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!
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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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.
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.
Bringing a new baby into the house is very likely to impact your older child’s sleep habits in one way or another, and there are two big reasons why;
1. Your toddler will likely hear the newborn’s cries and think they should help.
2. Your toddler’s wondering why he or she is no longer the center of your world and may be a bit jealous to share your attention.
The confusion of the upheaval of a once only kid household and jealousy will likely cause sort of a regression, prompting your toddler to want the ‘only kid’ attention they enjoyed previously, such as…
● Lots of requests for snuggles
● They may want to ‘act like a baby’ again
● Requesting to sleep in your bed or in your room
● Additional stalling, antics and tantrums during the bedtime routine
The biggest reason this can affect sleep is that parents start feeling guilty about the fact that they don’t have enough hands or time to be in two places at once, so they try to compensate by giving in to all those requests, and those requests frequently show up right at bedtime. You’ll likely hear everything from requests for extra stories, staying up later, laying with them, holding hands, etc.
Parents… I totally understand. Guilt sucks. And when we feel guilty about spending so much extra effort on a new baby, we start to do anything to make sure our kiddos know they haven’t been forgotten, get extra time with us and feel all the love.
So what’s the harm in a few more books and laying in bed with our kid to give some extra love and attention?
“Children are as independent as you expect them to be.” ~Maria Montessori
It’s likely this situation will happen at some point, so here’s what you do:
Keep everything around bedtime exactly as it was before the new sibling arrived; the same bedtime routine with the same limits you had before (ex: reading 2 books), sleeping in their own bed and sleeping there all night.
Comfort and support, but don’t change the how, where and when.
If you start changing what’s allowed around bedtime, such as adding a dance party and saying goodnight to every stuffed animal in your child’s room, it’s only going to tell your toddler that boundaries mean nothing and trust me, they’ll take 10 miles if you give an inch.
Second, try to focus 15-20 minutes during the day where it’s just you and your toddler, one-on-one to do something together. Your kiddo will love the extra time and snuggles.
Never apologize to yourself or your kid for setting boundaries. If the feeling of “oh no, I have to give everything” guilt starts to set in, remember that your toddler is simply working through some big emotions, which toddlers don’t know how to navigate. You are doing the best you can and holding to your boundaries to have a happy, attached and supported kiddo. You’re an awesome parent…don’t forget that.
Within a few weeks, your whole family will have had time to adjust to the newest member of the family and you’ll find that new groove. You’ve got this!
The holidays are fast approaching and many of us are making plans to get on the road to visit family and friends.
And if you've never traveled with your child or your last trip made you feel like you'd rather have stayed home, I have something for you!
For the next 3 weeks, I'll be sharing tips about traveling with kids, how to sleep well and make travel less stressful...
As your baby gets older, one of the biggest questions parents have is when is their child is ready for a toddler or ‘big kid’ bed. You may be expecting another child, your child is trying to climb out of the crib or just does not seem to ‘like’ the crib anymore. Here are some tips to tell if your child is ready to move out of the crib.
Ask yourself why you’re considering a move out of the crib. If you are expecting another child and you need the crib but your older child is sleeping well, then purchase another crib. Do not change a great sleeping situation if you do not have to. If your child is climbing or attempting to climb out of the crib, make sure the crib is lowered as far as possible. If your child can still get out of the crib, it’s time for a big kid bed.
If you think your child just does not like the bed, take a look at what is going on leading up to bedtime. Is your child getting too excited during play or is your toddler just testing the waters to see if he/she can push bedtime? Make sure you know that if you put your child in a big kid bed that they understand they need to stay in bed all night.
If your child is old enough to ask for a new bed or wants to be like their friend with the big kid bed, it’s probably time to move out of the crib.
Overall, it’s best to wait until your child is closer to 3 years old before switching to a big kid bed. Children younger than 2.5-3 years old may not grasp the concept of staying in bed all night and decide to use their new found freedom to run the house at 3am. Your child has to be ready for a different bed, not you, in order to be successful.