10 Must-Know Baby and Toddler Nap Facts. (#7 May Surprise You!)

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Special MEMBERS-ONLY nap resources now available.
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Baby Toddler Naps

We’ve written quite a bit about baby and toddler naps here on the blog, so if you’ve been following our site for awhile, you’ve had the chance to read a lot of baby and toddler nap tips and tidbits. But, some of you are new moms or new to The Baby Sleep Site® and we strive to educate all of our parents on the importance of good sleep and how to achieve it!

Today, we’re presenting you with 10 must-know facts about your baby’s or toddler’s naps. Think of it as your nap “cheat sheet”. ;)

10 Things You Need To Know About Baby and Toddler Naps

  1. The first nap of the day is the most important. This isn’t to say that other naps aren’t also important. But the first nap of the day tends to be the most restorative, setting the tone for the day, and it’s generally the one that produces the best sleep for babies and young toddlers.
  2. Most babies don’t transition to one nap at 12 months; most transition to one nap between 15-18 months. There seems to be a prevailing opinion out there that at the one year mark, babies should suddenly transition from two naps to one. And some will, with no problem. But we’re here to tell you that making the 2-to-1 nap transition at 12 months isn’t the norm for most babies. In fact, most babies aren’t ready to move to one nap a day until 15-18 months.
  3. Most 6 month old babies aren’t ready for just 2 naps per day; most still need 3 (or even 4). Just as there’s a misconception that all 12 month old babies are ready to transition to one nap per day, there’s also a misconception that 6 month old babies are ready to transition to just 2 naps each day. We think this misconception is at least party due to a recommendation that Weissbluth makes in his book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. In the book, Weissbluth states that only 16% of babies need a third nap after 5 months. Keep in mind this statistic came from a study of a limited number of children.

    We are not discounting Weissbluth’s studies, but we do take it with a grain of salt, since all babies vary in their ability (particularly mood-wise) to stay awake for long periods of time. In our extensive work with families, we’ve found that far more than 16% of babies appear to need 3 naps at 6, 7, even 8 months of age. Therefore, we usually tell parents not to rush into a 2 nap schedule with their 6 month old babies. Doing that increases the chances that their 6 month olds will become overtired, which will in turn affect their night sleep. We’ve found it’s better to stick to a 3 nap schedule (or even a 4 nap schedule) and then gradually transition to a 2 nap schedule around 8 months.

  4. Your child’s nap needs will change greatly between birth and 18 months. Greatly. This just makes sense if you think about it — newborns nap pretty much constantly during the day, while an 18 month old needs just 1 nap. That’s a lot of change during a relatively short period of time!

    So, how many naps does your baby or toddler need in the first 18 months of life? You can read this article for detailed information, but here’s the short version:

    *1-3 MONTHS – 4-5 naps per day, depending on how long his naps are and how long he can stay up between naps.

    *3-4 MONTHS – 4 naps.

    *5-8 MONTHS – probably 3 naps (though some will need 4 until after 7 months). A few babies will only have 2 naps at a very young age, but those naps are usually long.

    *9-15 MONTHS – 2 naps. Some babies will transition to 1 nap at 12 months, but that’s not common.

    *15-18 MONTHS – 1-2 naps. The transition from 2 naps to 1 usually happens in this window of time.

    *18 MONTHS-4 YEARS – 1 nap. The age to transition away from all napping varies a lot, from 2 to 5+ years old, but the average age is between 3 and 4 years old.

  5. Nicole’s Note:
    “But, of course, my son was very NON-textbook. He had 4 naps until 7 months old, because he simply could not stay awake longer than 1 hour 15 to 30 minutes without turning into Senor Cranky Pants! It was simply NOT fun to even try. So, I rolled with it and he stayed home all day pretty much until he seemed to change overnight, taking 3 naps at 7 1/2 months old. He then dropped to two naps a short month later at 8 1/2 months. It happened so fast! He also transitioned to one nap early and away from napping early. I would never have guessed that based on our first 7 months. So, if your baby is struggling with staying awake for long periods, he’s not alone and it could change fast for you, too! :)”

  6. If your baby or toddler sleeps well at night, that doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll nap well during the day. Remember, nap sleep is different than night sleep. Naps happen during daylight hours, when the sun’s up and when it tends to be noisy and busy. External factors like that can make it hard for a baby or toddler to nap well. And many families struggle with keeping a consistent daily nap routine in place — because life tends to get in the way! That, too, can make it hard for a baby or toddler to nap consistently. Contrast that with nights — it’s dark, it’s (usually) quiet, and everyone is (usually) at home. That at least partly explains why many babies and toddlers who sleep just fine at night struggle with their naps.
  7. On-the-go, “moving” naps aren’t as restorative as naps that happen at home, in bed. This might come as a bit of a surprise, but it’s true — naps that happen “on the go” (in a moving car, for example, or in a moving stroller or shopping cart) aren’t as restorative as naps that happen on a non-moving surface (like a bed). They aren’t as long, for one thing, and during a “moving” nap, your baby’s or toddler’s sleep won’t be as deep. The occasional on-the-go nap isn’t a big deal, of course; sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. But if the majority of your baby’s or toddler’s naps are happening in the car, or in a stroller, you may need to rethink your daytime routines and schedule.
  8. It’s possible for your baby or toddler to nap too much. Yes, we realize that this particular “problem” doesn’t plague most of you. ;) But it’s true; some babies and toddlers nap too much, and it negatively affects their nighttime sleep. How much nap time sleep is too much? You can check out this article for details, but here’s a fast breakdown:

    *INFANT STAGE (birth – 4 months) — newborns will sleep 14-18 total hours during the day. To maximize nighttime sleep, limit naps to two hours, and try to keep your baby awake for 30 minutes between naps. (Need help with newborn sleep? Take a look at our newborn e-Book.)

    *BABY STAGE (4-12 months) – babies need 13-15 total hours of sleep during the day. 2-4 of these hours should be naps (depending on how much sleep your baby is getting at night.)

    *TODDLER STAGE (12 months – 3 or 4 years) – 1-3 hours of total naptime is considered normal and healthy.

  9. Educate yourself on when common nap transitions occur, and how to manage them. Nap transitions are likely to occur at the following times:

    *3-4 MONTHS – baby transitions from 5 naps to 4.
    *5-6 MONTHS – baby transitions from 4 naps to 3.
    *8-9 MONTHS – baby transitions from 3 naps to 2.
    *15-18 MONTHS – toddler transitions from 2 naps to 1.

    As for how to handle these nap transitions? We have loads of resources on that very topic in our Members Area – keep reading for details!

  10. If a nap just isn’t happening, know when to give up and try again later. We end up dispensing this advice quite often to our consultation clients who we are working on nap training: don’t waste too much time trying to make a nap happen. No sense in spending 3 hours trying to force an afternoon nap to happen — at that point, you’re probably closer to bedtime than you are to naptime!
  11. When your toddler is finally done taking naps, consider replacing nap time with “rest time”. It’s always a little sad when your toddler finally ages out of his naps. Gone are those one or two hours of peace, when mom or dad could get some work done, catch up on chores, or take a nap themselves! However, the end of nap time doesn’t have to mean the end of your afternoon peace and quiet. Simply replace nap time with rest time.

BONUS NAP TIP: We like you so much, we’re squeezing in a bonus tip for you! This one deals with short naps, an all-too-common problems for the parents in our Baby Sleep Site® community. The fact is, short naps are normal for newborns and young babies, but by about 6 months of age, most babies are able to take longer naps. Want all the details on why short naps happen, and how to fix the problem? Check out this article on short baby naps.

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Special Members-Only Nap Resources

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_left Mastering Naps & Schedules — For starters, all Baby Sleep Site® members receive unlimited access to all our e-Books. That’s right – for the price of your membership, you can read all our e-Books at no additional cost! That includes Mastering Naps & Schedules. With over 45 sample schedules (all available for you to view in the Members Area), Mastering Naps & Schedules is THE e-Book for tired parents of non-napping kiddos! We tackle all your top napping issues, including how to get your baby or toddler to take longer naps, how to get your child’s naps to be more consistent and predictable, how to manage nap transitions, how to encourage good napping while traveling – and more! Become a member today, and access the e-Book instantly – no download necessary!
 
Tele-seminarNap Tele-Seminars — Another great members-only resource? Our tele-seminars. Hosted by Nicole herself, these 30 – 45-minute tele-seminars offer you insider-information and our trademark sleep coaching methods and techniques. We have several awesome nap-focused tele-seminars, including one on managing nap transitions, and one on lengthening short naps! Listening to these seminars is like getting a coaching session from Nicole! She’ll walk you through the basics of dealing with common nap problems and give you tried-and-true strategies you can implement at home.

Members-Only Nap Articles — And now, we’ve recently added a special members-only article on the hot topic of nap transitions: 5 Practical, Hands-On Tips For Managing Common Nap Transitions. Learn our 5 top secrets for how to gently and painlessly navigate nap transitions, and help them happen in a way that preserves your child’s sleep while also preserving your own sanity! ;-)

For more details about all our member benefits (including weekly chats with a trained sleep consultant and 20% off ALL sleep consulting packages), visit our membership page, and consider becoming a member today!
 
 
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Don’t feel up to working on your baby or toddler’s nap challenges on your own? While our Members Area is great for DIY moms who prefer to tackle sleep challenges on their own, we know that other moms much prefer to go straight to one-on-one help. Well, good news – we offer that, and you can start getting the personal help you need TODAY!

 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Are you struggling with any of these 10 points? Have nap questions to ask, or nap tips to share? We want to hear from you!

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Baby Shots (or Vaccines, or Immunizations) And Sleep – Plus, Comfort Tips and Immunization Schedule

 
Baby Shots Immunizations Vaccines

Shots. Vaccines. Immunizations. Whatever you call them, they’re part of raising a child in today’s world. As those of you with babies at home can attest, children (at least, those in America and in many other developed nations) receive a LOT of shots in the first 5 or 6 years of life. These vaccinations are key to preventing life-threatening disease, and are widely considered an important part of preventative health care, but they can also stress a mama out!

Now, there are loads of medical questions that you may have about baby immunizations, and how they will affect your little one. We won’t be tackling all of those in today’s article, but we WILL be addressing a few questions in particular:

  • How do baby shots (or vaccines, or immunizations, depending on your preference) affect sleep?
  • How can parents comfort their babies after vaccinations?
  • Are there steps moms and dads should take to prepare for vaccines?

All good questions – and questions that we answer in today’s article!

How Do Baby Shots Affect Sleep?

This question is pretty easy to answer, actually. In general, vaccines and immunizations will affect your baby’s sleep the same way that illness does. In short, right after getting shots, your baby will more than likely be extra sleepy, and sleep more than he usually does. However, your baby may also wake more often than normal – you may see lots of night-wakings the evening after shots, for example, or more interrupted naps (even though your baby is actually getting more nap sleep than normal, if that makes sense). Generally, babies wake more frequently after shots due to common side effects like soreness at the injection site, or a low-grade fever.

Why is the reaction to shots similar to the reaction to illness? Well, it makes sense, if you think about it – when your baby gets an immunization, it impacts her immune system the same way that a virus or infection would. Granted, the viral components of vaccinations are much weaker than the full-fledged virus (that’s why getting a polio shot doesn’t cause actual polio), but even so, the immunizations do impact your baby’s immune system.

But this impact, while it can make us moms and dads worry, is actually a good sign – you want your baby’s immune system to respond to the shot, because ultimately, you want her immune system to develop a resistance to the diseases against which she’s being vaccinated.

Baby Vaccines: Keeping Baby Comfortable After Shots

Of course, your first thought after your baby gets vaccinated is probably, “How can I help my baby feel better and stay comfortable?” Good question!

First off, it’s important to remember that, according to a 2009 study, it is best if you DON’T offer your baby acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol) after shots. Doing so may actually cause your baby’s body to produce fewer disease-fghting antibodies, which means the vaccinations end up being less effective. This is pretty ground-breaking news, since prior to the study, giving a baby a dose of Tylenol right after shots was pretty much standard practice. Now, however, most healthcare practices warn against doing so.

Miriam, our resident Registered Nurse and Lactation Consultant, shares this advice:

“My biggest tip to moms is to avoid Tylenol before or after vaccines and to only give a fever reducer if the fever is dangerously high or it has been recommended by their healthcare provider, because Tylenol use before and immediately after vaccines has been linked to reduced effectiveness.”

But if you can’t offer pain-relieving medication, what CAN you do to help your baby feel better? Try some of these tips to soothe and comfort your baby after immunizations:

  • Use Dr. Karp’s 5 S’s! That’s right – The Happiest Baby on the Block techniques aren’t just for sleep! you can shush, swaddle, and swing your baby to being calmer and happier after any stressful occasions – like getting shots. In fact, this study revealed that babies whose parents utilized the 5 S techniques stopped crying an average of 45 seconds after their immunizations – pretty impressive!
  • If you nurse, breastfeed often after your baby’s shots. Breastfeeding is soothing in and of itself, so if your baby is fussy and waking more than usual, offer plenty of feedings.
  • Try skin-to-skin contact. Skin-to-skin contact is one of the best ways to soothe a worked-up baby, particularly for newborns or young infants.
  • Wear your baby. Again, this works great for newborns or young infants – being worn snugly against mom goes a long way towards soothing an inconsolable baby.
  • Schedule your shots for the afternoon. As odd as this may sound, a 2011 study found that 2 month old babies who received their shots in the afternoon slept noticeably better than 2 month old babies who received their immunizations in the morning. You can read more about the findings here. So try scheduling vaccinations for 1:00 or later, as a step towards promoting better sleep.

Immunization Schedule: An Easy-To-Read Schedule For Parents

We’re including this as a little bonus – we love this easy-to-read baby immunization schedule from the Center for Disease Control! We’ve included it below, as well:

Immunization Schedule
*Chart courtesy of www.cdc.gov

This immunization schedule makes it easy to see at-a-glance which vaccinations your baby needs at what age.

Altered Immunization Schedules, and Preparing for Baby Shots: Tips From Dr. Sears

Baby vaccines have become a controversial topic over the past 15 years or so – but we don’t want to dive into that controversy here. In our opinion, how you choose to handle your baby’s vaccinations and immunization schedule is between you and your healthcare provider. You should know, however, that there are lots of options between following the CDC schedule exactly and never, ever immunizing your child. Some parents choose to use delayed vaccination schedules; provided you work alongside a healthcare provider, this can be a good middle ground. Dr. Sears offers his own delayed vaccination schedule in his book, The Vaccine Book, and asserts that it’s key for healthcare providers to work with parents, and to take their vaccination concerns into account. Doing so, says Sears, will likely result in higher rates of immunizations overall.

Whether or not you’re a fan of delayed vaccination schedules, every parent can get behind Dr. Sears’ tips for preparing for baby shots. Dr. Sears explains that most adverse immunization reactions are brought on by weakened immune systems, so in his opinion, they key to preventing adverse reactions is to prepare for immunizations ahead of time. His tips on preparing for baby shots are, by and large, easy to implement at home.

How vaccinations impacted your baby’s sleep before? Any tips for other parents about dealing with immunization aftermath? General opinions on vaccinations? Let’s get the conversation started!

bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 
Baby_On_Computer_RESIZEDIf you are looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation, and want plenty support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Your consultation package will provide you with the chance to interact one-on-one with a trained sleep consultant, who will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family and then work to help you implement it at home.
 

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

 
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bss_ebook_freeguide_leftWant FREE sleep help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as tonight. So download now, and learn why your baby is waking at night – and what you can do about it.
 
 
Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

A better night’s sleep could be just a few clicks away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep tonight!
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A ‘Miracle’ Product: An Interview With Miracle Blanket Creator Mike Gatten

 
Miracle Blanket Interview

Readers, we are excited to bring you this interview today, with Miracle Blanket founder Mike Gattan. We are BIG fans of the Miracle Blanket around here – we recommend it to many clients, and Nicole used it with her two boys, when they were babies! And we’re quite pleased that Nicole is now listed as one of the resident sleep experts on www.miracleblanket.com – check out our page there!

In our work with the crew over at Miracle Blanket, we had the chance to talk a bit with Miracle Blanket founder and creator Mike Gatten. Read on, and hear in Mike’s own words why the Miracle Blanket is such a ‘miracle’ of a product!

An Interview With Miracle Blanket Founder Mike Gatten

Mike, let’s start with the background stuff first. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family!

While the Miracle Blanket has won numerous awards and received thousands of testimonials from satisfied customers, the best honor I’ve received so far has been “#1 Dad” for 18 years running (I have a coffee mug to prove it!).

I have three sons Chandler (18), Taylor (16), and Jake (12). In fact, my son Jake inspired the invention of the Miracle Blanket as an infant.

I am a California native, but today call New Mexico home. When I’m not swaddling infants, I enjoy spending time with my sons, weightlifting, camping, hiking, and going to the movies.”

So, what led you to create the Miracle Blanket?

“Our first and third sons were extremely colicky babies; the first was the embodiment of severe colic. Needless to say, no one in my house slept for four months that first time around. When our third son, Jake, came along and began to show signs of colic, I knew there had to be a way to stop it.

By the time Jake was eight weeks old, I had come up with the concept for what today is known as the original Miracle Blanket design. I felt I was lucky enough to have invented the “magic” combination of ingredients to create a veritable “off switch” for crying and sleepless babies.

Since my family had the advantage of the Miracle Blanket, I am very aware of the effectiveness of the blanket. And because Chandler, our first son, didn’t experience the Miracle Blanket, I have an incredible perspective on life with the blanket compared to life without it. We knew we had to get this into as many hands as possible as soon as possible and help families around the world get a better night’s sleep.”

As you know, there are a ton of swaddling blankets on the market today. How is the Miracle Blanket different from other swaddling blankets out there?

“The Miracle Blanket is the #1 pediatrician recommended blanket on the market. Research has shown that the best two eliminators for fussiness in babies are classic swaddling and gentle abdominal pressure.

A lateral belly wrap, a very old Irish remedy for fussiness, is a long band of “stretchy” fabric that is wrapped around a babies abdomen to provide a gentle, even, lateral pressure around the baby’s mid-section. Ours is the first and only product that combines these two incredibly effective solutions in one product.

Because of the way our design combines the perfect classic swaddle with the even, horizontal pressure of the lateral belly wrap, it seems to work better than anyone ever thought possible.

It is also important to point out that the Miracle Blanket can’t impede the development of a baby’s hips and knees. As baby grows, her legs extend beyond the tight portion of the wrap for free movement and healthy joint development.”

What problems does the Miracle Blanket solve for families?

“Simply put, the Miracle Blanket helps families get a better night sleep. Our blanket is the only one successfully designed to help a baby sleep better, deeper and longer. When baby sleeps longer, the whole family can be more rested, refreshed and relaxed in the morning.

What kind of response do you hear from parents, regarding their use of the Miracle Blanket?

There is nothing better than receiving positive feedback from a happy and well-rested parent! We’ve heard from parents that have told us the Miracle Blanket is the only swaddle that keeps baby tightly wrapped and relaxed. Some parents have told us that their baby relaxes just at the sight of the Miracle Blanket!”

Okay, let’s end with a fun question – as a parent, if you could offer one piece of advice to a first-time mom, what would it be?

“I recommend that a first-time mom focus on helping her baby self-soothe. It’s important that a baby can calm herself down and fall asleep on her own. Swaddling a newborn is the first step and tool to teaching baby to fall asleep on her own.”

Special Discounts, Available Only To Friends Of The Baby Sleep Site®

We are teaming up with Miracle Blanket to offer our readers a special, exclusive discount – for a limited time, you can save $5 on the purchase of a Miracle Blanket when you enter code babysleeps14 at checkout! This is a nice deal on a great product, so take advantage, and pick up YOUR discounted Miracle Blanket today!

Help Your Baby Sleep Better, With Resources From The Baby Sleep Site®!

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 
Baby_On_Computer_RESIZEDIf you are looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation, and want plenty support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Your consultation package will provide you with the chance to interact one-on-one with a trained sleep consultant, who will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family and then work to help you implement it at home.
 

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

 
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bss_ebook_freeguide_leftWant FREE sleep help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as tonight. So download now, and learn why your baby is waking at night – and what you can do about it.
 
 
Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

A better night’s sleep could be just a few clicks away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep tonight!
*******************************************************************************************
 

Disclosure: The Miracle Blanket link included in this post is an affiliate link. As a Miracle Blanket affiliate, The Baby Sleep Site® earns a small percentage of each sale that happens via our affiliate link. This will not affect your purchase price in any way.

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Is Sleep Training Selfish? Well, Yes…And No

 
Is Sleep Training Selfish?

Okay, parents, let’s just get it right out in the open. It’s the elephant in the room for many of our consultation clients, but we think it’s high time we addressed it here on the blog, and talked about it openly.

We’re talking about sleep training guilt.

Have you felt this? Does the idea of sleep training in order to achieve hours of glorious, uninterrupted night sleep and long, peaceful naps sound wonderful to you? But maybe it’s also tainted by a weird, lingering feeling of guilt, that somehow even wanting to sleep train (much less actually doing it) is somehow selfish?

If so – you’re not alone. MANY of the families with whom we’ve worked have said this very thing as they’ve started their consultations – “I’m so excited to be doing this finally, but I also feel super guilty. I feel selfish for wanting to fix my child’s sleep!”

Well, readers, this is the question we’re answering in today’s post: Is sleep training selfish? We say yes AND no – read on to find out why!

Sleep Training “Selfishness”: Why The Guilt In The First Place?

Why does sleep training feel selfish in the first place? Well, most of us end up sleep training out of our own crippling exhaustion. While some parents do sleep train solely based on their baby’s needs, for most of us, it’s a combination of “my baby isn’t getting enough sleep, and NEITHER AM I!!” Because, if we’re honest with ourselves, we need sleep, too. We need adequate sleep in order to have healthy relationships with our partners, to enjoy our daily lives and activities, and to be the best parents we can be.

I also think that sleep training guilt over “being selfish” has a lot to do with the pervasive myth of The Super-Mom. What is the super-mom? Well, super-moms…

  • breastfeed with ease (no latching problems, nipple soreness, or supply issues, thankyouverymuch) and do it exclusively for years.
  • …make ALL baby and toddler food from scratch, using only organic, locally-grown ingredients.
  • …can churn out ALL the crafts on Pinterest – and theirs always look just like the pictures. (Meanwhile, mine end up looking a whole lot more like this…anyone else??)
  • …retain their girlish figures indefinitely (because why let a little thing like multiple pregnancies be an excuse for saggy tummies and less-than-lovely breasts?)
  • …have 18 month olds who are potty-trained AND reading independently.
  • …are unfazed by their toddlers’ monster-sized tantrums and NEVER resort to raising their voices or losing their cool.
  • …can happily subsist on just a few hours of sleep per night, and still be patient moms and loving spouses all day long.

Now, not all of these are unachievable dreams — some of these bullet points may describe you, actually! (Although if the bit about the girlish figure fits you, I have to ask — what’s your secret???! ;) And that one about never raising your voice — could someone please tell me how to manage that on a daily basis??) But the point is that there is NO mom out there who fully fits this profile – because it’s not realistic. A mom who could pull all that off would be more robot than human. Especially that last one — while a small percentage of you may be able to function long-term on very little sleep, I’ll be you’re doing just that – functioning. Not living life to the fullest, not enjoying your family and your life – just functioning. And I’ll bet that most of you (me included) can’t even function on just a few hours of sleep for very long.

You know, I used to wish SO HARD that I was the kind of mom who could be up with the baby all night long and then be sweet and calm and happy the next day — but I’m not. Not by a long shot, actually! I need a minimum of 6 hours at night to function well the next day, and if I have a few nights in a row of getting less than 8 hours of sleep, I need to make up for it with one or two nights of getting 9 or 9.5 hours. I used to feel bad about this – can you believe that? I used to feel guilty for needing to get the recommended amount of sleep each night. But it’s true – and I’ll bet most of you can relate. Because that’s not what super-mom is supposed to do; she’s not supposed to let a little thing like constant sleep deprivation slow her down!

Is Sleep Training Selfish? For Some Of Us…Technically Yes!

You know, the word “selfish” is a pretty loaded one – it has a ton of negative connotations. Lots of dictionary definitions define selfish as being supremely concerned with oneself, and not caring about the needs or interests of others. In short – selfishness is bad, by standard definitions!

But do you know what selfishness technically means? Break the word down, and it simply means ‘concern for one’s self.’ By this definition, then, sleep training can be selfish, if you do it out of a concern that you might literally DIE if you don’t start getting enough sleep! Or if you do it for fear that your marriage might fall apart if you and your spouse don’t start getting enough sleep, and you don’t want your partner to leave you. Or if you do it because you feel yourself sinking into a deep depression that you know is brought on by sleep deprivation.

Technically speaking, those are all “selfish” acts – they’re done out of concern for yourself.

But…

Is Sleep Training Selfish? Ultimately, No.

I think we’d all agree that our reasons for sleep training involve more than just our own wellbeing. Most of us sleep train for our spouses and partners, too – we recognize the toll that sleep deprivation is taking on them. And, of course, we do it for our children, because we know that as long as they are waking too often at night, or taking too-short naps, they are not getting the rest they need for healthy development. And many of us know firsthand that our overly-tired children are simply too tired and cranky to enjoy each day – and that’s something that no parent wants for their child!

So, even if some of your motives for sleep training are technically “selfish”, in that they are focused on your needs, it’s likely you have other reasons for sleep training, too.

And what about those “selfish” motives? Should you feel bad about them? In a word – NO. Taking care of yourself, while it may not be part of the “super-mom” myth, is in reality a very, very healthy practice. If you are so busy taking care of everyone else in your family that you completely ignore your own needs, it won’t be long before you are too burnt out to be much use to anyone. Better to pay attention to yourself AND to your children and your partner – better to focus on meeting your own sleep needs AND on making sure that the other members of your family are rested.

You Don’t Have To Feel Selfish For Reclaiming Your Sleep — Let Us Help!

If you feel desperate to solve your baby or toddler’s sleep problems, and to reclaim your own sleep, don’t let yourself be bogged down by guilt! Sleep training may be one of the best decisions you ever make for yourself and for your family – so why not start today? Our trained sleep consultants are standing by, ready to help you get started. Your consultant will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for you and your family, and walk you through every step of implementation.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.
 

How about you – have you struggled with sleep training guilt? Do you think sleep training is selfish? Share your opinions with us!

 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.

 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 
Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

 
*******************************************************************************************
bss_ebook_freeguide_leftWant FREE sleep help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as tonight. So download now, and learn why your baby is waking at night – and what you can do about it.
 
 
Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

A better night’s sleep could be just a few clicks away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep tonight!
*******************************************************************************************
 

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Baby Feeding Schedule: Rigid, Flexible, or On-Demand?

 
Baby FeedingSchedule

Figuring out your baby’s sleep schedule can be tough – very tough! – but you know what can be just as challenging? Figuring out your baby’s feeding schedule! While it’s true that a small percentage of families will struggle with sleep while not having any issues with feeding, we’ve found that sleep and feeding are so closely connected that families usually have trouble with both. (That’s just one of the reasons we created our sister site, Your Baby’s Start To Solid Food.)

Sleep and feeding problems usually become cyclical. Here’s an example: an over-tired 3 month old may start to routinely take short, incomplete feedings, simply because he can’t stay awake long enough to get a full feed. Then, he may wake too early from a nap, or wake too often at night, because he’s hungry (he didn’t get that full feeding in earlier, after all), so he needs to eat again – only he can’t take a full feeding, because he’s so tired, so he falls asleep after just fa few minutes of eating, but then he wakes too early from his next nap, too, because he’s hungry…..

You get the idea. :)

So, along with sleep schedule help, our consultants often offer feeding schedule help, too, in cases where feeding schedules may be problematic. You just can’t separate out feeding and sleep – they’re so connected!

That’s why we’re talking about feeding schedules today on the blog. Specifically, we’re looking at different kinds of feeding schedules, to help you determine which is best for you. When it comes to baby feeding schedules, is it best to go with a more rigid schedule? A more flexible schedule? Or should you throw out the schedule altogether and feed on demand?

Let’s take a look!

Baby Feeding Schedule: A Rigid Schedule

Rigid schedules are generally clock-based – parents set times for feedings and then stick to those times, even if baby wakes early from a nap or at night. Some parents will even wake their child from a nap in order to stick to the schedule!

I’ll say right now that if you try to implement a rigid schedule with a newborn, or a young baby, you’re likely wasting your time – most newborns and young babies just aren’t ready for a rigid baby feeding schedule. True, some very consistent babies may have no trouble sticking to a clock-based schedule, it’s rare that a very young baby can do that. In fact, in our experience, most babies aren’t ready for a rigid schedule until they’re at least 6 months old. And a rigid schedule can be downright dangerous for young babies, since it may not allow for enough feeding to accommodate their growing bodies and brains.

Even past 6 months, whether or not a rigid schedule will work depends a lot on your baby’s temperament. Consistent, predictable babies will likely do better with a rigid schedule than will inconsistent, unpredictable babies. Of course, what kind of schedule works best will depend at least in part on YOUR temperament, too! Type-A parents will likely do great with a rigid schedule, but if you’re parent who prefers to go with the flow, and loves it when each day is different, a rigid schedule may not work well (even if it works for your baby). It’s all about finding balance, and working out an arrangement that suits both of you. ;-)

A final word about rigid schedules – remember that if you’re using a rigid schedule to try and promote more sleep at night (for example, by only “allowing” a set number of night wakings), it may not work out as you plan. Some babies (especially newborns) actually need to eat more frequently during the day in order to get that long stretch of sleep in at night, but if you have carefully timed the day feedings, they may not get enough calories during daylight hours to get the long stretch at night.

Baby Feeding Schedule: A Flexible Schedule

79079804 A flexible schedule allow you to be just that – flexible. With a flexible schedule, you have general times in mind for feedings, but they may not be clock-based. Instead, you may focus more on the timing between feedings. With a flexible schedule, you may strive to feed at roughly the same time each day, but then you would also allow for interruptions – if baby sleeps through a feeding time, then you adjust the schedule. Or, if baby wakes too early for a nighttime feed, then you offer it but adjust the timing of the next day.

Flexible schedules work well at just about any age (although you may want to “tighten the reins” on flexible schedules once you reach the toddler stage; by the time your baby is a year old, she’s ready to organize her feedings into meals and snacks). Flexible schedules are great during the newborn and young baby stages – they help build in a measure of predictability and routine, but they also for baby to get in all the feedings she needs. They also allow for the unexpected things in life – last-minute errands, visitors who just pop-in unannounced, etc.

Flexible schedules can help promote sleeping through the night, in that they can help to gently space out feedings that are too close together. And if your schedule allows for plenty of daytime feedings, then your baby may have a better chance of getting that long, nighttime stretch of sleep. However, flexibility is a balance – schedules that are VERY flexible may cease to look like schedules at all, and you may be more in the territory of feeding on demand.

And speaking of feeding on demand…

Baby Feeding Schedule: Feeding On Demand

When you feed your baby on demand, you basically forget about trying to establish a predictable schedule and instead use your baby as your guide. You feed whenever your baby seems hungry, and the feeding is over when the baby seems done. While on demand feeding is a hallmark of attachment parenting, you certainly don’t have to be an attachment parenting to try feeding on demand.

Feeding on demand is probably the best approach to feeding during the very early newborn stage – in the first few weeks after birth. It ensures that your baby gets enough nourishment, and can provide a period of transition time before you move towards a more predictable schedule. On demand feeding is also great in those early days because it allows for the extra nourishment needed during growth spurts.

Of course, on demand feeding can become exhausting for YOU as your baby grows, and if your a parent who likes predictability, the lack of schedule may begin to wear on you if you feed on demand for more than a few months. And while on demand feeding may actually help promote longer stretches of sleep for young babies (since they will be able to cluster-feed in the evening), it may create sleep issues, too. If a baby gets into the habit of “snacking”, for example, and taking in many, many short feedings, it can actually sustain a night-waking problem, or a short-nap problem.

Baby Feeding Schedule: Our Recommendations

First, let me be clear – the decision about which feeding schedule to use is best left up to you. :-) Second, I want to point out that while we have taken each one of these types of schedules separately, you don’t have to view them that way. You can use these schedules in combination. You can also use different schedules at different points in your baby’s development.

For example, if you have a 4 month old, you may choose to feed on demand during the day, so as to encourage plenty of daytime calorie intake, but then use a flexible schedule at night, and pay attention to the gaps between your baby’s feeds, trying to encourage gaps of at least 2.5 hours. Or, you may use demand feeding with your baby when he is sick, or going through a growth spurt, but then return to a more fixed schedule after that. Perhaps you try to implement a flexible schedule if your baby is waking too much at night, or waking too early from naps — the schedule may help you lengthen those sleep times. Or maybe you use a flexible schedule until your baby is 9 or 10 months old, at which point you make an attempt at night weaning and then move to a more rigid schedule. The point here is that you don’t have to pick one and use it forever – you can change it up as you see fit, and to fit your baby’s needs at various stages.

Baby Feeding Schedule (and Baby Sleep Schedule) Help That Works – We’ve Got It!

Easy to talk about what kind of feeding schedule to use with your baby – harder to make the schedule happen! If you need baby feeding schedule help – or baby sleep schedule help – we are here for you! Our consultants are standing by, ready to offer their expertise, and to create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for you, that will contain important feeding and schedule information. Simply browse our list of consultation packages and choose the one that you like best.
 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftYou may also be interested in purchasing a copy of our e-Book, Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

Which type of feeding schedule do you prefer? Share your scheduling tips with us – we love hearing from you!

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Do Babies Dream? What Do Babies Dream About?

 
Do Babies Dream?

Ever held a newborn or young baby in your arms and watched him sleep? Many babies are pretty “expressive” sleepers – during deep sleep, they twitch and jerk, they grunt and grimace, they make faces, they smile. All of that expression can make parents wonder, “Is my baby dreaming?”

And it’s a valid question! You dream, after all – why not your baby?

In today’s post, we’ll take a look at just this question: do babies dream? We’ll hear from some of the experts, and then open it up to you, to share your thoughts and experiences!

Baby Dreams: A Background Lesson On Sleep Cycles

First, though, let’s go over a little background info. In order to understand dreams, you first have to understand how sleep cycles work. Human sleep is divided up into 2 cycles – REM (which stands for rapid-eye movement) and Non-REM. Throughout the night, you and I cycle through Non-REM and REM sleep. We have a period (usually 90 minutes) of Non-REM sleep (this tends to be deep sleep, and our body uses it to rebuild and repair tissue, to strengthen our immune systems, etc.), followed by a short period of REM sleep, in which our sleep is more restless. Our REM cycles lengthen as the night goes on – our last REM cycle is up to an hour.

Why all this talk about REM vs. Non-REM? Because we dream during REM sleep. What does this have to do with our babies? Well, simply put, your baby spends a lot more time in REM sleep than you do – her sleep cycles are a lot different than yours! While you spend about 20% of your night in REM sleep, your baby will spend up to 50% (maybe even more, in the newborn stage) of sleep in REM sleep.

(Side note: REM sleep tends to be lighter, more active sleep than non-REM sleep. We wake more easily in REM sleep, as well as in the first two stages of non-REM sleep. This is one answer to why your baby wakes frequently at night, and has naps that are too short!)

So, based on this – it’s certainly possible for our babies to dream. Goodness knows they have enough REM sleep for it!!

Do Babies Dream?

Of course, no one can answer this question with absolute certainty, because…well, because babies can’t talk! However, experts have suggested theories as to whether or not babies dream. On the one hand, some experts point out that babies must dream, given how much time they spend in REM sleep. Because the capacity for dreaming is there, these experts say that it’s logical to assume that babies likely do dream – and that just because our babies can’t tell us about their dreams, that doesn’t mean that the dreams aren’t happening!

On the other hand, other experts are quick to point out that babies probably don’t dream – at least, they don’t dream in the way we do. If you think about your dreams, they are most likely dramas or stories, that involve a chain of events (either past events from your life, or events you’ve read about or heard about), and that involve you, or people in your life. These dreams have settings, they have a storyline, they contains dialogue….but some experts are quick to point out that babies don’t have the mental skills necessary to construct such dreams. Babies don’t have language skills, for one thing; babies also don’t have a strong sense of themselves, of other people, or of objects around them. So how, these experts ask, could babies dream?

Another point these experts point out is that it’s not really fair to compare a baby’s REM totals to an adult’s, because what’s happening during those REM cycles is so different. A baby experiences a truly vast amount of growth and development during the first few years of life – and much of it happens during sleep. During REM sleep, a baby’s brain is busy developing new neural pathways, and all that learning and growing and developing leaves very little brainpower left over for dreaming. (It also disrupts sleep in a big way, and can cause sleep regressions – but that’s another topic for another article! ;) )

What Do Babies Dream About?

So, if you’re one who believes that babies do, in fact, dream, what might they be dreaming about? Well, most of us would probably agree that we dream about those things with which we’ve had experience – either events we’ve experienced, or events that we have read about, or heard about.

So, if we apply that logic to babies, baby dreams probably include a lot of pooping, sucking, and crying – at least at first! As a baby grows, however, and becomes more aware of her surroundings, who knows? Maybe the mom and dad show up in her dreams – maybe the dog does, too! ;)

What do you think, parents? Do you believe your baby dreams? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with us!

 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 
Baby_On_Computer_RESIZEDIf you are looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation, and want plenty support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Your consultation package will provide you with the chance to interact one-on-one with a trained sleep consultant, who will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family and then work to help you implement it at home.
 

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

 
*******************************************************************************************
bss_ebook_freeguide_leftWant FREE sleep help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as tonight. So download now, and learn why your baby is waking at night – and what you can do about it.
 
 
Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

A better night’s sleep could be just a few clicks away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep tonight!
*******************************************************************************************
 

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Sophie’s Baby Sleep Story [VIDEO]

Readers, meet Sophie! Fashion stylist, mommy-extraordinare, and blogger at Eenie Meenie Bambini, Sophie is also a former client of The Baby Sleep Site® Recently, Sophie took the time to sit down and write out her sleep story – and she also took the time to film a short video for us!

Read on, and hear Sophie’s compelling sleep story. Hear about her harrowing struggles to help her daughter Coco sleep. Hear about the toll that sleep deprivation took on her life. But not only that – learn how she got help. Learn the steps she took to reclaim her sleep (and her sanity!). And watch Sophie herself tell you about her experiences working with The Baby Sleep Site®!

Don’t forget to scroll to the end of the excerpt, to watch the video and hear from Sophie herself!

From Total Sleep Deprivation To Peaceful Nights – An Excerpt Of Sophie’s Sleep Story

“By the time Coco was about 6/7 months, my world was upside down. I was fighting Sophie's Baby Sleep Storycrushing exhaustion on the inside, but having the “mother’s energy” to still keep going strong with a smile on my face 80% of the time. However, my patience level was ice-thin, I was becoming increasingly emotionally vulnerable, and if you were to make me angry for any reason, I’d probably cry, while if you woke my sleeping baby, I was a ball of fury. I became very controlling about everything around Coco’s sleep. I put so much effort intro trying to make her sleep that I began to feel convinced that no one else could do it right, and if they did try to put her to sleep, they would do it differently than the book I was following at the time – and somehow that would mean taking a giant step backwards in her sleep training. We literally had a “no go zone” once she was asleep, because the lightest footstep would wake her up, and I’d lose my mind. As you can image in, my relationship with my husband was not the easiest at this time, either.

I felt so alone in dealing with this – like no one quite understood the suffering I was experiencing. I kept saying to people, “You have no idea what happens when you have not slept more than 3 hours in a row for over a year; you really start to lose it slowly!” On top of all this, I was supposed to be running a household and having some semblance of a career. My husband was always supportive of my efforts; he never expected anything of me during this time, as he knew I had nothing left to give -no was was I putting dinner on the table!

One day, out of sheer desperation, my mother and I stayed up late scouring the internet for more sleep answers. By some miracle, we came across The Baby Sleep Site®…”

Read the rest of Sophie’s sleep story here.

Need Baby Sleep Help Yourself? We Helped Sophie, And We Can Help You!

Whatever your unique situation, if you are struggling with your baby’s sleep, know that we can help you with your particular sleep challenge. We are committed to customizing our methods to match you parenting style and goals. If you are ready to work on your little one’s sleep, and to get a Personalized Sleep Plan™ that will work for your family, the first step is to browse our extensive list of package options and select the one that looks best for your situation.
 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.
 

 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.

 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 
Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

 
*******************************************************************************************
bss_ebook_freeguide_leftWant FREE sleep help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as tonight. So download now, and learn why your baby is waking at night – and what you can do about it.
 
 
Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

A better night’s sleep could be just a few clicks away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep tonight!
*******************************************************************************************
 

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Sleep Training Boot Camp, Part Seven: Celebrate Success (No Matter How Small!)

 
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New to Sleep Training Bootcamp? Check out our overview page to find out what Sleep Training Boot Camp is all about, and to catch up on past Boot Camp articles.

 

BOOT CAMP, PART SEVEN: Celebrate Success (No Matter How Small!)

 
BootCamp7

Boot Campers – YOU DID IT. You made it to the end! And what does that mean? It means – it’s time to celebrate your success! Even small successes get celebrated today :-).

Sweet and awesome Vikki, your resident boot camp encourager, is back today, and she’s bringing us one last boot camp article. Let the celebration begin!

Celebrating A Successful Sleep Training Boot Camp

The Meldrums 2013_4-29My fellow sleep warriors, YOU DID IT. You made it through Sleep Training Boot Camp! Go you! Whether your baby is sleeping through the night like an angel, you just started your sleep training journey, or you’re somewhere in between, CONGRATULATIONS. Every sleep success, no matter how small, is cause for celebration!

Sometimes the hardest part of training is getting started. Even though we struggled with Lyla’s sleep for many months, I just kept hoping it would get better. I had gotten used to our nightly battles and just thought this is what life was like with a struggled sleeper. I wanted a more peaceful situation for Lyla. I wanted to feel rested so I could be a more patient mom. I wanted a happier, less tired household, but I didn’t know if or how any of it was possible. Deciding to try sleep training made it happen. So if you’re just starting out, look for small victories. Did you shave off even a few minutes from bedtime? SUCCESS! Has baby been more open to a change in routine that will lead to better sleep? TRIUMPH! Did baby nap for even five minutes longer than the day before? YOU DID THAT!

It can be so hard to stay consistent during sleep training, but hopefully Sleep Training Boot Camp helped keep you on the road to sleep street! There were so many times while training Lyla I wanted to just give up. Some nights it seemed like it didn’t matter what I did, the kid was not going to sleep. But I found inspiration in the fact that not knowing how to sleep is temporary and teaching her the tools to hang out in happy snoozeland would last her a lifetime. Did you push through when you wanted to give up? GO YOU!

The Meldrums 2013_4-13Did you attack naps during Sleep Training Boot Camp? HECK YES! Naps can be a constant source of stress, especially if baby refuses them. Remember, your baby or toddler needs that sleep, and you need that time in the day to recharge your batteries. Working towards better naps skills with your child is a win, even if it’s just adding a few minutes to sleepy time. There is happy on the other side of that successful nap – AND YOU MADE IT HAPPEN!

If sleep setbacks, like teething or sleep regressions, got the best of you, no worries! The tools are still here for you. Whether your baby is a good sleeper that just needs some fine-tuning, or is a chronically awake human like my little Lyla bean, there will be setbacks. But remember: SETBACKS DON’T MEAN FAILURE. Even after you’ve found the sleep training approach that works for you and baby, stuff comes up. YOU CAN AND WILL GET AND KEEP YOUR BABY SLEEPING PEACEFULLY. You can do it!

My fellow sleep conquerors, we came into this Boot Camp searching for a solution. Needing a break. Wanting desperately for our babies to find peaceful, happy slumber. Whether you just took the first step or have worked through a Personalized Sleep Plan™ and are watching baby drool happily in dreamland right now, YOU DID IT! You made progress in helping baby learn to sleep! Remember: no matter where you are in the sleep training journey, keep going. Your baby or toddler will get there, and you’ll be right beside him or her every step of the way.

Congratulations on a successful Sleep Training Boot Camp!!!

Not Quite Where You Want To Be, Sleep-Wise? We Can Help!

I feel like we can’t emphasize this enough: ANY success is worth celebrating, when it comes to sleep training. But even if you’ve had small successes, you may still not be quite where you want to be, sleep-wise. That’s okay – there is plenty of time to keep working on sleep. And don’t forget that we’re here to help you! For TODAY ONLY, you can grab any of our sleep consultation packages, or any of our e-Book titles, at a 15% discount! These boot camp essentials are the tools you need to help get you where you want to be, and to end your journey to better sleep.

Grab a consultation package or e-Book at 15% off – SALE ENDS TUESDAY!

So remember, boot campers – as we say goodbye to Sleep Training Boot Camp, celebrate your successes, even if they’re small. And if you aren’t quite where you want to be, don’t worry! We can help!

What are your sleep training successes? Share them – we want to celebrate with you! Have questions about sleep challenges that remain? Ask, and we’ll answer!

 
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<--Boot Camp Part Six: Handling Sleep Setbacks

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Sleep Training Boot Camp, Part Six: Handling Sleep Setbacks

 
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New to Sleep Training Bootcamp? Check out our overview page to find out what Sleep Training Boot Camp is all about, and to catch up on past Boot Camp articles.

 

BOOT CAMP, PART SIX: Handling Sleep Setbacks

 
Handling Sleep Setbacks

Boot Campers, you have come SO FAR! Can you believe we’re already at part six of our seven-part series?! For those of you who have been sticking with us this month, and doing the hard work of sleep training – keep it up! You’re almost there! And don’t forget, if you’re feeling discouraged, or if you had to give up because your sleep coaching plans just weren’t working, don’t despair – we can help!

We hope that, at this point, that you are starting to see some improvements in sleep. Sure, things may not be perfect yet – in fact, you may still be a long way from perfect! But ALL progress is good progress. :-)

Today, we’re taking a look at some of the most common sleep setbacks that parents face. Don’t forget that, even when sleep coaching is done, and when your baby or toddler’s sleep is exactly where you want it to be, there will still be setbacks you have to contend with. Specifically, the most common sleep setbacks we see parents struggling with include…

These are all things that can disrupt sleep in a big way – and the disruption can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. So, how can you cope with these setbacks?

Vikki is back to share some tips with us, and to tell us a little bit about the sleep setbacks she’s faced, and how she’s coped. Let’s hear more!

Handling Sleep Setbacks: Vikki’s Sleep Training Story

The Meldrums 2013_4-3My little Lyla Kathleen is not a good sleeper. While today she is a dramatically better snooze artist than she was before I started working with The Baby Sleep Site®, there are still struggles. I think there always will be. I have come to terms with the fact that she’s just never going to be a kid that chooses to go to sleep when she’s tired. Throw in a growth spurt, getting sick, or some teething, and the baby food really hits the fan!

After about eight weeks of following my Personalized Sleep Plan™ and working with Jen, our sleep consultant, little Lyla Kat was falling asleep on her own for naps and at bedtime, and was sleeping through the night about five days a week. This was a dramatic improvement from the previous ten months of nightly tear-streaked faces (hers and mine) and intense whisper fights with my husband about what to do with our exhausted child. I was overjoyed. Jubilant. Euphoric. My baby had peace. I got sleep. Life had reached a new normal that included gobs of glorious slumber. It was amazing. Until it wasn’t.

After weeks of going to sleep so well and sleeping through the night most of the time, at 2 a.m. one morning, I heard a little cry. Then I heard a big scream. I went through the checklist: diaper was fine; temperature in the room was fine; no apparent injuries or indications of being sick or having teeth pain. We had recently weaned from nursing, and I thought maybe she was experiencing some separation anxiety. Maybe she just needed momma. It was kind of sweet. It took an hour to get her back to sleep. I decided it was a hiccup and laid down with a smile, happy I got a little extra time with my girl.

I was not smiling the next night when 2 a.m. rolled around and it happened again. And again the next two nights. Was this separation anxiety or “I just don’t want to sleep”-iety? Was there a lurking tooth? I had no idea, and Lyla wasn’t talking.

I had this horrifying fear that her newfound ability to sleep was only temporary. Or worse, that my child was untrainable and she would be awake the rest of her life. Please note I was very tired. While I was being slightly dramatic, the feeling of failure was very real. She had been doing so well. We’d worked so hard and come so far. Where did we go wrong? I had a pit in my stomach, and I kept thinking, now that sleep training is a failure, where do we go from here?

Sleep Setbacks Do Not Equal Sleep Failure

The Meldrums 2013_4-29After my initial freak about those middle of the night wake-ups, I took three deep breaths, and realized that Lyla’s waking up didn’t mean all our work was lost. It meant something was hindering her from utilizing the tools we taught her, and my job was to get her back on track.

Here’s what I’ve learned since then: when Lyla has “sleep weirdness” as a result of teeth, growth, general fickleness, etc., her disrupted sleep usually lasts about a week. It took a few episodes for my husband and I to realize this pattern. Once we did, though, it helped us stick to our sleep rules, because we knew it was temporary. And after she worked through whatever was causing the disruption, if we stuck to the training, her improved sleep habits returned.

I realized through this process that setbacks are temporary, but sleep training is for life. I didn’t need to make any huge changes or come up with a new strategy. I just had to comfort my baby and reinforce our training. I went back to the plan and the sleep rules, and Lyla, thankfully, went back to sleep. The “fix” for these setbacks was to stay consistent. Remind baby and yourself of the sleep rules. If they aren’t working, like we talked about with naps in the last post, find what works. Update the rules to reflect what your baby needs long-term, but don’t make hasty changes that only solve for the short-term.

Whether your baby is a good sleeper that just needs some fine-tuning, or is a chronically awake little person, like my little bean, there will be setbacks. But remember: SETBACKS DON’T MEAN FAILURE. Even after you’ve found the sleep training approach that works for you and baby, stuff comes up. For us, since training, there have been litanies of slumber-altering situations, including never-ending teething (her pediatrician calls her “Jaws”), the end of the binky era (RIP Pinky the Binky) and, of course, when I stopped nursing.

Sometimes you know or can guess what causes the disruption. Or, especially when they’re too young to talk, it’s a total mystery. But work the steps. Stick to your rules. Keep your sleep routine as normal as possible. If there is a temporary cause to the disruption, no need for a wholesale change in approach. With sleep training, it’s not about big huge flailing moves to get the desired result. It’s about small, specific choices to help direct baby back to the path to sleep.

So, my fellow sleep-seeking parents, please know that even the best sleeper (born or taught) will have times when they struggle to siesta. But a setback does not mean sleep training failure. It means helping baby use the sleep tools even when his/her baby mouth hurts or their internal sleep clock is a little off. Get back to our routine when you can, and baby will, too!

Help For Handling Sleep Setbacks

Isn’t Vikki full of good advice? It’s key to keep her main point in mind when sleep training: sleep setbacks don’t mean sleep training failure! It’s best to stick to your plan, to try and continue fostering good sleep habits, and to just get through the rough patch as best you can.

Of course, that’s sometimes easier said than done, right? Some “rough patches” can be particularly rough! If you find that you need help navigating sleep setbacks (or if you just need help with sleep coaching, period!), I hope you’ll consider a sleep consultation with one of our expert sleep consultants.

Browse our list of sleep consultation packages here.

Once you purchase a package, you will immediately receive access to our Sleep Helpdesk, where you can upload your family sleep history form, connect with your consultant, and get started on your journey to better sleep!

What’s your plan for handling setbacks, boot campers? To those of you who’ve dealt with setbacks before – any advice to offer? Share with us – we want to hear from you!

 
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