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Jan 22 2014

Ask a Sleep Coach: Stuck Between Co-Sleeping and No Sleeping

By at 3:54 pm

mamababy

Anyone with kids knows that getting them to sleep is no easy feat. Luckily, there are people who specialize in these things, like Israeli sleep coach Batya Sherizen. Below she takes on a question from a Kveller reader, Kair. Do you have a sleep question for Batya? Send them into info@kveller.com with the subject line “Sleep coach.”

Dear Batya,

My husband and I are struggling through each night and I am hoping that you might be able to help with my 22-month-old’s sleep.

I work full time, so when it came down to choosing how we would spend our nights with our daughter, we chose co-sleeping. I was pumping during the day, and nursing at night not only allowed us to keep up our breastfeeding relationship, but also allowed us some time to be together, and feel close, because we didn’t have that during the day.

Traditionally our night routine involves us putting on pajamas, reading a story or two, and then snuggling up in the rocking chair and nursing to sleep. Once our daughter Lucy is sleeping, I transfer her to her crib with relative ease. When she wakes up–no matter what time that is –she comes into bed with us. That could be 9:30 p.m. or 3:30 a.m.; as soon as she calls for us, she joins us for the rest of the evening. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 7 2014

Ask a Sleep Coach: Managing Baby’s Daytime Sleep

By at 2:59 pm

sleep

Dear Batya,

My son is 3 1/2 months old. During the day, I can get him to take some short naps on me or in the stroller, but if I try to put him in his crib (even swaddled), he wakes up immediately. At night, he sleeps well in his crib, but I have to make sure he’s well asleep before putting him in it (he doesn’t self-soothe). Is he too young for sleep training? And what is the best method? (My husband isn’t a fan of the idea of “cry it out,” although he’s on board with an increasing time method for it, i.e. checking in at one minute, then three minutes, etc.). Thank you for your help!

Shira

Hi Shira!

The most important thing to keep in mind while addressing any issue with our children is that something is only a problem if you feel that it’s a problem. From what you’ve written, it seems that you don’t have any issues with your baby’s night sleep; as you said, he sleeps well in his crib at night. Is it safe to say that you really just want to improve his daytime sleep? I wouldn’t prematurely introduce any new methods, when in reality you just want some structure to your days.

That being said, there seem to be two main ideas to address here with your baby’s day sleep. Firstly, it is typical for babies this age to take such short naps during the day because their sleep cycle finishes at that 40-45 minute mark. The problem is, however that after your son completes this sleep cycle, he then wakes up and is unable to transition to the next sleep cycle on his own, hereby waking himself up. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 4 2013

Ask a Sleep Coach: What to Do About Your Early (Reeeally Early) Riser

By at 10:01 am

sunrise

The following question for Batya, our resident sleep coach, comes from contributing editor Jordana Horn:

Hi, Batya. I am hoping you can help me out. My 2-year-old, whom we’ll call G, is an early riser. I mean EARLY, to the tune of 4:30-5:30 a.m. She naps two hours a day from 1-3. She goes to bed around 7 p.m. She wakes up totally chipper and raring to go. Sadly, my husband and I are not the same way. We have decided to say we will not get her from her crib until 6 a.m. and have gotten her a clock that turns green when it is 6 a.m. In other words, you don’t have to be asleep, but you can’t yell for us till 6 a.m. We put books in her bed that she can read by the light of her night light (“read” = look at pictures). 

Unfortunately, 95% of the time, she yells for us well before 6 a.m. We have tried telling her to stop. We have tried reward systems. We have tried punishments. We have tried going in and shushing/holding her. We have tried not going in and letting her scream her head off, waking up the rest of the house in the process. She wakes the whole house up every morning. It isn’t fair to the other kids, let alone us. 

I asked our pediatrician what to do and she said there is nothing we can do: some kids are just early risers. That’s fine by me but I want to make sure she knows that before 6 a.m., she’s gotta keep the early morning love to herself. What to do? Please help! Thank you!!! Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 13 2013

Ask a Sleep Coach: How Do I Get My 4-Year-Old to Sleep On Her Own?

By at 8:01 pm

babymama

Anyone with kids knows that getting them to sleep is no easy feat. Luckily, there are people who specialize in these things, like Israeli sleep coach Batya Sherizen. Below she takes on a question from Kveller editor, Deborah Kolben. Do you have a sleep question for Batya? Send them into info@kveller.com with the subject line “Sleep coach.”

My 4-year-old still wakes up and wants us to sleep in her bed every night. How do we get her to sleep on her own?

As parents, we obviously want to ensure that our children feel emotionally secure at all times. Sometimes, however, we find ourselves sacrificing that “security” at our own expense and sleep deprivation.

Your 4-year-old wants your presence to fall back asleep at night and she is developmentally at a place where she can understand cause and affect. Until now, she has learned that if she protests enough, Mommy and/or Daddy WILL come and sleep in her bed. Therefore, she has no reason to change her current behavior. In her eyes, she is getting what she wants! Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 12 2011

Batya the Sleep Coach: Ack! My 4-month-old Won’t Sleep

By at 12:47 pm

If this isn't what's happening in your house, it's time to talk to Batya.

Israeli sleep coach, Batya Sherizen is taking questions from Kveller readers. Send your problems to info@kveller.com

Dear Batya,

My child is screaming upstairs as I write this.

My 4.5 month old has been very good about going to sleep. He nurses during naps, at night, and every two or three hours during the night. He sleeps with us, so we just lie down together and then once he is asleep I sneak away. Just this week, he started nursing for a few minutes and then pops off and starts babbling. He does this during naps and night time. He didn’t really take a good nap today or yesterday. I adore him and would much rather play with him than clean up the kitchen, but the child needs to sleep. So I am trying to let him cry himself to sleep (thanks for the suggestion, Mom). It feels terrible and I’m having a glass of Manischewitz. No joke.

Our ideal situation would be that my husband or myself could get Abraham ready for bed, help him wind down, and then put him in his crib (we’d like our bed back for at least part of the night…) and then he would sleep with minimal fussing for more than three hours. I know it won’t happen overnight, but maybe by the time he goes to college? Maybe sooner?

Hi Vicki,

First of all, you can definitely teach him to become a better sleeper…before he goes off to college! There is typically sleep regression at 4 months of age, so it’s not surprising that he suddenly has decided to fight sleep.

The most important thing to address first is a consistent routine to prevent his overtiredness. Here is an example of a schedule that may work for you both:

6:30 – Wake and Breast milk or Formula
7:45 – Nap
8:15-8:45 – Breast milk or Formula
9:45 – 10:00 – Nap
10:45 – 11:15 – Breast milk or Formula
11:45 – 12:00 – Nap
1:15 – 1:45 – Breast milk or Formula
2:00 – Nap
3:45 – 4:15 – Breast milk or Formula
4:45 – Nap
5:45 – Begin bedtime routine
6:00 – Breast milk or Formula
6:15 – Bedtime (aim to have him asleep by this time)

Additionally, he will still probably need 1-3 night feedings as well.

Once you’ve guided him into a routine, you can then begin to gradually teach him how to fall asleep on his own so he won’t need you to nurse him all the time, only to have him pop back up and want to hang out! There are many methods that work, but are really dependent on his temperament and how he responds to stimuli. Therefore, if you’re uncomfortable with Crying It Out (which it seems you are…and I doubt the Manischewitz is easily solving this problem!), try a gentler approach. You can begin by placing him in his crib after bedtime, when he’s in a calm, relaxed, mellow state. Once he is used to being in his crib, you can help him fall asleep without picking him up, but using other means (holding his hand, rubbing his belly, singing to him, etc.). As the nights progress he will gradually fall asleep more quickly and easily and you can then begin helping him less and less until he’s more or less learned how to self-soothe.

Contact Batya and mention you saw her on Kveller for a free phone consultation! www.BatyatheBabyCoach.com

Sep 13 2011

Sleep Coach: The Restless 3-Month-Old

By at 3:26 pm

So much tired, so little sleep.

Israeli sleep coach, Batya Sherizen is taking questions from Kveller readers. Send your problems to info@kveller.com.

Dear Batya,

My 3-month-old is a restless sleeper. We have a consistent bedtime routine: we bathe him, I feed him, then we swaddle him and my husband sings to him until the baby is very drowsy. Then he goes in his co-sleeper and my husband stays with him until he falls asleep.  He usually does a great job sleeping from 7:30 until 2 or 3 when he wakes up for a feeding. I know this is a wonderful amount of sleep for a baby this age. My question is about his restless sleep. He used to only be squirmy and somewhat gassy from the middle of the night feeding until the morning. Now he is restless and a little gassy almost all night. He is waking himself (and us) up. I give him back his pacifier and shush him until he falls back to sleep (I don’t pick him up unless he is hungry).  Is there anything we can do to help him (and us) have a better night’s sleep?

Help!

-Kim

Dear Kim,

It’s great that you have such a set routine in place for your baby. It sounds like he knows how to follow the proper cues to wind down for sleep and remain asleep. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 12 2011

Maybe It’s Time To Stop Stressing Out Your Kids

By at 10:15 am

Calm, cool, and relaxed are not the words usually used to describe parents.

Batya Sherizen, our resident baby sleep coach, just published an article on Kveller about stressing out your baby. As a sleep consultant, she tries to help all sorts of parents help their children to fall asleep. But if the parent is too tense, it doesn’t always work. Batya writes,

This mom, for example, was fully committed to the program we outlined, but she was just too anxious to allow her baby to respond naturally. Her intense frustration rubbed off on her baby, hampering the learning process.

It made me wonder–what else do we do that stresses out our kids? When my daughter purposefully threw her toys on the floor today, over and over again, until I gave her a time-out (and another and another), did she sense the stress in my voice? (Probably.) But what can I do to lessen that stress? How can I calm myself so I can calm her?

Batya suggests yoga, deep breathing, or even meditations on your mp3 player. My mom would recommend acupuncture. Personally, I’m a fan of massage (though I get them way too infrequently).

What do you do to lessen your stress level so you can stay calm around your kids?

Sep 1 2011

Batya the Sleep Coach: The Wandering 2.5-Year-Old

By at 4:37 pm

"But Mommy, I don't wanna sleep!"

Israeli sleep coach, Batya Sherizen is taking questions from Kveller readers. Send your problems to info@kveller.com.

Dear Batya,

My 2.5-year-old daughter gets up at least 4 times a night and comes to our room. I can usually get her back to sleep quickly, but I can’t get her to stay asleep or at least in her room if she wakes up!

Dear Iris,

With a 2.5 year old, it’s probably more of a discipline issue than a physical sleep dependency problem. I would assume she’s in a bed, not a crib, if she’s so easily popping out at night to visit you. In such a case I’d say your best option is to lay down the law and let her know that night time means she stays in her bed, just like you stay in your bed! If she fights you for bedtime as well, then you just have to teach her how to stay in her bed and not come out. I’m personally not a fan of baby gates, as it in essence just makes the whole room a crib and can have many safety hazards involved.

Therefore, I would do the following: One night place a chair next to her bed for bedtime, and remain there until she falls asleep. When she wakes at night and comes to you, go back and put her in her bed, while you remain in that chair until she falls asleep. As the days progress place the chair further and further away until you’re out of the room completely. This will teach her to stay in her bed while still ensuring she feels secure enough and knows that you are there to help her. I’d estimate it taking about 1.5-2 weeks. CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY!

Contact Batya and mention you saw her on Kveller for a free phone consultation! www.BatyatheBabyCoach.com

Aug 16 2011

He Used To Be A Good Sleeper….Help!

By at 10:01 am

No sleep, no way, no how!

Israeli sleep coach, Batya Sherizen is taking questions from Kveller readers. Send your problems to info@kveller.com.

Dear Batya,

My 11-month-old son had been sleeping well (going to bed at 7 and sleeping straight through the night to 7) for a while. The past few weeks he has been getting up very early  at 5 and is clearly still very tired. I have been trying to get him to sleep later in the morning by not responding to him and letting him kvetch until at least 6, but he is waking my older children and is not falling back asleep. He is cranky when I take him out and ready for a nap by 7:30. I tried making his bedtime later in hopes that he would sleep later but that didn’t help. Any other ideas to get him to sleep later in the morning? I know he needs it as do I! Also, he takes two good naps per day, each lasting between almost two hours.

Thanks!

Dear Caren,

Early rising is a very common problem for toddlers and older babies. Usually it can be caused by one of two main issues: Either he needs his internal clock readjusted by making his bedtime slightly later, in hopes that he will eventually wake up later, or his overall sleep distribution needs to be fine-tuned.

Even though you’ve attempted to make his bedtime later and it didn’t help, it takes 6-8 weeks of continually putting your baby to bed later to see significant progress. Therefore, trying it out for a few days cannot determine whether or not it is what his body needs. If you feel you have the patience to commit to this, it’s definitely worthwhile as based on what you’ve written it seems this would be the most helpful for him. Do it slowly. If he normally goes to sleep at 7, make bedtime 7:15 for a week or so. Then slowly bump it up to 7:30. I wouldn’t make his bedtime any later than 7:45, as over-tiredness would make it more difficult for him to settle. But, by the 7:30/7:45 mark, his body will eventually regulate which will in turn help him to sleep later than 5:30 in the morning!

If that doesn’t work after a good two months, then it would seem he needs to redistribute his day sleep. Most 11-month-olds still require two naps daily, but when early rising like this occurs consistently, it demonstrates he may need to tweak his existing nap routine.  Assuming that each naps is consistently the 1.5-2 hr mark, I would start by trying to combine his naps into one.  If he normally goes down around 9:30, slowly offer his nap later and later (by 15-20 minute intervals ever few days) until you’ve combined the naps into a nice, late morning nap (usually if a baby wakes around 7 am, then 11/11:30 is an optimal time for this).

It’s also very important to ensure that there are no streams of light at that early hour of the morning so make sure you have good blinds that block out the light.  Some babies are extremely sensitive to their visual sensory input.

Remain patient with all of this and as long as you’re consistent his body should readjust. Good luck!

Contact Batya and mention you saw her on Kveller for a free phone consultation! www.BatyatheBabyCoach.com.

Aug 8 2011

Batya the Sleep Coach: The Baby Who Keeps Waking Up

By at 1:26 pm

When those eyes won't shut, it's time for some expert advice from Batya.

Israeli sleep coach, Batya Sherizen is taking questions from Kveller readers. Send your problems to info@kveller.com.

Dear Batya,

Oy…where do I start? My 7 month old has never slept well. I put him down drowsy but awake for his naps and he will fall asleep but will generally only go up to an hour…is there a way to extend at least one of those naps to 2 hours?

Our biggest problem is at night. He has yet to go more than a 4 1/2 hour stretch…What can I do to get him to at least do an 8 hour stretch?

-Kellie Read the rest of this entry →

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