet-faced, vivacious little one wake up at 4:30 or 5:00 AM happily chirping away or start hollering for you through the baby monitor to let them come out of bed, because they are awake and ready to play! Since they've decided to wake up at this ungodly hour, this means you are begrudgingly, and very reluctantly, awake as well.
Unfortunately, because your child woke up so early, this can mean that you're in for a rough day because everyone is off schedule. When you're dealing with less sleep and feelings of being off-kilter, it's so hard to get anything accomplished. In addition, you are also likely dealing with a child who is cranky and fussy, or running in overdrive and leave you wishing that you could bottle up their energy and use some of it for yourself. As it is with most situations involving children, it is usually a story of extremes, especially when the early wake up is involved.
When preparing to welcome your little one home, so much time and energy is spent creating the perfect nursery or space for your baby to rest their heads. You select your theme, colors, and accessories with great care, and you look for a crib that will keep your child safe as well as fit the decor you have in mind. You use Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration and work with talented artists and sewists on Etsy to design and create the perfect space.
You've brought your baby home, spend hours cuddling, rocking, and feeding them in their rooms and gently lay them in their cribs to sleep. After a while, the question starts to niggle at you, especially when your little cherub is proudly standing in their crib because they've figured out how to use the slats to pull themselves up into a standing position. We all have had it run through our heads. "Is it time to move them into a toddler/big kid bed?"
The short answer: No.
Naps are a parent's oasis. They are a welcomed respite in the day of all parents and child care providers. Naps provide a break in the day that allows everyone to rest and recharge. Parents use that time to get things done around the home or just enjoy the rare, and blissful "me" time. Naps have incredible health benefits for the child, helping them get the amount of sleep that they need each day, give their active minds a time to process and absorb all of the information that they learned earlier that day and strengthen their memories, interactions, and cognitive skills.
For an event(s) that happens, in what feels like a small part of the day, naps pack a powerful punch to a child's growth and development.
But eventually it happens. Your child starts resisting the nap and you're left wondering if that beloved oasis that you enjoyed every day is going to start becoming a mirage.
As we enter into the month of August, we start get ready to do two things: mourn the impending end of summer and get ready for the upcoming school year. Of course I’m talking about the kids in this scenario. Most parents I know are practically celebrating when August rolls around. This means that the kids are off to school for the day, learning new things, making new friends, and the house stays relatively intact.
One of the biggest challenges in getting ready for school is getting ready for a new schedule. It is not uncommon for parents to let bedtimes slide or push the time that kids go to bed back later during the summer time. With vacations, BBQs, outdoor activities happening later in the day due to the longer daytime hours, many families find it easier to simply push bedtime back.
There are many things that new mothers worry about with the impending arrival of their new little one. The delivery, baby clothing and supplies, feedings, sleeping... frankly, being tasked with caring for a helpless little baby and wondering how they'd ever survive with us caring for them!
Breastfeeding is something that can be incredibly important to new mothers wanting to be successful at doing so. Establishing a supply, figuring out the latch, learning the different holds, figuring out hunger cries, and ensuring that they are providing the valuable nutrients for a little body to grow and thrive. Unfortunately, it is commonly thought that if you want to exclusively breastfeed, you have to give up precious sleep and resign yourself to feeding your child at their every whim and call at all hours of the day and night. This does not have to be the reality.
In working with my families and talking with parents about getting their child started on the path to sleeping better, a topic that comes up many times is the sleep prop. There are many facets to the sleep prop: what is it? What does it do? How does it affect sleep? How can you remove it? How can you prevent the introduction of the sleep prop? Inadvertently, it can play a huge role in how it affects your child's sleep, your relationship with your child, and how you interact with your child and family. In most cases, it starts out on the basis of something that is good, it helps your child sleep and saves your sanity. Unfortunately, it can morph into the catalyst that draw battle lines between you and your child, and even you and your partner, and in the end, affects everyone's sleep, and not for the better.
We are wrapping up the Overtired Series! When we started the series, we first talked about 10 typical signs of littles being overtired. They were identified as follows:
1. Extreme hyperactivity
2. Behaving irritably or crabby
3. Constant hunger
4. Physical cues
6. Increased resistance to falling asleep
8. Needing constant stimulation
9. Easily awaken
10. Early wake-ups
Welcome back to the Overtired Series! We have finally reached the last two of 10 typical signs of overtiredness in littles. In the introduction to the Overtired Series, I shared 10 typical signs of babies and toddlers display when they are overtired. We looked at Hyperactivity and Irritable, Hunger and Physical Cues, Clumsiness and Increased Resistance, and Catnaps and Constant Stimulation. Today, we are talking about the last two signs: Easily Awakened and Early Wake-ups. What do those look like and how can we stop it from happening?
I am a Pediatric Sleep Consultant who works with families to help them resolve their littles' sleep issues. As a mom of two littles herself, Katie has walked in the shoes of her clients and is passionate about helping them re-discover peaceful sleeps in their own homes.