Take a listen to one of my favorite conversations I had with Armenian Women Empowerment host Jackie Marashlian! It’s a conversation around parenthood, motherhood, and the cultural/societal norms of Armenian moms. Grab a cup of tea and take a listen…you don’t want to miss this!!
How many of you feel like you got onto some form of a routine the moment you had your baby, whether you wanted to or not? How many of you feel it may have actually helped keep feeds and sleep in some order?
Babies do not come with instructions, but we can always improve our ways in which we help them thrive. One of the ways I help families is by having a candid conversation around sleep habits, even before sleep training.
A great rule of thumb in building healthy sleep habits really do come down to these:
Schedule – allows you to keep your baby on a good nap schedule, so to prevent them from becoming overtired. This, in return, allows your baby to go down more peacefully and sleep a longer stretch at nights.
Routine – builds predictability in your process, and helps your child know what comes next. Sometimes this may come with tears as they don’t want to go to bed yet, but turn this into a consistent habit, and you are also building on your child’s confidence altogether.
Approach – last but definitely NOT least. If anything, this is THEE most important piece to the pie. HOW you have your child fall asleep can set the tone of what they will expect from sleep. In other words, the expectations will either come from you, or themselves, in order to fall asleep. One of the KEY reasons why I work with families is for this particular factor.
If you want to build healthy sleep habits, I promise you, you will need all three to work cohesively. One off, and sleep will continue to be a conversation at your home.
If you want more tips, grab my FREE tips guide and let me know what you think!
Sleep well! Xo
Ahhh nap time, the most sacred time of the day where we get to have a moment to ourselves, am I right Mamas??
But, truth be told, most days it can be hard to tell how long our little ones will actually nap. Will they take their full nap(s)? Will I get to finish that load of laundry, or get to finish cooking dinner? How about just be able to put my feet up to rest while they rest??
Naps can be a struggle, I get it! It’s ALL about the right timing. When is it too early to put them down? When is it too late? Did you know that an under tired and over tired baby can sound and seem quite similar? But, ARE they really?? Let’s take a closer look…
Under tired baby: Typically will be alert, got a good amount of energy, and will fight nap time.
Over tired baby: SEEM alert, full of energy but more like they’re caffeinated type of energy, whine and fight nap time, even though they are showing more subtle signs of being tired, such as:
* Arching back
* Distant stare
* Shaking head from side to side
* Pulling/tugging the ears
* Swaying back and forth if in crawling position
Here’s a simple rule to keep in mind when deciding on when is the right time to put your baby down for a nap. I call it, the 30/45 Rule:
If baby has taken a nap that lasted LESS THAN 1hr, bump up the next nap by 30 minutes.
If baby has REFUSED a nap entirely, bump up the next nap by 45mins, I’ll even say 1hr if they’re really cranky!
The 30/45 Rule is simple: Gauge on when your baby was up, and time how long they should be up based on their age:
So, 0-3mos up no more than 60mins
4-6mos about 2-2.15hrs
6-12mos about 2.5-3.5hrs
If there’s anything you want to take away from the 30/45 rule is to keep an eye on the clock! Do NOT give in to the myth to keep the baby up longer so they can knock out quicker. All that will do is create an unhealthy sleep pattern, based on ZERO nap structure, inadequate amount of daytime sleep, and poor sleep hygiene.
Hope these tips help you out today and let me know how the 30/45 Rule works out for you!
Sleep Well! Xo
Daylight savings is coming up! Most parents don’t mind it so much in the fall when they gain an extra hour, but it sends fear through people’s bones when they hear they are going to have to lose an hour of sleep!
So here it is:
If I had my way, there would not be a daylight savings time. I think it really does affect not only children’s sleep patterns but adults, too. In fact, statistically, there is an 8% increase in traffic accidents the Monday after daylight savings time kicks in. It really does have an effect on all of us, and it can 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. That is usually why people notice it the most in young children.
So what is the best way to handle it? My advice is to “split the difference.”
For “Fall Back”:
My recommendation to all parents is just to leave the clocks alone so it’s not a psychologically upsetting event to see your little one up an hour earlier. Just get up at your usual time and start the day. After your cup of coffee and a bit of breakfast, then you can go around changing the clocks. It will feel much better this way, trust me!
If, for example, your little one usually takes a morning nap around 9:30, you will adjust this to 9:00 for the three days after the time change. It will be a bit of a push for your child, but not so much that it will cause much damage to her schedule. Do the same for the afternoon nap.
Let’s say your child usually goes to bed at 7 p.m. I recommend putting that child to bed at 6:30 p.m. for the first three days following the time change. (This will FEEL like 7:30 to your child.) And it will take about a week for your child’s body to get used to this. It takes everybody’s body roughly one week to adjust any kind of change in sleeping habits.
If you have children over the age of two, you can put a digital clock in the room and put a piece of tape over the minutes, so that they can see if it is 6 o’clock or 7 o’clock, but they cannot see the minutes, which often confuses toddlers. Just set the clock forward half an hour so that at 6:30 it says 7:00 and let them get up a little earlier than normal, knowing that, by the end of the week, they will be back on track and sleep until their normal wakeup time.
If you are dealing with a baby, you cannot do that. Do not rush in as soon as you hear your baby waking up, because you do not want to send a message that getting up at 6 a.m. is okay now.
So if she normally wakes at 7:00, but is now up at 6:00, you will wait till ten after the first day, and then twenty after the next, then 6:30 the next day and, by the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and waking up at their usual hour.
On the fourth night, just get in line with the new time so your baby is back to going to bed when the clock says 7:00 pm. Adjust naps to the correct time on day 4 as well.
For “Spring Forward”:
The same “split the difference” rule applies. So if naptime was usually 9:30, it’s now 10:00 a.m. The same goes for the afternoon nap, and bedtime is 7:30. This will mean that your baby is going to bed a little earlier or sooner than the normal wait between sleeps, but again it’s not so much so that it’s going to interfere with her schedule too much. It may take her a bit more time to fall asleep since she may not be as tired, but in a week’s time she will be back on track again.
On day and night 4, move to the correct time on the clock again.
Give it time and know that your baby will get back on schedule within a week, possibly two.
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There are so many questions asked around sleep training a baby – I get it! I was one of those first-time Moms with a crying baby, who just wouldn’t sleep! Of course I leaned on Google, my cyber BFF, and lo and behold, there IS help!!
BUT, the real question is, how do you know what to read and who to trust? How do you know what sleep training method will work on your child? And most important, what will ACTUALLY help get my baby to finally learn to fall asleep independently time and time again? Personally, that is my favorite one to investigate.
SO, in order to help alleviate some of the googling on your end, I have compiled the top 5 questions, most frequently asked on Google, and provided some answers, solutions, resolutions…call it whatever you want! This, I hope, will give you a much better sense of relief as to the significance of sleep training, and a good sense of direction as to where you are with your baby’s sleep habits, what you are looking for in terms of training and solutions, and more!
Without further ado, here are the top 5 questions asked on Google regarding sleep training a baby:
1. When should you start sleep training your baby?
You will read SO many opinions as to when the right time is to sleep train a baby. Professionally speaking, when I consult with parents on this topic, I always have the question asked back to them. In other words, I ask “do you feel ready to sleep train your baby?” The fact of the matter is, there are many methods that can be worked with babies at different ages and stages of their growth. But the one thing that can determine the success of sleep training is whether the individual (parent, nanny, grandparent, etc) who will be actively sleep training the baby, will be consistent in the sleep training process. No matter what method you use, if there is no consistency, do not expect sleep training to necessarily be effective.
2. How long do you let a baby cry it out?
Great question! Sleep training is NOT about letting your baby just “cry it out” until they pass out. Unfortunately, this is the stigma that is seen as by some. With the right tools, the right method, and the right approach, sleep training can be quite rewarding for baby and family! This is where your Certified Sleep Coach comes in to place…to ensure you with the right tools and measures.
The way I describe The Sleep Nest’s sleep training is that we work together to build healthy sleep habits. It is about replacing a negative sleep habit with a healthier, and independent sleep measures. Is there some crying involved, yes. No sugar coating, it is not an overnight problem solver (sleep training, that is). It may take a few nights and few days before you see consistent and improved sleep habits in your baby. The GOOD news is that crying has never really been diagnosed as a negative. Yes, cortisol levels rise during crying, but that is the case even when your child is crying in the middle of the day for any reason. By following the steps outlined in your sleep plan, The Sleep Nest’s sleep training method will NOT have your baby crying for hours on end, and will get your baby learning more quickly how to soothe themselves to sleep.
3. Is sleep training necessary for babies?
Here’s how I look at sleep training: if your baby is having trouble sleeping, and it has now become a problem in your family, where sleep is compromised for Mom and Dad, affecting your job because you are now too tired and cannot concentrate at work, cannot drive without losing focus or falling asleep at the wheel, or one parent has resorted to sleeping on the couch or in the baby’s room in order to get the baby to sleep, and is affecting your relationship, then you might want to book a call to learn more about how we can resolve your current situation.
Ask yourself these questions: Is it affecting your quality of life because you are not functioning at your best in being the parent and the professional you need to be? Is your baby’s sleep habits troubling you? On a scale of 1-10, how bad is your baby’s sleep? In an ideal world, what would you change about your baby’s sleep, and are you willing to make some changes to get there?
Only YOU can answer these questions. As your Coach, I will only provide you with solutions and motivation for when you DO decide to sleep train. Never is it my intention to pressure anyone to sleep train. Like the saying goes, “to each their own” and I fully respect any and all decisions made around your child and your family.
4. How do I get my baby to fall asleep on his or her own?
Ahhh the 64 thousand dollar question (wait, is it still worth $64K or did that appreciate?) This is by far THEE most asked question on Google (my facts, I’m pretty sure!) Well, you may have tried some things that have worked for a period of time, such as: feeding, rocking, holding, co-sleeping inside the crib (personal fave I won’t lie) strolling, driving around until the sun comes up, you get the picture.
But, how long have they worked? 2 months? 5 months? 9 months??? The point is, it doesn’t work long term. That is why you have been googling this question at this point, or are reading this now and saying to yourself “omg yes! That’s me right now!!!”
Well, the bad news is, it WON’T really work permanently because 1-babies outgrow on their need for milk, mobility and sleep hours. In other words, we (the parent) builds a personal habit around it and sticks to the same plan day in, day out. And 2-at some point the parent is done and is SO tired at this point that they’re not willing to continue on 1 more sleepless night of treacherous attempts.
But, the GOOD news is that you don’t have to do the work for your baby! I know, sounds so simple. Yet, it is. Building on a habit takes time, period. Just like it took a certain time to get your baby used to falling asleep on you or the bottle, etc, it is a matter of breaking that habitual cycle and instilling new and healthier measures. This, is where sleep training comes in.
5. Is sleep training harmful?
Ahhh the elephant in the room question. I will keep this short and sweet. No, no it doesn’t. There are no known peer-reviewed studies done to this day that factually show that sleep training is “harmful”. However, I will say that it is not for every child. The only way to see if sleep training is for your baby and family is to consult with a Certified Sleep Coach and discuss what your baby’s sleep conditions are, and whether he or she is a good candidate for sleep training, and whether or not you are ready to commit.
If you are ready to talk, I’m here to listen! Book a FREE 15min consultation today!
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If you are looking for baby sleep guidelines, toddler nap routines, or sleep training strategies, then you’ve come to the right place!