The Dreaded Nap Transition…

We have been blessed with babies that have been great sleepers and nappers. We started sleep training at an early age with both of our kids (Turner’s sleep training post HERE and Gracie’s HERE) which is never easy but has helped us tremendously and was well worth the effort! As a mom working from home, I needed my kids to be on a schedule so I could plan my “office hours”.

Now that Turner is 4 he’s transitioned to “quiet time”. That happened sort of on its own. He would still go to his room for his nap and I’d hear him jumping around and not actually napping, which told me his body didn’t necessarily need a nap. But this momma still needed time alone! So I had the conversation with him that he didn’t have to nap, but he had to play quietly in his room. If he didn’t he would get a spanking. I made very clear rules for this so called “quiet time”. And no I’m not crafty and didn’t make any fancy box o’ fun because ain’t nobody got time for that. I told him that this was Mommy’s quiet time and he needed to respect that (which surprisingly worked??). He would choose a few toys to play with, but he had to stay in his room until I came to get him. Occasionally he will pass out on his floor but I don’t love that because then he doesn’t fall asleep until 9 at night. Instead, I’d rather him stay awake during the day (in his separate space) so he falls asleep when we put him to bed around 7:30. By the way, he’s a total first born. He’s eager to please and doesn’t like getting in trouble. I expect a completely different outcome with Gracie!

Which brings me to Miss Thang’s naps! She has been taking two naps for a while. I tried to transition her to the one afternoon nap, but she was so exhausted that I had to cave and keep her at two. Recently I’d put her in her crib for her morning nap and she wouldn’t fall asleep. She was chatting away with all of her stuffed animal friends. That happened several days in a row. So here’s how I handled that! I knew she was still sleepy, but I wanted to work towards one nap for her. Usually, we go to the gym first thing in the morning before dropping Turner off at school at 9. She would doze off in the car for a few minutes at one point or another during that commute. That would buy me enough time to get her to the afternoon without completely falling apart. So I would pick Turner up at 1 and get them home and down for naps around 1:30. The fear, of course, is that she falls asleep on the WAY to pick up Turner which would completely throw a wrench into my perfect plan. That actually happens a lot. So, in that case, I put them down for their naps around 2. On days that we don’t go anywhere in the morning, I put her and Turner in their rooms around 12:30 for his quiet time and her nap. Now, mind you, we’re still in the transition phase from two naps to one nap for her. Eventually we will get to where she naps at the same time each afternoon. But it’s like exercise, you have to warm up and stretch first!

So here’s a typical school day for us now that we’ve transitioned to the one nap:

Schedule at 4 years old and 1.5 years old:

6:30 am — wake up/drink milk/coffee in our bed

7:00 am — breakfast (I have school lunch prepped the night before. More on that later)

7:40 am — out the door for the gym

9 am — Drop Turner off at school (Gracie cat naps in the car on the way)

9:15 am-12:45 pm– Run Errands if needed/Mommy works/Mommy and Gracie play time/eat lunch

1:00 pm– Pick Turner up from school

1:30 pm-4:00 pm — nap/quiet time/Mommy works

4:00 pm — Turner and Gracie play/prep dinner/Mommy works some more

5:30 — Daddy’s home!!! Eat dinner and drink wine

6:30 — play time before bed (sometimes a bath. I’m not gonna lie. We don’t bathe our kids nightly anymore. Judge if you will)

7:30 — Kids to bed!

I love a good schedule. It fills my need to control things. Of course, it’s not perfect and there are hiccups all the time! But for the most part, our days have a nice flow to them!

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3 Month Milestones and Baby Wise Schedule

I can’t believe Gracie is 3 months old!!! We were just reminiscing about the day she was born. Such sweet memories! I loved looking back on Turner’s milestones, so I wanted to do the same for Gracie. It’s so easy to forget what they do in the beginning! So here we go!

At 3 months she is…

    • Batting at toys
    • Cooing
    • Smiling
    • Drooling a ton
    • Almost rolling over
    • Sleeping until 6:30am
    • Doing major ab workouts (see video)

Work it out from Emily on Vimeo.

As far as our schedule goes, we follow the Baby Wise syle. HERE is my “sleep training” post from when Turner was a baby 3 years ago. And HERE is my most recent “sleep training” post from when Gracie was born. I don’t even think of it as sleep training, because it sounds so harsh. I really just got in the habit of putting Gracie down when I knew she was sleepy right from the beginning. It evolved into a 3 hour “wake, feed, change” cycle as you’ll read in my post linked above. Now our days are pretty predictable, give or take 30 minutes! So this is what our schedule looks like:

      • 6:30am Feed, Change, Play (read, play gym, tummy time, snuggle). I always pump after this feeding because it’s the most convenient time of the day and I have the most milk.
      • 8am nap
      • 10am Feed, Change, Play
      • 11am nap
      • 1pm Feed, Change, Play
      • 2pm nap
      • 4pm Feed, Change, Play
      • 7 bath time with Gracie and Turner
      • 7:30 Feed and down for the night
      • 10pm Dream Feed (I don’t wake her. Stew gives her a 3 oz pumped bottle. If I nursed her, she would sleep and not get a good feeding).

Sometimes our morning wake up time varies. For instance, if she wakes up before 6, I’ll feed her again around 7:30 and then get back on schedule for the 10:00 feeding. Lately she’s been sleeping until 6:30, so that morning chunk of time is a bit longer than the rest of the day. We just take each day as it comes!

A lot of questions that have come up are answered HERE. One that especially comes to mind is “Does she actually sleep for two hours?” And the answer is NO. She takes a few minutes to fall asleep. And if she wakes up early, we just play until it’s time for her next feeding. She’s usually quite happy when I get her from a nap, so she doesn’t mind doing a little squeaky talk with Momma!

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Sleep Training Round 2

I have had so many questions and comments about sleep training! Probably because the worst feeling on this planet is walking around sleep deprived. I’ll preface this by saying I’m NOT an expert. I just do what works for me! If you’re against sleep training, don’t do it!

HERE is my original sleep training post from when Turner was a baby. He was pretty hard in the beginning. He nursed every 45 minutes to an hour ’round the clock! I would sleep for 20 minute increments at night and seriously wanted to die. By 4pm I would get major anxiety, dreading the night ahead. That’s when my friend let me borrow Preparation for Parenting, by Gary Ezzo when Turner was 2 weeks old. My world changed!

Sleep training sounds so harsh. I prefer to think of it as “putting my baby down for a nap” because 1. she’s tired 2. since she’s tired, she’s gonna cry whether she’s with me, upstairs or downstairs, so I might as well put her in her room where it’s calm 3. I have a toddler who’s quite boisterous and 4. I can’t possibly hold her and get anything done. That doesn’t mean I love her any less or spend less time kissing and hugging her!

Now that I got that off my chest, this post is more in depth as far as my process of “sleep training”. I started from the beginning with Gracie, who is now 6 weeks old. Let me explain. The first week of her life, I focused on giving her a FULL feeding. Something I didn’t know to do with Turner. I assumed when he fell asleep that he was done. Hence the constant feeding! A hungry baby is not going to take a nap! This time, I make sure Gracie’s good and awake and keep her awake throughout the feeding. She nurses for about 20 to 30 minutes (every baby is different).

Once she’s finished eating, I change her diaper (she usually goes while eating) and have our “wake time”. We do things like snuggle, sing, tummy time, and hang out in her play gym. The total time from the start of her feeding until her nap is only about 1 hour.

At that point, I swaddle her and put her in her Rock N Play (in her nursery), awake, but sleepy. I turn her sound machine on and walk out. Now, each baby has a different crying pattern too. I’ve learned Gracie’s. She doesn’t cry right away (and sometimes not at all). If/when she starts crying, she’ll cry for a few minutes and then stop. Then she starts again. If 15 minutes goes by and she’s whaling, I look at her in the monitor. If I see that her eyes are closed, I ask myself if I’m going to wake her more if I go in and disturb her process. If it’s to the point where she needs soothing, I’ll go in and rock her Rock N Play and put a hand on her until she calms down. I usually only have to do that once, if at all! You be the judge of that with your own baby!

Now, afternoons/nights are a bit different. Gracie is on a 3 hour wake/feed/change cycle through the day, but she has that afternoon cranky time like most babies. Our nights are exactly the opposite of what the Baby Wise style of training says to do. But, with Turner, it worked itself out by 2 to 3 months.

We give her and Turner a bath together at 7. We soothe her until she falls asleep (usually by rocking or with a paci), but that nap only lasts for a short time and she’s awake again by about 8 or 8:30. At that point, we bring her downstairs with us while we watch TV. I nurse her and she falls asleep on me. She stays with us until we go to bed around 10. We don’t wake her up. Stew gives her a bottle for her “dream feed” at 10 and puts her down in her Rock N Play in her room and turns on the sound machine. At that point she’s out for the night until I feed her at 5am.

Since she was born, she was sleeping 4-5 hour stretches at night. The past 2 weeks, she’s been giving us 6 to 7 hours at night. So, after that in depth explanation, here is what our schedule looks like at 6 weeks! Keep in mind, these times are more of a guide. Sometimes it’s 2 1/2 hours, sometimes 3 1/2. But it’s pretty accurate for our day-to-day.

Schedule at 6 weeks:

  • 7:00am Wake/Feed/Change
  • 7:30am Wake Time
  • 8:00am Nap
  • 10:00am Wake/Feed/Change
  • 10:30am Wake Time
  • 11:00am Nap
  • 1:00pm Wake/Feed/Change
  • 1:30pm Wake Time
  • 2:00pm Nap
  • 4:00pm Wake/Feed/Change
  • 5:00pm catnap (this doesn’t last as long as the others)
  • 6:00pm Feed
  • 7:00pm Bath
  • 8:00pm catnap (this doesn’t last as long as the others)
  • 8:30pm Feed/Change (this is when she falls asleep on us downstairs)
  • 10:00pm “Dream Feed” Bottle (don’t wake her up for this feeding)
  • 4:30/5am Feed/Back to bed

Some Questions/Comments Answered:

  1. What to do if Baby wakes up before the next cycle?
    1. If she’s content, let her hang out until it’s time to feed. Put her in her play gym, swing, or snuggle.
    2. If you can’t soothe her, feed her and start over with the next cycle. Eventually it evens out.
  2. What if my baby doesn’t stop crying?
    1. This is when I go in and put a hand on her and rock her Rock N Play (definitely worth the investment). That way I don’t have to pick her up and disrupt her. She stops crying and usually her eyes start slowly blinking. This tells me she’s tired. I walk out. If your baby doesn’t stop, just repeat that process every few minutes until you feel comfortable stretching the time out between “rocks”. She will eventually self-soothe.
  3. What about changing diapers in the middle of the night?
    1. This is the only time I change her first (if she smells like Number Two). I don’t want to change her after I feed her, because I want her sleepy in the middle of the night.
  4. What if Baby wakes up after 45 minutes during nap time?
    1. When Gracie does this, I go in and rock her Rock N Play and she usually falls back to sleep. I don’t let her wake up too much and cry it out because I don’t want her to get all worked up.
    2. Also, ask yourself:
      1. Is she hot, cold, or did she poop?
      2. Maybe Baby is actually hungry. How was her feeding before the nap?
  5. When do we go out?
    1. I usually plan our outings during “nap time”. So I’ll feed her, change her and hit the road. She sleeps in her car seat or the Boba Wrap.
  6.  Don’t talk to Baby or turn the lights on in the middle of the night. Nights are business ONLY!
  7. Let your spouse/family/friends help! When Mom does it, baby automatically wants to eat. If someone else does it, eating isn’t always the first option!
  8. Don’t be scared of your baby crying. Babies cry! Make sure she’s fed, warm enough, and dry.
  9. Finally, this is temporary! There’s no set list of steps. This is what worked for me this time! Every baby is different. Enjoy the cries, snuggles, and insanity, because it goes so fast!

 

 

 

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7 Month Nap/Sleep Schedule

I can’t believe Turner will be 7 months old on Monday! He is getting so big and so smart! People always told me time would fly by, but it REALLY is incredible! We are in a really good nap routine which allows me to get a ton of work done, except on days like this, when it’s an absolute hot mess! So, I thought it would be helpful to share our schedule!

I used to be more concerned with keeping his wake/change/feed/nap time evenly spaced. Now that Turner’s older, he falls asleep and wakes up on his own give or take 20 minutes. It’s not a big deal, since it all evens out by the end of the day. Sometimes his naps are an hour, sometimes they’re two. I still feed him around the same time each day. P.s. sorry for the drunken images…I can’t get a picture of this kid that’s not blurry…he doesn’t stop moving! 3photo
He’s much more content while he’s awake these days. He works on things like playing the drums…
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and crawling.
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While Mommy does things like decorate chalkboards…
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So…back to the schedule:

7:00 I get Turner from his room, change him, and nurse him in my bed while I drink my coffee. I actually think he wakes up closer to 6:30 due to the occasional laugh or squeal I hear coming from the monitor. But, I don’t actually get him until around 7.

8:30-10:30/11 Nap

10:30/11:00 Change, nurse and solid food (Sometimes he wakes up at 10, sometimes 11. I always feed him by 11 though)

12:30-1:30/2 Nap (Same deal with his earlier nap. Sometimes it goes until 1:30, sometimes 2)

2:00 Change, nurse and solid food. He’s usually awake for the rest of the day. Sometimes he’ll take a cat nap if we go for a ride or a walk. That also depends on how his naps were earlier in the day.

5:00 Change, nurse

6:00 Solid Food at the table while we eat supper.

7:00 Bath time

7:30 Book, bottle (5 oz pumped), and bed.

Like I said before, our schedule is pretty much the same every day. During the times he’s not napping, he’s playing. He loves his play gym in my office and his bouncy swing. He also keeps himself occupied by scooting everywhere and discovering new places like under the couch in the office…oops. Our schedule varies about 20 to 30 minutes, but he eats around the same time every day. Oh yea…and keep in mind, if your baby decides not to nap, join the club. I usually put a big X on those days and pretend they never happened. Every day is a chance to start over! And if you’re not on a schedule and are scared to start, it’s scary and it sucks…in the beginning. But it is definitely worth it!

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Sleep Training/Schedule

Definitely read the post below. But HERE is my most recent sleep training post since I’ve had my daughter. It’s much more detailed!

I just talked to a friend of mine about sleep training. Our conversation prompted this post. It’s definitely NOT easy! In fact, it’s probably used as a form of torture in some countries! I started sleep training around 5 weeks. Some would argue that it’s too soon, but I say it’s never to soon to get on a schedule! Honestly, when you’re in that phase of parenting, I feel like anything that can comfort you and give you hope is worth a shot!

I started reading Preparation for Parenting by Gary Ezzo (author of On Becoming Baby Wise) when Turner was about 2 weeks old. It gave me comfort that SOME DAY my baby would sleep! I talked to two women who read this book and implemented the sleep routine at an early age too. Their advice was, “babies cry! It’s their way of expressing themselves” and my nurse’s advice was “If you’ve fed him, changed him, he’s not cold or hot, them put him down and let him cry for 15 minutes. He won’t hurt himself. You’ll go crazy if you don’t!”

Needless to say, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do! I would let him cry for MAYBE 5 minutes at first. I’d pick him up, he’d stop crying, I’d put him down and he’d start again. I basically did this during his whole “nap time” for a few weeks. I would let him go a few more minutes each week. Eventually, his crying went from lasting the whole nap (with me picking up and putting down) to lasting 15 minutes and then passing out, to lasting 5 minutes and passing out. He got to the point where I would put him down and he would just fall asleep without making a sound!

People can’t believe how “content” Turner is! The girls that watch him at my gym say how he’s content when he’s by himself and plays on his own. My in laws can’t believe it either! They are amazed at how calm he is. Now, he was not always that way! When he was first born, he was eating every hour to hour and a half. Stew and I were sleeping in 30 minute increments. I really didn’t think I’d survive. I had to use a pacifier to stretch out his feedings (also my nurse’s advice). It took a few weeks for the pacifier/sleep training to set in. But it is the BEST thing I’ve ever done. Turner started sleeping through the night (8:00pm to 7:00 am) around 10 weeks. I attribute it to the sleep training. He will wake up and fall right back to sleep on his own and he is such a happy baby!IMG_0070

Here is a sample of our daily schedule now at 5 months as a work at home/breastfeeding mom…

7:00 am Turner wakes up (in his own room and crib) talking to himself. I change him and then feed him in my bed.IMG_0913
7:30 He sits in his Boppy next to me in bed while I pump and drink coffee :o)
8:30-10:30 He naps while Mommy gets some work done. If he wakes up early, he likes to do tummy time and roll around in his play gymIMG_0587IMG_1103
10:30 Change Turner, breastfeed, give Turner his veggies (which I make with the Baby Bullet and completely recommend–this week is zucchini)!photo
11:00-12:00 Turner hangs out in the office with Mommy working and listening to music.
12:00-2:00 Turner naps while Mommy works
2:00-3:30 Change Turner, breastfeed, take a walk/play, get some work done.
3:30-5:00 Turner plays in his bouncy seat while Mommy works.
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5:00-6:00 Change Turner, breastfeed, second helping of veggies. Turner sits in his high-chair while Mommy makes dinner.
6:00-7:00 Daddy comes home and plays with Turner. Mommy and Daddy eat while Turner sits at the table in his high-chair.
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7:00-7:30 Bath time
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7:30-Mommy and Daddy read Turner a book, sing him some songs and give him his night time bottle (5 oz. pumped)
8:00 Mommy and Daddy watch TV and eat ice cream. Currently our favorite shows are Flashpoint and The Voice (even though there are new coaches). Mommy pumps before bed. IMG_1100

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Life Lately

Turner is 6 weeks old!! He is really starting to get a personality. Mommy and Daddy are starting to feel well rested and can enjoy him so much more too! IMG_0693

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IMG_0035He has reached the point where he is pretty much on a predictable schedule. I started giving him a bottle before bedtime at 5 weeks (because we would fall asleep while eating and not get a full feed) so he sleeps until 4 or 5 in the morning! Stew changes him and I feed him and then back to bed. He wakes up at 7:30 for the day. We play in bed until he goes down for his first nap around 9. We started the babywise schedule around 3 weeks. Of course he was eating every 2 hours for a while so we had to modify it. Basically our daily schedule now looks like this:

7:30-9am wake, change diaper, feed  (wake time includes things like reading, tummy time, going for a walk, sitting in his swing, bouncy seat, play gym, etc)

9-10:30 nap

10:30 wake, change, feed

12:00-1:30 pm nap

1:30 wake, change, feed

3:00-4:30 nap

4:30 wake, change, feed

6:00-7:30 nap

7:30 wake, feed, bath, change into PJs

9:00-10:30 nap

10:30 change, bottle, bed

5am change, feed

7:30 am wake, change, feed

Sometimes he’ll fuss when we put him down for his naps but falls asleep after a few minutes. If he’s really crying we pick him up for a few seconds and then put him back in his bed. If he wakes up early from a nap, we’ll just go with it and start over for the next cycle. We’re not too rigid but it usually just ends up working! It was definitely hard to hear him cry at first, but that’s what babies do! Schedules aren’t for everyone, but this is very helpful for me since I work from home! 

Life has definitely calmed down since the first few weeks. I feel like we’re all getting to know each other and getting into a routine. Each week seems easier! Turner likes to throw us a curve ball every now and then (aka growth spurt) but we’re able to handle it better now! We are so in love with this little munchkin!!

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