What’s My Kid Eating Now?

As a parent of 4 kids, I often find myself saying, “What’s my kid eating now?” I mean I usually know what they’re eating, but sometimes they sneak food. And sometimes I give them things that aren’t the best, because we’re on the run to school, sport, or other activity. Life is busy and kids are hungry like…all.the.time! So I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with sleep, right? Well, it has a ton to do with it!

The foods our children eat and drinks they consume can affect their sleep, digestion, clarity, mood, energy level, and more. The time of the day the food/drink is consumed can also have an impact on sleep, too. So if you’re a parent who’s not always sure what their kiddo is eating and when, then you’ll want to keep reading and you might want to reconsider your parenting style a bit. Let me explain…

Let’s say that your child’s evening snack consists of a slice of watermelon, chocolate teddy graham crackers, and a small glass of milk. Sounds reasonable, and even pretty healthy, right? Well, it sort of is and sort of isn’t. A slice of juicy watermelon is certainly healthy, but not the best choice before bed. Watermelon is water-based and can cause a potty-trained child to possibly wake up in the middle of the night to go potty, or can cause a diapered child to leak through their diaper. All that extra liquid has to go somewhere! Also, all fresh fruit has natural sugars in it, which means that it can give your child a boost of energy right when you need them to get sleepy. How about the chocolate teddy grahams crackers? Crackers aren’t bad, right? These kind are! Anything made with chocolate means that there’s a good amount of sugar in it, which again gives your kiddo a jolt of energy. And the darker the chocolate, the higher the content of caffeine, so that can also add to the issue.

Finally, there’s that small cup or bottle of milk.  Most parents add in some sort of milk product after their child is 1 year old; and oftentimes it’s a replacement from formula to cow’s milk. Because babies are usually drinking a bottle of formula or nursing before bed, parents will usually keep the routine in place and replace the formula for milk (nursing moms may continue this past 1 year old). But formula is not the same as pasteurized cow’s milk. Having a bottle or cup of milk before bed can also affect bedtime with the sugar found in it, as well as the fact that it’s a liquid, which can again cause urination issues. For potty trained kids, you want to watch how much they’re drinking after dinner, so they’re not up during the night to go to the potty. It can also increase the risk of bedwetting for some children.

So what can they eat, you ask? Well, there are foods that are considered to be helpful for sleep. Some examples are:

  • tart cherry juice/cherries
  • nuts
  • whole grain crackers/bread
  • whole grain cereals
  • cheese, frozen Greek yogurt, low-fat milk (some parts of it can make you sleepy, but other parts have sugar so it’s kind of a wash in my book but I wanted to mention it), and other dairy products
  • pretzels
  • corn chips
  • tuna
  • white rice
  • green leafy vegetables
  • hummus

Many of these products either have or help tryptophan reach the brain (that’s the hormone that helps us to feel sleepy, like when we eat a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving). We want our kids to be eating foods like this that can help them to feel tired when it’s close to bedtime.

Besides what they’re eating, you also want to be aware of when they’re eating. Remember, this is a snack, not a meal. Full meals should be eaten about 3 hours prior to bedtime, as overstuffed bellies can make sleep more restless and cause digestion issues (and more night wakings). And of course you want to make sure that your kids are brushing their teeth after their tasty snacks or any drinks other than water, so they don’t get tooth decay.

To summarize, bedtime snacks are great and can be very effective, as long as they’re the right kind of snacks offered at the right time. You want to choose your child’s snacks so that they work in your favor to make bedtime an easy process. And if your kiddo is a “food-sneaker” like my son (he loves candy), keep it all locked up or hidden so they can’t sneak it in when you’re not looking. Then you’ll never have to ask yourself “what’s my kid eating now?”

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*If you need help with your child’s sleep, let’s chat! I offer free 15min phone calls, so that we can discuss your child’s unique situation. What kids eat is just one small reason why their sleep can be off! Oftentimes, there’s a behavioral component that we’ll also work on. Together, we can work on getting your child’s sleep back on track for both bed and naps, if applicable. You can check out all my other services here (from parenting, infant massage, lactation, and more)!

Breastfeeding & Sleep: Yes, You Can Have Both!

Many expectant moms fear that if they choose to breastfeed their baby, then that means they won’t see a decent night’s sleep for a few years. This is simply not true! Yes, it’s true that babies enjoy eating and sleeping, and that they often go hand-in-hand: baby nurses, then baby sleeps. Feeding your baby is relaxing, and it definitely makes them sleepy, especially at night. Breast milk contains melatonin at night, so your body is actually helping to make your newborn sleepy during the night, so everyone can get back to sleep quickly!

Almost all babies will fall asleep during a feed, so it’s completely normal. And when you’ve just given birth, you’re beyond happy to have a peaceful, sleeping baby, so you’re definitely not going to “rock that boat”! While babies are very good at nursing-to-sleep, it doesn’t mean that’s the only way they can get to sleep. When babies are born, they pretty much have a “clean slate” when it comes to learning. Every hour and minute that goes by, you are teaching your baby. You teach her how to latch properly if she can’t figure it out, you teach him the difference between night and day, you teach her about her new bedtime routine, and you teach him how to fall asleep (either with or without help).

If you only ever feed baby to sleep, then that’s all they will ever know. You can’t expect baby to just know how to do it without any props (ie feeding, patting, rocking, bouncing, baby equipment, etc), if you’ve never given them the chance to try it. If you can allow your newborn to fall asleep in their crib or without being held (even just once in a while), then you will easily teach your baby how to do this moving forward. Too often parents wait until their babies are over 6 months old before they even begin to think about this possibility. Believe me, it’s much harder to teach this once the baby is older and used to their current routine. However, if you can teach this to your baby early on (before the 4th month), then you have a much better chance of avoiding the dreaded “4 month regression” and having a baby sleeping through the night on their own by 4 months (you can check out “The Truth About Age Regressions” blog if you’re not familiar with this time frame).

I know this is possible, because it’s exactly what I did with my exclusively breastfed son. It took me until my 4th child to finally be successful at breastfeeding. I gave up too quickly with my first baby who had latch issues, and I had more latch and prematurity issues with my twins (though I did pump for a few months with them). It would appear that the 4th time was the charm for me! I admit I fed him to sleep for the first 3 months (this was before my sleep and breastfeeding trainings), and everything was great. I would nurse him, he would fall asleep, and I would transfer him to his crib. But then in the 4th month, I saw it happening again. I could no longer put him down in his crib already asleep, because he would wake up on the transfer and I had to start over nursing or pat his bottom to sleep. I vividly and quickly remembered the struggled of sleep training my twins at almost 7 months, and I really didn’t want to repeat that. I decided then and there that I would make a few changes and no longer feed him until he was fully asleep. Thankfully, I caught him in enough time, because he didn’t fight me much and did great very quickly. Of course our breastfeeding journey continued for many months after that, and now he was also sleeping through the night. A win-win for both of us!

I now have the awesome job of helping other moms achieve this same success. Many new moms are worried that they could lose their milk supply or dry up altogether. It’s certainly a very real and valid concern! If you simply cut night feeds without doing anything else differently, then yes, your supply is going to take a dip. The trick is that you want to make sure that you’re not just cutting those nighttime calories, but that you’re transferring those calories to the daytime. Your body is going to produce milk based on supply and demand. If you cut the demand out overnight, then there will be less supply overall. However, if you cut it out overnight, but add in another session or two during the day, then you’ve just moved them and your body will continue producing as usual. Your body will adjust from being so full at night though, so don’t panic if you notice that change. Know that your supply is still there, but it’s just there during the day! And if you’re concerned about it, you can always pump before you go to bed for a little extra. Also, keep an eye on your little one to ensure you’re seeing swallowing while nursing and that they seem satisfied when they are done.*

Another bonus of not feeding your baby to sleep is that you’ll be keeping baby awake during the feed. If baby’s awake, then baby will eat more. Oftentimes, babies will “snack and snooze”, meaning they will nurse a little, then sleep a little. When you allow this, you can be feeding many times a day and still be concerned that your little one isn’t eating enough. You’ll notice this type of “snacking and snoozing” if you’re feeding before naps or sleep times; however, if you feed baby after a nap, they will stay awake and be ready to eat a full meal. They will also be upright for a while, which is much better for their digestion, and of course they’ll be falling asleep on their own too!

So yes, you can breastfeed your baby until whatever age you’re comfortable with and still have a child who sleeps independently through the night too! The vast majority of my clients are moms who are breastfeeding and wish to continue on that journey, while also being able to get better sleep for their entire family. I’m happy to report that they are all still happily nursing their children once we’ve finished working together! For families with older breastfeeding children (ie over 1 year old), many moms are frustrated with the lack of sleep and are wanting to give up breastfeeding altogether when we first start. I always encourage these moms to hold off on making that decision until after we’ve night weaned and mom can think more clearly about her choice. In the majority of these cases, the moms decide to continue their breastfeeding journey after all. The lack of sleep they experienced is what drove them to want to be done, but once they began sleeping well again, they would see that they really did enjoy that bonding time with their toddlers and most would end up continuing with daytime nursing only. So be sure you’re making this big decision once you’re feeling better and are well-rested!

FINAL NOTE: August 1-7, 2017 is World Breastfeeding Week! Congratulations to all the breastfeeding mamas out there for providing your child with the best thing ever! Thanks to all the partners that support these mamas, too! Feel free to check out a previous blog of mine called “Breastfeeding Do’s and Don’ts“, for more information! And if you’re interested in getting some help with sleep training your child, I offer free 15min phone calls. As a certified sleep consultant and lactation counselor, I can help your entire family sleep well while maintaining your milk supply.

*If you have any concerns about your milk supply or whether or not your child is getting enough breast milk, please contact your local lactation consultant/counselor or your child’s pediatrician. You should also check with the pediatrician before starting any sleep training program, especially if there is a weight or medical concern.

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Why Can’t I Just Feed My Child To Sleep?

Feeding-to-sleep is hands-down the #1 sleep prop there is (a sleep prop is anything a child uses to get to sleep, including you). Why? Well, let’s face it, when a baby is born we will feed our child and then they will almost always immediately fall asleep. Who’s going to complain about that?! The process works really well for our newborns…feed, then sleep. Now, you’re likely wondering why you wouldn’t want to always feed your child until they fall asleep when it works so well. Let me explain.

Let’s imagine you just had a precious baby girl. You’re happily nursing your new baby and things are going great. Because you’re recovering and working on your bond with your daughter, you’re happy to devote every second of your day nursing and caring for your new baby. Your baby’s sleep at this age of life is pretty simple. One minute she’s awake, then she’s drowsy while she’s feeding, then BAM! she’s out like a light! Not only is she out cold, but’s she’s quickly in a deep sleep. This is when she’ll make all of those adorable little faces, smiling, pouting, startling, laughing, etc. This is also when you can do things like make noises, talk loudly, and transition her somewhere else (ie her crib, pack-n-play, bouncer, etc). It can be a beautiful thing! So why am I telling you not to do this?!

Again, this process works great for newborns, or the first 3 months of age. The problem comes around the 4th month. At this point, your daughter’s sleep stops having quite so much deep sleep and it starts to now have more light sleep (about 50% in fact). The light sleep appears right after that drowsy stage, so now when she first falls asleep she stays in a light sleep for a bit. If you go to transfer her over to the crib now, you’ll likely wake her back up and need to start all over again. Many moms are often shocked to find out one day that transferring to the crib no longer works – I know I was! When that happens, you do one of three things: 1) pick your child back up and re-feed, 2) pick your child back up and rock/pat/bounce/walk, or 3) try to pat them back to sleep while they’re still in the crib (that was me – the patter).

This newfound “sleep milestone” (having sleep cycles that now mirror those of adults) often feels pretty terrible to the parents who have likely been seeing nice, long sleep stretches up until this point. To most parents, this feels like a step backwards, or a regression (hence the term 4 month regression), rather than a milestone! Now, this wouldn’t feel like that if your child knew how to put themselves to sleep. If you either taught your child independent sleep skills before this, or you got lucky and just have a child who is already good at doing this, then you wouldn’t ever see this “regression”. Unfortunately though, unless you’ve been through this before or are a sleep consultant and know what you’re doing, you’re not likely going to try super hard to create this scenario from early on because again life is good those first few months!

You’re not likely going to want to “rock the boat” of feeding-to- sleep. Nope, most don’t. Most parents are willing to take a gamble to see if they’re going to be one of the lucky ones who have a child who just sleeps like a champ without having to put any work into it. And when I say lucky that’s exactly what I mean. You know all those moms who like to tell you that their little Joey sleeps like a champ since he was 8 weeks old, or their little Mary has always been an awesome sleeper? Well, they’re either lucky or they’re lying! I was one of the lucky ones – once. I fed my first daughter to sleep every single night and she still started sleeping through the night at 3 months old. I’d like to say that I knew what I was doing, but I didn’t. I was young, naive, and lucky! I was not so lucky with the next 3 though, so I quickly learned that not all kids are created equally when it comes to sleep!

So what if you don’t want to gamble with your luck? What if you’d like to help ensure that you get a child who doesn’t go through any “regressions” at 4 months old? Well, today’s your lucky day, because I can tell you the secret to success! Ready? Well, it’s pretty simple. Stop transferring your child to their crib AFTER they’ve fallen asleep! The whole trick is that they have to already be in their crib BEFORE they’re asleep. Then you’re no longer trying to do a slow and steady transfer and ninja crawl out of the room when they’ve just fallen asleep. Now they will already be in their crib and can fall asleep without being moved or disturbed. They can also fall asleep seeing where you are or aren’t and where they are. As you might imagine, it can be a little disheartening to fall asleep safe and snug in your mama’s arms, only to wake up to a cold, hard reality that is your crib! And they will wake up eventually, because we all do.

Every time we transition sleep cycles (about 1.5hrs for preschoolers and up; about 45mins for babies and toddlers; about 20mins for newborns), we come to a light phase of sleep and take note of our surroundings. If everything is the same as it was when we fell asleep, then we will slip right into the next sleep cycle. However, if something has changed (like you were there and now you’re not), then it gives us a reason to fully wake up. And once they’re fully awake, how are they going to be able to get back to sleep? You guessed, they will need YOU once again to do what you did before (ie feed, pat, rock, bounce, lay with them, etc). It can be quite a vicious cycle all night long! Just another reason why our babies need to learn how to fall asleep on their own.

See, I told you it was simple! Simply said, at least. Putting this into action is another story! I know it’s easier said than done, but if you can pull it off, you can save yourself and your child a lot of long, sleepless nights and a lot of crying. For those of you thinking that I’m talking about sleep training a newborn, I’m not. I wouldn’t advise actual sleep training for a child less than 4 months old, however, I fully believe in “sleep teaching”.

Look, when our babies are born, they come out with a pretty clean slate. We help them create their normal, their routine. What if you took some time to work on things from early on? What if you didn’t allow your child to fall asleep feeding each and every time? Making some small, simple changes to what you teach your newborn early on can be the difference between you being a lucky mama or one that’s calling me in a few months or years to help you fix your child’s sleep issues. You don’t have to wait to see if you’re going to be one of the lucky ones. You can create your own luck with a little time and minimal effort.

*For more information about my Prenatal Sleep Package (includes pregnant couples and parents of babies aged 0-7 weeks), you can click here. It includes babies already born up through 7 weeks of age, because I don’t believe you need to start from day 1 in order to get good results. You can still work on your healing, bonding, and nursing your babies in the first 6 weeks or so, and then make some changes. Don’t worry, if you “missed the mark” on sleep teaching, you can still sleep train your child now. I have packages for newborns (8wks -4mos), babies (5mos-2.5yrs in a crib), toddlers/preschoolers (2.5-5yrs old in a bed), school aged children (6-12yrs old), and teens (13 and up). It’s never too late to teach good sleep skills! Feel free to set up your free 15min call today to see how I could help you and your family.

Visit our friends over at Positive Health Wellness for more great blogs and tips!

Exercise, Hydration, and Sleep

You might be wondering what exercising and hydration have to do with sleep. Well, actually it has a lot to do with it! As we’re getting ready to head into the hot summer months, I thought this was a great time to talk about these two things. I’m sure that you’re aware that as an adult, you should exercise to stay healthy and fit, right? So it’s no wonder that the same would be true for our kids. Besides the obvious fact that our children should exercise in order to stay healthy, it also helps them to sleep better. The more exercise they get throughout the day, the better they will sleep at night. They should fall asleep faster and also sleep more deeply.

The type of exercise they get really doesn’t matter, so long as their heart rate is up and their blood is pumping! For kids, the list of activity options is endless but I’ll give you some examples:

  • riding bike
  • running/skipping
  • jumping
  • swimming
  • playing sports
  • playing at the park or playground
  • dancing

And the list goes on and on! The best part is that you don’t usually have to do much as a parent to convince your child to get up and get moving (I wish it was as easy for adults)! What can be tricky to handle as a parent is the timing of the activities and staying hydrated. Let’s talk a minute about the timing, because that can be hard to control at times.

While exercising is great for sleep, it’s only great if it’s done earlier in the day. Ideally, for the best possible sleep, you would have your child be done exercising 6 hours before they would be going to bed. So if your child had a 7pm bedtime, then they would be done working up a sweat by 1pm. Now I realize that is totally unrealistic, as I don’t know many young kids who are going to sit around for 6 hours (nor do we want them to)!  The reason why has to do with the amount of time it takes for a person’s body temperature to return to normal. As soon as the body’s temperature returns to normal, it creates a natural feeling of sleepiness. So ideally, this is the best time to go to sleep.

Again, I know that’s not going to work for most kids under 13yrs old (teens have an easier time laying around). The main thing to avoid is having exercise too close to bed. The goal is to be done with the major sweat-inducing activities at least 3 hours before bedtime. By then most of the effects of the exercise (ie increased blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature) have gone away altogether or dropped a considerable amount. Having 4 kids in sports right now myself, I know what you’re thinking… “but their sports and activities go on so late in the night!” I hear ya! I get pretty annoyed myself at how late these practices and games are (even on school nights)! I may or may not have been “one of those parents” who has called the school to complain about the kids being required to attend a game at a late hour on a school night. Because let’s face it, it wasn’t just about my kid staying up too late. I had to stay up and go get her at a ridiculously late hour too (she’s in high school)!

We all know how hard it is to come home from being out somewhere and go immediately to bed (even if we weren’t doing anything physical). It’s no different for our kids! It’s really hard for them to run around a soccer field for 1-2 hours, then go home and immediately go to bed. They’re physically, mentally, and emotionally full of energy, thoughts, and feelings! The only upside is that they are sometimes so exhausted that they are ready to crash, but it really depends on the age and activity of the child. So you do what you can on these nights by keeping their bedtime routine, and trying to keep these late nights to a minimum.

Now on to hydration. When our kids are out there running around and working up a sweat, they are also losing a lot of water. How do you know how much fluids they should be getting each day? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children drink six glasses of water on an average day. Because children who are playing a sport or enduring a rigorous activity can lose up to a half-liter of fluid per hour, the AAP suggests about 5 ounces of water or a sports drink every 20 minutes for an 88-pound child (an ounce would be about two kid-size gulps). And kids and teens weighing about 132 pounds should drink 9 ounces.

Water makes up about 65% of our bodies, and it does some pretty fabulous things (ie carrying toxins out of the body, boosts your immune system, aids in digestion, improves skin conditions, increases energy, etc). Drinking water isn’t really an option. Humans NEED it to live! Dehydration is a serious issue and can kill you. It can also be a cause of a poor night of sleep.  Now, if your child doesn’t like drinking straight water, don’t worry because it isn’t the only way to get it. Water is also found in flavored drinks, fruits, and veggies, so keep that in mind while trying to keep your kiddos hydrated this summer!

 

*Remember, as always, you can schedule a free 15min phone call with me to discuss your child’s (or your) sleep issues. You can also check out my FREE page, filled with lots of free resources and tips!

Postpartum Anxiety and Parenting

Many new moms suffer from postpartum mood disorders: depression (PPD), anxiety/obsession compulsive disorder (PPA/OCD), or psychosis (PPP). While many of us have heard of PPD, sadly many will not hear about PPA, OCD, or PPP. PPA (and OCD) is one of those things that can “fly under the radar” a bit. Because you may not be sad or outwardly struggling like with PPD or PPP, it can be easy to miss; however, anxiety can be all-consuming! As a society, people tend to make light of the fact that a new mom who is worried often is just that…a new mom. We have probably all made a comment to someone or in our heads about how another mom is over reacting or worrying needlessly about small things (I know I have). We think, “she’s just that way because it’s her first child”. While that is often true, what if it was more? What if the tiny bit that mom shows us is just the tip of the iceberg? What if behind closed doors, she’s frantic about being able to produce enough breast milk so she’s pumping non-stop, is constantly moving her baby so they don’t get a flat spot, or is up most of the night watching her baby sleep because she’s deathly afraid that if she goes to sleep her baby may stop breathing?

Sadly, PPA is very common, yet usually undiagnosed. Looking back I know I had it with my first child. I was secretly paranoid about everything, especially with her sleep. Wrong as it was, I had her sleep in my bed at the hospital with me (this was 17 years ago so they allowed it then). I laid her next to me with the rails up and basically laid awake all night to make sure she was alright and breathing. She came home having jaundice, and therefore needed to be on a special machine. Needing to be hooked up like that added to my anxiety and caused me to be more aware of her during the night. I started with her in a bassinet across the room, then moved it right next to my bed because I had to keep getting up to check her breathing after I would hear a small sound or whimper. After a week of complete sleep deprivation, I knew I needed to do something. I had to sleep or else I was going to die (or at least that’s what it felt like).

I moved her to her own room after that, but with the monitor turned as high as it would go so I didn’t miss anything. It took me another few days to realize that wasn’t really working either. I finally turned down the monitor and we both did great. Thank goodness that I was blessed to have a very easy-going baby who would later start sleeping through the night by 3 months old! After I nearly died of a heart attack one morning when I woke up on my own instead of being woken up by a crying, hungry baby, I was ecstatic to realize that she had simply slept through the night without any wakings or feeds. Yes, I was one of those lucky mamas – you know, the ones you secretly hate – the first time around (don’t worry because I became unlucky years later when my twins were born).

But at the time it was a good thing she had such a great temperament, as I clearly had a lot of anxiety around her sleep! I was embarrassed to be like that, so I never told anyone what I was feeling or thinking. I was the kind of mom who wanted the world to think I knew it all already at the ripe old age of 24. Admitting I was having some difficulty would be like admitting defeat, so I chose to hide it all. I was lucky to get through those few months pretty unscathed, other than some sleep deprivation early on, but not everyone is so lucky. Many mamas will continue on like that for months, years, or indefinitely. Feeling and living like that can be very difficult for the entire family. Not only is mom usually physically and mentally exhausted, sleep deprived, and hyper-vigilant about everything her baby does, she’s often shutting out those closest to her. Her partner may be feeling left out, other family may be shut out, and even baby suffers as they are feeling the effects of a mom who’s not enjoying parenting as much as she would like to.

Things like postpartum mood disorders can alter us as parents, whether it’s just for a few weeks or months or even years. We may start out with intentions of being a certain type of parent, but then reality hits and quickly realize that we either can’t or no longer want to do those things. How many times have you said, “I’ll never be like that with my kids”, only to find yourself doing exactly that? Maybe you thought you would be a more strict parent, but then change your mind as soon as that precious baby is placed in your arms. Or maybe you thought you would be a bed-sharing family, only to realize that you, your partner, or your baby just don’t want to or can’t do it anymore? Don’t misunderstand, it’s completely normal to change your mind about things as time goes on. It only becomes a problem when you’re changing things because you feel like you don’t have a choice.

Whether it’s PPA, PPD, or OCD, these mood disorders can disrupt your life, but it doesn’t have to. I encourage you to seek help if you need it. Don’t be embarrassed, ashamed, or suffer in silence. There are many other mamas out there just like you! With a little help and guidance, you can still be the mama you want to be. In fact the vast majority of families I work with have at least one parent (usually the mom) suffering from anxiety, as well as the majority of adult clients I see. Of course, sleep deprivation will intensify your anxious feelings, so if you’re not sleeping well because of your child’s poor sleep, then please consider helping your child learn how to sleep independently (provided they’re at least past the newborn stage). Almost all of the parents I work with report feeling and sleeping much better after their little ones are sleeping through the night! If you’re a do-it-yourself type of mama, then you can check out my book All Things Sleep: Kids! and accompanying program levels. Or, if you are beyond wanting to read and just want help right now, then one of my one-on-one packages would work best. If you’re not sure what to do, the best thing to do is to set up a free 15min phone assessment, so we can chat about your unique situation! And if you’ve suffered from PPA, I’d love to hear from you – just post below!

Ending Toddler/Preschooler Battles in 3 Easy Steps

Anyone with a child one year and up knows what it means to have bedtime battles…and daytime battles too! They call it the “terrible twos” but if you ask me it starts at a year old when they can walk and talk and doesn’t end until they’re 4, 5 or sometimes never! As parents, we wish so hard for our babies to start walking and talking, and then when they do we wish they would sit and be quiet. We’re just never happy, are we?!

Our jobs as parents is to teach our kids how to be independent. Almost everything we teach them has to do with independence! Think about it. We teach them to hold their own toys, hold their bottle/cup, hold their own forks and spoons, feed themselves, roll, sit up, crawl, walk, climb, talk, get dressed, use the potty, write/draw, and of course sleep. We are supposed to teach our kids how to do things and think for themselves, yet as soon as they do those things we are often shocked and annoyed. “Tommy, why won’t you just listen to me and put that shirt on?!” Well, that’s because you taught him how to have an opinion and how to get dressed himself. Congrats, mom, because that’s what you were supposed to do!

That being said, I know it’s frustrating though to have these little independent thinkers when we need to hurry up and leave in the mornings. Believe me, with four kids, I REALLY understand! So what do we do with these newfound independence seekers? I have 3 tips that will help you better manage your day and night battles.

1) Provide 2-3 choices. Put yourself in your child’s shoes. Would you appreciate being told what to do, how to act, and what to wear every second of the day? Of course not, and neither do our children. We all prefer choices and options where we can make up our own minds. Whenever you can, find two or three acceptable choices that you can give your child so you can avoid a battle.

* Instead of saying, “Abby, put this purple shirt on”, try saying “Abby, would you like to wear your purple shirt or your pink one?” Now instead of Abby wanting to scream no and run off, she’s more willing to stay and listen, because you’re offering her a choice.

2) Give 5 minute warnings. Giving a 5 minute warning that a change is coming is helpful for kids in this age group. If they’re in the middle of doing something, it gives them an opportunity to finish up what they’re doing, as well as giving them a warning of what’s to come (ie they have to leave somewhere, get a bath, go eat dinner, go to bed, etc). Again, it’s no different for us as adults. I don’t know about you, but I like to finish things I’m in the middle of before moving onto something different.

You might thinking that playing blocks or dolls is not as important as your finishing your work, food, cup of coffee or wine, cooking, cleaning, or using the bathroom, but I assure you it is to your toddler or preschooler! Now I’m not saying that your child will easily and quickly get up and do what you want them to do when that 5 minutes is up, but at least you gave them a warning beforehand which really does help. Make sure though that it’s just one warning and that’s it. Any more than that and you’ll never get any cooperation, as your kid will assume one warning means they’ll always get at least two or three.

3) Set enforceable rules and then follow-through. I saved the best for last. This one is trickiest for you as a parent to do, but it works quite well. We’re often demanding and threatening to do things when our kids won’t listen, yet those things rarely work. Why is that? Why won’t they just listen to us? Well, it’s usually because we’re not consistent with our follow-through. If you say it’s bedtime, but then give in to multiple demands like giving extra water or just one more hug, then you’re doing a disservice to both you and your child. Without follow-through, our requests mean nothing. What motivation does your child have to do as you’ve asked, when they can ignore the first request and get you to keep giving in?

* Instead of saying “Please lie down in your bed so I can turn off the light”, try saying “I’m leaving the room in 5 seconds. Would you like to be in bed already before I shut the light off or will you get in bed after I’ve left?” See the difference here? The first one is nice sounding but it’s still a demand that kids like to disagree with. When you turn the statement around to say exactly what’s going to happen (ie setting the expectation and scene), followed by giving a choice (both which are acceptable), you’ve closed the door for too much push back or resistance.

Now when 5 seconds are up, you would be turning off the light and leaving the room, regardless of whether or not they’re in their bed. You will follow-through on the things that you have control over (ie the enforceable rules), and they will do what they have control over. It’s up to your child to decide if your tucking them in first is important enough to them. For most kids, the answer is definitely yes, though it might take them a time or two of tucking themselves into bed after you’ve gone for them to realize it!

As you can see, these things are not rocket science but they do take time and consistency – on YOUR part! We’re always looking to change our kids. What do I need to do in order to make my kid listen? But really we should be asking, what do I need to do in order to stop battling my kid? It really starts and ends with us as a parent. We set the rules and the expectations but then we do a poor job at following-through with rewards and/or consequences. So we’re sending a pretty unclear message to our kids as to what we really want and when. If we clean up our message, presentation, and delivery system, we will find happier (yes, they actually prefer to know what we want vs having to try to read our minds) children who are listening to us without us having to threaten, nag, or even raise our voices. So go ahead and it give it a try today, because it really works well! And then come back and post here and let me know if it worked for you and your child!

~

*If you liked what you read, and are located in the Bethlehem, PA (USA) area, you should definitely check out my new parenting class starting this May! It’s the “Love & Logic Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun™” curriculum, and it’s for parents of children aged 6 months to 6 years old. Love & Logic has been around for more than 40 years, so they know what works and what doesn’t. I can tell you that I’ve been using this with my own children recently, and it works great (as long as I do my part)! If you want to learn more about what will be covered in the class, you can check out the Parenting Page. At the bottom of that page you can click on Register or you can click HERE to register now. Hurry though because class size is limited!

**As always, I offer free 15min phone assessments if you’d like to talk about your child, teen, or adult sleep issues. I’d love to better understand your unique sleep situation! Not sure why it is I do and what services I offer? No problem, have a peek over on the Services page to find out!

Daylight Savings Time – “Springing Forward”

As I’m sure you know, Daylight Savings Time (DST) is coming up this weekend.  Let me just start by saying that if I had my way, there would be no DST! It affects not only children’s sleep patterns but adults, too. In fact, statistically, there is an 8% increase in traffic accidents the Monday after DST kicks in. It can also increase our sleep debt – especially in children, who tend to be much more structured with going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. So what is the best way to handle the loss of this precious hour of sleep?  Well, there are a few options.

 

1)   JUMP RIGHT TO THE NEW TIME

For young babies, you sometimes don’t have to do anything at all. Thanks to a day full of napping already, and non-consistent bedtimes (because it should be based on the last nap of the day), you can easily adjust the day’s naps if need be to adjust bedtime to accommodate the new bedtime hour. But again, a newborn’s bedtime might sometimes be at 7pm and sometimes at 8pm, depending on how the day’s nap schedule went, so the time could have little to no effect on these little ones.

 

2)    SPLITTING THE DIFFERENCE IN HALF

If you want to split the hour time difference in half so it’s less of a struggle for your child to adjust, then your day might look like this. Say you have a 10mo old that usually wakes up at 7am, then they will now be getting up at 8am (at least for the first day). If she usually takes a morning nap around 10:00am, you will want to adjust this to 10:30 for the first three days after the time change. It will be a bit earlier than your child’s normal nap time, but not so much that it will cause much damage to her schedule. Do the same for all other naps, and don’t worry about it at all if you have a child who no longer naps.

Let’s say your child usually goes to bed at 7pm (which is the new 8pm). I recommend putting him to bed at 7:30pm for the first three days following the time change. On the fourth night, just get in line with the new time so your child is back to going to bed when the clock says 7pm. Adjust naps to the correct time on day 4, as well. It will take about a week for your child’s body to get used to this. It takes all of our bodies roughly one week to adjust to any kind of change in sleeping habits.

 

3)    SPLITTING THE DIFFERENCE INTO QUARTERS

For some children, going to bed 30mins later than normal can be too much, and then you could get bedtime battles, crying, possible night wakings, night terrors, sleep walking, sleep talking, or early morning wakings. But for other children, the 30min difference is no big deal, and they might actually make up for it by sleeping in later in the morning. You know your child best, so you’ll just have to make that judgment call.

For children who are more sensitive to time changes, then I suggest moving in 15min increments instead of 30mins. So if your child normally goes to bed at 7pm, and the new time would be 8pm, you’re going to opt for a 7:45pm bedtime the first night after the change. Then continue to move the bedtime back 15mins each night over the next 3 days until you’re back to your 7pm bedtime.

If your child happens to wake up at the same time as usual that first day (ie they’ve woken up at 7am like normal, even though the clocks changed and it should have been 8am), don’t panic! It’s normal for children to want to wake up at their normal time, as their biological clock is already set. Babies and younger toddlers have an easier time with actually “springing ahead” and waking up later in the morning because they need “x” amount of sleep no matter what the time; whereas, older toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children can have a harder time with that.

 

4)    DO NOTHING

The best part of the spring DST is that if you normally have an early riser you will now gain an hour in the morning! So if your child normally sleeps 6pm – 6am and you would much rather prefer they sleep 7pm – 7am, then do absolutely nothing with the time change. On Sunday morning when you wake up, your child will have just went from a 6am waking to a 7am one thanks to DST. Awesome, right?!

Throughout the day, be sure to adjust your child’s nap schedule to mirror the new schedule, based on their awake times and not by the “old schedule”. By this I mean, that if you have a 7mo old who’s taking two naps a day, you’ll adjust naps based on the child’s awake time and not a set time. That means first nap would be around 10am (again they woke at 7am not instead of 6am), which is a 3hr awake gap. Then, after that first nap, they would be awake for another 3hrs or so before the second nap, and the same would be true then after that second nap to get them to their new bedtime of 7pm.

Early morning wakings should no longer be an issue, but if they are for some reason just make sure they are still sleeping the same amount of hours overnight as they were before the change. That might mean that you need to adjust bedtime for a while until your child’s morning wake time goes back to normal. Give it time and know that your child should get back on schedule within a week, possibly two. I should mention here that sometimes kids do fluctuate back to their old habits after that week or two are up. Some children’s circadian rhythms are just really established at their preferred times, and therefore they will eventually find their way back to those times. If that happens there’s not too much you can do, so just enjoy it while it lasts!

 

When you start to make these changes this is up to you. I prefer to start on Sunday after the time change has already happened, but you can start a few days or a week earlier so that your child is already on the new schedule by the time the change happens. It’s completely up to you and really doesn’t matter, as in the end we’ll all be losing an hour sleep!

What Every Mom Needs To Know About Fainting

**This is a special blog post, not about sleep, breastfeeding, or infant massage, but about being a parent. I want to share a very personal, and very raw, story of mine that just happened a few days ago. I hope that it brings awareness to a common, yet rarely discussed topic.**

 

It was a Friday morning like any other. My teen was already at school, my husband was away for work, my three youngest children were getting ready for school, and I was just out of the shower. After getting dressed, I came back into the bathroom, which is always our busy hub in the mornings. One of my 8 year old twin daughters came barreling into the room, twirled around, slipped on the floor, and fell hard on her bottom, right at the corner of our “corner shower”. I immediately thought she hit her back or tailbone on this rounded corner (I would later find out she narrowly missed it). She popped right up, crying, and very upset. I knelt down beside her, checking her back for what was sure to have bruises, scrapes, a cut, or blood. I saw nothing, but continued to hug and comfort her for surely it had to hurt to land like that. Within a second or two I felt her push on my arm like she was wanting me to let to go, so I did.

 

Only, she wasn’t actually pushing me, she had fainted and fell to the floor (thankfully she only fell an inch or two). I couldn’t see her face, so I didn’t know it was happening. I didn’t know it had happened until I moved her hair and rolled her from her side to her back. There she laid, eyes wide open and dilated, yet her body was lifeless. I called her name and gently shook her. Nothing. Her breathing almost immediately sounded gurgly. I didn’t want to move her in case she had a spine injury (again I thought she hit her spine on the shower), but I couldn’t leave her go breathing like that. I lifted her head and body closer to me, which immediately quieted her breathing. I kept talking to her and holding her while screaming for her sister to run downstairs, get the phone, and call 911. She was gone for mere seconds, but it seemed like a lifetime. I kept talking to her, not having any idea what was happening to my little girl. When her sister brought me the phone, she had dialed the number but not pressed “talk” on the phone to connect the call. As soon as I pressed it and it rang once, she blinked, opened her eyes really wide, and sat up saying “I’m okay”.

 

I hung up on the ringing phone, because she was trying to sit up and then stand up, continuing to repeat “I’m okay”. While trying to get her to take it easy and sit down, the 911 dispatcher called me back to check to see if everything was okay. I was thankful she did so I could calm down a bit. She asked me a bunch of questions, like did she hit her head, how was she now, etc. She felt like a call to her pediatrician would be alright since she was acting normally. I immediately called them, and after another series of phone calls, I set up an appointment for later that morning. In the meantime, my daughter finished getting ready for school and was already getting out a bowl for cereal like nothing had just happened.

 

The pediatrician later explained that what my daughter had experienced was called a “vasovagal syncope”, which is a fancy word for “the common faint”. I had never before heard of such a thing (fainting for no reason), yet she would tell me (and I would later research) how very common it is. According to the Mayo Clinic, this happens to more than 3 million people each year in the US alone! Vasovagal syncope happens when there’s a sudden drop in heart rate and blood pressure leading to fainting, often in reaction to a stressful trigger. Common triggers include pain, a strong emotional event, having blood drawn, the sight of blood, painful urination or defecation, severe coughing, painful swallowing, sudden fright, and standing for long periods of time.

 

Our pediatrician said that she sees many young teenage girls with this, and it often happens in the shower (scary)! One of the reasons is that in the morning, we tend to be dehydrated from a long night’s sleep, as well as having low blood sugar from not eating for many hours. Then, many teenagers will get into a super hot shower immediately, which causes the blood to flow to the skin’s surface and away from the heart and brain. And what makes this more apt to happen to teenage girls is that they also have their menstruation. According to Dr. Andrea Chisholm, changes happening in the body at that time of month can increase a person’s chance of fainting. For instance, some normal triggers are painful periods, heavy periods (chronic blood loss can also lead to anemia), and hormonal changes.

 

So what should you do if your child or someone you see faints? According to Dr. Richard Fogoros, you should lay them down flat so their head is at or below chest level and raise their legs. Raising their legs gets the pooled blood in the leg vessels moving in the right direction again.  This pooling happens when the vasovagal reflex suddenly dilates, causing this massive pool of blood in the leg vessels. At the same time, the heart rate slows and the blood pressure drops, which is where the fainting comes in. Thankfully, fainting spells are usually over within one minute, though you want to watch the person for a bit to make sure they’re okay, especially if they hit their head on their fall. Sometimes there are lingering effects, such as extreme fatigue, nausea, dizziness and loss of appetite, so it’s important to wait until these lingering symptoms disappear before continuing on your day, as they could faint again. Sometimes fainting is more than just a “fainting spell”, so you certainly want to follow up with your doctor or your child’s pediatrician to make sure there’s nothing more going on.

 

I am sharing my story because I am amazed that in all my years, I have never heard of this, nor did I realize how very common it is. I have 4 children, help parents with their children every day, and am on a ton of parenting Facebook groups, yet again I have never once read anything on this! My hope is that a parent will read this and remember it so that one day, if it ever happens to their child, they will know what to do and not fear the worst like I did. This experience was by far the most frightening one I’ve ever had with my children. I pride myself on being a calm, cool, and collected mama, but those 20 seconds rocked me to my core. I didn’t even realize how much so until my 5 year old son asked me why I was shaking after I got off the phone with the 911 dispatcher. Needless to say I hugged and kissed my kids like crazy that day!

 

Again, I think this is an important topic that all parents should be familiar with, so please feel free to share with your friends and family! And if you yourself have ever experienced this, or you have a child who has, please comment below, or send me a private message, as I’d love to hear more!

 

*Feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter so you don’t ever have to worry about missing a blog or other useful tips and info! As always, for help with child sleep or adult sleep, you can set up a free 15min phone assessment so we can talk about your unique situation!

Tired of Those Early Morning Wake Ups?

Early morning wake ups can be the worst! When we’re sleeping our best at 4 or 5am, our kids are secretly plotting their revenge for that lollipop we wouldn’t let him have yesterday. Ok, well maybe they’re not actually plotting, but it sure does feel like it! Why else would they insist on waking up at that ridiculous hour every day?

For many parents of little ones, this time of night is when a final feeding is happening. We feed them, and they will usually go back to sleep for another few hours, which means YOU get to go back to sleep too! However, for other parents, this means that while baby gets to go back to sleep, YOU do not because you have to get up for work, get your other children up and ready for school, or you just can’t fall back asleep. And some kids just decide that 5am is the new 7am and they’re ready to be up for the day. It stinks. So how can you get your child to stop waking up then?

First, you want to take a good look at when your child is going to bed. If they’re going to bed too late, then they’re likely going to be up nice and early the next morning. I know it makes zero sense, but it’s true! Earlier bedtimes are always best, but they’re especially great when you’re talking about getting your child to sleep longer in the morning. Of course, you’ll still need to take into account how much sleep your child is getting in a 24hr period. They’re only going to sleep so much in a day/night, so you can’t put them to bed at 5pm and expect them to get up at 7am. Nope, not going to happen. But, depending on their age, you could put them to bed at 7pm and expect them to sleep close to 7am. And you can’t let them nap the day away and expect them to sleep 12hrs at night too. There’s got to be balance! You can check out my blog “How Much Sleep Do We Need” to see what the norm is for your child.

Secondly, make sure that your child’s room is super dark. Most parents will say, “yes, it’s dark enough”, only to find out later no, it’s not. Next time your child is up at 4:30am, go into his room and look around to see what he sees. Does he see a fully blacked out room or is there some brightness or light coming in through the window or around the windowsill? It might be dark out now at that hour because it’s winter, but soon it will be spring which means it will be brighter earlier. Your child doesn’t need to be old enough to tell time, in order for him to know what time it is. That light coming through the window says it all. Sun? Ok, time to get up!

Remember, an early morning wake up is really just a night waking. You’ve got to get your child to go back to sleep at 5am if you ever want him to sleep until at least 6am. Night wakings are tough, I know. And even if you have just this one night waking, it might still be super tough to sleep train through it (yes, it’s sleep training if you’re trying to break this habit). There is a lot more I have to say about this topic, so if you’re struggling with early morning wake ups and would like to learn more, I encourage you to check out my VIP Gold or Platinum membership packages.

You’ll not only get my new book, “All Things Sleep: Kids!”, but you’ll get lots of audio and document files to help you with topics such as this. I have an in-depth report about early morning wake ups that you’ll definitely want to check out! And with the Platinum group, you’ll get all this and access to me via a private forum so that you can ask me any follow up questions you might have in getting your kiddo skipping that early morning wake up and sleeping straight through the night!

If you’re dealing with early morning wake ups right now, I’d love to hear what you’re doing to resolve them and what the hardest part is. Just comment below or you can join me over in the Sleeptastic Solutions – Children Facebook page and/or the Gentle Parenting Solutions Facebook group! And of course you can always set up a free 15min call with me if you’d like some extra one-on-one help getting this done! Sleep well!

When illnesses, teething, injuries, or milestones affect your child’s sleep

With all the happy memories and busy times this time of year brings, it also brings illnesses and sometimes injuries. There are colds, stomach bugs, bacterial infections, viruses, the flu, etc. And depending on the age of your child, you might have teething and/or developmental milestones (ie learning how to roll, sit up, crawl, walk, jump, talk, etc) to deal with too. All of these things can cause your child’s sleep to become disturbed or be completely changed by the time they’re feeling better. This is when parents become distressed and they either start looking to sleep train (or re-sleep train) on their own, or they call a sleep consultant like me to get things back on track. It’s super frustrating as a parent to comfort and support your sick, injured, or otherwise miserable kid, only to be repaid with sleep deprivation when they now won’t sleep well. So what’s a parent to do? Here are some things to keep in mind during these trying times…

 

Illness & Teething:

If your child is sick or teething, they’re likely cranky, tired, and miserable. It wouldn’t be so bad if that only happened during the day, but unfortunately it usually spills over into the nights. When it’s 2am and your baby is teething or your 4 year old is sick, it can be difficult to “stick to the plan”.  Before this illness, your child may have rarely or never woken up at night so of course you’re going to rush right in and see what’s wrong. Many parents make the mistake though of not only treating the symptoms, but throwing everything they usually do out the window.

As you stumble down the hall and into your child’s room, the only thing you’re thinking about is comforting them and putting them back to sleep as quickly as possible. For many parents that means that they’re feeding, patting, rocking, or otherwise putting their baby to sleep or laying with or bringing their preschooler to bed with them. It might not be what you intended to do, but it’s the path of least resistance in the middle of the night. Several nights might go by and your child is thankfully feeling better, yet they’re still waking in the night. Why? Well, unfortunately your good deeds of giving extra love and snuggles in the middle of the night have now given you a child who doesn’t want to do things the “old way”. Nope, they’re liking this new routine and are likely to fight you going back to their old routine where they were a good sleeper.

In order to avoid this scenario from happening to you (or again), next time they’re sick or teething try this: treat the symptoms and keep the expectations. That means that you would still check on your child, give them some medicine for pain or fever (if need be), wipe their nose, change their sheets if they vomited, and give some cuddles. The difference is that you give the cuddles, treat the symptoms, and then return the child back to their crib or bed so that they can go back to sleep on their own. Oftentimes, children aren’t fully awake when they’re crying or calling for you; they just know they’re not comfortable or are in pain. We assume they need us to do more than what I mentioned, but usually a good sleeper will take the medicine, the snuggles, the acknowledgment, and then turn over and go right back to sleep. That’s the goal! If they’re still upset, then give snuggles until the medicine starts to work or until they’ve calmed down, and then return them to their crib/bed. Take away here is to try not to create new habits you don’t want to continue moving forward. It can just take a day or two for your child to decide they like “option B” better!

 

Developmental Milestones:

If your child has learned a new skill (like rolling, walking, talking), they might want to try out those new skills during the time they spend in their crib. Oftentimes, the first time parents notice these nighttime disruptions is when their child has learned to roll. They will usually roll one way only, get stuck, and cry because they don’t like it. It can be a very long night of turning your child back over time and time again! Next you might notice they’ve discovered how to sit up in their crib, then pull themselves up at the bars, and finally maybe some jumping, walking, and talking. While we celebrate all of these things during the day, most of us don’t appreciate their practicing all night long!

The best way to handle these nighttime disturbances is to deal with them during the day. Let baby practice those new skills all day long! For instance, your baby might have recently figured out how to roll to her belly, so practice rolling her from her belly to her back during the day. If baby learned how to pull himself up but cannot get back down, then practice that during the day. The more practice they have during daytime hours, the quicker they will figure out how to do these things on their own at night. It might be a week or so though until things are back to normal, so in the meantime try to stay the course and not to change your nighttime expectations.

 

Injuries:

Injuries can quickly turn a good sleeper into a not-so-good sleeper! It could be a fall, bump, bruise, or even a splinter that can have your child filled with angst and anxiety about the whole incident. Of course, you’re going to comfort and take care of your child during their time of need. They might be fine throughout the day, only to realize come bedtime that now they’re upset or scared about it. Some kids will want to talk about these things when they happen or soon afterwards, and others will hold it in until bedtime approaches. It can seem like a stall tactic, but some children are honestly just “nighttime worriers”, as I call them. I have one of those kids myself! You never want to dismiss their feelings or fears, but you do want to be careful to not be too overindulgent in your support. While the concern might start out to be a legitimate one, a smart older child will quickly figure out that it’s working in their favor!

I was recently reminded last week how injuries can disrupt sleep for one or more family members, when one of my 7 year old twins fell at school during recess and broke her arm. She ended up needing to spend a night in the hospital and have surgery early Thanksgiving morning. It was a difficult time for her, her twin sister who was with us, and me, as she was in pain, her sister seemed to be in just as much pain as she was (through empathy), and I felt helpless. When it came to sleeping the night she would need to stay over at the hospital, we made the decision to have my husband spend the night with her so that I could finally go home after a long day at the hospital and get the other kids settled. I also needed to start Thanksgiving dinner early the next morning so that we could still have it later that day (crazy, I know)!

This sleepover meant that my little girl would have to sleep in a strange place with funny sounds, flashes of light, a splinted left arm, an IV in her right arm, and constant interruptions.  She didn’t have her sister in her room like she was used, but she did have her favorite stuffed animals. Things were clearly different for her, and also for her twin sister who was heartbroken to not have her roommate back at home. I ended up having to leave the door all the way open for her that night, something that I don’t normally do. This injury had our family scrambling, visiting the hospital, and adjusting to the crazy schedule for a long 24hr period that was supposed to be a joyous holiday time. It was certainly stressful on everyone, and because of that I needed to be flexible for all of my kids’ sakes. As parents, we do what we need to do when something goes wrong. You want your child or children to feel comfortable and soothed, so we make changes as needed.

That being said, I tried not to change too much for my other kids. My injured little one was more than happy to be home in her own bed after a terrible, scary experience. She was exhausted, emotional, and a little drugged up yet on Thanksgiving, which helped her get right back to her normal routine that night. When she cried in her sleep 2 hours later, I knew it was a mix of night terrors (from the sleep deprivation) and pain. I treated her symptoms with Motrin, repositioned her, and left. She never even remembered it the next morning (neither of them did)!  She didn’t need for me to do anything more than I did. Again, be flexible with an injury but not so much so that you’re creating a new set of habits that span over several days or more. It can be very difficult to go back to normal after all that extra comforting!

 

I wrote this blog because I can’t tell you how many times I have parents call me saying that they don’t know what happened. They’ll say, “Everything was great up until a few weeks ago. Now my child is waking up 2-4 times a night!” Then I’ll ask them what happened around that time (ie were they sick, teething, on vacation, new daycare, etc) and 90% of the time they’ll say that the child was sick or teething. Now, I’m not saying that it was the illness or teething that was the problem. Nope, it was what the parents did in response to that illness or teething wake up that was the beginning of the sleep issue. Sorry but yes it’s usually our fault as parents! I don’t tell you that to make you feel bad, but to make you recognize how quickly our positive reactions can yield negative results. But no need to worry about the roads we inadvertently travel down, because we can always make a few turns and get back to heading in the right direction!

 

*If you have dealt with any of this yourself, I’d love to hear from you! Please comment below about your situation and how you handled it!

 

**If you need help getting your child back on track, I can help! Contact me today to set up your free 15min phone call! Also, feel free to join my Facebook group, Gentle Parenting Solutions, where we talk about all kind of parenting related topics!