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Archive for the ‘trouble sleeping’ Category

I am part of a group on Baby Center called Babywise Babies. One of the moms on there had a question about her newborn and how to get her to sleep better. Made me go through a couple of posts that I have written and revisit the newborn stage so I thought I would share some of my experience and thoughts on how to help your newborn sleep better.

1. You need to find the right sleep window for your baby. This it a short window of time that allows your baby to fall asleep faster and easier. If you put your baby down to early he or she might be not tired enough. If you put your baby down too late, your baby might have hit a second wind and have some nervous energy and not be able to relax enough to sleep well.

2. The length of wake time is very important. Most newborns can only handle 30-45 minutes of wake time. Wake time includes the time it takes to feed them as well. So if you wake your baby and nurse for 30 minutes, then you only have about 15 minutes left of wake time at the most.

  • My personal experience: My twin girls had a waketime length of about 40 minutes when they were newborns. It consisted of the following: Nurse, Diaper Change, Immediately Swaddle, Put in Swing or Bouncers, Watch for their eyes to get heavy, Pick up and put them in their crib, AHHH Napping! To a list of schedules I kept with my twins click here.

3. Remember that Newborns can become very overstimulate quickly. It does not take much. They just spent the last 9 months in a quiet, dark environment. All the new lights and sounds can be a bit much for newborns. Try to keep the environment quieter, calmer, not as bright.

  • My personal experience: When my twins where born, my son was only 18 months old. He was full of energy and loud. He was a very good boy, but 18 month old toddlers have a hard time understanding what peaceful and quiet are. In order to keep the babies from getting too over stimulated I kept their bouncers and swings in my master bedroom (which was on the first floor). I kept my blinds shut, but there was still natural light in the room, just not overly bright. I sometimes had quiet classical music playing if Cooper was making a little too much noise and other times I just kept no music on. The babies would hang out in their bouncers or swings swaddled up tight in there. That kept Cooper from messing with them and it also allowed me to sneak in and “peek-in” on them. Once I noticed their eyes getting really heavy, I would carefully pick them up and place them in their cribs. The girls were sleeping in my walk-in closet at the time because I did not want to go up and down the stairs for middle of the night feedings. So I did not have long to walk between their swings and bouncers to my walk-in closet where they slept. I also allowed my girls a pacifier, which I think helped them sleep too.

3. Swaddling is so important for newborns. I cannot stress this enough! The startle reflex that newborns make causes them to jolt themselves awake. They just spent 9 months all balled up tight in your womb and now they are no boundaries and it scares them. Learn how to swaddle good and tight and I promise you that your baby will sleep well.

  • My personal experience: I found the best method for swaddling was to use a modified miracle blanket wrap. See my utube video of how to do this here (I need to upload the video still, I will do this later, so check back soon). I also found that if I finished diaper changing and put the twins in their swings or bouncers without a swaddle, when it came time to place them in their crib for their nap, they would get very fussy and wake up totally as I was trying to swaddle them. Then I had to start the whole nap routine all over again. In order to avoid that this was our waketime routine:
    1. Nurse
    2. Diaper Change
    3. Swaddle Tight
    4. Place in swing or bouncer
    5. Watch for heavy eyes or eyes shutting
    6. Pick up once heavy eyed and place in crib for nap
    I could not reverse #3 and 4 or they would fully wake up.

4. White Noise works. I know that a lot of people don’t want their baby or infant to get use to white noise to sleep because they will become dependent on it. But let me say, white noise does help. It gives the baby some background noise to hear. They just spent 9 months hearing fluid, heart beating, and other things going on inside of you. It was not quiet in there. The white noise is actually calming to babies. The other benefit of white noise is that you don’t have to tip toe and whisper around your house. If you have older children, white noise is essential if you ask me. I did not want to keep telling my toddler to be quiet, he is just being a toddler. With the while noise, I did not worry so much about my toddler’s noise level.

  • My Personal Experience: All 3 of my children sleep with white noise. We have a portable white noise machine in their rooms. It is easy to travel with too. I wrote a review on the two white noise machines I have used here. You can also use a stand up fan or a humidifier to give off white noise. Music can also be used to help drown out the sound by placing some soft quiet music.

5. Room Dimming helps too. You don’t have to go out and by dark out blinds, but make sure the room that you baby sleeps in is dim and not overly bright. I have found with all of my kids that they sleep better in dimmer rooms. Babies go though sleep cycles every 45-50 minutes. At the 45-50 mark, if the baby is semi-aroused and sees light in his or her room, she might wake up and not want to continue sleeping. More on sleep cycles read this post.

  • My Personal Experience: My son Cooper is a very sensitive sleeper. The smallest sound or crack of light could wake him. As a new mom, I did not realize the power of making the room dimmer until one day I tough I would give it a try. He took such better naps from that point on. Cooper was the chronic 45 minute napper and the room dimming really helped. My twins defendant benefited from room dimming too. But now Cooper is 2.5 and my twins are 1 and I find they don’t need it quiet as dark anymore to sleep so I have started to make their rooms a little brighter.

6. Sometimes Babies will fuss in their sleep around 45-50 minutes into their nap. This does not necessarily mean they are hungry and are ready to wake up. Like I mentioned before, babies go through a sleep cycles every 45-50 minutes. At the end of the sleep cycle they are in light sleep and might wake up. Most newborns do not know how to self-sooth at this point and they start to fuss, fidget, and cry. My advice is to leave them alone for a few minutes to see if they can work it out on their own and return to sleep. If you see their fussing, crying, fidgeting getting worse, then you might want to go in your child’s room and help. I offered some advice on my post about the 45 Minute Intruder that you might find helpful.

  • My Personal Experience: With my son I wrote a lot about it on the 45 minute intruder post. With my twins, I learned to go in and put their pacifiers back in their mouths. That seemed to do the trick most of the time. If that did not work, I often would then pat their bellies and rub their heads and that helped to calm them back to sleep. I would do a very slow rhythmic pat. If after several pacifier attempts and patting and they were still not going back to sleep, I would get them up and feed them because I assumed it was a growth spurt.
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This is the a tough topic because you will get a whole host of responses when you ask a parent about the use of a pacifier, also known as a binky or dummy. I though I would share my thoughts on the pacifier now that I have been through 3 children who have all had totally different experiences with the pacifier sucking.

Pros for Pacifiers
Babies have a very strong suck reflex when they are born. That is a good thing, otherwise they would not take a bottle or nurse well. They need that sucking reflex to survive. In many cultures, woman wear their babies all day long and they nurse very frequently throughout the day. In our modern American culture, most women do not wear their babies or have the ability to nurse all day long.  That is where the pacifier comes in handy. It gives your baby the ability to engage in their sucking needs without having a nurse or pacify with a bottle all day long. Sucking is also a very calming and soothing activity for babies. Offering a pacifier is a great way to allow your baby to self-sooth and calm when upset or going to sleep. Some of the ways I (or other people) have found the pacifier come in hand are the following:
1. When out and about and your baby gets fussy and you need to help quiet her and help her calm downI have found that during grocery shopping and things of that nature, that the pacifier was of great use to me. I also found that in car rides when I did not have easy access to my children, the pacifier was of great help, keeping my children from crying and perhaps even helping them to fall asleep.
2. Helps babies fall asleep
Many sleep specialists worn about nursing/ bottle feeding your baby to sleep. But many babies need to suck to fall asleep. That is where a pacifier is of great use. I allowed my children as young infants to use a pacifier to fall asleep. I also found when trying to teach my children to take longer naps, that if they woke early, I could give them a pacifier and they would go back to sleep.
3. You can take the pacifier away
Some people do not want their children to be thumb suckers. So parents feel that offering a paci is a good solution to still allowing their children to suck, but not their thumb. It is easier to take a pacifier away than a thumb.

Cons for Pacifiers
There are some cons associated with pacifier use. Many people feel that if you offer a pacifier too early, like at birth, they will develop “nipple confusion” and not breastfeed as well. I have had three children, all have had a pacifier starting at birth, and this has never happened to me. It never caused any problems what so ever when it came to nursing. If anything, it was a aid when it came to breastfeeding, because I did not became the “human pacifier” and I was able to offer my children the need to suck without nursing 24/7. Another con associated with pacifiers is, they are a sleep prop. Your baby could develop a dependency on the use of a pacifier and need it to sleep. Many parents end up becoming the “binky fairy” and have to keep running into their baby’s room all night or several times during nap time to keep reinserting the pacifier when it falls out. Luckily, many babies figure out how to put the pacifier in their own mouths if it falls out and that solves that issue, but that skill does not usually develop until 5-7 months of age.

Personal Experience with Pacifiers/ Thumb Sucking

Cooper
He took a pacifier from the time he was born. It was a very useful tool. He never really had a strong need to suck when he was awake, but when he went to sleep, he wanted to suck. I did not want to nurse him to sleep so the pacifier was a great tool. I hated to hear him cry himself to sleep and the pacifier kept him from crying himself to sleep. However, the pacifier became an issue and when it feel out he expected me to reinsert it. I did that until he was 10 weeks old, but at 10 weeks I decided that I was not going to go back into his room any longer to give him the paci during his naps or at night. There was some crying involved, but she soon learned to fall back to sleep if the paci fell out without me having to back in and putting it back in his mouth. At 4 months, when I started to wean him of his swaddle, he discovered his fingers and began to suck them when he would wake in the middle of a nap. He stopped needing the paci to fall alseep for naps because he began to prefer his fingers. I was happy the day we got rid of the pacifier, because his sleep improved ten fold. He no longer need the pacifier and he discovered his own self-soothing abilities by sucking his fingers. My son is an awesome sleeper and I think it is because he has discovered how to self-sooth by sucking his own fingers and did not rely on a pacifier, person, or any other sleep props to help him fall asleep.

Molly
My daughter Molly was also given a pacifier from the time she was born. Because she has a twin sister, I relied a lot on pacifiers because I could not physically hold or rock two crying babies at the same time. They were a big help to me when my daughters where little infants. I think the pacifier saved me actually! Molly used the paci to fall asleep and if she woke early from naps I would offer her the paci to see if she would go back to sleep. I also used the paci when I was out and about or in the car to help her when she would start to cry. At around 3.5 months of age, Molly learned to roll from back to belly. I had to stop swaddling her because of her rolling. She started to sleep on her tummy (yes, I know this is a huge SIDS risk at this age, but she would not stay on her back). When she started to sleep on her tummy she had a huge problem keeping her paci in her mouth. She had two really bad days of sleep because her paci kept falling out. Finally, she discovered her thumb on day two and it has been smooth sailing ever since. She does not suck her thumb when she is awake, unless she is getting tired. She saves thumb sucking for her crib. She sucks her thumb to fall asleep and if she wakes in the middle of a nap or at night, she will find her thumb and start sucking to put herself back to sleep. Molly is an awesome sleeper too!!! She rarely cries to go to sleep, rarely wakes early from naps, or rarely wakes up in the middle of the night crying. If she does cry for longer than a minute, this is rare for her and I know she needs me so I go and tend to her.

Anna
Anna is the child that I messed up on. I allowed Anna to have a pacifier until a few days before she turned 6 months. In hindsight, this went on way too long. Like with my daughter Molly, I allowed Anna to have a pacifier as young infant from birth. The pacifier was great for helping to calm her when I was tending to her sister Molly or her toddler brother Cooper. I use the pacifier when running errands or in the car. Anna used the pacifier to fall asleep and if she woke early I would offer her the pacifier to see if that would help her go back to sleep. I kept telling myself that I would take the pacifier away when Anna learned to roll over. But Anna did not learn to roll over until she was almost 6 months old. From about 4-6 months, I became the pacifier fairy for Anna during nap time. Like clockwork, Anna would wake 45 minutes into her nap because she would discover her paci had fallen out. I would have to run into her room and stick it back into her mouth and she would sleep another 45 minute -1.5 hours longer.  This got old really fast. I kept hoping that Anna would just roll over and that would force me to take her pacifier away, but like I mentioned already, she did not roll over until almost 6 months. I too the pacifier away from her at 6 months for the same reasons I took Molly’s paci away. Anna could not keep it in her mouth while she was laying on her belly. It took about 2-3 days of HORRIBLE crying and sleep. The first night Anna cried for 2 hours before she would go to sleep without her paci. My husband and I tired to help calm her to sleep, but nothing was working. She also had a bad head cold and congestion the day she decided to start sleeping on her tummy. I think I cried as much as Anna did those two days. Finally on the second day, she started to sleep through her naps without waking up and sleeping through the night again. Sigh… I kept hoping that she would discover her thumb or fingers and self-sooth herself to sleep, but it never happened. Even now at 8 months of age, she still cries herself to sleep. She usually cries about 5-10 minutes before each nap. Thankfully, at night, she usually goes to sleep without any crying (maybe a wimper, but that’s all). I hate to hear her cry herself to sleep. I have tired to rock her to sleep, but she will not have any of it. I think she is so use to going to sleep without rocking (I could not rock her and her twin sister at the same time when going to sleep. Not physically possible) that rocking her just did not work. She still a good sleeper, but she is not as good of a sleeper as Cooper and Molly. If she wakes up early in the morning or early from a nap, she has a hard time going back to sleep. I really think I interfered with allowing Anna to discover her ability to self-sooth with running up and giving her a paci when she would wake early from nap and allowing her to fall asleep with it for 6 months. In hindsight, I wish I would have just taken the paci away around 3.5-4 months of age and given her the opportunity to discover his thumb or fingers for that matter.

If you are going to use a pacifier, I would do the following:
1. Limit the use of the pacifier for sleep only or for when you are out and about and need to calm your baby. I think too often parents offer the pacifier to their children too often during their awake time. This does not allow your child the ability to discover his own sucking and self-soothing abilities. It also prevents your child from communicating to you other needs like cries for pain or hunger (missing one of their child’s other needs).  Offering the pacifier during the time they are awake will only create a strong dependence on the pacifier and will make it harder to break them of needing a pacifier when you decided to wean them of one.

2. Wean (or take away) the pacifier no later than 4 months of age.
I say this because if you allow your child to use a pacifier for too long, they will develop a strong dependence on the pacifier to be happy during their wake time and to fall asleep and stay asleep. Once you notice your baby developing better hand control, that is usually a good time to wean your baby of the pacifier because they can suck their fingers or thumb for self-soothing at that point (that is if you will allow thumb sucking).

3. Allow your baby to fall asleep with it, but don’t put the pacifier back in their mouths if it falls out. I think up until your baby has good hand control, it is okay to go back into your baby’s room mid nap and give them their pacifier if it falls out. But once your baby has developed good hand control, don’t go back in. Your child needs to learn how to put himself back to sleep without your help. Your child might cry a little, but over time, he will either figure out how to put the pacifier back in his own mouth without your help or learn to suck his or her own thumb/ fingers. Going back in and giving your child the pacifier, is creating a sleep dependency/ sleep prop. The goal as a parent is to teach your child to sleep without assistance and continuing to give back the pacifier does not help to achieve this goal.

Closing Thoughts
If I have another child, I think I will give that child a pacifier at birth again, but take it away around 3.5-4 months of age. At that age infants usually have the muscle control to get their hands to their mouth and suck. I don’t have a problem with thumb sucking or finger sucking, as it allows the child the ability to self-sooth and not rely on a sleep prop or a parent to sleep. Yes I know that thumbs and fingers are a whole lot harder to take away later, but I think that sleep is equally important in my book! Sleep deprivation can be a very difficult thing to deal with.

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How will you know it is time to drop a nap?
Typically, they tend to resist taking the last nap of the day or seem unsettled during the last nap of the day. They might even start to sleep a shorter amount of time for that nap. All of the other naps could also be effected, causing them to be shorter in length. You may even notice he may have a hard time going to bed at your designated bedtime, making bedtime later than you would desire. For some babies, they might even start waking early in the mornings because they are getting to much daytime sleep.

Try Shortening the nap to a catnap first
If your baby is experiencing sleeping problems mention above, sometimes all you have to do is shorten the last nap of the day to a catnap. A catnap is a nap that is usually very brief, about 30-45 minutes in length. If, however, shortening the last nap to a catnap does not resolve the other nap lengths or help bedtime, then you know it is time to drop the last nap of the day.

Dropping the 4th Nap
Around what age will they drop the 4th nap? Between 4-5 months

It is easy to drop the 4th nap when you move from a 3 hour schedule to a 3.5/4 hour schedule. Another way to drop the 4th nap is to just keep your baby awake during that 4th nap, but you might have to put your baby to bed early for a few nights or weeks until they are adjusted to staying up longer at night before bedtime.

Personal Experience:
With my son, I dropped the 4th nap when I moved from a 3 hour schedule to a 4 hour schedule at 4 months of age.
My son’s schedule @3 months on a 3 hour schedule(4 naps):
8:00 Feed
9:30-10:30/11:00 Nap
11:00 Feed
12:30-2:00 Nap
2:00 Feed
3:30-5:00 Nap
5:00 Feed
6:30-7:15 Cat Nap
7:30 Feed
9:00-10:30 Nap/ Nighttime sleep
10:30 Feed & Put right back to Bed for nighttime sleep

My son’s schedule @4 months on a 3.5/4 hour schedule (3 naps):
7:00 Feed
8:30-10:30 Nap
10:30 Feed
12:30-2:30 Nap
2:30 Feed
4:30-6:30 Nap *** He stopped taking a good nap here at around 20 weeks old so I began to shorten it to a cat nap
6:30 Feed
9:00 Feed
9:15/ 9:30 Bed

With my twin daughters, I dropped the the 4th nap when I move from a 3 hour schedule to a 3.5 hour schedule. There was about a week or two when I had to put the twins to bed around 6/6:30pm instead of the desired 6:45pm/7pm when I dropped the 4th nap. Gradually I started to stretch out their bedtime back to 6:45/7pm as they learned to stay awake longer at night.
Twin’s schedule @ 4 months on a 3 hour schedule (4 naps):
7:00 Nurse
8:30-10:00 Nap
10:00 Nurse
11:30-1:00 Nap
1:00 Nurse
2:30-4:00 Nap
4:00 Nurse
5:30-6:15 Nap
6:15 Nurse
7:45 Nurse
8:00 Bedtime

Twins’ Schedule @5 months on a 3.5 hour schedule (3 naps):
7:00 Nurse
8:30-10:30 Nap
10:30 Nurse & Solids
12:15-2:15 Nap
2:15 Nurse
4:00-4:45 Nap
4:45 Nurse & Solids
6:15 Nurse
6:45 Anna Bedtime, 7:00 Molly Bedtime

Dropping the 3rd Nap

Around what age will they drop the 3rd nap? Between 6-8 months of age

Typically around 6-8 months, you will find that your baby will be able to stay awake longer in the evenings. Your baby will most likely be on a 4 hour schedule at this point and will not longer require the 3rd nap (usually a cat nap by this time). I have found that around 6-8 months of age, babies tend to fall into a 2-3-4 napping schedule. This is when the baby is awake for 2 hours in the morning and then nap, awakes for 3 hours in the afternoon and then naps, and then awake for 4 hours in the evening before going to bed. For more information on a 2-3-4 napping schedule, please see my post 2-3-4 napping schedule for older babies: https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/2-3-4-nap-schedule-for-older-babies/

Personal Experience:
My son Cooper dropped the 3rd nap at 6 months of age. I just decided that he did not need that nap any longer because it was effecting his bedtime. He need a longer wake time before bedtime and I did not want to put him to bed any later than 8pm. So I just dropped the catnap cold turkey. It took about a week or two of distracting him and helping him stay awake the last hour before bedtime, but he eventually he was able to stay awake happily until bedtime without the catnap.

Cooper’s Schedule @5 months (3 naps)
7:00 Feed (milk & solids)
9:00-11:00 Nap
11:00 Feed (milk & solids)
1:00- 3:00 Nap
3:00 Feed (milk only)
5:00-5:45 Cat Nap
5:45 Feed (solids only)
7:45 Feed (milk only)
8:00 Bed

Cooper’s Schedule @6 months (2 naps)
7:00 milk & solids
9:00 nap
11:30 milk & solids
2:00/2:30 nap
3:30/4:00 milk
5:30 solids
6:30 bath & milk
7:00 bed

My twins dropped the 3rd nap at 6 months of age. I knew they needed to drop the catnap because they started to refuse to sleep for the 3rd nap and if they did take the 3rd nap, they would stay awake longer at night before bedtime. I did not drop the catnap cold turkey with them though. I started trying to keep them awake until bedtime without a catnap. Some nights they could make it to bedtime without the 3rd nap and other nights they could not skip the catnap and would need to take it. Anna dropped the catnap much quicker than Molly. On some nights that they dropped the catnap, they had to go to bed earlier than 7pm, which is their normal bedtime. Even now at almost 8 months old, Molly still needs to go to bed earlier, around 6:30pm and Anna can make it to 7/7:30pm.

Twin’s Schedule @first half of 6 Months
7:00 Nurse & Solids
9:00-11:00 Nap
11:00 Nurse & Solids
1:00-3:00 Nap
3:00 Nurse
5:00- 5:30 Nap
5:30 Nurse & Solids
7:30 Nurse & Bed

Twin’s Schedule @Second half of 6 months
7am Nurse
8am Solids
9:00/9:15- 11:00 Nap (Molly goes down for a nap sooner than Anna)
11:00 Nurse
12:30 Solids
1:15/1:30- 3:30 Nap (Molly goes down for a nap sooner than Anna)
3:30 Nurse
5:00 Solids
6:30 Molly Bottle, Followed by Bed
7:00 Anna Nurse, Followed by Bed

Dropping the Second Nap
Around what age will they drop the 2nd nap? Typically between 15-18 months of age, but for some it could be as early as 12 months old.

I wrote a long post about moving from two naps a day to only one nap a day. Please read that post to get more information about dropping the second nap. https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/12/14/transition-from-two-naps-to-one-nap/

Personal Experience:
With both my son Cooper and my twin daughters, I found that I had to shorten the morning nap in order for them to be tired enough to still take a good afternoon nap. If my kids took a longer nap 1.5-2 hours in the morning, the afternoon nap started became shorter or they required a longer wake time in order to go to sleep for their second nap (making the second nap too late in the day and thus effecting bedtime). I shortened the morning nap to 1 hour and the afternoon nap was preserved this way and was usually about 1.5-2 hours in length.

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Usually sometime between 15-18 months old, your toddler will no longer need two naps and will start the transition to one nap. The mid-day nap usually starts around 12:30/1:00pm and last 2-3 hours. However, for some young toddlers, this transition can happen soon, as was the case with my son. Right around my son’s first birthday (12 months-old), my son stopped taking good naps. This was a sign to me that it was time to start the process of weaning him off two naps and down to one nap.

Signs that your toddler might be ready for one nap:
1. Takes too long to fall asleep for the morning nap
2. Takes a very short morning nap
3. Sleeps too long for the morning nap that your child will not take an afternoon nap or will take a very late afternoon nap that effects bedtime
4. In some cases, the afternoon nap can also be effected- same reasons listed for #1-3

How I knew my son was ready to make the transition from 2 naps to 1 nap:
My son was taking pretty solid naps 2- 1.5 hours of sleep daily for each nap. Then he started taking very long to fall asleep for his morning nap and needing a longer wake time to take the afternoon nap. His also started taking a longer amount of time to fall asleep at bedtime because his afternoon sleep was too close to his nap.

What I did to help transition my son from two naps to one nap:
So I pushed the morning nap up by 1/2 hour so he would be tired enough to take the nap and shortened the morning nap to a cat nap (30-45 minutes). I also increase the amount of wake time between the two naps so he would be tired enough to take the afternoon nap. The second transition schedule worked for a very short while (2-3 weeks). Then suddenly he stopped taking his morning nap. Instead of taking a morning nap, he would just “rest in his crib”. After his morning nap was a “rest period” instead of a nap for over a week, I decided to drop the morning nap and just move to one middle of the day nap. This is what his schedules looked like during the transition:

#1 Schedule with two solid naps
7am wake up
10-11:30/12:00 nap
3:00-4:30/5:00 nap
8:00 bedtime
#2 Schedule with two naps in transition
7am wake up
10:30-11:00/ 11:15 nap
3:00-4:30 nap
8:00 bedtime

#3 Schedule with one middle of day nap
7am wake up
1:00-3:30/4:00 nap
8:00 Bedtime


Some tricks to dealing with one nap a day (when the transition is first made):

Your child is going to have a hard time at first with one nap a day. There morning wake time has lengthened considerably and they will most likely get fussy, cranky, and throw tantrums more easily. In order to deal with the late morning during the beginning stages of this transition I suggest you keep them active. Go outside to play, take them to the library for story time, have a play date with another child, go the park, run around the house…but do something to keep them busy so they will not be as agitated.  Don’t do activities that require sitting, such as watching a movie or driving in the car. They are sure fire ways to make them more cranky or even fall asleep before it is time for their nap. This will make their one nap disrupted and cause sleep problems.

There might be days when your child still needs two naps:
There might be days when after you have made the switch to one nap that your child might need two naps. I would say allow your child to take two naps only if necessary. I would try to limited your child to having two naps only once a week once you have made the switch over to one nap. Jumping from two naps to one nap will not allow your child’s body to adjust to a longer wake time in the morning.

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My son is almost 11 months old. He has cut 8 teeth, 4 on top and 4 teeth on bottom. Some teeth seemed to give him more pain than others. I noticed last week that my son’s gums were very swollen where his molars are suppose to come in. YIKES! I did not think he was suppose to get them yet. Poor guy, he has cut a total of 6 teeth in 2.5 months and here we go on the molars. One of the molars is super swollen and I noticed today that it even appears to be blue. This alarmed me. I went searching the Internet for an answer. Here is what I found:

“Occasionally, a small, dark blue area will form on the gums where a tooth is about to emerge. This is the result of a small amount of bleeding beneath the surface of the gums, and is not a cause for concern. It will generally resolve without any special treatment, but cold compresses may be used for comfort and to reduce swelling.” (Source: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_g2603/is_0006/ai_2603000699/)

Days that are not so bad, here is what I do:

  • Cold, frozen teething toys and rings
  • Mesh feeder with frozen food
  • Let him chew on a tooth brush (he loves this!)

Days that are really bad, here is what I do:

  • Tylenol 30-45 min before his naps. I would only do this if his pain was so bad that it was disrupting his sleep for more than two days or if he was crying non-stop
  • Motrin 30-45 min before naps- I only started to do this when I notice that the gum is really swollen. Motrin has an anti-inflammatory in it and it seems to help with the swelling a little.

Other things friends of mine swear by, but they did not work for my son:

Are there any other comfort methods you do to help your child deal with teething pain? If you do, share. I am always looking for new ideas and suggestions!

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Sigh!

Literally, the day my son turned 9 months old, everything went nuts with him. I had a great routine/ schedule going with him and he seemed to be doing pretty well. But bam….he started refusing to sleep, separation anxiety through the roof, clingy, crying, and fussy. Oh, I should add that he has been teething off and on for about a month now. He cut 3 new teeth and has another one on the way. I have been scratching my head trying to figure him out. I want to blame it on teething, or the length of his wake time, or the fact that he is adjusting to his new home since we just moved about a month a half ago, but I think it is really no one particular thing. I believe it is the combination of all these factors playing together. I found a website that really hit home with me and the trouble that I am experiencing with my son at 9 months. Everything that this article mentions is very representative of my son at this moment. I thought it was worth sharing with all of you. The article also gives some good suggestions to help your baby with sleep problems, teething, and separation anxiety.  http://www.thesleepstore.co.nz/Sleep+Information/Babies+4+to+12+months/Sleep+challenges+with+9+month+olds.html Many of the my son’s difficulties also line up with the developmental period mentioned in Wonder Week 46.

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Note: The following post was written by a friend of mine. I asked her to write a post about PU/PD since I myself have never used the method. She has found great success with it and I hope that information and her personal experience she shares in this post will help you if you decide to use this sleep training method.

Pick up/put down is a sleep training method described in the book, “The Baby Whisperer” by Tracey Hogg. It offers your baby the reassurance that you are there but also the independence to help him learn to sleep on his own. It is important to note that this method should not be used before your baby is 4 months old.

There are several case studies described in the book where Hogg was called in as a consultant to help tired families teach their little ones to sleep (These can be found in all three of her books by looking at the index section for PU/PD or sleep training.).

My husband and I were advised by the pediatrician to let our son cry it out at 4 weeks old. He said, “bath at 6, bottle at 7, bed at 8. Put the baby in his bed awake and let him cry if he needs to.” After 5 nights of the crying for over 45 minutes at a time, and it got longer each night, I gave up and went back to feeding him to sleep. At 5 weeks old my mother-in-law brought me the Baby Whisperer book and my life changed forever! We started swaddling and put my son (and us) on E.A.S.Y.

By 4 months old my son was sleeping from 6:30 PM until 8 AM. He got his bath at 6, had a bottle and was swaddled and put in bed no later than 6:30 PM. As he’s gotten older, he goes to sleep a little later because he plays longer in the bath and now we read books. But the most important thing to remember with any sleep training method is consistency. It is the key to getting your little one through the night.

With PU/PD you offer your baby reassurance by being with him but you don’t become his sleep aid or “prop” because you remove the extra reassurance the second your baby does not need you.

So, when your baby cries for help***,

1.You go into his room. You go right to his bed and do NOT make eye contact, do NOT speak, just go to him, pick him up, a pat on the back or a rub of the head is fine, and then as soon as his body is calm you put him back in his bed.
2.You do this until he is completely settled and going back to sleep.
3. If he wakes early from a nap, you do the PU/PD method until he either goes back to sleep or it is time for his next feeding.
4. In the night, you do it until he goes to sleep (this can take 2-5 hours or more depending on what reinforced habits you have, you can read about my detailed experience in a bit).
5.You should keep a journal of every attempt because then you can see the progress you have made.

***(there are different types of cries, a mantra cry is very rhythmic. A mantra cry is your baby trying to put herself back to sleep. You should not go into your baby’s room for a mantra cry. Always stop outside the baby’s door and wait. Listen to the cry and determine if it is a cry for assistance or a mantra cry)

My Experience with PU/PD

Sleep Journal One:

At 5 months old we went on a trip. I went on a 3-hour flight with my son and we stayed at my parent’s house. We made the room he was sleeping in just as dark as his at home room (he is a spirited baby and so all distractions must be eliminated to achieve sleep.

That night my son woke up unfamiliar with the smells and the crib, so I did PU/PD:

Night 1: 6:00 PM – Bath, Bottle, and Bed by 6:30.

10:30 PM – Dream Feed.

1:00 AM – First waking. I picked him up, did one-two gentle (like burping)

pats on his back and put him back in his bed. He cried out once, rolled over and went to sleep. I did this 3 separate times in the night.

3:00 AM – Second waking. Repeat 1st waking method.

5: 30 AM – Third waking. Repeat 1st waking method.

7:30 AM – Up for the day.

Night 2: 6:00 PM – Bath, Bottle, and Bed by 6:30.

10:30 PM – Dream Feed.

7:45 AM – Up for the day.

Now you can see from that sleep journal that there was a LOT of improvement that second night. We left that next day so there was no more nights on that visit and upon returning home, the baby went back to sleeping from 6:30 PM until 8:00 AM.

Sleep Journal Two:

At 8 months old, I got into some “accidental parenting”.

At this point, my son’s routine was well established. He was napping during the day, sleeping at night, crawling all around the house and eating solids. Plus, he was still sleeping from 6:30 PM until 8:00 AM.

Well, one night he woke in the night and was crying.

(This, after 4 months of not having him wake at all in the night besides for 1st the visit to my parents (we went up another time at 7 months and everything went smoothly. He even had other people put him to bed at night)

I went to him, and did PU/PD. After about an hour I thought, he might be hungry, 8 months is a pretty big physical development age and maybe he didn’t get enough to eat or is going through a growth spurt. So I made a bottle and he drank 10 oz down so fast you would’ve thought he hadn’t eaten in days. I then put him in bed and he slept fine.

About a week or two later he woke in the night again. This time, I was tired and wanted to go back to sleep quickly, I just made a bottle and went to him and fed him. Here was my mistake. Considering anything could’ve woken him, the best thing to do would have been PU/PD. And I look back at this moment and think, why did I give him that bottle? And thus my problems began.

At first the night-wakings for bottles was inconsistent, sometimes it would happen and sometimes it wouldn’t. There would be 2-4 days in a row that he would sleep straight through and then there was 2-4 days where he would wake up and I would give him a bottle. I was still trying to convince myself it was hunger and continued the bottles.

By 11 months, he was waking 2-3 times in the night, drinking 2 oz and going back to sleep. Now, I new that he wasn’t hungry and didn’t need the bottles and it was just a “prop.”

We were moving at the end of his 11th month, so I decided to use the move as a time to re-sleep train him, since I would need to be doing that anyway.

By 11 months old, babies are set in their ways. Habits are MUCH, MUCH, HARDER to break, but NOT impossible. And that is the key. It took nearly 3 weeks to get my son back on track with his night-time sleep. However, I am happy to report that after those 3 weeks of PU/PD he has been sleeping from 6:40ish PM until 8:00 AM again, it’s been 2 months!

Here is my sleep journal from then:

Night 1: Dad got him down in about 45 minutes with P.D. by 10:00 PM (late night because the movers were still at the house and son threw up from a grape allergy, only allergy he has…weird though)  Wake time was 6:30 AM

Night 2: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 1:00 AM, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 10 minutes.

Night 3: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke up once, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 2 minutes.

Night 4: Got the crib set up, had been sleeping in the pack n play.  Played in the crib and was SUPER excited about it during the day.  Regular night routine, would not go to sleep, kept standing up and crying. Tried to do P.D. but he started falling to the mattress and laughing whenever I went to P.D.  I got annoyed that he was making it a game and left the room.  He cried, I came back, he eventually did the same thing.  This went on for 30 minutes and my husband took over.  Same thing.  We thought maybe he got too excited from our brisk visit with the new neighbors before bed and so we got him up for 20 minutes and then redid the bedtime routine.  Woke at 11:35 PM, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 1 minute. Woke again at 1:30, got him to sleep within 1 minute.  Woke at 2:35 AM, got him to sleep within 1 minute.  Cried off and on until 3:20 AM.  Full blown crying and I could not settle him.  At 4:20 I traded with my husband.  At 4:40 he thought maybe son was hungry and said I should give him a bottle (probably a bad idea, I know).  Gave him 4 oz of water first because I didn’t want to reinforce the previous bad habit.  He drank it all and then I gave him 8 oz of milk and he drank it all.  Then he went right to sleep until 8:00 AM.

Night 5: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 11:35 PM, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 10 minutes.  Woke around 2:35…did P.D. until 4:20, husband got annoyed and we were so tired from previous night and the move that we caved and gave bottle to save our sanity (truly a bad idea in hindsight).

Night 6: (after the previous night, I spent the day resting and decided that I needed to dig in my heals and stick with P.D. and be CONSISTENT).  Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 11:35 PM, got him to sleep with 43 P.D.’s and light back rub, and WI/WO towards the end and he went to sleep around 1:35 for the night.  Wake time was 7:30 AM.

Night 7: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 12:00 AM, got him to sleep with 27 P.D.’s and light back rub, and WI/WO towards the end and was asleep by 1:30 AM for the night.  Wake time was 6:00 AM.

Night 8: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 11:35 PM, got him to sleep with minimal P.D. and light back rub, and WI/WO in about 40 minutes. Yay! 7:00 Am wake up.

Night 9: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 1:00 AM, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 20 minutes.

Night 10: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Slept through! WooHoo! 6:00 AM wake up (uggh)

Night 11: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 2 AM, P.D. and light back rub in about 1.5 hours. 5 AM wake up, did P.D. and light back rub about 20 minutes.  Wake time 8:00 AM.

Night 12:  Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 1:30 AM, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 40 minutes.  EW of 5:30 AM, P.D. until 7:00 then started our day.

Night 13: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke once, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 15 minutes.

Night 14: Regular night routine, but he started doing the playing with P.D. again.  Husband and I took turns.  Eventually he Mantra cried himself without us in the room to sleep in about 10 minutes.  Was asleep by 7:15 PM.  Wake time 5:00 AM, did P.D. and light back rub with WI/WO, took about 30 minutes to get him back to sleep until 8:00 AM.

Night 15: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 2:00 AM, took 3 P.D.’s then he played with his lovey sheep and chatted, so I left the room and he put himself down.  Repeat at 5:00 AM.  Woke up around 7:30 AM.

Night 16: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke at 5:35 AM, took 7 P.D.’s then he played with his lovey sheep and chatted, I left and he put himself down until 7:30.

Night 17: UGHH!  What the heck!?!?!  Great Nap today! Wonderful day, he was chatty and so much fun.  Bedtime he went to bed like normal and then 5 minutes later just screamed and screamed.  Went in to do P.D. and he kept running across the crib and playing and throwing himself around.  I left.  He started screaming.  I came back, rinse and repeat for 10 minutes.  He started screaming while I was in the room (bratty screams), didn’t want to be touched, didn’t want to be held.  Would NOT calm down.  Gave himself the crying hiccups.  After husband got angry at the ear piercing screams he asked me to leave the room.  Took son about 3 minutes to soothe himself to sleep.  He cried out off and on for 10 minutes and has not been up since (it’s 11:13 now).

Night 18: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke at 5:35 AM, put himself back 7:45 AM.

Night 19: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke at 6:00 AM, he cried out nce, went back to sleep until 8:00 AM.

Now, not every night is perfectly smooth, but I don’t go in anymore. He will cry out after a sleep cycle (45 minutes) some nights and put himself back to sleep within 5 minutes and that’s that. After 1 year, if you use PU/PD, you should implement the WI/WO method instead. You can find this on, the Baby Whisperer Forums at this link: http://www.babywhispererforums.com/index.php?topic=80750.0

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