The Best (AND CUTEST) Christmas Holiday Pajamas for your Kids & THE ENTIRE FAMILY!

The Best (AND CUTEST) Christmas Holiday Pajamas for your Kids & THE ENTIRE FAMILY!

Our family tradition is to not only wear these for the entire month during movie nights, but when they go to bed on Christmas Eve, and of course the following morning when they open presents on Christmas for all those candid photos! Here is my list of the cutest holiday pajamas that I’ve been stalking for months!

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Our Top Toddler Sleep Tips with Disney! Bedtime Essentials, and Easy to Follow Bedtime Routines!

Our Top Toddler Sleep Tips with Disney!  Bedtime Essentials, and Easy to Follow Bedtime Routines!

Hi there!  I’m Lauren Olson, the founder of Sleep and the City, and now the appointed *SLEEP CONSULTANT FOR DISNEY*!! Today we will be diving into some of the mysteries surrounding toddler sleep, how you can avoid potential sleep hurdles at home or while traveling with children, and sharing our secret tips to help your child embrace sleep!

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Best of Fall: Cozy Sweaters and my Fave Fall Coffee Drinks ( & Secret Starbucks Mommy Menu!)

Warm and Cozy Fall Sweaters and Secret Starbucks Menu!!!

It’s officially fall sweater weather and we couldn’t be loving it more around our house!  Paired with a secret coffee drinks from Starbucks (submitted by YOU all, see below!), we’ve been everywhere from pumpkin patches to ice cream drive thru’s, marveling at the gorgeous leaves and roasting all the pumpkin seeds we can find. 

 

And while we absolutely love living in Portland where the seasons are crazy good, it’s been so hard to find affordable, stylish clothes for the busy Mom that doesn’t want to look, well, like a Mom. My most recent favorite budget-friendly and CUTE sweater finds here in the Pacific Northwest: the new dip women’s clothing line from Fred Meyer’s, which I stumbled upon one day while grocery shopping with my kids! The creator behind this new line actually launched Club Monaco and Joe Fresh, and I noticed that nearly 80% of all items they offer are under $19! These price points on this clothing line make it easy on my bank account (only $6 for leggings?!  I’ll take three pairs)!  Here are three of the sweaters I picked up (and I’ve been stalking to buy more in additional colors but they keep selling out!):



To go along with your cozy favorite Fall sweater, here are some of the yummiest secret Starbucks Fall coffee drinks submitted by Instagram Mamas that you can order today (that aren’t on the actual menu!!)  You’ll want to pin this one for later, trust me! 

Holly Jolly Latte // Eggnog Chai Latte, no water, 1 pump peppermint for a Tall size (2 pumps Grande, 3 pumps Venti), top with nutmeg sprinkles with optional whip 

Caramel Pumpkin Macchiato // Order the Caramel macchiato, substitute pumpkin spice syrup instead of vanilla, top with pumpkin spice topping 

S’mores Hot Chocolate // Order the chocolate frappuccino (or hot chocolate), 1 pump of cinnamon, 1 pump toffee nut syrup, blend and top with cream, chocolate sauce, biscuit bits and marshmallows

Medicine Ball //  A personal Fall favorite for when you’re feeling sick! Half steamed lemonade half hot water, Jade Citrus Mint teabag, Peach teabag, packet of honey, with optional pump of peppermint.  (Not a coffee but SO GOOD when you’re sick so I had to share!)

The Pink Starbucks Drink // Strawberry Acai Refresher, made with coconut (instead of water), add scoop of blackberries or strawberries

Peppermint Bark Frappucino // Start with the Peppermint Mocha Frap, made with 1/2 mocha sauce and 1/2 white chocolate sauce (Hot Chocolate Version: sub the frap for the peppermint hot chocolate and add the same sauces)

Spiced Apple Pie // So good for cold days! 1/2 passion tango hot tea, 1/2 steamed apple juice, add cinnamon dolce syrup, topped with whip cream, graham crackers and cinnamon dolce sprinkles

Christmas in a Cup // (My fave for Christmas Eve!!) Order a Cinnamon Dolce Latte, add white mocha syrup (1.5 pumps for tall, 2 for Grande, 2.5 for Venti), add peppermint syrup (half the amount of your white mocha pump), top with whipped cream OR if you are a major chocolate lover, ask for chocolate whipped cream- sooooo yummy!

Cinnamon Bun Hot Chocolate // Order a hot chocolate, add one pump of each of the following: mocha syrup, white mocha syrup, cinnamon dolce syrup, vanilla syrup (add one pump caramel for a Venti!), milk= breve, add whip cream with sprinkles

Warm and Cozy Fall Sweaters and Secret Starbucks Menu!!!

Do you have any secret stores that you love to shop at or Fall coffee recipes you can’t live without and wouldn’t mind sharing?  Comment below and I’d love to add them to the list!

Baby and Toddler Nap Transitions: When and How to Drop a Nap

NAP JAIL.  It’s a real thing, and often times, you won’t understand the meaning unless you’re a Mom or Dad living through it.  Nap Jail as I call it, refers to the time(s) of day where you are locked down in your home, unable to leave due to your baby or toddler’s nap time.  In the beginning of your little one’s life, you’re quite literally in nap jail all day!  The good news: all these naps won’t last forever, and wake windows will increase with age, which means it could be time for you to begin thinking about introducing an older age-appropriate schedule that includes less naps.  But when do you know that your baby is ready?  How long should each of these naps be in length?  And how exactly do you go about changing up your child’s schedule so gently that it doesn’t affect their night sleep?  Let’s discuss by starting with the younger babes below.

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Let’s start with the necessary number of naps by age for children under 12 months of age: 

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These are the desirable nap totals per day by age for children 5-12 months. Under 5 months of age, naps are incredibly inconsistent in time and length, therefore only striving to meet napping totals is recommended.  Between the ages of 6-9 months is when you’ll want to drop down from three naps to two naps, timing them about 3-3.5 hours apart from one another.  You start the transition by simply increasing the time spent awake between sleeps, beginning with stretching baby’s wake window by 30 minutes each time for a week, then another 30 minutes the following week until you’ve met the goal of 3-3.5 hours apart.  

You’ll know that baby is ready to drop a nap once you see the following signs for at least three days per week, three weeks in a row: 

  • Baby refusing the first nap of the day, or playing/fussing the entire time
  • Baby refusing the last nap of the day, playing/fussing the entire time
  • A nap that was consistently long in length drops to 30 minutes or less

Once baby is between 15-18 months, he or she is ready for the biggest step of all: the one-nap schedule!  On a one-nap schedule, your toddler should be achieving about one to two hours of napping per day. Once your child is showing the signs above of needing to drop one of the two naps, it’s time to begin thinking about lengthening your wake windows once again, this time to five to six hours between sleeps.  This is a large leap from the time between naps that they are used to having, so you’ll want to take it slow.  Here are the steps you’ll take to successfully drop down to one nap:

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  • Make sure your child has a consistent schedule before you attempt to drop down to one nap.  This means you’ll be attempting to encourage a nap every 3-3.5 hours for at least a week before you introduce a one-nap schedule.
  • Starting with the morning wake window, you’ll want to slowly increase this wake window to four hours before offering a nap.
  • After the end of the one nap, aim for bedtime to occur about five to six hours after waking from the nap itself.
  • You’ll want your child to nap for at least 45 minutes, but no more than 2 hours.  If baby only sleeps 45 minutes the first few times you attempt the one-nap schedule, move bedtime up earlier that night by thirty minutes.
  • If baby naps more than 2 hours, wake him or her up and aim for bedtime to occur five hours after waking from the nap, or the max wake window suggested for this age (6 hours).
  • After your child is able to sleep one hour or more on a consistent basis, you can increase the time spent awake in the morning before naps to 5-6 hours from waking.

Here is an example of a transitional schedule for a toddler waking at 7am, followed by a “one-nap” schedule that you will introduce after the nap has once again lengthened:

onenapschedule toddler baby

The first three weeks that you attempt a one-nap schedule, expect short naps, this is extremely common!  Stay patient and celebrate the small wins, and make sure that you praise and reassure your child.

 Photo cred: @littlemissleighton

Photo cred: @littlemissleighton

In the end, always be sure to use my “Sleep and the City” rules for successful sleep shaping:

¥ The same sleeping environment is encouraged ( meaning one place over and over, or to start, at least one nap in the desired sleep place per day).

¥ Swaddle (0-6 months) for nighttime and nap times as needed 

¥ Comfy outfits for nap time

¥ White noise is continuously running; a one with low rumbling is best

¥ Room is completely dark for naps & nighttime (nightlight over 2+ years ok)

¥ Understand the Wake windows by age and know how to respond to night wakings accurately

¥ Pause before rushing in to see if child can resettle on their own first if nap is less than 45 minutes

¥ Feed upon WAKING from sleep, not before (bedtime is the exception)

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Recommended by MovingBabies

Pacifier Weaning: When is the Best Age to Wean or Take Away the Pacifier from Baby or Toddler?

The pacifier (or dummy) is a wonderful soothing tool for Newborns under 3 months, who come into this world with a need and strong instinct to suck.  In fact, many children grow to love their pacifier for years to come!  By the time baby reaches 8 months, with a little practice, many have the ability to replace the binky themselves, woohoo!!  However, if you have found yourself re-plugging baby's pacifier all night long, it may be time to rethink your soothing strategy.

When you or your child is finally ready to drop the pacifier, what are the best methods to gently wean a baby or toddler? And when is the best time? And how exactly do you even begin?? Let's dive into the world of pacifier weaning.....

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AGE MATTERS:  The best possible age to wean from the pacifier is follows:  Between 4-6 months, and after 2.5 years of age.  Between the ages of 6M-2.5YRS, there are extreme spikes in separation anxiety, stranger danger, and developmental leaps.  Taking away a primary comfort item during this time is not only traumatic for the baby, but could also lead to the baby wanting something in it's place to soothe him or her back to sleep between every sleep cycle, which repeats every 45 minutes.  However, if you're still willing to go for it, see the next step below which is good for pacifier weaning at any age.

ENCOURAGE AN ALTERNATIVE: A lovey, a small silky blanket (like this one), or a small stuffed animal to squeeze at night can be encouraged during the DAY in place of the binky to transfer their attachment to.  To encourage the bond, bring the new lovey on car rides, place in child's hands during cartoons/storytime, and incorporate the new "friend" in silly games like peek-a-boo games in the child's room or wearing it on your head and ask your child to "help you find it". Make sure the lovey has no small parts like button eyes or any potential choking hazards. 

SLOW & STEADY: To gradually wean a 4-6 month old off the pacifier, start by introducing about 5 minutes of rocking into your naptime and bedtime routines after the feed, allowing baby to suck on the pacifier.  When baby is about a 9-9.5 on the drowsy scale, slowly inch it out with your pinky finger.  If baby's eyes pop open and they look around, go ahead and pop it back in, keep rocking, and try again in a few minutes.  This can also be done if baby is already in the crib, and almost asleep.  Give it a week or so, practice makes perfect!

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LIMIT TO NAPS & NIGHT:  To begin, start by limiting pacifier usage to the crib for naps and nights (another great way to encourage sleep!) If your toddler throws a fit or needs calming during the day, encourage your little to take a breather in another room, give him some additional one-on-one time, or find his new lovey or security (from above) to calm down with.

PACI-FREE TIME: If limiting to naps/night is too much of a step for your paci-loving toddler, try instead to limit it's usage throughout the day to 30 minutes for 2-3 days, then 45 minutes and so on.  This can also work the other way, allowing the child to have binky back after 30 minutes, then 45 minutes and so on.  Make it fun and encourage good behavior!

GOSSIP:  Let your child overhear you "raving" on the phone/to his animals/older sibling/parent about how your toddler went all morning without the pacifier. Reassurance and PRAISE for the older toddlers is a must!

DISCUSS: Sit down with your child and discuss together when to give up the binky.  This could be a special day, like the weekend or an upcoming birthday, and reward them with a special trip somewhere they enjoy, or that toy they've seen (over and over and OVER- or is it just me that sees it this many times?!) on the Disney Channel commercials.

READ ABOUT IT: Invest in some tried n' true pacifier weaning books to enjoy with your child at night for about a week before you attempt to remove it completely.  This book has rave reviews on Amazon by parents whom have sworn by it!

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Lots of love, reassurance, and positivity will ease your child through the transition.  some toddlers may regress; it's ok to "call it" and try again another week. 

 Contact us here if you'd like some further assistance on this topic, we are always here to help, make your life easier, and toast our wine glasses to your successes! xo

Daylight Savings 2018: How to "Spring Forward" your Baby and Toddler's Nights, Naps, including Schedule and Early Rising

Daylight Savings 2018: How to "Spring Forward" your Baby and Toddler's Nights, Naps, including Schedule and Early Rising

As a special Thank You to all of my dedicated readers, I'm sharing my super easy (& super secret) Spring Forward Daylight Savings sleep tips today in this post so you can enjoy your summer alongside me!  Wake up- this is parenthood- don't all good things come to an end?! Guess what- this one doesn't have to.  Read more to find out how you can use this time change to your parenting advantage!

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Top 5 Mistakes that New Moms Make: How to Prioritize Sleep, Nutrition, and "Me Time"

Get pregnant, check.  Have a beautiful, healthy baby, check.  Read the manual the hospital sends home with you after baby is born...wait, you didn't get one either? 

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Of course becoming a Mom is a big learning curve for most of us, and I was no exception.  After years of raising my own children, my nieces, and helping out friends & clients, I wanted to compile a quick list of items that I personally felt that I could have done better in hindsight.  As a new or seasoned Mom, you're only required to do your best, but hopefully you can skip a few of these mistakes below when it comes time to make a decision about your baby, lifestyle or routines at home.  In the comments, let me know what you think?  Do you agree?    

Mistake #1: (Incorrectly) Bed-sharing

  The very first 4 weeks of life, both of my children slept swaddled up between my husband and I, within 12 inches of our faces, so in the event the baby should stop breathing (I still worry about this even to this day!), we could easily be woken up and tend to the baby quickly.  I remember waking one night to see that one of my pillows was only inches from my newborn's face- and that was the last night she slept between us.  Although bedsharing is commonly practiced in many parts of the world, especially with breastfeeding mothers, the AAP actually does not recommend bedsharing at all.  Recent studies have shown that most bed-sharing deaths occur when an adult that is under the influence of drugs, alcohol or is a moderate smoker, all ways to sleep heavier and deeper (thus not waking up if baby is in distress).  I believe you should be able to make your own informed decision here, so if you do consider this, here are some pointers:

  • Sleep with the spring mattress on the floor (no box spring), no pillows and no blankets/comforters.  Parents should wear additional layers to stay warm.
  • Consider investing in a safe sleeping area for baby between or next to the adult, such as the one DockaTot provides (also great to combat separation anxiety and lengthen naps!)  Visit our "Sleep Must Haves" tab for more information on this Babylist 2017 winning product
  • Do not sleep together with baby if you are a smoker, or smoked during pregnancy, or under the influence of any OTC or illegal drugs
  • Offer a separate sleeping area for older siblings, such as next to the mattress on the floor in a larger Dockatot (the Grand)
  • Do not swaddle a bedsharing baby, this may cause overheating.
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Mistake #2: Keeping Baby up during the day to help him/her sleep better at night

Guys, even my pediatrician recommended this little ugly and WRONG piece of new Mom advice.  When I asked at my son's 4-week appointment the common "How can I get him to sleep longer stretches at night" question, my pediatrician (who above all else was fabulous btw) answered, "Do whatever you can to engage him during the day!"  LIttle did I know that a Newborn's circadian rhythm develops in approximately 6-8 weeks, meaning it'll take a little over 1-2 months for your baby to switch their nights to their days and sleep longer at night.  So there I was, keeping my poor crying son up for hours at a time, and feeling absolutely defeated when this tiny overtired child would only nap for 20 minutes at a time.  SLEEP BEGETS SLEEP, meaning the more rested a baby is, the better he or she will sleep.  Once I was able to figure out that a child of his age should only be awake in between naps for about 90 minutes or less, he started sleeping through the night by 10 weeks!

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Mistake #3: Mama Isolation or "The Newborn Fog"

Admit it, you were, or are, a much less devoted friend to your group of girlfriends now then before baby was born.  And you should be by all means; children are work, but GREAT work, and sometimes (ok, always) that means social obligations fall to the side.  However, this can leave a New Mom or newly-stay-at-home-Mom feeling alone.  Not feeling like you can leave a breastfeeding baby for a quick break, or connect with other Moms going through the same things you are, can feel overwhelming and frustrating at times.  The good news: This Newborn Fog we all experience won't last for long.  The bad news: if you don't take time for yourself and reach out to others going through the same experiences, you might find yourself feeling way too lonely- or isolated- and bring on those baby blues.  Try finding a local MOPS group (2 hours of morning chats with other Mother's of preschool children/babies & listening to hand-picked speakers- and most have daycares for free!), or search for a Moms group with your city name within Facebook like "Los Angeles Moms Club"- there are TONS of other women dying to meet each and chat about that gross yellow poop and exchange babysitter information.  Don't be afraid to reach out, trust me you'll be SO glad you did!

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Mistake #4: Pacifying my Baby to sleep every single time

Breastfeeding was LOVE for me the day I latched my daughter for the first time and got the thumbs up from the hospital nurse.  She had a terrific latch, and was on her way to be an excellent feeder.  This was unchartered territory for me, as my first child was a formula-fed child  from Day One after a semi-traumatic emergency cesarean.  I embraced feeding her, and felt proud and formed a deep connection with her knowing that I was her primary source of nutrition, I was the one still keeping this tiny human alive who was sleeping 3-4 hours at night by one month old...until she became sick a month later, causing night wakings every 2 hours.  I was desperate for sleep, crying alongside her many nights.  I tried something one of my friend's had mentioned, "Just put a boob in her mouth to get her back to sleep".  So I tried this new idea...and it worked, she fell asleep so quickly!  But as the nights went on, she went from waking every 2 hours, to every 45 minutes. She didn't need a feed every 45 minutes, as I confirmed with my doctor, hallelujah! This tiny baby could no longer fall asleep without a breast in her mouth.  Now clearly if you've followed along with me for a while now you know what I did next (as she was too tiny to formally sleep train), and I can tell you I didn't stop feeding her at night.  But I did stop feeding/pacifying her at EVERY waking, and instead offered an alternative form of soothing like rocking, swaying, singing, etc. After a few more weeks, she was sleeping 4-8 hour stretches at night!

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Mistake #5: Comparing your Baby's Sleep to Others, Including a Sibling

"My 6-week old son naps for 6 hours a day, he's amazing, I get so much done!" or "My daughter slept through the night by 4 weeks, I don't know what the big deal is?" are examples of the conversations I've overheard in Facebook groups and Mommy playdates.  Comparison when it comes to sleep will do you no good, take it from me.  As parent's, we often try to focus on our child's accomplishments instead of the downfalls, and usually what you're reading on Facebook has some truth to it, but it's not all rainbows there either all the time.  I often also receive emails from parents frustrated with a 2nd or 3rd child's sleep habits, mentioning that they never had a problem with their previous child.  I am here to tell you, that while we are all for the majority "wired the same" when it comes to sleep, that all children are different with different temperments.  Yep, you can raise your first and second baby exactly the same, and one will nap better, and one will always sleep in later, and one will never wet the bed or experience nightly terrors.  So here's my PSA: Just don't worry about others, and do the best you know how to do.

What was one of the mistakes, or learning curves that you can look back on and wish you knew before you had a baby?  Do you agree with the above?  What was your experience as a new Mom like?  Comment below and let's chat!

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