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Will This Work?? Ask Me For Free!

too-many-books

Raise your hand if you have a love-hate relationship with Google. So much great information, but still … so MUCH information. If you google “baby sleep” it comes up with around 232,000,000 results. Is this a good thing??

I believe reading too many books, websites, articles and blogs (except this one) ūüėČ can actually be detrimental. However, if you are like most families, and would rather not leave your precious sleep up to¬†trial and error, reading a few books can certainly be helpful.

Now, I know you barely have time to shower most days, so a whole book may seem unrealistic. But I really do recommend reading at least one highly rated book. Why? Articles will often focus on just one or two points: try this method or that routine. Whereas, a good book will cover all the foundations for healthy sleep (nutrition, environment, emotional health, etc.). And those foundations are really important. Try a digital reader with text-to-speech, and play the book while folding laundry!

Will books provide all the answers you need for your specific situation? No. Your baby is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.¬†It’s okay to take what you like from different books and come up with your own plan!

Educate yourself on the foundations of healthy sleep and then learn to trust your instincts. No one knows your baby like YOU!

Put aside distractions and observe: become an expert on your baby’s non-verbal cues. What do her different sounds/cries mean? Keep a log to learn her natural tired times.

“Okay, I have some ideas, but how do I know if my plan will work??”

If you’ve done your research, and you have a rough idea of how you’d like to address your child’s sleep, but still feel unsure – ask me! Tell me in an email what you’re thinking, and if I can respond to your questions in a quick* message, I am happy to do so for free. There’s nothing better than being able to say to parents, “You’ve got this!” and seeing them soar!

You can reach me at michelle@whispersweet.com.

 

*(It may be that there is simply too much to address in one free email – and if that’s the case I will let you know. :))

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

Recommended average amounts of nighttime and daytime sleep for ages 0-3: (Remember these are averages, it may vary from child to child, although most children need more than less.)

Age Nighttime Sleep Daytime Sleep *
1 month 8-9 8-9 (inconsistent)
3 months 10 5 (3-4)
6 months 11 3 1/4 (2-3)
9 months 11 3 (2)
12 months 11 1/4 2 1/2 (2)
18 months 11 1/4 2 1/4 (1)
2 years 11 2 (1)
3 years 10 1/2 1 1/2 (1)

*Number of naps in parentheses

(The total amount of sleep in a 24 hour period is more important than looking at day or night sleep individually.)

Do I HAVE to sleep train??

First of all, you don’t HAVE TO do anything! ¬†ūüôā ¬†If you are fine with how your child’s sleep is going – great! But if you are unhappy with your current situation – by all means, change it. ¬†Mom worried

As for whether or not ‘changing your situation’ will involve sleep training: every situation is different of course. Often improving a child’s sleep involves allowing them to learn to sleep without a certain “prop” – like feeding or bouncing – and that will almost always result in protest on the part of the child. For babies, the only way for them to communicate protest is through crying. It’s perfectly natural for them to communicate that they don’t like change – however, as the parent, we may feel it’s time to gently guide them into more independent sleep. ¬†I like to call this “sleep coaching” – because it’s the parent’s job to encourage and support while allowing the child to learn.*

BUT not all sleep issues require sleep coaching. 

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a tired mama whose daughter’s naps were really rough, involving hours of nursing to sleep, and she was starting to resent breast feeding.

I heard back from her the other day and was so excited to receive her report. She had followed all of my foundational recommendations (more on this below)¬†and decided to hold off on the sleep coaching – and her daughter’s naps vastly improved! Does she still have to nurse her daughter to sleep? Yes. But her naps are more regular, she falls asleep much sooner and sleeps in her crib now. Mom was thrilled with the improvements.

Depending on the issue, and the parents’ expectations, sleep coaching is not always necessary. That’s why I present it as a tool in a tool box which also includes looking at ALL factors that affect baby’s sleep, including schedule, sleep environment(s), nutrition, sleep associations, etc. I call these my foundational recommendations, or Sleep Foundations. So when clients receive my suggestions there are LOTS of recommendations that have nothing to do with crying!

For more info on these Sleep Foundations – check out my weekly webinar! It is packed with valuable info and a variety of options to suit your families needs and comfort level.

*NOTE: This is not the same as asking “Do I have to use cry-it-out?”. The answer to that is no: there are methods that do not involve leaving baby alone to cry. Attend one of my webinars for more info on these!

4.5 Ways To Prep for Daylight Savings!

Are you predicting that the time change might wreak havoc on your family’s schedule? Well, it will take a few days for your child to adjust – but here are a few ideas that can help: ¬†Baby-Clock

1) DARKEN the bedroom windows! We’re talking light blocking shades, dark curtains, maybe a little duct tape … (only partly kidding) … Rooms should be very dark for sleep. Your kid is a smarty pants (I just know it) – and he will pick up on the fact that it’s too bright for bedtime!

2) An hour before bedtime, dim the lights and close the blinds in the rest of the house too. After a few nights your child’s body will learn to start producing¬†those sleepy hormones earlier. (Doing part of your bedtime routine by flashlight makes it fun whether he feels tired or not.)

3) You could take a gradual approach to the timing: Start in the morning. Wake him 20 minutes earlier, and then 20 minutes earlier to bed that night. Try 20 minutes earlier each day for 3 days.

4) OR … bite the bullet¬†on Sunday and just wake him up at his usual time, even though his body will feel like it’s an hour too early. For example, if his day started around 7am before the time change, stick to 7am after the time change (even though his body will feel like it’s 6am). The same applies to bedtime, if bedtime used to be 8pm, stick to 8pm (even though it may feel like it’s only 7pm to him). In a few days he will adjust.

Either way, if bedtime is going to be earlier, you want to start your day off right with an earlier wake-up first!

(Extra patience may be required in the coming days – so hopping into bed early might not be such a bad idea for you either. If you’re like me you may need a good book to entice you … but not too good … you do want to sleep after all.)

PS. If you are finding baby’s sleep to be a struggle this month, check out my Baby Sleep webinar – it’s every Wednesday night ONLINE! 100% of those surveyed said they found it a good value for their money! (Just $19.97)

Travel and Your Child’s Sleep

Going away for Spring Break or thinking ahead to summer travel? Find some great tips below on preserving sleep and keeping your trip as ‘relatively’ stress free as possible!

airplane-with-toddler

What time of day to travel?

If you haven’t yet booked your flight or set your departure time, get off on the right foot by planning it around nap or bedtime. If your child sleeps in the car, then a plane ride or car trip during his nap time may work well. If your child doesn’t nap well in the car, plan to leave right after the first nap, since that is usually the most restorative nap and will be most helpful to get him through the day.

Travelling Across Time Zones

Here are two options for when you’re changing time zones:

1. If you’ll be changing by 2 to 3 hours, you can try to just keep your schedule at your local time zone. For example, if your child normally wakes at 7am MST and goes to bed at 7:30pm MST, and you’re heading out east: let him wake up naturally at 9am EST and go to bed at 9:30pm EST.

2. If sticking to your local time won’t work, try to change to the new local time on your first¬†full¬†day there, rather than letting it drag out. Decide what time you want your mornings to start, and begin on your first full day (or second day, if everyone is really wiped) by waking your child up at that time. Try your best to get naps in at appropriate times especially at the beginning while they’re adjusting.

Air Travel:

– The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a car seat, even though it means buying an extra ticket. Not only is it safer, but many infants and toddlers are used to playing and sleeping in car seats, whereas being in your lap will often imply ‘playtime’ rather than sleep.

–¬†Offer a¬†breast, pacifier, or bottle during takeoff and initial descent to help relieve pressure on sensitive ears.

For more tips on travelling and sleep check out Travel & Vacation: 7 Tips To Preserve Your Child’s Sleep Schedule.

For help getting your baby or toddler’s sleep on track now, so you can enjoy your future vacation, sign up for one of my weekly webinars (and bring your questions)! Packed with great info for helping children aged 0 to 24 months learn independent sleep habits (plus a discount on future services), ¬†they are an amazing value at just $19.97!¬†Register or get more info¬†here!

 

Best.Recipe.Ever

I never thought I would post a recipe in this blog … but in this instance all I can think is, “How can I not?!”

I tried this chocolate cake recipe the other day and I feel that no one should be without it! Perfectly moist … best cake I’ve ever had – and I am not a baker. (Ask my husband.) It’s even good enough to make me pass on the old ‘cake mix with pudding added’ standby.

So, if you plan to make a really great cake at any point in your lifetime (and gluten and dairy are not on your naughty list) – you need to pin this:Hersheys Chocolate cake

HERSHEY’S ‘PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE’ CAKE RECIPE

**Thanks to my sister-in-law Shelby for sharing the love!**

Number One Baby Sleep Tip!

1-l15 copy

Most of us want our babies to learn to sleep without needing our help. But sometimes it really seems like the ONLY way they will sleep is if we rock or nurse them! And this may be totally fine at first – but then they reach the 10, 15, 20 lb mark and they start to get heavy¬†(like mine did!) – or even worse, the rocking/nursing doesn’t work any more! You know it’s time for a change – but where to start?

There is so much I could say, but in a sentence …

“If you want your baby to sleep independently, they have to be put down “sleepy, but awake”.

**You may think you’ve heard this before – but read on, because there’s more to it!**

Recently I had a mom ask, “What’s the deal with that? Which is it? Sleepy? Or wide awake?”

The point is, your child should be ready for sleep …

Everyone, whether a child or adult, has times of the day when their body is biologically ready for sleep. The best way to catch your child “ready for sleep” is to really watch for their tired cues. If you child is already crying or very fussy you probably need to be getting her down earlier. If you find you’re often missing her cues it will probably help to keep a Sleep Log. If your child’s tired times seem to vary drastically from day to day, she probably needs a more regular wake-up time.

That said, baby should be awake enough that she is conscious of being put down without the rocking/feeding.

The more practice babies get at this – the better. And it’s never too soon to start. As early as one month old start trying once a day (or as many times as baby will let you). Don’t be discouraged if it feels like you’re not getting anywhere – keep trying!¬†You may need to experiment: different times of day may work better. Often bedtime (when baby is down “for the night”) or the first nap is when it’s easiest to try.

If you’re saying, “Yup, I understand all that, but what do I do when my baby just cries??”

There are important foundations such as the right sleep environment, good nutrition, appropriate schedule, etc. that should all be in place if baby is to have success with this.

If you’re not sure those foundations are in place – email me. Perhaps there’s something simple I can help you with. And if your sleep situation is more complex I offer full support packages with a Sleep Plan and regular check-ins to help get you on track.

A Surprising Way To Help Your Baby’s Sleep Patterns

Does it feel like your baby has no schedule? Her naps and meals are never at the same time, and bedtime is all over the map?

surprised-momIt sounds like a more predictable schedule is in order. And I’ll tell you the surprising first step:

Wake your baby up in the morning.

I know they say you should “never wake a sleeping baby” – BUT, there is an exception when it helps your baby get on a more regular schedule. And the best way to start is at the beginning – the morning wake up.

You want your baby to wake up at¬†around the same time every morning. Consider when she normally wakes – is it anywhere between 5 and 9am?? Choose a time after 6am, and preferably before 8am (to preserve an earlier bedtime). This is when your baby starts the day, give or take 30 minutes or so. For example, let’s say you choose 7am: that means if your baby is awake at any time around 6:30 to 7:30am – keep her up until the first nap. No ‘feed and back to bed’ at this time. If your baby is still sleeping at this time – wake her up! And do what you can to keep her awake until the first nap, especially during any feeds! It may be hard, but it’s worth it! (Then watch her tired cues closely, she may be ready for a nap sooner than you think.)

It may take some time, and things won’t always go as planned. (I recommend treating any wake-ups before 6am the same way you would a night waking.) After a few weeks you’ll find that your baby gets into more of a rhythm, and that her nap and bedtimes are more predictable!

Toddler will NOT stay in bed?

The number one thing is to be as boring as possible. If you are explaining/lecturing/pleading with your toddler every time he gets out of bed you are actually unintentionally reinforcing the behaviour. Even negative attention is worth it for your little escapee! Not to mention the amusement of watching mom and dad beg!

– The goal is minimal interaction: have one phrase that you say every time (“Time for bed, back you go, good night.”)
– Keep your voice very calm and monotone
– Be as robotic as possible as you bring him back to bed EVERY time.

If you give in and let him stay up toddler_out_of_bedeven once he will NOT forget it! In his mind it’s worth trying even harder to win that prize again. I know I’ve experienced this all too often: toddlers are very good at out-lasting (and even out-smarting) us!