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Peanuts, eggs and your baby: How to introduce food allergens during the coronavirus pandemic

Even during the current COVID-19 pandemic, the benefits of allergy prevention outweigh the very small risk of a severe reaction. Here’s why.

The best way to prevent food allergies is to introduce the most common allergenic foods to babies early in life, as research evidence for peanut and egg has shown. Even during the current COVID-19 pandemic, the benefits of allergy prevention outweigh the very small risk of a severe reaction.

As clinicians and researchers in the field of allergy and infant nutrition, we are worried that COVID-19 may lead parents to delay the introduction of allergens to their babies. Parents may not feel comfortable taking their baby to an emergency room because of potential exposure to COVID-19, so they don’t want to risk a severe allergic reaction requiring a hospital visit.

The most recent Canadian recommendations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendations encourage parents to introduce allergenic foods to babies as soon as they start eating solids around six months, but not before four months of age. This applies to lower-risk infants as well, but is especially important for babies who are at higher risk of allergy due to eczema, other food allergies or an immediate family history of an allergic condition.

Should I delay introduction of allergens?

Many parents may be wondering if they should hold off on introducing allergens to their baby because of COVID-19. The answer is no. Despite the pandemic and some families trying to avoid the risk of an emergency room visit, introducing allergens to babies without delay is recommended. The risk of a severe allergic reaction when eating a new food for the first time is extremely low— well below two per cent.

Delaying the introduction might put children at higher risk of allergies. If not introduced in infancy, the risk of an allergic reaction as a child gets older is increased, so it’s better to introduce early and not delay. There is evidence that in higher-risk infants, peanut introduction during infancy reduces the risk of peanut allergy by up to 80 per cent.

What if my baby has an anaphylactic reaction?

It’s very unlikely that infants will react so severely to a new food that they will need an emergency trip to the hospital. To put it further into perspective, food allergies affect around two per cent to 10 per cent of Canadians, so even most older children will not have an allergic reaction to foods. The chance of a severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis is much less than two per cent, even in higher risk infants.

In the unlikely event that infants have a severe reaction and need to go to the emergency room, the risk of acquiring COVID-19 is also extremely low when proper infection control measures are adhered to. The risk of an infant dying from COVID-19 in the unlikely event that it is acquired while visiting the emergency room is even more remote since children have milder disease symptoms.

How should I introduce allergens?

In Canada, the most common allergens are cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts, sesame seeds, fish and shellfish, soy and wheat. Puréed foods, smooth nut butters diluted with breast milk or formula, or ground nuts mixed in purées are great ways for parents to introduce allergens safely in non-choking form for babies.

It’s important that the allergen be introduced orally, meaning that the infant eats the food. We don’t recommend rubbing it on the skin or lips to test for an allergic reaction as that may cause irritation that could be misinterpreted as allergy.

Parents can introduce these foods one at a time, always in an age-appropriate way for their baby, and without delays between the introduction of new foods. Allergic reactions usually appear very quickly, so parents can gauge reaction within a couple of hours following the meal.

Allergic reactions in infants will usually affect the skin (hives, itchiness, rash), gastrointestinal tract (vomiting, diarrhea) or respiratory system (wheezing). Parents should monitor the signs closely and take pictures of skin reactions as they seek advice from their family doctor. If there is a reaction, the food should be avoided until parents have consulted their health-care team, and decided on the next best steps to take.

Once an allergen has been introduced safely, it is very important to keep offering and serving it to the baby a few times a week to maintain tolerance. Aiming to include these allergens in the regular family diet is a practical way for parents to offer it often to baby.

The benefit of preventing the development of food allergy (which can affect the quality of life of the whole family for many years) is far greater in our professional opinion than the very small risk of experiencing a life-threatening allergic reaction and potentially exposing infants to COVID-19.

Maude Perreault is a registered dietitian and research associate at McMaster University. Edmond S. Chan is a pediatric allergist, head & clinical associate professor at the Division of Allergy & Immunology in the Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and an Investigator at BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute at the University of British Columbia. Elissa M. Abrams is an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Section of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the University of Manitoba and Johns Hopkins University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Sleep Regressions: Everything You Need to Know

Your little one has been sleeping like an angel for the past month. They effortlessly go to bed, are easy to resettle, and only wake to feed. Then, all of a sudden, they begin to fight you at bedtime, scream for hours, and won’t sleep for longer than 30 minutes. What in the world happened?! Well, the bad news is, they have most likely hit a sleep regression. The good news? They only last a few weeks. I know, I know. A few weeks of sleepless nights seem like a lifetime. I hear ya. But it’s important to remember that they pass and you will get through them. So, what are sleep regressions? What causes them? What are the best ways to get through sleep regressions? Good questions, let’s dive in.

What are Sleep Regressions?

Well, they are exactly what they sound like. A sleep regression occurs when an infant regresses from sleeping well to having trouble falling or staying asleep.

What Causes a Sleep Regression?

Remember those amazing developmental leaps we discussed last week (read part I and part II)? Yup. Those are why. Whether it’s learning a new skill or experiencing separation anxiety, developmental leaps are a major cause of sleep regressions in infants. It is possible for your little one to experience up to four regressions during their first year at four, six, eight, and twelve months. All are linked to developmental leaps.

Other reasons your little one may be experiencing sleep regressions are:

  • Changes in schedules – like starting daycare
  • Traveling
  • Illness
  • Teething

What are the Signs of a Sleep Regression?

Babies, like adults, can just have “off” nights when it comes to sleeping. Maybe their tummy is upset or there is a noise that keeps waking them. These nights are not considered regressions, especially if they only occur a night here and a night there. Sleep regressions are prolonged and last from 2-4 weeks. Here are signs of a sleep regression:

  • Crying when put down to bed
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Frequent waking throughout the night
  • Short naps
  • Increased fussiness

Can you Prevent Sleep Regressions?

This is a very common question among parents. Unfortunately, no, you cannot avoid sleep regressions. This is because they are linked to cognitive and physical developments. However, the disposition of your child can affect how minimal or severe they are. You may also notice major differences in sleep regression severity from one of your children to the next. They truly are an individual experience.

How to Make it Through Sleep Regressions

Familiarizing yourself with when and why your little one experiences sleep regressions is key to getting through them. During these regressions, your little one needs extra love, understanding, and patience. So, here are a few things you can do to get through them in one piece:

  • Do not let your little one become overtired, be strict with nap and bedtimes
  • Shower them with extra daytime love and snuggles
  • Stick to your bedtime routine, or implement one if you haven’t already
  • Consider a sleep training program, we are always available to assist with this
  • Try some of these healthy sleep practices

Sleep regressions can be very trying experiences for even the most on-top-of-it parents. But being prepared, understanding the basics, and having an action plan will make them just a little easier to get through.

If you are interested in sleep training or need assistance with sleep regressions, we have specially trained doulas on staff who ready to help either virtually or in-person.

The post Sleep Regressions: Everything You Need to Know appeared first on Welcome Baby Care.

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Extra Calories When Exclusively Breastfeeding?

There’s always plenty of breastfeeding advice going around.


Unfortunately, a lot of it may be less than helpful! The truth is, your body is unique and sometimes even the best, most accurate advice may not apply to you.

> Click here for an effective technique that will teach you to deeply latch your baby and breastfeed without pain within minutes for a contented baby and an end to sore nipples.

When it comes to the calories you’ll need while exclusively breastfeeding, one of the best pieces of advice is – listen to your body! You’ll probably be hungry a lot if you’re exclusively breastfeeding. Your body burns extra calories to make breast milk. It also needs extra calories to put into the breast milk!

When your baby goes through a growth spurt and requires more milk, your appetite will increase again, temporarily. Just pay attention.

The truth is it’s usually unnecessary to count calories unless you are underweight.

If you really want some numbers, though, the Doctor’s Guild of America (DGA) recommends the following caloric intake (depending on your activity level) when you’re NOT PREGNANT:

• Sedentary: 1,800 to 2,000 calories per day
• Moderately active: 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day
• Active: 2,200 to 2,400 calories per day

How many extra calories do you need if you’re exclusively breastfeeding?

Women who are exclusively breastfeeding burn, on average, 500 calories per day breastfeeding. That’s 500 additional calories you need on top of the above DGA recommendations. Keep in mind, that’s just the average. You’ll likely need more or less depending on your fat reserves and how much your baby breastfeeds.

Maternal fat stores produce about 200 calories daily towards lactation. Is your BMI high or low or somewhere in between? If it’s low, you may need to consume more than 500 extra calories. As mentioned, if your baby’s going through a growth spurt and demanding more milk you may need more calories temporarily.

How many calories does your child need daily?

The amount of milk your baby drinks daily depends on their age, size, and sex.

Males
• 1 to 3 months: 472 to 572 calories per day
• 4 to 6 months: 548 to 645 calories per day
• 7 to 9 months: 668 to 746 calories per day
• 10 to 12 months: 793 to 844 calories per day

Females
• 1 to 3 months: 438 to 521 calories per day
• 4 to 6 months: 508 to 593 calories per day
• 7 to 9 months: 608 to 678 calories per day
• 10 to 12 months: 717 to 768 calories per day

Again, these are ranges. Your little one could be either side of the range. Talk to your pediatrician if you’re concerned that your baby’s not gaining enough weight.

http://alphamom.com/your-life/postpartum/breastfeeding-dieting/
alphamom.com

Do I need to drink extra fluids when I’m breastfeeding?

A breastfeeding mother should aim for roughly 3.1 liters of water compared to 2.2 liters for non-lactating/pregnant women according to the Institute of Medicine. Please note that this is not the exact amount of water you require. Every woman is different and every situation is different. Activity levels and the weather will make a big impact on your fluid needs. This is just a target amount that should provide adequate hydration for most breastfeeding mothers.

Unless you’re dehydrated, drinking beyond satiation does not increase milk supply. On the flip side, reducing fluid intake will not prevent an oversupply.

The bottom line is – eat nourishing, nutrient-dense foods when you’re hungry and drink when you’re thirsty…and stop the calorie-counting! Not all calories are created equal anyway.

When you’re exclusively breastfeeding, focus on nutritious foods and drinks while enjoying this short, breastfeeding phase. It doesn’t last long, momma!

> Click here for an effective technique that will teach you to deeply latch your baby and breastfeed without pain within minutes for a contented baby and an end to sore nipples.

Plus, we found some interesting things on Pinterest:

Breastfeeding, Baby Product, Baby Gadgets

Breastfeeding, Baby Cheat Sheet, Baby Hacks, New Mom
Source
Breastfeeding, Foods to avoid while breastfeeding
Source

Sources:
www.exclusivepumping.com
www.kellymom.com
www.nichd.nih.gov




The post Extra Calories When Exclusively Breastfeeding? appeared first on BabyCare Mag.

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weeLove: This must-have stroller is Element-al

photo of the element convertible stroller from Contours outside near Millennium Park in Chicago. Shown with a forward-facing toddler seat and a tandem tote carry bag.

Contours Element

1-to-2 Convertible Stroller

Being on-the-go with your crew has never been easier—or looked so good. Designed to fit the (many!) needs of growing families, the Contours Element Convertible Stroller transforms from a single to double stroller with ease. See? Juggling two little kids *can* be smooth.

The Element Stroller Base Model includes the stroller, reversible seat, parent organizer, and tote. You can add on a second seat, bassinet, removable carry cot, and accessories.

Not sure what setup will work best? Good news… the Element offers 35+ seating options to create an ideal riding set-up. It can also be used with one or two infant car seats for the newborn stage.

This versatile, side-by-side double stroller features a sleek frame that fits through most standard doorways. (No bulk on this super luxe design!) Despite toting two, the Element is a breeze to maneuver. Better yet, parents love the easy conversion with no changes to the stroller frame.

If you’re the type that likes to plan ahead, the Element is a great stroller for just one kiddo. The included tote fits the second seat and provides plenty of extra storage to hold kid gear, groceries, and more.

While it’s definitely a splurge, the Element grows with your growing brood, comfortably accommodating your kiddos at every stage. So get ready to mix things up on your next neighborhood adventure!

Copy reads in black and white text across a chartreuse background "the ultimate in stroller versatility" above a photo of a man and a woman pushing the Countour's Element Convertible Stroller along a sidewalk. There is a toddler asleep in the toddler seat, which is next to a tandem carry tote.

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The Dos and Don’ts of Healthy Sleeping Practices

A full, restful night of sleep can mean the difference between a happy child and a crabby one, no matter what their age. But did you also know that sleep deprivation in children can manifest as hyperactivity, clumsiness, impulsivity, and lack of focus? Being well-rested is integral to your child’s health, wellness, and development so it is important to create healthy sleeping habits as soon as possible. And whatever your parenting style, the rules for creating these habits are the same across the board. So, today, we have compiled a list of dos and don’ts of healthy sleeping practices.

The DOs of Healthy Sleeping Practices:

Establish a consistent routine 

Believe it or not, children love boundaries and limits. Having set nap-times and bedtime will teach them what to expect when. Having predictable routines will help them feel secure, can lead to better self-control, and encourage independence. 

Stay Calm

Sleep times, whether for naps or for the night should be a loving, peaceful time for all involved. Yes, bedtimes can be a battle all their own, but if you approach the situation with anger, frustration, or emotional outbursts your child will develop fear and anxiety about sleeping. This is incredibly counter-productive. Take deep breaths, use a calm voice, and step away for a moment if your child is upset. Your composure is key.

Introduce Security

Allow your little one to have a “safety” item such as a blanket or toy. These items are to be used during nap-time or bedtime ONLY. Limit this to one or two items and not the entire toy box.

Incorporate Wind Down Time

An hour or so before bedtime, it is important for your child to wind down. Much like how you might enjoy a good book at bedtime, your child can benefit from these routines as well. Dim the lights, tuck your little one into bed and read stories, listen to quiet music, or sing lullabies.

Stick With the Plan

Do your best to keep them in bed once you tuck them in and complete your winding down. If they get up, quietly walk them into their room and tuck them back in. If they are crying for you, go in and give them a reassuring pat. Do not pick them up and do not speak! Once you engage them you open the door for more questions, demands, or cries. You may have to tuck them in several times but eventually they will stay put and fall asleep. 

The DON’Ts of Healthy Sleeping Practices:

Beds are For Sleeping

As mentioned above, do not fill your little one’s bed with toys, this is just a distraction for them and can greatly hinder the quality of their sleep. It is important to establish their bed as a place for rest and sleep, not play. 

Avoid Negative Associations

Never use bedtime as a threat or punishment. As we mentioned above, you want bedtime to be a positive experience.

Choose Snacks Wisely

If your little one likes a pre-bedtime snack make sure to avoid foods that contain caffeine or sugar, this will negatively affect the quality of their sleep. No ice cream, no flavored yogurt, no cookies. Stick with carbohydrate-rich snacks like bananas.

Water Only

If your little one is thirsty or likes to have something to drink at their bedside give them water.  As with sugary foods, juice, soda, or other sugary beverages will negatively impact their sleep.

No Screens

Turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime and never allow your little one to have a TV, Smart Phone, or tablet in their room. Watching screens stimulates the brain and makes it difficult to sleep restfully. 

Establishing healthy bedtime habits can be difficult, especially if you’re starting from scratch with an older child. Just like with adults, replacing a bad habit with a good one takes time. Through consistency and routine your child will quickly adapt to their new schedule and will be sleeping restfully in no time.

Need help with your child’s sleep? We offer in-person and virtual sleep coaching packages.

The post The Dos and Don’ts of Healthy Sleeping Practices appeared first on Welcome Baby Care.

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Developmental Leaps Part II: How and When Your Baby Grows

If you’ve read part one of this two-part series on your baby’s development, you know, by this point, that your baby has gone through a ton of changes! But what comes ahead as your baby nears/enters toddlerhood are critical changes that will carry them through the rest of their lives. So, let’s dive into developmental leaps 6-10 and continue our discussion about how and when your baby grows!

Leap #6: The World of Categories

Around week 37, you may notice your baby is becoming more methodical. They may be focusing intently on the way they can interact with and manipulate objects. Your little one may suddenly be obsessed with squishing their food or examining specks of lint they find on the floor. This is because they are starting to “research” their world. This intentional type of behavior is helping them recognize which sensations, objects, etc. belong to which categories (e.g. food, toys, animals, and so on).

Leap #7: The World of Sequence

During leap #6, destruction was the name of the game for your baby, but by around week 46, you may notice the exact opposite to be true. During developmental leap #7, your little one will have a new interest in construction. It is by this time that your baby starts to understand that success comes after a series of sequences. If they want to build a tower of blocks, for example, they will need to understand which objects are blocks. They will then need to understand how the blocks need to be put together. They will also need to understand how to accurately stabilize the blocks on top of each other. And so on.

Leap #8: The World of Programs

Your baby will reach developmental leap #8 around the end of the first year. This is also a big shift for parents as they leave infancy behind and enter the joys of toddlerhood. At around week 55, your little one has increasingly more confidence in how they approach, interact with, and understand the world around them. During this leap, your toddler will be putting if-then patterns into action. During this type of exploration, you may notice your new toddler engaging in a lot of exploratory and ‘naughty’ behavior. If I knock over this glass, then its contents will spill. If I pull the dog’s tail, then it will yelp. This can be a crucial time in behavior development when it comes to interacting with parents, too. During this phase, it is important to let your little one explore, but reinforcing negative behavior can lead to years of trouble. Negative associations that are often developed during this time are: tantrums, hitting, fighting bedtime, and finicky eating. To set your toddler up for success, it is important, as a parent, to be clear about boundaries, firm with rules, and consistent with age-appropriate consequences.

Leap 9: The World of Principles

As your toddler grows more confident and observant with their world, you will notice they develop a love for imaginative play. They may babble with their toys (or have their toys babble with each other), or they may imitate interactions they’ve witnessed. One of the most common – and adorable – mimicry that happens around this leap is with pretending to be on the phone. While there are a lot of very cute behaviors your toddler will be engaging in during this phase, it can also be frustrating. This is because your little one is also beginning to experiment with emotions. You may notice an increase in whining, pouting, aggression, and use of the word “no.” These are all normal experiments. It is also when your toddler needs your patience and understanding the most.

Leap #10: The World of Systems

The last and final leap occurs around week 75 (aka 17 months). Your little one has learned a lot over the past year + and now they are going to put it all into practice. During developmental leap #10 your toddler is honing their personality. They better understand how they interact with their world and know they can choose who they want to be in it. Your toddler may choose to be kind and gentle, or they may choose to be rude and aggressive. They are growing their conscience, values, and personality norms.

A word of caution about this phase:

By this point in your parenthood journey you’ve no doubt been told over and over again that you cannot spoil your baby (which is true). It is important for you to understand that, by this point, however, that rule no longer applies. During developmental leap #10, you are helping your toddler put into action everything they’ve learned. They are creating, in those few precious weeks, the value systems that will carry them throughout their entire life. Your job now is to help them navigate. Your best tools for this are patience, understanding, patience, love, and, oh yeah, patience.

If you missed our post on developmental leaps 1-5, you can read them here!

The post Developmental Leaps Part II: How and When Your Baby Grows appeared first on Welcome Baby Care.

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Developmental Leaps Part I: How and When Your Baby Grows

During your baby’s first year they will grow at an astonishing rate. It is the fastest they will ever grow in their entire life. On average, by your baby’s first birthday, they will have tripled their birth weight and gone through ten major development milestones known as “leaps.” That’s a lot of learning and growing! These spurts in growth can cause some temporary personality changes in your little one, too. Some of the most common signs your baby is going through a developmental leap are crying and fussiness, sleep regressions, and separation anxiety. Change can be scary for babies, so during these important growing phases, remember to reassure your baby that they are safe. With so many important changes happening in the first year, we are going to break it down into two articles. Today, we will discuss developmental leaps 1-5 and talk about how and when your baby grows!

 Leap #1: New Sensations

During your baby’s first few weeks of life, they experience the outside world much like they experienced the inside world. Sounds are muffled, their sight is blurred, and their senses are focused on survival (aka, trying to find food). But around week 5, your baby will begin to develop a deeper awareness of the world in which they have been living. You may notice your baby is suddenly wide-eyed about everything. Indulge their curiosity.

Leap #2: Recognizing Patterns

Pattern recognition begins around week 8 and involves more than just their sight. While visual patterns can be endlessly entertaining for your little one, they are also taking note of physical patterns, too. Patterns in sound (like singing), patterns in touch (like water during bath time), or patterns in movement (like how they can move their hands) are all important to your baby’s development. During this time you may notice your baby swiping or kicking more often. Another sign they have reached this second leap is they may begin to vocalize – a lot.

Leap #3: Smooth Transitions

As you recall from developmental leap #2, your baby is discovering patterns in their movement. You may also notice a pattern in how they move: jerky, seemingly erratic, and comically cartoonish. But around week 12, your baby will gain better control over their arms and legs. Your baby’s reaching, kicking, grasping, etc. will become smoother and more intentional. But leap 3 transitions are more than just physical. During this time, your baby is experiencing more nuanced perceptions of the world around them. They can notice subtle changes in tone of voice, shifts in light, or a subtle breeze.

Leap #4: World of Events

As adults, we often take for granted what our brains do for us automatically. When we see someone jump, for example, we know they will come down because our brains understand cause and effect. And by around week 19, your baby will, too. Leap #4 is possibly one of the most intense developmental leaps your baby will make. Understanding cause and effect can (and most likely will) drastically change your baby’s behavior. You may notice they are becoming more vocal or fussy, and possibly a little more stubborn. Unfortunately, this is also around the time your baby will experience their first sleep regression. This happens for several reasons. One, they are excited to be learning new skills and are often too cognitively stimulated to want to sleep. And two, they understand now that when and if they cry, mom or dad will come to get them. It is also around this time we highly suggest implementing a sleep training strategy (we have doulas for that!).  It is imperative for your baby to develop healthy sleep associations and self-soothing skills. Because this phase of your baby’s development builds the foundation for their sleep habits for the rest of their life.

Leap #5: World of Relationships

Around week 26, your baby will begin to understand their relationship to the world around them. This leap, too, can cause some behavioral changes in your baby. By this point, they are aware when things are uncomfortably close or frustratingly far. With this new understanding of distance, learning to move has become a top priority. You may notice your baby rolling, scooting, or even crawling. You may also notice they now scream their head off when you leave the room. This is because they don’t understand where you went. And they also understand they can’t go find you. This can be frightening for many babies and can be a frustrating time for many parents. But as with all leaps, this phase, too, shall pass.

Check back later this week to learn about developmental leaps 6-10!

The post Developmental Leaps Part I: How and When Your Baby Grows appeared first on Welcome Baby Care.

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weeLove: A Mess-free Fort

Easy Indoor Entertainment

AirFort is Fun for Everyone

Kids love building forts. No couch cushion or blanket is left untouched. While this imaginative play creates lots of fun, it also creates lots of mess. If only you could walk across your living room floor without dodging pillow traps… sigh.

Give the couch a much-needed break and set up an AirFort. Made of lightweight, breathable fabric, this awesome fort inflates in seconds by simply attaching to a box fan. At 6.5 feet in diameter and over 4 feet tall, it’s the perfect size for kiddos to play, get cozy with a book, and even do schoolwork. (Fact: math worksheets are way more exciting when done inside a fort.)

There are tons of fun patterns and colors to choose from… even a glow in the dark option. When not in use, Air Fort easily deflates and can be tucked away in the included small carrying bag. (It only weighs 24 ounces!).

No assembly. Check.
Hours of fun for all ages. Check.
No living room destruction. Check

Now that’s the kind of checklist we love.

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Common Toddler Sleep Problems


baby nighttime waking

Just when you think you’ve got bedtime under control, your little one hits a milestone or some other developmental stages and all bets are off. The toddler years are full of hiccups when it comes to sleep, so I’m going to cover some of the most common toddler sleep problems today.

Early mornings

You probably thought I was going to talk about night wakings, right? You’ve seemingly conquered the nights, but then your little one starts waking early. Really early. If your toddler is getting up before the sun rises, ready to take on the day, you’re not alone.

Begin by looking at your baby’s nap schedule. It could be that your little one is getting too much sleep during the day—causing them to wake early in the morning—and they’re ready to drop a nap or have their daytime schedule tweaked.

Depending on your toddler’s age, you can use one of my favorite sleep items—the Ok to Wake! Alarm Clock and Night Light. Perfect for little ones without number knowledge, you set the clock for an acceptable wake time, and once the time comes, the clock glows green. Whatever you do, set consequences and be consistent with enforcing them—they’ll get the hang of it.

Night waking

While many of my Philadelphia area clients come to me because of infant sleep problems, night wakings can be especially shocking with toddlers. Especially when they’re historically good sleepers. Don’t panic! 

If your toddler is between 18-24 months old, night wakings could be a sign of a sleep regression, which is normal at this age. These regressions typically coincide with developmental milestones, such as language explosions and increased motor skills. Whatever the cause, the waking should cease in a week or two, and your baby should slip back into their usual routine.

Bedtime battles

One of the most common toddler sleep problems is the up-and-down routine at bedtime. First, you’ll encounter a fight to get your toddler settled in bed. Then they’ll ask for another sip of water, another book, another kiss, another hug—you get the picture. Your toddler’s increasing independence means they’re going to be testing boundaries, and bedtime is one of them.

After the reluctance to go to sleep, you may have a toddler who is like a ninja, slipping from their crib or bed, and silently appearing at your side. Unfortunately, once they discover how to leave their room, they may continue doing it over and over. Again, you need to be consistent with how you treat this. Try to interact as little as possible, as you turn your little one around and march them back to their room. Continue doing it. Your toddler will learn that you’re not going to play or snuggle with them when it’s bedtime and eventually will remain in their bed.

Baby sleep consultants know that toddler sleep problems can often be the most trying, especially with a physically active toddler. If you find you’re not having any luck getting your little one to remain in bed, I’m happy to help—even if you’re simply looking for a plan and straightforward instructions to get your toddler sleeping again. 

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Night Weaning a Breastfeeding Baby and How to Maintain Milk Supply

Night Weaning a Breastfeeding Baby and How to Maintain Milk SupplyWhen it comes to night weaning a breastfeeding baby, you might have a lot of questions. Many moms worry that if they night wean, their baby might lose interest during the day, too. Also, some moms experience a drop in their milk supply when they night wean their baby. This sponsored post will share 5 steps to night weaning a breastfed baby and maintaining your milk supply.

What is Night Weaning?

In my experience of over 10 years, night weaning can mean different things to different people. When it comes to night weaning, it is important we set expectations.

For this post, it is important to keep in mind that night weaning your breastfeeding baby means to reduce milk feedings at night to an age-appropriate number of times. That means that after you “night wean,” you might still be feeding your baby at night, depending on the age of your baby.

Maintaining your breastfeeding relationship with your baby is the #1 priority while also maximizing sleep for both of you

When Can You Night Wean a Breastfeeding Baby?

It is important not to start night weaning your baby until your milk supply is fully established. In my experience, breastfeeding babies eat more frequently at night than other babies. The reason is that breast milk is digested more easily and faster than formula.

Newborns should feed every 2 hours. By 4 weeks old, babies are going 2 to 3 hours between feedings. And, by 6 weeks old, your baby might be able to do one longer stretch of sleep at night of 3-4 hours. By 3-5 months old, most breastfed babies eat 2-3 times at night. And, by 6 months-old, we can usually night wean to just 1-2 feedings. After that, many breastfeeding babies continue to eat at least once a night until 7-12 months old, depending on a variety of factors. It is important to feed your baby the appropriate number of night feedings by age.

You might also be interested in: Newborn Schedules By Week

But, how will you know when your baby is ready for fewer night feedings?

There are a few signs it’s time to night wean your baby, including your baby showing less interest in feedings at night, or your baby isn’t eating as much during the day. Once you start solid food, that is another common time that some babies will drop one of their night feedings. But, it’s important not to overdo the solid food simply to decrease night feedings.

Another thing to consider is whether your baby is eating out of habit or due to a sleep association with breastfeeding. If your baby is getting older and still comfort nursing every 1-2 hours all night, this is a common time to consider night weaning.

All babies are different, so the age at which you drop all night feedings will vary for each mom and baby pair. You might want to take our Is Your Baby Ready To Night Wean? Quiz.

How to Night Wean a Breastfed Baby

So, now you have set your expectations about what age to night wean your baby. How do you night wean? Here are the 5 steps to successfully night weaning a breastfed baby without negatively impacting your milk supply:

1. Maximize Daytime Milk Feedings

Most moms try to encourage their baby to eat more during the day, so baby stops waking up so much at night. Consider that there are a few keys to this you might not have thought of.

If you are trying to feed your baby very often during the day, this might increase night feedings. When your baby does a lot of “snacking” during the day, your baby might not get as much of the fattier hindmilk. This is because you are not emptying your breasts.

We want to encourage fuller feedings during the day. For some babies, that means spreading out daytime feedings once it’s comfortable for your baby.

Some babies will nurse every time they are offered the breast but then not nurse very long. Consider the time between feedings during which your baby nurses the “best.” It might be a longer session where you feel your baby is emptying at least one or both breasts. Again, the amount of time varies with each mom and baby pair.

My first-born could only go up to 3 hours between feedings and never go more than that. I’ve worked with some moms whose baby goes up to 4 hours. The average, in my experience, seems to be every 3 hours once baby is past 2-4 months old.

2. Decide How Many Night Feedings Are Appropriate, Then Add One

Once you have spent a few days trying to maximize milk intake during the day, there may or may not be any change to the night feedings. Consider that it’s a chicken and egg problem in that your baby might not eat more during the day until you cut back at night.

In this step, decide how many night feedings you plan to end up with and then add one. For example, if you have a 5-month-old and plan to night wean to two feedings, plan for three feedings to start.

Now, feed your baby that many feedings at night, if you’re not already. Using the previous example, if your baby is waking every two hours, up to 5 times a night, plan to feed them three times and set the feedings at least 3 hours apart. An example might be to feed your baby at 10 PM, 2 AM, and 5 AM, to start. Choosing the times to start with might involve taking the time of the first feeding right now and adding 30-60 minutes.

What do you do when your baby wakes up and it’s not a feeding time?

You would settle your baby in other ways as much as possible. If your baby is unhappy about the change, this is where gentle sleep coaching often comes in. Don’t be afraid to take several days to gradually work your way up to this, though. The pace is up to you and small changes can mean big progress.

Once your baby is comfortably feeding these many times at night, you can move on to the next step.

3. Begin to Delay Feedings

Finally, start delaying the first feeding of the night by 30-60 minutes each night until you are only feeding your baby the target number of times. This often only takes a few nights. Voila!

But, there are a couple of more steps to consider.

4. Keep Up Your Milk Supply When Night Weaning

When you are night weaning your breastfeeding baby, you do need to be careful about your milk supply. When you don’t breastfeed for many hours in a row, this can negatively impact your milk supply. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes two weeks to notice the drop in supply and it’s tough to get it back up. We can’t predict which moms will experience this, unfortunately. In my 10+ years as a sleep consultant, I’ve seen it enough times that we guard against it.

In addition, sometimes your goal is to drop one night feeding, but your baby decides to sleep through the night! That can be a blessing for your sleep but a curse on your milk supply.

Therefore, it’s best to be proactive to maintain your milk supply while night weaning. Here’s how:

Breastfeeding operates on a supply and demand basis. The more your baby demands, the more milk your body makes. If your baby stops demanding milk for 12 hours at night, your body might think this is a signal to stop making milk at all times.

So, the easiest way to simulate demand for milk is to pump your breastmilk!

But, didn’t we night wean so we can get more sleep?

Yes, indeed! Depending on the age of your baby, you might only need to pump once a night and can do so right before your bedtime. The younger your baby, the more times you will need to pump, of course. One idea that works well for younger babies is to pump before your bedtime and then set your alarm about 5 hours later for one more pumping session.

Medela Freestyle Flex Breast PumpWhen I was breastfeeding my two boys each for about a year, I was pumping as well. I used a Medela Pump In Style, so I’m a big Medela fan. The same pump was able to pump for two years! But, that was over a decade ago and pumps have come a looooong way! That’s why I’m delighted to introduce you to Medela’s newest pump, the Freestyle Flex Double Electric Pump.

The Freestyle Flex is the newest breast pump from Medela, with a light, compact and portable design that offers true mobility. It’s is perfect for the active mom who pumps several times a day. Here are a few details about this great new pump:

  • Small and Lightweight – This pump fits in the palm of your hand and weighs less than a pound. You can easily put it in your pocket, in your purse, or in your baby bag.
  • Wider Breast Shield – It has a wider entry point to the tunnel with a different angle. They measured moms getting 11% more milk per minute as it promotes better emptying of the breasts. This is really important because breastfeeding moms constantly worry they don’t have enough milk. This will help reassure you that you probably do!
  • USB port – You can use your computer to charge this pump rather than needing an outlet. And, once charged, it stays charged for two hours, which will give you ~3 separate pumping sessions.
  • Overflow Protection – Unlike other pumps, this pump has overflow protection so milk doesn’t get in the tubing. This makes it easier to clean, and you won’t need to replace the tubing.
  • Comfort – This pump has PersonalFit Flex breast shields that offer a four-way fit and adapt to your natural shape.
  • Two-Phase Expression™ Technology – This technology mimics a baby’s natural sucking rhythms by allowing you to switch phases before and after let-down.
  • Quiet – This pump is very quiet, which can give you the confidence to pump in all kinds of places! One thing I really liked is that the tubing connects more vertically, so it’s more discreet to pump.
  • Flexible – If needed, you can pump just one side or both at the same time. So, if your baby only empties one breast, it makes it easy to pump the other breast for some milk stash.

Pro Tip: Some insurance companies will reimburse your pump purchase at any major retailer such as Amazon. Check with your insurance company directly to find out more.

The Freestyle Flex pump also has an app, MyMedela. Using the app is another way to help you be successful. You can track breastfeeding and pumping sessions, baby’s height, weight, sleep, and diaper changes all in one place.

If you are also going back to work during this time, you might be especially nervous about your breastfeeding relationship. Medela also has resources for working moms with their New Moms’ Health Returns program.

5. Keep Offering More Milk During the Day

Lastly, the final step in night weaning is to go back to the first step and continually offer more milk during the day. As you gradually reduce how much milk offered at night, you might find your baby’s appetite increases during the day. It’s important to make sure your baby is getting enough milk in a 24-hour period.

I hope this post has given you confidence in night weaning and maintaining your milk supply, so you can achieve all of your breastfeeding goals! If you need support, be sure to check out Medela’s free breastfeeding support and community The Moms’ Room or access their 24×7 lactation consultants!

What are your questions about night weaning or your experience with night weaning your breastfeeding baby? Did you experience a drop in milk supply? Did you pump?

This is a sponsored post by Medela LLC, but the opinions are all my own.

The post Night Weaning a Breastfeeding Baby and How to Maintain Milk Supply appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.