As a children's sleep coach, I understand the struggles that exhausted parents face when it comes to establishing healthy sleep habits for their little ones. One common dilemma many parents encounter is knowing when and how to take away the pacifier. While the pacifier can be a comforting tool for infants, there comes a time when it's essential to help your baby wean off it. In this blog post, we'll explore the signs that indicate it's time to say goodbye to the paci (binky, soother, etc) and offer some practical tips for a smooth transition.
If you have a baby under 6 months of age, pacifiers are great tools and have been shown to help reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
How to Know When to Ditch the Binky
1. Age and Teeth Development: Pediatric dentists recommend discontinuing pacifier use by the age of 2 to avoid potential dental issues. If your child's teeth are starting to come in, it's a good indicator that it might be time to start the weaning process.
2. Speech Development: Long-term pacifier use can impact speech development in children. If you notice your child is having difficulty articulating certain sounds or forming words, it may be linked to pacifier use. Weaning off the pacifier can positively contribute to language development.
3. Dependency: If your child relies on the pacifier to fall asleep or soothe themselves throughout the day, it might be a sign of dependency. Weaning can help promote self-soothing skills, fostering independence and longer nights of sleep without having to pop it back in multiple times throughout the night.
Tips for a Smooth Transition
1. Gradual Reduction or Cold Turkey: Consider a gradual approach by limiting pacifier use to specific times, such as naps and bedtime. Over time, decrease its presence until it's eventually phased out. Cold turkey, which works much faster is just that. Stop all pacifier use and get rid of them!
2. Introduce Comfort Alternatives: Help your child find comfort in other ways. Provide a special blanket or stuffed animal (over 12 months of age) that can become a new source of comfort during sleep or times of stress.
3. Create a Fun Ritual: Turning the weaning process into a positive experience can make it more enjoyable for your child. Create a fun "goodbye pacifier" ritual, perhaps involving a special ceremony or letting them choose a replacement comfort item.
4. Consistency is Key: Consistency is crucial during the weaning process. Ensure that all caregivers are on the same page and follow the established plan to avoid confusion for the child.
Weaning your baby off the pacifier is a significant milestone that can contribute to their overall well-being and development. By recognizing the signs that it's time to take away the pacifier and implementing these practical tips for a smooth transition, you can help your child sleep more soundly and through the night. Remember, patience, comfort and consistency are key as you navigate through this change of your child’s life.
If you need help pinpointing why your baby or child isn’t sleeping, set up a free call with us and we’ll help!
Discover the essential strategies for ensuring a smooth transition when bringing kids’ old sleep habits into your new home.
Moving to a new home can be an exciting but challenging experience for families, especially when children are involved. Amidst all the logistics and emotions that come with relocating, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of sleep for children's development. The quality of their sleep can greatly impact their ability to adapt to the changes associated with moving. In this article, we'll explore the power of familiarity when it comes to kids’ old sleep habits and how you can bring those routines into your new home to ensure a smoother transition.
Understanding Children's Sleep Habits
Before we delve into the intricacies of moving and its impact on sleep, let's first understand the basics of children's sleep habits. Sleep needs vary significantly based on age, with infants requiring more sleep than toddlers and older children needing less. In addition, kids develop their sleep routines and habits as they grow. These routines often involve specific bedtime rituals, favorite toys, or comfort objects that help them feel secure and relaxed.
Baby sleep consultants agree that disruptions in these sleep patterns can have various consequences. They can range from difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep to increased irritability and emotional challenges during the day. This understanding is vital as it lays the foundation for supporting children's sleep during a move.
The Impact of Moving to a New Home
Moving to a new home can be a significant source of stress and anxiety for children. It involves leaving behind the familiar and venturing into the unknown. The new environment may have different sounds, lighting, and room layouts, all of which can affect a child's ability to sleep well.
Children are particularly sensitive to changes in their surroundings, which can disrupt their sleep patterns. They might find it hard to feel secure and comfortable in a new place, leading to restless nights and sleepless hours for both them and their parents.
Bringing Familiarity to the New Home
Fortunately, you can take steps to ease this transition and make the new home feel more like the old one, at least in terms of sleep. Here are some tips for bringing familiarity to your new home:
Involving Children in the Process
Involving your child in setting up their new sleep space can also help them feel more at ease. Let them choose some decorations for their room or arrange their toys and belongings how they like. This sense of ownership can make the new room feel less foreign and more like theirs.
Creating a Sense of Security
Children thrive on a sense of security, and this is particularly true during times of change. Ensure your child knows they are safe and loved in the new home. Reassure them that your love and care remain constant while the surroundings might differ.
Coordinating Move-In Timing
Suppose you are relocating to a new home in Washington, D.C.. In such cases, hiring movers should be a top priority. Specifically, seeking assistance with moving tasks frees up time and energy to focus on your kids. Make sure your family adapts to the new environment seamlessly by maintaining their bedtime routines. Plus, help your children become familiar with their surroundings. Beyond creating a comfortable sleep environment, take some time to explore the area together. Visit nearby parks, schools, and family-friendly attractions, letting your kids get acquainted with their new neighborhood. This proactive approach can make the transition smoother for your little ones, as they'll gradually feel more at ease in their new surroundings.
Managing the Transition Period
The transition period during and after a move can be challenging, but with patience and understanding, you can help your child adjust more smoothly:
Maintain Your Kids’ Old Sleep Habits and Create New Ones
While it's essential to maintain familiar sleep habits during a move, the transition also presents an opportunity for positive change. If your child had sleep issues in the old home, consider implementing healthier sleep habits in the new environment. That might include setting consistent bedtimes, limiting screen time before bed, and creating a calm and relaxing bedtime routine.
Balancing Familiarity and Adaptation
In conclusion, the power of familiarity in helping children adapt to a new home cannot be overstated. Recreating familiar sleep environments, maintaining bedtime rituals, and providing a sense of security, you can make the transition smoother for your child. However, it's essential to strike a balance between familiarity and adaptation. While maintaining kids’ old sleep habits can be comforting, you should also establish new ones in the new home. With patience, understanding, and a focus on your child's well-being, you can ensure a smoother transition and a peaceful night's sleep for everyone in your new home.
Discover how comfort objects can help children sleep better after a move with our essential guide for parents.
The psychological impact of relocation on children often stems from uprooting their known environment. A house isn’t just a structure to them; it is where they feel safe. Children form deep attachments to familiar surroundings, whether it is their room, a favorite tree in the yard, or a play area. These spots provide stability and security in their lives. Taking them away from these places can disrupt their emotional well-being. Routines offer predictability in an otherwise chaotic world for children. Changes in daily schedules can make children feel lost and out of control. In such times, comfort objects can help children sleep better after a move, acting as a consistent piece in their reshuffled life and giving them something familiar to hold onto.
What Are Comfort Objects?
Comfort objects, often termed "transitional objects" in psychological circles, provide emotional support to children, especially during change or stress. These items vary widely: soft toys, blankets, or even a piece of cloth. Each holds special significance to the child it belongs to. The reason? Children, in their early stages of development, seek stability. Comfort objects act as anchors, providing a sense of familiarity in unfamiliar situations.
It's not a new trend. Historically, children from various cultures across the globe have found solace in these objects. Whether it's a doll made of rags or a wooden toy, these items have been a constant presence in children's lives for centuries. Their universality suggests that the need for comfort and security is inherent in humans from a young age, making these objects an essential part of childhood.
The Magical Soothing Power of Comfort Objects
For a young child, the world can sometimes feel vast and unpredictable. In these moments, comfort objects act like silent guardians, offering a touch of consistency in their fluctuating environment. They grant children a sense of security, helping them sleep at night. From a developmental perspective, these objects are more than just toys. Children learn about trust, attachment, and self-soothing during crucial stages of growth. Comfort objects assist in this learning process, teaching kids how to cope with emotions and feelings of uncertainty.
Consider these items as bridges. As kids navigate the wide gap between dependence on parents and self-reliance, comfort objects act as supportive transitional tools. They give children the confidence to explore the world around them while knowing they have a trusted companion by their side.
Comfort Objects Can Help Children Sleep Better After a Move: The Science Behind It
Scientifically, comfort objects have a direct connection to the brain's ability to manage stress. During challenging times, the brain releases cortisol, a stress hormone. Consistent exposure to this hormone, according to sleep experts, especially in children, can disrupt sleep patterns, making rest elusive.
However, comfort objects can counteract this effect. They activate the brain's oxytocin release - often termed the "love" or "comfort" hormone. Oxytocin can lower cortisol levels, promoting feelings of safety and relaxation. The natural circadian rhythm reasserts itself, improving sleep quality and duration. Multiple studies reinforce these findings. A 2019 study published in the Child Development Journal found that children who had access to their comfort objects during times of change, like moving, exhibited steadier sleep patterns. Research from the Pediatric Sleep Research Institute highlighted that children with comfort objects fell asleep faster post-relocation, reducing nighttime awakenings. In essence, for many children, comfort objects are a bridge to better sleep.
Selecting the Perfect Comfort Object for Your Child
Choosing the fitting comfort object for your child is essential, especially considering that comfort objects can help children sleep better after a move. Find what resonates with your child's needs and preferences to make his bedroom sleep-friendly. Often, the best way to find the perfect item is to involve your child in the selection process. Their attachment and fondness for the object will be stronger if they have a say in the choice.
Observe your child's tendencies: do they cuddle a particular teddy more often or wrap themselves in a specific blanket? These cues can guide you toward the best pick. However, while emotional connection is critical, safety should always come first. Avoid objects with small detachable parts that pose a choking hazard for younger children. Similarly, it's wise to select items made of breathable materials for bedtime to prevent suffocation risks.
Caring for and Maintaining Comfort Objects
Maintaining the cleanliness and integrity of comfort objects is essential. Given that these items often see daily use, proper cleaning becomes vital. Check care labels on toys for specific instructions. Some may be machine washable, while others may require gentle hand washing.
Backup comfort objects offer peace of mind. If a child's favorite item gets lost or damaged, having an identical replacement ready can mitigate distress. If you choose to have duplicates, a storage unit is an ideal place for safekeeping, especially in crowded areas like Washington, DC, where extra space can be at a premium. Renting storage in Washington, DC, will save space for beloved items and guarantee they remain in good condition when needed. And as kids grow, the emotional significance of precious objects may diminish, but their sentimental value remains. Storing them as keepsakes is a heartwarming way to preserve memories.
Introducing Comfort Objects Before the Move
When introducing comfort objects, choosing the right timing is vital. Instead of springing it on them just days before the move, give it a few weeks. This window allows your child to form an attachment, making the object truly comforting during the relocation. Next, discuss the comfort object's purpose with your child, emphasizing that it's a special item meant to provide solace and familiarity. Make it an event: maybe a day out to choose it or a quiet evening discussion about its significance.
Lastly, use this new comfort object to establish a calming bedtime routine and sleeping habits. It can include reading a story with the stuffed animal, tucking in the blanket, or simply chatting about the day. The idea is to associate the comfort object with positive, soothing experiences. So, by the time you move, your child will have an established source of comfort to help them through the transition.
Tips for Washington Parents: Local Shops to Find Comfort Objects
Washington is home to various stores that offer a selection of comfort objects perfect for children. One of the most popular destinations is Little Dreamers, a boutique shop specializing in handcrafted toys and soft blankets. Another favorite among parents is Capital Comforts, known for its plush animals and cuddly items suitable for kids of all ages. Apart from established stores, the city is rich with talented local artisans crafting unique comfort items. Places like the DC Crafts Market or Washington Artisans' Alley host a variety of stalls where handmade treasures await. Here, one can find not just mass-produced items but pieces made with love, care, and creativity.
For families relocating to Washington, the community offers exceptional support. Local parent groups often share resources and recommendations, making settling down easier. They also provide insights into neighborhood shops and hidden gems where you might find the perfect comfort object for your child.
The significance of comfort objects in a child's life is evident, especially during significant changes like relocation. These cherished items often provide stability, helping young ones adjust and feel secure in new surroundings. Comfort objects can help children sleep better after a move, reducing nighttime anxieties. It's vital for parents to understand the role these items play, from selection to maintenance and eventually transitioning away from them. As children evolve, grow, and adapt, so do their needs. Nurturing their growth while ensuring they have the support they need is the beautiful balance of parenting.
You may already be familiar with the idea of sleep hygiene, which is a series of practices, habits and environmental factors that can be adjusted to promote a good night’s sleep. But you might be surprised to see bedroom design on the list of things that can affect your ability to rest. Sleep experts and interior designers agree that your bedroom should be a sleep sanctuary, which means considerations like bedding, color palette, textures, aromatherapy and even storage can go a long way towards helping you get the sleep you deserve.
“You want to feel like you’re away at a spa,” says Elizabeth Vergara, owner and principal at Vergara Homes. She says the idea is to emphasize tranquility and a sense of calm to set the stage for restful sleep, and Christine Stevens, a sleep consultant and coach for exhausted professionals, seconds that notion. I spoke with these experts and others for guiding design principles and specific tips to make your bedroom dream worthy.
When you have a newborn, it goes without saying that all bets are off when it comes to sleep. It's a dizzying adjustment being on call around the clock. But when my little one reached the 3-month mark, I felt like things were starting to stabilize... somewhat. On good days, naps were beginning to have a semblance of order, yet on other days I was pulling my hair out wondering how to get my 3-month-old baby to nap, because nothing — short of strapping on the baby carrier and walking until my legs ached — seemed to work.
If you too find yourself going to great lengths to get your 3-month-old baby to sleep (driving around the block on repeat, or shushing until your lips literally feel numb, anyone?), then you'll be heartened to know that nap schedules typically start to develop around 3 to 4 months, according to Janet K. Kennedy, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby (and You), and founder of NYC Sleep Doctor.
Assuming your baby is getting up for the day between 6 or 7 a.m., Dr. Kennedy says that somewhere around 3 months you'll start to see "the first nap of the day becoming more reliable and lengthening to an hour or more around 8 - 9 a.m. Over the weeks that follow, the second and third naps consolidate and become reliably timed as well."
However, while some babies do fall into natural sleep rhythms, that doesn't mean that naps will magically just happen. Parents have to be vigilant about looking for sleep cues, which can include a baby "rubbing their eyes, yawning, getting fussy, or turning their head away from you," according to Christine Stevens, a Washington D.C.-based sleep consultant and founder of Sleep Solutions by Christine, in an interview with Romper.
Read the rest of the article from Romper:
Learn effective strategies for beating jet lag after moving to a new time zone. Overcoming jet lag after a move is essential for a smooth transition.
Moving to a new time zone can be an exciting adventure, but it often comes with the downside of dealing with jet lag. Overcoming jet lag after a move is crucial to settling into your new environment and maintaining your daily routine. In this guide, our sleep experts explore some practical tips and strategies to help you adjust to new time zones and beat jet lag effectively.
Understanding Jet Lag
Before we delve into the tips for overcoming jet lag after a move, it's essential to understand what it is and why it occurs. Jet lag, scientifically known as desynchronosis, is a temporary sleep disorder that occurs when your internal body clock, also known as your circadian rhythm, is out of sync with the time zone you're in. This misalignment can result in various symptoms, such as fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
Create a Comfy Sleeping Area
Creating a comfortable space is paramount when it comes to overcoming jet lag after a move. A cozy and inviting environment can significantly impact your ability to rest and reset your internal clock. Take the time to make your new space more comfy by adding familiar items, soft furnishings, and soothing colors that promote relaxation. Pay special attention to your bedroom; create a cozy bedroom in your new home with comfortable bedding and blackout curtains to ensure a peaceful night's sleep. A well-designed and comforting space can go a long way in helping you adjust to your new time zone and recover from the effects of jet lag more quickly.
Gradually Shift Your Sleep Schedule
One of the most effective ways to overcome jet lag after a move is to gradually shift your sleep schedule before you depart. If possible, start adjusting your sleep and wake times a few days before your move. This will help your body begin to adapt to the new time zone, making the transition smoother.
Stay Hydrated and Avoid Alcohol
Dehydration can exacerbate the symptoms of jet lag, so it's crucial to stay well-hydrated throughout your journey and after you arrive at your new destination. Limit your intake of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they can dehydrate you and disrupt your sleep patterns.
Get Exposure to Natural Light
Exposure to natural light plays a significant role in regulating your body's internal clock. Spend time outdoors during daylight hours, especially in the morning, to help your body adjust to the new time zone. This exposure to natural light will help signal to your body that it's time to be awake.
Consider opening curtains and blinds in your new home to allow as much natural light in as possible. If the weather permits, take short breaks during your day to step outside and soak up the sunlight. Even a brief stroll around your new neighborhood can do wonders for resetting your internal clock.
Avoid Heavy Meals Before Bedtime
Eating heavy meals before bedtime can interfere with your sleep quality and make it more challenging to overcome jet lag. Try having lighter meals in the evening, and avoid consuming large quantities of food close to bedtime.
When overcoming jet lag after a move, opt for foods that are easy to digest, such as lean proteins, vegetables, and whole grains. These choices can promote better sleep and prevent discomfort during the night. Additionally, consider having a small, balanced snack if you find yourself hungry before bed, as going to sleep with an empty stomach can also disrupt your sleep patterns. Paying attention to your diet can further enhance your ability to adjust to your new time zone.
Use Sleep Aids Sparingly
While it may be tempting to rely on sleep aids or medications to combat jet lag, it's generally best to use them sparingly and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Some sleep aids can have side effects and may not be suitable for everyone.
It's essential to remember that sleep aids are intended for short-term use and should not become a long-term solution. Prolonged reliance on sleep aids can lead to dependency and may not address the underlying issue of adjusting to the new time zone. Instead, focus on natural strategies to regulate your sleep patterns.
Establish a Consistent Routine
Once you've arrived at your new destination, establish a consistent daily routine as soon as possible. This includes regular meal times, exercise, and bedtime. A structured routine can help your body adjust to the new time zone more quickly.
Maintaining a consistent routine can also help reduce stress and anxiety associated with the move. Having a predictable schedule provides a sense of stability and control, which can be particularly comforting during the adjustment period. So, create a daily plan that suits your lifestyle and adheres to the local time zone, and stick to it as closely as possible.
Stay Active and Stay Awake Until Bedtime
Engaging in physical activity can help combat the effects of jet lag. Try to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine, but avoid vigorous workouts close to bedtime, as they may have the opposite effect and make it harder to fall asleep.
Resist the urge to take long naps during the day, as this can disrupt your ability to adjust to the new time zone. Instead, try to stay awake until your usual bedtime, even if you're feeling tired. This will help reset your internal clock.
Consider Melatonin Supplements
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles. Consult with a healthcare professional about the appropriate use of melatonin supplements to help you adjust to the new time zone. Using them as directed and only for a short period is essential.
Conclusion: Overcoming Jet Lag After a MoveAdjusting to a new time zone after a move doesn't have to be a daunting task. By following these practical tips and strategies, you can minimize the effects of jet lag and make your transition smoother. Remember that everyone's body is different, so it may take some time to fully adjust. Be patient with yourself and give your body the time it needs to adapt to the new time zone.
Incorporating these techniques into your routine can help in overcoming jet lag after a move and getting back to enjoying your new surroundings. With proper planning and a little patience, you'll be well on your way to a restful night's sleep and an exciting new chapter in your life.
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Design a sleep-friendly bedroom in your new home with these expert tips for optimal design and enhance your sleep quality.
Moving into a new home in Virginia is an exciting venture, full of opportunities to infuse your personal style and preferences into your living space. One of the most crucial areas to focus on is the bedroom, where you rest and recharge after a long day. A well-designed, sleep-friendly bedroom can significantly affect the quality of your sleep and overall well-being. Join us as we explore practical and effective ways to design a sleep-friendly bedroom and craft a serene sleep oasis that promotes relaxation and restfulness.
Where to Begin
You may have been overwhelmed by the very process of relocating, even to begin your design adventure. Or if you have had proper help choosing the right local moving company and hiring local movers in Virginia, you are ready to roll up your sleeves and dive in. Unlike the moving part of the journey, designing areas of your new home will be a fun and rewarding experience for the whole family. If, however, you don’t have a penchant for such endeavors—hire someone who does! Whichever path you take, ensure you infuse your style into your sleep-friendly bedroom so you can enjoy it for years to come.
Choosing Calming Colors and Natural Elements
The colors you choose for your bedroom can significantly impact your sleep quality. Opt for soft, muted tones such as soothing blues, gentle greens, or tranquil grays. These colors have been shown to have a calming effect on the mind, helping you unwind after a busy day. Avoid bold and vibrant colors that might stimulate your senses and hinder your ability to relax.
Bringing elements of nature into your bedroom design can have a calming effect. Consider adding indoor plants known for their air-purifying properties, such as aloe vera or lavender. Natural materials like wooden furniture or stone accents can also contribute to a soothing and cozy atmosphere.
Investing in a Quality Mattress and Pillows
Designing a sleep-friendly bedroom goes beyond aesthetics. Your choice of mattress and pillows is pivotal in your sleep comfort. Choose a mattress that provides adequate support for your body and aligns your spine. Similarly, opt for pillows that cater to your preferred sleeping position to prevent neck and back discomfort.
Remember that everyone's body is unique, so take the time to test different mattress firmness levels and pillow thicknesses to find the perfect combination that suits you. Investing in high-quality bedding essentials enhances your physical comfort and contributes to a sense of luxury and relaxation in your sleep sanctuary.
Controlling Natural and Artificial Light
Lighting has a significant impact on your body's internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm. Consider installing blackout curtains to block out external light sources that might disrupt your sleep when designing your bedroom. Additionally, incorporate adjustable lighting options to create a soothing ambiance in the evening, mimicking the gradual transition from daylight to darkness.
Declutter for Serenity
A cluttered environment can contribute to a cluttered mind, making it challenging to unwind and fall asleep. Keep your bedroom organized and clutter-free by incorporating ample storage solutions. Design a sleep-friendly bedroom by placing items out of sight and embracing a minimalist approach to decor.
A clutter-free space not only promotes physical relaxation but also nurtures mental clarity. When your bedroom is organized and free of unnecessary items, your mind can better disengage from the chaos of the day. The minimalist decor exudes a serene ambiance and encourages a sense of calm within. Consider multifunctional furniture that combines storage with style, such as a bed with built-in drawers or a sleek nightstand with compartments. By consciously curating your surroundings, you provide yourself with a tranquil retreat where you can escape the demands of the world and embrace the peacefulness necessary for a good night's sleep.
Creating a Technology-Free Zone
It's tempting to use electronic devices before bedtime in today's digital age. However, the blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your body's production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Design a sleep-friendly bedroom by keeping technology out of the sleeping area. Instead, create a dedicated charging station outside the bedroom to discourage late-night screen time.
Prioritizing Comfortable Bedding
Your choice of bedding can make a significant difference in your sleep quality. Opt for soft, breathable, and high-quality sheets and blankets. Natural materials like cotton and linen are excellent options. Ensure that your bedding provides the right level of warmth for your preferences to promote uninterrupted sleep.
Consider investing in a comfortable and supportive mattress to complement your bedding ensemble. A mattress that suits your sleeping style and body type can alleviate pressure points and contribute to a more restful slumber. Remember, the combination of the right mattress and bedding can create a cocoon of comfort that embraces you as you drift off into dreamland.
Soundproofing for Tranquility
Noise pollution can disturb your sleep and leave you feeling fatigued the next day. To design a sleep-friendly bedroom, consider soundproofing strategies such as using heavy curtains, installing a white noise machine, or placing bookshelves against walls that face noisy areas.
Personalizing Your Sleep Space
Make your bedroom truly yours by incorporating personal touches that bring you joy and comfort. Display artwork that soothes your senses add plush rugs that tickle your toes, or hang curtains that resonate with your style. Personalization can contribute to a stronger emotional connection with your sleep space.
Consider creating a cozy reading nook in a corner, complete with a comfortable chair and a soft blanket, where you can unwind before bedtime. A dedicated space for relaxation and leisure activities within your sleep-friendly bedroom adds an extra layer of comfort and tranquility to the overall ambiance. This personalized haven will enhance your sleep quality and provide a sanctuary where you can escape the stresses of the day.
Successfully Design a Sleep-Friendly Bedroom in Your New Home
In conclusion, the design of your bedroom can significantly impact your sleep quality and overall well-being. You can create a sleep-friendly bedroom that becomes your haven of relaxation by carefully considering aspects such as color choices, lighting, bedding, and personalization. Remember that designing a sleep-friendly bedroom is an ongoing process; periodically assess and adjust your space to ensure it continues to meet your evolving needs. Your new home's bedroom has the potential to become the ultimate sanctuary for rest, contributing to a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. Sweet dreams and restful nights await after you design a sleep-friendly bedroom in your new home.
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Having a child can be a pretty jarring experience. From pregnancy, to labor, to life with a new little human; realizing that you are responsible for another little life is a huge reality check. We make sacrifices for our children daily out of love and sometimes necessity. But having a child does not mean that mom and/or dad need to forget about their own needs. Parenthood is like a game where you need to find the perfect combo to meet everyone's needs sufficiently, including your own. Sleep is a huge necessity for parents! All humans need sleep to function and a lack of sleep can seriously impact your mood, ability to care for your family, and your overall well being. Having your child sleep in your bed may greatly impact the amount and the quality of sleep you are getting. What do you do when your child wants to sleep in your bed?
Set a hard boundary.
This can be a tough thing to do but parenting is, quite frankly, not easy. The best thing you can do for yourself and your child if you do not want them sleeping in your bed is to simply not let them. Of course, I know this may result in tantrums and loss of sleep for the family at first. But holding this boundary will show your child that you value good sleep for everyone in the family and you prioritize taking care of yourself (which will teach them to prioritize their own needs in the future!).
If you’ve decided that you no longer want your child in your bed with you, I suggest having an honest, open mindset. Accept that this transition may be hard for a while but will be worth it in the long run once everyone is sleeping well in their own space. During the day, offer your child lots of snuggles and physical affection so they can still feel close to you. Sleeping in their own bed takes away the feeling of physical closeness they enjoyed when co-sleeping with you. As you transition your child to their own bed, stay with them in their room and comfort them. This will help them to not feel completely abandoned. As time goes on, your child will get used to being in their bed by themselves. You can decide how long to stay in the room. Try making a routine of reading them a story before leaving or set a limit for how long you will be in their room. For the first night it may be necessary to stay until they fall asleep. Figure out what works best for both you and your child, but continue to hold firm to the fact that their bed is where they are expected to sleep.
If you’re trying to transition your child out of your bed and having difficulty, book a 15 minute discovery call with me and we can troubleshoot together!
It is very common for children’s sleep to be affected during and after a divorce. During times of transition, getting good sleep will help both you and your child thrive and adjust to a new normal. Here are some tips you (and your ex) can use to prioritize your child’s sleep habits, and subsequently get some sleep for yourselves as well.
Tip #1: Have a special lovey that travels with your child.
If your child has a lovey or a special blanket/stuffed animal, it can provide a lot of comfort for them, especially in a new environment. Since your child may have two different bedrooms now, it is imperative that your child has something that can ground them in a new space. A comfort item that they are accustomed to sleeping with will help calm your child and help them feel secure.
Tip #2: Use similar bedtime routines at each house.
For the sake of your child, it is a good idea to keep their bedtime routine the same at each house. While living situations change and different routines may come with that, a child is not able to easily adapt to a new routine. If you can, keep the time that your child goes to bed the same. Keeping the same familiar routine (bath, brush teeth, story, etc.) will also help your child feel secure and comfortable.
Tip #3: Keep the same sleep environment
Can you see a pattern here? Our goal with guiding a child through a transition from one to two bedrooms is consistency. You want to make their new circumstances as familiar to them as possible. If you’ve been around the blog for a bit, you know that I always recommend a dark sleep environment. I also recommend your child has a crib/bed of their own, their own space to sleep in.
Helping your child through any transition can be tough. The bottom line is this: give them consistency and familiarity. When all else seems to be changing around them, a child needs to feel grounded and safe in their situation. Using these tips you can ensure that your child has the tools to walk through a transition with ease.
I recently spoke with 2 parents whose biggest sleep struggle was co-sleeping with their 5-year old. These busy working parents were having a discussion with me about the best way to get their child sleeping all night in his own bed when he was currently sleeping in their bed from bedtime to morning. A parent had to lay down with him and they were tied to him all night. They really wanted to know how to get their kid to sleep without laying down with him.
Dad was happy to recount fond memories of sleeping in his parents bed and how he was happy to continue letting him sleep with them. The look on mom’s face was not so inviting or happy. Both parents worked full time jobs, sometimes working from home, and both were deep into a training plan for an upcoming marathon. Mom was ready to have their bed back to themselves and get a full night of sleep.
While co-sleeping or bedsharing with a child is just one scenario, there are plenty of situations where parents could disagree when it comes to their children. You may disagree on the best way or most comfortable way to sleep train your child or how to handle sleep regressions. Whatever the situation, here are a few tips and considerations to have a meaningful conversation.
Parents should think of how each parent feels about co-sleeping with their child and consider the other parent’s feelings on it. Have an open mind about seeing the situation from your spouse’s perspective. This will make you more receptive to coming to a decision together.
Second, consider also the potential impacts to the family, other children, and everyone’s mental health and wellness. Will co-sleeping with one child mean that another child is always alone or doesn’t get as much time with mom/dad? Without having an open mindset and considering how everyone is impacted, it’s difficult to see why your opinions differ. Parent’s need to consider what is best for everyone, including both mom and dad. Thinking about these things may bring a new perspective that can change a parent's mind.
Third, consider how well everyone is sleeping. Parenting should be a partnership! If everyone who shares the bed is getting plenty of sleep (7-9 hours for adults, 10-12 hours for kids overnight), then ok. Rock on. If one or both parents are complaining about bad sleep, it may be time to reconsider.
Discerning how much weight each impact on the family holds can show you which opinion should prevail in your decision. Talking through the perspectives mentioned above can help parents get on the same page in moving forward with their child’s sleep habits.
Need a third party to help you work through the best decision for your family? Schedule a free call today with us and we’ll help you determine the best way forward.
In this era of economic uncertainty, many parents searching for sleep training help for their toddlers, babies and children are coming up with creative ways to help pay for all of that support and assistance to get their children sleeping all night. Working with an experienced, knowledgeable pediatric sleep coach can be a big financial commitment.
Hiring a sleep consultant or sleep trainer can be costly depending on the sleep consultant’s experience and services offered, so make sure you now exactly what you’re getting for your money.
Since I trained as a sleep consultant 8 years ago, it’s become much more common for parents to seek assistance with sleep training, yet insurance companies haven’t quite caught up and cover it along with other insurance benefits such as lactation consultants and chiropractors.
One avenue parents have researched is how to get their medical insurance to pay for it. Now it's not guaranteed that insurance will pay for sleep training but it’s possible you can use your flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to pay for it. I’ve had a few clients come back to tell me they successfully had my services paid for by their insurance.
First, check with your individual insurance carrier to see if they cover Sleep Services, Newborn Care particularly out of network Sleep Consultants. make sure that you find out exactly what you'll need in order to be paid. Sleep Consultants are considered alternative, out of network therapies, thus requiring parents to pay upfront and be reimbursed by their insurance company. Make sure that you check with your carrier to see if they cover it.
Determine the Required Documents
Your insurance company should be able to tell you exactly what paperwork is required, such as a detailed invoice, dates of service, exactly what services are being utilized or diagnosis code.
How to Pay for a Sleep Consultant
You may need to pay upfront and be reimbursed, or use your HSA debit card to pay. Either way, you’ll get a detailed receipt that you can send back for reimbursement.
Finding a sleep consultant near you that fits your family both in personality, their services and support can be a big financial decision and families should explore alternative routes.
And if you are not able to get your health insurance to pay for a sleep coach or consultant, there are a few other alternative routes including crowdsourcing, gift certificates and buy now- pay later options as well. If you find a sleep consultant that you really want to work with and feel they believe the service they offer is worth it, look at different ways of paying for it so that you and your child can get to sleep that you need.
From Southeast to Northwest DC, moms across the city are juggling it all... work, homelife, their children and particularly, their sleep routines. And when their toddlers and babies aren't sleeping, neither are they. The toll sleep deprivation takes on a mother and her family is far reaching... everything from missed deadlines at work and trying to get a baby to nap when the virtual work-from-home meeting is starting, to having little to no time in the evening to spend with a spouse, work on house chores or just a little time alone.
So if you're dealing with a sleep regression, popping in a binkie/pacifier multiple times per night or trying to decide which sleep training method is right for you, contact us and set up a free introductory call to ask any questions you like.
Traveling with kids can be a thrilling and enriching experience for the whole family. While it may require some extra planning and patience, the memories and bonding opportunities created during these adventures are truly priceless.
One essential aspect of traveling with kids is preparation. Begin by researching kid-friendly destinations that offer a variety of activities suitable for different age groups. Consider destinations with interactive museums, amusement parks, or outdoor playgrounds. These places often provide opportunities for children to learn, engage and burn off excess energy.
When it comes to packing, ensure you have all the essentials like snacks, extra clothing, and comfort items such as a favorite toy or blanket. It is also wise to bring along entertainment options like coloring books, puzzles or electronic devices for longer journeys. There's always the option of shipping yourself items from Amazon or Instacart to reduce the amount you have to pack in your suitcases, or purchasing items such as diapers once you arrive.
Try to involve your kids in the planning process; it gives them a sense of ownership and excitement about the trip.
For travel days, sleep rules go out the window. Getting your child to sleep on the plane or in the car makes the trip go by much smoother. Hold your child, rock them…do whatever to help them sleep during travel.
During the trip, maintain a flexible schedule that allows for breaks and downtime. If your child still naps, prioritize naps over keeping them awake all day. Kids can easily become overwhelmed or tired, so it's important to listen to their cues and adjust accordingly. Even children who don’t normally take a daily nap will appreciate the downtime in the afternoon for a bit. Incorporate regular snack breaks, rest stops, and opportunities for physical activities to keep everyone energized and happy.
Lastly, embrace the unexpected and utilize teachable moments. Traveling with kids exposes them to new cultures, traditions, and experiences. Encourage them to try new foods, interact with locals, and learn about the history and customs of the places they visit. These experiences foster their curiosity, broaden their perspectives, and create lifelong memories. Overall, traveling with kids can be challenging but immensely rewarding. By planning ahead, staying flexible, and nurturing their sense of wonder, you can create unforgettable family adventures that will be cherished for years to come.
And when you get home, get right back on your child’s sleep routine and schedule. If they had to share a room with you away from home, get your child right back into their own bed the first night back.
Want to know exactly what to pack for your infant or toddler? Check out our ultimate packing lists.
Traveling this summer and aren’t sure about your particular travel plans to make it easier? Schedule a free call with us.
I had no idea what a sleep consultant was 9 years ago. I was leaving my corporate job because I was tired of working 60 hours per week, carrying 2 cell phones and never seeing my daughter. I knew I wanted to keep working and be able to spend more time with my daughter. Once I got my daughter sleeping through the night, I fell in love with the idea of coaching tired parents to help their entire family sleep all night.
I absolutely love my job! Getting to help tired moms and dads to get their family sleeping well is so rewarding when all of our efforts pay off. Maybe you have an interest in pursuing this work as well! Here’s how to become a pediatric sleep consultant.
First, you need to take a pediatric sleep consultant course. There are a few different factors you need to consider when choosing a sleep consulting course. You’ll need to decide is if you’d like to take the course in-person or online/remotely. There has been a rapid rise in online courses over the past few years (thanks Covid!) that have made it incredibly easy to access sleep consultant training from virtually everywhere. However, if attending an in-person class is how you learn best, you’ll want to look for one near you. Costs vary from course to course and you’ll need to evaluate what you’re getting for your hard-earned money. Make sure you look at the curriculum of the course and the certification requirements.
The next thing you’ll need to decide is if the course you are looking at has all of the information you’ll need to learn. To be a professional sleep consultant you’ll need to know all about the different sleep training methods as well as the science of sleep, what's normal for newborn, infant and toddler sleep, and have an understanding of the challenges to a child's sleep at different ages. Sound like a lot? Don’t stress. A course will walk you through each of these points and guide you on the journey to becoming a pediatric sleep consultant. There are many, many options out there for courses. If you do your research using the tips I’ve given you, you’ll be able to find a course that is just right for you.
The last things you will need to have is drive and motivation. Decide if you want to work on a team with another sleep consultant or want to start your own business. Each path has its pros and cons; if you want to start your own business, you’ll need to do things like create a website and social media presence, develop a marketing plan, handle bookkeeping and finances and work with clients. Working for another sleep consultant eliminates most of those administrative tasks and lets you focus on what you like doing, working with clients!
If you want to have a rewarding side-gig or replace a full-time income, sleep consulting can be a great way to do that. Ask me how! Email me at email@example.com and let’s schedule a quick chat to answer any questions you might have.
As technology continues to progress, there is always some kind of new flashy new baby gear that claims to make your baby sleep. Registries grow and become more complicated. The choices are never ending! New parents find themselves torn over which items to buy that will give them the *most* success in the newborn and baby years. With all of the new, advanced sleep options for baby, it’s important to think long-term before rushing to purchase the newest baby gear.
Have you heard of the Snoo bassinet? The Snoo is a bassinet made by the company Happiest Baby that comes equipped with sound sensors, wifi, white noise speakers and a robotic motor that rocks your baby to sleep if your baby makes noise. Sounds incredibly fancy, right? All of that sleepy time magic comes with the price tag of $1,600. You also have the option now to rent a snoo near you at a cost of $500 per month!
Parents frequently ask me my opinion of the Snoo. I’ve worked with many clients that started out working with me when their baby was in the Snoo and we successfully transitioned to a crib. All the babies are sleeping well…now. Here are a few things you should consider before jumping in to buy or rent a Snoo.
How does the Snoo work?
The Snoo is an all-in-one bassinet and baby soother. It gives you the smaller space required to have your newborn sleep in your room without taking up much space, has white noise and rocks your baby to sleep. So, does it work…in short…yes! But only for a while. Online reviews rave about how well the Snoo rocks your baby back to sleep. Having the bassinet do all the work for you sounds amazing! The added sound machine and the included swaddle are both accessories of the Snoo, eliminating the need to get these separately. The biggest downside to the Snoo is the creation of a dependency on motion to get your child to sleep. When baby outgrows it or reaches the recommended age limit, you’ll need to transition to a full sized crib, mini-crib or portable crib and you’ll need to work on getting baby to sleep without motion or rocking.
What’s the cost of getting a newborn to sleep?
This first thing that jumps out at me when considering the Snoo is the price tag. $1,600 for a bassinet?! However, as a sleep consultant, I truly believe that good sleep is priceless! Consider this; a bassinet is not forever, it’s a good tool to use for a few months of life.
While a crib can be used for several years, a bassinet is typically used for about 6 months (and that’s if baby doesn’t outgrow it sooner!). All things considered, your baby will be using this bassinet for roughly 180 days. And once baby outgrows the Snoo, you’ll still need a full sized crib! For some, it’s a great tool, for others they might want to get more bang for their buck.
Will I still have to sleep train if I use the Snoo?
If you think of falling asleep like a skill that we have to learn, then yes, you will have to eventually teach baby to fall asleep without the motion of the Snoo. For instance, if a baby is constantly being rocked to sleep by a bassinet, they form a sleep habit. Once it comes time to transition from the Snoo to the crib, then this habit will need to be changed in order to teach baby how to fall asleep without the motion. The transition may prove to be harder than it would be with a standard bassinet or portable cri,b and parents should consider if this challenge is worth it.
For some babies, the change from the Snoo to a crib can be hard and will require some prior planning to manage the transition. Weaning and transitioning from the Snoo can be done cold turkey but parents should consider gentler methods to do it as well.
So what should you do?
No matter what bassinet you use, you and your baby CAN achieve good sleep. By doing a bit of research and weighing out the options, you and your partner can make the right decision for your family.
What about you? Have you ever used a Snoo? What are your honest reviews? I would love to hear your thoughts!
And if you’re not sure how to transition out of the Snoo, please reach out.
It's Sleep Awareness Week, and a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that 44% of single moms living with children under the age of 18 fall short of recommendations for proper sleep.
My top recommendations for single parents to get a little more restful sleep!
Watch the video for WUSA9 below:
I can help with that last one! Connect with me today to see how we can optimize your kids' independent sleep, to make sure you are getting your best chance for your own much-needed rest.
Things to do when your kid won't let you out of the room.
Here’s the scenario: you’ve all had a long day, you’re tired and you’re totally ready for your toddler to go to bed for the night. You do the bath, the PJs, brush teeth (maybe), read a story, sing a quick song, pick a new stuffed animal…then you go to put your toddler into their crib and your sweet child stands there and screams at the top of their lungs!
It might catch you off guard. It might be something new. You’ve entered a new phase of growth. I promise it’s normal for a toddler to scream and protest at bedtime.
Why does my toddler scream?
Here's what's going on: Your toddler is learning! Toddlers are learning how to do things, how to get things and what's expected of them. They want to have all the independence in the world, but have no idea what to do with it. For instance, your toddler wants to run free in a parking lot filled with cars...do you let him? Of course not! Your little one likely doesn't understand cause and effect...the same thing goes for bedtime when your toddler would rather be playing and having a good time with you than go to bed!
What do you do when your toddler screams at bedtime?
As parents, it's up to us to set limits.
We can fall all too easily into the trap of letting our child run the home. I mean, they are incredibly needy and can’t do much for themselves right? But as parents, we know what is best for our child (aka they need to sleep to function…) and we have our own sleep needs as well. Setting limits helps us to meet our own needs in addition to the needs of our child when they can’t meet those needs (or even recognize them) themselves.
So how do we set these limits?
It can become a bit of a dance, but it all starts with a firm, predictable routine. Each night, do the same routine so it is clear to your child that bedtime is approaching and they will be sleeping soon. Taking a bath, getting into pajamas, brushing teeth, etc. are some things that can be a part of your routine.
Here’s where the fun comes in! Since toddlers are discovering their independence, they are likely to want to gain control of every situation they can, which can be a part of the reason why they are struggling with bedtime. The key to dodging big power struggles is to give your child bit-sized bits of control throughout the evening. What do I mean? Consider this. Your child cannot choose whether or not they want to go to bed, but they can choose if they want the red blanket or the green one. See what I mean? If your child is given the chance to make age-appropriate decisions, they will feel more in control. Let them choose the bedtime story or the song you sing to them. Allow them some independence in the smaller things while standing firm in the big picture.
Once your child feels like they have some control, it will be easier to enforce the limits you’ve set surrounding bedtime. One of these limits should be a specific set bedtime, and can also include expectations such as reading only one story, singing just one song, etc. Being firm but gentle with your child will send the message that this is a solid rule that they are expected to follow. Of course, with each child and situation, it’s important to use your own judgment. Come up with a plan. Predict what may happen before it occurs and plan out your responses. What will you say if your child cries for you to stay with them? Maybe you settle them in and tell them you’ll check in on them in 10 minutes. Maybe you remind them of what a great day they had and encourage them to think about what to do tomorrow. Maybe you let them cry for a little bit to show them you mean business before checking in on them again. Whatever you choose to do, make the expectations clear. And remember that it is only a season and you won’t be dealing with this forever!
Have you ever been trapped by an overtired toddler? Are you stuck in a rut and can’t figure out what to do next? Schedule a free call with me and I’ll help you troubleshoot!
Twins! Twice the fun and double the love. With any baby, sleep training can be hard. As a parent of twins, it can seem downright impossible. But sleep training twins can be successful with a few tips to get you started.
The biggest thing to consider when getting ready to sleep train twins is their adjusted age. Chances are, when your babies were born, they were not full term. This means they have a bit of catching up to do developmentally before they’re ready to form the best sleep habits. If you’re calculating their age based on the day they were born, you may be attempting to sleep train before they are ready.
A big misconception that I hear often is that sleep training requires letting your baby cry it out. This can make a twin parent cringe! How can you let one baby cry it out with the other one trying to sleep nearby? The cry-it-out method is not the only sleep training method you can use. Look into other methods such as the pick up/put down method or the chair method (which could potentially be used for both twins at once!). In addition, if one baby is sleeping better than the other, consider having them sleep in another room temporarily while you train their sibling. Twins tend to be on the same routine once it’s established, but getting there may take some work.
Listening to your baby's cues also helps immensely. As new parents, we often feel the need to document everything and feed on a schedule. During the night time, let your babies sleep and only feed them if they wake! This may seem pretty obvious, but if your baby is gaining weight as they should be, get the sleep while you can and let them tell you when they’re ready to eat again.
Lastly, as a twin parent, celebrate your successes no matter how small! You are working so hard and any steps you make towards better sleep should be recognized. Dropped a night feeding? Hooray! Got both babes to self-soothe? Boom! Give yourself a pat on the back.
I want to know, have you trained infant twins? What tips and tricks worked for you?
There are three key aspects to focus on in helping your child develop healthy and effective sleep habits. When working with clients, here is what I focus on first:
1. A Regular Bedtime Routine
Little ones thrive on consistency. They look to us, the parents/caretakers, to guide them in what they should be doing and how/when/where they should be doing it. This is why it is so important to develop routines. Babies and toddlers need consistent routines to orient themselves to where they are in their day and be able to anticipate what is coming next. Creating a regular bedtime routine that begins at (relatively) the same time each night will cue your baby to the fact that it is almost time to sleep. A simple bath, pajamas, a story/song, then off to bed routine can do wonders as long as you repeat the same actions in the same order each night.. Develop your routine based on what works best for you and your child!
2. Boundaries Around Sleep
If you’ve been around a toddler for more than 5 minutes you’ll know that they love to push boundaries. This is a completely normal developmental milestone, and it’s important for toddlers because they are looking to you to communicate to them what is allowed and what is not. To avoid frustration and confusion, it is important to set clear boundaries for our children, and sleep habits are no exception. Beginning when Baby is young, you can communicate that the expectation at bedtime is for them to sleep in their own bed. Other boundaries you can enforce could be keeping the baby in their room/bed until a certain time each morning (who wants to get up at 5am??) or making sure your toddler is staying in their bed all night. Decide on some healthy boundaries that will serve everyone in your household.
3. Consistency and Holding Boundaries
With both of the above tips, consistency is key. As I mentioned before, babies and toddlers look to us to orient themselves within their day and the world at large. Keeping consistent routines and boundaries allows them to know what to expect as well as how to act. This is crucial for them to be able to develop a sense of security and understand the world around them. You’ll begin to notice your toddler taking initiative when you prompt them to begin their bedtime routine. Keep it consistent and everyone will be on the same page!
What does your bedtime routine look like? What healthy boundaries have allowed your child to develop good sleep habits?
I want to take a minute today to unpack a question I get asked a lot as a sleep consultant; when is the best time to sleep train my baby/toddler?
The answer to this question varies for everyone, but it has to be when you’re ready! If your baby or toddler is sleeping well all night, you and your spouse/partner are sleeping 7-8 hours at night and you love your situation, then rock on!
If you’ve decided that your situation is no longer working for you, you’re not getting enough sleep, your child is up half the night and everyone is sleep deprived, it might be time to change what you’re doing to improve your child’s sleep.
Here are a few guidelines you need to consider before starting any sleep training method.
When your child is healthy
If your baby or toddler is having a hard time sleeping due to a cold or illness, it’s not a good time to start making changes. We want to give our child the best circumstances to succeed at sleep training, so wait until they are physically feeling their best. This applies to teething babies too or babies who have recently received vaccinations.
When you have a plan
A big mistake parents make is jumping into sleep training without having a solid plan of how they’re going to do it. Have you decided what method you’re using? Do you know what to do in different situations? What boundaries have you set surrounding sleep training? Are you and your partner on the same page? Make a plan together to make sure you are on the same page and can support one another through this transition.
Make sure that you and your partner/spouse are clear in your roles and how you’ll handle things such as getting your little one to fall asleep, night wakeups and naps.
When you are ready to commit
Babies and children learn through consistency and routine. Make sure you are ready to make changes to your current sleep routine and you can commit to a sleep training plan for at least a few days. If you’re not ready, no sweat! Wait until a time when both you and your partner can fully commit together.
Have you experienced failed attempts at sleep training? Did you try sleep training on your own and it didn’t work? What aspect of sleep training doesn’t seem to be working for you? Reflecting on past experiences using these guidelines can set you up for success in your sleep training journey.
And if you need any help answering your questions, set up a free call with me to help pinpoint the issue and determine the steps you need to get your kiddo sleeping all night long.
New parents are oftentimes surprised to learn that hitting certain development milestones in their baby’s life will interfere with their sleep habits. One of these first development milestones happens at around four months of age. Commonly referred to as the four month sleep regression, it’s a huge mental and physical growth spurt, and it is no joke! Babies’ sleep patterns shift during this time and you will find that they wake often during the night and have a hard time going back to sleep.
From the moment they are born, babies' brains are constantly evolving and adapting to the new environment. During this time, your baby may be learning new skills such as rolling over or sitting up. This intense time of physical effort and growth can interrupt even the best sleeper’s habits.
If your awesome sleeper of a newborn all of a sudden starts waking at all hours, and it’s left you thinking “what in the world is going on?” then you may have entered the four month sleep regression. Newborns typically sleep around 16-18 hours a day, but by the age of 3 to 4 months, babies begin sleeping a little less at around 15-16 hours per day. This adjustment can be tricky for baby to navigate and can also result in additional night time wakings.
So what can you do?
First, it’s important to watch Baby to understand what is going on. Is this a sleep regression caused by developmental milestones, or might there be something else at play such as an illness?
Second, since this is an intense period of learning new skills, it’s a good idea to allow your baby uninterrupted time to practice these new skills during the day. It can be easy to want to step in when they are struggling with things like rolling over or grasping an object, but allowing them space to attempt a new skill, will also help them to exert effort and become more tired when it comes time to nap or sleep.
Third, make sure Baby is taking in full feeds during the day and right before bedtime. Any period of brain development and growth requires more caloric intake for babies. Ensuring they are full and satisfied will keep hungry tummies from waking baby when they should be resting. It’s ok to offer a quick snack feed about 20-30 minutes before you get Baby ready for a nap to top him/her off.
Lastly, as I always recommend, stick to your routine and keep Baby’s room dark. Having a consistent and predictable bedtime routine will cue Baby to the fact that it’s time to sleep. When wakings do inevitably happen, keeping the room as dark as you can will aid in helping Baby to fall back asleep.
You can’t avoid sleep regressions altogether, but you can control how you handle them. Remember that babies can’t tell us what’s going on, so we want to respond with love and comfort. From a few days to a week or two, the regression will end. Remind yourself that this is a short term hiccup and baby will go back to sleeping at night soon.
Let's hear from you! Have you made it through the four month sleep regression? What worked for you?
If you’re not sure if it’s the 4 month, or any other sleep regression, book a free 15-minute call with me and we can talk specifically about your situation to determine what’s going on.
As young parents, you get a lot of unsolicited advice from family, friends, and even strangers. One tip that has been passed down through the generations is the idea of putting cereal in baby’s bottle of milk to help them sleep longer or through the night. But is this actually safe?
The most recent recommendations that have come out of the Center for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urge parents not to put rice cereal in their baby’s bottle. Here is a quote from a study conducted by the AAP.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against the routine use of rice cereal in the bottle (RIB) to improve infant sleep patterns. The AAP also states that the use of RIB is a choking hazard and may lead to excessive weight gain. Additionally, RIB as a milk thickening agent can cause a change in stool consistency and result in constipation.” (Milanaik, Ruth et al.)
In addition to the risk of choking, placing cereal in the bottle can confuse a baby who may be used to drinking a thinner formula or milk and will hinder their ability to tell the difference between a solid food and a liquid. Placing any type of cereal in baby’s bottle has not been backed by any evidence suggesting that it helps baby to sleep. There has also been no evidence suggesting that cereal in the bottle will help with reflux or spit up. The risks far outweigh the potential benefits.
Instead of placing cereal in baby’s bottle, try feeding them some cereal with a spoon at dinner! If baby is old enough for solids and you are concerned that their tummy may not be full enough with just their bottle, it is perfectly acceptable to feed before bed. Other things you can focus on to improve your baby’s sleep habits are keeping a consistent routine each night, making sure their room is dark, and making sure the temperature is comfortable in their room.
Milanaik, Ruth, et al. “Prevalence and Parental Perceived Efficacy of Rice Cereal in Bottles Used as a Natural Sleep Aid for Infants Aged 0-11 Months.” American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 Aug. 2019
Sleep training while living in a shared space, such as an apartment or condo building, can be very intimidating and scary, but it doesn’t have to be! If you make a plan for yourself, you can succeed in your sleep training journey without upsetting your neighbors nearby. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Make a plan that will show results quickly.
There are many sleep training methods you can choose from; however, some take longer to implement and show improvement in your child’s sleep than others. If there is a chance that your sleep training attempts may disrupt your neighbors, try to choose a method that will make the transition as smooth and quick as possible.
Task 1: Research different sleep training methods to determine which one you feel the most comfortable using and understand how the method will work.
Give your child their own sleep space (if you share a room)
If you’re considering moving your child to his/her own room, this might be the optimal time to do it. Or if you want or need to continue sharing a room with your baby, create a small way of giving your child their own space by installing a partition, curtain, room divider or using a Slumberpod. It will be much easier for your child to sleep train if they are not able to see you as soon as they wake up.
Task 2: Determine where your child will sleep
Start on a weekend
Since most people work a typical Monday-Friday work week, it would be most considerate to start your sleep training on a Thursday or Friday night. Although it may not be enjoyable to be woken up to the sounds of a baby on a day off, it can prove even harder for someone to lose sleep when they need to be ready for work the next day.
Task 3: Determine the optimal night to start working on your child’s sleep.
Move your child’s crib away from any shared walls.
If your baby or child sleeps along a shared wall, it may be a good idea to move their crib to a different wall to reduce the noise that your neighbor may be hearing. This can be temporary, just until baby is sleeping well without much protest.
The use of a white noise machine can also be helpful to dampen the noise as well!
Task 4: Set up your child’s room.
Have a conversation about it!
If you are friendly with your neighbors, let them know what’s going on! If possible, you can give your neighbors a friendly heads up as to when you’ll begin sleep training and what they can expect. Although you ultimately decide what is best for your family, you could potentially avoid times that sleep disruption may be distressing to your neighbor such as leading up to a big event or during an illness. You may be surprised! Your neighbors could be a big support for you during this time as well.
Task 5: Give the neighbors a heads up.
Have you ever sleep trained while living in a shared space? What worked well for you?
And if you need help talking through any of these tips, set up a free call with me so we can discuss the best plan for your family.
Simply go to: https://calendly.com/sleepsolutionsbc/15minutes to book your call.
The topic of co-sleeping is one of the most controversial topics people encounter when they become new parents.
In the time I’ve worked with families over the last eight years, I’ve found families fall into 1 of 2 categories:
If you’re considering cosleeping or bedsharing with your toddler or child, the first thing I want you to ask yourself is why. What has led you to this decision? Are you and your child having difficulty sleeping at night? Are there cultural reasons? Is it something you enjoy doing to feel close to one another? What does your gut tell you?
Note: Sleep Solutions by Christine advocates for safe sleep practices and we follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for safe sleep. Babies and toddlers should have their own sleep space such as a crib, portable crib or bassinet.
Some people state that their reason for cosleeping with their child is because it allows them to feel close to their child. If you fall into this camp, you (and your partner/spouse) enjoy cosleeping and everyone is getting plenty of sleep, then rock on! Keep it up! However, if you fall somewhere in the “I don’t enjoy this” camp, it may be time to reconsider cosleeping and make some changes.
“‘Cause I love getting kicked in the ribs all night!” –said no parent ever.
Cosleeping with your toddler won’t make them sleep all night long. In fact, it may make you and your child’s sleep WORSE! Cosleeping essentially turns you into a giant lovey for your child. You become their prop in their sleepy-time routine and a habit forms that doesn’t allow your child to sleep without you. How exhausting for you!
In order to break out of this routine, you need to look at the original root of the problem. What is preventing your child from sleeping in their own space? How can you reassure them that you are near without needing to be right next to them? Is there a way you can create boundaries to be able to meet both your child and your own sleep needs?
Co-sleeping can be an amazing way to bond with your little one. But if it’s anything less than bliss for you, breaking out of the cycle can be a challenge. If you’d like some help strategizing how to create beneficial sleep habits in your own home, set up a sleep support call with me today!
Mom guilt can be such a burden, am I right?? Pretty much any decision you need to make as a mom (or dad!) is a decision someone can shame or judge you for. As a mom, a sleep professional and Certified Lactation Counselor, I am a big advocate for doing what is right for your own family and situation. A hot topic in the world of parenting (and especially in sleep training) is breastfeeding. Should you do it? Can you do it? How can you do it successfully? And on and on…
To be completely up front…YES YOU CAN!
I’ve seen many people tout that breastfed babies are doomed to have terrible sleep due to the on-demand schedule many nursing mamas/babies follow. As you may have gathered about me, the biggest thing I focus on when it comes to getting your baby to sleep is their habits. Recognizing what baby relies on to help them fall asleep gives us a clue as to how their little bodies and brains perceive the process of falling asleep and staying asleep. My biggest advice I give when it comes to breastfeeding is this: Breastfeeding, even if you're an exclusive pumper, is a way to feed your baby. It shouldn't be the way that you use to get your baby or toddler to fall asleep. This, I might add, is the same advice I give to bottle/formula-fed babies.
Hear me out here. While nursing can comfort a baby to the point of sleeping, it quickly becomes a crutch for the baby to rely on whenever he/she wakes in the middle of the night. A baby who constantly nurses to sleep will expect to be able to nurse at any hour, forcing you to get up and have a feeding session when you’d rather be asleep. Our goal with sleep training is to teach baby how to fall asleep without props and fall back asleep when the inevitable nighttime waking occurs.
So what to do? It’s obviously important to make sure baby goes to bed with a full tummy. No one likes to wake from a peaceful sleep with a growling tummy! When you nurse baby in the evening, keep the lights on, and continue to gently shake or tickle baby’s feet or arms to keep them awake. Ideally, baby will feel full and drowsy after nursing, but still awake. This would be the ideal time to give them a kiss, place them in the crib, and shut the light off to signal bedtime. Simulating this routine allows baby to fall asleep on their own in the same way you do when you turn in for the night.
As always, it’s important to do what you think is best for your family. Don’t let the shame or opinions you receive from others guilt you into unhealthy habits!
I want you to have the breastfeeding journey that you want and to meet your goals. Sleep shouldn’t have to take a backseat either.