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Transitioning from 3 Naps to 2

The first year of life is an important one for all children. But just when you think you have things figured out, something is bound to change. While change can be difficult to navigate, it is a good sign that your child’s development is right on track.

Somewhere between 6 and 8 months your child will likely drop to just 2 naps. However, some babies will keep that 3rd nap as long as 9 or 10 months! It is rare, but does happen.

As a child ages, their sleep matures. They also have an increased tolerance for being awake! When baby can stay awake a naturally longer interval without being overtired, this leads to 2 naps rather than 3. Your child may transition themselves naturally, or they may exhibit some key signs which indicate it may be time to lose the extra nap and start to make a plan around transition. 

  • Are they resisting nap time?
  • Are they sleeping? Or, are they crying or playing through nap time?

If the answer to these questions is “yes” majority of the time, it’s likely time to transition to 2 naps.

Work to increase their time awake between naps: Find the balance between them being awake longer but not getting over tired. The average awake window for a child who is newly on 2 naps is between 2.5 – 3.5 hours. With the shortest awake window happening in the morning before nap #1, and the longest awake window between nap #2 and bedtime. 

Consider an earlier bedtime throughout the transition. An early bedtime does not mean they will wake earlier, it simply provides an opportunity for your child to catch up on any lost sleep.

And if your child is still taking naps in the 30 – 45 minute range like many 3 – 5 month olds do, you might need to hold onto that 3rd nap a little longer than your baby’s peers. They just might need a little bit more time for their sleep needs to mature. And really, that is okay too! 

Still confused? This might be a good point of a discussion for a mini-consult. I would be happy to help you navigate this one. 

XO 

Lara 

PS – beautiful family photos courtesy of Stacie Lynn Photography

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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.

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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.