Posted on

Is the course for me? Or, do I need one-on-one support?

Hello friends, 

The course launched on January 12th and it has been exciting and educational to watch people move through the Sleep from the Heart offering, and see it create huge waves of change in their family! 

But, it has given me some food for thought. Hopping on the phone with these families is starting to show me a bit more in terms of who this baby sleep course is for, and who would benefit from more 1:1 support. 

I plan to create an assessment tool… that will help you if you are humming and hawing about investing in the course element, or one-on-one support with another consultant. But in the meantime, I thought I would offer you a few thoughts on this subject.. 

Benefits of the course OVER 1:1 support: 

  • You live with the material. You can access the modules when you want in your own time, and have access to them for 3 months. 
  • Both you and your partner can watch those modules at a time that works for you. 
  • You can re-watch things to digest info that was really important to you. 
  • You can move at a pace that feels right. Most one-on-one consultants are trying to move you through their program in a span of 2 – 4 weeks. This pace can feel too fast for many families who are wanting gentle changes. 
  • You have access to 1:1 support if you need it. You can schedule phone calls, ask questions, and email me all from inside the course. 
  • You will gain information that might be helpful in use with future babies. 
  • Because the course is a solution for many different types of babies, and many different types of families, you are likely to learn new skills to handle developmental leaps, or help your friends whose kiddos are different from yours. 
  • When you set goals – you achieve 
  • You have support, and are good at holding yourself accountable once you’ve made up your mind about something. 
  • Content is created by a HIGH quality individual with YEARS of experience. With a one-on-one consultant, you may be getting someone who is brand new, and actually has only practiced on a small number of clients. Ask them!

People I think should purchase at least the CLASSIC package (3 calls): 

  • Everyone. I’m joking, but I am also not joking! Have you ever wished you had less support through a life transition? I am guessing the answer is no. 
  • You feel your baby is unique, spirited, or appears to have more energy than other babies you have observed at play groups 
  • You like to check in with someone and make sure you are on the right track. It makes you feel at ease to have someone else’s feedback. 
  • You like having lots of different options available to you, but when it comes to narrowing the course you find an expert’s advice helpful. 

People who should consider ONE-ON-ONE support with ANOTHER consultant instead: 

  • You are experiencing mental health challenges at this time including (but not limited to); postpartum depression, and/or generalized anxiety. 
  • Perhaps your anxiety is not diagnosed, but you feel like it is getting the best of you at sleep times. 
  • You want an exact step-by-step plan for your baby, at this very moment in time. 
  • Financially, this is possible for you to invest in (services ranging from $450 – $1150 CAD). 
  • You have trouble holding yourself accountable. You know your baby should nap at noon, but you end up putting them to sleep at 2:30 pm instead. A course will be very hard for you. 
  • You have little outside support from friends, and/or family. 

With all that said; I have seen this course help many people. I wish I had a magic wand I could wave and your baby would be sleeping through the night. I really do! But I don’t. I really don’t. You are going to have to put the pieces together, put in the work, and hold out hope that this CAN help you if you follow through. 

While I hope the course will have lots of brand new information for you. Honestly, most of the tweaks in the video library I have totally made up myself and have never found on google! Ha. But, if it is all information you have heard before, that is okay too. It is the way I suggest you put all of the pieces together, and how you can mark your success and ride the waves of change, that really make this a worthwhile offering. 

This baby sleep course is new, and I am sure I will probably add to this list over time! Ha. If you have taken the course and have insight to share with me.. I would be all ears. Send me an email at lara@heavyeyeshappyhearts.com and I will check out your feedback! 

In the meantime, if the course IS for you I hope you will support the venture, and love it. 

XO 

Lara 

Posted on Leave a comment

Combatting Your Child’s Sleep Related Anxieties

Recently, my oldest child has been experiencing a lot of overnight fears, and “bad dreams”. These periods of time seem to come and go, and often do correspond with times where he has been more busy, more overstimulated, and somewhat overtired.

Anxiety is a prevalent issue that many adults and children deal with. In fact, “experts” say that up to 40% of children are believed to struggle with sleep for reasons related to anxiety. But, did you know anxiety can appear in children as early as 6 months of age?

For most young children (age 6 months to 3 years), separation anxiety is the predominant form of anxiety related to sleep issues.

But what about the monsters under the bed, the dark, that doll that looks just a little too real, or the infinite number of scary things their little minds can create?

When kids are up all night, you are too, but it can be incredibly difficult to convince your little one that they have nothing to be afraid of, and that their mind is simply playing tricks on them. So what can you do to help your little one overcome their fears? Whether your child is 2 or 12, you can handle things much the same way:

  • Empathize: Even though their fear may be irrational or impossible, helping your child feel emotionally safe is a vital part of overcoming any fear or anxiety.

  • Validate Their Emotions: Use phrases like, “I know you’re feeling scared right now,” or “I know what it’s like to feel afraid,” and “I’m going to help you” to reassure your child.

  • Identify the Fear: Try to have your child tell you what they’re afraid of rather than guessing and potentially giving them new ideas.

  • Fact Check: Explain to them and give examples of why their fear is unlikely to come true (using age appropriate information of course)

  • Eliminate stimulants: Avoid caffeine or sugary food/drinks before bed.

  • A Bedtime Story or Song: A good story or song can help refocus your child’s mind. A positive imaginary world is likely to promote healthy sleep and less fear.

  • Make bedtime fun! Consider buying a fun night light or keep a flashlight under the pillow. Let your child choose a favorite blankie or bedtime buddy. Talk about being brave or read stories where heroes conquer a fear.

  • Reassurance: Remind your child constantly that you are there, and they are safe.

Bedtime routines are sure to be unique to each family and how you deal with anxieties or fears is sure to be too. Hopefully building an arsenal of tips and tricks will help you along the way.

One of the things that does work best for our 5 year old, is a place to stay the night in our master bedroom when he is feeling scared. We have a mattress set up for him, and if he feels he needs close proximity that night, he comes in and tucks himself in. He doesn’t need any intervention from us, so we all get more sleep this way!

As always, if there is anything more I can do to help – please let me know. Sweet Dreams!

XO

Lara

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s almost time to “Spring Ahead”

Alright people – it is coming in hot, but we’ve still got lots of time to get this right.

Daylight savings time is coming for us. Again. I know. Doesn’t it feel like this just happened?! No. Just me. I must be getting older.

Transitioning sleep times can be fairly straightforward, or, it can be a little bit tricky. It really depends on your specific child, how sensitive they are to change, and how sensitive YOU are to change. We know our children feel our feelings as we are connected on a cellular level. So, if changes to your child’s sleep routine cause you a little bit of worry, it might be time to start preparing for the hour where we “spring forward”, so you can take this change in stride.

The clocks will go forward one hour on Sunday, March 11th at 3:00 am in Canada. For frame of reference, 7:00 pm will become 8:00 pm, and 6:00 am will become 7:00 am.

Just like any sleep change, there are a few different techniques you can use to begin to help your child with this transition. I will outline a few below, and those that I feel are easiest for most families to follow.

For all children:

Once Sunday March 11th rolls around, treat the clocks as the true time. You may need to “push” your child ever so gently onto their new schedule, and I would advise waking your babe up at normal time to start the day. If they need to be up at 7:00 am on Monday morning to get to daycare on time, don’t let them sleep til 8:30 am on Sunday.

For infants and toddlers with a set bedtime:

You can begin making this transition as early as 4 weeks prior to the change. If you are someone who likes to plan ahead, this can suit you quite nicely! If your child goes to bed most evenings at 7:00 pm, begin moving their bedtime 15 minutes earlier each week. Wake them up 15 mins earlier the next day if necessary, and put them down for their naps 15 minutes earlier as well. For example;

  • Week 1: 6:45 pm fast asleep

  • Week 2: 6:30 pm fast asleep

  • Week 3: 6:15 pm fast asleep

  • Week 4: 6:00 pm (which will become the new 7:00 pm on March 11th)

As you can probably see – this is NOT going to work out, if you have been letting your child sleep til their normal start time in the morning, and napping them at their regular nap times as well. They won’t be tired when that slightly earlier bedtime rolls around, and they are going to fall asleep right at their usual time.

When we schedule shift, we really move the whole schedule. Not just bits and pieces of it.

For those who have not prepared quite as far ahead, this is still a nice transition to use over the course of 4 days, or a week or two. Work on slowly moving the time up with each passing night until you arrive at a bedtime one hour earlier than your usual bedtime, prior to the change. Approach naps a little earlier, and wake your child to start the day at an ideal time if necessary.

For infants and toddlers with a somewhat flexible bedtime:

My advice on this one is to also be somewhat flexible. A few days before the time change, begin moving their daily naps slightly earlier.

This really depends again on how time sensitive your child is. Some babies will respond super well to having their naps moved up by 15 mins every few days, and an older toddler might not notice this change in the slightest.

Move bedtime up by the same amount of time that day, and you should be able to adjust to the new time within 2 – 4 days.

If your child typically goes to bed between 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm each night, aim for the earlier time over the course of a few days leading up to the change, and then somewhere in the middle of that hour for the few days following the change.

For example; the week before the time change bedtime is closer to 6:15, or 6:30 pm, and the week after the change bedtime is closer to 7:15 or 7:30 pm. You can then begin moving this time up if it still is not suitable to your schedule.

Yeah. So. I didn’t plan and now my kid is going to bed at 10:00 pm. Now what?!

If you’re reading this March 12th after your child was up til 10:00 pm the night before, my best advice is to relax. Do get your child up at the wake-up time you expect tomorrow morning, and they should make the transition on their own within 3 – 4 days. But remember this – the best place to counter a later than preferred bedtime is in the MORNING!! Not, at night. 

Older children tend to make this transition quite seamlessly by going by what the clock says as of March 11th. But all children WILL find their groove within 7 – 10 days for sure.

Lastly, get your child outside first thing in the morning for a few days after the change for some fresh air and natural light. This will also help re-set their biological clock and the fresh air will help achieve good naps, and easier sleep that day. Not to mention, the whole point here is that we get to enjoy a little more light later into the evening!

Thank you to Stacie-Lynn for the beautiful photo featured here.

 

Posted on

Sleep Associations – the good. the bad. the ugly?

You’ve surely heard about them by now..

Sleep associations. The things your baby associates with falling asleep.

Are they negative? Are they positive? Are they causing you to wake up MORE at night than you would be without them?

Good questions, really.

In the world of baby sleep there is a lot of emphasis on sleep associations. There is a lot of emphasis on the way your baby makes the vulnerable transition from awake to asleep. We do know that this transition IS a vulnerable one for a baby to make, and so it is only natural and normal that they would need some help in doing so.

Sleep associations that you hear of often include; pacifier use, or sucking on a bottle to fall asleep, being nursed to sleep, or rocking in the arms of a loved one. Sometimes a baby requires the swing, car, carrier, or stroller, to be able to fall asleep.

I would argue that some of the above can be used in a very positive way to help your baby go to sleep, and this is where I will remind you as I always do.. That if what you are currently doing is working for you, there is absolutely NO REASON to make a change!

Unfortunately, many of the same associations above can become an unsustainable sleep need that families are unable to uphold at every sleep time.

For example; if your baby can only sleep in a car (true of a couple of families I have worked with), this is usually not going to be a sleep association you can sustain for months. If one person always has to drive overnight so a baby can sleep; when will that parent get the sleep that they need to be happy, healthy, and attentive?

In my experience, there are some sleep associations that will ALWAYS be helpful for a family. If your baby learns that these items are associated with preparing for sleep, it is likely going to help you in the long run.

  1. A predictable and loving bedtime routine – we know that babies become great predictors of events. They come to associate their actual routine with going to bed at 9 or 10 months of age after going through the leap of programs. But this is not to say a loving bedtime routine is not a helpful sleep association sooner than this. It is an increased opportunity for connection with babe, and this is always a positive thing!
  2. Bath before bed – a warm bath at the start of your little one’s bedtime routine can be helpful. The bath raises your body’s temperature, and then the almost immediate decrease in temperature after the bath is done helps signal to the body that it is time for sleep. The steeper drop in temperature is more likely to put your little one into a deeper sleep, with the onset of melatonin production.
  3. Massage before bed – Deep pressure calms the nervous system, and babe will love the skin-to-skin, and eye-to-eye, connection time here.
  4. Dark sleep space – we know that our bodies will secrete melatonin in the dark, which is why those blackout blinds are truly important!  
  5. White or pink noise playing consistently – when babies transition through their sleep cycles, we know the first sense to “turn on” is a baby’s auditory sense. If they hear white noise in the background when they fall asleep, as well as, at partial arousals.. There is a small chance they will put themselves back to sleep. It also helps drown out toddler siblings, and neighbourhood noises.
  6. Swaddle or sleeping bag – depending on the age of your babe; these are great signals that sleep is coming. Many babies form a positive association with what they wear to bed, and I have seen my own children rub their cheeks fondly on the shoulder of their sleep sack. Bonus – you’re not second guessing their temperatures in the middle of the night where our body temperature naturally drops.
  7. Reading a book, or singing a song – another beautiful cue that bedtime is coming. When a parent sings or hums the same song on repeat, this often becomes a nice focal point for babe as they transition to sleep.
  8. Mutually beneficial cuddling, rocking, or snuggles – I say “mutually beneficial” because there is usually a time limit here for a parent before they become frustrated that the child is not going to sleep. I usually ask the families that I am working with to snuggle their babies for 5 minutes closely before putting them down for bed. There is a bit of an art to this, but not really one I can write out in full detail in a blog post! You will have to hire me for the elaborate shush pat. Haha.

I often say to the families I am working with this…

If you resent something your child associates with going to sleep, then let’s change it?

For some this means removing one thing the child associates with falling asleep, and offering another connection point instead.

For example; for a family who is having to replug their child’s pacifier multiple times per night, can we introduce a back rub that baby associates with falling asleep instead? Work on adding that in for a few nights, and then sub out the pacifier for a hold and back rub in the middle of the night? Allow baby to express their frustrations in arms with you, but don’t offer false hope if the pacifier is not coming back.  

Or, if baby is used to being bounced back to sleep at every night wake; is there another repetitive motion we can replicate in the crib that is less “hands-on” or labour intensive?

Not all sleep associations are bad. Not in the slightest. Depending how you look at it, maybe none are bad! It is all perspective, and education.

Breastmilk makes babies sleepy. That was designed by nature, and nature makes no mistake. Unfortunately nursing a baby to sleep at bedtime, does not always equal long stretches of sleep through the middle of the night. But it is also not wrong to do in the slightest, and some families are lucky enough to see their babes link up sleep cycles doing this as well.

Try out some other associations with your babe, and see what they think? You might be very surprised to see that they associate something else positively with going to sleep, and it may be something that is more mutually agreeable for the both of you.

Hope that helps give you some ideas, and food for thought.

XO

Lara

Thank you to Stacie-Lynn for the beautiful “feetie” photo shared here. 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Prepping for Daylight Savings Time

Here it comes my friends… sneaking around the corner like that creepy clown at the Hallowe’en haunted house. Yup. DUN DUN DUN…

Daylight savings time is coming for us.

Transitioning sleep times can be fairly straightforward, or, it can be a little bit tricky. It really depends on your specific child, how sensitive they are to change, and how sensitive YOU are to change. We know our children feel our feelings as we are connected on a cellular level. So, if changes to your child’s sleep routine cause you a little bit of worry, it might be time to start preparing for the hour where we “fall back”, so you can take this change in stride.

The clocks will go back one hour on Sunday, November 4th at 2:00 am. For frame of reference, 8:00 pm will become 7:00 pm, and 7:00 am will become 6:00 am.

Just like any sleep change, there are a few different techniques you can use to begin to help your child with this transition. I will outline a few below, and those that I feel are easiest for most families to follow.

For all children:

Once Sunday Nov. 4th rolls around, treat the clocks as the true time. You may need to “push” your child ever so gently onto their new schedule, or offer an extra nap or quiet time in the afternoon if they were up unusually early that morning.

For infants and toddlers with a set bedtime:

You can begin making this transition as early as 4 weeks prior to the change. If you are someone who likes to plan ahead, this can suit you quite nicely! If your child goes to bed most evenings at 7:00 pm, begin moving their bedtime 15 minutes later each week. Hold them to a 15 minute later wake-up time the next day, and put them down for their naps 15 minutes later as well. For example;

  • Week 1: 7:15 pm fast asleep

  • Week 2: 7:30 pm fast asleep

  • Week 3: 7:45 pm fast asleep

  • Week 4: 8:00 pm (which will become the new 7:00 pm on November 5th)

For those who have not prepared quite as far ahead, this is still a nice transition to use over the course of 4 days, or a week or two. Work on slowly pushing the time back with each passing night until you arrive at a bedtime one hour later than your usual bedtime, prior to the change. Push naps the next day, and wake-up time as well.

For infants and toddlers with a somewhat flexible bedtime:

My advice on this one is to also be somewhat flexible. A few days before the time change, begin pushing their daily naps slightly later depending on age, and what your child can tolerate without becoming too overtired.

A younger baby will likely respond well to having their naps pushed back by approximately 15 minutes without becoming overtired, whereas an older toddler may be able to manage going for their nap 30 minutes later than they normally do. Push their bedtime back by the same amount of time that day, and you should be able to adjust to the new time within 2 – 4 days.

If your child typically goes to bed between 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm each night, aim for the later time over the course of a few days leading up to the change, and then somewhere in the middle of that hour for the few days following the change.

For example; the week before the time change bedtime is closer to 7:15, or 7:30 pm, and the week after the change bedtime is closer to 6:30 or 6:45 pm. You can then begin pushing this time back if it still is not suitable to your schedule.

Yeah. So. I didn’t plan and we were up at the crack of dawn. Now what?!

If you’re reading this November 4th after your child was up at 5:00 am the morning, my best advice is to relax. Hold your child to the wake-up time you expect the next day, and they should make the transition on their own within 3 – 4 days. Older children tend to make this transition quite seamlessly by going by what the clock says on November 4th.

Lastly, get your child outside first thing in the morning for a few days after the change for some fresh air and natural light. This will also help re-set their biological clock and the fresh air will help achieve good naps, and easier sleep that day.

Thank you to Stacie-Lynn for the beautiful photo featured here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Is now the time to make sleep changes?

Every family that I have worked with has asked themselves this question.

I know there is a lot of hesitancy around hiring a baby sleep coach. It is usually the non-nursing partner who is the most skeptical. “Do you really think this baby lady is going to solve our sleep problem? What does she know that google doesn’t?”

Quite possibly nothing would be my answer. Google knows A LOT these days. I know Google could probably teach me how to change a flat tire, but I am still calling my husband to do it for me! And I know Google could probably teach me how to bake a lemon meringue pie… but I’m still picking one up from Save-On on my way home.

I know. I’m being silly again. I tend to be that way. One cannot take all the sleep stuff too serious, or one will never get the babies sleeping. My recipe for getting babies to sleep includes; every sleep book under the sun, all of the googling, as well as, years of experience in putting babies to bed and getting those babies sleeping. It is the experience part that I rely on every day to get me through the difficult nights, and expectedly early mornings.

I always ask the families who have decided to work with me, why NOW is the time. These are some of the responses I have heard.

“We have talked about hiring a sleep consultant many times. I’ve been at my wits end before, but I keep waiting for some improvement to take place. And then it never does. It never seems like the perfect time (i.e. travelling, teething, etc)., but we realize there will never be a perfect time and something has got to give!” ~ Kristen, mom of 15 month old Logan, Delta, BC.

“We just want dad to be able to put her to bed! We have worries, stresses, and thoughts about this not going well. We want to talk with someone who has experienced all of this before us, and can offer us some advice as we make this big transition.” ~ Sarah, mom of 10 month old Abigail, Toronto, ON.

“Because I am literally exhausted. We have been trying to make changes on our own for over a month now, and nothing seems to be working. We are hoping for longer stretches at night, and seeing our baby learn to fall asleep more independently. I can’t imagine how I could possibly go on at this pace.” ~ Amelia, mom of 5 month old Connor, Coquitlam, BC.

The thing is. I get it. I have literally been in the shoes of every one of these parents who is finally reaching out for help. I have felt the effects of true sleep deprivation.

I remember driving a car thinking – I should not be driving this car right now because I didn’t sleep at all last night. I’ve cancelled play dates because the thought of getting out of my pajamas was just too much to bear. I’ve hid from friends and family with their well-meaning advice, and “good” sleeping babies.

 

 

Although my approach is slow and steady, progress is made every single day. I love checking in with families, and hearing about the night before. The ups, the downs, the highs and lows. I am here to weather the storm. I can help prepare a new plan as needed, or assure a family to hold steady as we wait for this moment in time to pass.

Most often, families comment about how they wish they had of started sooner. After one week together, babies are usually falling asleep peacefully in their beds. After two weeks together, the middle of the night stretches are starting to consolidate, and at the end of three weeks nap sleep is becoming reliable and consistent.

Here are some of what a few of our happy families have had to say.

“Things are going well! We’re not ready to shout it from the rooftops, but things are happening. We had two long stretches of consolidated sleep last night and only 2 night wakings! We need some encouragement, but we feel like we are on the right track!” – Ted, Dad to 9 month old William, after Night 4.

“We are feeling great! She had some good stretches of sleep last night. Bedtime was easy. She was awake when I put her down in her crib tonight, and she went down easily without a fuss. We heard her wake once around 12:30 am, but she went right back to sleep. Celebrate with us today. We are feeling good! – Alanna, Mom to 10 month old Harlow, after night 15.

“We are tired today, but we are feeling hopeful. Miles slept in his crib for the first time ever! And this is the first time that Ryan has ever been able to successfully put him down to sleep in his crib! Things are looking great. I am feeling so much better, and I am just so proud of how well Miles and Ryan did together! – Carly, Mom to 5 month old Miles, after night 8.

When it comes to making sleep changes, there are certainly some times that are better than others. If you’re having a hard time deciding if that time is now, please reach out. We can hop on the phone, dive deeper in email, and decide together if now is the right time to make a change, and if I am the right person to help get your baby sleeping.

XO

Lara

Thank you to Astrid Miller Photography and Stacie-Lynn Photography, for the beautiful images featured here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Transitioning Your Child to their Own Sleep Space

Where should your baby sleep? Crib, co-sleeper, bed, bassinet, DockAtot?! The possibilities are endless. And although you swore up and down while expecting that you would NEVER end up with a baby in your bed, we all know how that sometimes plays out!

The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends that a baby sleep in a crib in their parent’s room for the first 6 months of their life. They define this as “co-sleeping”, I however, define this as “room-sharing”, and tend to think of co-sleeping as truly having your baby share the bed with one or more parent through some part of the day or night.

Now before you think I am going to write a blog shaming you for co-sleeping, continue reading. Ha! That would never be my intention because really, I don’t give a f*ck where your family sleeps. I don’t sleep in your bed, so.. why would I care? I trust that you have made a decision that fits your family’s lifestyle, and that if you have decided to co-sleep; you are of course following all precautions to do so safely such as those listed here.

What this article is about is HOW to prepare your child to sleep in their own room, and in their own crib, when that time comes. Do you just decide one night that this is how it will be? Rip off the band-aid and let er fly?!

I am going to go with… No… I always think, what would the baby prefer? How can we adjust baby to a new scenario in a way that is most natural, and more likely to invoke a positive response?

Step 1: Begin Building a Positive Room Association

Essentially this means playing with your child in their new sleep space. Make a focused effort to go to this room a few times per day. Bring some of your baby or toddler’s favourite toys, and enjoy the space together. Play on the floor. Offer them your focused attention. Read some stories, and sing some songs in their new room. Do this for at least a couple of days, before moving on to the next step. 10 or 15 minutes twice per day tends to be a good guideline in terms of spending focused time.

Step 2: Build a Positive Relationship with Your Child’s Crib or Bed

If this is a place your baby has never slept before, it may be completely foreign to them. If you have seen your baby go into their crib and immediately burst into tears upon hitting the mattress, it is pretty safe to say they have no clue what this space is for, and whether or not they should trust it! Let’s get them comfortable here.

We want our babies to see their crib as a safe haven. Therefore, when they do wake up through the middle of the night they know where they are. They trust that this is a place they like and enjoy, and can spend a few minutes looking around and relaxing in before they fall asleep, as well as, return to sleep through partial arousals in the night.

Follow the same ritual as you did in preparing your child for their new room. Allow your child to PLAY in their crib. I know I know… some of you are saying, but I want her to SLEEP in her crib, why on earth would I let her play in it?! Isn’t that just going to teach her that this space is for playing in? No. No it is not. For the reasons listed above! We want this to become one of your child’s favourite, most comfortable places, and one way to achieve this is through play.

At first, stay with your child and truly entertain them. Bring them toys, read them books while they are in their crib, sing songs etc. Then begin to build up your time away. Begin to do something in your child’s room. For example; fold laundry, or begin going through their closet and sort the clothes that no longer fit! When your baby babbles, go over to the crib and babble back. Show your love and support and that you will always be there to check on them. They can feel safe knowing you are always going to respond to their needs while they are in their crib.

Next, move on to the step of leaving your child to play in their crib for a few minutes at a time. Say, “mommy is just going to go get a glass of water, or check on brother, etc,” you get the idea. Leave the room but stay within earshot. Do return as you promised you would, and babble back at baby. At first you may just leave the room for 30 – 45 seconds, but see if you can grow this to 2 or 3 minutes, and even up to 5. Every return to your baby shows them that they can in fact trust you, and you mean what you say in terms of offering them support.

If you are planning to do any “sleep shaping” with your little one, I see the above as an essential step in preparing them for this; especially for a child who has never slept in their crib. Wait until you are in a place of putting your baby down in their crib and they immediately smile and coo, etc., before you begin your sleep coaching regime. You will probably save you and your baby A LOT of tears!

Step 3: Baby Already Knows their Bed

If your baby has already been sleeping in their crib in your room, and has a positive relationship with this space your job is much easier. After spending some time on step 1, I would suggest moving your baby’s crib to their room for at least one nap, before expecting them to sleep all night in this space. There is really no need to juggle back and forth between having naps in their new room, and then nighttime back in your room. Just aim to have afternoon nap here, followed by bedtime the same day. Pick a day and time when you feel you and baby are ready, and commit 100% to your baby’s new sleep space. You have spent some time allowing your baby the chance to become accustomed to their new space, and you can support them here. But, it would be unfair to juggle back and forth between rooms, or even bring your child back into your bed at this particular time.

Step 4: Don’t Hesitate to Stay Nearby

Even if your child is accustomed to falling asleep without your presence, don’t hesitate to stay nearby on the first few nights baby is sleeping in their new room. Some parents decide to offer support by sitting on a chair in their child’s room until baby falls asleep, or even sleeping on an air-mattress on the floor for the first couple of nights. It is really up to you.

After all, this is all about YOU, your baby, and YOUR family. Of course I am happy to offer suggestions as to how we might help this all go more smoothly, but at the end of the day all that matters is that your family is happy with your sleep situation.

If you’re not… perhaps then it is time to see if I can help find a customized solution for you.

XO

Lara

Thank you to Stacie-Lynn Photography for the beautiful photo I used to showcase this blog. <3

Posted on 2 Comments

Is it time to stop nursing at bedtime?

Nursing your baby to sleep can be a beautiful, joyous time. You know your baby is going down in a peaceful comforted state. Everything is right in the world. And with their warm-cuddly body snuggled in, it can feel like a dream.

But not every family experiences the same relationship with nursing to sleep. Some women feel a bit claustrophobic – knowing they are the only one who is able to put baby to sleep.  Other times it is not going as planned. What used to take 10 minutes is now taking an hour or two, and mom and dad are considering that it might be time for a change. And some babies outright refuse – showing another preferred way of going to sleep after their tummies are full!

Ending the nursing to sleep relationship is a HUGE decision to make. It is really not black and white, as so many people might make it out to be. When a family works with me and they are considering ending this way of putting their child to sleep, these are some of the questions I ask them to reflect on.

Through reflection, conversation with friends, family, and especially your partner, my hope is that you will decide if it is the right time to make a change or not.

1.     What do you love about nursing to sleep?

2.     How do you feel majority of the time you are nursing your baby at night?

3.     Are you the only one who can put your child to sleep at night? How does that make you feel?

4.     Are you getting the rest you need to be the type of parent you wish to be?

5.     Is there a part of nursing your child to sleep that you don’t enjoy?

6.     Are there people in your life who are supportive of nursing your child to sleep? Of your breastfeeding journey?

7.     Is there pressure from your partner, friends, or family, to stop nursing your baby at night?

8.     What is your number one reason, or motivation, for no longer nursing your baby to sleep at night, or in the middle of the night?

9.     Are there parts of nursing in the middle of the night that you sincerely enjoy?

10. What do you wish your nighttime sleep looked like?

11. What is the feeling that would come up for you if you woke up tomorrow and could no longer nurse your baby to sleep?

12. If your baby rejected nursing at bedtime, or in the middle of the night as a result of changes you initiated – how would this make you feel?

Just because you’re weaning nursing to sleep at bedtime does not mean you need to end nursing in the middle of the night, wean daytime nursing sessions, or even stop nursing to sleep at nap time. There are many different ways that you can go about this transition, in order to make it a success for both you, and your entire family. And honestly, if you need more support on weaning breastfeeding a great person to reach out to is a board certified lactation consultant, or a breastfeeding educator. If you’d like a referral, I know a couple of great ones worth talking to.

XO

Lara

Thank you to Stacie-Lynn Photography for the beautiful photo featured here.