This flu season is kicking everyone's butt! Winter 2017/18 has been one illness after another for so many people – I hope you are some of the lucky ones to have avoided anything too nasty so far!
In our house we have had both strep and flu so far this season, which is bad enough for anyone to deal with. But my baby starts daycare next week, so I’m pretty sure that we will soon get the rounds of daycare germs, like hand foot and mouth and stomach flu. All those germs mixing together, it’s a bit of a nightmare isn’t it? I remember a friend in the UK sending me a picture of a notice from outside her toddler’s daycare room which said they had chicken pox, hand foot and mouth and sickness and diarrhoea – talk about a way to make parents run away screaming!
Often a baby’s sleep will regress after they have been sick, so how do you keep them on track or work to eliminate any habits that have been created whilst you were getting through the period of sickness?
1. Let your baby recover in their own bed
It's so tempting at 2am when you're up for the 7th time to pull them into your bed, just so you can get some much needed rest. I get it, you want to give your baby cuddles. But you have to remember that this will also increase your chance of getting sick and parenting is a 24/7 job - you don't get sick days. A healthy Mom or Dad are much better able to care for sick kiddos – you can’t pour from an empty cup after all.
I know when I am sick, all I want is my own bed, and this is also the case for children. Your bed probably has too many covers for them, which along with your body heat can make sleeping in your bed unsafe. You are best to keep them in their own sleep space and make a bed up for yourself on their floor. It may be uncomfortable but it's only for a night or two until they get well.
2. Don't be afraid to give them a night feed
If they are not eating well during the day, or need extra fluids, it's fine to feed them during the night even if they don't normally have a night feed. Just keep the night feed going whilst they really need it and work on eliminating it once your little one is on the mend. A few days won't create a habit that can't be undone, after all. If you continue the night feed once they are well, it will require some gentle sleep training to get them back on track, but shouldn’t take more than a couple of nights to eliminate it once more.
3. Separate the sick and healthy
If your children room share, consider separating them for a few nights. This will reduce the risk of the sickness spreading and it will also give the healthy child the opportunity to get the sleep they need to stay healthy. They will be disturbed by their sibling coughing all night or changing of sheets if it's a stomach bug. Remember to keep the sick child in their own bed and create a fun adventure for the healthy one to have a sleep over somewhere else for a few nights.
4. Let them rest
Even if your little one doesn't nap anymore they will need to catch up on sleep, so let them rest when they can. This may mean early nights or an extra nap. There’s no better way to get well than to sleep, after all.
5. Double layer bedding
I remember when another Mom told me this tip – it was life changing! If your child has a stomach bug then double layer bedding, putting a waterproof sheet in between 2 sheets. This means you just remove the top sheet and the waterproof layer and the bed is already made underneath. If you have a trundle bed also use this to save changing sheets in the middle of the night. No one likes changing sheets at 2am so make life easier for yourself, and get your little one back to sleep sooner by minimising the amount of time it takes to get them settled in their bed once more.
I hope everyone gets healthy really soon, and that these tips help you to get through the sickness with your sanity intact! Hopefully Spring is just around the corner, and then it’ll be Summer before we know it! I’m already dreaming of lazy Summer nights…
If you need help getting your baby back on track with their sleep after sickness, please complete the contact form on the My Little Sleeper website to set up your consultation here https://www.mylittlesleeper.com/contact.
As children get older, it's best to adjust their bedtime routine so that it is suitable for their age. What works for a 6 month old at bedtime doesn’t always work that well for a 3 year old. Kids thrive on consistency, but they also learn to push boundaries and typically this is done at bedtime. Giving toddlers some control over choices at bedtime can help avoid delay tactics. So, what do you do when your bedtime routine is getting longer and longer and involves multiple requests for more drinks and trips to the bathroom. Well, quite simply, you get an Ooly!
As a Sleep Consultant, I am usually pretty sceptical about electronic sleep companions, but when I first heard of the Ooly I was excited by the idea that I could adjust the morning wake up time via my phone if my eldest two were sleeping later than normal. A sleep aid that is controlled by an app – brilliant! But for us, the best bit about this new toddler sleep companion has been the impact Ooly has made on our bedtime routine.
Who is Ooly?
Ooly came about because of the frustration so many parents experience battling their children every night at bedtime and having them wake up way too early in the morning. This is the story of two sleep-deprived parents of three, Marie-Eve and Martin, trying to find a way to get their kids to go to bed and stay there all night long until a reasonable hour. Their dream was to come up with a solution so everyone in the family could sleep soundly at naptime and through the night, completely uninterrupted. Wouldn’t life be a lot more enjoyable if everyone woke up at 7 a.m. instead of 5 a.m., feeling well rested and restored?
How does Ooly work.
We decided our Ooly is a girl Owl. In the evening, you set Ooly’s schedule to turn yellow at 6.45pm, which the girls understood meant time to be getting into the bath. She stays yellow for half an hour, giving us time to have a bath, get into pjs and read a story. I let my daughters decide if they want a shorter bath time and more stories, or if they are being silly and taking time to get dressed they know this will mean less time for stories. At 7.15pm, Ooly turns red which means into beds and time to say good night.
Half an hour is a good length of time for a bedtime routine for a 3 and 4 year old as it is enough time to wind down from their busy day. When Ooly is red, they know it is time for me to leave the room. No hand holding, no extra requests, it is simply time for them to go to sleep. The colour coded system is super easy for toddlers to understand, and reduces those last minute requests at bedtime – Ooly says night night!
How does it help them fall asleep?
My daughters share a room, and as sisters they are very competitive. On day one of having Ooly I gave them the challenge of racing Ooly to fall asleep. At 7.30pm, Ooly's light turns off and this is when they must be asleep. As yet, I haven't had to provide further incentive for this or any consequence as the challenge of being asleep before Ooly is enough for them right now, but you can always add rewards for this if it helps motivate your child.
We have used toddler clocks for some time now and they both understand the concept of staying in their room until the clock goes green. Ooly is set to turn green at 7am and they know not to get up before this. My eldest does have a habit of sleeping in on a Monday (wish she chose to do this on a Saturday or Sunday, but that would just be asking too much!!). When I see she is not stirring by 6.55am, I use the app and push back Oolys wake up time to 7.30am. This means that if she does stir a little and sees that Ooly is not green the chances of her going back to sleep are increased.
The girls love Ooly and see her as an exciting part of their sleep environment. She has been dropped a few times and because of her silicone casing, this has not affected usability. As a sleep consultant, I don't recommend night lights as they can suppress the production of melatonin. However, there are some children that are scared of the dark, and having the option to leave Ooly's light on all night is great for this.
Pink/Red lights are the best at night time, so I would recommend that you select this option for the overnight light if your child needs one. You can also adjust how bright she is which is great for children who get scared of the dark. On the flip side to this, I love that you can turn the light off completely. We do not have the light on at night in the girls’ room, and their room is pitch black. I am a strong believer that a toddler that can’t see where they are going is less likely to get out of their bed!
As with any new product and technology, we did have a few minor operating glitches at first. These have been worked out easily and didn’t require much effort from myself other than to delete and reinstall the app. Customer services are very responsive and quick to rectify any problems you may be having.
As a sleep consultant I am very excited at the multiple functionality that Ooly offers, not just to improve bedtime, but to tackle those early risers too! Ooly – we love you!
If you need an Ooly to be your child's new sleep companion, here is a discount code for you to get 10% off "LIKTTLESLEEPEROOLY" http://www.ooly123.com
Today's guest poster is Katie, a wellness and self-care expert who spends most of her time writing for the blog Sleep Health Energy. Sleep Health Energy is a corner of the internet where experts on quality sleep and optimum health share their wisdom with a growing community of readers. Katie's areas of expertise include natural remedies, DIY cosmetics and staying healthy when travelling. When she's not writing for the blog, you can find her trying out new plant-based recipes, trail running or exploring the world as well as new places in the UK, where she's currently based. In this post, she shares her tips for prioritising you-time as a parent.
The Importance of Taking Some You-Time as a Parent
If you’re a new parent, the idea of having some time to yourself may feel like a distant memory. Between trying to be the best parent you possibly can, keeping the show on the road at home and probably trying to hold down a job into the bargain, parents can tend to push their own needs aside. This happens especially in those first few years before a child goes off to school and when they need constant vigilance to make sure they don’t get up to any mischief.
When life seems so hectic, doing anything entirely for themselves is generally every parent’s last priority. If you find that you’ve put yourself at the bottom of your priority list, however, it’s time to re-evaluate. If you keep giving and giving and do nothing to replenish your stocks, sooner or later you’re going to have nothing left to offer your family. You burning out is going to do nothing to help your children. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
I know how tempting it is to just collapse onto the sofa once your children are asleep and mindlessly stare at the TV for a couple of hours before getting into bed yourself. I know how easy it is for the days and weeks to rush by in a blur. But it’s time to change that.
Just because you’re a parent, doesn’t mean the things that make you YOU have become any less important. What was it that used to make your soul sing? What did you do for no one’s benefit but your own? Whether it was reading books, taking dance classes, going for morning runs or even jumping out of aeroplanes, you need to start doing it again.
Maybe you didn’t really have any hobbies before children, but you always fancied trying your hand at something. Now’s the time.
Okay, so some things have changed. You can’t necessarily just go off and take a spontaneous exercise class anymore, these things have to be planned in advance! Make sure you schedule some you-time into your week. By having it in black and white in your diary or on your phone calendar you’ll be more likely to follow through than if it just remains a vague idea in your head.
The reality is that if you don’t actively schedule in this time for yourself, a million other things will come up and it probably won’t happen.
Both you and your partner deserve equal you-time, and the other one should be prepared to pick up the slack when one of you is out taking some time for themselves. And vice versa!
But do stuff together too…
Don’t forget about your relationship. If you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by family, accept those offers to babysit, or get recommendations for a trusted babysitter. Get out and go climbing or dancing or whatever it is you used to do BC (Before Children). It’s good for your kids to get used to being looked after by other people from a young age so they don’t get too clingy, and your relationship will be far stronger as a result.
Take the kids along
Doing something for yourself doesn’t necessarily mean that your kids have to stay at home with your partner or a babysitter. Lots of gyms offer creches and childcare whilst you do your class, or even offer parent and child classes. Do you run? Invest in one of those running strollers and take them out for some fresh air. Are you a travel addict? Travelling with kids isn’t as scary as you might think. Whatever it is, see if there’s a way to take your little ones along with you, even if it involves a bit of extra effort. It’ll be worth it.
It’s the little things
Your you-time doesn’t always have to be something written down on the calendar. Treat yourself in small ways every day, whether it’s eating your favourite foods in a mindful way or doing five minutes of meditation, or anything that makes you feel good.
Stay true to yourself, treat yourself kindly and make sure you remain YOU and don’t lose your identity and become just ‘mum’ or ‘dad’. You’ll have far more to offer your children.
Hi, I'm Alison, a UK based blogger and share random food related thoughts, adventures and experiences of a Sheffield based, sleep deprived mum of 3 veggie boys (9, 4 and 1), and our cooking and eating together.I have a Diploma in Nutrition with a special interest in children’s nutrition, but putting theory into practice isn’t always easy when you are tired from feeding the baby all night, your 4 year old is demanding Coco Pops for dinner, and your 9 year old vegetarian son has decided he has an aversion to most vegetables. Here are my thoughts on food and sleep!
This parenting lark is pretty tough, isn’t it? I’ve got three boys, aged 9, 4 and 14 months, and most days I still feel like I’m making it all up as I go along. Day to day, I’m constantly worrying about and obsessing over how well they are sleeping (never well enough), and how much food they are eating (the big two are eating me out of house and home, and the baby is surviving on a bowl of porridge and fresh air most days). Sleep and food are often the biggest worries for parents in those first couple of years; they cast such a big shadow over all the decisions you make as a parent and you can easily become a slave to naps, mealtimes and bedtime routines.
I remember when my oldest son was small, my baby group friends and I would talk endlessly about how the babies had slept the previous night, trying to remember how often they had fed that day, then doing our best to replicate it, if the night had been a good one. And by good, I mean if the babies had slept for longer than a 2 hour stretch. Now, on baby number 3, I’m just too sleep deprived to remember what happened half an hour ago, so have no hope of trying to recreate the perfect day’s food in order to achieve the perfect night’s sleep!
There has been much written in recent years about how food and sleep are so closely linked, and there is plenty of useful advice and tips that parents can adopt to try and help their little ones sleep better.
First the ‘science bit’ – tryptophan is an essential amino acid (essential indicates that it is not made by the body, so needs to be ingested in the form of food), which is like nature’s sleeping pill. The brain converts tryptophan into serotonin and then to melatonin, which induces and maintains restful sleep.
Great, so which foods do we get tryptophan from, you ask? Some foods rich in tryptophan include:
OatsDairy foods – milk, yoghurt, cottage cheeseEggsFishTofuPoultryBananasNuts and seedsQuinoaBuckwheatSweet potatoes
So, plenty of everyday healthy foods which we should be trying to include regularly in our diets, and serving up to our children once they are eating solid foods too. Providing meals and snacks which are based around many of the foods above, with the addition of plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, is an ideal way to fuel and nourish growing kids, whilst also helping to promote the all important full night’s sleep.
Eating a healthy balanced dinner, containing slow release carbohydrates, some lean protein and plenty of vegetables, followed by a dairy based pudding, would be a great way to help children’s bodies and minds prepare for a restful night. How about trying an age appropriate sized portion of homemade mushroom risotto, oven baked cod, green beans and peas with greek yoghurt and fresh berries for dessert. A delicious dinner time, whatever age you are!
Combining a dairy product with a carbohydrate rich food further increases the level of tryptophan in the bloodstream, making a small bowl of wholegrain cereal with milk an ideal pre-bedtime snack, particularly if dinner was earlier than usual, or the kids didn’t eat very well. It is important to keep snacks before bedtime small however, because eating too much just before bedtime can cause the digestive system to become overloaded, making sleep more disrupted.
So, now we know a little about the foods that can aid sleep, how about those foods to avoid before bedtime?
High fat foods have been linked to disrupted sleep, as fat stimulates the production of acid in the stomach which can rise up the oesophagus causing heartburn. Burgers, fries and fatty desserts are best avoided at all times, but particularly before bedtime.Caffeine is another one to avoid. For adults this would include the obvious; coffee, tea, and energy drinks, but chocolate also contains caffeine, so steering the kids away from chocolate treats before bedtime should mean they sleep better, and their dentist will thank you too!Large portions of protein rich foods in the evening can also disrupt sleep, as protein is harder for the body to digest and contains the amino acid tyrosone which promotes brain activity – not what you want at bedtime! Make sure that children are eating sufficient protein at breakfast and lunchtime, and keep protein portions smaller in the evenings.For adults, alcohol may cause you to fall asleep quicker, but often causes you to wake more frequently and have less restful sleep over all. Alcohol also causes many people to snore in their sleep, disrupting the sleep of their partner too!
If you are struggling to think of recipe ideas or ways to include tryptophan rich foods in your family’s diet, how about some of my suggestions below:
Mysweet potato porridge is a brilliant way to start the day for the whole family; with oats, sweet potato, carrot and milk, and finished with your favourite fruity or nutty toppings, it’s a warming bowl of deliciousness that is high in fibre, slow releasing carbs and potassium.
For an even quicker breakfast option, how about a toasted bagel slathered in peanut butter and banana slices. Great for kids of all ages, as it satisfies their naturally sweeter palate, but delivers on the nutrition front too, making parents equally as happy.
Myseedy loafis packed full of crunchy seeds, making it super tasty and filling at lunchtime. I love this topped with smashed avocado or turmeric scrambled eggs, and the boys love to dip toasted fingers into softly boiled eggs.
This jewelled couscous salad, served with stir fried tofu chunks and a dollop of hummus is another family friendly lunchtime option. Light and summery, it makes a great option for dining al fresco in the sunshine. If you are not a fan of tofu, replace it with another tryptophan rich protein source, such as fish or poultry.
One of our regular family dinners is oven baked salmon fillet, served with sweet potato wedges and steamed broccoli – delicious, whatever your age, and packed full of heart healthy fats, slow release carbs and the all important sleep inducer, tryptophan.
The perfect quick and easy to prepare kid friendly dinner has to be stir fry - chicken noodle stir fry, with babycorn, sweet peppers and mangetout, served with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of crushed peanuts, scores high in the taste stakes, and fills even the hungriest of tummies with healthy and nutritious fare. Swap out the chicken for tofu if you are vegetarian, or serve the noodles and vegetables alongside a steamed white fish fillet.
Greek yoghurt topped with fresh fruit and a few seeds or chopped nuts makes a great dessert or snack at any time of the day.
How about swapping more traditional dairy desserts, such as yoghurt, for some cottage cheese with chopped apricots and raisins stirred through to sweeten? Low in sugar, with plenty of protein and slow release carbs, it makes a tasty dessert and is also a great alternative at breakfast time.
My blueberry quinoa flapjack bars are the ideal kid friendly snack. They contain no added sugar, but are sweetened by fruits, and the quinoa and oats release their energy slowly, making them a great mid afternoon power-me-through-till-dinnertime snack for hungry tummies.
All kids love the crunch of a cracker, but regular crackers are often high in sugar and fat which are not great for kids. These oaty chickpea crackers are great for dipping into hummus or salsa, or serving with a slice of cheese for a light pre bedtime snack. Adults love them as much as kids!
If you enjoyed these recipe ideas and would like more of the same, why not follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or check out my blog at www.dippyeggplease.wordpress.com
The summer months are here and that means many of us will be looking forward to vacations. As fun as these will be it comes with its stresses, what to pack, have we remembered everything, will the kids be nightmare on the journey, did we lock the house up when we left? One topic that is always on parents' minds is their little one's sleep, especially if you have just got your child into some good sleep habits and you don't want them to regress to being up all night again. Vacations almost always lead to some some disruption to their sleep, whether due to jet lag, naps not working out on the journey or just a different sleep environment meaning they aren't as happy going to and staying asleep. Therefore I've put together some tips to help reduce your stress and encourage some healthy sleep whilst you are away.
Familiar items from home will help your little one fall asleep and stay asleep. Remember to pack their favorite teddy or lovey. If they are old enough to have something in their bed and don't yet have anything, introduce this a week or two before your trip. It may not seem like they are too bothered about it initially, but in a new environment this will be comforting. If you have two, pack two, just in case one gets lost or dirty.
Other items to pack:
Tin foil & tape to black out the light. Unless you are in a hotel it's likely the window treatments won't allow for a pitch dark room. Make sure it's tight to the window so the tin foil doesn't rattle or fall down during the night. There are travel blind products available: however, some are difficult to stick to the window and can't be custom fit to the space. They also take up more room in your luggage compared with tin foil. Use a travel white noise machine, whether on an app or an actual machine. If using an app make sure to turn your phone onto airplane mode and face down so if you get a message in the night it won't disturb them. When picking an app, look for one that is consistent white noise throughout the night, not one that turns off after 20 minutes. Sleep sack or blanket? Hotels won't provide bedding in a pack and play or travel crib so if your child uses a toddler pillow or blanket at home, it will be worth while taking this with you.
If you don't bed share at home there's no need to start on vacation. Some children will become restless at night if they are suddenly sharing their sleep space. Do what you can to create their own sleep environment and make sure it's safe.
Call ahead to see what options are available at the location. Even ask them to send you a photograph as quality can vary markedly from hotel to hotel. Most hotels now do provide pack and plays, but don't assume this. If your child is too big for a pack and play, look at purchasing a toddler air mattress or a camp bed. Failing that, you can also use cushions to make a bed up on the floor. If they wake in the night, don't worry about waking others. Do as you would at home. Don't reintroduce any previously used sleep props such as bouncing, rocking and feeding.It may take a little bit more time and effort to get your little one to sleep whilst on vacation. However, the effort is worth while when compared to the work you will have to do to break the new formed habit when you return home.
Little ones that normally nap in their crib for naps, may struggle to fall asleep on the go. Don't stress too much and do what you can. They may take a shorter nap than normal as they are not used to the motion to fall asleep and then wake after their first sleep cycle. Allow for a quieter afternoon and early bedtime.
Plan naps and journeys accordingly. If you know your little one will sleep on the go, take advantage of this and plan the car journey for when they are due to nap. Schedule quiet days to give your little one the opportunity to catch up on their sleep. Especially if they are waking earlier in the morning or having short naps.Don't assume they are ready to drop their nap if they are struggling to nap on vacation. Do what you can to get them the rest they need. Get back to your normal schedule when you are back from vacation.
Stick to your bedtime and nap time routine. Your little one will be more accepting of their new sleep environment if they have their consistent routine.
If you will be having a late night, adjust their day schedule to allow for this. Give them a later nap so they are not overtired going to bed. Don't introduce new habits at bed time; you may find it takes your little one longer to fall asleep in their new environment but try to stick to your normal routine. As mentioned earlier, it is easier to put in a bit of extra effort whilst you are away than spending weeks trying to resolve sleep trouble once you get back.
Schedule & jetlag
It can take 1 day for every hour you are adjusting their schedule.
For a short vacation with 3 hour time difference or less, consider keeping them on your home time zone.Remember jet lag doesn't just affect sleep; it affects their whole internal body clock, so be prepared for them to be hungry earlier or later than normal. Don't rush the adjustment. Follow their lead and use age appropriate awake times to get them on track.
When you return home from vacation have some quiet days so you can get back to your usual schedule and routine. Any bad sleep habits created whilst away should stop. It may take a night or two for this, but any longer will make it harder to eliminate them. If you have had terrible sleep whilst you were away, often this resolves itself by simply having everyone back in their own beds. If you find things are not resolving a week after returning from your trip you may need to do some sleep training to get back on track.
Please contact us at My Little Sleeper if you have any questions or need help with this.
When you have questions about your child the first people you often go to is your pediatrician, friends and family. Asking for advice on whether they are feeding ok, are they meeting milestones at the right age and how to calm them during the witching hour. Having a network of people around you to seek advice is important, as long as they are giving you the right advice. However, there are times when you should go to professionals with your questions. You go to an ENT if your child is having constant ear problems, or a physical therapist if they have delays in their motor skill development. Then why not go to a sleep consultant if they are having sleep troubles.
Yes, there are other resources available to help you improve your little one’s sleep. However, the advice you receive may not work or only provide a short term solution to their sleep troubles. What if they hit bumps in the road? What do you do if what worked before doesn’t work again? There are many benefits to hiring a sleep consultant. Make sure when you do hire one that they are certified in child sleep development and have experience in this field. You are trusting them with your child. Most sleep troubles are habits that require breaking. An experienced sleep consultant will know when there is something more than just a habit, a medical issue for example, and will refer you to a specialist if this is the case.
Why else should you hire a sleep consultant?
There are many excellent sleep books available and all written by reputable authors with unquestionable experience. The problem with these books is they all make a good argument that their method is the best and only method you should use. As a sleep deprived parent you probably only have the time to read one, maybe two books. So which book will solve your baby's sleep troubles? Sometimes parents follow all the advice and still have an early riser or a short napper. Parents of multiple children will agree that no child is the same and they come with different sleep personalities. So how can one book be tailored to all children? Books can’t give you feedback on your progress and advise small tweaks to your child’s routine like a sleep consultant can. What they can do is educate you about sleep and help you encourage healthy sleep habits. But there comes a point when a sleep consultant will be able to tailor a sleep plan specifically to your child and their sleep troubles. Yes, you will pay more money hiring a sleep consultant than buying a book, but you’ll likely solve your child sleep issues more quickly with a consultant than the time it takes you to read a book.
Friends and family
My children were born and are being brought up on a different continent from our family and close friends. This makes it difficult when you have questions that are best asked in person rather than over facetime and skype. My youngest was so petite as a newborn (born 5lb13oz) and none of our family realized this until they saw her in person even though we kept explaining she was a peanut. Many of our parents will offer advice based on their experience from when we were babies. Have you ever heard “when you were a baby we just let you sleep …..”?
In the past 10 years alone there has been a lot of research on how we can make a safe sleep environment to reduce the risk of SIDS. As well as this there has been a lot of development in products available to parents. Family won’t always know what products are now available that will help encourage safe and healthy sleep. You must also consider that what works on your friend’s child may not work on your own baby. As mentioned earlier, all babies have different sleep personalities, different sleep needs and awake time limits.
It’s so difficult not to consult Dr Google, especially at 3am when you are awake for the 10th time since 11pm. “Why won’t my baby sleep” has been typed in by many parents to seek answers to this repeated question. The internet is quick and easy to bring up information to many questions, but are they from reputable sources? Will they just scare you into a self-diagnosis of an extremely rare illness that’s causing your newborn to be consistently waking? The internet should be used to find a highly recommend sleep consultant whose philosophy and methods match your parenting style.
Every mom, or parent for that matter, will benefit from having a group of moms to meet with regularly. Whether it's through NCT, local businesses or just friends from your neighborhood, they are a great way to support each other and talk through what your baby is doing that week. There are a few things that moms will never be truthful with each other about in fear of being judged. One of these is how much sleep they are getting. Everyone has a different definition about sleeping through the night. One mom may say their child sleeps through which is 10pm-5am, whereas another mom believes 7pm-7am is sleeping through. You may not know each other that well and not feel comfortable enough to quiz each other about the exact details and take the information at face value. When you have little time to talk, you may get advice on how to achieve better sleep that is a condensed version and the key information is lost. A sleep consultant will write a full plan for you to read, go over it as many times as you need and give you lots of opportunity to ask questions. Key information won't be lost.
If you are looking for help with your child’s sleep and overwhelmed with all the advice from multiple resources, then let My Little Sleeper help you. We are certified child sleep consultants and most importantly, moms. We won’t recommend any methods or techniques that we haven’t used ourselves or are prepared to implement with our own children. We offer a FREE 20-minute phone consultation to talk through what’s going on and how we can help. Call now to make the first step to restful sleep.
When new parents talk about their newborn, more often than not they will include in the conversation how little sleep they are getting or how many times they were up in the night. The realization of newborn sleep is a lot harder than any parent expects or remembers. When you brag that you got 3 hours sleep in a row you realize you are not getting enough. When I speak to sleep deprived parents they will often tell me stories of their quest to get more rest. From rocking a toddler in a ride on car to singing the entire sound track of the Lion King to get little ones to fall asleep, I have truly heard it all. As a mom of two, I know all too well how you will try anything to get any form of sleep. However, there are a few things that you should never do to get your baby to sleep. When the nights run into weeks then into months, the sleep deprivation adds up and your decision making has gone from logical to desperation. Always think through the way you are getting your baby to sleep whether it's from a safety point of view or to avoid creating a bad habit. If you can avoid them from the beginning then you won't need to go through the difficulty of undoing it later down the line. You are basically putting off the inevitable, a tough few nights changing a habit will be easier now than when they get older and the habit is established.
1. Sleep On The Couch With Them
It's true, a baby will sleep better snuggled in your arms or laying on your chest. You are warm and comfortable and they feel safe just as they were in the womb. But is it putting them at risk of SIDS? Yes. It's very tempting late at night to get comfortable during the marathon feeding sessions and to doze off. I am not judging, I have done it myself when my eldest would nurse for 1 hour 45 minutes each waking. If you have a little one with reflux and needs to be upright after a feed, this is the hardest time to stay awake. Find a way to avoid the 10 minute snooze. SIDS can happen to any family, asDr. Sam Hanke, a pediatric cardiologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, knows all too well. His good intentions of giving his wife a break, resulted in sadness and heartbreak.
2. Rely On Motion To Get Your Baby To Sleep
Newborns don't naturally produce melatonin until they are around 3 months old. This is a hormone that helps us fall asleep and stay asleep. Therefore, your little one will need some assistance to get into a drowsy state. Snuggling and some rocking is fine before bed. Consistently doing this long term will develop a crutch and your little one won't learn how to self soothe at bedtime or during the night. As much as we would love them to stay small and snuggly, they quickly grow and you don't want to be rocking a 30lb toddler every night. Other motion you may have found works to fall asleep is the car. Avoid going out in the early hours to have a drive around. Driving whilst sleep deprived is as dangerous as driving when drunk. According theNational Sleep Foundation,"being awake for 18 hours straight makes you drive like you have a blood alcohol level of .05 (for reference, .08 is considered drunk). If you’ve been awake for a full 24 hours and drive—say, after a night where you just couldn’t fall asleep—it’s like you have a blood alcohol level of .10 "
3. Assume that staying up late will make them sleep in.
The occasional late night is fine, life happens. Sometimes intentional and sometimes not. If this becomes a habit, your little one will spiral into an over tired frenzy which is difficult to get out from under. Respect their bedtime and base this on their awake time. So when they woke from their last nap should dictate when they go down for the night. This goes for older children that don't nap. If they woke early that morning they will need an earlier bedtime. It's easy to assume that if you put them to bed later they will crash out and sleep better and longer. Wrong. In fact, the exact opposite happens. An over tired baby will wake more during the night and wake on time or earlier in the morning. So if you keep your little ones up late for a family party on a Saturday, be prepared for them to be awake at their normal time the next day. If you know it's going to be a late one, plan ahead giving them a later nap so you are adjusting their schedule and they are going down with the same awake time as normal.
4. Swaddle Them For Too Long
Swaddling is the cheapest and easiest way to calm a baby and help them sleep as it helps reduces the startle reflex that causes them to wake. The AAP confirm, that when done right it is safe to swaddle newborns.Dr Moon says, “I would stop swaddling by age 2 months, before the baby intentionally starts to try to roll,”he further then states that “If babies are swaddled, they should be placed only on their back and monitored so they don’t accidentally roll over.” So what do we do now? I hear everyone with a 2 month old asking themselves, especially if your little one sleeps amazing when being swaddled. You can swaddle them with arms out, giving them access to their arms should they roll. My eldest rolled during the day front to back at 7 weeks and back to front at 12 weeks so don't assume they won't roll until they are 4-6 months old.The Magic Sleepsuit is a great product to help reduce the startled reflex and can be used once your little one is 12lbs.The Zipadee-zipsleep sack is another transition product that will help your little one sleep without waking themselves in a startle.
5. Put A Bottle In Bed With Them
I am writing this tip from my own experience. My daughter had a cup of milk in her bed for 6 months from 2 years old. Yes, a sleep consultant did something that created a habit, I am normal after all! The reason (self justification). Her bedtime is 30-45 minutes later than her non napping older sister. So to help keep her quiet whilst her sister fell asleep we gave her a cup of milk. It wasn't a crutch for sleep as she would continue to hang out in her crib for 15-20 minutes before falling asleep. However, this habit became an issue when the requests for more and more milk became 3 cups, wet bedding due to soaked diapers and daily morning showers. After speaking to her pediatrician who wasn't overly concerned but did point out that too much milk can cause anemia and an imminent dentist appointment. I decided enough was enough. I did not want to continue to put her at risk of tooth decay and I needed to reduce the endless cycle of laundry. So avoiding this habit from the beginning is best, no matter how tempting.
6. Ignore Their Sleep Cues And Put Them On Your Own Schedule
When I meet with parents, it varies as to whether they are happy or not with their little one's routine. Each baby has their own limit on awake time and you should follow their cues and know when they're getting tired. Getting the right timing will mean it is easier to fall asleep and they will nap better and longer. It should take them 5-10 minutes to fall asleep. Anything less than this means they have crashed from exhaustion and will likely wake after a sleep cycle. Work on understanding their awake time limits and let them naturally set their own schedule. It can take 2-3 weeks of nap training to see consistency develop. A good day with the right amount of restful sleep will result in a better night. Sleep breeds sleep! Work with your baby's natural temperament, not against it.
7. Forget your baby's sleep environment
Sometimes all a baby needs is the right environment. Small changes can improve their sleep and avoid the need for sleep training. Many babies like white noise to help lull them to sleep and stay asleep. Ensure this is consistent white noise throughout the night and not one that turns off after 20 minutes. Make their sleep space pitch black. Even the smallest amount of light can suppress the production of melatonin My favorite blackout blinds are fromBlackout EZas they truly block out all the light. Also cover all small lights on monitors, humidifiers and white noise machines.
Like this post? Share and comment with other parents in need of sleep
Hi there! It’s nice to “meet” you! My name is Kimmie, and I am one-half (the Chicago portion) of the sister-founding-duo of Your Milk Shoppe, a maternity service to support YOU- our mamatribe of expectant and new moms. As mamas ourselves, raising littles in big cities away from family, we felt under-supported and overwhelmed with the process of preparing and bringing home baby. So, we decided to do something about it. We are certified Maternity Consultants with a mission to encourage, educate, and empower our fellow mamas through your motherhood journey. We are the milk that keeps mom alive… because moms need milk, too!
Question for you: how many hours do you think parents-to-be spend preparing for baby… 10, 200, 3,752? (In my household, it was probably pretty close to that high number.) So, we get it. We bring in professionals to help us navigate so many BIG changes in our lives… an event coordinator for our weddings or a realtor for our first home purchase… so why during arguably one of the most important life events - bringing home a new baby! - do we feel we need to go it alone?? You don’t have to. You don’t have to completely stress and spend every prenatal waking moment scouring websites, reading product reviews, and buying WAY more than you need. All the while, weighing the input of every female in your life, because TRUST, they have an opinion, and you’ll hear it! You just don’t have to. You can confidently transition into parenthood informed, empowered, and not totally exhausted before the little bambino even arrives. Here is the low down on one of our favorite services, and why we find it to be so beneficial for new and expectant families.
What is a Maternity Consultant?
A maternity consultant (or baby planner), provides information, education and resources to assist expectant parents in making informed decisions while transitioning into parenthood.
Why hire a maternity consultant?
Many people hire baby planners to save time, money and energy! A baby planner can help expectant parents sort through the over-abundance of information and resources to help determine what is necessary, relevant, and helpful to you. At Your Milk Shoppe, we work with parents to develop a customized plan to meet your specific needs.
Your Milk Shoppe’s services include:
Baby and nursery planningChild prep educationBed rest supportMaternity concierge services (including but not limited to): errand running, child care placement, registry preparation and deliveryGreen proofing (educating about eco-friendly pregnancy, birth and home environment options)Post-partum and return to work plansEducation regarding stages of pregnancy, birth options information and referrals to childbirth education classesBaby wearing education, safety awareness, and child proofing educationWe offer services to benefit mamas in ALL stages (just check out the Services tab for more info!)
Who benefits from maternity consulting services?
Parents during all stages of expectancy…whether you are trying to conceive, already pregnant, just about to give birth, and even post-partum!
Parents-to-be seek out assistance for many reasons, including:
Feeling stressed or overwhelmed by the preparation process, and uncertain when or how to begin;Just seeking some extra information and resources and a little guidance on the process and timing of preparation;Living far from family or on bed rest, and in need of a little extra support to help prepare;Simply too busy to figure out all of the baby-related information and options available in today’s world and seeking a single source to summarize and expedite the process;Preparing to conceive and interested in taking steps to improve your health and fertility; orStruggling with infertility and seeking information and resources to help on your journey.
How does baby planning work?
First, call or email us for a free initial consultation to allow us a chance to learn about you and your family so that we can better recommend a customized baby planning package best suited for your needs! The goal is to assist you with your baby registry, research the most practical and safe baby gear for your baby and stock your nursery with everything that you will need for baby from 0-12 months.
Please note that I am not a pediatrician or a digestive expert. If you think your baby might be experiencing symptoms of reflux, please make an appointment with your pediatrician to ask for their opinion.
I am, however, a mom with a baby who had reflux and can talk about my experience. And, since I began studying to become a sleep consultant, I have frequently heard stories about the impact of reflux on a baby’s sleep. Moms will often ask me whether I think their babies’ bad sleep habits are reflux-based and, if so, whether it would be beneficial to cut certain ingredients out of their diet (e.g., dairy or eggs). Although I cannot answer that question definitively, if sleep-training methods do not seem to be making a difference after consistently applying them, it might be worth investigating further.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is defined as the physiologic passage of gastric contents into the esophagus and generally requires conservative management. GERD is reflux associated with troublesome symptoms or complications and may require further evaluation and treatment.
Symptoms of reflux in full-term infants include feeding refusal, recurrent vomiting, poor weight gain, irritability, sleep disturbance, and respiratory symptoms. GERD in infants can also be associated with coughing, choking, wheezing, or upper respiratory tract symptoms. However, relying on symptoms to diagnose GERD can be difficult in infants, especially because medication does not always resolve symptoms. Rates of GERD are reportedly lower in breastfed infants compared with formula-fed infants, and the incidence peaks at four months of age.
Common troublesome symptoms and complications in children older than one year and in adolescents include abdominal pain or heartburn, recurrent vomiting, dysphagia, asthma, recurrent pneumonia, and upper airway symptoms (e.g., chronic cough, hoarseness).
Given these symptoms, it should not be surprising that reflux may impact an infant’s sleep. If a baby is persistently waking in pain and discomfort, then sleep training methods are unlikely to work as effectively as they would in a baby that is waking because of their reliance on a sleep prop (feeding, rocking, bouncing etc.).
From a personal experience, I had a real oversupply and forceful let down because of pumping for Alfie while he was in the NICU. As a result, every time he fed, he almost choked. After a feed, he would sleep on me for 10 minutes, then wake up crying, no – screaming in pain, which would persist for an hour or longer. During the night, I would feed him and put him in the bassinet. After 10 minutes, he would wake up screaming, again. We tried elevating his bassinet or putting him in the mamaroo, or the swing, or the rock n’ play – anything that would help to stop the tears. He would feed on demand, little and often.
After a particularly bad night, I went to the doctor. We had tried colic-calm, gripe water, bottles rather than breastfeeding and nothing worked- surely there was something else going on? The pediatrician gave him a full examination, talked to me about the definition of colic, checked his stool for blood – in case of a food allergy (it was negative) and sent us on our way with a prescription for some Ranitidine, which is essentially baby Zantac.
Luckily, a few weeks later, around 4 months, Alfie seemed to grow out of his reflux, and was able to sleep easier (twinned with some sleep training). Unfortunately, though, for many babies it can persist beyond that.
It appears that after talking to lots of moms about reflux, the symptoms are widely varied. Some babies spit up a ton, some do not, some wheeze, others do not, some appear to choke while feeding, others are fine.
If your baby is suffering from reflux, it is unlikely that Sleep Training will work. However, once the reflux is under control then Sleep Training can be a great way to help your baby to sleep more predictably.
As sleep consultants, we always remind our clients and friends that we are not pediatricians and are not equipped to give medical advice. However, if after working together we see little to no improvement in your baby’s sleep, we may advise speaking with your pediatrician to get their opinion.
Its an exciting time growing your family but also a stressful time trying to work out the logistics of who's going to sleep where. Making decisions such as do you need to buy a second crib or transition your little one to a toddler bed. Do you have two older siblings that will need to room share. Do you co-sleep with your toddler and wondering what to do when the baby arrives.
Bringing home a new brother or sister may cause an understandable regression in your toddlers sleep. Here are the most common questions answered to help with this transition.
1) What do we do if we are currently co-sleeping with the older sibling?
If you are co-sleeping with your older child, don't kick them out to make room for the baby. The baby can sleep in a basinet next to the bed or a co-sleeper attached to the bed. Toddlers will often have a feeling of jealousy if they know the new baby is sleeping in your room. So if they weren't sleeping in your room before but want to join the family bedroom, allow them if you are happy for them to do so. Make a bed on the floor for them that they can come and sleep on if they wake during the night and want to come in. If you don't want to start co-sleeping, then explain the sleeping arrangements with their sibling are only temporary and they will be moving out of your room once they are a little bit older.
2) Should we move the old child in a big bed?
I am a strong believer that children will have most success transitioning from a crib at the age of 2.5 years at the earliest, ideally 3 years old. When making this transition you want to couple it with reward systems; younger toddlers won't understand these which is why the older the child the better. Getting a newborn to fall asleep at night is difficult enough without having a toddler popping in every few minutes if they are able to get out of their bed. Toddlers have a hard time sharing. They already have to share their parents, their old clothes and their toys. Expecting to give up their crib for their new brother or sister may tip them over the edge. Especially if they are good sleepers. Unless it's unavoidable, don't force them to give up their beloved crib
3) When should we move our older child if having two cribs is not possible?
If two cribs isn't a possibility, or your older child is at the age they are ready for a big bed, make this move 6 months before the baby is born or at least 4 months after.Read our tips on how to make this a smooth transition.It doesn't need to be a fast transition. Make the transition all about them and avoid mentioning this a move due to the arrival of their new sibling
4) What do I do if my good sleeper starts to wake at night?
A regression in a toddler is understandable. Be patient with them and avoid scolding them for waking during the night. Keep conversation to a minimum. If they get out of bed, take them back to their bed, tuck them back in and leave the room. Avoid creating new bad habits that you then need to do sleep training for later down the line. Sleep training when you have multiple children is possible and you will have success. However, you will feel increased anxiety about any tears waking the other sibling. If your child is waking for attention, be sure to give them extra attention during the day and use reward systems to prevent the night wakings.
5) How do I balance bedtime with two children when I am on my own?
Your bed-time routine should be something that works for both children so that you can deal with both their needs. This may take a few nights to get the right routine; don’t be afraid to try a few different versions until you get one that works. Avoid using tv or tablet time for the older child as the blue light will make it difficult for them to fall asleep. Give them a flashlight to make shadows on the wall or read books under their covers whilst you put the baby to sleep.
Like this post? Comment and share with other parents
Read Full Article
Read for later
Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
Scroll to Top
Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.