For many families, spring break travels are just around the corner. The desire to escape the cold and get away from it all for a week is a wish that any parent can get behind. However, the stress and even fear that a parent can experience when thinking about traveling with kids can really make one second guess on whether or not they want to embark the adventure of traveling with their littles. Here’s the good news – a lot of kids are GREAT travelers. As long as parents take some time to account for their child’s routine and schedule while on vacation, traveling with children can be a great time.
Sleep is a funny thing when it comes to littles. Parents agonize over how to help their child be a good sleeper, making sure that they are instilling healthy sleep habits by creating good routines and a consistent schedule, and trying their best to not create “bad habits”. But the fact is, even if you do all of that, your child can still experience some challenges with their sleep, with some of these challenges seeming to be a bit uncommon in the world of sleep.
However, short of a medical diagnosis of sleep apnea or the rarely diagnosed insufficient melatonin production, many of these more uncommon sleep challenges can still have simple explanations and be more easily resolved without having to go to the doctor and invest in medical intervention.
When I was expecting my first child, I probably did more reading than I did throughout my entire academic career. I was determined to know everything there was to know about having a baby, raising a child, and everything that had anything at all to do with parenting.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the limitless amount of information out there, and how conflicted the various experts were with each other’s points of view. Even among well-renowned medical professionals, the differences in opinions that I read about were so conflicting: one person would say that one thing was absolutely essential, but then the next person would absolutely denounced it as objectively wrong or harmful by another. I ran into this everywhere.
As most parents do, I took that information, analyzed it, filtered everything through a combination of scientific research and common sense, and came up with a plan that I was comfortable with. But one thing I was never completely sure about, mainly because nobody seemed to have a clear answer, was whether I could sleep train while I was breastfeeding.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Picture yourself finally getting your grumpy baby down for her afternoon nap and you sit down for a much needed moment to yourself only to hear a loud vehicle (of course it is!) roaring down the street. Just like that, your Sleeping Little is wide awake and mad and your precious "me-time" is gone… NOT a good combination.
Or perhaps you live in the country and you’re finding yourself being woken up at dawn by a wailing infant who has adorable (but ridiculously loud) squirrels chitter-chattering in the tree next to their window.
Environmental noises are a fact of life that you can’t do much about… but there IS something you can do about your baby’s ability to sleep through the noise. In my experience, white noise machines can be a lifesaver when it comes to helping babies fall asleep — and stay asleep.
I get asked often about my stance on swaddling. Whether it is considered to be a sleep crutch or if it helps the baby sleep better. Swaddling a newborn can be an excellent tool. It mimics the confined feeling of the womb and it can be quite soothing for a lot of newborns. Now, there’s a little bit more concern around whether or not the swaddle can make a baby be too warm, or if the swaddle is creeping up over the baby’s face from being too loose, and so on.
For those that choose to swaddle their newborns, it’s important to monitor your baby. If your baby is sweaty under the swaddle, then perhaps you’re wrapping him too tightly or the fabric is too thick or heavy. If you notice that the swaddle is creeping up around the baby’s face, then the swaddle is likely too loose or the blanket is too big. It’s important to have common sense regarding the use of the swaddle.
This week's question is from a mom of a three month old. She writes:
"My in-laws are coming to visit for a week and seem to think that babies will sleep through anything and that they just need to "get used to" the noise. Is this true?"
Certainly, we can get used to familiar environmental noises when we sleep. If you live in an area where it’s noiser, you will get used to a bit of ambient noise. However, while we sleep, we’re not in comas, and neither are our babies, so whatever can potentially wake you up can also potentially wake up your baby as well.
This is a question I get asked a lot when I’m meeting with my families. It's not always obvious when a child is getting tired, and frankly, sometimes our babies’ emotions seem like a huge mystery! Here's how to recognize "sleep signs" so you can get your child to bed BEFORE they become overtired!
Do you recognize yourself in the question below?
"Help! Why can’t I recognize my four-month-old’s sleep signs? No yawning, no eye rubbing. He seems to go from quite happy to very upset in a split second and then it takes forever to settle him down and get him to sleep."
I don’t know about you, but in my house, we have exactly two weeks before my littles start their school year. In their district, school starts a few days before Labor Day weekend, and while the early start might seem a bit unfair, I think it’s a sweet blessing for their teachers to have a long weekend right away! Not that they "need" it, since ALL of the children are docile, mild, calm beings in the classroom. (Mine are not always included in that group, especially my oldest, ha.)
With that being said, I’m pretty confident that I’m not the only mom that has some work to do in order to get my kids ready for their first day of school, and mom to mom, there’s zero judgement coming from my end.
I know... I work as a sleep coach for babies, children, and adults, and it’s easy to think that I’m going to judge you for the late bedtimes, unenforced rules, inconsistent schedules, or any of the many "bad habits" that may have taken place over your summer vacation.
Recently, I have been getting more questions from parents that are centering around the dreaded early mornings. An example of the inquiry looks something like this: “My one-year-old is waking up at 4:00 AM, and won’t go back to sleep even after I nurse him. As a result, he struggles to make it to his first nap of the day. He goes to bed at 7:30 at night, and has two solid naps during the day. How can I fix this?”
First of all, parents, you are not alone in this. This is one of the most common questions that I hear from parents, that their baby is waking up too early. To combat this challenge, I have three tips that I would love to share.
A question I received the other day came from a parent concerned about the nap struggles that her son was experiencing at daycare. She wrote, "My 9 month old does not take good naps at the babysitter's three times a week and is super crabby by the time six o'clock rolls around. Should I just put him down early or should I wait for his normal bedtime?"
That's a great question Mama, and it's one that I hear numerous times while working with families whose littles attend daycare during the week. I've got three tips to help navigate that challenge.
This is a question I often asked my first son when he was an infant. I asked it in a sweet voice, I asked it in a harsh whisper, I asked it in a tone of desperation, but no matter how many times I asked, he never gave me the answer.
I can remember the night— and some of you will know exactly what I’m talking about— when I felt like I could not take it anymore. My son just would not stay asleep and I had hit rock bottom, exhausted from waking up multiple times every night and having to soothe him back to sleep. My husband found me at an ungodly hour one morning, curled up next to my son’s crib, with my hand in the slats trying to pat him to sleep for what felt like hours.
When our babies don’t sleep well, we tend to look for an explanation. It must be teething or perhaps it’s gas. We worry that she’s too small and she needs to eat in the night, or he’s too big and he needs to eat more or he won’t feel full. The list goes on and on.
I'm hoping that I might be able to change some minds here today.
It won’t be easy, obviously, because when is it ever? But on parenting issues, there are so many emotional ties and hardened beliefs that enter into the equation that make swaying someone’s personal beliefs nearly impossible.
As parents, we bear an enormous responsibility. Far beyond the basic tenets of parenting, which includes feeding, clothing, and raising your child. We also take our job seriously - teaching our children how to become strong, independent, viable members of our society, no matter their age or where they go.
No surprise than that we take these decisions very, very seriously.
Pacifier North Loop, 219 North 2nd Street #102 Minneapolis, MN 55401
June 9, 2018 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm or 3:00 pm - 3:45 pm
This playdate and seminar, “7 Important Sleep Tips”, is filled with valuable information and tips that parents can implement into their child’s daily sleep routines and practices.
These tips will help you develop an appropriate bed and naptime routine for your child as well as educate parents on healthy and age-appropriate expectations for their child and their sleep needs. Littles that sleep well means that YOU sleep well. This seminar, presented by Katie of Sleeping Littles, can help you and your child find your ZZZs and enjoy well-rested nights once again!
Sign-up in advance to take 15% off your entire regular price puchase at Pacifier the day of the event!*
Speaking of littles, feel free to bring them! This seminar will take place in Pacifier’s play area. Katie works with children ages 0-7 years, though she does accept older kids on a case-by-case basis.
PARKING AT PACIFIER - NORTH LOOP: Complimentary parking is always available in the Monte Carlo lot - enter on N 3rd Ave near the restaurant. No valet is present at 10am, so feel free to self-park
To celebrate Sleeping Littles visit to Kare11 Sunrise on Wednesday, we're doing a giveaway!
Visit Sleeping Littles Facebook Page to enter to win a Dohm Classic White Noise Sound Machine by Marpac!
If you’re like most parents, you probably can’t take more than a couple of steps in your house without tripping over a doll, a stuffed animal or a Tonka truck. You are most likely more than familiar with the sensation of getting those hard, tiny Lego pieces embedded in the bottom of your bare foot, or having to spend ten minutes scooping your child’s dripping army of bath toys out of the bathtub after he’s had his bath every night.
In fact, this is likely a familiar scene in any household that hosts one or more children, despite every parent's declaration that their house would never be overcome by their children's toys. I suppose this might not a good time to look back and laugh at our old naive selves?
Is there ever a time when your baby is sleeping too much? I know that might sound crazy especially if you’ve had months or even years of broken sleep and half an hour naps might seem like a fantasy.
But really, is there is such a thing of the baby actually sleeping too much? The truth of the matter is that 9 times out of 10, there is no such thing as too much daytime sleep. Some babies have different needs than other babies. Some will have a nice two-hour nap, some will do three, some will do fine on an hour. So, I want to relax a little bit around it that there is no magic amount of time that each baby needs.
Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar…
Your baby wakes up in the morning after a solid night’s sleep. You feed her, change her, play with her for a little bit, take her for a little walk outside, then rock her to sleep and put her gently into her crib for her morning nap.
And then, 30 minutes later, she wakes up fussy and irritable and, despite your pleading, bargaining, and offers of riches, refuses to go back to sleep.
So after half an hour of trying to put her back down, you finally give in, hoping she’ll be that much more tired when her afternoon nap rolls around, only to have the exact same scenario play out again, and baby is a cranky ball of unhappiness for the rest of the day.
Sleep, like food, is one of those elements where baby’s got the final say on whether or not they’re going to cooperate, so there’s no sense trying to force the issue. If they’re not sleeping, just leaving them in their room usually won’t fix things.
So here’s what’s going on, and how to fix it.
Raising kids is a high-stakes responsibility, and in this age of social media and easy access to information about anything and everything, parents are easily overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and inadequacy. As a sleep consultant, I see this all the time from parents whose babies aren’t sleeping well.
One of the other major contributors to the, “I’m doing something wrong,” sensation is separation anxiety; that oh-so-challenging part of a child’s life when they start to completely flip their lids whenever Mom’s not around.
The thought process, it would appear is one of...
Daylight Savings Time is a bi-annual event that sparks dread, confusion, and even fear in parents' minds. The idea that their hard work getting their child to go to sleep at the same time every night and take good naps, could all go down the drain by simply changing the clocks by an hour. It sounds so unbelievable, that an hour can cause so much stress. But every parent knows that even a measly hour can derail their child's good sleep habits because with this particular time change, happening March 11th, 2018, the sunlight changes as well, with having longer daylight hours and "shorter" nights.
The other day, I was browsing through Facebook and I came across this brilliant video of a author giving an analogy for parenting teenagers, and how it's like a roller coaster. While my two littles are many years away from entering their teenage years (thank goodness!), I couldn't help but watch the 90 second video. I'm so glad I did, because in this video, I heard a message that I find myself telling parents when we're embarking on their child's sleep journey -
Watch the video to see what I mean.
Most of us consider snoring just a normal part of life. Maybe we have a partner who snores, or a Grandpa who falls asleep in his easy chair and snores so loud it’s hard on carry on a conversation in the room. We think of it as a common condition, and while it might be irritating trying to sleep beside a snorer, it usually isn’t anything to worry about.
But is snoring normal for young kids?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, most children snore once in a while, but only 10 percent snore on a regular basis, compared to 30 to 40 percent of adults. Snoring is caused by a lack of air moving freely through your nose and mouth during sleep. In adults, it often happens when the airway narrows because of an awkward sleeping position or because of abnormalities in the soft tissue of the throat. It’s less common in kids, so if a child is snoring, there’s sometimes another reason for it.
This week’s question comes from a call I had with a family this past week.
“My 11-month-old goes to bed with a bottle and wakes for a bottle in the night. How do I break her of this habit?”
Good question! When you put your baby in bed at night, it’s fine to include the bottle in her routine. You could start with a bath, and then pajamas and then her bottle and a story or two. Having something in between the bottle and going into their bed is REALLY important, as you want your baby to stay awake during their bedtime routine.
Today, I have a question from a mom who downloaded my free 5 tips from my website. She writes, "I've been working on implementing your tips for about a week now, but I'm having a really hard time keeping my baby awake through her bottle at the bedtime routine. What can I do?"
Well, that's a great question. Really, when you're working on helping your child sleep well, the number one rule is to make sure that you keep your baby wide awake through any feeds. That's the breast or the bottle.
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!”
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.