In this exclusive online webinar, you will learn my 5 Simple Solutions to Help Your Baby Sleep. This is perfect for you if you spend night after night dreading bedtime, feel frustrated that your child wakes so quickly after you get them into their crib and worry that your child will never sleep through the night.
You will learn:
Is it teething?
Have you ever heard the story of Catherine O'Leary's Cow?
Back in 1871, the Chicago Tribune reported that the cause of the great Chicago Fire was a cow, Catherine O’Leary’s cow to be precise, kicking over a lantern in the barn while it was being milked.
Unfortunately, the Tribune admitted later on that it had completely fabricated the story, but that didn’t stop people from blaming Catherine and her cow from being widely blamed for one of the greatest disasters in US history.
What’s this got to do with teething, you ask?
Nothing really, except that they’re both victims of some unnecessary scapegoating.
Teething gets blamed for just about every ailment imaginable when it comes to babies. Baby’s got a fever? Probably because she’s teething. Baby’s crying more than normal? I bet it’s sore gums from those teeth coming in. Baby’s got runny poop for a couple of days? Yep, mostly blamed on teething.
Now, all of those things are potentially the result of a tooth coming in, that’s true. But most parents are too quick to blame teething for any and all deviations from the norm as soon as they notice that first tooth appearing below the gum line.
And this is especially true when it comes to sleep.
As parents, we do everything in our power to alleviate discomfort in our babies, and that’s a good thing, obviously. But the natural reaction when baby starts crying in the night is to go in and do whatever we can to soothe them, which can lead to baby being unable to get to sleep without that comfort.
So let’s say your baby has been sleeping great for a couple of weeks, everything’s going well, and then suddenly, you start to see a regression. Baby is suddenly waking up crying two or three times a night. Naturally, you’re going to look for a reason why they’re slipping back into old habits. And if there’s a tooth coming in, that provides a quick and easy answer.
And, of course, it’s not fair to leave baby to cry if they’re actually in pain and not just looking for Mommy to come nurse them back to sleep, so you give in and decide you’ll get back to working to help baby sleep all night once this whole teething thing is over with.
Cut to a year later, and baby is still getting rocked or soothed to sleep every time they wake up, because Hey! there’s probably a tooth coming in!
So... just a couple of things to bear in mind before you give up on your sleep routine due to incoming choppers.
First of all, teething symptoms last for around eight days, so if you’re looking at two weeks of baby crying through the night, it’s either due to some other ailment, or baby has created an association that will bring his favorite person into the room, and she’ll be helping him get back to sleep.
Second, teething symptoms are not nearly as uncomfortable as parents typically imagine they are. We hear about teeth “breaking” or “erupting” through the gums, which conjures up some cringe-worthy images, but nature is not nearly so heartless in this instance. Baby’s gums move out of the way to allow for incoming teeth.
Long story short, according to many experts, teething doesn’t cause a significant amount of pain.
So, once again, I’m not suggesting that you should ignore the teething thing altogether. Just bear in mind that new teeth are not the villain they’re often made out to be. And remember, baby’s going to be a lot happier while going through the process if he’s getting full nights of uninterrupted sleep.
The same thing goes for his parents.
If you’re not sure if it’s teething or you’ve gotten yourself into a bit of a sticky situation and don’t know how to fix it, I’m happy to chat with you. Contact me today and we’ll schedule a free, 15 minute call to chat.
I’m here to make a confession. Yes, I’m a sleep coach but I too have rough nights of sleep.
It doesn’t happen often but I know how you feel. It’s 3am and you’re staring at the clock. You have a few hours before you have to get up for work and you’re worried how you’ll get through the day on so little sleep. You feel like your nights are on repeat…falling asleep but not staying asleep. Or you’re the opposite…you lay in bed and can’t seem to fall asleep no matter what you do.
So what can you do to make your nights more restful? Do these 4 things to help you drift off to sleep faster and feel more rested in the morning.
A few months ago, I was contacted by a mom of a 1-year old boy from Maryland was keeping his parents
awake all night. She told me that every night; she had to CLIMB into her son’s crib at bedtime to cuddle
with him until he fell asleep, then would slowly climb her way out of the crib, hoping he wouldn’t wake
up. This had been going on for months and she was exhausted.
A few days later, I was contacted her friend, who had a 2 year old little boy, telling me that her son was
keeping she and her husband up all night; he wasn’t staying in his crib and the whole family was
suffering because of his nighttime crib jumping. She’d heard from her friend about working with me and
decided she needed my help as well.
Both moms thought they’d tried everything and just wanted to get some sleep.
Their goals were the same…they needed sleep and so did their little ones.
We started out by talking about the boys’ sleep environment and how inviting their rooms were for
sleep. We made sure each room was as dark as possible, using blackout curtains. We made sure each
crib was safe and lowered as far to the floor as each would go to prevent falls. We also made sure to use
white noise machines to help drown out the noise from the rest of the house.
Since each boy had a different situation and amount of sleep needed, each had his own custom sleep
plan for the parents to follow. The parents got to choose which method they wanted, based on their
parenting style, to help their son sleep through the night and get on a good nap schedule.
During each family’s consultation, we talked about things that were going well with their current
situation and areas, such as naptimes and length, that needed to be improvement. We talked about
bedtime routines, when to put the boys to bed, how to handle getting the boys to sleep and how to
handle night wakings. We streamlined each boys’ bedtime routine to around 30 minutes and how to
keep bedtimes early (about 7:30/8pm). Finally we made sure each boy was getting a good nap during
the day and at the right time to balance out their day so they weren’t tired at bedtime.
Within 1 week, much to the surprise of both moms (and the Dads), both boys were putting themselves
to sleep, sleeping through the night and were no longer giving their parents nighttime shenanigans. I
was there to support them throughout the entire process and I’m happy to report that both boys are
still sleeping like angels, months later.
If you’re ready to stop the nighttime shenanigans and get your baby or child sleeping through the night,
schedule a free call with me today to learn how you can get your child sleeping, just like these moms
I often get asked by parents about my recommendations for my favorite sleep things items that are out there on the market to help children sleep at night, so I thought I’d share the Sleep Solutions by Christine list of the best items out there I’ve found.
There are plenty of lists out there telling you about the hottest baby items to help your child sleep. According to one list, all the items related to sleep totaled more than $3000! The thing is… do you know anyone who’s used them or recommended them? Are they even safe to use? I have you covered! And I wouldn’t recommend anything that I wouldn’t use with my own child or one of my clients.
My list of favorite sleep items for your child
Used all over by parents, hospitals and daycares to give babies warmth as well as a safe sleep environment, it’s a must-have for all babies under the age of 12 months. Get the one that allows baby’s arms out and free to move so they can self soothe by sucking on their hands or be able to roll if they want to. This simple piece of clothing can be easily be used as part of your bedtime routine or whenever baby sleeps to provide warmth and a snuggly feeling. Available in sizes to fit toddlers as well, they can also help keep a toddler from climbing out of the crib!
Got another child running through the house, pets that can’t seem to stop running through the house or creaky floors? A white noise machine is a great way to drown out the noise. The best one stays at a stays on all night and at a constant sound. My fav, the Marpac Dohm white noise sound machine, is simple, portable (we take it everywhere) and the noise level can be easily adjusted to whatever level you need. Be sure to keep it low enough that you can talk over it and place it in between the noise you want to drown out (such as the hallway) and the baby to act as a simple noise barrier.
Struggling with early wakeups and toddlers running through the house at 2:00am thinking it’s time to get up for the day? I recommend the Ok to Wake! color changing clock for toddlers. Even when she was in the crib, we used a clock with our daughter at 18 months to get her used to the idea that when the clock turns green, it’s ok to get up for the day. The clock is a visual reminder to toddlers for wake up time before they can tell the time. I’ve tried a few clocks and this one was by far the easiest to program. It’s so easy to set the clock and the desired wakeup time (usually 7:00am). Use it as part of a reward and consequence system to teach your child when to stay in bed and sleep and when it’s time to get up for the day.
Traveling anytime soon? You need the Gro Company Gro-Anywhere Blinds. While most hotels have good blackout curtains, what about Grandma’s house? These portable and adjustable blackout curtains can be attached to any window using suction cups to darken a room, whether it already has curtains or a cute little valence that does nothing other than dress up the window. A must if you’re going on the road this summer.
The Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator. When you have a sick baby or child, you want nothing more than to make them as comfortable as possible. This product is amazing to say the least. Compared to the silly bulb syringe that you get from the hospital, this actually sucks out the mucus from your baby’s nose. No, you won’t actually suck it into your own mouth, since there’s a handy little filter at the top of the tube so you don’t inhale green gooey-ness. It’s the best way I’ve found to clear a little one’s nasal passage.
If you add these few items to your registry or pick them up the next time you’re on Amazon, you won’t be disappointed. You can literally spend thousands of dollars on items your local baby store will tell you that will help your baby sleep. Don’t waste your money (especially on moving bassinets, which I’ll cover in another blog post) because working with a sleep consultant is WAY cheaper and lasts beyond the first few months.
Have questions about your child’s lovey or other sleep related questions? Schedule a free call with me to begin your journey to a better night's sleep!
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.
Did you have a lovey as a child? I’ll admit that I still have my pink crocheted blanket. It’s no longer on my bed, but I can’t bear to get rid of something so dear to me that brought me comfort and happy memories.
I always ask families if their child has a lovey. You might call them security blankets, wubbies, snuggle bunnies, blankies, etc but they are all the same thing…they are an object that your child takes to bed with them whenever they sleep for comfort and security.
Loveys can be a comforting way for your child to sleep and become one of your child’s strategies for falling asleep.
I recommend parents introduce a lovey between 4 to 6 months of age.
But how do you choose which one? And what if my child doesn’t like it?
Make sure the lovey is something small, such as a small stuffed animal or small blanket, about the size of a face cloth that the child can easily find in the dark. The benefit of a lovey is that it’s something baby can find in the middle night by themselves and doesn’t require your assistance.
Their lovey shouldn’t make noise, such as a rattle or crinkle sound; it shouldn’t light up and shouldn’t have pieces that can be choking hazards, such as buttons for eyes.
You may notice that your child has a particular attraction to a small stuffed animal during playtime. Once you’ve identified the new lovey, include it in activities during the day such as tummy time and when they’re traveling in their car seat.
One of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to getting babies to sleep through the night is the old “cereal in the bottle” trick. It’s been used and recommended by parents for generations. As adults, we know that sleeping on an empty stomach isn’t easy, so I can understand why it’s so popular.
We also know that staying awake when you’ve just eaten a huge meal is nearly impossible.
The idea that a little cereal in baby’s bottle of breastmilk or formula, will keep them feeling full for longer, and therefore help them sleep through the night, seems like a reasonable suggestion.
Now, any parent who has experienced a baby who isn’t sleeping well is probably anxious to find the reason why, and is likely to try anything they see as safe and potentially effective. Unfortunately, the vast majority of parents who use this trick find that, even if it’s successful at first, the results are only temporary, and here’s the reason why...
Once your baby reaches a certain age and weight, (I’ll just use the 6 month mark here as a happy medium) waking in the night isn’t all about food and being hungry. Sure, baby might have nursed a little every time they were offered the breast or bottle, but that doesn’t mean that they were hungry.
The likely scenario is that baby’s become dependent on nursing as a method to get to sleep.
After all, if they’ve nursed to sleep every time they’ve woken up for the first six months of their lives, it only makes sense that they won’t be able to get to sleep without that familiar routine.
Putting cereal in the bottle works on the idea that babies fall asleep at bedtime and don’t wake up until morning, assuming there’s nothing bothering them, but that’s not how sleep works. Not for babies and not for adults. We all cycle in and out of deep sleep, and at the end of every cycle, we tend to wake up. Maybe not fully, but we do attain a certain level of consciousness.
In babies, that cycle is usually about 45 minutes, so even on a good night, they’re going to wake up a lot. And if the only way they know how to get to sleep is by nursing, they’re going to cry to get your attention, and wait for you to come in and help them out.
So if it’s got nothing to do with hunger, how can you help them sleep through the night? The solution to the issue, not the “hack” or quick fix, but the actual remedy, is teaching your baby to fall asleep independently.
That might seem like a tall order for a 6 month old, but I assure you, they’re fully capable of learning this invaluable skill. It’s natural, and they typically take to it faster than you would expect. Lots of babies will babble to themselves for a bit, or rub their feet together, or suck on their fingers, or some combination of all three. Let them discover these strategies on their own, and then let them practice them a little.
I’m definitely not saying that you should shut the door and leave a crying baby to figure things out without any comfort or attention. Repeat…I am not saying you have to ignore your baby in order to get them to fall asleep. You should feel free to attend to them, let them know you’re nearby and available, but don’t rock, nurse, or bounce them until they fall asleep. Let them find a way to do it on their own. That way, when they wake in the night, they’ll have the skills they need to settle back down on their own.
Would you like to know the truth about other sleep myths? Let me know what you are interested in learning about next in the comments down below!
So whom would you say is the parent that gets the bulk of nighttime responsibility for getting up with your child? I know what you’re thinking…and yes, in my experience, it’s usually mom.
I don’t want to stereotype, but I usually don’t get calls where both parents share all the nighttime duties and everyone is sleeping like a baby all night. I usually get calls from exhausted parents who are having issues getting their babies to sleep and usually have to have something done to them to get them back to sleep at night, otherwise known as a prop. The most common of which usually is not Dad’s doing…
And the most common prop I see, by far, is nursing, which pretty much leaves Dad out of the equation.
Now, this is a problem for a couple of reasons. Obviously, if baby’s waking up six times a night and demanding Mom come in to nurse her back to sleep, that’s taxing on mother and baby. But there’s another person who tends to suffer in this scenario, and that’s Dad. It might be hard to imagine, some of you may be reading this in the middle of the night while baby is having a party, and you know your husband is in dream land in the next room.
But let’s not wish him to share in our pain just yet.
Dads want to be great dads. They want to have an active role in bringing up their kids, and they love it when they feel like they’re succeeding in that role. But because Mom is the one with the magical breast milk, touch and smell, Dad often feels powerless to help out in the sleep department, which means Mom’s up every time baby cries, and Dad, can’t do much but go back to sleep.
This can lead to some hostility from a sleep deprived Mom, who feels like she’s doing more than her share, and some defensiveness from Dad, who gets to feeling attacked for something he has no control over.
But here’s the good news for both of you…
If you’ve decided to give sleep training a try, I often recommend that Dad takes the lead… at least for the first few nights. That’s right! Go sleep it off, Mom. Dad’s taking point on this one. So when it comes to breaking the association between sucking (bottle, pacifier or breast) and falling asleep, baby tends to learn quicker and respond better when Dad comes into the room during the first few nights of baby learning to fall asleep independently. He can even give baby a bottle if you're still doing night feeds.
Here’s the funny thing. Whenever I drop this little tidbit on couple I’m working with, Mom lets out a big ‘yeeaaah’ and teases Dad about how he’s much fun he’s going to have getting up six times in the night.
But then, night one, as soon as baby starts to cry, Mom shoots out of bed and goes straight into baby’s room. Or even more regularly, Mom stands in the doorway instructing Dad on the right way to settle Baby back down, and corrects him every step of the way.
I have actually sent full-grown women to their rooms during overnight support packages.
If Dad’s going to get involved, he and Baby have to find their own rhythm, and Mom has to be able to let go of a little control. And as much as moms always say they’ll have no problem letting their husbands take the wheel, when it comes down to the moment of truth, many women want to jump back in.
So remember, Dad might just be the magical solution to your baby’s sleep issues, but give him a chance, he might just surprise you. Most of my clients see dramatic improvements in their baby’s sleep in just a couple of nights, so you won’t have to worry.
After that, you and your partner will have the evenings back to yourselves, and your whole family can get back to sleeping through the night.
Tired of being tired? Schedule a free call with me today and learn how to get started.
Christine Stevens has been recognized as one of the top sleep consultants in the U.S.
Christine Stevens is a Sleep Consultant for exhausted parents who want a solution that works for their parenting style. The want to reclaim their beds, their spouse and their sanity but they don’t know how to begin.
Interested in getting started? It's easy to schedule a free call to ensure we're a good fit.
I often meet parents who say their child doesn't nap and it's one of the major reasons that nighttime sleep doesn't go well either. Ensuring your child is getting enough age-appropriate daytime sleep is a key component of good nighttime sleep... so how do you know?
First, newborns up to 3 months of age should be taking 4-5 naps per day, babies 3-6 months 3-4 naps, babies 6-11 months 2-3 naps and babies 12 months and older usually take 1 nap per day. Naps should be around an hour in length.
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