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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 →

Feb 24 2014

In Defense of Overachieving “Good Mommies”

By at 11:37 am

evil-eye

When I read about the Evil Eye as a kid, I imagined it as an eye in the sky, ready to glare at anyone who boasted of their accomplishments or counted their chickens before they hatched. But the Evil Eye is, and always has been, other people.

Salon.com recently published an essay by (Kveller contributor) Elissa Strauss discussing the new tyranny of the “bad mommy”:

Instead, today’s bad mommies are as smug, and even sometimes smugger, than those good mommies they aimed to resist. These parents, products of a culture that thinks it is just so hilarious to tell parents to “Shut the Fuck Up” while telling their kids to “Go the Fuck to Sleep,” are the new sanctimommies. These women take real delight in being the “worst mom in the world,” “scary mommy,” the “world’s worst mom,” “bad mom” and  “bad mommy.” Most of these women don’t really consider themselves bad moms (I doubt anyone who writes regularly about being a “bad” mom could really possibly be one), but instead take the position as a way to assert their superiority to the “good ones.” Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 18 2014

When These Sleep-Deprived Snow Days Feel Like Forever

By at 10:22 am

jordanas-kids

This Will Never End.

I’ve had my fair share of this feeling lately. If you live in the Northeastern United States, you understand. Houses look like they’re auditioning to be an extra in “Frozen” with icicles the size of big foam fingers dangling off every gutter. You can’t so much as drive your car in reverse without hearing the “crunch” sound of car bumper meeting up with mountain-of-aspiring-glacier-that’s-been-plowed-into-tremendous-piles-with-nowhere-to-go.

Between snow days and vacations, it feels like we haven’t had five days of school in a row since the week before Thanksgiving. 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 18 2013

Sleep Training Gets a Bad Rap

By at 2:13 pm

sleep

After reading Mayim Bialik’s recent article on why she disagrees with sleep training, I felt I had to write a response to show everyone the second side of the sleep-deprived coin.

I want to start out by saying that I think Mayim’s take on parenting is so refreshing and honest. She is so in tune with herself and what her needs are as a mother–which is the single most important aspect in parenting our children. I am not writing this response to “battle” anything she has written, or to contribute to the “Mommy Wars” that exists today. I just want every mother to feel true to herself…

Unfortunately, sleep training has a very negative connotation these days. It is often wrongly associated with leaving Baby to cry for endless hours alone, leaving him emotionally and physically traumatized. Although there are many methods out there, amongst them are also gentle, holistic ideas. Sleep training doesn’t always mean teaching your baby how to sleep. It also means teaching your baby when to sleep or how to become less irritable. There are so many factors included in the blanket of helping improve sleep habits that I could write a 20-page article alone just discussing that!

But don’t worry, I won’t bore you. I also won’t spend time addressing what sleep training is in more detail. I just want to share my thoughts on why it isn’t necessarily a disciplined, last-resort measure. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 17 2013

Help! My 2-Year-Old is Waking Up the Entire House at All Hours of the Night

By at 2:26 pm
baby g is not sleeping

Note: Princess G is no Sleeping Beauty.

Remember that “day in the life” feature, where Kveller contributing editors were writing their “typical” days so as to reveal “how we do it?” Well, I decided to try my hand at writing one–and then I quit. I quit because everything that happens in my house BEFORE SEVEN F*CKING AM TOOK OVER ONE SINGLE-SPACED PAGE. It was then I realized that I need help. Specifically, your help.

To the outside world, I may seem like I have my proverbial shit comparatively together. I’m happily married, I have four healthy and terrific kids, I’m pregnant with another girl due this fall, and am a generally grateful person. And yes, it’s true, things are pretty great around here.

Is it too much to ask that all that greatness not start before 6 a.m.?

Probably.

But I’ll ask anyway.

See, I just got back from a week’s vacation away with my husband–the boys stayed with their dad, the girls stayed with my parents. And it was amazing. I missed the kids very much, and my husband and I spent lots of time talking about how much we love them, how cute they are, etc. But you know when I didn’t miss those kids? At 5 a.m. BECAUSE I WAS SLEEPING, LIKE A NORMAL PERSON. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 28 2013

Sleep Training with the Shema

By at 10:08 am

baby lying awake on bedSleep training. Like just about every other parenting decision, the controversy rages about how to get an infant to go to sleep. I’ve heard that some babies snuggle down for a night of uninterrupted sleep, and will even take naps during the day. But my 4-month-old daughter seemed afraid that if she went to sleep, she might miss something exciting. She thought that a nap meant resting on my lap with her eyes open for 20 minutes, and that sleeping from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. with a wake-up call for snuggles every two hours was “sleeping through the night.”

With such an overtired baby and no longer able to get through the day ourselves, my husband and I knew something had to change. Like many first-time parents, we had imagined a calm bedtime routine. She had her bath, got a short massage, read a story, nursed, and then was supposed to go quietly into her crib as we sang the Shema and Adon Olam. For a while, everything went according to plan, except for the part about going “quietly into her crib.” Instead, we would finish the routine with a baby who appeared to be well on her way to dreamland, but who, as soon as she was placed in her crib, began to cry as though she was being tortured. It wasn’t gas. She wasn’t still hungry. She had been sleeping in her crib by herself for several weeks, so it wasn’t a scary or unfamiliar place. She just did not want to go to sleep.  Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 2 2012

Figuring Out This Sleep Thing by Trial & Error

By at 4:12 pm

baby sleeping holding on fingerTo sleep. Ever since I became a mother last May, that’s all I’ve wanted.

Lila started life as a good sleeper. But our beginners’ sleep luck ran out during her third month, in the run-up to our Boston-D.C. move.

We clung to the notion that Lila was osmosing our pre-move stress and hoped that everything would resolve itself post-relocation. Instead, things deteriorated.

Read the rest of this entry →

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