6 Words Every Tired Mom Should Hear

6 Words For Tired Moms
Attention, tired moms everywhere (and I know about 95% of you reading this article right now are tired moms!!) – we have a message for you.

We know how overwhelmed and exhausted you are. We know that you love your little one so much it practically hurts, but that you are simply drowning in sleep problems. We know that you feel desperate and alone as you try to get your baby or toddler back to sleep at night. We know you sometimes wonder if you’ve done something wrong, or if you’ve “ruined” your child’s sleep…after all, your friends all have sleeping babies!

And to you, exhausted, overwhelmed, desperate moms, we say this: You are doing a good job.

When your baby was a newborn, sure, you rocked and fed him to sleep all day, because you knew that newborns need regular feedings and lots of skin-to-skin contact. You didn’t spend time worrying about whether or not this was creating sleep associations, because you were too busy caring for a new little person.

When your baby was six weeks old, you found that it was just easier to let him sleep in the baby swing, or in the baby carrier – that allowed him to get the sleep he needed and kept him from fussing. Sure, wearing a baby around for hours a day wasn’t exactly comfortable for you, but you did it, because you couldn’t stand to hear your baby fuss.

By the time your baby was few months old, you started trying a pacifier as a way to soothe her. And it worked! Only now you have to replace it a few times during each nap, and pretty often at night. All that pacifier-replacing is making you a bit crazy, but you do it, because you love your little one and want her to feel comforted and soothed.

Sleep may have started to improve a bit, but then the 4 month sleep regression hit, and everything fell apart again. You were totally stumped as to what had happened, but you knew one thing – there was no way you were going to let your little baby suffer and cry! So you went back to rocking, nursing, holding to sleep. You may have even started to try co-sleeping, as a way to keep your baby close to you for constant comfort. You couldn’t understand why sleep was falling apart, but you did know one thing: your baby needed you.

When your baby was 6 months old, you may have started day-dreaming about what a consistent daily sleep schedule looked like, and how it would feel to actually sleep through the night even once. You looked longingly at your baby, and wondered if it might be possible to teach your baby to sleep better…but then you figured that would probably involve tons of crying (on your baby’s part AND your own!), and you knew you couldn’t stand that – so you kept on rocking and nursing and holding and offering the pacifier, and offering your baby plenty of “help” in falling asleep.

By the time your baby reached 9 months, you were starting to wonder if you’d ever sleep again. You may have started to feel like you weren’t even enjoying your child anymore, and that your constant exhaustion and sleep deprivation were keeping you from being the kind of mom you wanted to be. You knew that by this time, your baby “should” be able to sleep through the night, and take pretty consistent naps, but you had no idea how to get your little one to that point. You thought about sleep training again, but you had no idea where to start…with nights? With naps? With the crack-of-dawn waking? You felt too overwhelmed to even begin, so you just did the best you could to help your baby (and yourself) get some sleep each day.

Now, your “baby” may be a toddler, and those sleep problems that you’d hoped she’d outgrow are still around. In fact, in some ways, they’re worse – now, she’s popping out of her new ‘big kid’ bed all night long, she’s stalling at bedtime and throwing huge tantrums when it’s time to take her nap, she’s up before 5 most mornings…and you don’t know what to do about any of it. By this point, you are no doubt wondering what on earth you did “wrong” as as mother, to get to this point.

Our answer: you didn’t (and you aren’t) doing anything wrong. You are doing a good job. In fact, if you haven’t heard this enough lately, let us be the first to say it: Great work, mama!

See, things like breastfeeding to sleep, rocking to sleep, holding to sleep, co-sleeping to help improve sleep…these are all things that can create sleep associations, which in turn can create short naps and lots of night waking. But you know what else? These are the things that loving, caring, nurturing moms do! You should absolutely not feel guilty about cuddling/holding/rocking/co-sleeping your baby to sleep – those are all things that GREAT moms do!

Remember this, too – nothing about your baby’s sleep is a problem UNTIL IT’S A PROBLEM. If you’re happy putting your baby to sleep, if you love co-sleeping, if you don’t mind the nighttime wakings – AND if you have a happy and healthy child – then you don’t have a problem on your hands.

It’s only when all the things you have to “do” to put your child to sleep, and to help him stay asleep, become unmanageable for you that you have a problem. And fortunately for you, it is a problem that we can help you solve! Better yet, we can do it in a way that fits with your parenting style, with your child’s unique personality, and with your goals for your family. Just connect with one of our trained, expert consultants, and she’ll get to work creating a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for your family.

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.

Want to vent about your own baby and toddler sleep struggles? Have a sleep story to share? Leave your comments below!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is 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!
 
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_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.
 

The Most Amazing Sleep Stories of 2014 – Family Features from The Baby Sleep Site

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It’s Family Features time again, parents! For the next few weeks, we are taking a look at three families and their amazing sleep stories. Meet Nadia, Yeyin, and Suki – three mamas just like you, who were feeling exhausted and utterly overwhelmed by their babies’ sleep problems. That is, they were feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, until they found The Baby Sleep Site®. Read on, and enjoy these beautiful stories!

Meet Suki, and Hear Her Story!

Suki2Suki’s little guy, Ethan, is just adorable (look at that smile!), but his sleep? Not so adorable! The 4 month sleep regression hit, and things got bad, fast. After a brief attempt at CIO, which failed completely (Ethan AND Suki were crying!), Suki and her husband decided to contact The Baby Sleep Site®. Keep reading to find out what happened next!
 

The Baby Sleep Site: So, Suki, let’s start by hearing from you about what Ethan’s sleep was like before you contacted The Baby Sleep Site® for help.

Suki: In two words? NOT GOOD. Ethan was by no means a perfect sleeper as a newborn, but we expected that. He co-slept with me for the first 2 months, and he fed on demand (I breastfeed) pretty much around the clock. But then, when he was 2 months old, we were able to successfully transition him into a crib. And a few times, Ethan had longer stretches of sleep (about 4-5 hours) at night, after he moved to his crib. So we had hope that things were getting better! Then, the 4 month sleep regression hit.

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, no – I take it things took a turn for the worst after that? The 4 month sleep regression usually has that effect!

Suki: Suki3Definitely. We had to go back to co-sleeping, for one thing; it was the only way I could get Ethan to sleep. We tried to do everything we could to keep Ethan from forming bad sleep habits that would interfere with his sleep – we tried to put him down drowsy but awake, and to comfort him by patting and rubbing him when he woke up, without picking him up out of his crib, but nothing worked. My Ethan is a persistent little guy and not adaptable AT ALL, so when he woke up, he just got angrier and angrier if we tried to pat him. Same with drowsy but awake – as soon as we’d lay him down, he’d wake up and then get mad if we didn’t pick him up. It was rough!

The Baby Sleep Site: This does sound rough! It must have been hard on you and your husband.

Suki: It was! And to make matters worse, Ethan wouldn’t take a pacifier or a bottle, and he hated being swaddled, so we really were limited in how we could comfort him. AND, his nursing was out of whack – he would eat little meals during the day, and then nurse a whole lot at night. His pediatrician suggested that I space out his daytime feedings to allow for 3 hours between each feeding, but that backfired – it meant that he ended up nursing even more at night!

The Baby Sleep Site: Boy – you and your husband must have been at your wits’ ends!

Suki: Yes, we really were. We actually tried letting him cry, to see if that would help, but it was terrible. He cried for almost an hour, and then I ended up crying, and we just couldn’t do it again. I lean more towards attachment parenting, in many ways, and I knew that we needed a gentler approach that would involve less crying, but I didn’t know how to get there on my end. And my friends and family weren’t much help – they kept telling me that I just had to accept the fact that Ethan was a bad sleeper, and wait for him to outgrow his sleeping habits. This is actually a very common Chinese mentality. But I knew I didn’t want to just “wait” for Ethan to become a better sleeper, so I reached out to The Baby Sleep Site® for help. I had my husband’s support in doing so, but that was it – no one else understood my desire to sleep train. I told my consultant, Shaye, that she and Nicole were my last hope!

The Baby Sleep Site: So what happened after you purchased your consultation package, Suki?

Suki: I received my Personalized Sleep Plan™ quickly, along with a note from Nicole. After lots of hard work, we started to see progress! We managed to move Ethan back into a crib, and we started making progress with his night waking and his daytime schedule (he’d always been really inconsistent in his morning wake time and naps, but Shaye gave us some great tips to work on that).

The Baby Sleep Site: Fantastic!

Suki: Well, yes – but then we had setback. Ethan’s frequent night waking returned; he was up 5-9 times each night again!

The Baby Sleep Site: Bummer – that must have been discouraging! :-( What did you do?

Suki: I let Shaye know right away, and she reassured me that we would work on a plan to deal with the night wakings. That alone brought me so much comfort; I knew Shaye would be there to help me through this setback, just like she’d helped me through the others! And she certainly did – she identified that Ethan was going through his 8/9/10 month sleep regression, and that was likely the reason for his wakings. And she created a new day-by-day plan for me to address his night wakings. And you know what? That did it! I put her suggestions and schedule into practice, and sure enough, Ethan’s sleep began improving!

Suki1Now, Ethan wakes WAY less at night, and his naps have lengthened to the point that each one is over an hour long! Ethan still put up a bit of a fuss at bedtime, and my next task is going to be to work on getting shortening the time between when we put him down for bed, and when he actually falls asleep. But overall, we have made SO much progress.

To be honest, going from waking up 15 times a night, and co-sleeping with him in the same bed (and kicking my husband out) when he was 5 month old before getting help from Shaye and Nicole, to where we are at right now… I can’t thank The Baby Sleep Site® enough! Shaye and Nicole have been a Godsend to me and my family, and now, I am really enjoying every moment as a mom! I know I will not have these precious moments without The Baby Sleep Site®’s help. I think I would still be weeping every night while holding Ethan in my arm if I didn’t decide to get help! Truly, The Baby Sleep Site® has brought happiness and joy to my family!

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, Suki – this is so wonderful to hear! It means the world to all of us here at The Baby Sleep Site® to hear stories like yours – as our sleep consultants always say, it makes the long work hours worth it. :-) Now, before we wrap up – any parting words for our readers?

Suki: I want to say this, because I’m sure it will resonate with a lot of people reading this: at first, I was really unsure about paying for sleep advice. But I’m soooooooooooo glad that I did it! Ethan has come such a long way, thanks to Shaye and Nicole’s help. I have already referred 4 of my friends to The Baby Sleep Site®, and all of them are now getting enough sleep that we can get together and have some mama dates!

Fantastic, right? Thanks to ongoing support from Shaye and Nicole, and to their ability to personalize the sleep help to fit Suki’s parenting style and Ethan’s sleep need, Suki’s whole family is sleeping better. And you can, too! Remember, you can have your own sleep coaching success story, just like Suki’s – all you have to do is take that first step, and contact us for personalized sleep help today!

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This week, we’re introducing you to Yeyin, a beautiful mom of a beautiful daughter who was exhausted beyond measure when she came to us for help. She had tried everything – everything – she could think of to help little Haera sleep, including turning to a local sleep consultant, but nothing worked. That’s when Yeyin connected with Nicole, who gave her one incredible tip that changed Haera’s sleep immediately…keep reading to learn more!

The Baby Sleep Site: Yeyin, tell us a little bit about your situation before you contacted us for help.

Yeyin: Our daughter Haera was such a bright and beautiful newborn, and despite some issues of my own (I suffered from Post-partum Depression after Me & 1 month Haera KimHaera’s birth) and some sleep issues of Haera’s, by the time she was 5 weeks old, Haera was sleeping on her own. She was also sleeping 4-5 hour stretches at night. We were told that exclusively breastfed babies woke more often at night, but not our baby. When she did wake for a feeding, I could put her straight into the co-sleeper crib and she’d drift off to dreamland. She was sleeping soundly and peacefully. It was such a dream, and we were so happy to be the lucky ones!!

Well, fast-forward 4 weeks later, our 9-week old baby girl suddenly declared she was no longer a sleep-through-the-night baby, and it felt like it happened overnight. She began to wake up every 30 minutes to an hour, and her 4-5 hour stretches turned into 2 hours. Her naps suddenly became 30 minutes on the dot. At first, we thought it was a phase, but her sleep wasn’t getting any better, it was only getting worse.

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, yes, that sounds familiar – so many families tell us a similar story! Sleep is okay for the first 6 or 8 weeks, and then it all falls apart.

Yeyin: That was sure true for us. Around this time, I started to search the Internet for answers. We never read one book about baby sleep nor did we know that so many even existed! We didn’t think it was something we had to READ about. We didn’t know baby sleep was any different from our sleep. We thought babies slept when they were tired and stayed awake when they were not. We knew nothing about sleep cycles, sleep associations, overtiredness, optimal wake windows, tired cues, the number of naps per day, appropriate nap durations, etc. We… knew… nothing.

I learned a lot in my research, but Haera’s sleep wasn’t getting better. We had resorted to holding her for ALL her naps (every… single… one…). The routine always started with a really long rocking and ssshing session that progressed to a careful transition into the rocking recliner. She slept on top of our chests. We used the pacifier and reinserted it constantly. We rocked the chair when she stirred. For nighttime, I went to bed with Haera between 5:30-6PM and had her nursing ALL night long in the most uncomfortable positions. She would sleep for 30 minutes, then wake for 2 hours, then sleep for 30 minutes to 1.5 hours and wake, then nurse, then sleep then wake if she became unlatched, etc. I’d try to use the pacifier, which worked about 25% of the time. It went on like this for 2.5 months.

My husband and I never saw each other, and the only way we communicated each other was through texting… By the time he came home from work, I was already “in bed” with Haera. Steve has been the most supportive husband and father, but there was only so much that he could do to help. Haera felt that she needed ME to sleep. I was beyond stressed, and at the time, I thought I was doing what any mom or dad would do. Desperate times called for desperate measures. Needless to say, my dedication to Haera’s sleep turned me into a very unhappy, frustrated person.

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh my goodness, Yeyin – this sounds horrible! No wonder you were feeling so desperate! What did you do next?

Yeyin: I finally contacted a local sleep consultant when Haera turned 4 months. She gave us instructions on how to approach our first night of cry-it-out leep training, and I couldn’t do it. I had a full-blown panic attack and came very close to vomiting from all the anxiety. So, I had to leave the house and implored Steve to stay with Haera. She cried for TWO HOURS until she couldn’t cry any more. The second night, she cried for an hour, and every night after that she cried, and cried, and cried. This accounts only for the crying that was at the beginning of the night, too. There was so much more crying in the middle of the night.

Me & 5 month Haera KimHow could this be okay? I asked myself this every single night. I hated myself for making my baby cry. I hated everything about the sleep training we were doing. Fast-forward 10 days: I was done. I was done with sleep training. The crying never got easier, and we did everything CONSISTENTLY. We couldn’t rely on our sleep consultant anymore, and I found myself unable to letdown while nursing anymore from all of the anxiety. I just couldn’t listen to our baby cry ANYMORE, so we stopped following the strict rules and guidelines. I was done, done, done. I didn’t go back to co-sleeping, but I went back to responding to my baby, picking her up, comforting her, nursing her, etc.

But, after ONE WEEK, I was in despair again. The crying before bedtime improved, but the crying following the first night waking (after 30 minutes to an hour of sleep) was particularly blood curdling. I just didn’t understand why our little one was crying so much after having gone to bed somewhat peacefully. I still had so many questions and doubts, but I didn’t want to go back to our original sleep consultant. Our philosophies and expectations just didn’t match up.

The Baby Sleep Site: This must have been such a hard time for you, Yeyin. Please tell me that the next move you made was to contact us!

Yeyin: It was! I finally decided to reach out to The Baby Sleep Site®. I had been perusing their website long enough to be aware their philosophies, and I had nothing to lose with their guarantee. This proved to be the single most effective, and BEST, decision I made with regards to Haera’s sleep.

I had signed up for the 30-day unlimited email package. It was the best value for us because I knew we needed extra time to work on Haera’s sleep, and the “unlimited” emails and responsiveness was something I felt would fit our family’s needs the best.

We were assigned to Nicole who graciously and kindly wrote to us that very evening and gave me some quick advice: Try to change her schedule THAT night. It was simply a moving her bedtime later and treating her current bedtime as a nap. She needed a bit more time to author our Personalized Sleep Plan, but skimming through our initial history intake form, she suspected that Haera was treating bedtime as a fourth nap and then waking up crying for such a long period of time because she was actually AWAKE. It broke our hearts. Why didn’t our first sleep consultant help us with this? She was the one who actually told us to pull bedtime to an earlier time and to “expect a lot of crying,” while Nicole told us to do the opposite and with much, much less crying. From the very start, through a simple email, Nicole changed our lives forever. Our sweet Haera no longer had to suffer through such an incredible and overwhelming amount of crying.

The Baby Sleep Site: Yep, Nicole’s pretty great like that! So you were off to a good start….what happened next?

Yeyin: Within a day or two, our Personalized Sleep Plan™ arrived, and it was so thorough and warm. The name of the publication service is justifiably and well named because it was indeed a sleep plan PERSONALIZED to our philosophies and to Haera’s needs. I still use our Personalized Sleep Plan™ today for advice and strategies.

From that day forward, I corresponded with Nicole each and every day. Haera needed a lot of work. We made a lot of progress in the beginning with changing Haera’s schedule, and then there was the “tweaking” we needed to do based on Haera’s temperament. Nicole has such an amazing skillset: To be in sync with babies. She explained what sort of temperament she suspected Haera had and based our sleep coaching approach to Haera’s individuals’ needs. The most awesome thing about Nicole is her empathy. She would say things like, “Me, too,” and that was all the validation I needed to feel sane and motivated to keep going.

Me & 6 month Haera KimSometimes (a lot of times), I would vent and write to Nicole in the middle of the night worried and wondering about why Haera was so inconsistent, strong-willed, etc., and Nicole would reply back every day and say she was sorry to hear we were having a bad day, BUT to keep on going and to hang in there! She was the best cheerleader I could ever ask for, and never ever did I ever feel second priority. I always felt like I was her one and only client, and I know that’s not the case. I can’t imagine how incredibly busy Nicole is juggling her responsibilities to The Baby Sleep Site, her clients, and her family! She is an amazing woman!

So, with Nicole’s help, we worked on bedtime and naptime. We went from me going to bed in the worst-case scenario (i.e., going to bed with our little one at 5:30PM, rocking/swaying/walking her in the middle of the night for HOURS, nursing all night long, popping in the pacifier when I couldn’t take the soreness of nursing anymore) to the BEST-CASE scenario (i.e., sleeping through the night with a feeding or two in the middle and no more dreamfeeds). We rearranged Haera’s schedule and shifted more of her day sleep to her night sleep. It turned out we were holding her for her naps for TOO long during the day, which interfered with how much she could sleep at night. We would have NEVER figured that out without Nicole’s help. Although Haera was still waking up at night, Nicole assured us that this was all within normal range. She was waking due to hunger and not because of an association, and learning that Haera was “within normal” relieved some of the built up pressure and made everything a bit more manageable.

The Baby Sleep Site: Awesome!!! Your progress is especially amazing, considering where you started.

Yeyin: It is! Today, Haera’s sleep is far from perfect, but the one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from Nicole is that THAT IS OKAY. Haera’s temperament is not built like other babies who adapt well, who are consistent, who only fuss and whimper and do not wail out and scream their little, beautiful heads off. Haera is one-of-a-kind. So, although her sleep isn’t a model example of what an ideal sleeping baby should look like, Haera has made stark improvements from where she was to where is today. ALL babies are different, and Haera is no exception.

In all of the countless emails Nicole and I have exchanged, the most significant and poignant lesson I’ve learned was that I WAS NOT ALONE. This lesson alone has made the dealing with all the hardships, listening to all the hysterical crying, surviving all the sleep deprivation, and wondering if it would ever get better more bearable. In fact, sometimes I feel quite liberated in knowing that I am not alone. I was kinder to myself and allowed myself to feel frustrated, down, and upset and know that I am still a good mom! Nicole has always made sure to remind me of that!

Although I’m not in correspondence with Nicole right now, I still have email packages that I have bought to use for future use, so my time with Nicole and the Baby Sleep Site is far from over. During the time I am not in contact with Nicole, I use the resources in the Members Area section to help me navigate through the various changes Haera has been experiencing in her current 8/9/10 month regression-related sleep. The teleseminars and case studies were particularly helpful in guiding me in Haera’s current sleep situation.

The Baby Sleep Site: You are one prepared mama, Yeyin! I love that! Okay, before we wrap up – any parting words for our readers?

Yeyin: What else can I say about Nicole and The Baby Sleep Site? They RESCUED, REVIVED, and SAVED our lives… but most importantly and most tenderly, they saved our sweet, darling Haera.

Amazing! Thanks to ongoing support from Nicole, and her caring, compassionate advice, Yeyin’s whole family will be sleeping easier this holiday season. And you can, too! Remember, you can have your own sleep coaching success story, just like Yeyin’s – all you have to do is take that first step, and contact us for personalized sleep help today!

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Next up, we have Nadia and her cutie-patootie little guy, Isaac. Nadia has been a client of The Baby Sleep Site&reg’ for 11 – yes, that’s eleven – months. So to say that she’d had experience with our consultation process would be a bit of an understatement! ;) Today, Nadia’s family is sleeping well, but that was by no means the case 11 months ago…back then, Nadia and her husband were losing their minds over how to get Isaac to sleep. That’s when they decided they need professional help with Isaac’s sleep. Keep reading to find out what happened!

Baby Sleep Site: Nadia, tell us what Isaac’s sleep was like before you contacted us.

Nadia1Nadia: I first contacted the site for help back in November of 2013. My son, who was about 3 months at the time, suddenly became a cat napper-he needed to be rocked to go down for a nap, which usually consisted of holding him, bouncing or walking, and carrying him in a sling.  Sometimes we had to carry and bounce him in the car seat. It was weird, because up until he was about 6 weeks old, he napped 2-3 hours at time for his naps. Then, all of a sudden, he would be up, on the dot, at the 30 minute mark. You could set your clock to it! He’d wake up cranky and fussing. It drove us both nuts!
 
And bedtime was even worse.  I would rock or nurse Isaac down and he would fall asleep for the first 30 minutes, and sleep very deeply – but then he’d wake up. I would re-rock him down, often in a sling, swaddled, and he would drift off again.  I would sit with him another 30 minutes to ensure he was deeply asleep.  Then, and only then, I would transfer him out of the sling into the bed, where he would sleep for approximately 4-5 hours, wake up to nurse, and I would have to start the process all over again.  Simply put, it was exhausting for us all.

Baby Sleep Site: Nadia, this does sound tough. :( I know so many of our readers have been here – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy when you’re the one dealing with the sleep drama, all night and all day! 
 

Nadia2Nadia: Exactly! That’s when I decided I needed help, and I contacted The Baby Sleep Site®. Nicole whipped out a wonderful plan for Isaac, which required that first, he learn to go to sleep on his own. The plan worked, and within short 3 days, Isaac was falling asleep on his own! Nicole and I worked and tweaked the plan almost daily. I would write her daily updates (I had an unlimited e-mail package), and she would offer a lot of suggestions and support. Eventually, bedtime became a breeze – Isaac would fall asleep on his own and sleep peacefully until it was his time to nurse. And we worked on slowly weaning Isaac away from his night feedings, too.

 

The Baby Sleep Site: How awesome, Nadia! So excited that you’ve made such good progress!

Nadia: We really have! It took awhile, but the work has been worth it. Nicole went as ‘fast’ or ‘slow’ as I wanted through the whole process.  She also supported me through the transition from nanny, to a large daycare center, to an inhome daycare center, through a move to a new house, and finally, through a transition to an inhome daycare center #2. And that doesn’t even count al the help she gave me in dealing with illness and teething! She truly was there for me through it all – every day, I would email and every day, she would email me back. All told, I purchased months worth of unlimited email packages, and it was all worth it!

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, Nadia – that’s so wonderful to hear!  
 

Nadia3Nadia: Now, after all of our work together, Isaac’s sleep is wonderful. He goes down by himself after a quick bath and nursing session at 8, and he sleeps the whole night! He takes on long, 2.5-3 hour nap in the afternoon (no more 30-minute cat-naps!). He is a happy boy, who is very active, and loves to hang out and talk to himself in his crib, without calling for mama.  I am now sleeping much better too! Looking back, I realize now that I learned so much from Nicole. Had it not been for her never-ending support and words of encouragement, I would have lost it by now. No joke. :) Nicole saved my baby’s sleep, my marriage and my sanity. I could not have done ANY of this without her, and I would recommend her to any mother who is struggling like I was. Throughout all of the ups and downs that the last year has brought, sleep-wise, knowing I had an expert to consult with every day was my piece of sanity – and it was worth WAY more than any the money I spent on my consultations! What she does for exhausted parents – and what she did for me – is priceless.

Wow, right! Talk about a big change! Thanks to unlimited support from our team of consultants, Nadia and her family are looking forward to a peaceful, rested holiday season. And while most families won’t need months of unlimited support, how nice it is to know that if that’s the kind of help YOU need, we offer it! We really will go as fast or as slow as you’d like, and we’re willing to stick with you through every step of the sleep coaching process – even it if happens to take you months to reach your goals. ;)

Remember, you can have your own sleep coaching success story, just like Nadia’s – all you have to do is take that first step, and contact us for personalized sleep help today!

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10 Bedtime Story Books You Can Turn Into Sleep Training Tools

Bedtime Books Sleep Training Tools

We’ve already said a lot (A LOT) on this site about bedtime – including when exactly bedtime should happen. We’ve also written a ton about bedtime routines – what bedtime routines should (and shouldn’t) look like, why a bedtime routine is key to sleep coaching, and more.

But here’s a part of most parents’ bedtime routines that goes overlooked as a sleep training tool: the bedtime story book. Sure, most of us probably spend at least a few minutes reading to our little cherubs before tucking them in at night, but have you ever stopped and thought about how you can turn the bedtime story to your (sleep training) advantage?

You can.

Now, that’s not to say that you have to choose special “sleep-focused” books at bedtime – there’s a lot to be said for simply reading a good book to your kiddo, regardless of whether or not it mentions sleep! Reading is hands-down the best way to establish early literacy, and it makes for pretty fantastic parent-child bonding time, too.

But if you’re sleep coaching, you no doubt want to utilize every tool at your disposal to help the process along – and the bedtime books you choose can be powerful tools indeed. Read on for details!

10 Bedtime Books You Can Turn Into Great Sleep Coaching Tools

Unknown-6 BOOK: Goodnight Moon – by Margaret Wise Brown

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: A bedtime book classic! Little bunny bids “good night” to everything in his room, before peacefully drifting off to sleep himself.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Have a toddler who’s fighting off bedtime? Saying “good night” to the things she encounters as she goes through her bedtime routine is actually a powerful way to help signal that it’s time to go to sleep. It’s also a way for your toddler to mentally reassure herself that everything else in her life (and in her room) is going to sleep too – so she’s not missing anything. ;) And this is a great book for babies, too – the simple illustrations and primary colors provide great visual appeal for infants!

 
Unknown-5 BOOK: A Book of Sleep – by Il Sung Na

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: A wide-awake little owl swoops through this beautifully-illustrated book and watches all the other animals settle down (and snuggle down) for sleep.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: If you have your own “wide-awake” little watchful owl at bedtime, this book is a great resource! As your child watches how all the animals sleep in their own special way, it can provide big reassurance that bedtime really is for sleeping. And if your toddler has a unique bedtime arrangement (maybe he has to sleep with three or four of the same special stuffed friends each night?), then he can take pride in knowing that just like the animals, he has his own special way of sleeping. Babies will love this book, too – especially if you’re working on teaching your baby animal names and sounds.

 
Unknown-4 BOOK: Sleep Like A Tiger – by Mary Logue

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: A feisty little girl lets her parents know in no uncertain terms that she is not – positively not – tired. Her loving parents convince her that bed really is the place for her, and a colorful parade of animals follows, as these ingenious parents convince their little one to “sleep like a tiger”.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Who among us HASN’T had a bedtime-avoider on their hands? The “I’m not tired!” line is a favorite among most toddlers. Well, this book is a great choice for the bedtime avoider in your house. Through this story and it’s gorgeous illustrations, your toddler will learn that it’s okay to have a feisty spirit, but that bedtime can be an exciting and imaginative time, too!

 
Unknown-3 BOOK: Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night? – by Brianna Caplan Sayres

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: An adorable look at where the big “diggers” sleep at night – this one is quite similar to Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: For the wee truck-lover in your life! If you have a little one who loves heavy machinery in your home, this book is sure to be a hit. As your child watches the beloved trucks and diggers go peacefully to bed, odds are bedtime will start to seem more appealing to your little guy or little girl, too!

 
Unknown-2 BOOK: Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep – by Joyce Dunbar

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Little Willa is scared to go to sleep – good thing her big brother Willoughby is there to tell her something happy before she goes to sleep!

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Bedtime fears and fear of the dark are very real for toddlers – and it’s very possible that at some point during the sleep coaching process, your little one will suddenly become scared at bedtime. This book is a great solution to that problem! Willa’s “happy thoughts” before bed can become your child’s – or, after the book is done, come up with some happy thoughts of your own! As for babies, they’re sure to love the snuggly bunny characters in this sweet little book.

 
Unknown-1 BOOK: It’s Time To Sleep, My Love – by Nancy Tillman

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Mama animals gently put their babies to sleep in this fantastic book, complete with gorgeous, lush illustrations.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: It can really help your little one to know that when it’s her bedtime, lots of other things are going to bed, too – including animals! The soft, lilting rhymes of this book will lull even the youngest babies to sleep, and the message that everything around the world is going to bed can go a long way to helping your baby or toddler settle down and fall asleep without a fuss.

 
Unknown BOOK: Simpson’s Sheep Won’t Go To Sleep! – by Bruce Arent

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Simpson’s sheep need to go to sleep – but they just won’t! Between yakking and stalling and needing to “go”, these sheep are pro bedtime stalkers.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Have a bedtime staller on your hands? Then this is the book for you! By the end, you and your toddler will be rolling over the sheep’s stall tactics, and will be chanting together, “Go to sleep, sheep!” This is a great way for toddlers to see how silly bedtime stalling can look from a different perspective, and will hopefully help you make progress towards smoother bedtimes yourselves.

 
Unknown-7BOOK: Sleep Is For Everyone – by Paul Showers

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: This little books presents great, basic information about why living things need sleep, and takes a look at how animals sleep, how people sleep, how sleep affects our brains, and more.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Have a little budding scientist at home who constantly asks, “But why?” I can relate! If your little one just needs to know the “why” behind why she has to go to sleep, you’ll want to grab a copy of this book. It presents the basics about why sleep is important in a straightforward, easy-to-understand way. This book will definitely help convince your little bedtime skeptic that sleep matters, and that can help make sleep coaching even easier on both of you!

 
Unknown-8BOOK: Bedtime – by Elizabeth Verdick

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Watch a toddler go through his bedtime routine with his family, from brushing teeth to taking a bath to lullabies and snuggles.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Toddlers will be reassured that yes, bedtime is normal and everyone is doing it when they watch the character in the story go through his bedtime routine with mom and dad, and snuggle down happily into bed. Modeling good bedtime behavior and cooperation is a great way to help show your toddler exactly what’s expected of him at bedtime, and this book does exactly that – it provides a positive model of what bedtime should look like. A great tool to add to your sleep coaching arsenal! And babies can get a lot out of this book, too – after all, it’s never too late to start modeling good bedtime behavior, and establishing a strong bedtime routine! Note that this book is one in a series called “Toddler Tools” – check out their other books on meal-times, nap time, clean-up time, and more.

 
Unknown-9BOOK: Nursies When The Sun Shines – by Katerhine C. Havener

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: An adorable breastfeeding toddler learns that nighttime is for sleeping, and that “nursies” happen when during the day, when the sun shines.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: A FABULOUS book for co-sleeping parents who are working on weaning an older baby or toddler away from nighttime nursing. A client actually recommended this one to us awhile back, and said it was a lifesaver in her home! If you are working on night weaning as part of your sleep coaching, this book will be a great tool for you – it’s designed to help even young toddlers understand when it’s time to nurse, and when it’s time to sleep.

Get Sleep Training Help From The Baby Sleep Site®

A great arsenal of bedtime books can be a big help in your sleep training endeavors – but you’ll need more than bedtime stories to help your baby or toddler learn to fall asleep peacefully at bedtime and sleep through the night. You’ll need us! Let our team of expert sleep consultants craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for you, that’s personalized to your family and that’ll walk you through every step of sleep coaching.

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.

This is by no means an exhaustive list – we want to hear about your favorite bedtime books! Share your recommendations in the comments below, and help us expand our list!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is 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!
 
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_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.
 

Disclosure: The Amazon links above are affiliate links. If you opt to purchase one of these books, The Baby Sleep Site® may receive a small commission from your purchase. This will not affect your purchase price. We only recommend those products that we feel are good resources for our readers.

Bedtime: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know

Bedtime
Bedtime – depending on your situation, this word either sounds like music to your ears or sends a shiver down your spine! Most of us know from experience just how tough bedtime can be. Far from a calm, gentle wind-down before sleep, for some families, bedtime is alternately a battle of wills, a scream-fest, a marathon hours-long affair, or an eternal game of whack-a-mole in which you’re constantly fetching glasses of water and making trips to the potty.

So how do we get from nightmare bedtime to a peaceful bedtime? As they say, knowledge is power – and a solid understanding about the when, where, and how of bedtime will really help make bedtime a relaxing, happy affair for everyone in your home!

When Should Bedtime Happen?

When exactly you should put your baby or toddler to bed depends on a lot of unique factors, like age and daytime nap schedule, to name a few. In general, though, you can stick to this rule: for babies, stick to an early bedtime. Why? Because babies tend to wake early, AND because later bedtimes lead to overtiredness, which leads to less overall sleep (weird, yes, but true).

Toddlers, however, may actually need a later bedtime. Why? Because toddlers can handle more wake time than babies, and if your toddler is taking two naps, or if your toddler is down to one nap, but the nap extends into the late afternoon, then you may be looking at a later bedtime (say, 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.)

You can see bedtime by age suggestions on our bedtime by age chart (it includes a downloadable, printable PDF!)

Or, for sample schedule templates, view our sample sleep and feeding schedules by age. Even better – take a look at our custom schedule-maker! Simply enter your child’s age and usual wake-time, and you’ll get a sample nap schedule, complete with suggested bedtime.

What Does A Good Bedtime Routine Look Like?

A key element to a peaceful, sleep-inducing bedtime is a solid bedtime routine. But what does a great bedtime routine look like? Great question! For starters, watch the length of your routine. It should be on the short side, especially for young babies – a routine that’s longer than 5 or 10 minutes may very well stretch past a young baby’s wake time window, and may push bedtime too late, to the point where they become overtired. Older babies and toddlers can handle longer routines, but still, your routine shouldn’t take more than maybe 10 or 15 minutes.

As for what’s in the routine itself – that’s totally up to you! There’s no script. In general, jammies, a bedtime story, and a lullaby work great for all ages. For toddlers, you’ll want to include teeth-brushing and a potty visit. You’ll also want to include a feeding as part of the bedtime routine, for babies – just make sure you’re not feeding your baby to sleep, as that may create negative sleep associations. (Note – feeding a newborn to sleep can be a great way to get longer, deeper sleep, but once your baby is a few months old, you’ll want to work on falling asleep independently.

A bath may or may not work in your routine – some children find a bath calming, while others get really excited at bath time! So use your judgement on this – if your child gets wound up at bath time, try moving the bath to an earlier point in the day.

Finally, no matter what you include in your routine, try to make sure that the routine itself has a definitive end. Maybe say the same phrase each time before turning off the light, or maybe play the same lullaby song before you leave. You just need something that will signal to your child that the routine is done, and that it’s time to fall asleep. If you do this consistently, and for long enough, the end of your routine will eventually become like an “off” switch for your kiddo, and will really help you avoid the long, drawn-out bedtime ordeal!

For more bedtime routine help, you can read our bedtime routine article, as well as our tips on 5 common bedtime routine mistakes to avoid. You may also want to check out our article on whether or not a rigid bedtime routine is right for your situation.

How Does Your Baby Fall Asleep At Bedtime?

Believe it or not, HOW your baby or toddler falls asleep at bedtime has a lot to do with your bedtime successes of failures. Long story short, once your baby is past the newborn stage, the goal is for your baby or toddler to learn to fall asleep independently, without assistance from you. (Don’t worry about this in the newborn stage, though – when you have a newborn at home, you do what you have to do to get some sleep!) Now, “independently” doesn’t mean “in a room by himself/herself” – you can co-sleep or room-share and still work towards independent sleep. Independent sleep means that you are not actively doing something (rocking, nursing, holding, etc.) in an effort to make your baby or toddler fall asleep.

Why does this matter? Because if your child gets used to being rocked/fed/held to sleep, then that’s going to become a habit. And that means that when your child wakes at night (which is 100% normal, and something all of us do at various points during the night), she’s going to need you to help her fall back to sleep.

Sleep associations like rocking/feeding/holding to sleep can also make for what seems like an eternal bedtime routine! You may find yourself rocking/feeding/holding for an hour, only to gently set your child in her sleep space and have her wail. So frustrating!

So this is really the last step in creating the best, most sleep-inducing bedtime possible – work on helping your child go to sleep without your help. Do that, and you’ll be creating a strong foundation of healthy sleep habits that will lead to sleeping through the night…and who couldn’t use a little more of that in their lives? ;)

Banish Bedtime Drama, With The Baby Sleep Site®

Bedtime stalling, never-ending bedtime, bedtime tears (from mom AND baby!)…whatever your bedtime dilemma, we can help. Our team of expertly-trained, compassionate sleep consultants has dealt with just about every sleep issue under the sun, so they are well-equipped to help you! Start the consultation process today, and your consultant will craft a sleep plan that’s 100% personalized to your unique sleep situation, and that fits with your parenting philosophy and goals.
 
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.

Bedtime questions or tips? We love hearing from you – share below!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is 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!
 
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.
 

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

Toddler Sleep Training: 7 Tips and Tricks

Toddler Sleep Training
Baby sleep training can be challenging, but toddler sleep training? Whew, boy…that can feel like an impossible task sometimes! That’s why many parents find they need sleep training methods and techniques that are especially for toddlers…sometimes, the tips that work well with baby sleep training fall short with toddler sleep training.

Fortunately for you, we know thing or two about toddler sleep training! And today, we share 7 key toddler sleep training tips and tricks – keep reading for details!

Toddler Sleep Training: 7 Tips and Tricks

  1. Establish sleep boundaries in advance. With toddlers, sleep training is as much about enforcing boundaries with discipline as it is about teaching new and healthy sleep habits. We usual recommend that parents who are planning to sleep train their toddlers start by outlining sleep-time boundaries they want their child (and themselves) to follow. For instance, decide ahead of time how you will handle middle-of-the-night waking, or nap refusals, and then stick to those sleep rules so as to help your toddler understand what your boundaries look like.
  2. Optimize your toddler’s schedule. Sometimes, toddler sleep problems are due as much to schedule issues as they are to sleep associations and unhealthy sleep habits. Take a hard look at your toddler’s daytime nap schedule – are naps ending too late in the day? Are naps themselves too long? Remember, too much nap sleep can result in less night sleep, especially for toddlers. If early-waking is one of the problems you want to solve with sleep training, be sure that bedtime isn’t too early – many toddlers who are still napping during the day actually benefit from a later bedtime, to help prevent early waking. You can use our schedule resource page to see sample schedules by age, and to create a custom sleep schedule with our schedule-maker.
  3. Offer a snack before sleep times. Toddlers are mobile little things, aren’t they? And all that mobility can seriously make a kid hungry! That’s why we usually suggest offering a snack (or a breastfeed, or a bottle, perhaps, for younger toddlers) before a nap, and before bedtime. While you don’t want a child who grazes constantly and never eats a real meal, most toddlers do need healthy snacks between meals in order to sleep well, and to not wake from hunger. Just be sure to brush your toddler’s teeth after the bedtime snack, before your little one goes to sleep.
  4. Give your bedtime routine a clear, definitive end. Hopefully, you have a bedtime routine at this point. (If you don’t, get one soon!) It’s really important, for toddler sleep training purposes, that you give your bedtime routine a very clear end. Toddlers are masters of bedtime stalling, so be sure that your routine has a strong end that clearly signals to your toddler that it’s time to lie down and sleep. This can be a phrase you say, a song you play, a prayer, etc. If you do this consistently, over time, you can help to cut down on (and maybe eliminate) your toddler’s stall tactics.
  5. Provide incentives for progress. Older toddlers will really benefit from being able to see their progress somehow – like on a sleep training chart – and will also do well with periodic rewards for progress. For instance, you may want to offer a small reward, like a sticker to put on the chart, each night that your toddler stays in bed at bedtime and falls asleep without getting up. But you may also want to offer bigger rewards – maybe after a week of great sleep behavior, your toddler gets to pick a small toy from the store.
  6. Be calm, because your toddler may not be! Toddler temper tantrums may very well be a part of your toddler sleep training…most toddlers don’t respond well when their usual routines and ways of sleeping are altered! This is one reason why sleep training a toddler can feel so difficult. Just remember that throughout this process, you will need to keep your cool and remain calm. While you may feel sorely tempted to match your toddler’s wails with your own, it’s best if you can remain calm and in control.
  7. Remain consistent – this is key with toddlers! Staying calm is important – staying consistent is vital. Most toddlers are incredibly smart about this; if they sense that they can breach any of your sleep boundaries, and that you will give in, they will surely do it. So even thought it may be tough, stay firm in enforcing your sleep-time rules, and in your sleep coaching plan – if you do, it’ll pay off soon, and your whole family will be sleeping better!

Need Toddler Sleep Training Help? Look No Further!

If you’re struggling with frustrating toddler sleep training problems, we can help! We have worked with thousands of families to overcome toddler sleep problems, and we can help you overcome yours, too, with one of our Personalized Sleep Plans™! Connect with a sleep consultant today, and she will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for your toddler, that accounts for your unique circumstances. She’ll help you implement it, too, and will be available to answer any of your sleep training questions.
 
Browse our list of sleep consultation packages 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.
 

Have toddler sleep training tips or questions? Share them below, and we’ll answer!

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDJoin our Members Area and get 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!

 
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.