Category Archives: Baby Sleep News RSS

Top 10 Best Sleep Sacks for Baby’s Sleep0

Parents are often concerned about whether their baby is too cold or too hot to sleep well. And, we want babies to sleep as much as possible. When it’s time to stop swaddling your baby, we advise you to transition to a sleep sack. Here are the top 10 best baby sleep sacks that can help your sleep better, in no particular order.

Zipadee-Zip Sleep Sack

We have been recommending the Zipadee-Zip for a very long time. It’s a great swaddle transition product because your baby will likely feel more secure, allowing them to sleep better at night and at nap time. The primary feature of the Zipadee-Zip is the “wings” that cover your baby’s hands without restricting movement. There are many sizes and patterns available for purchase. The product is of great quality, and we have heard many clients rave about this sleep sack!

Woolino 4 Season Sleep Sack

The Woolino 4 Season Ultimate Baby Sleep Bag Sack has been a top seller for over a decade, and for good reason. Merino wool is very soft, hypoallergenic, and temperature regulating. This award-winning sleep bag isn’t cheap; however, you won’t need to buy separate sacks for different seasons, AND you can use this sleep sack until the age of 2 years old. That means you won’t have to buy a new size every few months like with some of the others. It also has four shoulder snaps and a 2-way zipper for easy dressing and diaper changes. Highly recommend this sleep sack!

Love To Dream Swaddle Up

If you are in the market for a sleep sack but you aren’t sure whether your baby is ready to stop being swaddled just yet, the Love To Dream Swaddle Up Transition Bag is a great choice! It has patented zip-off “wings” so you can easily and gradually help your baby adjust to the “freedom” of being unswaddled. If necessary, you can zip on and off the wings to guide your baby to a sleep sack over time. Once you are ready to permanently lose the swaddle, simply keep the wings off.

Halo Sleep Sack

The HALO Sleepsack is a classic, and a great sleep sack for babies. The most notable feature of the HALO Sleepsack is that it has a double zipper to make diaper changes easier. The sleep sack is made from polyester micro-fleece and is sleeveless to reduce the risk of overheating. And, it comes in a variety of sizes, from baby to toddler, as well as colors. It also comes with a reminder to put your baby on their back to sleep. We think this sleep sack is a solid choice, and it’s not as expensive as some of the others.

Bitta Kidda Sleep Sack

The Bitta Kidda Soother Sleeping Bag is very innovative. It is unsafe to have anything loose in the crib with your baby until they are at least a year old. But, this sleep sack comes with an attached lovey, which can help your baby learn to self-soothe without being able to lose the lovey, or throw it out of the crib. This is perfect for tactile babies like my second son. This sleep sack also has a patent-pending diagonal zipper to make diaper changes easier, but not so easy that your baby can unzip it themselves. This can become an issue as your baby becomes a toddler who wants to skip a nap. There is also an internal diaper cover similar to a onesie so the sleep sack moves with your baby. Very clever!

Burt’s Bees Wearable Blanket

The Burt’s Bees Wearable Blanket is nothing fancy but highly-rated. It is 100% cotton, comes in a variety of colors and patterns, and has a double zipper for easier diaper changes like many of the others. The price is right, and if your baby doesn’t need any “bells and whistles,” this is a great way to have a safe blanket on your baby. Keep in mind, it isn’t the warmest of blankets, so be sure to dress your baby appropriately and set the room temperature to be conducive to sleep

Simple Joy’s by Carter’s Sleeping Bag

These wearable blankets, Simple Joys by Carter’s are another highly-rated 100% cotton sleep sack we recommend. There is a tab on the sack that covers the zipper to keep it away from your baby’s chin and neck. That makes it harder for your toddler to unzip it (which can become a problem). These are definitely budget-friendly, given they are sold in a pack of 3, and will get the job done! The biggest drawback is finding these in larger sizes.

Amazing Baby Transitional Swaddle Sack

The Amazing Baby Transitional Swaddle Sack is another product that can help your baby transition from swaddle to sleep sack more easily. The mitten cuffs cover your baby’s hands, which will gently suppress the moro reflex. But, it is not as restrictive as a swaddle. This means if your baby rolls onto their tummy, they can use their arms to lift themselves up, which is important for safety. You can take one or both mittens off to allow your baby to self-soothe by using their hands and fingers. As with most of the others options, this sleep sack has a 2-way zipper to help with diaper changes and is 100% cotton.

TILLYOU All-Season Micro-Fleece Baby Sleep Bag

The TILLYOU micro-fleece baby sleep bag is another all-season sleep sack, according to the manufacturer. This sleep sack comes in a variety of sizes and also has the double-zipper with a cover at the top to protect your baby’s skin. This is not a fancy sleep sack and comes in basic colors. If you like simple, this is a great choice for you and your baby.

Hudson Baby Muslin Sleeping Bag

The Hudson Muslin Sleeping Bag is another basic sleep sack made of muslin cotton. Muslin cotton is a more breathable cotton which is likely best in a warmer climate. This sleep sack comes in a variety of unisex patterns so you can use it with multiple children. These are another budget-friendlier option without bells and whistles.

You Might Also Be Interested In: Zipadee Zip vs. Love To Dream Swaddle Up

The post Top 10 Best Sleep Sacks for Baby’s Sleep appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

Drinking Water Before Bed: Good or Bad?0

Hydration is extremely important throughout the day, and there’s no better drink than water, which we consume daily to hydrate our body, and to restore and cushion our tissues and joints. It isn’t a surprise that water makes up more than 75% of our body mass. However, is drinking water before bed a good idea? In this article, we’re going to break down the benefits of drinking water at night, as well as the drawbacks. Read on!

Water is the most essential drink we could consume. With that in mind, it doesn’t surprise us that you think you should drink it before bed. On most occasions, people who’ve missed taking enough fluids throughout the day think that it’s a good idea to make up for the liquid loss in the night. Still, that can be an extremely bad idea depending on how close to bed you drink and whether you have certain health conditions.

What Is The Amount Of Water You Need Per Day?

Our body uses water to channel toxic waste through urination and bowel movement. That means that while we take water that is beneficial to us, we also lose it by breathing, sweating, urination, and bowel movements. That’s why it’s important to take water consistently and constantly replenish the water supply, especially if you require more water per day or live in drier and hotter regions.

One way of doing that aside from drinking water itself is to drink water-rich beverages, while also consuming food rich in water. Now, let’s calculate how much water a healthy adult that lives in a mild climate needs.

According to The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the perfect value for water intake includes:

  • 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for adult males.
  • 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids for adult females.

We refer to fluids because water intake doesn’t only reach our body through daily water intake, but also other beverages and foods that contain water. The academic facility also stated that the daily fluid intake should come from 80% drinks and 20% food.

What About the 8 x 8 Rule?

If you’ve heard about the 8 x 8 rule, you’re not alone. If you haven’t, however, there’s the advice that states that drinking eight 8-ounce water classes a day would have various health benefits for our body. Moreover, it’s easy to remember so you won’t have trouble catching up to meet your “daily goal.”

While this is a great way to motivate people to drink water and keep track of their intake, the water taking preferences differ and vary for many people. Those who aren’t too physically active and don’t live in hotter regions, even fewer glasses could suffice.

On the other hand, some people would require more due to their health conditions or weight. Finally, for some people, it may be enough. There’s no better indicator of water than our own body and thirst. That said, you should drink water whenever you feel thirsty.

Things That Influence Water Intake

If you find yourself doing things listed below and feel thirsty, you may need to change your relationship with water and drink more or less water, based on your needs.

Exercising

If you engage in physical activities that contribute to fluid loss such as sweating, you will need to drink additional glasses of water to replenish your water supply. Expert advises taking water before, during, and after a workout. However, the water intake during workouts should be in the form of short sips so you wouldn’t catch a cold when your body heats up. Those who practice intense workout sessions may need extra water or a sports drink that is rich in minerals and electrolytes that can feed you nutritional values.

Climate

Depending on whether the environment you live in is more hot and dry or humid and rainy, you will experience different necessities for water and fluids in particular. Those who sweat a lot as a result of temperature fluctuations may need more water to sustain themselves. On the other side, some people who live in the mountains and higher altitudes may be more prone to dehydration.

General Health

Sometimes, the overall health state may reveal more about your hydration needs. If you get ill, your fever, nausea, throwing up, and diarrhea will lead to fluid loss, demanding more thirst from us. Based on what doctors recommended, plan your fluid intake accordingly. There are also a lot of oral rehydration solutions that your doctor will prescribe you to replenish the lost fluids. Additionally, people who suffer from bacterial bladder infections and urinary tract infections will also require more water to get rid of the problems.

Drinking Water Before Bed And Maternity

When women are expecting, their metabolism goes under a set of metabolic and hormonal changes to help the baby grow and prepare it for the arrival. With that in mind, we prepared a little section on how maternity affects water intake.

Pregnancy

Women who are expecting are eating, drinking, and walking for two. With that in mind, they spend more energy compared to the average person. It’s of extreme importance for them to drink water frequently as well as eat. It is recommended for pregnant women to drink at least 10 cups of water.

Breastfeeding

Also, women who are breastfeeding should also stay hydrated for the sake of the quality of the milk. Excess activity leads to dehydration and so women should drink around 13 cups a day to keep themselves hydrated and fresh, according to detailed research as well as the statement from the World Health Organization (WHO.)

Babies And Water

Under no conditions should you give water to your infant if he or she is younger than six months. Even older babies and toddlers younger than two should not drink too much water. The reason for that is because baby stomachs are extremely small and can’t take more than one to two teaspoons of fluids. As a result of that baby can’t take a lot of fluid and receives all the needed nutrition through breastmilk or formula intake.

Water Intoxication

The water intake for a baby younger than six months is not only dangerous because of their small and undeveloped stomachs, it can also lead to a serious occurrence known as the water intoxication. It’s no secret that water can be dangerous to anyone if taken in abnormal amounts. Still, water even in moderate amounts can lead to serious health complications for the baby.

Water intoxication happens when kidneys receive too much water to handle, and given the baby’s kidneys are small, even the teaspoon amount of water can be dangerous for them and cause intoxication in the bloodstream. It compromises the electrolytes in our blood and much more.

The kidneys are also underdeveloped compared to the adult kidneys which is why it’s impossible and likely for a baby to suffer water intoxication even from the smallest amounts of water.

Water intoxication can’t only happen from consuming water as a drink. A lot of parents practice introducing their babies to swimming schools. Some schools make groups of babies as young as four months and in such situations, as a lack of caution, it can happen that the baby swallows too much water.

When Can Babies Start Drinking Water?

Babies from 6 months to one year old are allowed to drink water but in moderate amounts. The idea of introducing them to water is mostly to get them to get used to the taste so they won’t refuse it when it’s time to separate them from breast milk and formula. Babies and toddlers, however, shouldn’t drink a lot of water before being one and a half to two years old.

Toddlers and Children

As your baby grows into a toddler, it’s much safer for them to drink water for the sake of hydration. But what’s the recommended amount?

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies states based on thorough research that children 4 to 8 years old should drink seven cups of water, while children aged 9 to 13 years old should drink 9 to 10 cups of water.

With toddlers, MayoClinic recommends water intake of two cups of water for two years old toddlers, while the three years old toddlers should drink from two to three cups of water a day. Be vary not to restrict your toddlers on water if they feel thirsty, as now they don’t drink formula or breast milk (most likely) they’ll need more sources of hydration.

Drinking Water Before Bed: The Good

Here is a list of good sides of drinking water before bed. Needless to say, drinking water before bed will prevent dehydration, but here are some benefits worth mentioning.

It Lifts Your Moods

A lot of people believe that water has healing abilities, and the studies supporting frequent hydration just keep coming. Now, there’s a popular belief that drinking water frequently, as well as before bedtime has a positive impact on your mood. Research has shown that liquid loss can lead to fatigue, mood swings, headaches, anxiety, depression, and difficulties with concentrating. These are all conditions closely associated with lack of sleep.

Researchers believe that 1.5% of fluids loss can lead to the aforementioned conditions, while our brain may not even signal the sensation of thirst before we’ve lost over 2% of fluids. That said, to feel at peace with your mind and soul, it’s important to frequently drink water, and if you didn’t catch to fill the daily quota, you can do it before bed.

It Stops Hunger

Some people have difficulties sleeping when they’re hungry and they don’t practice late-night snacks due to medication, a lifestyle change, or some other reason. One of the ways to silence the feeling of hunger is to drink water, particularly warm water.

Another reason people will feel hungry is that they practiced eating early in the evening but went to bed at late time in the night. A lot of studies suggest that it’s not healthy to eat just before the bed, but if the hunger is too strong, then a glass of warm water should silence your stomach until morning. Still, this article exists because there are both good and bad sides of drinking water before bed, so it’d be best to drink it in moderation. You should drink water, however, if the stomach pain caused by hunger is too loud and intense to ignore, to the point it’s preventing you from sleeping.

The water will trick your stomach into thinking you’ve eaten and that it’s time to digest. That way, you have enough time to fall asleep without triggering the hunger in your stomach again. Sleeping long and properly will have extreme effects on how you start days.

It Helps Treat Hangovers

People who drink a lot of alcohol, especially on empty stomachs are prone to waking up with hangovers the next day. If you have active nightlife and drink frequently, then drinking a glass or two of water will help you treat problems with waking up hungover. When you drink alcohol, your body will likely lose a lot of fluids, so water before bed helps wake up rested and restored.

While drinking water won’t prevent hangovers in entirety unless you drink in moderation, the consequences will be minimized and you’ll be able to go through the day without medications or staying in bed for the rest of the day.

It Helps With Morning Headaches

Morning headaches are a frequent occurrence for people who don’t get enough sleep or have ongoing health issues. However, in many situations, morning headaches can be a result of inadequate hydration caused by lack of water or fluid loss. One of the best benefits of drinking a glass or two of water is that it will minimize the effects of morning headaches.

Of course, if you feel morning headaches way too frequently every month, you should consider changing the pillow or mattress, or go to the doctor.

Drinking-Water Before Bed: The Bad

For many people, the main downside of drinking water before bed would be waking up in the middle of the night or early in the morning having to use the toilet. However, the bad sides of hydration just before bedtime are many and it’s important to get informed about them.

Sleep Interruption

It’s crucial to get a healthy amount of sleep per night, usually seven to eight hours. However, if the sleep cycle is often disrupted through the night, according to Terry Cralle, a registered nurse and certified sleep educator, you’re likely to feel tired and drowsy throughout the day. The interruption of the sleep cycle is often a result of needing to use the bathroom as mentioned above. A lot of people with sugar or kidney disease need to urinate frequently throughout the night if they don’t take the proper medication. Drinking water just before bed can lead to sleep being interrupted in the long run.

Weight Gain

A lot of experts blame the lack of improper sleep for weight gain. Additionally, drinking too much water before sleep especially may cause weight gain because the water binds with salts in our body which causes it to preserve and create fat deposits inside our bodies. Even though water is great for weight loss throughout the day, it shouldn’t drink just before bed.

Kidney Problems

Some people who have problems with kidneys can have implications due to sleeping right after drinking water. Kidneys help filter the water before we eject it out through urine. When our body sleeps so does our metabolism and every digestive and processing mechanism is working slower. With that in mind, the toxic material in our kidneys may stay there for too long causing long-term problems.

Nocturia

Nocturia is defined as a condition which is followed by frequent urinating through the night, disrupting the sleep cycle and hygiene as a result. Scientists recorded it on several occasions and studies. There has also been a relation between Nocturia and fatigue in the morning. That said nocturia can often be associated with sleep deprivation.

Risk Groups for Nocturia

Obesity – Scientists recorded that obese people are more prone to experiencing nocturia. In their research, medical experts found that obese people are more likely to urinate at least once per night.

Cardio-vascular diseases – There is research that suggests that is a relation between sleep deprivation and heart diseases due to frequent relieving through the night. These patients are also prone to experiencing nocturia as a result of the medication they’re taking.

Diabetes – High or low levels of glucose in the blood can stimulate urine activity through the night, resulting in nocturia and sleep deprivation.

Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy – BPH is a condition where enlarged prostate results in more pressure on the bladder, leading to irregular urination at night. BPH mostly affects men who are older than 50.

Should You Drink Water Before Bed?

When you compare the good and bad sides of drinking water before bed, the answer is no. Drinking a lot of water before bed may also lead to bladder infections like Urinary Tract Infection because the kidneys can’t catch up all the toxic material filtering through the night. Is there a compromise? Absolutely. While water is a great hydration method through the day and associated with many benefits, you should drink it up to two to three hours before bed, so the aforementioned drawbacks wouldn’t manifest.

The post Drinking Water Before Bed: Good or Bad? appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

How to Increase Milk Supply When Pumping — 10 Proven Ways!0

Pumping loads of milk can be easy— Just keep emptying the breasts!!

But there’s a lot more to it than you think.

Lots of moms have a hard time producing enough milk to keep up with the baby’s needs and also to release the engorgement pain.

I had a horrible time with my three kids, especially the third one, who was born premature. So, I had to pump exclusively for a month before I could start breastfeeding.

In the beginning, it was just 14 oz a day!! Shocking right? All those consultations seemed useless at that point. Few more weeks in and I said I had enough. I need to pump more milk.

What I did was make a list of the most successful breastfeeding and pumping moms in my community. Talked with them and used their ideas. Then I went looking for research that could back up those ideas. Applied them and I would say most of them worked!

The result— I was able to increase it to around 30 oz a day after a few weeks.

Here are the exact same strategies that I used to double up my milk volume!!

1. Keeping the Breasts Empty (Most Effective)

This one is the most talked strategy in the entire history of moms. Straightforward but it seems most first time moms get it wrong.

Research has found that milk production is heavily dependent on effective emptying of the breasts and not frequent pumping. Yes, that’s the difference ladies.

Use your hands to massage and pull out milk until you think you are empty. Even if you think you have pumped enough and your baby needs no more milk, do it.

2. Utilize Power Pumping

You can try out power pumping (rapidly emptying the breasts) if you have a perfectly healthy, full-term baby but struggling to find time for day time pumping.

Well, there are lots of ways to do it. What worked for me was to pump whenever I came across my pumping unit. So, I would pump for 10 minutes every 40-50 minutes for 5 hours, empty the bottle and start over again.

Continue doing this for 3-4 days until you can shift to your usual pumping routine.

3. Double up the Pumping

If you are using a single pump, you are depriving yourself of producing more milk. It seems that double breast pumping can only reduce time, which is BTW necessary for working moms.

I was surprised to know that simultaneous breast pumping can increase your production. The reason is when you double up, your body responds to the stimulation longer compared to single pumping.

Well, if you haven’t got a double pump yet, follow this guide to get some of the most effective pumps in the market that can help you keep up to daily output.

4. Pump Right After and Between Feeds

This was one of the easiest ways to deal with low milk supply. One of my neighbors accidentally found that pumping right after breastfeeding gave her more milk.

I did some digging and found that it’s actually a fact. Right after your baby suckles, start pumping. Do it for 10-20 minutes even if there’s no milk. Remember, you are keeping yourself stimulated here and tricking your body to produce more.

For some moms, taking an hour gap and pumping in between feeding works best. So, you have two options, now. Let us know what works for you.

Note: If you are night weaning, you might not want to pump in the middle of the night, though!

5. Warm Breasts, More Milk?

Yes! This works. And.. lots of studies have proven it to be effective.

If you are using an electric breast pump, warming up your breasts before the session can significantly increase milk supply. It might be because of oxytocin reflex (letdown reflex) or the milk channels receive less obstruction.

The easiest way is to use a warm breastshield. Alternatively, you can wrap a warm and wet washcloth on your breast or DIY warm wet sock filled with uncooked rice. Whatever way you choose, it should work.

6. Mind Training and Relaxation Goes a Long Way

Milk production has a connection with our emotions. At least that’s how our brain is designed!

If you have been through post-traumatic stress due to childbirth, lost someone you loved, living with an abusive partner, or any other emotional stress, your milk supply can drastically decrease!

It’s important to get away from those stress factors. Training your mind in a certain way can improve the condition to some extent. Here’s what you can do:

Get isolated when pumping or at least away from negative persons or thoughts.

Keep yourself distracted by talking on the phone or watching a movie.

Imagine thoughts that trigger your milk ejection. I get triggered when I hear my baby cry. So, listening to an audio clip of your baby crying can be the solution.

7. Combine Electric Pumping With Hand Compression (Highly Effective)

The best way to breast pump exclusively and still keep increasing milk supply might seem counterproductive! But with additions of some hand techniques, your production can increase 10%-46%. That’s huge!

I recommend compressing your breasts during pumping. With modern electric pumps that stimulate, compress, and suck at the same time, this should be a no brainer job!

8. Getting the Suction Level Right

Most moms have the idea that increasing the suction power can help them obtain more milk. In fact, it’s the other way round!

There is something called ‘maximum comfortable vacuum’. This is the highest level of suction at which you remain comfortable. Research shows that pumping in this way can increase flow rate and volume.

The suction level is different for different mothers. For a particular person, it might not be the same every day. So, start from the lowest setting and tap the + button until you find the sweet spot.

9. Flange Size Matters!

To be honest, I never thought flange size can actually impact my milk flow. I started using the flange that came with my pump! It was too small and I ended up with pain and decreased production.

The same goes for large flanges, except your nipple will feel squeezed and sometimes become discolored. So, measure your nipple size and get the right flange.

10. Alternative Strategies to Increase Milk

Sometimes when nothing works, you need to look for alternatives-

Herbal Treatment: Often known as galactogogues in medical science! Certain herbs like Alfalfa, anise seed and fenugreek can increase milk!

Chiropractics: This one needs a doctor’s approval. However, I have met with moms whose milk production increased after a chiropractic treatment.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture for treating milk production can be dated back to thousands of years as it helps stimulate oxytocin.

Body Massage: I found shoulder massage and having someone walk on the sides of my spine to help me get more milk. Maybe it has something to do with that shivering sensation.

Some FAQs

How much milk can I get when exclusively pumping?

If you follow basic guidelines and the strategies we mentioned, you can get 25oz-30oz breast milk every day!

Do I need to take galactagogues like Domperidone for increased milk supply?

In most cases, changing your pumping style, mental approach, and eating certain herbs can improve the condition. However, if nothing works, you should talk with your doctor about any possibility of improvement with Domperidone.

Final Words…

Sometimes it’s best to give yourself time and some treats to replenish. If you feel like not pumping, take a day or two rest. Breast pumping or feeding doesn’t work if you are not motivated! Come back again and apply these techniques as much as you can. Most of these, if not all, will work.

The post How to Increase Milk Supply When Pumping — 10 Proven Ways! appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

Night Weaning a Breastfeeding Baby and How to Maintain Milk Supply0

Night Weaning a Breastfeeding Baby and How to Maintain Milk SupplyWhen it comes to night weaning a breastfeeding baby, you might have a lot of questions. Many moms worry that if they night wean, their baby might lose interest during the day, too. Also, some moms experience a drop in their milk supply when they night wean their baby. This sponsored post will share 5 steps to night weaning a breastfed baby and maintaining your milk supply.

What is Night Weaning?

In my experience of over 10 years, night weaning can mean different things to different people. When it comes to night weaning, it is important we set expectations.

For this post, it is important to keep in mind that night weaning your breastfeeding baby means to reduce milk feedings at night to an age-appropriate number of times. That means that after you “night wean,” you might still be feeding your baby at night, depending on the age of your baby.

Maintaining your breastfeeding relationship with your baby is the #1 priority while also maximizing sleep for both of you

When Can You Night Wean a Breastfeeding Baby?

It is important not to start night weaning your baby until your milk supply is fully established. In my experience, breastfeeding babies eat more frequently at night than other babies. The reason is that breast milk is digested more easily and faster than formula.

Newborns should feed every 2 hours. By 4 weeks old, babies are going 2 to 3 hours between feedings. And, by 6 weeks old, your baby might be able to do one longer stretch of sleep at night of 3-4 hours. By 3-5 months old, most breastfed babies eat 2-3 times at night. And, by 6 months-old, we can usually night wean to just 1-2 feedings. After that, many breastfeeding babies continue to eat at least once a night until 7-12 months old, depending on a variety of factors. It is important to feed your baby the appropriate number of night feedings by age.

You might also be interested in: Newborn Schedules By Week

But, how will you know when your baby is ready for fewer night feedings?

There are a few signs it’s time to night wean your baby, including your baby showing less interest in feedings at night, or your baby isn’t eating as much during the day. Once you start solid food, that is another common time that some babies will drop one of their night feedings. But, it’s important not to overdo the solid food simply to decrease night feedings.

Another thing to consider is whether your baby is eating out of habit or due to a sleep association with breastfeeding. If your baby is getting older and still comfort nursing every 1-2 hours all night, this is a common time to consider night weaning.

All babies are different, so the age at which you drop all night feedings will vary for each mom and baby pair. You might want to take our Is Your Baby Ready To Night Wean? Quiz.

How to Night Wean a Breastfed Baby

So, now you have set your expectations about what age to night wean your baby. How do you night wean? Here are the 5 steps to successfully night weaning a breastfed baby without negatively impacting your milk supply:

1. Maximize Daytime Milk Feedings

Most moms try to encourage their baby to eat more during the day, so baby stops waking up so much at night. Consider that there are a few keys to this you might not have thought of.

If you are trying to feed your baby very often during the day, this might increase night feedings. When your baby does a lot of “snacking” during the day, your baby might not get as much of the fattier hindmilk. This is because you are not emptying your breasts.

We want to encourage fuller feedings during the day. For some babies, that means spreading out daytime feedings once it’s comfortable for your baby.

Some babies will nurse every time they are offered the breast but then not nurse very long. Consider the time between feedings during which your baby nurses the “best.” It might be a longer session where you feel your baby is emptying at least one or both breasts. Again, the amount of time varies with each mom and baby pair.

My first-born could only go up to 3 hours between feedings and never go more than that. I’ve worked with some moms whose baby goes up to 4 hours. The average, in my experience, seems to be every 3 hours once baby is past 2-4 months old.

2. Decide How Many Night Feedings Are Appropriate, Then Add One

Once you have spent a few days trying to maximize milk intake during the day, there may or may not be any change to the night feedings. Consider that it’s a chicken and egg problem in that your baby might not eat more during the day until you cut back at night.

In this step, decide how many night feedings you plan to end up with and then add one. For example, if you have a 5-month-old and plan to night wean to two feedings, plan for three feedings to start.

Now, feed your baby that many feedings at night, if you’re not already. Using the previous example, if your baby is waking every two hours, up to 5 times a night, plan to feed them three times and set the feedings at least 3 hours apart. An example might be to feed your baby at 10 PM, 2 AM, and 5 AM, to start. Choosing the times to start with might involve taking the time of the first feeding right now and adding 30-60 minutes.

What do you do when your baby wakes up and it’s not a feeding time?

You would settle your baby in other ways as much as possible. If your baby is unhappy about the change, this is where gentle sleep coaching often comes in. Don’t be afraid to take several days to gradually work your way up to this, though. The pace is up to you and small changes can mean big progress.

Once your baby is comfortably feeding these many times at night, you can move on to the next step.

3. Begin to Delay Feedings

Finally, start delaying the first feeding of the night by 30-60 minutes each night until you are only feeding your baby the target number of times. This often only takes a few nights. Voila!

But, there are a couple of more steps to consider.

4. Keep Up Your Milk Supply When Night Weaning

When you are night weaning your breastfeeding baby, you do need to be careful about your milk supply. When you don’t breastfeed for many hours in a row, this can negatively impact your milk supply. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes two weeks to notice the drop in supply and it’s tough to get it back up. We can’t predict which moms will experience this, unfortunately. In my 10+ years as a sleep consultant, I’ve seen it enough times that we guard against it.

In addition, sometimes your goal is to drop one night feeding, but your baby decides to sleep through the night! That can be a blessing for your sleep but a curse on your milk supply.

Therefore, it’s best to be proactive to maintain your milk supply while night weaning. Here’s how:

Breastfeeding operates on a supply and demand basis. The more your baby demands, the more milk your body makes. If your baby stops demanding milk for 12 hours at night, your body might think this is a signal to stop making milk at all times.

So, the easiest way to simulate demand for milk is to pump your breastmilk!

But, didn’t we night wean so we can get more sleep?

Yes, indeed! Depending on the age of your baby, you might only need to pump once a night and can do so right before your bedtime. The younger your baby, the more times you will need to pump, of course. One idea that works well for younger babies is to pump before your bedtime and then set your alarm about 5 hours later for one more pumping session.

Medela Freestyle Flex Breast PumpWhen I was breastfeeding my two boys each for about a year, I was pumping as well. I used a Medela Pump In Style, so I’m a big Medela fan. The same pump was able to pump for two years! But, that was over a decade ago and pumps have come a looooong way! That’s why I’m delighted to introduce you to Medela’s newest pump, the Freestyle Flex Double Electric Pump.

The Freestyle Flex is the newest breast pump from Medela, with a light, compact and portable design that offers true mobility. It’s is perfect for the active mom who pumps several times a day. Here are a few details about this great new pump:

  • Small and Lightweight – This pump fits in the palm of your hand and weighs less than a pound. You can easily put it in your pocket, in your purse, or in your baby bag.
  • Wider Breast Shield – It has a wider entry point to the tunnel with a different angle. They measured moms getting 11% more milk per minute as it promotes better emptying of the breasts. This is really important because breastfeeding moms constantly worry they don’t have enough milk. This will help reassure you that you probably do!
  • USB port – You can use your computer to charge this pump rather than needing an outlet. And, once charged, it stays charged for two hours, which will give you ~3 separate pumping sessions.
  • Overflow Protection – Unlike other pumps, this pump has overflow protection so milk doesn’t get in the tubing. This makes it easier to clean, and you won’t need to replace the tubing.
  • Comfort – This pump has PersonalFit Flex breast shields that offer a four-way fit and adapt to your natural shape.
  • Two-Phase Expression™ Technology – This technology mimics a baby’s natural sucking rhythms by allowing you to switch phases before and after let-down.
  • Quiet – This pump is very quiet, which can give you the confidence to pump in all kinds of places! One thing I really liked is that the tubing connects more vertically, so it’s more discreet to pump.
  • Flexible – If needed, you can pump just one side or both at the same time. So, if your baby only empties one breast, it makes it easy to pump the other breast for some milk stash.

Pro Tip: Some insurance companies will reimburse your pump purchase at any major retailer such as Amazon. Check with your insurance company directly to find out more.

The Freestyle Flex pump also has an app, MyMedela. Using the app is another way to help you be successful. You can track breastfeeding and pumping sessions, baby’s height, weight, sleep, and diaper changes all in one place.

If you are also going back to work during this time, you might be especially nervous about your breastfeeding relationship. Medela also has resources for working moms with their New Moms’ Health Returns program.

5. Keep Offering More Milk During the Day

Lastly, the final step in night weaning is to go back to the first step and continually offer more milk during the day. As you gradually reduce how much milk offered at night, you might find your baby’s appetite increases during the day. It’s important to make sure your baby is getting enough milk in a 24-hour period.

I hope this post has given you confidence in night weaning and maintaining your milk supply, so you can achieve all of your breastfeeding goals! If you need support, be sure to check out Medela’s free breastfeeding support and community The Moms’ Room or access their 24×7 lactation consultants!

What are your questions about night weaning or your experience with night weaning your breastfeeding baby? Did you experience a drop in milk supply? Did you pump?

This is a sponsored post by Medela LLC, but the opinions are all my own.

The post Night Weaning a Breastfeeding Baby and How to Maintain Milk Supply appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

SNOO: Is It Really Worth It?0

The SNOO is a bassinet with a built-in swaddle that keeps baby safe and automatically starts moving in order to keep your baby asleep for longer periods of time. But, is the SNOO worth it? We will explore the pros and cons of the SNOO and help you decide if it’s right for you.

What is a SNOO?

The SNOO Smart Sleeper Bassinet is a bassinet for newborns to babies up through 5 to 6 months old. The bassinet has key features that set it apart from other bassinets such as the Arms Reach Bassinet:

  • Built-In Swaddle – This bassinet has a built-in swaddle that is very secure. Your baby will not be able to break out. What’s more important is that it will keep your baby sleeping in his or her back, which is considered safest to reduce the risk of SIDS. Furthermore, your baby won’t be able to roll over while swaddled, which might be when to stop swaddling.
  • Detects Crying – The SNOO has multiple microphones to pick up sounds your baby is making including fussing and crying. It “responds” to your baby depending on what it’s detecting.
  • White Noise – The SNOO also has built-in white noise which automatically turns on if/when your baby starts fussing or crying. There are three different sounds and it chooses different sounds for sleep versus crying.
  • Movement – When this bassinet detects fussing or crying, it can move automatically. It has a slow swing for sleep but faster jiggle for upsets.

As you can see, the SNOO bassinet is indeed “smart” and one can see how it would add more sleep for new parents. This is especially helpful when some babies won’t sleep in a bedside bassinet at all. But, is it safe and is the SNOO really worth it?

Is SNOO safe for newborns?

While there is always risk to using any “device” for your baby, the SNOO has appeared to have undergone rigorous testing. Dr. Harvey Karp is not new to keeping babies safe and I am confident safety was the #1 goal for the invention. After all, the idea is to reduce the risk of SIDS by keeping baby on their back in the first place. And, Dr. Karp has been helping babies sleep with his Happiest Baby Series for many years.

In addition, the movement of the SNOO will not work unless the swaddle sack is clipped to the device. It is also vented to prevent overheating and allow baby to breathe freely. And, they added a metal plate to block WiFi exposure or you can simply turn off WiFi. It appears they’ve thought of everything.

But, what about night feedings?

Will the SNOO work “too well” and lead to a baby to miss nighttime feedings? This was my first concern when I learned about this product.

It appears they’ve thought about, too.

The SNOO isn’t supposed to replace parenting altogether. It’s just another tool in your toolbox. The SNOO will stop movement if there is continuous crying for a couple of minutes. The SNOO is only meant to soothe your baby back to sleep when she does NOT need something. Do keep in mind, too, that your doctor will instruct you to feed the baby at regular intervals for the first several weeks of life. You will need to set an alarm for that, so you can feel confident your baby shouldn’t skip feedings just because you are using a SNOO.

Should you keep the SNOO on all night?

The SNOO is meant to keep the guesswork out of this. It automatically detects when to go on or increase the movement and stops if your baby is crying continuously.

When should you start using the SNOO?

Parents can start using the SNOO with their newborn, so from birth.

How long can you use the SNOO? When should you stop using the SNOO?

The maximum weight limit of the SNOO is 25 pounds. You can use a SNOO until your baby is approximately 6 months old.

Keep in mind, however, the SNOO may operate more frequently at night after 3 months old.

Once your baby starts his 4 month sleep regression (which can start anytime between 12 weeks old and 5 months old), your baby will cycle through more sleep cycles. That means your SNOO may have more “work” to do.

If you are concerned your baby is outgrowing the SNOO or no longer likes it, you may want to experiment with the settings using the app. He or she may simply need faster or more rigorous movement.

We have worked with families to help them transition from SNOO to crib around 3 to 5 months old, on average.

SNOO Price and Is It Worth It?

The SNOO Smart Sleeper Bassinet sounds like a dream, right? Unfortunately, some dreams aren’t cheap.

This fancy bassinet is over $1,200!

However, you can now rent one for dollars a day.

Can you really put a price on better sleep?

If this can truly give your family hours more sleep per night for the first 6 months of life, in my opinion, it really is worth it. And, if you compare the cost of a night nurse for $200-300 a night, it’s a no-brainer!

There are a few things to consider, however.

First, not all babies enjoy being rocked or jiggled to sleep! While many babies do enjoy movement and it soothes them to sleep, it can irritate some babies. And, if your baby isn’t soothed by movement, then the SNOO is a very expensive bassinet, swaddle and white noise machine!

Second, some babies simply need that human touch. We worked with one client who had to rock their baby to sleep and THEN put the baby in the SNOO! If you have to put the baby back to sleep yourself each time he wakes, there is simply no point to spending this much on a bassinet.

Third, although sleeping on their back is safest, not all babies like to sleep flat on their back. From a young age, my son enjoyed moving to his side to sleep.

Finally, some babies are naturally good sleepers. Obviously, my baby was NOT one of them, hence this website. However, I’ve talked to many parents whose baby started sleeping through the night as young as 6 to 8 weeks old. Not all babies will need anything this “fancy.”

Unfortunately, until your baby is born, it’s impossible to know if they will be a naturally great sleeper nor their taste in sleep space, swaddle, pacifier, or any other product. However, based on the reviews of the product, it appears most babies and parents like the SNOO. So, if you have the budget, there’s a good chance it will help get everyone more sleep.

SNOO Alternatives

Of course, there are so many amazing baby sleep products to buy, so not everyone will be able to splurge this much on just one item!

There isn’t a perfect alternative to the SNOO. It’s innovative and likely took years of research and development. Competitors may be working on their own versions as I type this, but for now, here are a couple of products that might help:

The Green Frog Bassinet has a rocking feature that’s great for newborns. It isn’t “smart” of course, so you’ll need to soothe the baby yourself. However, it’s easier on your back especially when you are recovering from labor. In addition, you guard against your baby sleeping on your chest or in your arms which can become a problem later on.

The Graco Sense2Soothe Baby Swing is meant to be an alternative to the SNOO. It even has “cry detection technology” to soothe the baby when they start crying. It has 8 different types of motion, 3 different speeds, 2 vibration settings, and 15 songs and sounds. You can find the right settings for your baby and it has a memory function so you don’t have to find it over and over again.

The main drawback of this is that for SIDS risk prevention, your baby should sleep on a flat surface on their back. This swing is for soothing not necessarily sleeping. I’m sure parents use it for sleeping, but technically, you’re not supposed to and it’s not the safetest sleep space. That’s why Graco does not market it for sleeping. It can be helpful nonetheless if you have the type of baby who never wants to be put down and you have things to do such as cook, clean, and rest!

Conclusion

I hope this post has helped you decide whether the SNOO is the right choice for your family. Always remember that all these tools in our toolbox help us be better parents, but there is never a replacement for parenting. There is no shame in adding more tools in your toolbox!

The post SNOO: Is It Really Worth It? appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

How to Wean and Transition From SNOO to Crib0

There are many amazing baby sleep products. If you’ve landed here, I assume your baby has been sleeping in the SNOO and hopefully, you have found the SNOO worth it. But, all good things come to an end. This post will review how to wean and transition from the SNOO to the crib.

When to Transition From SNOO to Crib

The SNOO is designed to be used until your baby is up to 5 to 6 months old. But, that means you need to start weaning from the SNOO before your baby’s fifth or sixth month birthday.

Obviously, you might decide to transition sooner. If it’s because you feel your baby is outgrowing the SNOO, keep in mind that it was designed for babies as big as a 9-month-old in the 90-95th percentile. Worried your baby doesn’t like it anymore? I highly recommend you experiment with the settings just in case he has “outgrown” a softer movement.

If you decide to transition, just like many transitions, I recommend you start 3 to 4 weeks before your desired goal. That way, if things don’t go smoothly, your baby gets sick, your baby is sensitive to changes, or something else thwarts your plans, you have plenty of time without as much stress.

3 Things to Do Before You Transition From SNOO to Crib

Before you transition from SNOO to crib there are 3 things you might want to consider doing to make it a smoother transition.

1. Introduce the Crib During Awake Times

Familiarity is your friend when it comes to a new sleep space. Try to have your baby spend time in the crib during playtime during the day. You might turn on some upbeat music or a crib toy. Play peek-a-boo or sing. While your baby might only last a few minutes at first, after doing this several times a day for a few days to a week, he or she might start to like it!

2. Move the SNOO to the New Room (if applicable)

It is recommended to share a room with your baby for the first 6 months to a year to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you have chosen to move your baby to their own room as part of this transition, you might want to try moving the SNOO to the “new” room, temporarily. You can also set up a makeshift bed or air mattress for you to sleep on while in the same room. This way, you are familiarizing your baby to the room before you transition to the crib.

If you have decided to continue sharing a room with your baby, you might consider where to put the crib and move the SNOO to that location if it’s not already.

3. Make a Decision About White Noise

One of the key features of the SNOO is the built-in white noise. Since you won’t be using the SNOO anymore, you might want to consider whether you want to wean from white noise altogether or use a new white noise source. There are many options for white noise, now, including our free white noise downloads. Here are also a few products we like:

White Noise Products We Love


Marpac Dohm White Noise Machine
Nothing fancy and not very cute, but simple and effective! And, they have a portable white noise machine, too.


Bubzi Co Baby Sleep Aid
Okay, so it’s not just a white noise machine…it’s a white noise machine, night light, and lovey rolled into one cute little device!

 
 
LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise MachineLectroFan White Noise Machine
This is one serious white noise machine. It boasts 10 different fan sounds at varying frequencies, and its volume is incredibly precise, making it easy to adjust your white noise based on what’s happening in your home at any given moment. You can let this machine run all night long, or you can use the built-in timer for automatic shut-off.

Now that you’ve prepared from the transition from SNOO to crib it’s time to get going! Here is an easy 5-Step Process:

Step 1: Stop Swaddling

The SNOO has a built-in swaddle, but more than likely, it’s time to stop swaddling baby. By now, your baby is probably rolling over and it will be unsafe to be in the crib swaddled.

Before moving your baby to the crib, practice being unswaddled. While still in the SNOO, unswaddle your baby’s arms. This way, your baby can get used to having their arms free but the SNOO will still automatically respond to your baby’s fussing and crying just as it always has. You may or may not need to soothe the baby more for a few nights, but hopefully, within a few nights to a week, your baby will be used to being unswaddled and sleeping just as well as before in the SNOO. If not, move forward anyway.

Step 2: Wean Motion Gradually

The SNOO has a weaning mode you can turn on using the app. This mode will wean your baby from being dependent on movement to sleep. However, there are a couple of things to consider, however.

With the weaning mode on, the SNOO will use white noise but will NOT use continuous motion all night to keep your baby asleep. However, if your baby starts fussing or crying, it will respond with motion. This is a good first step. But, there’s more to consider.

If you imagine the SNOO putting your baby to sleep at bedtime using motion and then every two hours all night. This can still be a dependency that your baby might have when in the crib. Therefore, I recommend you consider a couple of other steps:

First, make sure you put the motion limiter on so the SNOO will respond to your baby’s fussing and crying but with less intense motion than before. This will help wean them more fully from movement.

The last step you can do is lock the motion at one of the lowest levels of movement, so the SNOO can never go above that level. For example, if your baby has been dependent on some higher levels of movement, you might lock the level at Level 3 for 2 days, then Level 2 for 2 days, then Level 1 for 2 more days.

Step 3: Turn Off the SNOO

One more thing before you move to the crib. I recommend taking a test drive without the SNOO. Turn it off completely for 2-3 days before you move baby to the crib. Or, for a more gradual process, you can turn it off at bedtime and then turn it on later on in the night, if needed. The closer you get to the morning, the more difficult sleep can be for your baby. So, feel free to work your way up to not needing the SNOO for the entire night. It will be a good investment of 3 to 7 days.

Step 4: Introducing the Crib

It’s time to start introducing the crib. Some parents will start naps in the crib and keep the SNOO at night. But, remember, day and night sleep are handled by two different parts of the brain, so it might not make any difference.

To introduce the crib, you can try to put your baby down for bed normally but this time in the crib instead of the SNOO. Don’t be alarmed or surprised if it doesn’t go well, at first. It’s similar to adults going to a hotel. The first couple of nights are the worst sleep for many of us. But, as the days go by, the bed starts to feel more like your own. Your baby will start to feel like the crib is their bed.

For a more gradual process, feel free to move the baby back to the SNOO later in the night, if necessary. What starts as an hour or two might quickly increase to many more hours. It’s okay to take your time.

If your baby fusses or cries, you might need to do some gentle sleep training.

Step 5: Transitioning from SNOO to Crib Completely

The final step to transition from SNOO to the crib is to keep your baby in the crib all night and for all naps. If you are struggling to say good-bye to the SNOO, move it out of the room so you’re no longer tempted to use it. Some devices we become dependent on just as much as our babies!

I hope these tips have been helpful in the transition from SNOO to crib. Give your baby a week or two and I’m sure your baby will be sleeping through the night in no time. If not, we’re here to help!

The post How to Wean and Transition From SNOO to Crib appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

5 Tips To Get Your Infant To Fall Asleep Quickly0

how to help your infant sleep

The sooner your little one settles into bed, the sooner you can get some well-deserved shut eye yourself. Though, getting your baby to fall asleep can be much easier said than done. When the usual lullaby or pre-bedtime snuggle session doesn’t work, here are a few other reliable tips for moms and dads when they want to quickly lull their child to sleep. 

1.) Enforce An Early Bedtime

Experts have agreed that an early bedtime is an effective way to ensure your baby is sleepy when it’s time for them to be put down for bed. Around eight weeks, babies experience an increase in melatonin, a hormone that signals your body when it’s time to go to bed. Melatonin levels tend to increase soon after the sun sets, and if your baby is kept awake too long, they’ll become overstimulated and difficult to put to sleep. 

Having a regular, early bedtime around 6.30 p.m. or 7 p.m. helps maintain their sleeping patterns and keeps their sleep-wake cycle more consistent. Research has shown that 18-month-old babies with late bedtimes are more likely to develop issues relating to motor function, social skills and language. Irregular or late bedtimes can also have a negative impact on their behavioral issues as they get older, and even their ability to focus in school. 

2.) Create A Comfortable Environment

Your baby’s bedroom environment should make them feel comfortable, relaxed, and most importantly — sleepy. Night lights are popular among young children, but be smart about placement and how bright the light is. Light has an influence on melatonin levels in the body, and can prevent/delay the hormone from releasing at the time it should. 

They certainly don’t need a bed that’s as nice as yours, but your child’s mattress should still be comfortable enough to put them to sleep. Especially if you want them to fall asleep quickly. Infants and children exert very little pressure onto a bed because they weigh so little, so they’ll need something really soft that cradles and supports their little body. 

3.) Put Them Down When They’re Drowsy (Not Asleep)

If you’re waiting until your baby is asleep to tuck them into their crib, you’re putting them down a little too late. For starters, when your baby eventually wakes up in the middle of the night, they might become confused or agitated after not recognizing their surroundings — considering they fell asleep on your shoulder in the living room. Then they’ll need to rely on you to go back to sleep, and that’s what you want to be weaning them off of.

Eventually, around 5-6 months, babies are able to ease themselves to sleep without you. It’s up to the parent, however, to help them reach the point where they’re comfortable to do so. Accordingly, you should take your child to bed when you notice they’re feeling drowsy so they can drift off to sleep without having you by their side. Signs of drowsiness include calmness, blank staring, closed fists, yawning, or jerky leg and arm movements. 

4.) Don’t Always Rush To Their Cribside

If you’re a first-time parent especially, it can be hard to resist the urge to rush to their bed when they’re crying in the middle of the night. It’s important, though, to hold off a few moments before you tend to them if you know they’re taken care of (fed, diaper changed, etc). The goal is to encourage your child to calm themselves down without you. If that doesn’t work, professionals suggest you try the “soothing ladder” technique. 

Start off by patting and rubbing, but don’t pick them up yet. You don’t want to be too intrusive right off the bat, or you risk waking them up even more. Then, you can work your way up to rocking, and feeding them should be the last resort if you still can’t get them to fall back asleep. This will inevitably occur more often with babies who are under 3-4 months old, and you’ll just need to keep practicing the soothing ladder method until your baby learns to self-soothe on their own. 

5.) Practice A Relaxing Nighttime Routine

If your baby’s brain is stimulated too close to bedtime, it will be close to impossible getting them to fall asleep as quickly as you want them to. By the time your baby is about 6-8 weeks old, you should both be implementing relaxing activities into your nightly schedule. Incorporating a consistent routine helps indicate to your baby that it’s time to go to sleep, as their body will begin to recognize that it’s bedtime once your routine becomes a regular practice. 

About 20 minutes before bed, reduce noise and light pollution in your home to help wind them down. Then, try to incorporate relaxing activities that your child enjoys like a warm bath or a soft read-aloud. Research has actually shown that your child is never too young for story-time, and you can even start reading to them as soon as they leave the hospital with you. 

Importance Of Sleep For Infants

Sleep plays an essential role in anyone’s mental and physical health, but this sentiment is particularly true for babies as it is crucial for both their cognitive and physical development.  Sleep deprivation in these crucial early stages of life can lead to problems down the road like hyperactivity, negative or aggressive behavior, mood swings, and or anxiety.

There are two stages of sleep; REM and non-REM. Babies spend half their time in each stage, but at about six months, they spend about 30% of the time in REM. For infants, REM sleep helps prepare their brains for retaining new information, which is critical for effective learning. During non-REM sleep, on the other hand, their body builds muscle tissue and releases a hormone pertinent to their growth and development. 

Here is a helpful table to help you determine whether or not your baby is getting enough sleep.

Newborns: 16 hours (with naps)
1 month: 15.5 hours (with naps)
3 months: 15 hours (with naps)
6 months: 14 hours (with naps)
9 months: 14 hours (with naps)
1 year: 14 hours (with naps)
1.5 years: 13.5 hours (with naps)
2 years: 13 hours (with naps)

Bio: Gwen Thompson is a Certified Sleep Science Coach that writes for The Slumber Yard. Besides helping people improve the quality of their sleep, she also likes playing the piano, making homemade jewelry and taking her dog for walks.

The post 5 Tips To Get Your Infant To Fall Asleep Quickly appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

Our Featured Families Who Sleep Trained Successfully: Meet Caitlin!0

Welcome, readers, to another installment in our Family Features stories! From time to time, we like to spotlight clients of ours who have had great success working with our expert team of sleep consultants. These families are, in many ways, just like yours: these parents are sleep-deprived and exhausted, their babies and toddlers are cranky and overtired, and everyone could use more peaceful nighttime and nap time sleep!

This week, we are introducing you to Caitlin. Caitlin’s little guy Portland is SUCH a cutie, but he wasn’t exactly the cutest little sleeper! Portland would nap only in his mama or dad’s arms (talk about exhausting for Caitlin and her husband!). That was okay for awhile, but when night sleep started to fall apart as well, Caitlin knew she couldn’t take it anymore. She was heading back to work and just knew she couldn’t continue to cope with the crushing sleep deprivation. That’s when she contacted us for help! Keep reading to learn more about Caitlin’s story.

CaitlinBlog

Caitlin’s Baby Wasn’t Sleeping At Night And Would Nap Only In Her Arms….And Her Maternity Leave Was Ending.

The original version of this sleep coaching story appears on Just A Bowl Of Cherries, Caitlin’s personal blog.

The Baby Sleep Site®: Caitlin, could you start by sharing with us a little more about what sleep was like for you early-on, before you contacted us for help?

Caitlin: In the beginning of Portland’s life, he would soundly sleep on my or my husband’s chest. We could have the TV on, our dog Hercules barking and us having a full on conversation, and Portland would snooze right on through all the madness. So yes, great, he sleeps through sound, but up until he was four and half months old, guess where my 16 pound baby still took his four daily naps? In his Mama’s or his Daddy’s loving arms.

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, no – that sounds exhausting! (And heavy!!) So naps were the issue for you guys, huh?

Caitlin: Yes! The inability of our son to nap anywhere but our arms was our fault. We both loved to cuddle with him in those early days and when I was out on maternity leave. I wanted to hold him all the time, and I was lucky to be able to spend my whole day doing just that! When I started back at work when he was two months old, I quickly realized that I wasn’t able to put my little boy down to take his naps. I never taught him how to take his naps anywhere but in my arms, so of course he had no idea what to do when I laid him down in his crib or bassinet. He would just cry until I finally relented and scooped him up, and then he would pass out within seconds of being in my arms. This was not going to work!

The Baby Sleep Site: Yep, that sounds rough! Very normal, of course – lots of parents struggle with this – but rough. So is that when you finally decided you had to take action?

IMG_2530Caitlin: It was. We reached our breaking point with his naps right around the three month mark. We both were becoming frustrated with how much work it took us to get him to sleep and keep him asleep (constant movement, butt patting, and we had to hold him for the whole nap). We also never got a break! We wanted to be able to have time for us, time to work from home, clean, eat and just relax!

This is also the time when his nighttime sleeping began to change as well. He had been sleeping great at night, but around 3 months, he was no longer able to sleep through all the noises my husband and I were making while we slept. I so badly wanted him to sleep next to us for another month or two but it just wasn’t going to work. He began waking every 1.5-2 hours and the only way to get him back to sleep was to nurse him and pat his butt until he drifted off to sleep. Even though we wanted Portland to sleep in our room as long as possible, we decided that it wasn’t feasible any longer.

The Baby Sleep Site: I don’t blame you; sounds like you were facing some tough issues! So what did you do at that point?

Caitlin: I had already done a ton of reading online about baby sleep coaching. One of the internet sites I stumbled upon that got me really excited was The Baby Sleep Site®. After trying and failing to sleep train our son on our own, I knew I needed something that would give me a detailed sleep training method specifically for Portland and our family’s needs. So we did it – we bought a sleep consultation package. I wanted the ability to call and write our sleep consultant with questions after we got started because I knew we would have them, so we went with the Basic Telephone Consultation Package. Even just by purchasing a sleep consultation package, I felt like we were on the right path and I was so excited to get started.

Once we picked out the package we wanted, I filled out a very long questionnaire (while Portland was napping in my arms) so that our sleep consult had a better understanding of Portland’s sleep and eating schedule, his habits, our family life, and what we wanted to accomplish sleep wise.

I then set up my sixty minute initial phone consult and excitedly waited for our appointment!

The Baby Sleep Site: Awesome! And what did you go over in that initial phone call?

IMG_2557Caitlin: In this meeting we went over the questionnaire I filled out and any red flags our consultant saw right away. A few red flags she saw right away included the amount of sleep our son was getting during the day. I was having him nap in our arms for about 2 hours for each nap so he was getting about 8 hours of total sleep during the day. At his age (four months) that was way too much daytime sleep and why he was waking so freaking early in the morning (4 and 5 am is not a good wake up time for this mama).

We also went over the type of sleep training approach we wanted to take and her recommendations based on his personality and age at the time. This phone call was all sorts of amazing! It felt so good to talk to an expert about the issues we were having. I was able to ask a lot of my questions, she provided us with some simple changes we could begin right away and reassurance that not only could we as parents do this but so could Portland and that we would all be better for it.

The Baby Sleep Site: Wow – a very detailed call! Sounds like you made some great progress just in that initial phone call. What about your Personalized Sleep Plan? When did you get that, and what did you think?

Caitlin: After our phone consultation, I was emailed a very detailed sleep plan. We decided to take a gentle method approach, which means as little crying as possible. He was only four months old at the time we started sleep training so this was an appropriate approach given his age and cognitive abilities. Our little guy is also a hysterical crier. Unlike some babies who use crying to soothe themselves, once our guy starts, he can’t stop and gets himself to the point where he is hyperventilating so we knew a cry-it-out approach wouldn’t work for him.

After we worked on getting Portland comfortable in his crib, we started with sleep training nighttime only. Our sleep consultant also recommended to work on nights first then on naps. She really does not recommend working on both at the same time because it can be brutal for both the parents and baby.

Night times were fairly easy for Portland. He was sleeping in his crib through the night by the fourth night of sleep training. He has always slept in his own space at night so the big adjustment was the new environment and Mama not being right there. After about two weeks in the crib at night, he started giving me 5-6 hour stretches and on a consistent basis and was no longer being woken up by Daddy getting ready for work at 3 AM, success! This over tired Mama was happy!

The Baby Sleep Site: Awesome! What about naps? I’m guessing you switched to nap training once you’d mastered nights; how did nap training go?

Caitlin: We dedicated an entire weekend (Friday through Sunday) to nap train upon the recommendation of our sleep consultation. We literally didn’t do anything or go anywhere that entire weekend.

Since he had been napping in our arms from day one, you can imagine how upset Portland was when we tried to get him to nap in his crib. He didn’t understand what was going on or what he was supposed to do even though he was sleeping in his crib at night. The first day was long and he didn’t nap in his crib at all. The second day was long but not as bad because he napped in his crib for the second nap. By the third day, he napped in his crib for both his morning naps. And then our nanny was super awesome and helped us continue our training on Monday where he napped in his crib for his first three naps. We continued to let him take his fourth nap anywhere he wanted (carrier, stroller, car, etc.) because he was showing signs that he would be dropping that nap soon.

We had to help him a lot those first few days showing him how to get himself to sleep. We also had to calm him down a lot because he did cry and because we wanted a sleep plan that kept the crying to a minimum, we never let him get hysterical. After about a week of sleep training naps, we were able to scale back our help. Now, we can put him down in his crib drowsy, walk out of his room and he gets himself to sleep for naps and bedtime. This was our ultimate goal!

It took us about a total of four weeks to complete our sleep training but I can finally say that my baby is napping in his crib for all of his naps and through the whole night! I had my doubts that this would ever be possible and was so stressed that sleep training would be a nightmare but it turned out to be so much better and successful than I could have ever imagined.

The Baby Sleep Site: Woohoo! Your progress is so inspirational, Caitlin! So now that you’re wrapping up your sleep training journey, what parting thoughts do you have to share?

Caitlin: All in all, Portland is sleeping so much better! He is getting more restful naps and sleeping longer stretches at night, he is sleeping in his crib for naps and bedtime, and is able to get himself to sleep and back to sleep. We have been able to accomplish all of our goals so far!

I highly recommend The Baby Sleep Site®, even if it is just to access their free resources. If you were like me and didn’t get baby into their own sleeping space or are struggling with getting baby to sleep, I also highly recommend their sleep consulting service. There is a package and price point for every single family. Plus, it is really an investment since you can use your sleep plan for any additional children down the road and if you need your sleep plan tweaked for your child or any additional child, they have that option too.

Working with The Baby Sleep Site® has been a truly amazing experience and probably one of the best things we could have done for our son!

Amazing story, right? Caitlin’s problems seemed so difficult, yet with the help of her sleep consultant (and with much diligent hard work on her part), her little guy is now napping like a pro and sleeping great at night! And parents, you can enjoy this same success in your own home. Your sleepless little ones can be sleeping soundly very soon, with some help from an expert Baby Sleep Site® sleep consultant. Our trained, compassionate consultants are standing by, ready and willing to help your family get the sleep you need and deserve.

Don’t waste another sleep-deprived minute: connect with a sleep consultant now, and get started on your journey to better, longer sleep!

 

The post Our Featured Families Who Sleep Trained Successfully: Meet Caitlin! appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

Zipadee Zip vs Love To Dream – Which is Better for Baby’s Sleep?0

The Zipadee Zip vs Love To Dream – both the Zipadee Zip Swaddle Transition sleep sack and the Love To Dream Swaddle are great products. But, do you need both? Is one better than the other for your baby’s sleep?

In this blog post, you’ll learn about both products and which we recommend!

Zipadee Zip Swaddle Transition Sleep Sack

zipadeezipWe have been recommending the Zipadee Zip for a long time even before they were on the Shark Tank. The Zipadee Zip, created by a company named Sleeping Baby, is a really great invention to help your baby sleep better when it’s time to stop swaddling.

The “wings” of the Zipadee Zip stops your baby feeling like they are falling when the Moro reflex is still strong. Many babies need to be unswaddled before the Moro reflex has gone away which is where the Zipadee Zip shines. It is safe for sleeping especially when a baby is rolling over and otherwise can’t be swaddled. And, it’s also good for when your baby doesn’t like to be swaddled yet can’t seem to stay asleep without it.

If your baby has eczema or otherwise scratches herself, the Zipadee Zip will protect the skin. I was always terrible at keeping baby’s fingernails clipped!

There are many different styles to choose from for the Zipadee Zip. And, although the wings aren’t needed as your baby gets older, so many babies like this sleep sack that they make toddler sizes as well!

Love To Dream Swaddle

The Love To Dream Swaddle is another great product to help your baby sleep better. But, unlike the Zipadee Zip, this is a swaddling product. It is meant to capitalize on all the benefits of swaddling but make it easy to swaddle your baby. It also makes it hard for your baby to break out! Breaking out of the swaddle is a safety hazard.

In addition, the Love To Dream is designed to help you swaddle your baby with their arms up rather than down by their sides. This is typically more comfortable to your baby which can lead to longer stretches of sleep.

The Love To Dream Swaddle also has dual zippers, one at the top and one at the bottom, to make diaper changes easier and faster. The zipper at the bottom can also allow you buckle them into a car seat. The Zipadee Zip is roomy enough to allow them to wear their sleep sack during car rides as well. This is especially helpful when you driving home during bedtime.

The really cool design of the Love To Dream Swaddle is that it has “wings” too. But, these wings are meant to zip off when your baby is ready to be unswaddled. This will allow your baby to find his or her hands for self-soothing and allow them to push up if they roll onto their tummy.

Zipadee Zip vs Love To Dream – Which is Better?

Both the Zipadee Zip and the Love To Dream are great products. But, which is better for your baby’s sleep?

We have worked with families who have used both and clients love both products. As a sleep consultant for over 10 years, I can tell you that either product would be a good choice. However, the age of your baby may influence which you buy.

Newborns, Pregnant Moms, or a Baby Shower Gift

If you have a newborn, you’re pregnant and doing research, or if you’re buying as a gift, I recommend you purchase the Love To Dream Swaddle Up Transition Sleep Sack with Zip-Off Wings.

The benefits of swaddling are clear and your baby will most likely appreciate the snug feeling of being swaddled. The Love To Dream is much snugger than the Zipadee Zip. And, your baby will likely be swaddled for at least 2-3 months, if not longer. So, your purchase will be well worth the added hours of sleep you will likely get!

And, when your baby is ready to be unswaddled, you can zip off one or both wings for an easier transition to a sleep sack. Voila!

However, some babies don’t sleep well once their arms are free, of course! Try giving your baby a week or so to get used to it. If your baby struggles with having their hands completely free, you can then consider adding a Zipadee Zip to your toolbox. For some families, having both is perfectly reasonable! They really address two different time periods in a baby’s life.

4+ Month Olds and/or Baby is Rolling

If your baby is nearing, or older than 4 months old, we recommend you transition to a sleep sack with hands out. Once your baby is rolling from back to tummy, it is no longer safe to swaddle.

But, do you use a Zipadee Zip?

We highly recommend the Zipadee Zip for many babies, but there are a few things to consider:

  1. Does your baby use a pacifier?
  2. Does your baby like to suck on their thumb, fingers, or hands?
  3. Does your baby like to crawl around while self-settling to sleep?

If you answered no to all of these questions, the Zipadee Zip is an excellent choice!

However, if you answered yes to any of these questions, the Zipadee Zip may or may not be the best sleep sack for your baby.

Baby Likes to Suck on Thumb, Fingers, or Hands

If your baby likes to suck on their thumb, fingers, or hands, it may work out fine. Some babies will simply suck their hands through the cloth of the wings. But, if your baby likes to really feel their fingers or thumb inside their mouth mimicking a nipple, this might not work out very well. Some babies will adapt while others will struggle. This can lead to excessive crying during sleep training.

Baby Has a Pacifier

Some babies suck on their pacifier as they fall asleep but then don’t need it again. That would make using the Zipadee Zip work out just fine.

However, some babies struggle with self-settling when they can’t maneuver their own pacifier. We want your baby to be able to wake up between sleep cycles, find their own pacifier, and pop it back in. For these babies, we’d recommend a sleep sack with hands out such as the Bitta Kidda with a built-in lovey attached.

You can use the Love To Dream sleep sack with the wings zipped off, but if you don’t already have it, there’s not much use for the wings. It defeats the purpose and it doesn’t make much sense to by the Love To Dream, in my opinion. If you’re planning to have more babies, however, you can consider it an investment!

Zipadee Zip vs Love To Dream – Which to Buy?

If you still don’t know which product to buy and can’t afford to try both, I highly recommend you start with the Zipadee Zip. This is based on over 10 years of working with families and getting reports about which products their babies love. I know based on the experience of many families that your baby is most likely going to LOVE it!

The post Zipadee Zip vs Love To Dream – Which is Better for Baby’s Sleep? appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

Best Ways to Throw Your Toddler a Birthday Party0

Children’s birthday parties are more than just a day when a lot of lovely pastries are involved. Kids look forward to this day more than any other day of the year. It should not come as a surprise since the full day is dedicated to them in the form of balloons, cakes, singing, presents, and more. In recent years, these parties have become elaborate, and this can sometimes throw off adults. The costs and stress associated with pulling off a great party or buying top rated appliances for party can be overwhelming, but it need not be the case.

Avoid Spending Beyond Means

If you are not careful, it is very easy for parties to suck up a significant chunk of your savings. Parents should start by setting a budget for the party. This helps avoid overspending, which can be quite comfortable in the heat of things. It is easy to add things like a circus troupe or orchestra to the list, but a pre-defined budget will help you stay within limits, while still coming up with a great party. The planning stage involves identifying interests and involvement. Knowledge of these two aspects can be used to determine the party venue, food, entertainment activities, among others.

Focus on Age-Appropriate Details

A lot of planning needs to be put in by parents to ensure that all aspects of the party are of the appropriate age. This planning process becomes a lot easier when all kids are of the same age. If this is not the case, it is better to take the birthday child’s age as a guide. One should also try to limit the invitees as per the child’s age. A thumb rule is to invite the birthday child’s age, plus 2. Hence, if the birthday child is turning 4, parents are better off inviting six children to the party. This helps the birthday child feel more comfortable. One should also read your child’s interests to decide on total invitees, venue, food, and entertainment.

Get it Done ASAP

Several things indeed have to congregate on a single day for a single event. However, this should not be an excuse for postponing different tasks, such as music. You can save a lot of money by booking in advance. It is better to plan a couple of weeks in advance, and it should leave enough time to book everything from the venue to the entertainment options. On average, parents can expect to spend around $250 on hosting a nice party. You would be surprised to know that many of these options can be booked with a discount, as you are stepping ahead of the queue. Once a sufficient amount of time is set aside, you would also be surprised at the way new options open up. For example, one of your friends may volunteer to help you set up the decor, which saves the cost that would otherwise be spent on a professional.

Send Invitations in Advance

It is no secret that more the merrier. You can make a toddler’s birthday much more special by inviting all dear and near. Just as organizers need time to set up the event, guests also need time to plan for the event – ideas, commute, and more. Many guests may have multiple parties to attend, and a late invite can leave them with an embarrassing face. Statistics show that only 15% of parents invite the entire class to a party.

You can avoid such a situation by sending out those invites at an early stage. It is recommended to send out invites at least ten days in advance. To hit this time scale, your work on preparing RSVPs should begin at least four weeks before the event. This gives sufficient time to draw a list of guests. This process also saves a lot of money since RSVPs can be used to avoid food wastage. If you have a dog, make sure all the other parents know about it before sending invites.

Deciding on Presents

Gone are the days when it was almost mandatory for guests to come with presents. Of course, it leads to a lot of accumulated presents. If you decide to do away with gifts, the invitation should clearly state the same. This can help to avoid embarrassing situations. In the place of such gifts, you can also request donations to a charity. Apart from serving to improve your reputation and helping out the unprivileged, it can also set an example for future parties in other households. If, however, you decide to accept presents, be prepared to shell out return gifts.

Best Time for the Food

The party hosts should decide on the timings of the food after they have planned out the venue. It is possible to choose different timings, but a little empathy can help make the party a great success. Many invitees do not like to have breakfast, as it also means difficult commute times on weekdays and an early start to the day on weekends. Depending on the day, a party can be organized such that it gives out dinner too. If it is a weekend, brunch would be the perfect outcome for all parties. This can also save some cost for the hosts, as brunches tend to be less expensive. It is also easier to prepare compared to party foods and fancy appetizers. Furthermore, a cake also seems like the best idea for brunch.

Conclusion

If there are several toddlers in attendance, it can be a joyous moment for parents. However, it can also be quite a concern if the party is hosted at home rather than a different venue. In such a case, you must make sure to childproof as much as possible. This involves removing fragile products from the reach of young kids, having fewer chairs in a room, and spreading out the toys. One can even go crazy with childproofing, as it is always better to be safe than sorry. These techniques can help you watch the toddlers in peace. Further, you are also keeping toddlers in a safe environment.

Author Bio: Lavera Taylor is a mother of two and a writer at My Kitchen Advisor. She’s lucky to have a husband that can provide while she takes care of their little ones. Elisabeth has a degree in psychology and currently lives in Seattle, WA.

The post Best Ways to Throw Your Toddler a Birthday Party appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.