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!

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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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:

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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

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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How to Dress Baby for Sleep: Safe Clothing & Bedding Suggestions for every season- with TealBee Organics

How to Dress Baby for Sleep: Safe Clothing & Bedding Suggestions for every season- with TealBee Organics

Baby has finally arrived, and it’s the first night home from the hospital- but what should your baby wear to sleep at night? And what about your older toddler?  Hi, I’m Lauren, certified Sleep Specialist with Sleep and the City, and I’m talking today about how to dress your child comfortably at night during any season (and at any age!) and provide the optimal environment for quality sleep.  Throughout my post today I’ll also include some of my favorite examples of clothing and bedding from TealBee.com, so let’s dive in!

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The Dock A Tot: A Sleep Consultant's Review & The Toddler Bed Transition

The Dock A Tot: A Sleep Consultant's Review & The Toddler Bed Transition

"How do you feel about the Dock-A-Tot?"  and "Do you think I should order the Dock-A-Tot for my child?" These are two questions I receive almost weekly in my Inbox, as this Baby "Must Have" is on the top of most Mama's list of "Wants".  After some extensive research, a little contemplation and my toddler expressing interest about moving into a toddler bed, I finally decided to try the Dock for myself.

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What is THE WITCHING HOUR? Tips to Avoid & When it will End for your Baby

When we say "It's 5 o' clock somewhere", we are generally speaking about having a glass of wine at the end of the day......kicking up our feet (ok, briefly anyways)....and relaxing a little bit when Daddy comes home after work to help shoulder the parenting load.  But your newborn has a different idea, and terrible, scary, idea: to cry or scream NON-STOP......starting in the evening.....all the way until BEDTIME.  

Keep that wine bottle opener handy, because you'll need it to get through what is commonly referred to as "THE WITCHING HOUR" during these first few months of life.  Let's make your evenings a little less "Witchy" and dive into why it happens, how to avoid the Witching Hour, and when the Witching Hour will finally come to an end.

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The good news?  They have automatic wine bottle openers these days.  Better news? The Witching Hour doesn't last forever, usually ending around the 4 month mark.  The bad news?  When an Infant is increasingly fussy in the late afternoon/evening, they aren't able to settle easily, causing short or missed naps.  These "disaster" naps turn normally calm babies into overtired, overstimulated babies, and with the added stress hormone from lack of age-appropriate sleep, you've got a full meltdown-mode newborn on your hands.  

Here's a few reasons WHY most doctors believe the Witching Hour occurs:

  • Baby is overtired: Depending on the child's age, baby needs anywhere from 4-7 hours per day of napping under 4 months old. If the nap needs aren't met for the day by the early afternoon, or the wake window is too large, your little bundle of joy will take a turn for the worse.

  • Baby is overstimulated: Gone are the days when baby was a month old and could physically shut down or "habituate" to block out overstimulation when family visits or during a birthday party at a loud restaurant. When babies are no longer able to habituate, baby becomes overstimulated very easily.

  • Baby has tummy/gas/digestion issues: Dietary and medical issues such as reflux, silent reflux & GERD, especially when undiagnosed, can make baby wail for hours in the evening. Gas bubbles can also cause major discomfort, causing the child to writher & squirm (and cry), so make sure baby is burped after every feeding, and you pay attention to your own diet when breastfeeding to see if there is anything that triggers increased lengths of crying.

  • Baby wants/needs to cluster feed: If you look at your own body's rhythms, the end of the afternoon is a natural time to have low energy, and babies often look to soothe themselves during these times. Children often feel the most safe or soothed feeding with Mom, or "tanking up."

Here's a few ways to get through the Witching Hour, or at least handle it without cracking an entire case of wine:

  • Be realistic about having a newborn. You have a baby. You won't be able to come home and lay motionless on the couch anymore until bedtime. You might not even eat your dinner until it's cold for a few months. Remind yourself that this is TEMPORARY, and one day, your hands will be empty. Embrace the crazy, and prepare for the worst to happen every single night until baby is at least 4 months old (so you have some "good days" when baby only cries temporarily).

  • Allow baby to have a carrier nap. Now listen, I'm all about a consistent nap place, but when you have a newborn it's vital to grab an evening nap before bedtime, and most babies will LOVE a chance to nap close to Mom. Our favorite carrier for both our children was the 360 Degree (front face & back face) Original Ergo carrier (click here for exact one), it sits on your hips perfectly and doesn't kill your back! Plus this carrier can hold children from infant up to 2 years old!

  • If breastfeeding, review your diet: Lactose? Caffeine? Spicy foods? All have been known to be culprits of upset tummies in breastfed children.

  • Cluster feed/Comfort Feed: Some babies simply want to be held, and shown that everything is ok in the crazy evening hustle of homework, dinner, laundry & The Bachelor handing out the final rose. Cluster feeding may even get you a few hours of sleep at night!

  • Protect the nap schedule. Visit our naps post here for a guide on how many hours per day your babe should be napping, and rock/walk/bounce/wear your child to squeeze in any missed time before you attempt bedtime for the night.

  • Take a walk. With or without baby, some children do best in the evenings when exposed to natural light, fresh air, and the motion of a good walk. I found this method to be most effective in my family (when it wasn't freezing outside) and gave me a chance to catch up on my day with my husband.

Remember, the Witching Hour in babies does NOT last forever, even if it can seem like forever when you're going through it.  Email us or Contact Us to talk about how we can help you get the age-appropriate napping schedule, or more ways to help soothe a fussy baby.  And cheers ;)

Our Top 10 Toddler Sleep Tips: Solutions to Sleep Problems Ages 2-5

Some can use the toilet (win!).  Some can climb into their own highchairs (nice!).  Most can misbehave (enter palm-in-face emoji here).  All have sleep issues, at least once (cue the groan from parents across the world).  Yes, even the BEST toddler nappers and night sleepers can experience temporary sleep problems from time to time.  Toddler sleep regressions, nightmares, bedtime battles (not to mention, when should they go to bed anyways??), moving to a toddler bed, or introducing a new sibling to the family can all cause night disturbances.  I'll keep it quick, I know your child-free time is precious ;)

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1.  Keep that nap!  So many parents are quick to think, "My child is having more trouble going down for naps, I bet if I drop the nap completely this will work out better in the end."  Perhaps you're right.  Or perhaps you will have a young toddler on a warpath by dinnertime.  Toddlers nap begin to gradually disappear around age 3, over a period of weeks (not a couple days), where naps can become shorter or the child plays the entire time.  Always encourage a quiet time until school age.  Even us adults need some down time after a busy morning.

2.  Beware of Bargaining.  I once read that bargaining is a toddler's currency.  They have nothing else to offer, but to ask for just one more book, one more hug, one more bathroom break.  Occasionally, this is fine, but it's important to stay consistent, and go back to the basics should it spiral out of control.

3.  Nightmares.  As a working-at-home Mom of two, no one understands putting on a quick cartoon more than me while you hustle through a 2-minute shower.  I get it.  Make sure you're monitoring what your children are watching when you're not watching closely, or what the younger sibling is watching WITH the older child.  Imagination in play peaks at age 3, which also means children have the ability to now dream "in sequence", making dreams much more vivid (or terrifying).  

4.  Toddler Rooms: Keep the room around 70 degrees, with white noise playing continuously and limited access to toys to encourage play. This is a room to sleep, not play until midnight.

5.  Nighttime Wakings: Occasionally your toddler will experience one, for a multitude of reasons.  It's best to reassure, stay in your toddler's room, and encourage him or her back to sleep, using as little intervention as possible.

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6.   Pull ups at night are OK!  Many parents will ask me, "What should I do if my toddler wets the bed" or "What should I say if he leaves the room at night to use the bathroom?"  It's perfectly acceptable to allow a pull-up until age 5, when a child's bladder completely matures.  Due to our body's biology, your child should not experience a BM diaper late at night, unless they are experiencing some tummy troubles from dinner of course.  

7.   Moving to a toddler bed is exciting, yet tricky.  This is a VERY exciting time for a young child, so expect some slight regressions at bedtime or in the middle of the night.  Lots of praise for those kiddos that stay (and sleep) in their big kid bed at night!  Purchasing a DockaTot could ease the transition as well, especially for those children that move a lot at night, roll out of the toddler bed, or whom enjoy feeling more safe & secure.

8.  Yes, the "Ok to Wake" color clocks work.  BUY ONE.  (Here's our favorite.)

9.  Rewards are ok and don't have to be grand.  I have my clients take their children to Starbucks for a hot chocolate, or pick a small prize from the Target dollar aisle.  It doesn't have to be a big reward, but if it's worth rewarding (sleeping all night in their room, etc.) then go for it! 

10.  Keep realistic expectations.  These are children, not robots, and not everything will go perfectly or smoothly the first time.  Even as adults we wake up at night, and can't seem to shut our brains off, so give your toddler some slack.  Always reassure, encourage, and take their feelings into consideration.

11.  Keep plenty of wine handy.  (OK, this wasn't a REAL step, but hey, I'm a realistic Mom! ;)

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How To Move Your Baby to a Crib & Toddler into a Big-Kid Bed: The Smooth Transition Guide to Crib, Toddler Bed & Room Acclimation

These are questions I receive over and over in my Inbox & through Facebook; all parents wondering how and when they can move their new infant to the crib, his or her own room, or if a toddler whom has been escaping the crib is ready for a big-kid bed (or when the appropriate time would be to move them into one!)  If you’re ready this, you are not alone- at some point we are all ready to have our rooms back, or finally put up that crib on Craigslist for some extra cash, right?? 

Keep in mind that I always recommend crib acclimation in conjunction with a customized sleep behavioral method (sleep training), so if your child isn’t already sleeping all night contact me here to find out more about accomplishing this first. 

So let’s break it down by age:

Newborns 0-3 Months: I would agree with the AAP (American Association of Pediatrics) here and recommend all newborns co-sleep NEXT to their parent’s bed for the first three months, or at the very least in the same room.  If your newborn is especially noisy, some white noise such a fan can help you sleep while baby is sleeping (ha…ha….what’s sleep with a newborn?)  Some couples, especially those on their 2nd+ kid, choose to sleep baby in their crib from Night #1, but I’m guessing if you’re ready this particular paragraph that’s not the case (it’s hard work navigating down a dark hallway every 2-3 hours am I right?)  So there you have it, co-sleeping at this age, especially for BFing Mommas, is your answer.

Infants and Toddlers Moving to a Crib/Their Own Room:  Starting from 4 months old and up, your child now has the increased ability to self-soothe, and our good friend Melatonin secretes quite regularly now, giving your child the ability to sleep longer stretches at night.  For these reasons, 4 months is the age I recommend moving baby into their nursery, or the room you’d like them to be sleeping indefinitely.  Really think to yourself if you want that sweet noisy angel sleeping in your room when they are 2, 3, 5 years old…..if this isn’t your ideal of paradise, the younger the better to move them to their own room.  So if you’re ready to make the switch, know that infants under 1 year of age usually get used to their rooms at night in 2-3 days, and toddlers over 1 year of age take a little longer (around 7-14 days).  Remind yourself that with change comes protest, and consistency is what will prevail to your preferred outcome.  Below are three steps on how to make it happen:

1)      If your child is under 2 years old, expect some protesting the first few nights.  Therefore begin your bedtime routine about 30 minutes earlier and make sure it’s calm, soothing one where your child is drowsyand ready for sleep.

2)      If your child is over 2 years old, expect some additional manipulation tactics the first couple of weeks.  This could come in the form of “needing one more hug” or crying or the worst- your child coming to find you (aack!).   My rule for this is ONE more drink/hug- not two, not 10.  Keep your bedtime routine super consistent.  Do not engage in additional questions or arguing.  I encourage loveys/favorite blankets at this age, and nightlight that they can quietly look at books with if they aren’t ready to close their eyes just yet.  If they leave the room, silently return them to their room as many time as it takes.  Don’t give in, you can do iiiiiiittttt!

3)      End your bedtime routine in child’s room.  This means pajamas, last bottle (children under 1 only, move last milk/feed to before teeth brushing in toddlers), story time, prayers- all take place now in the nursery or child’s bedroom. 

o   For the quickest results: Lay child in crib drowsy but awake (about a 9 on a scale from 1-10 using soothing techniques or wind down routines for older ones), and provide a lovey that the child can hold.  Say “Goodnight my love” or “It’s time for sleep, I love you…” quietly and leave the room.  If crying ensues (this crying is product of change, usually not because they are in pain or scared), go ahead and wait at least 15 minutes before quickly checking on child with minimal interaction, using only your words from above as reassurance.  Do not pick child up, and only go in to lay down a standing/sitting toddler ONCE.  Loveys & pacifiers can also be replaced if child has thrown it overboard.  Leave again and try not to visit again for another 20 minutes and so on.  If your child has been sleeping through the night already, this process should go fairly smoothly, but know that the first few nights will be the toughest.  It’s always the darkest before the dawn, folks.

o   For the gentle-approach: Lay child in crib drowsy but awake, and provide a lovey that the child can hold.  Say “Goodnight my love” or “It’s time for sleep, I love you…” quietly and stay in the room until child falls asleep.  If crying ensues, go ahead and pick up child to calm them down only ONCE, and sit beside crib using soothing methods such a humming a song or repeating your words above.  Know that your presence alone may be stimulating, so if your child is noticeably more upset with you being in the room, then try the tips above for quicker results.  Every 2-3 nights, repeat process above but move 3-4 feet farther from the crib/bed until you are no longer in sight.  Expect every time you do move, for child to be somewhat upset, but remind yourself that this type of protesting is a product of change, and you’re allowing it, not making it happen (similar to allowing them to cry in a car seat, of course you’re not going to hold them on your lap and drive around instead.)

4)      “What if my child wakes up randomly in the middle of night and cries out for me?”  Super common, and very likely, so prepare yourself.  I advise my clients to wait at least 10 minutes (NOT 9 minutes and 59 seconds, 10.) before checking on child, and make sure you have a video monitor where you can reassure that nothing is really wrong.  If crying lasts over 10 minutes, go ahead and use either the “quick approach” or “gentle approach” above.  If baby has a BM diaper, go ahead and change him or her in the room with minimal lighting, placing them back down once they are clean (wet diapers can usually wait). 

JENNY LIND TODDLER BED  FROM PROJECT NURSERY

JENNY LIND TODDLER BED FROM PROJECT NURSERY

Toddlers moving to a Big-Kid Toddler Bed

Also a super common questions out there!  I recommend that toddlers stay in their cribs until at least age 3, or until they actively (or successfully) attempting to escape the crib, which poses a danger threat.  As for potty breaks, children’s bladders do not fully mature until age 5, so let them know that using a pull-up at night or diaper is perfectly fine (we tell our son it keeps his “booty warm at night”- works like a charm).   Keeping the diaper/pull up on a night will also prevent bed wetting at 3am- and if you find yourself in this situation, double up on sheets and mattress pads so you can pull off the top layer and avoid changing the entire bed half awake.  When your toddler is finally able to move into their own bed, talk about it and let them know the change is coming- children are creatures of habit and structure, they like to know what’s coming next- and how wonderful their new “big-kid” will be and how happy YOU will be that they are now in one.  Most children actually transition fairly well, and you can also invest in side rails, lay pillows on the floor surrounding the bed in case of a midnight fall, or install a baby gate on the doorway to prevent wandering around the house at night if you are worried.

Remember when it comes to the idea sleep environment for our littles, keep those temps 68-72 degrees, have white noise going all night along, and dark dark DARK for infants (I use this custom sized black out shade in my own house, under $50!) , nightlights ok for toddlers.  Good luck everyone, and as always, contact me if you or someone you know may need a little bit of help in the child sleep department. Have a great day and thanks for visiting!

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