sleep questions

NAP TIME TRANSITION, GOING FROM TWo naps TO ONE + Q&A WITH A SLEEP SPECIALIST


TODDLERS & SLEEP


IMG_8177.JPG

Charlie is showing signs he is ready to transition to one nap. He hardly ever takes his afternoon nap, he just talks and plays in his crib then he begins to cry for a while before I get him. His afternoon nap is only happening about 30 percent of the time. 

His usual schedule is:

WAKE UP: 7 am

FIRST NAP:  9/9:30

SECOND NAP: 2:30

NIGHT TIME SLEEP: 7 pm 

I had no idea how to start the, "one nap per day transition" but I was lucky enough to meet sleep specialist, Hillary Catherine at the perfect time! Starting the transition anywhere between 12-19 months is normal, but 14 to 15 months is most common. Charlie is 17 months old, and with a brother on the way I figured we better start now. 

We had a call where I went over Charlie's sleep history, his current schedule, and what the issues were. She developed a very straight forward 6 step plan and sent it over to me the next day!  Please see below

TRANSITION SCHEDULE 

Hillary recommended we slowly move Charlie's nap later by 30 minutes every three days until he was going to sleep at noon. This put us on a 10 day nap transition plan. I was worried Charlie would get very sleepy in the mornings while we were implementing the plan. Hillary said this might happen, but suggested taking him outside or giving him a snack to perk him up. Taking him outside, even when it was chilly, definitely helped! She also let us know that it can take up to a month to fully adjust to one nap and a 1:00 pm naptime is the ultimate goal around 2 years of age.  

Q&A WITH HILLARY CATHERINE

Q: When should I transfer my toddler from his crib to a big kid bed?

A: Hold off as long as you can! Keeping your child in their crib will help them sleep
better and longer through the night. With a big kid bed comes big responsibilities. These
responsibilities can be difficult for a child under three to understand, which often leads
to greater difficulty falling asleep, night wakings, and middle of the night trips into your
room. The crib has been your child’s safe space, and the physical boundaries of a crib
create a sense of security. The only reason to switch to a big kid bed younger than
three would be for safety. If your toddler has started climbing out of their crib, despite all of your efforts to keep them from being able to do so, it is time to make the switch.
Safety is, of course, number one. Expect some challenges during this transition. The
best thing you can do to make the transition on your child easier is to be consistent with
your expectations and rules, especially in the early stages of transitioning.
 

Q: What about early risings? My toddler is always up so early!
 

A: There might be a fix for this, but it depends. If by early you mean 6:00am I have
some sad news for you. You might just have a child who is an early riser. As a parent of
an early riser I can sympathize with you, but it is just who they are! My best tips for you
are to make sure you hold to an early bedtime so that they get the sleep they need, you
buy a programmable coffee maker, and find a way to embrace the early morning.
However, if your child is up before 6:00am and is over 18 months old I would strongly
recommend investing in a toddler clock like the Ok to Wake Clock (HERE) or the Hatch Baby Rest Night Light (HERE). These clocks work better for older toddler who can understand the concept. These clocks will change colors at the wake up time you set, letting your little one know that it is ok to get out of bed. It might take a few days to teach them how it works. If your child comes to you before it is time to wake up you can gently return them to their room, explain the clock to them again, using simple terms like, “When the clock turns green that means it is time to wake up. It is not green yet, so it is still night-night time. Go back to sleep.” Keep in mind that toddlers see the world in black and white so it is important that you are extremely consistent when you introduce the new clock so they can learn and understand how it works.

Q: Some nights it feels like bedtime goes on forever. My kids end up getting so wound up that they won’t go to sleep and by the time they are in bed I am
exhausted.

 

A: We all want extra cuddles and smiles in the evening and peaceful bedtimes. We are
tired and we know our children are tired, so when bedtime gets out of hand it can be so
frustrating for everybody. The good news is that bedtime can be that good every night.
Many parents I have worked with say it is one of their favorite times of the day. I know it
is one of my favorite times. The key is having a routine and sticking to it. I recommend that a bedtime routine is 20-30 minutes total in length. The trick is making it exactly the
same every single night. Often the struggle comes down to the “one more story” line we
all know so well. My advice is to pick how many stories the bedtime routine will include
and then never read more. Although the routine sounds rigid and inflexible, what you
are doing is teaching your child what to expect. Toddlers thrive on routines -- and who
can blame them? If your child is struggling to stick to the routine you can make a
bedtime routine chart with images to help them understand.

If you have specific sleep concerns that are not addressed in this post reach out to Hillary, sleep@hillarycatherine.com, www.hillarycatherine.com to set up an appointment. I really enjoyed working with her around toddler sleep. She specializes in sleep at every age. 

 



DOULA Q&A


MOM LIFE & COFFEE WITH A DOULA 


Meet Margot! 

 My name is Margot Lowenstein Simmons and I was born to mother. I work to redefine the scope of doula. I am a trained postpartum doula, a certified breastfeeding counselor and a Sleep Savvy Gentle Sleep Coach. I bring my own personal humor and joy for family to my work. I provide truly nonjudgemental support and specialize in offering practical tips and tricks, coaching to ensure a happy, relaxed family unit,  transitioning to and from work, as well as the special experience of having toddlers!  Because - I think we could all use a little less judgement and little more doula. 

 

Margot answered a few of YOUR questions. 

I have a 16 month old and I'm due with my second next week. Any and all advice with routines for two babies would be great!

  • Congratulations!!  Having been a mom to 2 under 2, myself, I totally can say that while hard, this is also an amazing dynamic!  
  • The best advice I have on the managing of two babies - and really multiple children of any kind - is just to take stock and realize that sometimes it’s gonna work and sometimes it’s gonna fail. And when it works - it works brilliantly. And when it fails, it fails hard. Having realistic expectations and taking “failures” in stride and with perspective is imperative. 
  • Related to perspective, remember to find the time out for yourself. When you’re managing two babies, it’s easy to get lost in the ups and downs of the crazy. Taking moments away - real moments - from the start - where you can learn to rely on someone else to manage the logistics is invaluable. Not only will it allow you to feel sane - investing in teaching someone else “the way” will allow you to step away with much more ease when it’s getting to be too much. 
  • Finally, remember that there are moments when both kids will be synced up and moments when it’ll feel like they couldn’t be more out of tune with their needs. In the very beginning, it’s easier. Throwing new baby in the carrier and tending to toddler with two hands can be the norm - for bath time, for dinner, for naps on the go. As baby gets older and demands more of a schedule - look for efficiencies. Can baby be bathed at the same time as toddler?  Can you give baby a bottle or a boob while toddler eats dinner? Finding the synergies within your routines is clutch. Then, one day, you’ll look up and realize both kids are napping at the same time - and you’ll say to yourself - “holy $#*! - I have 30 mins to myself! What should I do?!”

Any advice on deciding for a RCS or VBAC? Any advice on how to have a successful VBAC?

  • Do your research and make your own choices within the context of your circumstances. Decide what feels right to you and advocate for it before and during your delivery. Remember…this is YOUR experience. It is unique to you and to this baby. It’s routine for your doctor. So, speak up. Even in an “emergency,” you can always ask for a couple of minutes to process and assess your feelings. Making your own choices is incredibly powerful. 
  • Don’t wait to speak up until you’re in the moment. Talk to your practitioner in the many weeks leading up to your delivery. Ask how many of his or her patients have successful VBAC attempts. Talk about what he or she sees as the likelihood of your being successful. Make him or her hear your wishes but also understand your practitioner’s POV. You need to go in eyes wide open to what your practitioner thinks and feels so there aren’t surprises about decisions that get made. If you don’t like what you’re hearing – consider a change. There are lots of women who late-term transfer and plenty of practitioners who accept them. 
  • Get support. If you really want the VBAC, consider whether you will feel strong enough – whether your partner will feel strong enough – to speak up in the face of nurses and doctors who may be saying scary things. If you even think you might feel intimidated – get the support of a doula or someone who can be your advocate – who has see successful VBACs – who has experience and who is in tune with your emotional and physical well-being. 
  • Most of all – go with your gut. It’s the surest way to no regrets. And regardless of how you deliver your baby – remember that it will be special for you and for that baby forever.  

 

Any tips on getting back to work life balance would be awesome. We had a great balance pre baby but we obviously have way more responsibility now.

  • Work/life balance is a funny thing – sort of a holy grail! First, own that it’s not going to look like it was before. Mourn the loss – it’s okay! Sometimes we beat ourselves up for feeling sad that we yearn for our pre-baby lives – but it’s normal. We just don’t talk about it. So, go ahead and say it out loud. Having a baby isn’t all fun – it’s amazing – but it’s hard!
  • Then, consider what were the most “good-feeling” parts of that balance before baby. Was it that you never had to race out before your work was done to get home to relieve a nanny or pick up a baby from day care? Was it that you didn’t have to choose between the gym and work and seeing your baby? Isolate the biggest points of frustration – then you can go about resolving the biggest pain points. 
  • Make a plan. Don’t look at singular days – look at weeks – and chunk them out on your Google or Outlook calendar. Don’t exist in the tyranny of the urgent; you’ll never feel like you have balance.  Block off your “work” time, your family bonding time, your YOU time (don’t forget this one!!), your friend time, etc. Consider each category important and treat it like you’d treat meetings with your boss. If you have to move a family thing because something at work came up – you don’t LOSE that family thing – you move it somewhere else. 
  • And, partner with your partner. Talk things out and make sure you are clear on what each of you is responsible for. Maybe one night per week is your “stay however late I need to” night and your partner is on baby duty. Maybe he is the baby supply Amazon order captain and you’re the fridge is stocked boss lady. Sharing the “wealth” is important so resentments don’t build up. I’m a HUGE advocate of talking this out before your baby even arrives. Ask me more about that! 

 

SLEEP. My baby is 3 months old. Great naps, falls asleep on his own for naps but not bed time. Sleeps thru the night but getting him down at night is a struggle. Any advice? 

  • First of all – your three month old sleeps through the night!!! Pat on the back, mama! This is the exception – not the rule! So celebrate small victories. Sometimes it seems like everyone else has sleep “easy” but I assure you the dirty little secret is that EVERYONE tackles a sleep challenge. 
  • The struggle you’re experiencing could be caused by a range of things. But, for anyone struggling with some issue with their nighttime sleep routine, my biggest suggestion is to go back to basics. 
    • Examine how much sleep your baby is getting in 24 hours. Are they getting too little or too much? There is a range! 
    • Make sure your babe isn’t getting over-stimulated before bedtime. I’m a HUGE advocate of circadian rhythms. Make sure your baby gets exposed to daylight during the day and darkness at night. In the hours between dusk and bedtime, take your baby outside and let them experience the sun setting and darkness arriving (even for 10 minutes). When you come back in – turn your screens off and your lights low. 
    • Consider a really good “getting ready for bed” routine and keep it consistent every night. Maybe a walk, a bottle or nurse, a bath, a song or book and then into bed. Keep it consistent.