Monday, September 19, 2016

3 year old stops sleeping well, what is going on?

At three years old, children are starting to understand even more complex concepts like:
  • relationships, 
  • relationships ending, 
  • adding relationships, 
  • death, 
  • and separation. 
So separation anxiety peaks again around three years old. Sometimes you have to reestablish your secure base. Talk about the permanence of your relationship. Talk about how you will always be his mom, even when you're sleeping, or at the store, or out in the evening with dad. 

If there has been a death in the family, talk about how grandma is still grandma even up in heaven. Maybe she is watching you, and you can think about her and she thinks about you.

 If your child gets upset when dad goes to work, talk about how dad is still your dad even when he is at work. Talk about how we think about dad and can talk about dad and can call dad on the telephone just like he can think about you and call you on the telephone. Because he is still your dad even when you can't see him. 

For bedtime, sometimes extra attention is needed and a longer wind down period is necessary. Start earlier to get a bedtime snack and spend more time in the tub and more time potty practicing and teeth brushing independence and spend more time talking about your day.

Continue to follow the tired signs to make sure you are catching the sleep window. This is just as important now as it is for a young baby.

For bedtime, maybe you need to stay for a while.

For early wake ups, go into the room right away and stay with them until the wake up light comes on. 

You can go through the steps of your gentle sleep plan again just for the early rising if that is the only problem. Lots of attention for the first three days and then do less and less and less over the course of two weeks. This will help establish a re-connection and increase security.

A child who feels secure sleeps much better.

For help with your gentle sleep plan, contact me.
Tracy Spackman

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Light or no Light? Guidelines or Rules?

My suggestions for sleep are all guidelines and not rules. The kids I work with are on the very alert side the things I know are very helpful.

In the case of night light vs no night light;  Night lights are best to use on toddlers that are expressing a fear of the dark. For children under two years old, it's best to have it as dark as you can possibly get it. The darkness helps the body to regulate its natural circadian rhythm's. The light tricks the body into thinking that it's dawn and in the early morning hours are when there is more REM sleep. In the REM sleep are shorter sleep cycles and therefore more frequent waking when you don't have great sleep skills. Nevertheless, I have heard of the night light helping in a few cases so it's not to be completely discounted.  Every child is different and once you try the things that make sense to you and you feel good about first, then thinking outside the norm is a great idea.
Here are some examples of guidelines, not rules; 
I would try no light before I would try light.   I would try earlier bedtime before I would try later. I would try a 2222 schedule before I would try 234 on a child under 9 months. I would try 2 naps until 15-18 months before I would try 1 nap at 12 months. 

This is because the science supports those things and I have seen them work the most often.  But, every one is unique and we have the pleasure of figuring out our baby's each individual sleep puzzle. It does seem like a puzzle. Right? Lol.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

2 Months and Bad Habits already?

Dear Tracy Spackman,
I have every intention of hiring you as soon as my 2 month old is old enough to benefit from sleep training bc my world crumbles when I don't get good sleep BUT I want to make sure I am on the right track now so I don't have to undo any bad habits or play catch up when it's time to sleep train! He is in a rock n play by our bed and wakes up once a night to eat. He does well with this for now but of course the goal is sleeping thru the night in his crib...we try to nap in the crib during the day swaddled but the longest he's gone in there for me is 30 mins. Am I doing or not doing anything that will mess me up come sleep training time?? I want to be your best/easiest client when the time comes ;)
Thanks so much!!

Dear 2 month old Mom, 
You should do what helps you respond quickly and get the best sleep yourself. Keeping the baby in your room usually  helps you respond faster which usually gets you both back to sleep faster. 

Napping in the crib is great unless holding or rocking naps gets you bigger naps. If 30 min is all you get regardless of where he naps, then the crib is fine. Try 60-90 minutes of wake time between naps and 45+ minute naps are great but if that just doesn't happen, done worry about it. You just need more naps. 

Everything changes in the 4th months so even if he was a good sleeper before that time, it actually has absolutely no bearing on whether he will be a good sleeper after 4 months. So don't worry about bad habits. It's fine to try putting your baby to bed drowsy but awake, and in the crib, but if those things are a battle, he is telling you he needs more help. More co-regulation to help him cope with out big world. 

I'm looking forward to working with you.
Tracy Spackman 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Confessions of a sleep coach

Confession:  I needed a coach myself. I struggle with diet and exercise and people are ALWAYS asking me when my baby is due. (I'm not pregnant) but I guess my legs are fab looking so I must be pregnant if I look like this. (Baby bulge but it's leftovers, after 5 babies, lol) I can laugh about it but I'm ready for change. So I am using a coach.  Having a coach to tell me what to do, encourage me, help me to KNOW my efforts will be WORTH IT.   That's what holds us back, thinking all the effort won't work.   With sleep deprivation, you think you should be able to figure this out on your own. How hard should sleep be??  That's what I thought about diet and exercise. Surely I have learned enough in my life to fix this on my own. But I just didn't have the confidence that my efforts would give me the results I needed.  (And I hate exercise so I need to know it will work) A coach who studies diet and exercise who will approach this scientifically is what I needed. And I have begun. I'm committed to my new eating habits and daily exercise. 
As a sleep coach, who has studied sleep science and gentle baby sleep methods and infant mental health, I know I can help and coach moms through the necessary changes that are NOT necessarily obvious.  Why did I wait so long to get my own coach for my own issues? What does anyone?  So no guilt, just forward progress.  We can all do great things! We just may need some help. 

Tracy Spackman Certified Gentle Sleep Coach 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Mother's Day Sleep Package anyone?

Here's the Mother's day sleep package conversation on my FB group this morning.

My husband is buying me a package with Tracy for Mother's Day! I can't say for sure, but I'll bet this is going to be the best Mother's Day gift ever. To the mother's who have used her methods before, did you have success? I'm so hoping I can teach my little man to sleep alone without letting him CIO. (cry it out)

Top of Form
Tiffany Phelan: I think your husband made a great choice! We did it at 6 months and it essentially saved my sanity smile emoticon not to say there haven't been a few setbacks here and there but it was awesome. Plus I like that it gives you some assurance that you are doing the right thing even if it seems like they are fighting it at u get to be there with them

Elizabeth Tunna Rosgen: Yes we had amazing success! Still have a great sleeper over a year later! What a great gift smile emoticon

KB Now much does it run?? I'm curious about it!

Rachel Balven: I  went to Tracy about a month ago and things are MUCH better than they were. I don't have a perfect sleeper, but putting my LO down for bed is easy now, and she only wakes up once or twice a night (only for a few minutes at a time usually). Compared to her waking 5-10 times a night (sometimes staying awake for a couple hours), this is amazing for us. 

There are two things in my life that I really had to convince my husband to fork up money for when he didn't want to. One was a doula and the other was for Tracy- I have no regrets about either purchase and neither does he smile emoticon 

Good luck!

Amy Anthony Graham: Best decision and best money we ever spent! Changed our lives in 2 weeks!! Good luck!

Jennifer HartzheimWe used Tracy for my now 3 yo starting just after 2.5 yrs of crap sleep ( for all of us) the final straw was him waking up screaming 20 x in one night.. We got a lot of improvement very quickly, and continue to make strides .. He had 2.5 yrs of bad sleep habits and we cannot expect everything to change overnight . 

We also use Tracy to help with my 6 mth old .. Nursing friendly and using gentle methods we are giving our youngest the gift of sleep ... Still two nursings a night, but we will slowly withdraw them in the coming months . He puts himself to sleep and typically does not need interventions now . He just got over a viral ear infection and slept very well thru the discomfort . 
There is so much to sleep you really cannot read just one book and get all the knowledge Tracy has .. Money well spent !

Sara Watson Best gift ever! We did it at 9 months and nearly a year later I can't imagine how we survived before it. smile emoticon

RB: I'm on night 4 with my breastfed 10 month old who before now coslept and nursed all night. I am really amazed at how well Tracy's plan has helped!! He is able to fall asleep in his crib with my reassuring presence and after the first really rough night, I've seen nightly improvements! Cheers to sleep, happy marriages, happy babies and happy mamas!

RS: Best investment ever!!!!

To get your own Mother's Day sleep package, call me.
Tracy Spackman 602-524-7610
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

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

Friday, April 15, 2016

I'm home from the hospital with my new baby, now what?

Live like you're on vacation!

Live like you're on vacation or the first month after having a baby.

Limit the house work that you do.  You won't regret it.

Limit the laundry that you do, pretend that you're going to a hotel and live out of a suitcase.

Simplify meals. Eat off of paper plates.  Accept offers from people to bring you meals. Make dinner in the morning when you're less tired and put it in the crockpot. Get creative with some takeout. Try that  roasted chicken from the grocery store with some pre-made mashed potatoes and  salads from the deli. Take advantage of those grocery store short cuts.

Keep food ready to go. Keep a jug of smoothie or ready-made sandwich or pasta salad in the refrigerator. This way you can make sure you're eating well as you help your new baby eat well. You are going to be hungry.

Try to minimize entertainment activities and visitation for the first month. At one month old, your baby will still look very new and wonderful for people to come over and admire your baby and take pictures; after breast-feeding has been firmly established. For the visitors who absolutely must see your baby right away, try to limit those visits at least a few days apart. Post pictures and updates on Facebook. Leave a message on your front door that you and your baby are getting to know each other.

This is not the time for home projects like redoing your kitchen or new landscaping. You and your partner will want to take the time to learn to read your baby’s hunger and tired cues.  Your project has just arrived and you all need to get to know each other, bond, and enjoy this time.

Delay worrying about thank you cards. No one is holding their breath for thank you cards for all the wonderful gifts that you have been given, 6-8 weeks out is just fine.

Getting enough sleep is very important so nap when your baby is napping or have one of your close friends or relatives take your baby out for an hour so you can take a nap if you are unable to nap comfortably with your baby nearby.

Create a snack station with water and snacks, nursing supplies and burp cloths in a comfortable place where you can sit back, relax, snack, watch a movie, feed your baby, write in your journal, post on Facebook, read a great book or listen to audio books to keep both hands free for baby. 

It's totally fine to stay in your pajamas all day and rent movies and get your favorite take out and just relax and focus on breast-feeding and establishing a good breast-feeding connection with your baby. Think of it as a nesting time. A vacation from all the other parts of your life.

It's OK to stop your life for a month and focus on your new baby and breast-feeding.  Your baby will be a year old before you know it.

If nursing becomes a challenge, talk to your lactation consultant.  It’s normal to ask for help.

This is not the time to worry about sleep training.  Don’t worry about bad habits.  In the first 6 months, there are no bad sleep habits when you are meeting the needs of your baby.  

When nursing is a priority for you, give it the focus that is needed.  I wish you all the best.

Tracy Spackman 602-524-7610
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What is your 'gentle' philosophy for sleep training?

I love it when people ask me about my methods. They aren't secret. Just special. 

My methods are very different than the typical sleep trainer. People are often surprised and relieved by the things I suggest. 

I promote a responding method that combines staying with your baby and offering a mix of touch, words, shushes, pick ups, feedings and keeping the stress levels as low as possible. I take your current situation and build small steps for you to take towards your end goal. 

Maybe you are co-sleeping and want crib sleep. Maybe you want to keep co-sleeping  but don't want to be the all night buffet but still want to keep nursing, just not all night. Maybe you have a crib sleeper that needs frequent attention all night leaving both you and baby sleep deprived. Whatever your situation, I can help you reach your goal without sacrificing your parenting values. I help with toddler troubles too. Even preschoolers. 

Sometimes this is a 3-6 day process or a 2 week process or it can extend to a month or two depending on how things go. I teach you how to modify it to meet the response of your child. I also help you to control as many variables as you can, to set your baby up for the lowest stress experience possible for your baby. Some of these thing include maximizing day sleep, sleep space environment, adequate feeding, and more. Once you control all of the different sleep pieces that you can control, the rest of the stress potential is dependent on the individual temperament that your particular baby is born with. You can't control your baby's temperament, you just have to modify the method to respond and meet your baby's needs. So if you have a baby with an intense, slow to change, alert temperament, then there is likely going to be higher stress and more crying than a baby that has an easy-going, happy go lucky, easy to change temperament.  I specialize in spirited and alert babies. Spirited babies, or babies that have higher needs, usually are overly stimulated by their environment. These overly stimulated babies need more parental involvement, more hugs, more holding, more attention, etc. These babies will continue to have increased perception of their surroundings as they grow up. So if these babies do get the parental attention that they are seeking, then they grow up to be the real go-getters of the world. They continue to have increased perceptions but they also have lots of practice problem-solving with their extra parental support growing up. This gives them a huge advantage over their peers. These attention seeking babies actually have higher potential than regular babies. I use methods that encourage the extra parental attention to foster the problem-solving practice that these babies need. You can give lots of attention and still learn self soothing skills. It just has to be done in a different way. 'Cry it out' is not that way and so I avoid that method. 

The process I go through in doing a consultation with the new family starts with you filling out a seven page sleep history that I send to you. It gives me the information that I need to create a plan for you.  Choose a package on my website and once I receive your payment, I send you the Sleep History and a link to a parenting site that has narrated power point videos on it to give you base of the things I would like to talk with you about. Then we will talk for an hour or an hour and a half about the method I want you to follow and the steps I want you to take to help you meet your goals. We will modify the steps in our discussion over that phone call or in-person consultation. Then, as you implement the steps that we have discussed, you have the option to take advantage of the follow-up calls that come with the package you purchased. There is also an email and text option in some of the packages if that is the communication style you prefer.  

Success starts with a good plan that you can feel confident implementing and then follow up with me to help you stay on track, answer your questions, and help you troubleshoot any regressions or difficult situations you encounter.

If you have more questions about my methods, I would be happy to talk with you over the phone. If you're ready to book a consultation then choose a package on my website  and I will send you the link to the video site and sleep history. 

Give me a call to answer your questions or to set it up. 

Tracy Spackman 602-524-7610
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

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