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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 →

Jun 13 2012

The Problem with the Ferber Method

By at 10:27 am

baby crying in cribAnd now, a word from a professional baby sleep coach:

Who hasn’t heard of Ferberizing a baby? As an acclaimed doctor and leader of a child sleep disorder clinic in Boston, Richard Ferber has become so well-known that his name even has a verb.

Many parents contact me who feel hesitant to leave their babies crying alone, and as a mother of a brood myself, I can’t argue with them. 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 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

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