The Nest's Noticings This Week...
Parenting Resource: This article gives a brief outline of the various sleep training methods as well as books/authors that follow these methods.
Baby Signs to Use: Sleep, Bath, Book
Baby Songs to Sing: Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?
Favorite Product: The main product I highlighted this week was the Hatch Baby Rest - nightlight/white noise machine/OK to Wake clock :)
Developmental Tip: How do you sleep train a baby or deal with middle of the night wake-ups when you have more than one child? Even if your older child isn’t the best sleeper, most Nest moms have told us that they are shocked by how much their older child is able to sleep through once they’ve fallen asleep. Check out this article for some answers to this question.
Today's Topic: Sleep!
Today we talked about sleep! My fingers are crossed that all of your babies heard the words "SLEEP TRAINING" and will now be little sleeping angels every night (and nap)... :) Here are the notes that we went over today...
Nearly every single sleep resource will tell you that "sleep begets sleep"... basically, a baby sleeps more the more they sleep. (I know... that's SUPER encouraging news for those of us whose kids never seem to want to sleep! haha.) Whether you have a sleeping champion or a sleeper who's leaving you begging for caffeine, you want to make sure that your baby doesn't get overtired... because overtired babies are babies who have a hard time getting to sleep. Check out this sleep chart to get a snapshot of your baby's sleep needs. I find the middle section - "Baby Awake Time" - to be especially helpful. Keep an eye on your baby's awake time this week - are they awake longer than this chart suggests? That may be making it harder for them to get great sleep. But... when looking at this chart, remember that ALL BABIES ARE DIFFERENT! Let the chart be helpful, but ignore it if it stresses you out. ;)
Below is another great graphic, this time from BabySleepSite.com, that provides a snapshot of your baby's sleep development from 0-12 months. Keep an eye out for the regressions highlighted by this graphic. Regressions are common at 4 months, 8-10 months and 12 months. In between these regressions, there will also be many growth spurts - where your baby is taking in much more food than normal and possibly waking more at night to nurse/feed.
Gentle Methods to Encourage Sleep
The Soothing Ladder from the Happy Sleeper is one gentle way to gradually release support from your baby while they're learning to self-soothe. Basically, when your baby cries out at night, start out by giving them the least support possible, gradually giving more support only if necessary. Steps for a young baby may be: (you'd start out at the bottom of the ladder and work your way up every 30 seconds or so)
7. Feeding her
6. Picking her up to gently rock until soothed but still awake
5. Jiggling baby in the bed
4. Your touch, patting on the back, rubbing head or tummy, hand over top of the head, and so forth
3. Replacing the pacifier and/or lovey
2. The sound of your voice, talking, singing, shushing
1. Your presence in the room
Check out more about it in this video:
SHOULD I sleep train? This is such an individual decision! You do not have to sleep train. We suggest that you look into sleep training methods if you are not the mom/wife/friend you want to be during the day because you're exhausted, or if your baby is fussy or cranky and your gut tells you they aren't getting the sleep they need.
WHEN to sleep train? You will find a million and one answers if you look on google! Most people agree that many babies aren't ready to sleep through the night until 4 months. But there are definite times NOT to sleep train. Always rule out health concerns first. (i.e. - is baby sleeping poorly because of reflux? an ear infection? an allergy?) Don't sleep train before or during vacation or another time of big transition, during growth spurts/wonder weeks.
HOW to sleep train? Again, there are a million answers to this question! There are two big things that experts agree are key to sleep training success:
- Develop a plan and STICK TO IT. Whatever plan you decide on, be consistent. Have a support person - someone you are held accountable to/with and need to report to every night/morning. Log specifics of what happens every night so you can take note of patterns, progress, etc.
- When you decide on a plan, consider your child’s personality. Is your child really persistent or strong-willed? Know this when you decide on a method and think about what you think will work best for your child. Think about your family, your routine, your parenting style, etc.
Sleep Training Methods Cliff-Notes: According to Sleepopolis.com, there are 3 major methods of sleep training: Cry It Out, No Tears, and Fading. You can find a short synopsis of these 3 methods on their site here. PureWow adds 3 more methods to their list of major sleep training strategies and gives you a short synopsis of the 6 methods here.
Again, there's no right or wrong method, but think a lot about your baby's personality (and yours!) before you choose one!
I want a book to tell me what to do! Which book should I get? Here are the books that come up most often in Nest classes as recommended by our moms! We talked about these books generally in class - they range from cry it out methods to no-cry methods - all of which we talked about a bit today. :) (Click on the pictures below to read a synopsis or purchase.)
Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp
The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
The SleepEasy Solution by Jennifer Waldberger and Jill Spivack
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg
Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old by Suzy Giordano
Solve your Child's Sleep Problems by Dr. Richard Ferber
The Happy Sleeper by Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright
Other Random Sleep Info.:
Custom schedule maker - this is where you type in your baby's wake time and age and they give you a schedule! Love it!
Info about the 4 month sleep regression
Swaddle Transition - Check out this article for 8 ideas on how to transition away from the swaddle. For many moms, swaddling with one arm for a few nights can help the transition, or one arm swaddle with the added layer of a sleep sack. We also talked about a few products that can help while transitioning away from the swaddle, including the Magic Merlin Sleepsuit, Love to Dream Swaddle (this is the one with raised arms) or Zipadeezip.
If you're feeling stuck with your baby and sleep, please let us know and we will do our best to help. Many Nest moms have also used sleep consultants/night nurses to help them with sleep training. If you'd like some referrals, let us know! :)
Transitioning to a Big Kid Bed
We also talked about transitioning your older children to a big kid bed. Every family is different - don't feel pressured to do this until you're ready! (However, if your baby has a tough time sleeping, they may sleep better in a "big kid bed". You also want to talk to your pediatrician about moving to a big bed when your child is able to pull up in their crib and may be able to climb/fall out of it.
Always talk to your pediatrician first before transitioning your toddler out of their crib or if you're wondering if it's time. Once you move them out of your crib, make sure that their room is 100% babyproofed. Make sure they don't have access to any chokables, and that all dressers/furniture/heavy items are bolted to the wall.
If you leave your toddler's door open at night, make sure that any part of the house they may wander into is also childproofed! You don't want your toddler wandering out of their room while you sleep and falling down stairs or having access to unsafe things in the bathroom, for example. This is why many parents choose to use a monkey lock or baby gate at their baby's door.
Here is a great article full of tips on transitioning your child.
When you move your child out of their bed, I think it's a great idea to move them to a mattress on the floor. There is nothing worse than waking up at 2am to a huge thud, screaming, and big bump on your baby's head. Trust me.
Remember that the toddler bed won't last them that long. If you have a crib that converts, feel free to use it! If you don't, you may consider skipping straight to a twin bed on the floor and then eventually with a frame/headboard, etc.