Saturday, December 27, 2014

What is a cortisol rush??

This is a common question I get on my Facebook Gentle Sleep Support Group "Sleep Sisters" https://www.facebook.com/groups/977753712250917/

Cortisol is the stress hormone your body produces when you get overtired. You have a level of cortisol in your body when you are awake all the time but when your body is running out of energy and needs sleep, you have a sleep window when it's the easiest time to fall asleep.

If you aren't asleep or settling into sleep by the end of your sleep window, your body will produce more cortisol to help you cope. It's a cortisol rush or a cortisol spike.

It actually kills brain cells so you want to avoid it as much as you can. To give your baby the most brain health potential, catch their sleep windows and help them keep to low stress. Be responsive.

For an adult, the late night second wind you get is a cortisol rush. Have you ever stayed up late, at a party or working and pushed through the tired feeling.  Then you get your second wind.  An hour or so later you may push through it again and get another second wind.  Then by the time you do go to bed, you feel wired and tired?  Then you sleep fitfully and wake early. Perhaps you feel sick in the morning.  That's how babies feel when they get overtired.

It takes about 45 min to burn off the initial cortisol rush and then it has a residual effect, affecting future sleep so it messes with night sleep even if it happens during the day.  The first step to improving sleep is to catch the sleep windows and maximize day sleep.


If you need sleep help, check out www.GetQuietNights.com
Tracy Spackman

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thankful for a Thanksgiving disaster.


On Thanksgiving, as a family, I get each of the children to make one piece of our big Thanksgiving dinner. This year, my husband did the turkey and the stuffing. My oldest daughter made the pies and the boys did the potatoes. They get to choose what they want to do and my younger daughter Chloe chose to make the bread rolls. 

To make the rolls nutritious, I wanted to her grind wheat so we have fresh whole wheat flour to use and we use mostly whole wheat flour with a little bit of white flour to lighten them up. I wasn't in charge of anything until the end when I was going to make some yams and so I was busy with other things and trying to supervise a little bit. Chloe didn't know how to turn on the wheat grinder and after I showed her I walked out of the pantry. (I keep my wheat grinder in the pantry because it is loud like a plane engine.) We were starting early in the morning so the bread would have time to rise and bake and be all ready for an early dinner. Fresh hot rolls, Yum. 

Well after I walked out of the pantry, she turned on the grinder and then she walked out and a few minutes later somebody walked into the pantry to get something. I heard shouting and exclamations of a white Christmas in Arizona!  I came into the kitchen to see what was going on and they were telling me it was snowing in the pantry. The entire room was billowing with swirling flour and settling all over the place.  Unfortunately, If you don't have the Grinder bowl set all the way back into the machine, the flour will billow out. Usually when this happens it's obvious and I turn the machine off and fix it and start over. When Chloe noticed the flour billowing out of the machine, she says she thought it was supposed to do that and so she just walked out. Everybody had a really good laugh about our white Christmas in the pantry. Until I insisted that they had to clean it up. It took all day to clean up the entire mess.


Everything in there had to be wiped down all of the dishes had to be washed, lots of vacuuming sweeping and wiping. Everybody pitched in and helped. It still took all day. The rolls still got made and the dinner was wonderful.
The best part, my pantry has never been so organized and clean. Ever.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What is a Cortisol Rush?


A Cortisol rush is the body's natural defense mechanism when it has run out of energy and needs to keep going.

Your body has a certain period of time that it can stay awake.  That's the wakeful window.  Then your body creates melatonin and is ready to fall asleep.  That's the sleep window.  If you aren't asleep or falling asleep by the time you get to the end of your sleep window, your body produces Cortisol (the stress hormone) to give you a burst of energy so you can keep going.  It's not healthy in high doses.  It has been said that Cortisol spikes kill brain cells so you want to avoid the cortisol rush as much as you can, especially as a baby.  Your body has cortisol in it all the time and you want to keep it at healthy levels. Not spiking.

When you see a burst of energy after tired signs, that's a cortisol rush and now it can be very hard to get to sleep, especially if you are lacking in self soothing skills.
It may be funny or it may be scary, temper-tantrum-ish.  (Is that a word?)

Think about that second wind you get as an adult when you stay up too late working or at a party or something like that, and when you finally do go to bed well past your typical bedtime, you feel tired and wired and have a hard time falling asleep.  Well, that is a cortisol rush.  That's how your baby may be feeling.  Then you sleep  fitfully, and wake early and you may feel sick in the morning for a few hours.  It's not pleasant.

So try to catch your child's sleep cues and their sleep windows and get sufficient day sleep and the right bedtime.  It can make all your sleep challenges a little easier.

When you are sleep coaching, avoiding the cortisol rush helps your baby's body to work with you rather than against you.

If you need help with your schedule, your naps, your nights, give me a call.

Tracy Spackman is a certified gentle sleep coach.
www.GetQuietNights.com
www.facebook.com/QuietNights
602-524-7610

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Is Cry It Out the only option? NO!

There seems to be a lot of pressure on moms to have a quiet, sleeping through the night baby at a very young age. But in fact this is just not normal. It's not about weight, or even weeks, it's about developmental readiness and temperament.

In and around the 4th month of age there is a lot of cognitive development. Some babies may be ready as early as 18 weeks and others need more time to grow and bond. Follow your heart and do what you feel is best for your baby. Bond, nurse, co-sleep, wear, whatever feels safe and right. It doesn't matter what culture, neighbors, sisters or mothers in law say about it.

The range of what a baby can do it very broad. Some babies are naturally good sleepers. Others have a difficult time shutting down their minds to sleep. Talk to your doctor and still listen to your intuition. When he says babies wake a lot at night, he's right. And some babies wake more than others. If you are sleep deprived and going crazy, try motion naps in the stroller, swing or carrier and part of the nights in a swing laid all the way back. Does co-sleeping work for you? Would room sharing help? Be responsive.

Many mom's get repeated advice to just do Cry It Out.  There are many articles and posts about the negative effects of Cry It Out.  If that's just not for you, rest assured,
you have other options.  The No Cry Sleep Solution is a long, slow drawn out, baby step plan that works for many families.  But for some families it's too long.  The Good Night Sleep Tight book by Kim West is great if you have an older baby.  For younger babies, it's too visually stimulating and not responsive enough.  There are methods of camping out where you sleep in your baby's room. Methods of touching and shushing.  Methods of Picking up and putting down.  So many methods.  What is right for you?

I have found that there IS perfect combo of methods that works quickly and easily but definitely takes more effort than Cry It Out.  Where is this book?  It's not written. It's a combo made specifically for you child's temperament and age.  You get that from a gentle sleep coach. That's the advantage of a sleep coach, she will tell you what to do, work with you to find the fastest and most gentle approach, tailored for your child's needs and his parents goals.

 If you are at your wits end and just need a plan, I can help. I may just help you have reasonable expectations or there maybe a few things you can do to help your baby sleep longer stretches until your baby is ready to do more. But if you are fine, keep doing what you are doing. If you don't have a problem with the waking, it's not a problem. I can't believe how fast they grow. Get past the 4 month vision changes and brain development and then see how you are doing. It's so fun when baby can see you from further away. The increased perceptiveness is exciting for your baby and very distracting. So much of the world to see. Get to at least 18 weeks and re-evaluate. If you can hold off until 6 months, even better but I understand if you can't get that far.

If you wonder if you have realistic expectations, I can talk to you about that for free. I speak on that subject regularly at the local moms groups, hospitals and baby stores and on Facebook groups. Let me give you some coping strategies.

Take a few minutes of my time for free. 602-524-7610. Call, text or message me to set up a free 5-15 minute call. I'm here to help. If you know you are ready to make major changes and just want someone to give you step by step instructions that fit with your family goals, book a consultation and we will get you all sleeping in no time.

Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach
602-524-7610
www.GetQuietNights.com
https://www.facebook.com/QuietNights

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ready to Transition out of the swaddle?

This is a common question:
Hi Tracy, you came and spoke at my breastfeeding support group last week and I had asked a question about when and how to transition from the swaddle. My daughter will be 14 weeks on Wednesday and loves sucking on her hands. I think she finds it soothing. She still has a little of the startle reflex but she is gaining control of her hands more and more every day. I had asked you at the group meeting how to transition out of the swaddle but I forgot what you said -- something about starting with the dominant or less dominant hand out first and for how long? If you could remind me, I would be so thankful!

It's a great question, I'm happy to help.
If you want to take it slow then start with the least dominant hand out first. Do that for up to three days and then take out the dominant arm keeping the body wrapped tightly from the chest down. Do that for about 3 days and then transition to a sleep sack.

 If you want to go faster just go cold turkey and switch to the sleep sack.  You will need to offer lots of extra support over three days while she gets used to it. You will have to do lots of extra pick ups at bedtime and lots of pick ups in the night. Between three and four months is a great time to do it.  She needs to practice controlling her body and develop muscle control in the bed time atmosphere of her crib or wherever you're putting her down to sleep.

Tracy Spackman is a certified gentle sleep coach with GetQuietNights.com .
Call me for a free 15 minute sleep assessment.
602-524-7610

Friday, September 12, 2014

DIY Wake up Lights--Instructions (Because Toddlers don't Tell Time)

A Wake-Up Light is a special light or device to help your child know when it's all right to get out of bed in the morning.

Toddler's don't tell time, but they do understand "lights on" or "lights off." “Lights on” means it’s time to be awake. “Lights off” means it's time to sleep. 

You want a wake-up light that is dark at night, not glowing or otherwise lit. It's better to sleep in the dark if you can. Many wake-up lights you purchase at the store have night lights on them that glow all night long, so I chose to make one myself.


You can make one yourself, too. You probably already have everything you need in your home! Just use any small lamp that you have. A pretty Mayan salt lamp or a cute Disney lamp… or an old ugly, stored-in-the-garage-and-meant-for-the-next-garage-sale lamp. It's fun even to use a small green bulb (found in the outdoor Christmas lights section of your hardware store, or in your storage… in the Christmas lights box) or a chandelier light bulb. If the base of the bulb is too small for your lamp, you can get an adapter piece (also found at the hardware store—most guys already know this) that screws into the lamp and changes the base size. 


Plug the lamp into the wall through an appliance timer (also found in your store of Christmas stuff, or at the hardware store, or in the hardware aisle of the grocery store for around $3). This is like the one you use for your outdoor Christmas lights. Set it to go on at the wake-up time like at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m.

As I said, you probably already have everything you need right there at home. What you don’t have, you can find for quite cheap at your local home hardware store. If you can use a green bulb, you can teach your child that green means go! Talk about the light at bedtime and again in the morning to reinforce what you expect:


"When the light is dark, it's time to sleep. When the light is on, it's time to wake up." The light shouldn't be bright enough to wake her up, but it will be a signal that sends a clear message for when she does wake up. If she wakes before the light comes on, and she can't get back to sleep, stay with her until it comes on to reinforce the meaning of the light. 



Tracy Spackman

Certified Gentle Sleep Coach
Helping children sleep better one family at a time.
602-524-7610
www.GetQuietNights.com

Is Cold Turkey Night Weaning the best option?

Is your baby waking at night because they are hungry? That's the first question.  The second question is, Does your baby need to eat at night?

If your baby is under 6 months old, the answer is PROBABLY! Like the baby in this picture, he needs to eat at night.

If your baby is under 9 months, you should discuss this with your doctor and  your lactation consultant.  Many babies are ready to go all night without eating by 7 months old but each baby is unique and eating is more important than sleeping.  Many mom's choose to do a night feeding past 12 months.  That is just fine.

If you have determined that your baby does not need to eat at night and he is eating out of habit, and you choose to make a change, then you can take gentle steps to wean your baby from night feeding.  

There are 3 common ways to go about night weaning.  One of them is to go cold turkey and just stop feeding them.  This is not my favorite way but it depends on the age of the baby. When you stop feeding at night cold turkey, your baby will still feel hungry.  And he will need extra attention and support as his body gets used to not getting those calories at that time.

Have you ever gone on a diet or changed your own eating patterns?  Let me tell you my potato chip story:  A few years ago, my husband and I would have all 5 of our children in bed by 7 pm. (Sounds heavenly, right? It is!) We would sit down to watch a show we had recorded on the DVR and relax together.  After the show, we would pull out a bag of potato chips (salt n vinegar is our favorite) and eat the whole bag together while we watched another show. (sometimes it was plain ripple chips with homemade sour cream onion dip.)  Well of course, after a few months of doing this stay home daily mini-date, we started to regret the potato chip fat factor.  So we decided to stop.  We heard somewhere that you shouldn't eat after 8pm or something like that.  We stopped cold turkey.  The craving for the potato chips at 9pm was unreal!!  I wanted to get in the car and drive to the store to get some, I craved them so bad.  Ugh.  It was awful.  Was that my body telling me that I needed potato chips?  Should I be listening to my body cravings?  No.  My body doesn't need potato chips. What was happening to us is called a blood sugar spike.  My body was used to getting those calories at that time regularly.  It takes about 3 days to undo a blood sugar spike like that.  And after 3 days of no potato chips at 9pm, I stopped craving them at 9pm.  I never crave them when I'm shopping in the store so I just stopped buying them unless we are having a party.

So if you go cold turkey in taking milk out of your child's night time responses, it takes about 3 days for their blood sugar spike to smooth out. Please be more responsive and attentive if you choose this method.  They are experiencing real feelings of hunger that are uncomfortable.  I know.  I have been there.  A hug, snuggle, your presence, your attention can help support them through the transition. Come when they call for you.

The other ways to wean night feedings are with dream feeds (my favorite method) or with gradual diluting.  Those are a whole other subject for blog posts or consultations.
Every baby's scenario is different and there are no cookie-cutter solutions.  Age, temperament, past sleep experience and bedtime crutches make a difference.  

As a gentle sleep coach, I look at the situation and create a plan unique to that family. Call me if you need help.  Free 15 min initial evaluation.


Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach
602-524-7610

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Free Magnet of Sleep Hours Chart- This Week Only!

Free Magnet of Sleep Hours Chart- This Week only! Do you want one? 

Knowing how much sleep in a 24 hour period to expect is a great place to start for sleep.

The mother of 9 week old twins called me asking for sleep advice. (I give parents a free initial 15 min consultation.) Her babies were 5 months once adjusted for the 4 weeks they were born early. I gave her free advice, some coping strategies, realistic expectations, dispelled some myths and offered to send her an hours of sleep expectations magnet. 

Does anyone else want a magnet for their fridge? 
Message me your address and I will mail you one. Tracy@GetQuietNights.com
Limited time offer. Here's a picture. 
After this free offer week, Paypal $2 to TracySpackman@cox.net for one while supplies last.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What's the perfect bedtime?

How do you know when to put your child to bed?

It depends on the age, the nap, and the wake up time and more.  I often speak about the "Anticipated Bedtime" and catching the sleep window.  I could talk your ear off about this topic.

In a nut shell, here is a general guide-line but defiantly not written in stone:
  • 4 months-6-7 but may still be unpredictable.  (4th month is crazy)
  • 5 months Around 6-7 pm or 12 hrs after wake up and 90 minutes after the last nap
  • 6 months-Around 6-7 pm or 12 hrs after wake up and 2 hrs after the last nap
  • 9 months-Around 7pm or 12-13 hrs after wake up and 3-4 hrs after last nap 
  • 12 months-Around 7pm or 12-14 hrs after wake up and 4 hrs after nap 
  • 18 months-Around 7pm or 12-14 hrs after wake up and 4 hrs after nap 
  • 2 years-Around 7pm or 12-14 hrs after wake up and 4-5 hrs after nap 
  • 2.5-4 years-Around 7pm or 12-14 hrs after wake up and it's much more unpredictable  of a time frame after the last nap.
Other things to watch for are the child's natural behaviors that let you know they are tired. Yawning and eye rubbing are late sleep cues.  Watching for late sleep cues works more for Easier temperamented children and less for Alert children.  

Other things to watch for are:
Zoning out
Staring off into space
Glassy Eyes
Disinterest
Fist clenching
Eye Squinting
Red tinge to skin around eye brows and eyes
Slowing down
Clumsy
Clingy
Lay on the floor for a moment
When picked up they-head on your shoulder
There may be other unique cues that you will notice before the Yawning and Eye Rubbing 

If you see a burst of energy after Yawning and Eye rubbing, you just missed the sleep window. So keep one eye on your baby and one eye on the clock.

Here is my simple idea.  Set the alarm or timer on your smart phone for 2-3.5 hours when he wakes up. (Depending on the age)  Don't worry about catching the sleep window until the timer buzzes in your pocket.  Then keep snoozing the timer until you see his sleep cues.  Once you see his sleep cues, put him to bed.  So instead of watching all the time for the sleep cues, just do it for the 10-20 minutes around the end of the expected wakefulness.  Notice how cute he is instead  of going crazy watching for sleep cues.  One eye on your baby, one eye on the clock...but after the right amount of fun.


For sleep plans and sleep advice, call me.  Free 15 minutes for sleep deprived parents.
Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach
602-524-7610
www.GetQuietNights.com
https://www.facebook.com/QuietNights


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Is your baby "Playing you"? And other crazy comments.

Parents get crazy advice.  Have you ever been told that “some babies just don’t sleep”?
That’s so crazy! Babies desperately need sleep, and may in fact need special help in order to learn  sleep skills. I helped a family of six kids who were not sleeping, and whose mother their doctor had that her kids just don’t sleep… as if this was a natural and normal phenomenon!  With my gentle sleep coaching, I had all six of her kids sleeping in about six weeks.

Have you ever been told that your baby is playing you? Followed by, “So let him cry it out.”

Here’s the reality.

Manipulation is far too complex an emotion or intention for a baby (that’s more of a teenager thing).

It’s just ‘cause and effect’. Your baby has figured out that when he does this, you do that. So gently change your response, and they will change their behaviour.  If your baby cries in a certain way and you come running, they learn to cry in that same way to get you to come running.  Which isn’t a bad thing at all, since they are learning that they can trust you, depend on you.  Your next step should be, starting at night with bedtime, to gently change how you respond (depending on the situation) to coax a different behaviour from your child.

It’s not rocket science. It’s behavioural science.  It’s always great to be there for your child, but you don’t have to give them everything they think they want. My kids want chocolate for breakfast. Yeah, I don’t think so.  But I am definitely going to be giving them breakfast, just not the one they think they want.  Except maybe on their birthday.

Tracy Spackman is a Trained and Certified Gentle Sleep Coach specializing in sleep for alert kids of ages 4 months to 8 years old.

Tracy Spackman
602-524-7610



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Is your toddler climbing out of the crib?

Is your toddler climbing out of the crib?  Is he losing sleep and up all nap-time or all night, forcing you to keep bringing him back to bed? Are you thinking of transitioning to a bed instead?

Hold that thought!

The important question is: Is he still younger than 2.5 years?  There is a level of cognitive development needed to comprehend more complex concepts like..."Stay In Bed!"  Most children under 2.5 aren't quite there yet, and so moving them to a toddler bed starts a whole new onslaught of problem with your child getting out of bed and coming to you in the night, or worse yet, wandering around the house in the middle of the night while you are sleeping.

First, try these tips borrowed from some very creative Moms trying to keep their toddlers from climbing out of their cribs.  This is assuming you have already put the mattress on the lowest setting.

1. Dress them in a PJ night shirt that goes all the way to their feet.  This can help prevent them from getting that all-important leg up.

2. Put them in a sleep sack.  That also can help prevent them from getting a leg up.  Some mom's have sewn the bottom to be a little more narrow for added effect.  And yes, they do make sleep sacks in toddler sizes!

3. Sew the legs together of their sleeper.  This makes it extremely hard to get that leg up.

4. Drop the bottom out of your crib altogether to make the rail higher. Fill in the bottom with boards.  Make it secure with screws.  Be sure it is solid and Safe. Don't be afraid to hire a professional carpenter for help with this tip.  I found a blog post about creating a dropped mattress crib modification here.


Or add a piece to the top if that's easier. Here is what another creative family did.

If you are determined to take him from the crib and use a bed instead, and if he continues to get up in the night, you can try a gentle sleep plan.  That still may not give you 100% success of keeping him in bed all night if he just isn't ready.  Putting a tall gate at the door and clearing the room of climbable furniture and distracting toys would be like turning the whole room into one big crib and there, they would be safe all night.

If you have forgone the crib all together and are sleeping on a floor mattress with your child, that works too.

Everyone needs sleep to be healthy and productive.

Tracy Spackman is a gentle sleep coach living in Phoenix, Arizona and she is helping families get better sleep all over the world.  To set up a consultation, go to www.GetQuietNights.com.

Tracy Spackman
www.GetQuietNights.com
602-524-7610
https://www.facebook.com/QuietNights

Saturday, June 28, 2014

To bathe or not to bathe at bedtime, that is the question.

Do you give your little one a bath before bedtime? Or read her a book? Serenade her with songs and kisses?
There was a small study done that showed that the children who got a bath thirty minutes before bedtime had an easier time going to bed. 


But why?

Was it the consistency of a regular routine? Did a bath relax them and thus encourage the production of the calming hormone, melatonin?

 What happens if the bath is very fun and exciting and ends up stimulating your child? If she is already tired and ready to sleep, would the bath just wake her up and give her a second wind? (Cortisol  rush—NOT what you want at bedtime!)
So, let’s approach bedtime in a totally different way (I say this a lot). Think of the “Bedtime Routine” as having two pieces. 

First, we have the wind-down activities. These are all the things you have to do to prepare your child for bed, such as supper, meals, baths (only if you like it and it is calming for your child), fresh diaper, maybe even a massage while she are undressed for the diaper, pyjamas and so on.  For the wind-down, it is best to do the activities always in the same order, but how long you spend on each activity can vary. This will give your activities consistency and a good flow. The routine will become familiar. If you like to do the bath every other night or less frequently, place it in the same slot in the order of activities.

Second, you have your routine of signals to sleep: three to five things that you do in the same order for the same amount of time in the same way. For example, you could do a story, a song, a prayer and a kiss.  When done consistently, these things will signal to your child that they are about to be put in bed.

So here’s the secret…

Between the wind-down and the signal routines, watch for sleep cues. If you see sleep cues while doing your wind-down, end it, skip the last steps if necessary, and do your signal routine.  Catching the sleep window helps everyone get to sleep more easily. If you can slide smoothly through the routines and catch the sleep window, you will be in a better place to get sleep success.

For more sleep secrets, call me for a gentle sleep consultation.  I create gentle sleep plans that don’t involve “crying it out”.

Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach
www.GetQuietNights.com
602-524-7610 
Call for a free 15 minute sleep assessment.
Specializing in alert, bright eyed, observant, curious, spirited babies and children.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

When should my baby be sleeping through the night?

There seems to be a lot of pressure on moms to have a quiet, sleeping through the night baby at a very young age. But in fact this is just not normal. It's not about weight, or even weeks, it's about developmental readiness and temperment.

In and around the 4th month of age there is a lot of cognitive development. Some babies may be ready as early as 18 weeks and others need more time to grow and bond. Follow your heart and do what you feel is best for your baby. Bond, nurse, co-sleep, wear, whatever feels safe and right. It doesn't matter what culture, neighbors, sisters or mothers in law say about it.  Cry it out just isn't healthy for attachment and brain development at this age and isn't the only option at older ages. 

The range of what a baby can do it very broad. Especially before 4 months old. Some babies are naturallly good sleepers. Others have a difficult time shutting down their minds to sleep. Talk to your doctor and still listen to your intuition. When he says babies wake a lot at night, he's right. And some babies wake more than others. It can even be inconsistent about sleeping a lot or not. If you are sleep deprived and going crazy, try motion naps in the stroller, swing or carrier and part of the nights in a swing laid all the way back. Does co-sleeping work for you? Would room sharing help? Be responsive. Try to make it to 6 months. 

 If you are at your wits end and just need a plan, I can help. I may just help you have reasonable expectations or there maybe a few things you can do to help your baby sleep longer stretches until your baby is ready to do more. But if you are fine, keep doing what you are doing. If you don't have a problem with the waking, it's not a problem. I can't believe how fast they grow. Get past the 4 month vision changes and brain development and then see how you are doing. It's so fun when baby can see you from further away. The increased perceptiveness is exciting for your baby and very distracting. So much of the world to see. Get to at least 18 weeks and re-evaluate. If you can hold off until 6 months, even better but I understand if you can't get that far.

If you wonder if you have realistic expectations, I can talk to you about that for free. I speak on that subject regularly at the local moms groups, hospitals and baby stores. Let me give you some coping stratagies.
Take a few minutes of my time for free. 602-524-7610. Call, text or message me to set up a free 5 minute call. I'm here to help. If you know you are ready to make major changes and just want someone to give you step by step instructions that fit with your family goals, book a consultation and we will get you sleeping in no time.

Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach
602-524-7610
www.GetQuietNights.com
https://www.facebook.com/QuietNights

Saturday, June 21, 2014

How do you improve naps in 4-5 month old babies?

How do you improve naps in 4-5 month old babies?  (If I don't hold him, he won't sleep.)

Getting enough day sleep any way possible  is the building block for night time sleep and sleep skills. Night time sleep skills is the building block for daytime sleep skills. Especially in alert babies. Maximize day sleep by using your sleep crutch blessings. Work on night skills if your baby is ready and then work in nap skills. 

Do people describe your baby as "bright eyed", curious, observant, social, aware? If so then his alert temperament likely means he has an active mind and has a hard time shutting if off to sleep. It also means he is probably very smart. I have 5 of these alert children. They are very fun as they grow up but sleep is a real challenge at first. 

Learning to self-regulate (manage stress like going to sleep without mom) is much more difficult for alert temperaments and he needs you to help him. If he is over 18 weeks, was born full term, is heathy and you have seen an increase in his perceptiveness for over 2 weeks, then you can gently do some sleep shaping to begin working on night skills but take it slow. Usually, once the nights get to using less crutches, the naps get easier.  

Gentle sleep Tip for immediate results: Catch the sleep window. Doing this for naps prevents the cortisol hormone from complicating things. Cortisol is the hormone the body produces when it is ready for sleep (run out of energy) but not going to sleep. It's a defense mechanism. It feels like the second wind you as an adult get when you stay up later than usual. In fact, that is exactly what it is. 

How do you do it?   Try napping him after 60-90 minutes of wakefulness when you see him staring into space, zoning out, glassy eyes, disinterest. That should happen before yawning and eye rubbing. Pay close attention, it's easy to miss.  If all you see is yawning, take note of the timing interval from the last wake up. Then try for a bit shorter interval next time. So if it's been 1.5 hours since the last wake up when you see him yawn, try watching his body language closely after an hour and 15 minutes next time to see if you notice the earlier sleep cues. Some babies pull their ears, bonk their head against mom or have some other unique but subtle signal.  When you see this, put your baby down to sleep. You may even get a longer crib nap if you have caught the sleep window. Try a swing nap. Motion sleep is better than no sleep.  If notch at still doesn't get you longer naps, keep doing it while you spend some time on removing night crutches.  For some babies, naps just don't get better into 6 months and nights improve. Just be sure to get lots of those 30 min naps. (More than 3.)

If you are happy snuggling or nursing your baby to sleep and/or holding for naps, and you are both bonding, eating enough and getting an adequate amount of sleep, don't let anyone tell you that you have a problem. For young babies, sleep crutches are not a problem. You are a terrific mom taking great care of your baby. 

If you want to talk to me about gentle sleep shaping plans or your baby is older and need a gentle sleep coaching plan and don't want to do cry it out, give me a call. I'm a certified gentle sleep coach. No cry it out. I'm different from other sleep trainers. I'm pro nursing, pro attachment theory, and you can night feed and co sleep or not depending on your family goals. I look at your unique scenario and your unique baby and I will come up with the right gentle plan for your family. And it may not be what you think. I prefer resonsive methods that support the baby's healthy growth and development. 

Contact me for a free 15 minute sleep assessment.

Tracy Spackman  602-524-7610
www.GetQuietNights.com



Thursday, June 19, 2014

Epsom Salts! Can it fix...Acting out, Biting, acting violent...? Or is it sleep deprivation?

Talking with a wise friend today, she shared a great parenting tip. Epsom salts. If you have a child that is acting out, biting, acting violent and you don't know where these behaviors could possibly be coming from, perhaps they are low in magnesium which increases anxiety and causes discomfort in their bodies. She was the 4th friend to tell me she had done this with her children and seen dramatic behavioral improvement.epsom salts, bath, sleep babies, children
Epson Salts is Magnesium Sulfate. The body uses Magnesium to keep bones strong and the heart rhythm steady. It also supports the immune system and helps maintain muscle and nerve function. Studies indicate that giving your child take a bath can be part of a comforting routine (with or without adding Epsom salt) which can help improve sleep. Further, it is believed that Epsom salts especially help with stress, circulation and softening the skin. As an added health benefit, the Epsom Salt Council reports that magnesium and sulfates, both important minerals for the body, may be absorbed through the skin. (See Source)
Try giving your child an Epsom salts baths every other day or even every day and see if it improves the behavior.  Soak for 10-15 minutes.  Just get the no-name brand from the drugstore. It's very cheap. 
Edible sources of Magnesium include All-Bran cereal, nuts, soymilk, edamame, spinach, oatmeal, black and other beans, whole wheat bread, yogurt, brown rice, bananas, milk, raisins, avocado, halibut.  
 This is not the first time I have heard this great tip. So I'm passing on to you.
 Another common reason for this type of behavior is sleep deprivation.  If you need to improve your child's sleep, please give me a call.  Sleep consultations done in person or over the phone.
Contact me for a consultation today.
Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach
602-524-7610
www.GetQuietNights.com
Tracy@GetQuietNights.com
https://www.facebook.com/QuietNights
http://getquietnights.com/2014/06/epsom-salts-can-it-fix-acting-out-biting-acting-violent/
Sources:  







Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My baby likes me better when...

My baby likes me better when...
1. I come to her as soon as she calls for me in the morning
2. I pay attention to her sleep cues and put her to sleep before she's overtired.
3.  I nurse and cuddle her before her nap since she doesn't have day time sleep skills yet.
4. I close the curtains for her nap.  She likes to sleep in the dark, just like me.
5. When she wakes up after 30 minutes, I snuggle her back to sleep and hold her for a while so she can finish her nap in my arms (she doesn't have daytime sleep skills yet and she needs 45 minutes to feel rested.)
6. I feed her when she wakes up from her nap. Her tummy is small and needs to eat frequently.
7. I talk to her and tell her what I'm going to do next.  I'm not sure if she understands but I think she does.
8. I watch the clock so I can be watching her body language for her next sleep window.  If I catch her tired signs, she seems happy to nap and less frustrated.
9. I sing to her. I want her to feel safe.
10. I put off sleep training him until she is ready.  No rush.  Her brain isn't ready until after 18 weeks and 6 months or later is even better.

I was thinking about 4-9 month old babys when I wrote this.


Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach
602-524-7610
www.GetQuietNights.com
https://www.facebook.com/QuietNights
http://getquietnights.com/2014/06/my-baby-likes-me-better-when/



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Are you keeping a log?

Have you ever heard the expression, "Return and Report".   It means to get the job done and then report the progress or completion to your superiors or others who need to know.  This helps us keep track of progress.  We do it for work, health and goals.  It's very important in sleep coaching.

After a few days of sleep coaching, you start to forget what happens in the previous days and it all blends together.  So keep a log.  Then you can see your progress in black and white.  When keeping your log digitally, it's going to get lost unless you label it properly. It's called digital filing and as I was explaining my preference to a Mom I am working with she said, "you are so right, people don't realize how important proper labeling of digital filing is."  I look at a lot of logs and have found a way to keep them all straight. From person to person and from day to day.  Here's the secret.  Label Everything.
Name, age, city (this helps me know what time zone you are in for follow up calls), Night, Step, Date with Day of the Week.
So for example:  Baby Spackman, 7mo, Phoenix, Night 1, Step 1, Tuesday, June 10 2014
Then as you progress, the Night and Step and Date Change and if it goes long, the age adjusts.  This is especially important if your baby is 18 weeks old when you start.  Every week matters.
Title every log this way.  The order of the info can change, just be consistent about it.  Condensed, this log title may be: Baby Spackman, 7mo Phx N1 S1 Tues 6/10/14
The log itself is especially helpful if you keep it like a list. Start with the time and then what happened. Add as many details as you like.
For Example:

4-4:30pm Last nap (30 min)
6:30 in crib (1 pick up, lots of quiet breaks, moderate fussing)
6:50 Asleep

9pm woke up (coached step 1)
9:15 back to sleep

12 Dream Feed (10 min)

3 woke up (2 pick ups, lots of gas)
4 back to sleep

4:30 woke up
4:45 back to sleep
5 woke up
5:20 back to sleep
6 woke up
6:10 back to sleep
7 woke up  DWU (Dramatic Wake Up)  & Nursed.

With your logs, lay look at them in multi-day lists side by side.  Compare the falling asleep times.  Compare how many wake ups and how long.  Compare any early rising.  Where do you see the progress.  Have you gone from 60 min to fall asleep to 10 min to fall asleep?  Have you gone from 6 wake ups to 1?  Have you gone from 5am wake up for the day to 6 am wake up for the day?  These would be signs of progress.

If you need help putting a sleep plan together and want to do a gentle method, give me a call.
Contact me for a Free 15 min sleep assessment.

Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach
602-524-7610
www.GetQuietNights.com
https://www.facebook.com/QuietNights
http://getquietnights.com/2014/06/are-you-keeping-a-log/


Thursday, June 5, 2014

9 month old success story

9 month old success story:
The baby was waking 4-8 times a night, re-actively co-sleeping in her parents bed, 45 min to get to sleep for naps.  Can you relate?  Here is what mom says,

"Hi Tracy! Just wanted to give you an update. Lina is now on day 8 of sleeping through the night. YAY!!! After we got back from our vacation I spent another two days on step 3, I was really nervous to "move out" but one night i just decided it was time. ... Did our bed time routine Said good night and walked out. And that was it. I haven't had to do another thing. No step 5 or 6. It's amazing how it just fell into place. She is now sleeping from 7-7. She does wake up around 5 usually but wines for a minute or two. Finds a soother and goes right back to sleep on her own. Naps also fell into place easily. I am able to put her down awake. She just lays herself down as soon as the lights are out and goes to sleep. Two naps 9-11:30ish and 2:00-3:30ish. I'm flexible with naps and just wait for sleepy cues. Thank you so much for all your help! I am so grateful. I will be back at work in two weeks so this couldn't have come together at a more perfect time. Lina will be starting with a day home on June 23rd so hopefully she will adjust and fall into a good routine.
 Thank you so much.  ...Changed my life!"
We started half way through May and even with disruptions, we got it all together before she goes back to work.  Mission accomplished.   Lina, Welcome to my Sleeping through the night club!


I am a sleep coach.  I help families all over the world with phone and skype consultations.
Tracy Spackman -Certifed Gentle Sleep Coach - 602-524-7610
www.GetQuietNights.com

Call me to get started.
Free 15 minute Sleep Assessment.
602-524-7610

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Confessions of a Mom who coached her baby to sleep through the night.

Confessions of a Mom who coached her baby to sleep through the night.

Kelly says:
“Confession: We got more sleep during sleep coaching. It’s true. Our sweet baby girl had become quite accustomed to her sleep crutches. We swaddled, pacified, rocked, swayed, jiggled, and shushed. She slept in the Rock n’ Play, and the Rock n’ Play alone. That it, if she let us put her down at all! After five months and several failed attempts to wean said crutches, we reached out to Tracy. We were tired, as was our baby. And we had a toddler to care for, as well. Our baby’s sleep needs were changing and we just didn't know how to help her in a gentle, supported way. Tracy was our answer. With her help, our little one did what we thought was impossible without hours and hours of crying and many sleepless nights. Now, she is placed in her crib, awake, crutch-free and is able fall asleep on her own with minimal support.
Update: It has been a few months since we had our consult with Tracy. Things are still going great! Our daughter is almost 8 months old and is sleeping 11-12 hours at night and is on a predictable nap routine. Now, like every child, she might need a bit more support with teething, milestones, illness, etc., but is able to get right back on track using the tools we learned during our initial consult.”
Every baby is unique and every coaching plan is individualistic and every coaching experience varies from super easy to very challenging. But I get comments like this all the time. What makes the difference?  Temperament, Consistency, Sleep experience, amount of day sleep, catching the bedtime sleep window and the unique qualities that make your baby unique.  However it goes, you can get there.
Read many pages of experiences of families coaching on my website here. http://getquietnights.com/testimonials/
If you need help, call me, text me, message me. 
Tracy Spackman 602-524-7610
Free 15 min sleep assessments.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

17 months old - food sensitivities & waking screaming 'bloody murder'

I love getting emails like this:
Hi Tracy!

How are you? Long time, no talk which in your line of business isn't a bad thing ;)  I never began my 2 weeks of follow up calls with you because Hailey responded very well to some of the changes we made during the day. Following your advice, I began giving her a morning nap again (no more than 45 mins), changed the night light situation, I bathe her with lilac Epsom salts every night, and I have waged a war against any form of light entering her room. I think one of the biggest changes is that she now goes to sleep no later than 7 pm (whereas previously it was 8 pm) and I've been diligently paying abiding by the sleep windows. As such, she's been sleeping through the night and the world is a much brighter happier place for our family :)  In fact, we've fallen in love all over again with her!  She is a TOTALLY different kid and has such an unbelievable little personality.  She's more coordinated, there's no more raunchy, screaming crying, she's nowhere as intense, she's active, and best of all she's HAPPY!  Some of the things that desperately concerned me are no longer concerns as it seems that the sleep has fixed so many of my worries.  The more sleep she started getting during the day and the earlier bedtime allowed for her to start sleeping through the night.  I didn't have to do any of the shushing.  There was one week where she woke up often but she was getting 3 molars so I gave her an excuse.  Aside from teething she sleeps through the night and it has been glorious.
Thanks,
Heather

This mom's baby was 17 months old, we did some gentle things to adjust her schedule and she had food sensitivities and would wake screaming bloody murder.  The mom had serious health issues with her thyroid and what looked like PPD but guess what, getting back to sleeping all night fixed all the mom's health issues.  A good sleep makes a world of difference.  Sleep deprivation was wreaking havoc with her family and now it's wonderful again.  Getting enough sleep is the right place to start.

If you are sleep deprived, I can help.
Free 15 minute sleep assessment.  Just contact me.
Tracy Spackman
602-524-7610
https://www.facebook.com/QuietNights