sleep

SLEEP GUIDANCE & OUR JOURNEY


Our experience getting Ford to sleep through the night  


Sleep is hard to come by these days. I miss those Friday nights that would end with, "Well, let's just see what time we wake up". While those types of weekends will be a thing of the past for at least a decade, there are things you can do to help set your household up for "success" which I know is always a messy word with kids. The first few months are usually filled with sleepless nights but let's also look at those first 2 years. 

First, I am going to talk about how offering Ford sleep guidance went and then I'm going to talk about our sleep journey as parents. 

I waited until 8 months to offer sleep guidance to Charlie. I hate the word training...sleep training. It sounds so cruel. Charlie slept in our room until he was seven months old and even though Ray wanted to start offering sleep guidance much earlier, I just couldn't do it. Charlie was on the thin side and I didn't think he could handle it. When we did it at 8 months old and it only took a few days and  I immediately regretted waiting so long. 

This time around has been very different. Ford is a much bigger baby and he feeds for comfort off and on throughout the night. I just went back to work and came to terms that I just can't be a human pacifier any longer. Our doctor said we could even start before four months but I felt most comfortable there. Yes, I am aware of the AAPs view on sleeping in the same room as the baby. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), "The best place for a baby to sleep is in his parents' bedroom. He should sleep in his own crib or bassinet (or in a co-sleeper safely attached to the bed), but shouldn't be in his own room until he is at least 6 months, better 12 months."

If you move your baby out of your room earlier, like we are, I would just be extra cautious around having a safe sleeping environment. As a working mom of two under two with a baby that was only waking up in the middle of the night to breastfeed for comfort, I decided to move him at four months since I felt he would be worse off crying for milk in the middle of the night when he knew it was right beside him. 

Our sleep training plan was very straight forward.

We agreed to move Ford into his own room but kept him in his bassinet and Dockatot since he was already very familiar with his sleep set up. I use a noisemaker, the lollipop baby monitor plus the v-tech sound monitor. I use the Oillie swaddle since he is so snug in it, I figured that paired with the Dockatot would offer womb like comfort. I also slept on a sofa near his room for the first 10 days because I felt guilty. I never let Ford fall asleep with a pacifier because I wanted him to learn to fall asleep without any sleep props. He also cries when he drops the paci and there's no way in hell I'm going to be running back and forth all night. 

As I said, I did feel guilty. To get over that guilt I decided to start thinking about it differently. My baby has been waking up throughout the night greeted each time with warm milk that helped him drift right back to sleep. Instead of helping him learn how to put himself back to sleep and teaching him that it wasn't morning time, I was just too exhausted to deal with that and would "put a bandaid" on the entire situation by just whipping my boob out so I could get back to bed. Though of course this was the right thing to do for the first few months, it was now time to offer Ford some sleep guidance. 

I would also like to point that as adults we wake up multiple times per night and roll over and go back to sleep. Instead of going back to sleep (this is what we want to teach our babies to do) they just cry. We think they must be hungry so we feed them. They just need help getting back to sleep. Unfortunately feeding them isn't the long term answer. 

THE PLAN

We decided to let him wake up and cry for a few minutes before going in. I started with setting the time around 10 minutes, even though our doctor said it would be ok to go an hour. I quickly learned going in after such a short time made things worse. We quickly moved the 10 minutes to waiting 15 minutes (it was so hard) but that extra 5 minutes made a huge difference. Ford never even made it to 15 minutes but 12-13 minutes seemed to be his sweet spot.

We put Ford to bed at 7 pm with the hope we could get him to sleep every night from 7 p.m - 6 a.m. 

The first few nights he was pissed. He woke up around 4 times a night but every night he would eventually put himself back to sleep after 10-12 minutes.

By night six I saw significant improvements. He dropped one of his wake ups. A few days later he dropped another. Listening to him cry was hard but as the days went on he slept longer and longer periods between wake ups and cried less and less.

By two weeks Ford was sleeping from 7 p.m - 6 a.m straight through the night. I check my Lollipop monitor app every morning and he might moan or let out one cry here and there but the only time he cries now is if he gets out of his swaddle.

It was a very long 2 weeks, but the key is not to give in and not to give up. The moment you give in and offer a feed you set back the progress. That being said it's ok if you can't handle it and do this. Nothing is perfect and you will have set backs. We went away last weekend and I think the change in environment threw Ford off so I offered him a feeding at 5 am when he woke up at 4:30 am crying. I immediately regretted it when he then woke up looking for that same feeding at the same time the next morning. 

My takeaway for you is: Consistency is KEY

OUR SLEEP JOURNEY AS PARENTS

The moment Ray found our we were pregnant he vocalized his opinions around sleep and kids. He witnessed the benefits his sister experienced with a good sleep schedule and really thought setting up some sleep boundaries would do wonders for us and our children. I have to say that looking back on our sleep journey with Charlie it really has been a blessing. 

Charlie goes to sleep every night at 7 pm and wakes up around 7am. He takes a nap at noon everyday and sleeps anywhere from 2-4 hours. He rarely fights us and sometimes even dives into bed. He sleeps in a sleeping bag swaddle and started taking a pacifier to bed around 8 months old. He has never been allowed to fall asleep in our bed, EVER. Like not even once. I'd be lying if I didn't say I would love to have him fall asleep in my arms a few times cuddled in bed but it's not even worth starting bad habits. Having a well rested child was tops on the list of our priorities when it came to raising kids. These work for our family and we've had great success. I believe most of it is due to consistency for which I have to thank my husband. At the same time we are in no way the type of parents that rush home on a Saturday just to get the kids in their cribs by noon for nap time. We try to also be flexible and realistic. That's why creating a sleep environment on the go is also very important to us for the times we can't make it home. My go to sleep tools for sleep on the go are the Hushh noise maker, HERE and our sleep shade, HERE. 

I also would like to note that just because Ford is sleeping well now doesn't mean his sleep schedule will never change. There are sleep regressions that we still will most likely run into but for now I'm very pleased with this outcome. 

Pacifier Weaning


mrs.nipple & weaning

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Pacifiers are such great tools for the beginning of a child's life. They offer so much comfort and help free up some time for us mamas! They also reduce the risk of SIDS, satisfy the sucking reflux, and help them self soothe. When your baby hits age 2, it's time to start thinking about weaning. This is because all of the negatives start outweighing the positives between age 2-4. Though it is a wide range I have decided to stay on the safe side and wean early. 

“Before age 2, any problems with growing teeth usually self-correct within 6 months of stopping pacifier use,” says Evelina Weidman Sterling, PhD, MPH, co-author of Your Child's Teeth: A Complete Guide for Parents.

After the 2-year mark, problems can start. Your baby's top or bottom front teeth may slant or tilt, Sterling says. And the problem can worsen as time goes on.

“Pacifier use after age 4, which is when permanent teeth start to come in, can have major long-lasting effects on adult teeth,” she says.

Charlie is 22 months old. He uses his pacifier during naps, at night, and for car rides. He also uses it here and there throughout the day for comfort. I did not want to do anything "cold turkey" since he has such an attachment to his pacifier and I wanted him to be very much involved in the weaning  process. He also has been caught removing his 4 month old baby brother’s pacifier and putting it in his mouth. This is another reason he really needs to be part of the process. Charlie and Ford use the same type of pacifier. I really love the Natursutten pacifiers and I'm just not willing to give his brother any other brand for long term use. 

We just started the weaning process and my goal is to remove it from his routine completely by mid October. I am doing it in stages. 

Stage 1: Focus on Charlie taking his pacifier out of his mouth and leaving it in his crib without removing it myself. I think I’ll give him up to 20 minutes before I would eventually intervene. My goal would be for Charlie never to use his pacifier when we are in the house or out & about unless we are in the car. 

Stage 2: Once he starts taking the pacifier out of his mouth on his own when he wakes up before we go downstairs and leaves it in his crib without me asking for at least 7 days in a row, I will then stop the pacifier use in the car. For the first week I plan on giving him a new little toy or something to distract him in the car and hopefully he will not miss it. During this time I will also stop using it for naps. I am going to introduce a new stuffed animal and book during this time.

Stage 3: After napping successfully without his pacifier for seven days I am then going to remove his pacifier during nighttime sleep. I again will introduce a new stuffed animal and book. 

Stealing pacifiers: If and when Charlie takes his brother’s pacifier out of his mouth and puts it in his own, I am going to use those as teaching moments stressing the fact that he is now a big boy and big boys don't use pacifiers. I will also remind him pacifiers are for babies and Ford is a baby. If this doesn't work (I have a feeling it's not going to be a perfect transition) I will use the 123 Magic/timeout theory where he may spend a few minutes in timeout if he doesn’t obey after 3 tries. 

This is my own plan and I have not tried this in full yet. I will share our progress on instagram so please follow along if you are interested. Stay tuned! Wish us luck. 

If you want a three day plan read below:

Your child can be binky-free in just three days, says Mark L. Brenner, author of Pacifiers, Blankets, Bottles & Thumbs: What Every Parent Should Know About Stopping and Starting (Fireside). Here's how to do it.

Day 1: In the morning and at bedtime, tell your child that you can see she wants to do lots of things that make her older. Tell her that's a good idea, and that in three days it will be time for her to say goodbye to her pacifiers. Tell her you know she can do it and that you'll work together on it. Keep the talk to 30 seconds and don't sound as if you're asking permission. If your child responds, reflect back her feelings—"I know you don't want to"—then move on. Don't worry that your child will become anxious if given advance warning. "That's a myth," says Brenner. "Like adults, children like to prepare themselves physically, psychologically, and emotionally for change."

Day 2: Repeat the same 30-second talk twice daily, only replace "in three days" with "tomorrow." Don't try to sell her on the idea. Keep your tone and manner matter-of-fact.

Day 3: Remind your child that it's day three and time to gather up his pacifiers. Act as if you're going on a scavenger hunt and ask your child if he'd like to help. Even if he refuses and protests, proceed to collect his pacifiers, place them in a plastic bag, and put them on the front step for "pick-up by the recycling truck." Explain that the pacifiers will be made into new tires or toys. "Children recognize that recycling is purposeful and intelligent, and will be far less upset than if you throw their treasured pacifiers in the trash," says Brenner. Which is not to say your toddler won't have a meltdown. Be empathetic, but firm, Brenner says, adding that most children get over losing their pacifiers within 48 hours.

 

 

 

5 SLEEP TIPS FOR YOUR BABY

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I ran into Hillary today at Music Together in Greenwich. She is a sleep specialist and she noticed I looked exhausted....I mean what mom of an 8 week old and 20 month old isn't?! right?! She shared 5 very simple and easy to follow sleep tips with me to both help set Ford up for success and help me get some sleep. I used all of these with Charlie when he was a baby and he is now an excellent sleeper. She reminded me to start implementing them with Ford! How soon we forget :) 

 

AVOID SLEEP PROPS

Babies should learn to fall asleep on their own without external props in order to avoid night wakings. These props are usually used to help babies fall asleep but are not there when the babies wake up. They include pacifiers, rocking your baby to sleep or letting your child fall asleep in your arms and then putting them in their crib. When your baby wakes up and realizes they are not in the exact environment they fell asleep in, they are more likely to get upset. The props I do use and think are fine include a noise maker and the Ollie swaddle. These tools are okay because they do not change from the moment the baby goes to sleep to any night wakings.

SCHEDULES

Keep your baby on an EAT-PLAY-SLEEP schedule to help ensure they sleep their best. This is a great one. If you feed your child and let them fall asleep, they will always associate feeding with sleep. It is not a good habit to start. If you follow the EAT-PLAY-SLEEP rule you will teach your baby to fall asleep on their own, without the help of the breast or bottle. The earlier you teach your baby self-soothing skills, the happier everyone will be. You will also be setting your baby up for success in the future when breast/bottle feeding will be replaced with solids. The less sleep associations you have to wean your baby off of, the better. 

EARLY BEDTIME

The best bedtimes are usually between 6 and 8 pm. An early bedtime will prevent your child from becoming overtired, which can make it difficult to settle down to sleep. We put both Ford (8 weeks) and Charlie (20 months) down at 7:00 pm. Charlie wakes up between 7 am & 8 am and Ford slept until 4:30 am last night! Having an early bedtime not only breeds more sleep, but it also gives my husband and I some adult time. 

ROUTINES

A soothing bedtime routine will help your child drift to sleep peacefully. A bedtime routine should be anywhere between 20 - 30 minutes. Believe it or not, Charlie both started sleeping in longer stretches and going to bed peacefully when we started to implement a 20 minute bedtime routine. He now knows exactly what is going on and has that time to understand that he is going to bed. My husband bathes him, puts him in his jammies in our bedroom and gives him his bottle as they talk or read for a little while. My husband then lets Charlie turn off all the hallway lights and Charlie says goodnight to all the hanging animal pictures. He then grabs the tags of his two lovies and goes down 99 percent of the time by trying to dive into his crib. 

CONSISTENCY IS KEY

Keeping your child's sleep routine consistent provides security and comfort. It also helps your child understand what is expected of them.  The routine will not work if you do not do it consistently. These 5 tips will not start working right away, so be sure to stick with it!!! Consistency is key!! 

 

Here is Hillary's info! You can also find our go-to sleep tools below :) Everything but the rock n' play! We use that during the day with Ford but not at night. 

 HILLARY CATHERINE SLEEP CONSULTING

SLEEP@HILLARYCATHERINE.COM I 475.328.0230

WWW.HILLARYCATHERINE.COM


SLEEP & HOW TO GET SOME