Category Archives: Holidays

3 Important Things To Do On Mother’s Day

Here in the U.S., we’re just 5 days away from a holiday beloved by moms everywhere: Mother’s Day! And, if it’s your first, it’s even more special. Some of our international readers may have already celebrated Mother’s Day; others may not be celebrating it for months to come. No matter when you celebrate, however, Mother’s Day is special for moms everywhere: it’s a chance for your adoring family to shower you with love and gifts, to tell you how much they appreciate your many sacrifices, and to generally spoil you rotten.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit exaggerated. Maybe all you need to count your Mother’s Day a success is for someone else to do the dishes for a change! Regardless of whether your Mother’s Day celebrations are big or small, we think there are three important things you moms out there should do for yourself this Mother’s day.

  • Get some sleep. It wouldn’t be a Baby Sleep Site blog post if we didn’t mention sleep, right? If you’re an exhausted mom (and as a reader of this blog, you probably are), then put your own sleep needs first this Mother’s Day. Recruit your spouse or partner to watch the baby for a few hours in the afternoon so that you can get a much-needed nap. Or, if possible, ask them for the gift of a full night’s sleep — they can get up with the baby for the 1 a.m. feeding! (Breastfeeding moms, you can pump this once, can’t you?) If your partner isn’t in the picture, consider asking friends or family members to take your baby or toddler for the afternoon. You’ll be amazed at how far a few uninterrupted hours of sleep will go towards making you feel like a new woman!
  • Do something you enjoy. A mom can’t live on sleep alone, so use your Mother’s Day to indulge in a few hours spent doing something you love. Maybe you’ve been longing for an afternoon out with friends — use Mother’s Day as your excuse to do it! Maybe you’re dreaming of sitting in a coffee house, sipping something warm and reading a good book. Or perhaps your desires are even simpler — maybe all you want is a little time sitting on your own couch, savoring some peace and quiet that you know won’t be interrupted by any little ones. Whether you’re longing to do something big and extravagant or small and simple, use Mother’s Day as a chance to do it. Every mom needs little breaks to get away and recharge her batteries, after all. Ask your spouse or partner to help you make this happen, or considering asking friends or family members (or even a trustworthy babysitter) to take the kids for a bit. And remember — taking some time for yourself isn’t selfish. It can feel that way, but spending an afternoon or evening away from your baby, doing something you enjoy, may be just what you need to feel renewed and refreshed. And that will likely make you an even better mom.
  • Spend some time with your baby (or babies). After you’ve gotten some sleep and taken a few hours to do something you love, take some time and spend it with your little ones. After all, they get the credit for making you a mom in the first place! Mother’s Day can be a great chance for you to spend a few hours playing, snuggling, reading, or just being lazy with your kids. Use the day to do things you don’t normally have extra time to do: paint pictures, bake cookies, read a whole stack of books, play dress-up, or watch a movie from start to finish. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy your children when you set aside your normal responsibilities (work, chores, bills, etc.) and focus on having fun with your kids.

A few hours of sleep, some time spend doing what you love, and a few hours devoted to enjoying your little ones — sounds like a great day to us :) From all of us here at the Baby Sleep Site to all of you: Happy Mother’s Day!

How do you plan to spend your Mother’s Day? Big plans? Small plans? Let’s hear it!

And don’t forget to enter our Spoil Mom! Mother’s Day Giveaway

Feel like you’re too exhausted to even think about enjoying Mother’s Day? Maybe we can help! Please be sure to pick up your FREE copy of 5 (tear-free) Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.

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Happy Holidays! 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway for 2011

It’s that time of year again….The Baby Sleep Site™’s Second Annual 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway is under way! This year we have almost $800 in prizes to give away. Many of the prizes are related to helping you and your baby or toddler sleep better. Who among us wouldn’t want the chance for more sleep in the New Year? We’re really excited about this giveaway with so many great prizes lined up and, best of all, we plan on announcing all the winners in time that the prizes can be received before Christmas!

Just like last year, we will be hosting this giveaway on our Facebook page. Entry will be easy and you can share the giveaway easily with friends and family right on Facebook. You do not have to have a Facebook account to enter. Online entries are accepted HERE.

Here’s how it works, starting today and until 11:59 pm (EST) on Friday, December 9, you can submit your entry in the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway online. (Be sure to read the official rules and guidelines). Starting on Monday, December 5, we will randomly draw one winner from all entries and award a prize for that day. The Grand Prize (a $300 gift card to either Target or Amazon) will be awarded on the final day, December 16.

Keep reading below for the complete list of all our prizes we’ll be giving away each day during the Giveaway. As you can see below, we have an awesome list of prizes and for some of the prizes, there will be multiple winners! (*Note: Shipped prizes available to US Residents only. International winners will be offered an alternative Baby Sleep Site prize that does not require shipping.) The prizes listed below are not necessarily in the order that they will be awarded.

Grand Prize- $300 Gift Certificate to Target OR Amazon

The Grand Prize Winner for our 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway will have their choice of either a $300 Gift Card to Amazon or to Target. TargetGiftCardEither gift card can be use to order easily online or the Target Gift Card can also be used in a Target Retail Store. *Please note that the Target gift card option is only available to US Residents. If you are outside of the US and are drawn for the grand prize, you will receive the Amazon Gift Card.

ZAZOO Photo Clock

ZAZOO Photo ClockThe ZAZOO Photo Clock helps teach kids when it’s ok to wake up and when it’s still time for sleep- it’s a smart new way to enforce better sleeping habits (and parents may actually sleep through the night!). The digital clock displays images of daytime and nighttime to visually show kids what time of day it is. The screen displays the time as well and there is even a naptime setting! The ZAZOO Photo Clock is preprogrammed with “awake” and “asleep” images and can even display family pictures. The rotating digital photo frame can also be personalized with images that can be added through the SD card slot, USB port or flash drive. It can even play MP3′s and video’s on the 7″ LCD Screen. A great addition to every kid’s room! Find out more about this photo clock on the ZAZOO website. One lucky winner will be awarded a ZAZOO Photo Clock.

Mastering Naps and Schedules e-Book

baby napsOne copy of our Mastering Naps and Schedules e-book will be awarded. If naps are a struggle or if you have questions about how much and how often your baby or toddler should be napping, then this is the book for you. This book covers how to help your child learn to nap longer, why naps are so important for nighttime sleep, how to break baby’s dependence on you to fall asleep, how to help your early riser learn to sleep later, and includes over 40 sample schedules…plus much more!

SnoozeShade

This Holiday season, babies can get the sleep they need when out and about with SnoozeShade – a range of award-winning, breathable blackout covers that make any time sleep time. Sometimes it’s just inevitable that your baby or toddler will fall asleep while you’re out running errands or shopping. The SnoozeShade can help your child to get some rest during those times!

SnoozeShade Original, fits all single strollers, and SnoozeShade Infant Car Seat, for most group 0/0+ infant carriers, are designed to help babies get the rest they need by creating a dark, comfortable sleep cocoon which blocks out 94% of light. SnoozeShades also provide baby with the highest level of sun protection with UPF50+, protect from wind and chill and can be used to shade delicate eyes.

Designed by a mom and endorsed by sleep experts and health professionals worldwide, SnoozeShade is soft, small and a cinch to use. So this Holiday season you can enjoy the sights, sounds, lights and crowds while baby snoozes happily through it all. You can find out more on their website about the entire line of SnoozeShade products. One winner will receive the SnoozeShade Original for a stroller and one winner will receive a SnoozeShade for an Infant Car Seat.

The 3 Step System to Help Your Child Sleep

We will also be giving away a copy of this ebook. This book helps you design a step by step a sleep coaching plan that works for you and your family. It also includes a quick reference guide with age-specific sleep guidelines and sleep log for tracking your child’s sleep patterns. Whether you are interested in co-sleeping, crying it out, setting schedules, night weaning or feeding at night, this book covers it all!

Bumbo Baby Seat

The Bumbo Baby Seat is a snug and cozy seat for your baby. This unique infant chair is designed according to the baby’s posture and is manufactured to the highest safety standards from low-density, non-toxic foam material, which makes it lightweight, portable, and comfortable for your baby. In addition to it’s durability, it’s easy to clean too. It’s a great alternative to the traditional booster, the Bumbo Baby Sitter aids in feeding and playtime without straps and fasteners. The Bumbo Baby Seat enables babies to be able to sit upright by themselves. It’s recommend as suitable for babies who can support their own heads unaided and up until they are able to get out of the Bumbo. One winner will win a Bumbo Baby Seat.

Please note that this chair should not be used on a table, countertop, chair, or other elevated surfaces.

Ninna nanna… Sogni d’oro- Lullaby Album

It was 2007 when a friend announced the birth of his beautiful daughter Bianca that Matteo Bosi wanted to make a great present so he decided to compose several lullabies especially for his friend’s baby. It was in that time that the first ten tracks of this album were recorded and the CD was named “Ninna Nanna… Sogni d’oro”, which could be translated as “Lullaby… Sweet Dreams. ” The new parents really liked the gift and found that the lullabies had a calm and soothing effect on their duaghter. A few years later when some other friends also had new babies, Matteo was inspired to record some additional lullaby tracks which brought about the last 9 tracks of this album.

In 2011, Matteo released all 19 tracks as a full length album to be distributed digitally with the hopes that others families and babies would enjoy the music as much as his friends had. The full album is currently available for purchase and download on Amazon, iTunes or CDbaby. You can also listen to samples of each of the songs. Get updates and news about this album and any upcoming albums on the Ninna Nanna Facebook Page.

3 winners will be chosen to receive an MP3 copy of this album.

The 5 Step System to Better Toddler Sleep

Toddler sleep help Many parents are surprised to learn that it is not that uncommon for a toddler to not be sleeping through the night or have other sleep related issues. With this toddler sleep book, you can learn how to get back in control with this comprehensive toddler sleep guide. This ebook includes a toolkit of strategies, sample schedules, and sleep logs will put your toddler on the right sleep track.

HALO Sleep Sack

The HALO Sleep Sack is a wearable blanket for babies or toddlers to replace loose blankets in the crib. To help reduce the risks of SIDS, it is recommended that loose blankets not be used with small babies and young toddlers. HALO Sleep Sacks help solve the problem of how to keep baby warm at night and minimize the risks that come with loose bedding. Sleep Sacks are loose fitting to allow your baby to still be able to move around in bed while helping to keep baby warm at night. Sleep Sacks are also designed to help keep baby from overheating at night which can be another risk factor for SIDS. Easy to slip on even while your baby is sleeping, Sleep Sack also have an inverted zipper to help make diaper changes easy.

Two winners will each receive a microfleece HALO Sleep Sack.

Fisher-Price Luv U Zoo Deluxe Musical Mobile Gym

The Fisher-Price Luv U Zoo Deluxe Musical Mobile Gym make baby feel right at home on this cozy mat with adorable animal friends! The spinning mobile has dancing lights and lively music and the elephant gives baby a boost for easier tummy-time play. Toys can be repositioned on the arches and mat or removed for independent play. With a large circular mate with 3 arches that provide easy access to your baby, this mobile gym has 3 modes: music only, music and lights and music, lights and motion. Recommended for ages birth through 18 months. One winner will receive the Fisher-Prices Luv U Zoo Deluxe Musical Mobile Gym.

The Sunset Dimmer

The Sunset Dimmer is designed to help make bedtime easy and fun. It is a good way to help your child wind down in bed, or look at books and read in bed while the gradual dimming of the light helps soothe to sleep. It can also help children get used to sleeping in the dark. The Sunset Dimmer transform any lamp into a gradual sunset in the bedtoom. The light to dark transition helps facilitate the natural release of melatonin in the brain which makes us sleepy!

The Sunset Dimmer can dim to completely turning off the light or dim just to a nightlight level. In nightlight mode, the light will remain on at soft, low level all night long which can work well for nighttime changes or feedings. Nightlight mode is soft but is brighter than most nightlights. You can find out more about The Sunset Dimmer on their website.

Five winners will be drawn to receive a Sunset Dimmer.

Baby Sleep Site Basic Email Consultation Package

Baby Sleep ConsultingYour baby’s sleep shouldn’t be stressful and The Baby Sleep Site strives to provide a strong, non-judgmental, support network to help you and your family sleep better. Our website has helped countless families through free online articles, step-by-step e-Books, and private and personalized sleep consulting services.

One winner will win a Basic Email Consultation package to help with your sleep struggles. With this consultation package, you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ which is like a mini book written just for you and your family. A follow-up email will help to fine tune the plan or provide additional support after you have put the recommend strategies to work. If you already have an account, your account will be credited.

Deadline to enter is Friday, December 9, 2011, 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Enter Here: Baby Sleep Site 12 Days of Christmas Sweepstakes

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How the Holidays May Impact Your Baby’s Sleep

With Thanksgiving in the U.S. and other holidays quickly approaching, I’m sure many of you are wondering what you should do, if anything, with your baby’s schedule and sleep. It can be tricky when you travel or need to be at a family event during a nap time (our extended family Thanksgiving “dinner” is at 2 p.m., for example). Depending on your baby’s personality and temperament, some babies will be fine with an “off” schedule for one day. They may be a bit overtired, maybe have a little rougher night’s sleep, but get back on track the next day. Other babies will take days to get back on track. We always went a little late to dinner, so our eldest son could take his much-needed nap (because routine disruptions took us a minimum of one week to get back on track). This year will be our second year in six years we’ll be on time, since our youngest is (still) transitioning to no napping (which we are looking forward to with bedtime getting so late!).

I know many of you will be going out of town for the holidays, either in the coming week or near Christmas/Chanukah, and I wish you safe travels. Thanksgiving is one of the most traveled holidays in the U.S. Of course, traveling always presents challenges for those of us with kids. After all, a 6-hour drive can mean one 3-hour nap (that we only can dream about at home) at 9 a.m. (not so good), leaving a very overtired baby in the evening or, for those of us whose babies are “allergic” to sleeping in the car, it might mean no nap at all. Here are a few nap and schedule tips for this holiday season:

  • If your baby is just getting on a schedule, try to stick to routine or schedule as much as possible. The first couple of weeks you are “setting” a schedule are typically the most important.
  • If you have to choose between a missed morning nap or missed afternoon nap, opt for a missed afternoon nap PLUS an early bedtime (if possible). The morning nap usually sets the mood for the rest of the day. An overtired baby in the morning typically plagues you the rest of the day and night.
  • If your baby readily sleeps in the car, you can try to time bedtime in the car and then transfer her to bed when you get home. Even if she wakes up, do not treat this like a nap. Her body will still expect to sleep, so do a mini bedtime routine and put her to bed. Try to keep it dark while you are doing this, so she doesn’t wake all the way up.
  • If your baby won’t nap at all in the car, try to drive after the first nap of the day in hopes of starting the day on the right foot and then try a nap when you arrive at your destination.
  • If you are trying to decide whether you should start sleep training now or after the holidays, I do recommend going ahead and getting started. In a week’s time, you will have a good handle of how things are going. You can always opt for a break, but if things go well, all the better to enjoy the holidays! I know a lot of families have time off, so it’s best to use them to the fullest and give your baby the gift of sleep.

The holidays can impact your baby’s sleep in a variety of ways including too much daytime napping (during travels in the car), over-tiredness at bedtime (leading to more night-waking and waking up too early in the morning), or not enough napping due to schedule disruptions. Some babies will get back on track the next day while others will take days or weeks to get back on track. All in all, try to enjoy the holidays as much as possible and we can work on your baby’s sleep when you get back home. For more holiday travel sleep tips, please check out this article: 11 Holiday Baby Sleep Tips.

If 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 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style. For 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. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.

What concerns you most about the holidays and your baby’s sleep?

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How to Recover from Daylight Savings

Now that the time has changed and the time has moved forward one hour, some of you still might be struggling. This is most commonly due to baby being overtired from the time change.

I’m not sure about you, but I was EXHAUSTED on Monday. When my husband’s alarm went off at 6 a.m. (old 5 a.m.), I was so tired! I dragged the whole day. I ended up having to wake my boys at 8 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. to try to get back to an earlier bedtime that night. My older son (who inspired this site) was SO cranky being woken up, but once he got going, he did okay. My younger son, though I woke him “late” at 8:15 a.m., he went down for his nap at his normal time (and fell asleep faster than ever) around 12:30 p.m.! We got back on track within just a couple of days, thankfully.

Unfortunately, those with younger babies or those more sensitive to over-tiredness like my eldest son USED to be, you might still have a cranky baby who might be napping less or having more night-wakings or waking too early in the morning or fighting naps or all of the above. Here are some tips to recover from Daylight Savings:

• Offer naps earlier than usual for a few days. Even 15 minutes can make a big difference, but if your baby is really struggling try even 30 to 45 minutes earlier to get back on track.

• Try putting your child to bed earlier, too. I can’t say it enough that night-wakings and waking too early can be caused by over-tiredness at bedtime.

• If you were hoping Daylight Savings was the answer to your 5 a.m. wake-up call and you really don’t want to go back to early bedtimes and early naps, see if your baby or toddler will take an extra catnap during the day to take the edge off of the over-tiredness and get her back on track at bedtime. Yes, even if you have to take a car ride, it won’t hurt to do it this one time.

• If you haven’t gotten back on track, yourself, try to ask your partner, friend, mom, dad, or hire a babysitter and take a nap yourself! You deserve it!

If I haven’t covered your unique Daylight Savings challenge, leave a comment below and I’ll try to address it.

Without further ado, I wanted to announce the winners to the contest! I got sick this week *AND* my computer died, so I wasn’t able to keep up with the Sleep Helpdesk and read through all of the entries, so this is a little later than I wanted, but hopefully still in time to help your families in need! As a bonus, I personally addressed each one a bit more than I originally intended, in hopes that it will give some guidance, hope, or encouragement in your next step to better sleep.

You will get an e-mail if you are a winner (if you haven’t already), so please check your in-boxes. If you don’t claim your prize by Monday, March 22, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. I will choose another winner.

Once again, here is a list of the prizes:
1. A one-week unlimited e-mail consultation package (Value $79)
2. A five-email consultation package (Value $49.95)
3. A copy of Mastering Naps & Schedules(Value $24) (Giving away two!)
4. A copy of Help Your Child Sleep, a Step by Step Guide(Value $27) (Giving away two!)
5. A 3-month membership to the Members Area, which includes access to all e-Books, case studies, tele-seminars, and much more! (Value $24) (Giving away two!)

Here is a list of all entries, recommendations and winners. I hope this is helpful and I encourage everyone to take the next step to better sleep! And, remember, even if you didn’t enter the contest you can always e-mail me with your details and I’ll recommend your next step, too!

1. Holly – Big changes do affect sleep, but waking every two hours is exhausting! I’d recommend two or five e-mail consultation package to help your little one to better sleep.
2. (WINNER! Help Your Child Sleep) Elaine – You didn’t mention how old your granddaughter is, but I’d venture to guess pretty young, so I’d recommend Help Your Child Sleep, a Step by Step Guide
3. Tara – Oh no! Backslides are common. I’d recommend two e-mail follow up consultations.
4. Asheley – I would need a little more detail, but I’d have some recommendations for you. I’d recommend a two e-mail consultation package.
5. Gina – I hope you’re faring well this week! I’d recommend the two or five e-mail consultation package, but 10 months is a very common time for sleep problems to crop up.
6. Amy – 18 months is a long time to be getting up multiple times per night! :( I’d recommend a five e-mail consultation package to get your family more sleep!
7. (WINNER! 3 Month Membership) Mila – I know all too well how sleep deprivation makes you cranky. :( I’d recommend a 3-month membership or five e-mail consultation package to help your son sleep better.
8. Jaime – Just when you get going on something, they seem to change! I’d recommend a one week unlimited package, so I can provide the support you need and keep you accountable for sticking to it!
9. (WINNER! Five-Email Package) Alishia – Oh how you must be exhausted being pregnant with triplets! I’d recommend a five e-mail consultation package.
10. Kelly – This is a common age for toddlers to test their limits with one caretaker and not the other(s). I’d recommend a two or five e-mail consultation package to get her napping more consistently for you.
11. Erin – You probably don’t need any help. You just need to be consistent with letting her go back to sleep on her own and not get her up before at least 6:30 or 7 for two solid weeks and she will “get it.”
12. (WINNER! Mastering Naps & Schedules) Amber – I’m glad your twins sleep well at night. I’d recommend Mastering Naps & Schedules to improve naps for your son.
13. Claudia – ((HUGS)) I do know your story. Sorry she is still struggling. Now that she’s a bit older, we might need to try some new things. Please do contact me.
14. (WINNER! One Week Unlimited Package) Pamela – I’d recommend a one or two weeks unlimited e-mail package so we can get him sleeping before you go back to work!
15. Abby – Help Your Child Sleep, a Step by Step Guide, but if you don’t have time to read (since it sounds like you’re strapped for time), I can develop a sleep plan for you and I’d recommend the two e-mail consultation package.
16. Tanja – It sounds like it could be a schedule problem him taking so long to fall asleep. You might tweak his schedule. For getting through the night, you just need to be 100% consistent about him staying in the crib and you sitting next to the crib like you do at the start of the night. It might be a few rough nights, but well worth it in the end. If you’d like me to develop a more detailed plan, a two e-mail consultation package would do it and it would be well worth it!
17. Lisa – I’d need more information, but it is probably a schedule problem, so I’d recommend just two e-mails.
18. Kathy – Some babies are quite noisy in their sleep. I’d have to know exactly how he’s “crying” but if you have a monitor, you might turn it down. I know I had to do that when I’d wake up with every little noise.
19. Angela – It sounds like your son is doing fairly well. I’d have some suggestions for you and recommend a two e-mail consultation package.
20. Julia – Tricky because it’s not “that” bad, but could be better. He might be a baby who just needs a nudge, so I’d have some small things we could try to get your baby sleeping all night, so I’d recommend just two e-mails.
21. Melissa – Because you have two, I’d recommend a ten-email package or one-month unlimited e-mail package so we can tackle issues with both kids. You must be EXHAUSTED!
22. Shannon – I remember those days! I’d recommend a five-email package, so we have a few to use when your newborn starts going through changes.
23. Melissa – We might be able to work on night-weaning the girls at this age. I’d recommend just two e-mails to get going!
24. Victoria – Transitioning to two naps is normal at this age. You can most definitely night-wean down to one (or no) feeding and an earlier bedtime would probably help. A two- or five-email package could set you well on your way!
25. Jennifer – Oh boy! I do relate in that when you have two kids and two animals (in our case it’s dogs), it can definitely have more ups and downs than when you just have one child. Hang in there!!
26. Ritika – Have you tried an earlier bedtime? I would definitely have a detailed day-by-day plan that I could set up for you. I’d try a two-email package, so I can type it up!
27. (WINNER! Three Month Membership) Dahlia – Three month membership, so you can read about both nights and naps. It would help a lot!
28. Cindy – I’d need a bit more information, but have some things you can try. I’d recommend just two e-mails to get started.
29. Challene – Ear infections definitely cause abrupt sleep problems. Molars also throw toddlers for a loop. Hang in there!
30. Michelle – That’s great Liliana is sleeping well at night! Have you tried the afternoon nap at a different time? If it’s been going on for less than a week or two, I’d give her a little more time. It is probably not the teething if she’s napping fine in the morning and sleeping fine at night.
31. Carol – You are not alone! This is common. I’d recommend two e-mail, so I can give you a detailed plan on how you can get your son sleeping all night.
32. Lily – Thank you so much for being a loyal reader! It’s great he’s sleeping so great!
33. Melissa – I’d recommend a five-email consultation package, so we have a few for later issues, too, such as nap transitions.
34. Lorie – I don’t blame you for not wanting a repeat. I’d recommend you read Help Your Child Sleep, a Step by Step Guide to come up with a plan.
35. Allison – Your story sounds very familiar. I’d recommend a two e-mail consultation package to improve sleep in your house!
36. Mg – You said 15 year old, so I know you’re tired. ;) I’d recommend two e-mails to get you your bed back!
37. (WINNER! Mastering Naps & Schedules) Lauren – Mastering Naps & Schedules or two e-mail consultation package
38. Melissa P. – Oh I hear your exhaustion! :( I’d recommend a two- or five-email consultation package to help your daughter sleep better.
39. Yvette – Oh my! You must be SO EXHAUSTED!! I’d recommend a five-email package.
40. Penny – I am guessing reading a book would be too tiring, too. I can make a detailed plan for you to follow. I’d recommend a two-email package.
41. Sara – Now, YOU, must be EXHAUSTED! A five e-mail package would definitely let us make some headway on both nights and naps.
42. Sue – Short naps are common, but I’d recommend Mastering Naps & Schedules, which will be very helpful as your 3-month old gets older.
43. Melissa – Two e-mail would definitely get us going on your 5-month old.
44. Adrienne – Wow on 5 years! I do try to tell people that it’s very unpredictable when a child might outgrow issues, IF they do. For what it’s worth, your 3 1/2 month old sounds normal and 2-4 feedings is normal at this age. I’d give her more time and definitely contact me if things go downhill!
45. Kelly – Woohoo!! :)
46. Margarita – Oh wow! There are definitely safety issues at play here and you must not sleep deeply at all! I’d recommend a five e-mail consultation package.
47. (WINNER! Help Your Child Sleep) Kjirsti – 4 to 6 wakings is definitely a lot at this age. I’d recommend either Help Your Child Sleep, a Step by Step Guide or two e-mails.
48. Lissette – This is common to replace one sleep association with another. I’d recommend five e-mails to make more headway.

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Spring Forward, Sleep Awareness Week, and a Giveaway!

Happy National Sleep Awareness Week! Oh, you don’t celebrate this holiday? Well, technically, neither do I.

I make it a point all year round to stress the importance healthy sleep habits for our families. I can bet that because you’re a parent who has come to this site, that you have learned (maybe the hard way) just how sleep deprivation takes a toll on your mind, body, and soul, and how your baby’s development flourishes when he’s getting enough rest. In a sleep-deprived state you aren’t as alert, probably more cranky, less energetic to play with your kids, and probably angry more often. You might even be depressed. It might even affect your marriage. You might even feel like you don’t like your baby some days. I hear all this and more, and I feel for each and every one of you!

The National Sleep Foundation is a big promoter of National Sleep Awareness Week and has released their “Sleep in America” poll results today. They studied four different ethnic groups and their sleep habits and attitudes towards sleep. Interestingly enough, in all four groups, only 4 in 10 said they get a good night sleep every night or almost every night. I suspect that if they studied parents, this number would be even lower! Another interesting result of the poll is that most adults believe their sleep issues will go away on their own over time. I would say this is true a lot of time about parents and their child’s sleep issues: that you believe (or hope) the issues will go away over time. Oh how I wish that was always the case! You can read more 2010 Sleep and Ethnicity Poll Results here.

National Sleep Awareness Week ends with a bang with Daylight Savings starting this weekend (if you are in the U.S.). We “Spring Forward” and lose one precious hour of our day. I know some of you might be jumping for joy when your 5 a.m. riser will now be waking past 6 a.m., but I also know some of you know that schedule changes always seem to set you and your family back. If you are worried about the time change or want to know what to expect from your baby or toddler this summer when it stays light later, please review your Spring Forward with Child Sleep Tips on WorkingMother.com, written by yours truly.

But, wait! There’s more!

I can’t let this week go by without giving you an opportunity to get more sleep for you and your family, so in honor of “Spring Forward” and National Sleep Awareness Week, I’m doing a quick and easy giveaway. Comment with a brief description of your sleep story by Sunday, March 14th at 11:59 p.m. below for a chance to win:

1. A one-week unlimited e-mail consultation package (Value $79)
2. A five-email consultation package (Value $49.95)
3. A copy of Mastering Naps & Schedules(Value $24) (Giving away two!)
4. A copy of Help Your Child Sleep, a Step by Step Guide(Value $27) (Giving away two!)
5. A 3-month membership to the Members Area, which includes access to all e-Books, case studies, tele-seminars, and much more! (Value $24) (Giving away two!)

I will be reading your story and trying to find the most apropos family for each prize, so I can really make a difference in your lives. Good luck and happy sleeping!

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We’ve Survived the Holidays… Now We Sleep

So, we’ve made it through the holidays in one piece. Phew! Sleep seems to be back on track in our house, given we had some late bedtimes and off-schedules surrounding Christmas. If you are still struggling with the holiday upheaval, make sure you review your post-holiday sleep recovery tips, and if you’re a member, be sure to listen to the tele-seminar recording from 12/29. One member e-mailed me this about it:

“LOVED the Recovering from the Holidays and Nap Transitions taping. I missed it yesterday b/c it was the last of the in-laws… and so I was very grateful to hear this today! Perfect taping!”
-Lily

New Year’s is a time to reflect on the last year and how you want the next year to be. Multitudes will make new year’s resolutions and only a small percentage will achieve the goals they set for the new year.

A look back at 2009

This past year has been a big year. In December 2008, this website (formerly picknicksbrain.com) had around 15,000 visitors. This past December 2009, the website enjoyed over 36,000 visitors who viewed over 71,000 pages! I’ve gone from having just a few clients to ten times the number. I get many e-mail messages that thank me for the site and helping their child sleep, even if I’ve never talked to them directly. We’ve added a Members Area, a new book, and a Facebook fan page. I also hired an assistant to help me manage it all and help me get our name out there. It is beyond phenomenal how wonderful it has felt to help you and your families get more sleep and I can’t even put it into words.

This year I also learned just how determined I am to help new parents in many different ways. I became the majority owner of Babble Soft and took over operations from my business partner, Aruni, who is a serial entrepreneur. She is so great and it’s so hard to believe we only met in person for the first time last week!

On a personal level, I celebrated my five-year wedding anniversary, my 4-year old started pre-school and my almost 2-year old started talking in sentences a few weeks ago.

Fortunately, it has been a very good year for me and my family. I am able to fulfill my passion to help other parents with their sleep struggles like I’ve been through myself and be home a lot with my kids (with help) so I can avoid missing too much of these early years.

It has not all been positive, unfortunately. My father and brother had a falling out, my two older brothers were really sick earlier this year (and both had strokes), and just over the holidays I struggled to help my family understand my son’s spirited temperament and strong-willed personality. I’m sure some of you might relate.

It was difficult to explain how my older son is slow to adapt and how his first reaction is often no (unless you can make him think it was his idea :)). It’s hard when someone wants to interact with him, yet his first reaction is no. It can hurt feelings and the fact he is slow-to-adapt makes him prefer familiar (mommy and daddy) over someone new (like a visitor who sees him infrequently even if the visitor is someone like grandma or grandpa). He has grown up a lot and matured SO much in the summer before he turned 4, but if you don’t know him very well, you really don’t know how far he’s really come and I only expect great things from him as he gets older (though I still worry what his persistence will be like when he’s a teenager). His younger brother, who I’m sure looks to his big brother to guide him, is much easier-going but is VERY stranger-averse. He takes a long time to warm-up to new people. Though we sometimes wish they would warm up faster, we are not sad that they won’t let just anyone cuddle with them. I know maturity will make a big difference, so we’ll just have to be patient.

Goals for 2010

Professionally, I hope, with the new name of the website, many more babies will find their sleep. I plan to keep writing new material that will be new and different for parents to help their babies find their sleep and, you never know, I might even start on that published book I’ve been thinking about. I also plan for the Helpdesk to remain busy the rest of the year (it’s surely starting out that way!). I plan to enhance the Babble Soft suite of baby care software and help even more parents gain insight into their baby’s rhythms and help manage their baby’s schedule.

Personally, I hope my Dad and brother mend their rift and my two older brothers stay healthy now that they are on the mend and on blood pressure medication. I hope my husband has a fabulous 40th birthday and my boys, who will turn 2 and 5, stay so very cute and the light of my life.

Sleep-wise, I hope my 4 year old will stop having as frequent nightmares as there is nothing that breaks your heart more than a pre-schooler who says “I hope I don’t have a nightmare tonight” and you can’t do much about it. He’s at the age where fear is normal and they are learning about mortality. Other than that, his sleep is in pretty good shape, now, thankfully (though it’s never perfect)! For my almost 2-year old, I just hope he does not need to transition to no-napping like his brother did at 2 1/2. Otherwise, he is napping well and sleeping well most nights (again, not perfect every single night especially with 2-year molars coming in). I do plan to determine whether chocolate really is a sensitivity for him or if it’s purely coincidence that nights he has had chocolate during the day, he wakes at night. We will also transition him to a toddler bed in the next 6 months and start potty training (have you calculated how many diapers a baby uses, yet? Scary stuff!).

I believe the key to successful new year’s resolutions to keep them realistic, so I’ll finish this by saying my new year’s resolutions are to exercise more often, help more parents with sleep problems, and go to bed earlier myself (I am writing this after midnight so I’m not off to a great start here! LOL). I hope, if you’re still struggling with your child’s sleep, that you make one of your resolutions is to help them sleep better. I promise you, it’s realistic!

What are your new year’s resolutions (sleep or otherwise)?

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Making Sure Baby Sleeps During the Holidays (Warning: Free stuff mentioned)

Baby Sleep SantaThe holidays are tricky for your baby’s sleep. Grandma and grandpa want to spend time with the little fella, since they don’t get to see him that much. Or, you have two parties to go to on the same day, babysitters galore, or you have a lot of family members over making it really loud during nap time. Some people even like to get babysitters just to go Christmas shopping, especially those of you with more than one kid or twins or triplets, or more! After all, keeping your eye on two kids running around makes it THAT much harder to actually look for gifts to buy for people (believe me, I know!). That’s one reason I do most of my shopping online, these days. :D You might think that I often link to Amazon because I’m an affiliate (I get a very small percentage of sales at no cost to you), but I actually LOVE Amazon! I’m an Amazon Prime member and my holiday shopping alone more than pays for it, not to mention all the birthdays, sleep books I want to read, etc. throughout the year.

If you travel during the holidays, this can make many parents anxious and I tend to get a lot of questions about it around this time of the year. Don’t fret. There are things you can do to make the transition easier including making “away” as much like “home” as possible, being consistent in your routines, and getting back to normal as much as possible when you get back. If you have holiday visitors, try including grandma or grandpa in the routines by letting them read the bedtime stories. For more tips on your baby’s sleep, please visit MomCentral this year where I go into your baby’s sleep and the holidays in more detail.

To help some of you even more during the holidays, I’ve decided to give the gift of sleep this year by giving away the following:

•   Two copies of my e-Book, The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep, to help a tired family with their nighttime troubles.
(Value: $28.50)

•   Two copies of my e-Book, Mastering Naps & Schedules, to help a tired family with their baby’s nap struggles or to help establish a routine.
(Value: $24.95)

•   Two 3-month memberships to my exclusive Members Area, where you gain access to all our e-Books, case studies, weekly expert advice by yours truly, and much MUCH more!
(Value: $18)

AND

•   Two two-email personalized consultation packages, where I customize a sleep plan for your specific situation. I promise we can get a lot done in just two e-mail! Read other parent stories. (You can also feel free to save these to use later, too)
(Value: $24.95)

AND

•   Your choice of a $57.20 Target or Amazon gift card (so the total prizes equal $250 just because I’m a little anal and silly like that. Go ahead and check my math. I used Excel! :D)
(Value: $57.20)

Why am I giving away so much? It’s the holidays, we should all be generous and I LOVE helping people with their sleep struggles, that’s why!

How can you win one of these lovely prizes? Just leave a comment below and I’ll randomly choose winners (using random.org).

The deadline to enter is at 8:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, December 22nd.

Make sure you enter below NOW, forward to all your friends and family, post it on Facebook, and tweet on Twitter! Share! Share! Share! The baby on his dad’s shoulder at the top is reason enough alone to share. Soooo adorable!

(Note: One person / e-mail address can’t win two prizes. If I randomly choose the same person, I’ll choose another winner, to be fair. You can enter up to once a day, though (Max 9 entries).)

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Sleep To Be Thankful For

Baby TurkeyHappy Thanksgiving!!! (at least to the U.S. readers)

This week is a good time to find the silver lining and say what we are all thankful for, sleep-wise. I’ll start:

  • I am thankful that my once challenging son, who inspired this site and is now 4 years old, can now be walked up to bed, put on his PJ’s, brush his teeth, cuddle in bed for a few minutes and he falls right to sleep. No fuss. No muss. (most of the time) Gone are the days where it took me an hour to put him to bed. Hooray!
  • I am thankful that I can put my 21 month down for a nap by proclaiming it is “nap time” and he walks up the stairs, I put him in the crib, say night night and walk out.
  • I am thankful that, most nights, my 21 month old wakes briefly, sits up in bed, and lays back down without needing anything.
  • I am thankful that I can now check on my son before bed, since he sleeps with the door open and can stare down at him for a few seconds watching him sleep peacefully. I couldn’t do that when he was a baby because he’d wake up when I opened the door, yet he couldn’t sleep through noise, so I couldn’t keep the door open, either. I look forward to when my younger son’s door is open, too.
  • I am thankful that I didn’t have to break a pacifier habit or thumb-sucking habit for either boy and, most of the time, they can find their own blankies (occasionally I’m woken up by my older son because he can’t find it and it’s buried in covers or on the floor).
  • I am thankful that we figured out that if our sons don’t have a snack before bed that they sometimes wake up earlier in the morning or in the night.
  • Mostly, I’m thankful to have two wonderful boys who are the light of my life.
  • I am thankful that the fact that my boys are imperfect sleepers has given me this unique opportunity to meet so many parents out there and allow me to help them with their troubled sleepers. It is truly one of the most rewarding things in life I’ve ever done, so far.
  • I am thankful that I can do my Black Friday Shopping online this week, so I can sleep a little more on Friday, one of my (very) few days off.

It doesn’t hurt to get some things off our chest, too, so we don’t bottle them up inside. :D I am NOT so thankful for:

  • I am not so thankful that sleep is still not perfect for my eldest son (who inspired this site).
  • I am not so thankful that my son is so sensitive that our imaginative play or something that seems “ok” to see on TV causes nightmares for three nights in a row this weekend (hoping for a good night tonight).
  • I am not so thankful that if we think our younger son has eaten enough, but he hasn’t, that he will sometimes take longer to fall asleep or wake in the night (this is finally getting less common as he gets older).
  • I am not so thankful that with two boys who aren’t the perfect sleepers that sometimes it still feels like I will never just sleep well every day again and that I’m commonly waiting for that wake-up call, even on “good nights”.
  • I am not so thankful that one day my boys will be older and not need mommy anymore and I will probably be sad because now they don’t need me anymore and I will wonder why I worried so much about their sleep, yet I would love not to worry about it and it is so ironic that one day they will be teenagers that I will have to drag out of bed and I’m not so thankful that it all makes me sound so crazy. :D

What are YOU thankful or not-so-thankful this year, sleep-wise (or not)?

Happy Thanksgiving! Have a very joyous and safe holiday. And, sStay tuned for a BIG announcement in the next week or two!

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Take 5 Minutes for You this Holiday Season!

Parenting is hard work and when you have a challenging sleeper and sleep-deprived yourself, it’s all that much harder. This article is straying away from sleep for a moment, to take some time to allow you to focus on you for the moment.

I hope all of you will take some time for YOU this holiday season, away from the sleep struggles for just a moment (the holidays are a crazy time for sleep anyway!). It’s important to recharge yourself, so you will be a happier person and have more patience with your little ones as you solve their baby sleep problems, whether you are helping them sleep through the night or nap better.

If you need help finding ideas that you can do for yourself, I encourage you to look at the “5 Minutes” websites. I was recently interviewed at 5 Minutes for Mom. They also have 5 Minutes for Giveaways, 5 Minutes for Parenting, 5 Minutes for Special Needs, 5 Minutes for Going Green, and 5 Minutes for Books.

If those don’t tickle your fancy, here are a few interesting articles around the ‘net for your reading pleasure. You can read about whether rich and poor kids’ brains are different, how to keep your children’s identities safe, the simple math of losing weight, or look at Dooce’s 14-week belly.

I hope those of you who celebrated Eid’ul-Adha, Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe, or St. Lucia Day had a great holiday! And, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Boxing Day, Happy New Year (did you know it would be delayed one second this year?), Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Omisoka, and Happy anything else you might celebrate that I haven’t listed! :) I love learning about different cultures, so please do comment below with your choice of holiday (even if it’s not in December!).

With that, I leave you with one of the guest posts from my holiday giveaway this month. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! See you after the new year when I’ll continue my Baby Temperament and Sleep series.

Rock-A-Bye Baby

I can still remember being a young woman and dreaming about my days as a mother. I had it all planned out. After a day of cuddles and giggles I would gently rock my baby to sleep with a story and their very own lullaby. (I had planned to write a personal lullaby for each child). Not many years later the reality of a baby was there but all my other motherhood fantasies seemed distorted in the reality of, well, life. Yes, my baby was soft and sweet and I loved him in a way I never even imagined. But suddenly I was seriously lacking in the sleep area and slipped into a depression that took over every part of the me I had always known. And when I would try to sing my baby would cry. And so would I.

Luckily things get better. That first baby is now eight years old and has three younger brothers. During that time and with each baby (or babies in one case) I have learned to sing that lullaby, although I’ve found that wordless humming seems to work the best. Some tips that I have learned in my years is that what works for one baby will not always work for every baby. Be willing to try new things and new techniques. Get to know your baby. Are they happier bundled up tight or do they like to wiggle around? Do they sleep better with a little light or in the dark? My twins actually sleep much better when their room is completely dark, but my four year old has always needed a light on. Be in tune to what they want and keep trying until you find what works. I think the most important thing I’ve learned as a mother is that I don’t have to be perfect. My children are cared for and loved. Isn’t that what really matters in the end?

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!! Also, happy belated Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers. Sorry I’m late with that. :)

I hope everyone’s holiday season is very warm, loving, safe and, of course, filled with lots of good sleep! I am thankful for many things this year, first and foremost my family. My two boys bring me such joy each and every day and I can’t remember life without them. When I was pregnant with my 2nd I wondered how I could love anyone as much as my 1st, but I do! Your heart just grows.

I can list many things I am thankful for, but one important change this year is not only the birth of second son, but also this website. I wasn’t sure how it would work out and I’m still not, but the feedback has been wonderful!! I set out to help people with their baby’s sleep struggles after mine had so many sleep problems and I do feel I’ve done just that. When I reread some of my testimonials of some of the people I’ve helped, I know I have helped many people, but it always makes my day when I receive an e-mail from someone I have helped. I thought this e-mail from this week was fitting considering it’s Thanksgiving. Here it is:

It’s a miracle! Thank you so much for your website. Our 7 month old son would only fall asleep for a nap while breastfeeding and usually that meant me lying in my bed nursing him until he feel asleep and then (hopefully) sneaking away. This was okay until he starting crawling and then it was potentially dangerous, i.e. him falling off the bed. I tried putting him in his crib but he would get hysterical and I couldn’t take it so I’d bring him back to my bed. Then I found your website, followed your directions to a “T” and now I lie him down in his crib and he’s asleep within a couple minutes! After only 2 days of trying your method.

Big appreciation to you from the Hale family in Watertown, NY, Lance, Molly, Hannah & baby Caleb!

I just love getting these e-mails!! And, after getting her permission, I wanted to post it here on the site. I never tire of them and it always warms my heart when even just one more person is getting better sleep.

I hope all of you and your families get good sleep this holiday season!

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