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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 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 9 2014

Oh, The Wacky Adjustments I Make For My Baby

By at 9:20 am

lanijacob

The other day, my husband came home to find me standing in the closet with a blanket over my head, swaying from side to side. I hadn’t gone crazy, despite appearances to the contrary. I was rocking our 4-month-old son to sleep for his mid-day nap in the darkest environment I could create on a sunny day. I love that he’s a curious little boy, eager to explore the world with his eyes (and hands and mouth) but getting him to sleep for a day time nap when the sun brightens every room isn’t the easiest endeavor.

When he’s finally asleep, the last thing we want to do is risk waking him, especially at night, so a few weeks ago my husband and I decided to start brushing our teeth in the kitchen. Our bathroom is just too close to our bedroom, where he sleeps in a bassinet next to my side of the bed. We’ve also relocated half our wardrobe and pajamas to the guest room so that we can get dressed there and not in our bedroom.

As any new parent can probably appreciate, sleep has become the most precious commodity in our household and I’m pretty willing to make some wacky adjustments for the sake of everyone’s sleep. Friends had warned me that sleep was hard to come by after the arrival of kids, and while I believed them, I couldn’t really relate to it until I experienced it myself. Now I love to hear about the wacky adjustments that other parents make for their kids, both for tips and so I know I’m not the only one walking around with a blanket over my head. 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 30 2013

How to Prepare for a Family Slumber Party

By at 2:47 pm

babe

Over the summer, we had a disastrous experience staying in a hotel room with our 2-year-old and 5-year-old.

Our 2-year-old had been in a bed for a month and we had managed to find a budget hotel with a pull-out couch so everyone had a bed. We left after dinner with the idea that we would just put the kids back to sleep when we arrived at the hotel. That worked well enough.

But, at 4 in the morning, when my son needed a glass of water, my daughter (the 2-year-old) woke up and started singing and chatting. She had her own room at home and wasn’t used to being with the rest of us. No matter how much we told our son not to respond to her, he couldn’t resist. And that was the end of sleep.

This was a frustrating experience in itself. However, it made us very nervous about our holiday travel when we would all be staying in a room together again for five nights. I injected the hope that she would be more pliable at that point, as she would be a few months shy of being 3 years old. However, we decided to prepare. Historically, the kids have had some “sleepovers” in her room with him on the floor in a sleeping bag. So, for Hanukkah, we gave her a sleeping bag of her own. We started having sleepovers in his room, too, to get her used to the idea both of being in a sleeping bag and the practices of being quiet during the night. (Thank you, Hanukkah, for giving us the extra month of training this year.) Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 19 2013

All Three Kids Are Asleep & Happy. How Did This Happen?

By at 9:37 am

cara

I woke up sounding like a frog again. Remnants from my cold on Thanksgiving, I suppose. But as I sit here in bed, sipping my coffee that my husband has brought me, with my son ensconced in my lap playing on his iPad, my thoughts are not on this nasty scratchy throat I cannot get rid of, but rather, on how, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I have done something right in this world of parenting. That somehow, something I did, or didn’t do, was actually a good decision. The sacrifice was worth it. My children, at this exact moment, are all happy.

I don’t recall this feeling. It is foreign to me. But it feels damn good.

You see, my 3-year-old son has never liked to sleep. Never even seemed to actually need sleep. At least not like all the other kids I know. Parents would roll their eyes at me when I said he didn’t go to sleep at night until 10 or 11 p.m. Surely I must be a terrible parent, or a push-over, I could see their judgment in their eyes. But his teachers and caregivers have continuously told us he has more energy than any other child in his class. Whether or not that is a good thing is up for debate, but clearly, not sleeping 12 hours a night worked just fine for him. 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 →

Dec 9 2013

Getting Over My “Not Enough” Syndrome

By at 2:03 pm

shutterstock_99633347

“Please God, help me sleep!” That was my prayer, my urgent plea, while lying in bed wide awake three days after the birth of my son. I was beyond exhausted and I knew I only had a short window before I’d have to wake up again to feed him. My baby boy had just fallen asleep after his middle of the night feeding, and I desperately wanted to fall back asleep before he woke up again. My body ached with exhaustion and the pains of a still-healing episiotomy.

The problem was, I was wide awake. And in this state of being wide awake, I found myself contemplating the worthiness of bothering God with my desperate plea to sleep. I’ve asked for, and received, a lot of things over the years, big and small: a good job; a husband; a short line at the airport so I don’t miss my connecting flight; warm weather for my week of holidays. I had prayed like crazy for a child. At the age of 38, there was no way I took for granted a healthy pregnancy and now, the arrival of a healthy, eight pound baby boy.

I admit that over the years I have suffered from what I like to call the “not enough” syndrome. I’m not pretty enough; I’m not talented enough; I’m not ambitious enough; I’m not spontaneous enough; I don’t earn enough. There are even competing “not enough’s” such as: I don’t work hard enough and I don’t spend enough time with my family. I relate to this as a syndrome that disproportionately affects Jews, kind of like lactose intolerance (yes, I am lactose intolerant) although I’m sure we Jews haven’t cornered the market on feelings of inadequacy (or on lactose intolerance, for that matter). 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 →

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