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Oct 28 2014

The Softer Side of Sleep Training

By at 3:53 pm

softer side of sleep training

I’ve been blessed with good sleepers. All three of my babies were excellent sleepers as newborns, giving me nice long stretches of sleep. I’m lucky, I know. But don’t hate me just yet… because after all of my bragging, karma reared its ugly head and bit me, hard.

My daughter, who had been sleeping 10-12 hours a night, hit a regression at 5-6 months. I’m still not sure what happened. I used to be able to place her in the crib and she’d fall asleep on her own, sucking her two little fingers. When she cut her bottom teeth that must have bothered her. The glorious finger-sucking stopped, along with long naps and nighttime sleep. Before I knew it, she was waking up 4-6 times per night. I didn’t know what else to do, so I nursed her back to sleep each time. She’s in her own room, in a crib. This was exhausting. I never knew when she was going to wake up. As exhausted as I was, I was afraid to fall asleep because she could wake up at any time, and waking up after being asleep for 20 minutes is the worst kind of torture. I was averaging 3-4 hours of broken up sleep each night.

Naps were a joke. I’d nurse my daughter to sleep, and place her in the crib. But she wouldn’t have it. I had a choice. She’d either get the sleep she needed by sleeping on me, or she’d wake up after five minutes of nursing. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 17 2014

How Do I Stop Feeling Guilty About My Sleepless Baby?

By at 9:56 am

sleep-baby

Sleep, baby, sleep.

Penrose is 4 months old. She babbles, laughs, grabs her feet, rolls over, bangs on her xylophone, and does not want to go to sleep.

I should have known that I was setting myself up to fail when, weeks one through 12, when people asked, “And does she sleep?” I would respond, “She sleeps!” She did, two, three, four, even six hours at a stretch. But suddenly, at 12 weeks, she stopped. When I put her in her crib after nursing her at night she would suddenly tense up and start hollering. Even if she slept on me, at 2 in the morning she would start scootching around, crying, and almost always spit up right into my nursing bra. Co-sleeping in the trundle bed in her room, the safest spot in the house, works. Driving her around works–she’s slept through the night, a whole 11 hours straight, twice now following “snooze cruises.” And once, mysteriously, we set her down in her crib at my parents’ house and she peacefully drifted off and stayed asleep for 11 hours. It’s worked a few times to sing her to sleep, massage her to sleep, play the piano or guitar until she goes to sleep. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 27 2014

Ask a Sleep Coach: How Do I Wean My Child Off of Co-Sleeping?

By at 8:34 pm

sleeping-toddler

Dear Batya,



My son is 28 months. My goal is to have him sleep in his own room, in his own lovely bed, to NOT wake up every two hours asking for milk, and to sleep through the night. I have literally been woken up every two hours for the last 28 months and I’m exhausted. 

Some background: I had a C-section that ruptured on the INSIDE (it was horrible) and was not diagnosed right away. As a result, I literally could not lie down and sleep in a bed and I was having a lot of trouble with my balance, so I slept in a recliner with the baby on my chest. I nursed on demand. At one month post-partum, my condition was finally recognized. At two months post-partum, I endured a long surgery to rebuild and fix my abdomen. When I came home from the hospital, I started to co-sleep (since I wasn’t that mobile). We put guardrails on the bed and removed pillows, etc. It was amazing. I was able to get a good night’s sleep, I was nursing on demand, baby was happy, etc.

My husband, however, feels that it has been two years and it’s time for Jacob to be in his own bed. I am really starting to wholeheartedly agree. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 21 2014

Ask a Sleep Coach: My Baby’s Day Sleep is Only Getting Worse

By at 3:39 pm

Sleeping-baby

Dear Batya,

I hope you can help! My 7.5-month-old’s sleep has been steadily worsening since he was about 6 months old.

In the day, he has always had a hard time napping and sleeps with quite a lot of effort on our part–45 to 50 minutes, 2 to 3 times per day. Up until a month ago, he would nap in his crib in our bedroom. Then I started to nurse & nap with him in our bed and try extend sleep by nursing when he would wake. We both really love this, although it only works once in a while at making the naps longer.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 15 2014

Ask a Sleep Coach: Cutting Out Baby’s Midnight Snack

By at 4:18 pm

Midnight-feeding

Dear Batya,

I have a 6-month-old and, thank God, she is an incredibly happy and cheerful baby. She is now eating solids and she is on a predictable daytime sleeping and eating schedule. She goes to sleep without difficulty, however, she still does wake at least once a night. I have let her cry it out several times, but she can scream for hours if I let her. She also doesn’t take a pacifier. If I give her an ounce or two (not more) of formula, she’ll go right back down to sleep. How can I cut out the midnight snack?

Thank you! Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 23 2014

Ask a Sleep Coach: Single Mom With Two Sleepless Tots

By at 10:10 am

single-mom-sleep-training

Dear Batya,

I have a 3.5-year-old and 8.5-month-old. The baby is waking and feeding every two hours. Everyone says to try and cry it out which I can’t do. Others say I’m feeding him too often. I try not to pick him up unless necessary. I just lay my hand on him. I’m getting very sleep deprived as my husband (of 19 years) just left me and I don’t have anyone else to help me. Will he learn to sleep on his own with time or do I have to teach him? People say I need to be stronger with him. I am trying to follow Attachment Parenting. He slept with me until he was 6 months old and always woke up happy. It’s difficult now because the older child comes in and wakes us as there’s no husband anymore to go to. Please help.

All the coffee, vitamin pills, energy drinks, and pick-me-ups in the world won’t help if you are chronically deprived of sleep. Sleep deprivation is hard to handle, and can negatively take a toll on other aspects of your life as well. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 10 2014

Ask a Sleep Coach: My 6-Month-Old Screams at Night

By at 1:53 pm

6-months-won't-nap

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 contributing editor, Jordana. Do you have a sleep question for Batya? Send them into info@kveller.com with the subject line “Sleep coach.”

My kid is 6 months old and in 95th percentile height and weight. Very happy kid. Her naps during the day are crappy to nonexistent. She maybe has 1.5 hours of napping total per day. She goes to bed around 6:30/7 p.m. with an 8-ounce bottle. Sleeps beautifully in her own room/crib until 1 a.m. or so. Gets up and starts talking very loudly. She is wide awake. Not crying, talking. Deafeningly loudly. For two hours sometimes. Eats. Goes back to bed. Up around 4 a.m. Sometimes goes back to bed but usually up for good by 5 a.m.

Jordana Horn  Read the rest of this entry →

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 →

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