Posts Tagged ‘cosleeping’

When Your Baby Doesn’t Sleep Through the Night

Monday, November 16th, 2015

When Your Baby Doesn't Sleep Through the NightDark circles. Endless cups of coffee. Short-tempered moments with a toddler. Sound familiar to anyone else but me? This is how I am when my son Levi sleeps poorly. Lack of sleep creeps up and affects my day, caffeine intake, and the way I interact with his sister. Levi is 13 months old, and he still doesn’t sleep all night long. Some nights, he is up once. Some nights, he is up every hour or two. How do we as moms handle life when our older babies sleep like newborns?

  1. Know You’re Not Alone. When I decided to do this blog, I was amazed by the number of moms who also are in this same boat. What? You are, too? It’s not unusual for an older baby to still wake at night. Babies wake for several differentreasons. Hunger, wet diapers, loneliness, fear, boredom, who knows! Just remember that when you are up, there is another mom somewhere up too. Yes, moms, I’m right there with you.
  2. Ignore the Critics. Every time we go to a check-up at our local pediatrician, I feel scolded because my son still wakes. I am told to let him cry. Well, moms, I do let him cry. I don’t let him cry for longs period of time, but I do not jump out of bed when I hear a whimper or fussy sound from his room. Everyone has their own opinions. Every baby is different. Your decisions are yours, but you don’t have to night wean your baby if you don’t want to.
  3. Do What You Feel is Right. Levi is still nursing. Some days, he could nurse all day long. I’m sure he just wants the comfort, but some nights, I just feel like it’s okay for him to nurse. Sure, he’s not hungry, but I’m there for him. I am the only one who can truly comfort him in that way in the wee hours of the night.
  4. Stay Hopeful. I am struggling with this currently. In reality, yes, your child will sleep through the night, eventually. I wish I could tell you when, and I wish I knew when I would be able to sleep all night, as well. However, we are moms. We are on the clock 24 hours a day, and that doesn’t stop when babies go to bed. My 3-year-old hardly ever wakes up in the night. Someday, Levi won’t either.
  5. Remember There Is a Reason. I refuse to believe that my baby waking is somehow my fault. Teething has been a big culprit for Levi’s sleep issues. Babies also wake when they don’t feel well. A fever or runny nose can keep any adult up, so of course, it will keep up a baby. Don’t ignore your baby. He or she needs you now, and they won’t need you forever.

I read this quote from a mom on, and it so resonated with me. Maybe it will with you, too. “Both of my children nursed once (occasionally more) at night through their second year. Since this doesn’t bother me, I did doing nothing to change it. We co-sleep, and neither my baby nor I generally wake up completely when she nurses. Both started sleeping through the night on their own, when they were ready.”

Remember, babies don’t keep. Nap while you can and drink some coffee. Babies love their mommies, and some day this will all be a memory. Goodnight!

Karyn Meyerhoff lives, writes, and nurses in the night in Northeast Indiana. She frequently goes to Starbucks and has an afternoon cup of coffee. Don’t judge.

How We Do Bedtime

Friday, October 30th, 2015

20151011_163232Our bedtime routine has gone through many various transformations throughout the years. New home, new sleep space, new baby, nursing baby/toddler, and weaned baby/toddler are some of the main factors impacting our bedtime routine.  We also try to take into account the individual sleep needs of each family member.

We are currently in a pretty good rhythm as far as bedtime, but to be honest there were periods when I completely loathed bedtime.

Before jumping into our nighttime routine it might be helpful to share some background:

  • We are a family of 6; Dad, Mom, and 4 boys ages 8, 6, 4, and 14 months.
  • We are a cosleeping family.
  • My 14 month old nurses to sleep.
  • The older two boys share a bedroom. They have twin beds that are pushed together.
  • The 4 year old has his own bedroom with a queen bed in it; he will eventually share this room with his younger brother.
  • We have an “open bed” policy. Kids are welcome to sleep in our bed when/if/as needed. We have a king bed in our room.

Here’s what currently works for us. It’s a bit of the divide and conquer approach.

Bedtime routine starts at 7:30ish with the goal of lights out at 8:00pm.

First, the kids eat a snack at the kitchen table. Then they brush teeth, pee on the potty, and put on their jammies. Most nights my husband reads from a chapter book on his e-reader (so the lights can be off) to the older two boys in their room. He has a chair he sits in next to their bed and reads to them for about 20 minutes a night. Sometimes they listen to an audio book or read to themselves for that 20-minute period. Nighttime reading is very important to us; mainly because they attend a Dutch school and therefore get no exposure to English reading/writing outside the home. We need to continue to foster their English literacy skills so when we eventually go back to the States they are roughly at grade level. Once the 20 minutes of reading is done, daddy leaves the room and the two boys talk themselves to sleep each night. We don’t mind them talking as long as it is quietly and they are not being silly/wild. I actually really enjoy eavesdropping on their bedtime conversations. Most of the they speak to each other in Dutch and it’s always fun for me to listen in.

While daddy is with the older two boys, I lay with the younger two boys. My 4-year-old picks two picture books for me to read to him. While I’m reading to him, I nurse my 14 month old, who will generally fall asleep at this time. My 4 year old falls asleep really fast; like literally the second I finish reading he rolls over and passes out.  The two of them spend the first part of the night together in the bed. When my 14 month old wakes to nurse, I either nurse him in the bed there or bring him in the bed with me. It mostly depends on what time of night it is and/or how tired I am.

The above is all best-case scenario of course, and there are so many things that can hijack bedtime. There are nights it seems we play more musical beds than I would care for but as the boys get older this is happening less and less.  And I feel like solid sleep is happening more and more. I have a Fitbit that allows me to track my sleep and I always feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I meet my sleep goal, lol!

Help for a Tired Mama

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Help for a Tired MamaNewborns are rough. Man, are they rough. Each and every time I was pregnant, I remember wishing that baby was out during those last 2 to 4 weeks of pregnancy. I thought, “Once this baby is out, I’ll sleep better, I’ll be more comfortable, I won’t have to get up so many times to pee. I can’t wait to have this baby!”

Every time, I thought this.  Every. Time. Clearly our hormones wipe our memory of the newborn months in the interest of the propagation of our species. But, I digress.

Newborns grow so fast, it can be hard to keep up. Every time you solve a problem, be it leaking diapers, sleeping positions, or controlling spit up, like a leak in a dam on Looney Toons, five more issues pop right up to replace it. When you’re talking sleep, it’s no different.

Here are a few ways you can attempt to get more sleep for you and baby.

  1. Talk to your mom and your partner’s mom. I know, I know. You get so much advice. So much. Why would you go seeking it? Well, here it’s not advice you need, it’s information on the genes that are in your baby. Was your husband a great sleeper? Did your wife keep her poor mom up all night? If you can find out what you and your partner were like as babies, you can get an idea if your baby is just one of those who don’t need sleep or if there is a strategy you can employ to make things easier. Just knowing what you can expect can make a big difference.
  2. Start a routine. A routine is different from a schedule in that it’s a regular way of doing things, not a timed way of doing things. Timing is arbitrary to infants, but they can come to understand that things happen in a certain order each day, and what those things are, and they understand this earlier than you think. Your routine could be nursing, rocking, and bedtime. Or, it could be playtime, nursing, books and bedtime. We did the three B’s: bath, books, and bed.
  3. Adjust bedtime. After growth and development spurts, you may find the old schedules or routines may not work as well. Moving bedtime up or back can make a huge difference in how your baby sleeps. A baby that fights sleep at 7pm may go down like a dream a little earlier or later, or even sleep longer. Sometimes my babies would fall asleep at weird times, and I would think that there was no way they would still go to bed at their usual time, but they did. It’s amazing how much sleep newborns need.
  4. Take evening walks. Evening walks can help baby sync to natural circadian rhythms, plus it’s just a great way to soothe them and get a little fresh air for yourself as well. Wearing your baby on a walk can help jiggle them around just like they did in your belly, which can be soothing.
  5. Change up your space. If baby isn’t sleeping well, bring her into your room, either by cosleeping or using a bassinet. If you are trying to transition baby to her own room, start with naptimes and work up from there. You can also put the crib sheet in your bed for a few nights on it’s own before trying a transition so it has your comforting smell on it. Try moving the crib to different places in baby’s room. You may not be aware of lights or vibrations in certain places that could be waking her up, like a pipe in the wall, a dryer in an adjoining room, light from the street, a clock or another device.

Remember, newborns are just not going to sleep through the night for the most part, and night waking has many benefits, including the fact that it’s great for milk production. But the next best thing to prolonged sleep is predictable sleep, and that is very attainable. Just keep your expectations in check and remember that as soon as you get a good pattern going, a growth spurt is probably going to wreck it again. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and call in reinforcements when you can!

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls. She lives and writes in Queensbury, New York. 

Safe Sleeping Habits for Babies and Toddlers

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Karyns phone 174

Another infant has died due to unsafe sleeping habits. The sixth death was recently reported from an infant sleeping in a Nap Nanny Infant Recliner in New Jersey. So as a mom, my questions are: Why are these dangerous to babies? How do I keep my baby safe while sleeping?

Dangers of the Nap Nanny

The Nap Nanny Recliner looks pretty comfortable for baby. It’s made of plush fabric and has a fun shape. However, it is not safe for baby. According to an online source, five of the six deaths were due to the Nap Nanny being placed in a crib and the infant falling or hanging over the side. Two of these infants were secured by a safety belt. The sixth infant died in the Nap Nanny while it was placed on the floor. Suffocation is a huge risk with these products–the baby could become trapped between the Nap Nanny and crib bumpers. Nap Nanny Recliners are no longer being sold in stores.

Other Crib Dangers

Here are some other common dangers moms should be aware of:

  • Cute bumpers My daughter’s crib bedding set came with the cutest, pink monkey bumpers. Sadly, they were never used. Bumpers are recommended to help baby from not getting stuck in the crib slats, but they pose a major suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome risk. Many moms opt for the breathable bumpers, while others stick with nothing.
  • Sleep Positioners These are designed to help baby stay in a certain position while resting. However, they are a huge suffocation risk. Some believe they help aid in acid reflux treatment, but the best thing to do is place baby on their back in their crib and talk to your pediatrician if your baby suffers from acid reflux.
  • Pillows and Blankets It still makes me nervous to put my almost 2-year-old in her toddler bed with a pillow. Pillows and blankets can cause a suffocation risk to infants. Dress your baby in footed pajamas or invest in a cute sleep sack to act as a blanket. Baby doesn’t need a pillow to stay comfortable, unlike mom.

Safe Sleeping

Here are a few tips on how to make sure you are giving your baby the safest sleeping environment possible.

  • Stick with a firm mattress and a fitted sheet only.
  • Ensure nothing is covering baby’s face.
  • Keep baby’s favorite stuffed animals out of the crib during sleeping hours.
  • Keep baby away from areas where smoking has occurred.
  • Keep baby’s room at a temperature that is not too hot or too cold.

While it breaks my heart to hear another precious infant has died, it is important to reeducate ourselves on safe sleep habits for infants. While baby’s crib may not always look super cute during nap time, our priority is taking care of our little ones, not having the cutest nursery all of the time.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of one and one on the way who lives, writes, and sleeps in Northeast Indiana.