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Ways to Stay Engaged (and Sane!) While at Home

Jill Spivack and Jennifer Waldburger, co-founders of Sleepy Planet Parenting and our resident Dream Lab sleep training experts, share advice on spending extra time at home.  Hi parents, We have no doubt that you are making some pretty big life adjustments at the moment – working remotely, kids out of school and social distancing. We’re…

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Dream Feed: The What, How & Everything Else You Need to Know

A dream feed might just be the solution to helping your baby sleep through the night! This article covers everything from what it is to knowing if it’s right for you and your baby! Continue reading to learn:

What is a dream feed
Why a dream feed could be good for your baby (and you!)
Should I dream feed my baby?
How do I dream feed?
Dream feed Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Dream Feed?

A dream feed is basically exactly what it sounds like: you’re feeding your baby while they are still dreaming. More specifically, a dream feed is when you feed your baby while she is still asleep by gently rousing your baby enough to feed or nurse her in an effort to reduce middle-of-the-night wakings and feedings.

Dream Feed

Usually, you would do a dream feed some time between 10pm and midnight. Parents choose the time of the dream feed based on when they are going to bed themselves and what seems to work the best for their baby. The idea is that if you feed your baby (without fully waking them) before you go to bed, they will be full enough to sleep  a longer stretch at night and/or until the early morning, which means you could potentially avoid a 2:30 or 3:30am. wake up!

Why can a Dream Feed be good for your baby (and you)?

Many moms find that a dream feed helps their baby sleep for longer stretches through the night, which results in more rest for both baby and mom! According to Dr. Harvey Karp, author of Happiest Baby on the Block, research has shown that introducing a Dream Feed around 11pm reduces night wakings among 3-month-olds, which is the ideal time to start a dream feed.

Once babies reach 3 to 4 months of age, they’ll eat 8-12 times throughout a 24-hour period, and most are capable of going 7 to 8 hours without a feed. Many babies will still wake up multiple times for a feed out of habit, since as a newborn, they were fed more frequently to keep their tiny stomachs full. Until you’ve weaned night time feedings, your baby won’t be sleeping through the night. But even after they reach the point when they can go a long stretch without a feed, if their last feed is between 7 and 8pm before bed, and they sleep 7-8 hours, that puts them waking between 2:30 and 3:30am. Many babies, depending on their age, will wake up a second time around 5:30, which means your schedule might look a little something like this:

Without a dream feed

6:30 P.M.

Feed your baby before putting them down for bed

7:30 P.M.

Baby goes to sleep

11:00 P.M.

You go to sleep

1:30 A.M.

Baby wakes up for a feed

2:30 A.M.

Finish feed, settle baby back to sleep

3:00 A.M.

You fall back asleep

5:30 A.M.

Baby wakes up for another feed

6:30-7 A.M.

Finish feed & maybe get baby back to sleep…but it’s already time for you to start your day!

Alternatively, if their last feed is at 11pm, before you go to bed, and they sleep 7-8 hours, they’ll be waking up around 6am. Meanwhile, you’ve had a night of uninterrupted sleep as well!

With a dream feed

6:30 P.M.

Feed your baby before putting them down for bed

7:30 P.M.

Baby goes to sleep

10:30 P.M.

Dream feed

11:00 P.M.

You go to sleep

2:30 A.M.

Baby wakes up for a feed

4:00 A.M.

You fall back asleep

7:30 A.M. or later

Baby wakes up, you feed & start your day!

Some babies might still wake at 3am out of habit, if they’re used to usually being fed at that time. If you do a dream feed at 11pm and they wake around 2:30-3am, try to help your baby get back to sleep without a feed. Even if you can push it another hour and you feed them at 4am instead, you can keep pushing the second feed later over time until you get to your desired wake up time!

The Zen Sack can be helpful in weaning and eventually dropping the second night time feed. Because of its weighted center, the Zen Sack provides the same comfort and security of your hand resting on your baby’s chest, which can help them soothe back to sleep after that 3am wake up and break the association of feeding and/or being held. Many moms have seen success in combining a dream feed with the use of their Zen Sack or Zen Swaddle to get their baby sleeping through the night.

Zen Sack Premier

Sweeter Sleep Story

Before we started using the Zen Sack she’d wake up every 2-3 hrs. Started the Zen Sack around 4 months. My little one (breast fed) started her bedtime routine around 7:30 and be asleep by 8pm…I’d dream feed her before I went to bed (11pm). She stays asleep until 5am! At that point she eats and goes right back to sleep until about 6:30am.”

– Courtney D., March 2018

Read more reviews  

The Zen Sack™: can help your baby sleep
through the night & tech them to self soothe

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Getting more sleep is no doubt the most attractive benefit of a dream feed, but it’s not the only one! Feeding or nursing your baby while they are still asleep also lessens the risk of an association forming. As we mentioned, weaning night time feedings is an important step to getting your baby to
sleep through the night (remember, you should only decrease feedings when your baby is developmentally ready as determined by your doctor), but  it can be very difficult to break the association of feeding to get back to sleep. However, since a dream feed is done while your baby is still sleeping, no association will form.

Think of a Dream Feed as acting proactively instead of reactively. You feed your baby before they wake, instead of feeding them once they’ve already woken up and need to be soothed back to sleep.

Additionally, doing a dream feed means your baby won’t get distracted like they might during a feed while they’re awake. The dream feed allows them to focus only on feeding and ensures that they get the proper amount of food they need per day.

Should I Dream Feed My Baby?

How do I know if dream feeding is right for me and my baby? It’s like that old saying, you’ll never know unless you try! The Baby Sleep Site mentions that a dream feed could be problematic for some babies, but notes that there is usually no harm in trying. Other sleep consultants, like – Tizzie Hall, A.K.A the “International Baby Whisperer”, highly recommend a dream feed:

From the experts

“The reason I recommend the dreamfeed, is to try to avoid you having to get up more than once in the night. When your baby is about eight weeks old, I recommend the dreamfeed at 10:30 at night. If you followed the routine but didn’t have the dreamfeed, your baby would go to sleep at 7pm and maybe wake between 11pm and 1am for the next feed. Let’s say your baby woke at 1:30am, you would get up and feed your baby. Maybe your baby would be back in bed asleep at 2:30am, but he might wake again at 5:30am for another feed. Then, by the time you have him asleep again, it would be time to get up and start the day. With the dreamfeed, your baby may sleep until let’s say 2am and then when back in bed; he is more likely to sleep until 7am. This means you have only had to get up once in the night.”

Tizzie Hall, Director of Save Our Sleep

If you or your baby falls into one of the following categories, you should consider trying a dream feed:

  • Your baby is past the newborn stage (2 to 3 months or older), and can now go longer stretches without a feed.

  • Your baby doesn’t feed enough during the day or gets easily distracted while feeding, and you’re concerned she might not be getting enough food.

  • Your baby is overcoming a cold/illness and needs to maintain their hydration.

  • You are breastfeeding and your breasts feel full, making you uncomfortable.

  • You’re having trouble getting your baby to sleep through the night.

Dream feeds do not work for every baby, but they do work for many! Moms who have seen success with it, encourage any new mom to give it a go.

How Do I Dream Feed?

Step 1: Rouse Your Baby without fully waking them up. Your baby will need to be alert enough to take your breast or a bottle, but you want to be extra careful not to fully wake them, which could lead to a cranky baby and throw the whole night off. For some babies, all you need to do to stir them is gently take them out of the crib and position them to feed. If your baby needs a little extra help, see our FAQs for tips!

Step 2: Feed them! Continue on like you would during a normal feed. Make sure their head is slightly elevated, as feeding while lying flat poses a risk of choking. If you’re bottle feeding, you can usually wiggle the bottle into the baby’s mouth to initiate suckling. If you’re breastfeeding, get your baby to latch on to start suckling. If you’re having trouble getting them to take the breast or bottle, they probably aren’t awake enough – see our FAQs for tips!

Dream Feed FAQs

Q: Should I leave my baby swaddled for the dream feed?

A:In most cases, yes. Leave your baby swaddled. You want to stimulate them as little as possible – only enough to get them to feed. Unswaddling might wake them up.

The Zen Swaddle will also help her sleep longer because of its gently weighted chest and sides that mimic your touch. However, if your baby is too drowsy to feed, unswaddling might help them wake up enough.

Q: What if my baby is too drowsy and won’t eat during the dream feed?

A: Some babies will take a little more stimulation than others to get them awake enough to feed, just make sure you don’t rouse them too much, or they’ll completely wake up! Here’s some tricks you can try rouse them enough to get them to feed:

  • Run a wet wipe or cloth across his cheek

  • Rub or tickle the bottom of his feet or chin

  • Put some milk on his lips

If those don’t work, put your baby back down. You can try again briefly a little while later, if you’re still up. If it doesn’t work, don’t force it. Like they say, “never wake a sleeping baby.” You don’t want to run the risk of having a cranky baby all night because you accidentally woke them up mid-slumber. If you try without success for a few nights, give it a rest for a couple weeks and come back to it.

Q: When should you start dream feeds? Is it ever too late to try a dream feed?

A: Dream feeds work best for babies 3-9 months old. When your baby is a newborn, they need to be fed frequently because their little tummies can only hold so much. Once they get between 3 and 4 months old, they’re ready to start going longer stretches.

However, after 9 months old, if your baby still isn’t sleeping through the night, a dream feed probably won’t help as much. At this age, there are likely other sleep associations that are keeping them from sleeping a longer stretch at night.

Q: Should I change my baby’s diaper after the dream feed?

A: Only if you feel it’s necessary. You’ll know best once you try a dream feed for a few nights. Again, the idea is to stimulate your baby as little as possible. A diaper change might wake them up, so avoid it if possible.

However, if your baby wakes up a hour or two later because of a wet diaper, it might be necessary to do a quick change after the dream feed before putting them back down.

If you find your baby needs the diaper change after a dream feed, we’d recommend using the The Zen Sack. Its gently weighted center will help keep your baby calm and drowsy while you sneakily use the 2-way zipper to make a quick diaper change!

Sweeter Sleep Story

I love this[Zen] Sack and so does my 4 month old son! I ordered up a size so he would be able to wear it longer and it works perfectly! It is so soft and the zipper is perfect for late night diaper changes. Will definitely be using this for a while!

– Amazon Customer, 6/15/2017

Read more reviews  


Q: Should I burp my baby after the dream feed?

A: During dream feeds, babies tend to take in less wind because they are so relaxed. When you’re finished the dream feed, just sit him up for a couple minutes to allow any trapped air to escape.

Q: Should I dream feed at the same time every night

A: The timing of your dream feed will be based on what is best for you and your baby. You can experiment with different times, especially when you first start, to try and find the best time range for your baby. Once you find it, keep it consistent.

Q: What if my baby won’t eat for the dream feed?

A: Parents are encouraged to try for at least a week before giving up on a dream feed all together. If your baby won’t eat for the dream feed, they simply might not be awake enough and require some extra gentle stimulation. Alternatively, dream feeding might not be for your baby. Try to establish it for a week, but know that a dream feed is not for everyone!

Q: What if my baby still wakes up multiple times in the night and/or wakes up more than normal after trying dream feeding?

A: Dream feeds are not for every baby. It’s also not a fool-proof solution to sleeping through the night. For some babies, there may be other things at play that are causing them to not sleep through the night, in which case, check out our article When Do Babies Sleep Through the Night and What Might Be Preventing It?

If you tried a dream feed and your baby started waking up more than before introducing the dream feed, it may be messing with their natural sleep cycles, or prompting them to want to eat more than normal – which is exactly the opposite of what you want! In this case, dream feeding might not be the right solution for your baby, but you can check out our other 8 Solutions to Sleeping Through the Night!

Q: When Should I Stop Dream Feeds?

A: Once your baby is consistently sleeping through the night (without a 3am/second night feed), you should try gradually moving the dream feed earlier each night until you can drop it all together. Typically by 9 months old babies can sleep through the night on their own, without any help from a dream feed. If your baby starts waking earlier as you start the dream feed earlier, go back to doing the dream feed at the time you were previously and try again in a couple weeks.

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When Do Babies Sleep Through the Night? And What Might Be Preventing It?

The sleepless nights that come with having a baby are no joke. 2 AM feedings, 4 AM diaper changes…it’s not easy. Now, after what feels like an eternity of sleepless nights, you’re asking yourself “when will my baby finally sleep through the night?”  

In this article, we will go over: 

1. When babies are developmentally able to sleep through the night? 
2. At what age can you typically expect babies to sleep through the night? 
3. What might be keeping your baby from sleeping through the night? 

Getting your baby to sleep through the night is a common challenge for parents. As I’m sure you’ve already realized, your definition of sleeping “through the night” might not mean what it used to. Before baby, you considered sleeping through the night to be a full 8-hour snooze, whereas now you might be only getting a half hour to an hour of sleep at a time. At this stage, even getting a 4 to 5 hour stretch of sleep will feel like sleeping through the night. While the 8-hour stretch of sleep might not happen until closer to 6-9 months old for most

When do babies sleep through the night? And what might be preventing it?

The good news is your baby will sleep through the night! With a little bit of effort and a lot of patience, it will happen! And we’re here to guide you through it. 

Development: When are babies able to sleep through the night? 

Here’s a little-known fact: when babies are able to sleep through the night and when babies actually do sleep through the night are two different stories.  

Sleepless nights are somewhat expected when you have a new baby. Newborns sleep a lotbut they only sleep in short intervals waking up frequently to be fed. This stage is where that patience comes in. Many doctors refer to the first 3 months of the baby’s life as the 4th Trimester. During the 4th Trimester, you’ll notice your baby’s sleep patterns are very erratic, and that’s completely normal. Although you can introduce good sleep habits during this time, it’s more important to focus on loving and caring for your little one, doing whatever you need to soothe them and make sure they’re getting all the food and sleep they need. During these first 2-3 months, you are getting them used to the outside world while bonding with your baby. Don’t worry about spoiling your baby or creating bad habits. There is no use training your baby. Just respond to their needs. 

FROM THE EXPERTS – WHEN IS MY BABY READY TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT?

“First, it is most important to talk with your healthcare provider about your baby as every baby has various needs at each stage developmentally. Has your baby hit their milestones where your doctor feels baby has the capability to sleep through the night? Many babies need to keep night time feedings in place to help extend their overnight sleep and help baby not go into sleep deficit as their body still requires the feedings to help them thrive. Do not rush to remove the feedings before baby is developmentally ready.”

– Kelley Thompson, Serenity Sleepers


After th
is so called 4th Trimester, you’ll start to notice a more predictable sleep pattern emerge, which means sleeping through the night is getting closer! As your baby is slowly reaching the following milestones, his sleep is getting longer gradually. Each baby being different, you may see them fall into a more predictable sleep pattern and have longer stretches of night time sleep any where between 10 weeks to 6 months. Getting familiar with what these milestones are will help you set some expectations: 

1. Moro Reflex has decreased or stopped. Moro (startle) reflex is an involuntary reflex all babies are born with. This is a sign of a still developing nervous system. The moro reflex will gradually ease and cease to awaken your baby mid sleep. You can calm your baby and help them sleep through this reflex by swaddling them. Although the moro-reflex is completely overcome by 4 – 5 months, your baby can be calmed with swaddling to help them sleep through this reflex.  

2. Your baby is gaining weight at a healthy rate. One of the reasons your baby needs to feed so frequently- even in the middle of the night – is because they need those nutrients for their growth and healthy development! Your baby will NEED those night feedings until they have established a healthy pattern of weight gain and reach the proper age-weight milestones established by your pediatrician.  

3. Night feedings have started to decrease. Newborns have very small tummies. They are unable to take in large quantities and hence need to eat more frequently.  As they grow so do their bellies. At 10 weeks to 6 months, your baby may be able to eat more and spend more time sleeping or playing between feeds. As your baby reaches healthy weight milestones, as approved by your pediatrician, the number of night feedings should begin to decrease. Your baby is now eating more during the day and can stay asleep longer between feeds. However, just because your baby no longer needs to feed at night, that doesn’t mean she won’t wake up wanting and/or expecting to be fed or soothed. Many moms, especially those of breast fed babies, are used to nursing their babies to sleep. More than likely, feeding has become a soothing mechanism for your baby. Once you know that your baby is not hungry, try to change your baby’s soothing habits both during the day and at night so that an association is not created between mid-night awakenings and feeding or nursing.  

4. Your baby is learning to self soothe. Just like adults, it’s normal for babies to stir or wake in the middle of the night. However, to get them sleeping through the night without crying out for you when they do wake up will require them to learn how to self-soothe. During the 4th trimester, you did whatever you could to help soothe your baby. Around 3-4 months, is a good time to start a consistent sleep routine during naps and bed time gradually teaching them to self soothe so that as they are 5 or 6 months they have a predictable sleep schedule, routine and are able to self soothe most of the times. The Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack are helpful aids as your baby learns to self soothe because thy mimic the gentle comfort of your touch. Your baby will feel your soothing touch even when you’re not there and cycle from one sleep cycle to the next thus increase their overall sleep duration. Also check tips on healthy sleep routine and schedule.

Zen Swaddle helps baby sleep through the night
Real Mom Review

“I absolutely LOVE our swaddle!! My little one used to wake up a few times a night, mostly because she wanted to be snuggled. She new sleeps [with the Zen Swaddle] through the night until 5-7:30 am!!”

-Sara P.  9/9/2017


Some moms may expect their 
2-week-old to sleep for longer stretches. Due to babies’ smaller tummies and frequent feeding needs, as you can see, such an expectation may be a risk to their health.  Although these milestones are usually reached between 4 to 6 months, every baby is different. Some babies may begin to sleep 5-6 hour stretches as early as 8-10 weeks while others may not find a longer sleep pattern until past 6-8 months. Keeping your expectations realistic and working with your baby until they are able to surpass these milestones consistently will eventually help you and your baby get longer sleep stretches  

Zen Sleepwear™: the perfect solution to get baby sleeping through the night!


When do babies sleep through the night?
 What should I expect? 

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 70-80 percent of babies are sleeping through the night by 9 months old. There’s quite a large age range for when babies start to sleep through the night. Between 4 and 6 months old is when babies start getting most of their sleep at night instead of throughout the day. As they get older, the number of daytime naps will decrease, and the number of hours slept at night will increase. Every baby is different – some parents get lucky and have a 1-monthold snoozing 4-6 hours at a time, while other parents might go a full year without a full night’s sleep. But not to worry, there are steps you can take to help your baby sleep through the night.  

 Age
Total Hours of Sleep (24-hr period)
Daytime Sleep Duration
Nighttime Sleep Duration
Awake Time Between Sleeps
0-6 Weeks
15-18 hours 15 minutes-3 hours (3-5 naps) 2-4 hours 30 minutes – 1.5 hours
6-15 Weeks
14-16 hours 30 minutes – 3 hours (3-4 naps) 3-6 hours 1-2 hours
4-6 Months
12-15 hours 1-3 hours (3 naps) 6-8 hours 1.5-2.5 hours
6-8 Months
12-15 hours 1-3 hours (2-3 naps) 9-12 hours 2-3 hours
8-10 Months
11-15 hours 1-2 hours (1-2 naps) 10-12 hours 2-3 hours
10-12 Months
11-14 hours 1-2 hours (1-2 naps) 10-12 hours 2.5-3.5+ hours

Now that you know the age and developmental milestones to look out for and how and when to start working on a predictable routine, you may feel more confident than before. Being a part of a new mom or new parent community may offer some support as you battle these first time sleep issues. As long as you allow the teachings from other parents or online articles to be as a guide and adapt them to your unique baby, you will gradually find success.   

FROM THE EXPERTS

“Some babies are ready and able to sleep through the night at 4-6 months of age, while others may not be ready until they are between 8-10 months of age, and there are babies that need a feeding between 10-12 months. There is a misconception by many that there is a magical age that all babies will sleep through the night without a feeding…every baby has their own needs and meets their own milestones and sleep goals at various times.

– Kelley Thompson, Serenity Sleepers


Even after your baby has followed r
egular sleep patterns and schedule, despite your best attempts, your baby may sporadically awaken mid sleep for apparently no reason. We have created a chart to indicate night-time sleep and awake patterns by age. Click here to see the typical number of night time awakenings by age. The next section speaks about some of the reasons why your baby may awaken mid sleep despite having a normal night-time schedule. 

What is keeping my baby from sleeping through the night? 

Although you can’t expect your baby to go from sleeping short stretches to double digit hours in one day, sleeping through the night should happen gradually. Always keep in mind that every baby is different and will reach this phase on their own timeline. Even after babies begin to sleep for longer stretches, it is common for their sleep to at times regress and wake up mid sleep. Parents are bewildered as to what may be causing the change:

ZEN MOM ZONE

“I have a 6.5 moth baby. She tends to wake up every 30 minutes. She just cries, so I rock her and she goes back to sleep. She’s not hot or cold, and she is well fed. I’m very confused why she wakes up randomly like this. This is something new – she has never done this before. Is something bothering her? Please help!”

– Reem S., January 8, 2018


Reem’s
 situation is one many mom’s find themselves in. There are a number of problems that could cause a disruption in your baby’s sleep, like teething or gas. Check for some of these common culprits and follow our tips to remedy them. But if the problem persists or you find your baby isn’t sleeping for longer periods of time at night by six months old, check in with your pediatrician. Your baby could simply have their days and nights confused, or there could be an underlying problem like acid reflux that’s keeping your baby from snoozing like they should be.   

Here’s some reasons that could be impacting your baby’s precious zzz’s 

1. Your baby is going through a sleep regression. Sleep regressions seemingly come out of nowhere and might include changes in your baby’s behavior such as refusing to nap, waking up frequently at night, or fighting sleep for no apparent reason. They most commonly occur at 4 months old, 6-8 months old, 10 months old, and sometimes even 12 months old. This period usually lasts anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks. Get the scoop on how to get through a regression here. 

2. Your baby is experiencing a growth spurt or illness. Growth spurts have been known to interrupt a baby’s typical sleeping patterns. A cold, flu, or other illness will also cause your baby to be fussy and sleep less or erratically. If you think your baby is sick, consult your pediatrician. But growth spurts are usually short and you should see your baby’s sleeping and feeding return to normal within a few days.  

3. Your baby can’t fall asleep independently. Here’s where that self soothing milestone comes in. If your baby is not used to falling asleep on their own, they’re going to need you to help them fall back asleep every time they wake up, even in the middle of the night. The things that help them fall asleep are referred to as sleep associations, and they can make getting your baby to sleep and stay asleep very difficult. The Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack as part of a bedtime routine can help establish positive sleep associations that teach your baby to self soothe and get back to sleep on their own. 

Zen sack helps baby boy sleep through the night
Real Mom Review

“This sleep sack has made a world of difference for our little guy! He went from making every 2 hours or so, to sleeping a good 6-8 hours in a row, EVERY night!!”

-Shannon M. 7/10/2017


4. Your feeding/diaper changing schedule needs to be altered.
 Maybe you’re feeding your baby right before bed and it’s become one of those sleep associations we talked about. OR it’s causing them to wake up from a wet, uncomfortable diaper in the middle of the night. And it may seem like a no-brainer, but loading up your baby with food before bed in the hopes that they’ll sleep longer without needing to be fed isn’t great advice. Think about how you would feel eating a large meal right before bed…it’s the same for babies. It might be time to get strategic about your feeding and diaper changing schedule  

5. Your baby’s environment isn’t conducive to sleep. The environment around your baby plays a large roll in how well they sleep. 

FROM THE EXPERTS

“The sleep environment is one of the most important aspects to help a baby sleep more soundly. Do you have the right sound machine, black out curtains or shades, the right temperature for the room, and is she dressed appropriately? The early morning light could be hindering baby, or they could be waking from being too cold or too warm. Is the noisy neighbor waking baby at 5 am and causing a disturbance in baby’s sleep? Addressing the sleep environment is important for baby.”

– Kelley Thompson, Serenity Sleepers


So to summarize,
 to help your baby sleep for longer stretches in the night, help them with their developmental milestones, institute a consistent sleep routine, maintain a feeding routine that meets their and your nourishment needs, help them develop healthy sleep associations that don’t necessarily depend on your presence and you will have a sleeping angel through consistent habits and a little patience. 

FROM THE EXPERTS

“I find it very helpful to keep a daily log of baby’s feeding and sleep schedule, this can help you see their overall schedule in a 24-hour period and where there may be any issues. It is vital that a baby has the important sleep foundations set in place. 

– Kelley Thompson, Serenity Sleepers


Read more on 
How to Get Your Baby To Sleep Through the Night for tips, proven pre-bed-time routines and schedules that work. 

If you’re baby has nighttime sleep down, but could use some help with naps, take a look at our article on How to Get Baby to Nap: Baby Nap Schedule During Their First Year.  

Check out our 7 Tips and Tricks on How to Get Your Newborn to Sleep for more baby sleep advice! 

You Might Also Like…

Surviving Sleep Regressions

Moro Reflex: What it is and how swaddling can help

The Zen Sack: How it Works 

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8 Solutions to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night

Getting your baby to sleep through the night is a common challenge among parents. As a newborn, babies need to wake every few hours to feed since their tiny tummies aren’t big enough to keep them full throughout the night. However, as your baby grows they need those night time feedings less. This is usually when parents expect their babies to start sleeping through the night, but things don’t always turn out as expected, leaving parents utterly exhausted and searching for solutions.

Believe it or not, sleep is actually a learned skill. Babies need to learn how and when to sleep before sleeping through the night. Once they’re ready, our 8 tips will help your little one start sleeping for those longer stretches. 

To understand how to get your baby to sleep through the night, you first need to know if your baby is able to sleep through the night. 

You can also help set the stage for a good night’s sleep by making sure your baby Is getting the right amount of sleep during the day. In How to Get My Baby to Nap we give you tips to make sure your baby is cultivating good sleep habits during the day, which will help them sleep better during the night too.

Zen Sack blushing butterfliesYour baby has to be able to sleep through the night before they can! There are a few milestones they need to reach first, like a decrease in Moro Reflex. If the answer to that question is “no” then you might be wanting your baby to start sleeping through the night before they’re ready. Check out our article on When Do Babies Sleep Through the Night to learn if your baby is ready/able to sleep through the night.

If your baby is capable of sleeping through the night but still struggling, there might be an underlying reason your baby isn’t sleeping through the night – OR they’re right on the cusp of starting to sleep through the night. There are several reasons that can cause your baby not to sleep through the night, including sleep regressions, a growth spurt or illness, or the inability to fall asleep independently.

Whether your baby is experiencing one of the problems above, or they’ve just surpassed the milestones to be able to sleep at night, there are ways you can help your baby (and yourself!) sleep through the night.

Here’s how to get baby to sleep through the night:

1. Establish a bedtime routine. It’s never too early to get a bedtime routine started. Your bedtime routine should be simple and sustainable, so it’s easy for you to do every night. Even the smallest change in your baby’s routine can leave them feeling off, and suddenly waking more frequently at night. Include calming, soothing activities that your baby seems to respond to, like swaddling and shushing. The bedtime routine can be where you create positive sleep associations for your baby.

2. Teach your baby to self-soothe, which means trying your best to soothe them less. When your baby wakes in the middle of the night and cries for you, it’s always okay to go check on them. However, try and limit your time in there with them. Make it clear that it’s still time to sleep, not play or eat. Place your hand on their chest for a few moments to calm them, then leave the room. The Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack are gently weighted on the chest and sides, which make your baby feel like you’re still there. This can help ease separation anxiety, break the sleep association to be held to fall back asleep, and help your baby learn to self soothe.

Zen Sack Lovestruck

Sweeter Sleep Story

My 8 week old daughter loves her Zen Sack. Once it’s nap and bedtime, I turn on the sound machine and put her in it and it’s like it gives her instant comfort and she knows it’s sleep time. She is warm and secure and sleeps longer stretches because of it!”

– Cheryl L., 10/18/2017

Shop Zen Sacks  

3. Start weaning the night feedings. Once you get the okay from your doctor to stop night feedings, you should slowly start to reduce them. In many cases, feeding becomes a sleep association because you fed your baby every time they woke up. Just because that’s no longer necessary, doesn’t mean your baby won’t want it anymore. Slowly wean them off the night feedings (maybe try a dream feed?), feeding them less and not as frequently over a few days or a week to get them used to not feeding every time they wake.

4. Follow a schedule. Make sure your baby is getting the right amount of daytime sleep to prepare them to get the right amount of nighttime sleep. As newborns, babies can’t differentiate between day and night, they just sleep ‘round the clock. As they get older, they start sleeping longer periods, the longest stretches being at night. If their sleeping too much during the day they won’t stay asleep as long at night. Take a look at our sample sleep schedules for some suggested guidelines.

5. Keep a calming ambiance. Ambiance can be everything! Keep the room at comfortable temperature, make sure it stays dark, and even try adding some white noise in there! The softest of sounds can disturb your baby at night, the white noise will provide a consistent, soothing sound for them to fall asleep to, and it will drown out any other noises happening around the house.

Keeping a soothing sleep environment and incorporating a bedtime routine along with the Zen Sack can help a baby start sleeping longer

6. Stick to an appropriate bedtime. Putting your baby to sleep later in the hopes that they’ll sleep later in the morning most likely won’t work. If you’re following a schedule, it’s important to keep an appropriate bedtime for your little one to keep them on track. Remember, newborns don’t have a set bedtime, because they’re just sleeping whenever they need to. But around 3 months old, you can start to establish a healthy bedtime to accompany your sleep schedule.

7. Be patient. If your baby was sleeping through the night on their own before, and suddenly stopped, it might be a sleep regression or growth spurt’s fault. Growth spurts usually only last a few days, and then your baby should return to normal patterns. A regression can last 1-4 weeks. Be patient during times like this and focus on the fact that it won’t last.

8. Check out our sleep tips! In Baby Sleep Simplified you’ll find sample schedules for every age through the first year, as well as tips on what you should focus on during every sleep stage to help your baby become a good sleeper. You can also check out our 7 Tips and Tricks on How to Get Your Newborn to Sleep or our 7 Highly Effective Sleep Tips.

How to Get my Baby to Sleep at night with sleep training

There are many methods of sleep training, and different methods work for different families. If you’ve been patient and have tried these tips and tricks but are still struggling, sleep training might be an option to consider. The Cry-It-Out (CIO) method, No Cry Method, and the Controlled Crying method are all common approaches to sleep training. Ultimately, which method you use should be a decision made by you and your family. Sleep consultants are great resources if you’re unsure of what method to use or just want to learn more about sleep training in general.

Use these tips to help get your baby to sleep through the night. And remember, the Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack are effective tools for helping babies sleep better and longer – and they could be the key to teaching your little one to self soothe!

Zen Sleepwear™: the perfect solution to get baby 
sleeping through the night!

Shop Zen Sleepwear

Need help when it comes to nap time? We’ve got you covered. Read How to Get Baby to Nap: Baby Nap Schedule During the First Year.

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5 Exercises Busy Moms Can Do At Home

It seems like moms are always on the run. Unfortunately, playing taxi-driver to your children and hustling between work, baby, and home life doesn’t technically count as exercise. But by the end of the day, you probably feel like you’ve just run a marathon. So why is it important to add exercise to the top of your ever-growing to do list?

Meet our expert

Dr. Aliya Visram

Mom of two and Registered Acupuncturist, certified yoga instructor, and Doctor of Chiropractic

Dr. Aliya focuses on women’s health, pediatric care, and post-natal health in her practice in Toronto—so when it comes to finding new, healthy, and easy ways to stay active, she’s got the scoop.

easy exercises at home to help lose baby weight

Why it’s important to stay active

Besides the obvious reasons of having a healthy body and decreasing the risk of developing chronic illness, staying physically active improves quality of life and keeps your mind happy—not to mention, it sets a great example for your kids.

But if you’re thinking you need to start on some type of CrossFit level workout regimen, think again.

“I’m a huge believer in creating healthy habits that fit realistically within your lifestyle. It’s not about doing a crazy workout routine or following a fad diet.  It comes down to incorporating small and easy things into your everyday life.”

How to get started

Getting back into (or just starting!) exercise can feel intimidating. If you’re not quite ready for squats and mountain climbers there are plenty of ways you can still stay active:

  • Go for a walk: whether it’s a few miles or just around the block—you can even bring baby along in their stroller!
  • Take a swim: swimming is a great, low intensity exercise.
  • Stretch it out: gentle or prenatal yoga classes will get you moving and help you to relax,plus there’s often mommy and me classes available.
  • Start taking the stairs: It might seem small, but it’s an easy way to get incorporate some activity into your day.

exercise tips on how to lose baby weight at home

If you’re getting back into working out after having a baby, make sure you clear it with your doctor first. Even once you’re cleared for activity, it’s important to remember that not only is your life different with a new baby, your body is different too.Your body has just created an actual human – a tiny miracle – so give it some love, time, and rest before jumping into a workout routine.

“It’s important for women to understand that their bodies have changed after carrying and delivering a baby. Many women are in a hurry to get back to their post-baby bodies and this often results in injury. My advice is to take it slow and seek the proper advice before starting any exercise routine after baby.”

Tips to find the time

It’s hard enough to find the time to sit for 10 minutes – so carving out time to get all the way to the gym to get your sweat on can be seemingly impossible.

Here’s Dr. Aliya’s top tips to get those workouts higher on your to do list:

  1. Grab a buddy: Find a friend or group and start holding each other accountable. A buddy can help motivate you to get your daily activity in!
  2. Schedule it: Put it in your calendar or planner and don’t even think of moving it or rescheduling it. Consider it non-negotiable.
  3. Include your kids: Get them moving too! Put them in a stroller for your walk, bring them to a class, or challenge them to a jumping jack contest at home.
  4. Utilize nap time: Your baby’s daily snoozes can be a great time to fit in a quick at home workout. Zen Sleepwear™ is gently weighted to help your baby sleep longer, so you might just be able to get a full workout in.
  5. Take what you can get: It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 minutes or 2 hours. Focus on making the most of the time you do have and don’t sweat the rest.

5 easy exercises for busy moms…that you can do at home!

Dr. Aliya and friend, fellow mom, and fitness expert, Lara Marq, created this video with 5 easy exercises for busy moms – exercises you can do right at home!

Know that some days you might get a great sweat sesh in and accept that other days you’ll have a kid glued to your body every waking second—and that’s okay. Remember to cut yourself some slack and be patient!

You might also like…

5 Ways for Moms to Find Their Zen

 *You should always consult your primary care doctor before beginning any new exercise routine, especially post-baby!*

Photos and video courtesy of The Bennett Studio

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Zipadee Zip vs Love To Dream Swaddle Up – Which is Better for Baby’s Sleep?

Zipadee Zip Vs Love To Dream - Which Is Better for SleepThe Zipadee Zip vs Love To Dream – both the Zipadee Zip Swaddle Transition sleep sack and the Love To Dream Swaddle are great products. But, do you need both? Is one better than the other for your baby’s sleep?

In this blog post, you’ll learn about both products and which we recommend!

Zipadee Zip Swaddle Transition Sleep Sack

zipadeezipWe have been recommending the Zipadee Zip for a long time even before they were on the Shark Tank. The Zipadee Zip, created by a company named Sleeping Baby, is a really great invention to help your baby sleep better when it’s time to stop swaddling.

The “wings” of the Zipadee Zip stop your baby from feeling like they are falling when the Moro reflex is still strong. Many babies are ready to transition away from the swaddle before the Moro reflex has gone away, which is where the Zipadee Zip shines. It is safe for sleeping especially when a baby is rolling over and otherwise can’t be swaddled. And, it’s also good for when your baby doesn’t like to be swaddled, yet can’t seem to stay asleep without it.

If your baby has eczema or otherwise scratches herself, the Zipadee Zip will protect the skin. I was always terrible at keeping baby’s fingernails clipped!

There are many different styles to choose from for the Zipadee Zip. And, although you won’t need the wings as your baby gets older, so many babies like this sleep sack that they make toddler sizes as well!

Love To Dream Swaddle

The Love To Dream Swaddle is another great product to help your baby sleep better. But, unlike the Zipadee Zip, this is a swaddling product. It is meant to capitalize on all the benefits of swaddling but make it easy to swaddle your baby. It also makes it hard for your baby to break out! Breaking out of the swaddle is a safety hazard.

In addition, the Love To Dream is designed to help you swaddle your baby with their arms up rather than down by their sides. This is typically more comfortable to your baby which can lead to longer stretches of sleep.

The Love To Dream Swaddle also has dual zippers, one at the top and one at the bottom, to make diaper changes easier and faster.

The really cool design of the Love To Dream Swaddle is that it has “wings” too. But, these wings are meant to zip off when your baby is ready to be unswaddled. This will allow your baby to find his or her hands for self-soothing and allow them to push up if they roll onto their tummy.

Zipadee Zip vs Love To Dream – Which is Better?

Both the Zipadee Zip and the Love To Dream are great products. But, which is better for your baby’s sleep?

We have worked with families who have used both and clients love both products. As a sleep consultant for over 10 years, I can tell you that either product would be a good choice. However, the age of your baby may influence which you buy.

Newborns, Pregnant Moms, or a Baby Shower Gift

If you have a newborn, you’re pregnant and doing research, or if you’re buying as a gift, I recommend you purchase the Love To Dream Swaddle UP which is appropriate for newborns. The newborn size does not have zip-off wings but you don’t need them. Once your newborn weighs 13+ pounds, I recommend the Love To Dream Swaddle Up Transition Sleep Sack with Zip-Off Wings.

The benefits of swaddling are clear and your baby will most likely appreciate the snug feeling of being swaddled. The Love To Dream is much snugger than the Zipadee Zip. And, your baby will likely be in the swaddle for at least 2-3 months, if not longer. So, your purchase will be well worth the added hours of sleep you will likely get!

And, when your baby is ready to move away from swaddling, you can zip off one or both wings for an easier transition to a sleep sack. Voila!

However, some babies don’t sleep well once their arms are free, of course! Try giving your baby a week or so to get used to it. If your baby struggles with having their hands completely free, you can then consider adding a Zipadee Zip to your toolbox. For some families, having both is perfectly reasonable! They really address two different time periods in a baby’s life.

4+ Month Olds and/or Baby is Rolling

If your baby is nearing, or older than 4 months old, we recommend you transition to a sleep sack with hands out. Once your baby is rolling from back to tummy, it is no longer safe to swaddle.

But, do you use a Zipadee Zip?

We highly recommend the Zipadee Zip for many babies, but there are a few things to consider:

  1. Does your baby use a pacifier?
  2. Does your baby like to suck on their thumb, fingers, or hands?
  3. Does your baby like to crawl around while self-settling to sleep?

If you answered no to all of these questions, the Zipadee Zip is an excellent choice!

However, if you answered yes to any of these questions, the Zipadee Zip may or may not be the best sleep sack for your baby.

Baby Likes to Suck on Thumb, Fingers, or Hands

If your baby likes to suck on their thumb, fingers, or hands, it may work out fine. Some babies will simply suck their hands through the cloth of the wings. But, if your baby likes to really feel their fingers or thumb inside their mouth mimicking a nipple, this might not work out very well. Some babies will adapt while others will struggle. This can lead to excessive crying during sleep training.

Baby Has a Pacifier

Some babies suck on their pacifier as they fall asleep but then don’t need it again. That would make using the Zipadee Zip work out just fine.

However, some babies struggle with self-settling when they can’t maneuver their own pacifier. We want your baby to be able to wake up between sleep cycles, find their own pacifier, and pop it back in. For these babies, we’d recommend a sleep sack with hands out such as the Bitta Kidda with a built-in lovey attached.

You can use the Love To Dream sleep sack with the wings zipped off, but if you don’t already have it, there’s not much use for the wings. It defeats the purpose and it doesn’t make much sense to buy the Love To Dream, in my opinion. If you’re planning to have more babies, however, you can consider it an investment!

Zipadee Zip vs Love To Dream – Which to Buy?

If you still don’t know which product to buy and can’t afford to try both, I highly recommend you start with the Zipadee Zip. This is based on over 10 years of working with families and getting reports about which products their babies love. I know based on the experience of many families that your baby is most likely going to LOVE it!

Of course, your baby’s sleepwear is only one variable that impacts your baby’s sleep. And, that’s what we do here at The Baby Sleep Site!

The post Zipadee Zip vs Love To Dream Swaddle Up – Which is Better for Baby’s Sleep? appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

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Best Ways to Throw Your Toddler a Birthday Party

Children’s birthday parties are more than just a day when a lot of lovely pastries are involved. Kids look forward to this day more than any other day of the year. It should not come as a surprise since the full day is dedicated to them in the form of balloons, cakes, singing, presents, and more. In recent years, these parties have become elaborate, and this can sometimes throw off adults. The costs and stress associated with pulling off a great party or buying top rated appliances for party can be overwhelming, but it need not be the case.

Avoid Spending Beyond Means

If you are not careful, it is very easy for parties to suck up a significant chunk of your savings. Parents should start by setting a budget for the party. This helps avoid overspending, which can be quite comfortable in the heat of things. It is easy to add things like a circus troupe or orchestra to the list, but a pre-defined budget will help you stay within limits, while still coming up with a great party. The planning stage involves identifying interests and involvement. Knowledge of these two aspects can be used to determine the party venue, food, entertainment activities, among others.

Focus on Age-Appropriate Details

A lot of planning needs to be put in by parents to ensure that all aspects of the party are of the appropriate age. This planning process becomes a lot easier when all kids are of the same age. If this is not the case, it is better to take the birthday child’s age as a guide. One should also try to limit the invitees as per the child’s age. A thumb rule is to invite the birthday child’s age, plus 2. Hence, if the birthday child is turning 4, parents are better off inviting six children to the party. This helps the birthday child feel more comfortable. One should also read your child’s interests to decide on total invitees, venue, food, and entertainment.

Get it Done ASAP

Several things indeed have to congregate on a single day for a single event. However, this should not be an excuse for postponing different tasks, such as music. You can save a lot of money by booking in advance. It is better to plan a couple of weeks in advance, and it should leave enough time to book everything from the venue to the entertainment options. On average, parents can expect to spend around $250 on hosting a nice party. You would be surprised to know that many of these options can be booked with a discount, as you are stepping ahead of the queue. Once a sufficient amount of time is set aside, you would also be surprised at the way new options open up. For example, one of your friends may volunteer to help you set up the decor, which saves the cost that would otherwise be spent on a professional.

Send Invitations in Advance

It is no secret that more the merrier. You can make a toddler’s birthday much more special by inviting all dear and near. Just as organizers need time to set up the event, guests also need time to plan for the event – ideas, commute, and more. Many guests may have multiple parties to attend, and a late invite can leave them with an embarrassing face. Statistics show that only 15% of parents invite the entire class to a party.

You can avoid such a situation by sending out those invites at an early stage. It is recommended to send out invites at least ten days in advance. To hit this time scale, your work on preparing RSVPs should begin at least four weeks before the event. This gives sufficient time to draw a list of guests. This process also saves a lot of money since RSVPs can be used to avoid food wastage. If you have a dog, make sure all the other parents know about it before sending invites.

Deciding on Presents

Gone are the days when it was almost mandatory for guests to come with presents. Of course, it leads to a lot of accumulated presents. If you decide to do away with gifts, the invitation should clearly state the same. This can help to avoid embarrassing situations. In the place of such gifts, you can also request donations to a charity. Apart from serving to improve your reputation and helping out the unprivileged, it can also set an example for future parties in other households. If, however, you decide to accept presents, be prepared to shell out return gifts.

Best Time for the Food

The party hosts should decide on the timings of the food after they have planned out the venue. It is possible to choose different timings, but a little empathy can help make the party a great success. Many invitees do not like to have breakfast, as it also means difficult commute times on weekdays and an early start to the day on weekends. Depending on the day, a party can be organized such that it gives out dinner too. If it is a weekend, brunch would be the perfect outcome for all parties. This can also save some cost for the hosts, as brunches tend to be less expensive. It is also easier to prepare compared to party foods and fancy appetizers. Furthermore, a cake also seems like the best idea for brunch.

Conclusion

If there are several toddlers in attendance, it can be a joyous moment for parents. However, it can also be quite a concern if the party is hosted at home rather than a different venue. In such a case, you must make sure to childproof as much as possible. This involves removing fragile products from the reach of young kids, having fewer chairs in a room, and spreading out the toys. One can even go crazy with childproofing, as it is always better to be safe than sorry. These techniques can help you watch the toddlers in peace. Further, you are also keeping toddlers in a safe environment.

Author Bio: Lavera Taylor is a mother of two and a writer at My Kitchen Advisor. She’s lucky to have a husband that can provide while she takes care of their little ones. Elisabeth has a degree in psychology and currently lives in Seattle, WA.

The post Best Ways to Throw Your Toddler a Birthday Party appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

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A Message From Our Founder, Dr. Harvey Karp


Dear Families, 

Having a new baby can already be a hectic experience. And, the current concerns and constant changes seem to only magnify our sense of uncertainty and confusion.

So if you and your family are feeling spikes of high anxiety—you are not alone! 

Every generation goes through serious tests and challenges. It has always been a part of life. As Arianna Huffington says: “Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success.”  In fact, trials and challenges help us recognize what is truly valuable in our lives…and to find and appreciate the resilience and strength that each one of us has inside. If we keep our health, open our hearts, live in gratitude and service…we can come through all this even stronger than when it started. 

This is a tough time, but in tough times we need to come together, to help each other. We’re all in this together…and this, all this is going to pass. 

As a doctor, my #1 priority is to do what I can to help you during this pandemic. Of course, that means offering ideas to keep you and your family healthy…but also helping you stay as sane and happy as possible. 

You can follow our updates and tips in addition to the AAP and CDC health precautions, but here are a few other things to consider:

  1. You are doing your best. Please cut yourself—and others—some slack. Trust that choices that stray from your norm—like allowing more screen time or ice cream, staying in pajamas all day or skipping a bath (wash those hands though!)—are all totally fine. This is a no judgment zone. In fact, having some flexibility is a sign of savvy parenting.

  2. Be kind and patient…with yourselves. It’s hard to be cooped-up—especially with kids in the house! So, practice some self-care. Whether it’s a relaxing bath, a break to breathe deeply or meditate (even 5 minutes helps!), or a nightcap (nighttime only), do something that makes you feel good. This is likely to be more of a marathon than a sprint. Like they say, “Put your oxygen mask on first.” So, take care of you.

  3. Take turns. Parenting always requires a lot of effort (and gives big rewards, of course!). But remember, up until a hundred years ago we had large communities, extended family, and teenage kids helping you keep your 2-year-old entertained. Now more than ever, during this period of social distancing, it all rests on your shoulders and that’s not easy. So, if you can, try to schedule a few 30- or 60-minute chunks where your partner or other support can give you a break so you don’t burn out. Read, listen to music, call a friend, do something to help refill your batteries…for which everyone under your roof will be thankful.

  4. A great way to boost health is sleep, sleep, sleep! Here’s a blog about why sleep is such a good immune-booster. For all SNOO-families, our sleep specialists will still be answering your baby sleep questions 7 days/week. (For toddler sleep, here’s a good resource.)

Parents have been asking us so many questions and we will use our social channels and website to keep sending our tips and info. And we’ll continue to collect your questions via Instagram stories which I will be continuously answering. 

Wishing you all health…and peace of mind, love, and laughter.

Harvey Karp, M.D., FAAP

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6 Ways for moms to find their zen

One of our most commonly asked questions is “do you make a swaddle for adults?”

Unfortunately, the answer is no. But just imagine being wrapped up all snug and cozy for a peaceful, uninterrupted night’s sleep….or better yet, a nap. Sounds pretty blissful.

But as we all know too well, it’s hard enough for mom to find 5 minutes to herself, let alone take a mid-day snooze. Raising a child is exhausting. So although it may feel impossible at times, it’s important to make yourself a priority. Here’s 6 ideas to help you carve out some extra “you time.”

1. Find your person

Find the parenting version of the Cristina Yang to your Meredith Grey—someone who you can trust with your children, who you can call when you need to commiserate, who won’t judge, and who just gets it.

Finding a couple of those people, even better. Maybe they’re an in-law, your mom, your best friend, another parent from your kid’s school, or another relative.

If they’re a parent too, schedule a weekly play-date and switch off every week so the both of you get some time for yourselves. It will be great for you, and great for your baby too! 

2. Make it kid-friendly

Relaxation doesn’t have to be sans-kids. Pick a morning and ignore your to-do list. Stay in your PJs and have a movie morning or read together. You’d be surprised how much your baby and children enjoy some peaceful snuggle time with mom.

Make this a weekly occurrence. The to-do list can wait until your movie is over. If you really can’t bear to watch another animated kids movie, pop your headphones in and listen to your favorite audio book while the kids are watching the movie. You still get all the snuggles, and your babies still get time with their favorite person.

3. Try Zen Sleepwear™

Your baby’s naps are a great time to relax yourself. Whether that means getting a few Zzz’s in or catching up on your favorite show. 

Zen Sleepwear’s gently weighted Cuddle Pads™ mimic your touch to give your baby the comfort and security of your embrace, even when you can’t be near—which means your baby will get the rest they need and you can maximize the time their asleep.

mom relaxing

4. Create a sanctuary

Find a place either in or close to your home that makes you feel good. It could be your bedroom, a spare room, your office, a spot in the back yard, or even your car.

Keep it stocked with the essentials—your favorite book, a couple snacks, a pillow or blanket, your favorite scented candle—whatever makes you feel at peace. That way, when you do manage to get a few minutes to yourself, your happy place is just waiting for you to enter.

5. Treat yo’ self

Yeah, you’ve got about 126 things left on that to-do list that you wanted to get done before the end of the day. But since it’s not likely to happen anyway, blow it off and do something you actually enjoy instead.

If exercise is your thing, go to the gym or take an online yoga class. Splurge on that shirt you’ve been eyeing or crack open the book that’s been on your nightstand for a month. Most importantly, DON’T feel guilty about it! Everyone needs a break—and you deserve one, goshdarnit! 

6. Pencil it in

You’re busy. Always. So if you don’t make an effort to find the time to relax, you won’t. Take an hour (or more!) for yourself every few days and let everyone know ahead of time you’re taking some time for yourself. If you plan ahead, you’re more likely to follow through.

relax refresh recharge

Getting adequate sleep and finding time to relax is important for the entire family. Chances are, if you’re feeling relaxed and in a better mood you’ll get more done anyway! 

 

You might also like…

Your baby’s nap schedule: how to nail it!

The importance of sleep for new moms

6 things no one tells you about breastfeeding

Cover photo courtesy of Amber Massey – Instagram: @masseya 

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6 Classic children’s books we love

Before your baby is even born, reading to them can have a positive impact on their brains. Your baby might not understand the words or know what the pictures mean, but if you read to them often, they’ll learn all the sounds needed to speak their language before they even reach their first birthday!

Not to mention, reading as an activity brings them closer to what they love most: you.

From the experts

“Reading to your child daily from infancy will help them develop key literacy, language and social skills they need to be successful once they start school.”

American Academy of Pediatrics

I loved reading to my kids as they grew up. When they were just babies, it was a great addition to your bedtime routine. Even as they got older, there was no better way to wind down before bed. As a result, I’ve raised two very hungry caterpillars who love to read.

Here were some of my favorites to read with them:

1. Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose

by Dr. Seuss

Thidwick The Big Hearted Moose Children's Book

This heart-wrenching book is my favorite Dr. Seuss story because it taught me about unconditional kindness as a toddler. It is also reminds me of my Mom.

Thidwick is a moose that hosts forest animals in his antlers and teaches us that, “A host above all must be kind to his guests.”

I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say that it is a testament to Seuss’s mastery of incorporating complex concepts and difficult ideas.

2. Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

Are You My Mother's Children's Book

Admit it! You might be rolling your eyes…but you’re also smiling! “Are You My Mother?” is ideal for introducing reading to young children because the story is simple and the words are repetitive. Moms love it because it can lead to games of “Who’s YOUR mother?” and lots of giggling and kisses.

When we read to our babies in bed they feel comfortable and safe. This allows the two of you to bond and grow together.

3. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

Love You Forever Children's Book

I dare anyone to read “I Love You Forever” start to finish without getting teary-eyed. Showing the relationship between child and mother and how it changes over time, this classic provides a lens on the importance of this first relationship in a child’s life. 

Books like this, which focus on emotions, help babies and young children learn to express their emotions using words.

Daily reading does not only aid in your baby’s emotional development it can also reduce stress in your life. Having a daily “calm-time” can help you appreciate the present and remember the big picture that we forget when we are caught up in daily life.

4. Run Away Bunny

by Margaret Wise Brown

The Runaway Bunny Children's Book

No mother wants to think about the day that her kid leaves home for good. We know that the end goal is independence—but we don’t want to stop being needed. 

The Runaway Bunny reminds us that the unconditional love, dedication and consistency of parenthood is as essential to wellbeing as food and shelter.

5. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

Stellaluna Children's Book Cover

A Mama bird adopts orphaned Stellaluna and together they teach us acceptance and adaptation in adversity. 

6. Sleep Book by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss Sleep Book

Van Vleck, a very small bug, is getting sleepy, and his yawn – contagious as yawns are – sets off a chain reaction, making all those around him feel sleepy too! This charming ode to bedtime will lull listeners (and readers) toward dreamland. Zzzz.

Books open our imagination, they challenge us to see from a different perspective and teach us the importance of being together. 

Happy reading everyone! 

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