The Tired Parent’s Top 10 Sleep Questions

 
Top 10 Questions Tired Parents Ask

Our sleep consultants answer a ton of questions on a daily basis for their sleep consultation clients – they are a knowledgeable bunch of ladies, to be sure!

Recently, we got to talking about the most common questions our consultants hear. What are the most pressing questions that parents routinely ask The Baby Sleep Site®‘s consulting team?

Read on to find out!

The Top 10 Questions Clients Ask The Baby Sleep Site®‘s Sleep Consultants

  1. How do I get my baby to stop waking so early?? Ah, yes — the early rising question! Well, there are several things you likely need to do to solve this problem. You may need to make schedule adjustments, or offer a bedtime snack. It’s also generally a good idea to treat any early-morning wakings as night wakings – in other words, don’t get your baby up for the day at 5 a.m. if you don’t want 5 a.m. to be your typical morning wake time. Of course, for all the details about how to shift your child’s schedule to a later wake-up time, you can check out our book Shift Your Child’s Schedule, or set up an appointment with a sleep consultant.
  2. Should I keep feeding my baby at night, or is my baby ready to be night-weaned? How can I tell if she’s waking from hunger or habit? Here’s the short answer: depends on your baby’s age. Here’s the longer version: it is perfectly okay for babies to feed up to about 12 months of age (although by that time, a baby’s who’s still feeding at night should be down to one feeding during a 12-hour night). However, most babies are ready to stop feeding at night by about 8 or 9 months. Most babies are down to just one night feeding by 6 months or so, but before that time, be aware that your baby will wake to eat several times in a 12-hour night. Of course, you have to take other factors into account, too, besides age – medical challenges, unique family circumstances, etc. We should also mention that we find formula-fed babies are generally ready to night-wean a little earlier than babies who are exclusively breast-fed. Above all, remember that night-weaning your baby is a personal choice, so don’t feel pressured to wean too soon!
  3. How do I transition my baby from sleeping in my arms/in my bed/in the swing/etc. to sleeping in her crib? In today’s modern age, there are lots of places for a baby to sleep – in a carseat, in a swing, in a bassinet…not to mention all the “old fashioned” sleeping spots, like in moms arms or in mom and dad’s bed! But how do you get from there to baby sleeping peacefully in her own crib? The steps we recommend to make that transition vary from family to family, and depend on unique factors. Generally, though, we recommend a gradual approach in which the transition is broken down into a number of smaller, mini-steps. Our consultants break down the transition into those mini-steps and then assign a timeline, so that parents know how many days to work on each mini-step.
  4. Why is my toddler resisting bedtime? Nothing like toddler bedtime drama, right? The reasons for bedtime resistance vary, of course, but common reasons why your toddler may be resisting bedtime include overtiredness (especially true during nap transitions), too much nap time sleep, a nap that happens too late in the day and ends too close to bedtime, and sleep associations.
  5. How can I sleep train without waking my other children? This is such a tricky one. For starters, if your kiddos share a room, we recommend moving one of them out (generally, the one who’s not sleep training, since the child who’s working on sleep needs to get used to sleeping in her usual sleep space). If your kiddos don’t share a room, but siblings are still waking during sleep training, you might consider trying white noise to block the sounds of any commotion during the night. Finally, remember that even if sleep coaching disturbs your older kids, it’s still worth it – in the end, it’s better two have two kids up at night for a short while if it means one will learn new and permanent healthy sleeping habits. When everyone’s sleeping well within a few weeks, it’ll all have been worth it!
  6. Do I have to get rid of my baby’s pacifier in order to sleep train? Hmmm…depends. Is the pacifier a problem? If not, then it might be okay to stick with it. But if it’s causing you grief, because you have to replace it all night long when your baby spits out out, or if you know your baby is too dependent on it to sleep well, then it’s generally best to wean your baby from the pacifier and help you baby learn how to sleep without it.
  7. Why does my baby wake up as soon as I lay him down in the crib? The answer to this one is usually ver straightforward – it’s sleep associations! If your baby is accustomed to falling asleep in your arms, then it’s natural that once your arms are no longer there, she will wake up. The key in this situation is to gently wean your baby away from needing to be held for sleep, and the first step in that process is usually to start putting your baby down for sleep drowsy, but awake.
  8. How can I get my baby to nap longer?How can I get my baby to nap longer?” is the million-dollar question, for many parents! Well, for starters, eliminating your baby’s nap time sleep associations, and putting your baby down awake in the crib at nap time will go a long way towards helping to lengthen naps – once your baby can fall asleep without helps, in many cases, naps lengthen naturally. However, some babies need help in learning how to nap for a full hour or more. That’s why our consultants break nap traininginto two parts: learning how to fall asleep at nap time, and learning how to go back to sleep after waking too early from a nap
  9. How can I maintain a good nap schedule while still making sure that I can get out of the house and stick with my weekly activities and errands? As much as we encourage parents to sleep coach, we certainly don’t want to create a bunch of miserable moms who feel like they can’t ever leave the house due to baby’s nap schedule! While naps at home, in the crib are usually better than naps on the go, it’s okay to have the occasional nap in the car, or in the stroller. If your baby is taking two naps, for example, it’s okay for one of those naps to happen on the go a few days per week. And if you have a regular, standing outing (like a mom’s group, or a fitness class), you can build this right into your daily schedule (or better yet – have your sleep consultant do it for you!).
  10. My family is taking a trip soon – how can I make sure that sleep doesn’t fall apart while we’re on vacation? Never fear – we’ve got you covered on this one! Yes, traveling will disrupt sleep somewhat – it’s likely that any missed naps or bedtimes during travel will cause problems, and you can pretty much count on the first nap or two, and the first night, at the place where you are staying will be a little rough. But you can get sleep back on track during sleep. You can read our tips for ensuring better naps while traveling, and general tips for maintaining good sleep habits while traveling.

Have Your Own “Tired Parent” Questions? Ask A Sleep Consultant Today!

This is a nice overview of our parents’ most common sleep questions, but these answers are by no means as extensive and detailed as the answers you would get from a sleep consultant, if you were a client. Our clients are able to provide personalized answers, that are tailored to your unique circumstance – that’s what makes our services so unique! So if you have your own set of pressing sleep questions, why not connect with one of our caring, compassionate sleep consultants, and get expert answers 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!

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.

Your turn – what are your top “tired parent” sleep questions? Ask below, and we’ll answer!

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Get To Know The Moms Behind Some Of Our Most Exciting Summer Sleep Stories!

Family Features Sleep Miracles

It’s back, readers – time for another round of our ever-popular Family Features! Some of you no doubt remember meeting Ilana, Ali, and Julie back in December, and reading their miraculous sleep transformation stories. And then in March, we introduced you to Gerry, a lovely mom from Bulgaria who, with the help of The Baby Sleep Site®, radically transformed her daughter’s sleeping habits.

Well, this month, we have the privilege of introducing you to four new lovely ladies – Jenny, Vicki, Whitney, and Jennifer. Each is a mom who, just like you, struggled for months to solve their babies’ sleep problems. And each one struggled without success – until they found The Baby Sleep Site®. Over the next four weeks, you’ll hear their stories, and learn how their consultants were able to help them solve their babies’ sleep challenges.

So read on, readers, and be inspired by these fantastic women!

Meet Jenny, and Hear How She Helped Alexis Learn To Sleep!

JennyPic1We’re kicking off our summertime Family Features by introducing Jenny. Jenny first approached us for help when her adorable little Alexis was just 10 weeks old. That’s fairly young to sleep train (although our consultants often work with parents of newborns and young babies), but you see, Jenny is a teacher, and she only had about 5 weeks of maternity leave left. And given the fact that she she was having to hold Alexis pretty much 24-7, and that Alexis was napping a ton and up often at night, it’s understandable why Jenny wanted to sort out Alexis’s sleep before returning to to the classroom!

However, Jenny’s consultation didn’t go quite as she expected. Her little Alexis threw her a few curveballs. But with the help of her consultant, Elaine, Jenny was ultimately able to make BIG changes to Alexis’s sleep. But don’t take my word for it – read on, and hear from Jenny herself!

The Baby Sleep Site: Jennifer, tell us what prompted you to purchase a consultation package from The Baby Sleep Site®.

Jenny: Alexis was very young when I bought my consultation package – she was just about 10 weeks old. The main reason I wanted to work on her sleep early was because, at the time of my purchase, I had about 5 weeks left before I had to return to my teaching job. I knew that once I started back to work, I would need more sleep, and I also knew that I needed a better daytime routine for Alexis, so that my mom (who regularly babysits Alexis) would have an easier time caring for her.

The Baby Sleep Site: Going back to work can definitely be daunting when you have a sleepless little one at home, that’s for sure! So what was Alexis’s sleep like before you started your consultation?

Jenny: Well, first of all, Alexis needed to be held pretty much constantly. That’s not unusual for a 10 week old, of course, but it was getting exhausting, having to hold her all the time. I always needed to hold her in order to her to fall asleep. Alexis also slept off and on a lot during the day (at random times, though – I was letting her pretty much nap on demand), and then she would be up a lot at night. I felt like she might be sleeping too much during the day, but I wasn’t sure.

When I went into the consultation with Elaine, I was really looking for a more structured daytime schedule (although I didn’t want anything rigid), and I was hoping that Elaine would help me to lengthen Alexis’s nighttime sleep. I knew Alexis obviously needed to keep feeding at night, and I actually really enjoyed the nighttime feeds – but I just wanted fewer of them! I loved holding Alexis too, but I knew that we couldn’t continue with me having to hold her all day long.

The Baby Sleep Site: Makes sense! Now, what happened once your consultation started?

Jenny: I was really excited about the plan after I first read it – it was so detailed! I started by asking some clarifying questions on a few points of the plan that I needed help with. Once I got her responses, I felt ready to start!

The Baby Sleep Site: Great! And what happened next, Jennifer? Did you start to see progress?

Jenny: JennyPic2Ha! Not really – the opposite, actually! Within 2 days of trying sleep coaching, Alexis’s sleep seemed worse. I was so discouraged at that point. I wasn’t sure if what was happening was normal – maybe things were supposed to get better before they got worse? I felt uncertain about whether to continue on with the Plan, to speed things up, or to slow things down. Fortunately, I was able to email Elaine and share my concerns with her, and she replied with a really encouraging email. She gave me some general pointers and loads of support, but she also gave me permission (in fact, she urged me!) to follow my gut. She also pointed out that I was starting sleep coaching pretty early, so it might be best to slow down or to stop altogether and just wait a bit longer to sleep coach. This was so comforting to me! Honestly, sometimes it is hard to sort through all the info that’s out there, and to just listen to my instincts.

At that point, I slowed way down in the sleep coaching. I didn’t want to push Alexis too fast. I took it slow for about 6 weeks. Then, not too long after I returned to work, I decided it was time to try sleep coaching again. Alexis had been through the 4 month sleep regression by that point, and her sleep was even more challenging. She was napping a lot during the day, but then restless at night. I had to hold her every night until she fell asleep, which made it tough to grade papers or write lesson plans, or to have any time with my husband. We were also co-sleeping every night, since that was the only way Alexis would sleep well. It finally got the point where I just couldn’t do it anymore, so I decided to pick up my Personalized Sleep Plan™ and try again.

The Baby Sleep Site: Fantastic! So glad you followed your gut, Jennifer. So – how did attempt #2 go? Better than attempt #1?

Jenny: SO much better! I was still using a gentle approach, the way I had the first time, but within 3 or 4 nights, we had made so, so much progress. I was putting her to bed drowsy but awake, and she was settling on her own, without much fussing at all, and falling asleep on her own. It was great!

A few weeks later, I decided to try working on naps (I had still been rocking her to sleep for naps up to that point). I wasn’t sure Alexis was ready, but my mom had been laying her down for naps awake for a little while, and she said it was going well. So one day, I laid Alexis down awake for all of her daytime naps. Sure enough, she fell asleep and slept great!

But that’s not the best part: that night, after three great naps, I put her down for bed awake, and SHE SLEPT 11 STRAIGHT HOURS IN HER CRIB! I couldn’t believe it! I hadn’t been trying for sleeping through the night at that point – I was fully expecting to feed Alexis at some point during the night. My guess is that, now that Alexis knew how to put herself to sleep, she was able to fall back to sleep on her own quickly when she woke during the night. It was so encouraging to see what a great sleeper she had become!

The Baby Sleep Site: WOW, Jennifer – talk about a big change! Seems like waiting to sleep coach was a great decision!

Jenny: Yes, it was! I literally went from holding her for every nap and every night (and not having any time to talk to my husband, do school work or house work), to co-sleeping during the 4 month sleep regression to putting her down awake and now actually have time to get things done at night and during the day (wow!). I thought it would take much longer since I held her so much, but she really amazed me.

The Baby Sleep Site: We are so, so happy for you, Jennifer. This is such an encouraging story – it’s a great example of why sometimes it makes sense to wait a few weeks before sleep coaching, especially with young babies. It does seems like, by getting your plan early, you were able to instill a good foundation with Alexis, and then that foundation paid off when, about 6 weeks later, you were able to sleep train her in about a week. Congratulations again! Any last words you want to share with our readers before we wrap up your interview?

Jenny: I would love to thank Elaine again! Elaine, thank you SO MUCH for developing a plan for us that was so detailed and matched my comfort level with crying (which was minimal). I also appreciate you encouraging me to follow my instincts about waiting. Thank you for educating me on this process and for helping Alexis become an independent sleeper. I also can’t thank you enough for giving me back some time during the day and at night to tend to the household and my lesson planning/grading. You truly have given me a gift! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

There you have it, readers – there may have been a few speed bumps along the way, and the pace may have ended up being slower than Jenny was anticipating, but with Elaine’s help, she was able to help Alexis create healthier sleep associations, and to get her little one sleeping soundly! And you can, too. Our sleep consultants are standing by, eager to help you tackle your sleep challenge. What are you waiting for? Get your Personalized Sleep Plan™ today!
 
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QUICK SLEEP TIP: When To Try A Rigid Bedtime Routine

 
When To Try A Rigid Bedtime Routine

The word ‘rigid’ tends to have pretty negative connotations, doesn’t it? A rigid routine, for example, seems so inflexible, so set in stone, so…well, so rigid! We get that, and we never direct our consultation clients to adopt rigid schedules and routines if they just aren’t comfortable with that.

That said, though, there are times when we encourage parents to try adopting more rigid sleep schedules and routines – specifically, more rigid bedtime routines. Read on to learn why!

Quick Sleep Tip: Try A Rigid Bedtime Routine For Your Baby or Toddler

While it’s true that some kiddos are just fine with bedtime routines that change a bit from night to night, and that happen at different times each evening, that is not true for every child. It’s all about temperament, remember? :) Nicole’s oldest son is proof of that:

“My boys need routine and predictability, especially my older one, who inspired The Baby Sleep Site ®. My oldest has always been slow to adapt to changes. It was hard to even go on errands when he was a baby, because he’d start crying a lot due to the stops/starts. He hated all the inconsistency! The same is true for inconsistency in our sleep routines. When we are running late on bedtime, I used to try skipping the bedtime story (which would save a whopping 5-10 minutes or so), and then it takes my boys 30+ minutes longer to fall asleep! It’s not worth it to me to vary the routine that much, even if we are running late. Of course, now that they’re older, it’s okay to mix up the steps a bit (brushing teeth before PJ, or vice versa), but it needed to be the same every night when they were younger.”

So, here’s our quick tip: if bedtime is a problem for your family right now, try implementing a rigid bedtime routine. What do I mean by rigid? Simple – with a rigid bedtime routine, everything step in the routine happens in exactly the same order each night, and each step takes almost exactly the same amount of time (you don’t want to try and get the timing down to the second, obviously, but you get the idea – don’t spend 3 minutes on the bedtime story one night and 15 minutes on it the next ;) ). Sometimes, clients find that this kind of structure is EXACTLY what their baby or toddler needed in order to start sleeping better, and to fall asleep faster at bedtime. Specifically, this is true for clients who themselves have more laid-back personalities and aren’t very clock-oriented, but whose babies or toddlers are more inflexible and crave consistency.

How long will it take to see results?? Well, it will take your child a few days to get used to the routine, and to learn that the routine signals bedtime. And then it will take additional time for the routine to feel habitual. So don’t rush this process – give it time to take effect.

Will this work? Well, for babies who need consistency in their bedtime routines but aren’t getting it – probably yes. What about kids who don’t need so much consistency, and don’t mind changes? Honestly, having a more consistent routine won’t hurt them – it just may not produce noticeable changes in sleep. And remember, if you have bigger sleep issues, like strong sleep associations that are interfering with sleeping through the night, this tip won’t solve those. But, in some cases, this quick tip can help eliminate bedtime drama and reduce the time it takes your baby or toddler to fall asleep.

Try it and let us know what you think!

One-on-One, Personalized Help For Sleep Setbacks

Need sleep help for your baby or toddler? We’ve got a whole team dedicated to offering you the one-on-one support you need to make a meaningful difference in your child’s sleep. 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.
 

What do you think – would this tip work for your baby or toddler? What tips do you have for overcoming sleep setbacks? Let’s get the conversation going!

 
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.

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

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Special MEMBERS-ONLY nap resources now available.
Scroll down for more details!

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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.

 
*******************************************************************************************
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!

 
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