Monday, November 30, 2015

Is Night 1 of Sleep Training always awful? Nope. Check this out.

This was the Night 1 experience related in my Facebook Group "Sleep Sisters" by Christine with her 3 year old after developing a better sleep plan:

"Tracy thank you for your group consult last week!! We did night one tonight with my almost 3 year old and it was one hour beginning to end without one tear!! No attitude either, she actually seemed excited to go to bed in her toddler bed which I couldn't believe! We have done all the prep you mentioned and our family meeting was this morning to talk to her about it more in detail. Tonight she kept putting her new lovey to bed next to her tucking him in, asked for her potty to be put in her room, asked for her night light on (I've got to still get one that's not so bright) . She stayed in bed while I did those. . Then hugged lovey, whispered 'don't leave' to me, then went to sleep on her own while I stayed by the bed.. I'm in disbelief, when I tried this without your steps a few weeks ago she screamed for about an hour while I sat next to her and kicked her feet the whole time, it was awful and stressful to sit next to her like that telling her to go to sleep and having her tantrum over and over.. it's night and day implementing your steps! Thank you again, we will see how night 2 goes tomorrow and if she stays asleep tonight. ..thank you thank you thank you, my husband and I have new-found hope that her sleep issues can be resolved."

Now on to Night 2...

Night 2 has the potential to be worse than night one.  This is called an "Extinction Burst", which is a fancy psychological term for "She is going to test you."  It happens about 50% of the time.  Occasionally it happens sometime in the first 2 weeks.  Half the time it doesn't happen at all.

Good luck Christine!

Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach  Like me on Facebook       Follow my Blog
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Friday, November 27, 2015

2 year old bedtime battles

Question:  My 2 year old puts up a fight with me if I put her to bed. If my hubby does it she goes down without a fight. Same with naps. I'm with her more than he is and she prefers me over him most of the time. Hubby is about to take a third shift job so bedtime will be completely up to me. What do I need to do to make things go more smoothly?

Answer:  This may be a power issue. Two year olds start to realize that they are not the center of the universe and that you have relationships outside of them and want more power and control with independence. 

Try making a bedtime book. This give her more power. Make a list of all the things you do at bedtime. Take a photo of her doing it. Snack, teeth, pj, story, kisses, etc. Put them in order and slip them into a photo book and call it your bedtime book. When it's time for your bedtime routine, give her the book and ask her what comes first? She will feel like she is more in charge of her bedtime by following the book and telling you what comes next. 

Tip: This works best when you catch her sleep window and are putting her into her bed before she is yawning and rubbing her eyes. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sleep Coaching Wish List...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Is it too early to make a wish list for Christmas for Black Friday?
Here are some things that may help with sleep coaching:

A cute lamp for a DIY wake up light 


Moon Cocoon sleep sack by Nini & Pumpkin
Buy a moon cocoon

Conair White noise machine from Amazon (cheapest model)
Conair Sound Therapy Sound Machine

Black out blinds (This is just a sample, lots of options)
Bali Room Darkening 2'' Slat Vinyl Blinds - 31'' x 64''

Sanda Boyton's book "The going to bed book" 

A sleep consultation with Tracy Spackman 

Tracy Spackman 602-524-7610
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

Gentle Sleep Coaching - Teaching you how to get your kids to sleep.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What is gentle sleep training in Nut Shell?

I want to better understand how sleep training works. Is the core principle in sleep training sending a clear and consistent message regarding sleep to the baby? In other words, is sleep training about doing the same thing every time it’s sleep time in order to set a boundary so that my baby knows what I’m going to do and therefore knows how to behave?


The type of sleep training I teach parents to do is more about understanding the baby's needs, meeting those needs, and then making changes that still meet the needs but undoes the sleep crutches or sleep associations. We do it in such a way that is slow and with as low stress as possible, reading the baby's body language to still meet the needs and keep the infant mental health as the priority.  Once you have a plan that can do that, you need to be consistent with it, (within reason) to help the baby adjust to the new scenarios providing lots of responding.

In a nut shell, you want to help the baby go through the natural learning process that comes with learning sleep skills at an age appropriate level.  There are many variable that help make the process go smoother.  If your baby has an alert temperament, you want to do a method that has more responding in it and avoid Cry it Out (CIO) Methods.  CIO methods can cause an anxiety disorder in some alert babies so you want to be cautious if your method is going to cause too much stress.  It is possible to meet the baby's needs and your needs.  Most of the time, the goals the parents tell me they have are completely possible.  I will be up front with you if they are not.

You can co-sleep or undo co-sleeping and still develop improved sleep skills.  You can crib sleep, floor mattress sleep, nursery sleep or room share. There usually is a gentle sleep training option that fits your family style.

Share your goals with me and see if you would like to work together on a gentle sleep plan. I will coach you and you coach your baby.

Gentle sleep training is generally for ages 6 months to 6 years old. There are special plans for younger babies as early as 18 weeks but we take it really slow and very gently.  Gentle sleep training fosters secure attachment and help to develop independent and happy children.  

Tracy Spackman is the mother of 5 children and is Certified and Extensively Trained as a Gentle Sleep Coach.

Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

Call for a free 15 minute sleep evaluation.

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Help, She stands up and can't get back down, now how do I get her to bed?

A common problem that happens with helping 7-10 month old babies sleeping on their own is standing and not being able to get back down. They have reached the developmental milestone of being able to pull themselves to stand but they have not mastered the skill of plopping back down on their bottoms and then laying down again. If this is the stage they are in, you will need to help them to lay down. Don't lay them down. Think of it as helping them to help themselves. They must do some of the work and you do some of the work. You are just helping them, not doing it for them.

There is a great game that you can play that will help them with the skill. I'm sure you know it. Ring Around The Rosy. Kim West, the author of Good Night Sleep Tight, mentions it in her book in her 9 to 12 months section. I thought this was a great idea.  

Here's how I do it:
In the living room by your sofa, have your baby pull themselves to stand at the sofa and you sit on your hunches or squat down so that your feet on the floor but you're as close to the babies level as possible. Sing the song "Ring around the Rosie" and when you say "we all fall down" then you fall down on your bum and laugh in a silly way that makes your baby laugh. Encourage your baby to plop down on their bum. Maybe you need to push in the back of their knees, gently pull them down or do it again. When your baby plops down on their bum successfully, then laugh in your silly way again. Your baby will want to plop down on their bum again in order to get you to laugh like that again so play the game over and over and over. This develops the muscle memory of standing up and sitting down without too much thought. The next step is to play this game in the crib. Play this game during playtime, not right before sleep time. Place your baby in the crib and you stand outside the crib and sing the song and plop down on your bum and laugh. When your baby plops themselves down on their bum, then laugh again.  Don't forget that YOU are your baby's favorite toy. 

When your baby has mastered the skill, then you can have the confidence that they can get themselves down when they pull themselves to stand after you put them in bed and in the middle of the night. Encourage them to lay down but don't lay them down yourself. Allow them to practice using their own skill. It will be a hump to get over to get them to do it at night time. You can do it. 

If you need help with the sleep plan, give me a call. 

Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"You know you are sleep deprived when..." (so funny)

(Real answers from Real moms who did this and confessed)
  • You know you are sleep deprived when you are changing LO's diaper and put the dirty one back on and throw the clean one away...
  • You know you are sleep deprived when you put a kurig pod in the bottle warmer.
  • You know you are sleep deprived when LO finally falls asleep on your bed in just a way that leaves you no room to sleep...
  • You know you are sleep deprived when you go through McDonald's drive through, pay for the food, then drive off without the food.
  • Was in the drive thru line up at Starbucks and I forgot to order!
  • You put baby formula in the blender instead of your shake mix. Thankfully, you catch it before the process of blending begins....
  • You get up to pee but walk into the nursery to nurse/rock your baby back to sleep.... But she's sleeping. You realize what you've done and slowly tip toe out praying you didn't just wake her up and as soon as you shut her door she starts crying so you cry.
  • You put salt in your coffee instead of sugar. Yuck!
  • You put the OJ in the cupboard.
  • Gladware of cooked veggies in with the plates.
  • iPhone in the fridge.
  • You know you are sleep deprived when you forget to put the filter in the nose Freida before sucking out the boogies!
  • You stick the ice cube tray in the refrigerator instead of the freezer.
  • You start the Keurig without a coffee cup, spilling coffee all over the counter.
  • You can't seem to get your nursing camisole clipped so you rip it off "hulk" style.
  • You are freaking out because you look around the room and have no idea where baby is. Then realize she's nursing on your boob!
  • You get soaked with pee while nursing and change the baby but forget to change yourself and go back to bed.
  • You try to make a bottle and you put the bottle together then dump the formula all over the top and make a huge mess....don't notice it and feed baby warm water and can't figure out in the morning why there is a pile of formula on counter!
  • I forgot to put a diaper on the baby after changing her and put her to bed with no diaper on.
  • When you go outside with your toddler and are talking with the neighbors when you suddenly panic and frantically say you have to go cuz you forgot the baby in the house....everyone stares at you for a minute then you realize why...the baby is strapped to your chest in the carrier. Then bust out in tears.
  • When you put in a load of laundry, wash it, dry it, and take it out told fold it and it stinks. Then you realize you forgot the detergent and have to rewash and dry it.
  • You are sleep deprived when you dump your freshly pumped milk in the sink instead of the bag you just prepared. Then you cry because you spent the last 30 minutes for nothing.
  • I once forgot to put bottles on the end of my pump and pumped into my lap for 20 min! That was sad too.
  • You are sleep deprived when you put hair gel on your toothbrush instead of toothpaste and don't realize it till you've been brushing.
  • When you try to make coffee but put the milk in the pantry and the coffee in the fridge.... The your other kids are freaking out cause there's no milk for cereal. And then.... You realize you never even drank your coffee.
  • Ha ha when you are sporting massive bruises everywhere on your body because you’re too tired and clumsy. Have a huge knot on my hip because I ran into a drawer pull out knob...
  • You pump without attaching bottles!
  • You bend over after pumping and spill all the milk you just pumped all over the floor.
  • You don't even remember how you got to work but you're there lol.
  • You shower with your socks on.... I'll never live that down lol.

You can cry or you can laugh…I choose to laugh.  We are pretty darn funny!

~Tracy Spackman and Her Sleep Sisters

Tracy Spackman is a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach.  She does personal sleep consultations and runs the Sleep Sisters Facebook group where all these answers are from. 

Tracy Spackman 602-524-7610

Monday, September 21, 2015

Babies who only sleep when held are amazing!

QUESTION:  My daughter is 8 weeks and I have a really hard time putting her down for naps, the only way she'll get a nap is if I'm holding her or wearing her. I LOVE holding and wearing her, but lately it's been harder to put her down for bed, both initially and after middle of the night feedings also. I've heard so many conflicting things about this, some say to "start as you mean to go on," but I also know that this is such an important developmental stage for her, trust vs mistrust, and being close to me is how she feels loved and secure. Am I creating a problem for myself later on, if I continue to only let her nap on me?
Babies this young who will only sleep on you are letting you in on a big secret. They are very stimulated by their surroundings and have a hard time dealing with it. You are their buffer. It's called co-regulation. Your closeness is helping them regulate the stress of the overstimulation. It's a temperament trait the child is born with. It's not bad. Just different. So knowing this secret, does cry it out even seem like a good idea? The cool thing about it, is that babies who have higher needs like this actually have a greater potential than average needs babies. The increased perceptiveness combined with the practice problem solving you get from the co-regulation equals a very astute young man/woman. It's awesome. The sad side is that babies like this who don't get the extra attention needed have very very low potential.  The brain development at this age is establishing the framework for ALL FUTURE LEARNING. So you want to meet the attachment needs and worry about habits and problems later. It's not a problem, it's a need. I'm glad you like the closeness. Keep doing everything she asks for and after 4 months or after 6 months, we can work slowly on more independent behavior. The closeness now will actually increase the potential for independence later.

Tracy Spackman
Trained & Certified Gentle Sleep Coach 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Naps at daycare, never at home! why?

:  I am in the most desperate need of nap time advice. My almost 9 month old is a terrible napper (at home). He naps Monday-Friday at daycare perfectly. Two 1.5 hour naps at the exact same time everyday. And then on Saturday and Sunday he refuses to stay asleep longer than 20-30 minutes. I try to follow the exact same schedule as daycare but he it just doesn't work ( and that's if we don't have to cry it out for 20 minutes to even get that amount of sleep). It makes him cranky all weekend, in turn making our weekends so sad. Then his night time sleep is awful as well. I try to do the same things every time he goes to nap, establishing a nap time routine but I don't even know how to implement a nap time routine when it would only apply 2 days a week. This has been going on since about 4 months when we transitioned to crib from rock n play. He used to nap for hours in his rock n play. And he sleeps great (for the most part) in his crib at night. What's going on?
Answer:  It's amazing that babies can compartmentalize their different caregivers. Sleeping great at daycare and terribly at home. Part of it is likely that he misses you and doesn't want to waste time napping when he could be with you. Part of it is likely that the lack of nighttime sleep success is effecting your nap success. Keep offering the naps and work on night skills. If you have solid night skills, you could do weekend nap coaching. 4 months is typically when major sleep changes occur and sleep skills need to be learned. Solid night sleep is the building block for solid nap skills so I would look very carefully at the nights first. 

Let me know if you need my help to dig into this issue. 

Tracy Spackman 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

4-6 months and night wakings increasing?

What is going on with the waking?  Is the 4 month sleep regression a trick to humble us mothers?Here's some science. (Knowledge gives patience, a sleep plan gives power.)

At 4 months, the brain goes through a major milestone where the vision changes, the baby can see farther away and therefore notices so much more. Their world has just opened up! Also, sleep is now a learned skill. Before this brain change, sleep ability was more innate. He could do long stretches at night or he woke frequently. Now the relaxation process that brings on sleep needs to be learned and for alert babies, it's tough. Alert babies notice more, are more observant, may be more social or more intently watching and often know what they want and hold out until they get it. It's not bad, he's just smart.  Lots going on in that little brain. So it's normal for night wakings to increase. Sleep cycle transitions cause partial and full arousals that need help (nursing or replugging a paci or holding or rocking) or sleep skills to get through. 

At 6 months there is a major growth spurt that often needs more night feelings. He is genuinely hungry. 

So all this is normal and with all your responding, you are a great mother! You can wait to see if it fixes on its own (probably not if he's alert but maybe) or you can take gentle steps to help your child learn sleep skills now or soon. The self soothing learning process is a 5 year process and night time separation is just part of it. At 6 months, taking it slow and gentle is better for infant mental health than "Cry it out". Many moms don't feel comfortable with Crying it out I don't like "Cry it out" either.  It all starts with bedtime and many daytime variables. Environment, nap timing, bedtime timing, bedtime routines and bedtime sleep crutches. So there may be lots of little things you can do that will make a difference or some big changes at bedtime and how you respond to night waking could help. You don't have to take out all your night feedings to have better sleep but responding to waking with feeding is a piece that can be adjusted with Dream Feeds along with a gentle response method could make it more manageable for you. There is a lot that goes into this. 

I just gave a class to 5 families yesterday and it took 2 hours to go over all the sleep pieces to cover everyone's situations. (Babies ranging from 5-18 months)  The solution to frequent night waking may not be a short Facebook answer or a few paragrsphs in a blog post. 

Waiting it out and responding consistently to see if it settles back into good sleep is totally fine if you are coping well with the wake ups. He is still young and nothing is urgent unless you are getting sleep deprived. Or you can develope a gentle plan to make changes and help him learn sleep skills. Write down your plan so you can be consistant. You can't teach sleep skills. You CAN put him in a situation where his body will go through the natural learning process of learning some self regulation while you offer support and co-regulation to help. Stay at his bed side. Pick ups. The right bedtime, enough day sleep. Secure attachment. They are all pieces to this sleep puzzle. 

Call me if you need help making a plan. 

Tracy Spackman is a certified gentle sleep coach. 602-524-7610

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What's your sleep plan?

Someone today said to me..."Everyone is talking about your plan. What is this plan!!!!!!"
The plan is a list of action items to get your baby ready for sleep coaching and then a step by step gentle method to undo sleep crutches and meet your goals. I try to break the method up into 6 steps but everyone's list and plan is different depending on their situation. The plan is personalized. It's not the typical stuff you find in books and on baby sites. It's more gentle and focuses on Infant mental health while making small changes. Often it involves sleeping in your baby's room or room sharing to start and doing a lot of support but then doing less and less in well defined steps.  Do you want me to make a plan for you? I have you fill out a sleep history, watch some videos, we talk for at least an hour to go over your plan details, then we talk as you implement the plan to ensure your success. Consultation package details are on my website. A plan is not a few sentences I can put on Facebook. It's a parenting change to meet your sleep goals. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Why is my baby Crying? -Cheat Sheet

Some mom's feel guilty for not knowing why thier baby is crying. If you can not figure out why she's crying just by the tone of her cry, no matter how hard you try, that does NOT mean that you aren't a good mom.  That happens all the time.   No need to feel guilty about that.  Throw that guilt out the window.  Many babies don't have the range of crying for all the different things it could be, and mom's may not have the sensitive hearing it takes to distinguish the cries or the life experience to tell the difference.  It's not your fault.  Your effort is enough.  

I remember, as a new mom, going though a list in my head of what could be bothering my baby.  I'd smell her diaper, I'd pick her up and offer a nursing, I'd give her a different toy.  I'd forget all about how long it had been since she'd slept.  Finally, I made a list for myself to check when she cried.  I was so tired, my brain just didn't work as fast as it used to.  So now I've made a list for you.

I had a 6-9 month old baby on my mind when I added the notes.

Here is a cheat sheet for Fussy Signs you can't Identify.  Print it out and stick it to your refrigerator. 

A Sleep Deprived Parent's Cheat Sheet for Guessing 
Why She's Crying

Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

Tired one Minute, Ready to Play the Next! What's with that?

 Is your baby tired one minute, ready to play the next! 
What's up with that?    
Congratulations, You have just missed the sleep window.  This blue eyed baby had these two pictures taken just a minute a part.  She is 6 months old and she is very alert.  It is hard to catch her sleep window because her overtired state (Cortisol Rush) comes right on the heels of Yawning and Eye rubbing, or in other words, the obvious tired signs. It's just not fair!  One minute you see that she's tired, then she is ready to play again. 

Here's what you can do.  
First, try to catch the early tired signs.  
Do you know what those are?

I ran a pole in my "Sleep Sisters-Get Quiet Nights"  Facebook group of Early Tired Signs that the mom's had observed in their babies. 

They Mentioned:
Zoning out
Staring off into space
Glassy eyes
Blinking more slowly
Clumsy (Toddlers)
Scrunching up their face
Clenching their fists
Grunting or Grizzing
Laying their head on the floor
Crawling over for a hug
Putting their head on mom's shoulder
Pulling Ears or Hair
Red Around the eyes or eyebrows (this can be an early or a late sign)
Hands get warm (this was the first time I had heard of this unique sleep cue) 

Early Tired signs can be VERY hard to catch. They are more subtle and may only last for a moment. If you see an early tired sign, put your baby to bed even if it only lasts a minute and your baby seems happy to keep playing and stay up.  Your baby has entered the sleep window and you just saw the opening act.  The closing act (yawing and eye rubbing) you want to happen after her head is on the mattress if you have an Alert baby like this one.  

If you can not see the early tired signs, no matter how hard you try, that does NOT mean that you aren't a good mom.  That happens all the time.  Especially if you have an alert, smart, spirited baby.  That would be like feeling guilty for not knowing what every cry means.  Tired, Hungry, Overstimulated, Poopy, Bored, etc.  (Oh wait, you do feel guilty about that?)  No need to feel guilty about that.  Throw that guilt out the window.  Many babies don't have the range of crying for all the different things, and mom's may not have the sensitive hearing it takes to distinguish the cries or the life experience to tell the difference.  Not your fault.  Your effort is enough.  Here is a cheat sheet for Fussy Signs you can't Identify.  Print it out and stick it to your refrigerator. 

A Sleep Deprived Parent's Cheat Sheet for Guessing 
Why She's Crying

So here is a trick to help you figure out the sleep window when early sleep cues are not obvious. 

Make a timeline of your sleep. 
  • Wake up time. 
  • Early tired signs (See the above list)
  • Late tired signs. (Yawning, eye rubbing) 
  • Cortisol rush (Burst of Energy)
Now figure out how long your wakeful window is. And How long your sleep window is. If you can't figure out how long your wakeful window is, look at the time difference between wake up and cortisol rush. Now subtract 15 minutes from that time. That's how long your wakeful window is. That's when you should have been seeing early tired signs. It can be hard to see those early tired signs. Especially with alert children.

For babies 6-9 months the wakeful windows are often 2 hours long so naps are 2 hours apart. We call this a 2-2-2-2 schedule. The 2 represents a wakeful window. 

For babies 9-18 months the wakeful windows are more like 2-3-4. Wake up, then two hours of wakefulness. Have a nap then three hours of wakefulness. Then have an afternoon nap and then 4 hours of awake time, then it's bedtime. 
I call this a 2-3-4 schedule. 

For toddlers 17 months to 2 years old, the first nap gets dropped and it's more of a 6-4 schedule. Wake up, awake for 6 hours, then nap. Then up to 4 hours and then it's bedtime. 

For toddlers over 2 years old, the wakeful windows are much less predictable so watch for the early tired signs. 

Remember, It's your effort and responsiveness that makes you a good parent.  Not the number of perfect days you have. 

Tracy Spackman is Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

Friday, April 17, 2015

What's with the 4 month sleep Regression?!

 Many babies increase their waking at night around the 4 the month.  They seem more distracted and sleep goes out the window.
There is tons of brain development going on in their little head. 
The vision changes. Your baby can now see farther away and with all the added detail to her world,  she is more perceptive and therefore more distracted.  
Sleep falls apart and naps are hard to get and often feeding is harder as she is more easily distracted.  
This is when the baby is ready to lean sleep skills. Previous to this, sleep is innate. Either she can do it or she can’t. Sleep self soothing is a learned skill. This skill enables her to relax and organize  her body to sleep when she is tired and it also helps her to better manage her emotions when in stressful situations. This doesn't mean you have to jump into sleep coaching, many parents wait until after 6 months, hoping it will get better all on it's own.  Sometimes it does.  It's all about temperament.
Many parents tell me their child’s temper tantrums stop and their child is more even tempered once they are able to sleep without a sleep crutch. So, your child is reaching this time. It’s very exciting and frustrating at the same time. If you want to do sleep training, it’s still a good idea to wait until 6 months if you are going to follow a book. If you need better sleep now, that’s where I can help. To do something gentle like I do, your baby still needs to be at least 18 weeks old and at least 2 weeks into the more distracted phase of the 4 month sleep regression and you would want to maintain appropriate night feedings as part of your plan. 
Until you have a plan in place that you feel confident in and can be consistent about, keep doing what ever crutch gets you both as much sleep as possible. Swings, nursing, co-sleeping, rocking etc. these are blessings until you are ready for change. Please check out my website and read the success stories of parents going through what you are going through.  I have recommended books and a blog on there too. 
I wish someone has explained it to me when my babies were that age.

For sleep consultations, visit
Tracy Spackman is a certified gentle sleep coach. That means she will teach you how to help your child sleep through the night without doing Cry It Out.
Free 15 min sleep assessments. Call 602-524-7610

Monday, April 13, 2015

What age can you send kids to put themselves to sleep?

It's always a good idea to take your kids to bed instead of sending your kids to bed. 

I was able to make the switch by the time my older children were at the age 10 or 11 years old. Before that, bringing them to bed was the beginning part of some sweet family rituals that prepare them for life success.

For my 2 youngest boys, I helped them brush their teeth and then we moved on to me reminding them to brush their teeth.  I started reading them stories and now, after tucking them in, they read for a short while until it's lights out time.  If I try sending them to bed, they just play, fool around and make a mess. 

I remember an episode of Super Nanny I happen to see and she told that mom she was not helping the situation. The program showed a video of the mom yelling at the kids to go to bed while she watched TV. Over and over again. Of course the kids didn't listen. Super Nanny suggested she "take" them to bed instead. It's a great suggestion for all of us.

Check ups will still be needed after you pass this milestone but it really is fantastic to send them to bed when they are old enough to do it all themselves but it comes after many years of doing it together.

Tracy Spackman is a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach in Phoenix Arizona.  Join her Gentle Sleep Support Facebook Group Called "Sleep Sister-Get Quiet Nights"

Tracy Spackman

Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sleep Sack or Blanket?

"What's the purpose of a sleep sack? How long would you use it?"

The sleep sack is a blanket that your baby can wear. Like a Snuggie but for babies. If you don't have the skills to pull your blanket up when you move in your sleep, then the sleep sack is a blanket that stays put.  

Moving and restlessness and leg slamming and rolling are all part of the settling and self soothing process for babies. When I'm falling asleep I toss at least 3 times, scratch my nose at least twice (my hair tickles my face), I adjust and re-adjust my hair to get it out of my face and off my neck and wiggle around a lot. Self soothing is an active process and when you are done, you want your blanket in place.

"But what if it's too hot for a blanket. Can't you just crank up the temperature so you don't need one?"

The body temp naturally drops when you fall asleep so if you don't have a covering, when you wake between sleep cycles, you will be more aware and it's harder to get back to sleep. It's easier to sleep in a cool room with a warm blanket/sleep sack then it is to sleep in a warm/hot room with a light blanket. The sleep sack is better than a blanket because you can't kick it off. Have you ever fallen asleep on top of your covers in the middle of the afternoon, fully clothed, totally comfortable and as you are drifting off to sleep, grab the comforter from the other side and fling it over yourself. (Climbing in would be too much effort in your near sleep state) Your body temperature has dropped you got cold. In the heat of an Arizona summer, don't you wish it was cooler and you could climb under a blanket instead of sweating on top of one? A cool room with a blanket is just more comfortable.

When your child is able to pull up and adjust his blanket on his own, that's a good time to switch to a blanket. 2-3 years old is typical. If you have transitions to a toddler bed and your child still doesn't have that skill, a toddler sleeping bag is a good idea. Not a nylon camping kind but one made of quilting fabric that stays in place when you roll over. If you are crafty, you could just fold over a heavy, washable, quilt and put in a zipper.

To help your child learn the skill of pulling up his blanket, I suggest you read my blog about that.

There are different types of sleep sacks.  Swaddle, covering hands, hands out, feet out etc.  You have to find one that works for you.  I have heard great things about the Zipadeezip and the Pekemoe and the Halo and my personal favorite is the Moon Cocoon

We just want our children to be comfortable and sleep well.
A sleep sack may be just to tool to help improve your baby's sleep.  If you think you need more than that, Call a gentle sleep coach to give you gentle sleep guidance and solutions to keep your baby's infant mental health the priority.

Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach
602-524-7610   Book a Consultation
Twitter @GetQuietNights                  

Tracy Spackman is a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach helping families all over the world.  Join her gentle sleep support Facebook group called Sleep Sisters - Get Quiet Nights.