Two Words to Perfect Parenting

Did you know purposeful movement builds brain cells and neuron synapses? Each time the brain makes the body work, your baby has built a fatty pathway in his brain which he can then use for other things. Imagine that! When he is trying to reach for that toy and is guiding his hand toward it? Guess what? Brain building happening! Don’t move that toy closer! Please!

I once put my daughter in a shopping cart at 8 months oldDCP01691 and as she reached to gather the two belt of the “seat-belt” herself, I let her. And for TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES she continued to try. She would drop one, struggle to pick it up. She struggled to have those two hands work together to bring the butterfly clasp together. She knew exactly what needed to be done and she felt up to the task of trying. After nearly half an hour (with people coming in and out rooting for her), she let go, looked up, sighed and gave me the most beautiful self-satisfied smile I’d ever seen. She didn’t CARE that she hadn’t clasped the seat-belt. She was so proud of her efforts.

Your child is a self learner and will be able to teach himself most of what he needs to learn. We give children opportunities to teach themselves and trust them to be the initiator, explorer, and self learner. People like to call Montessori an “auto-didactic” philosophy of education. I contend that as humans we are auto didactic beings. A child who has been allowed to intentionally focus, build strength, know his limits, determine his movement has graceful integrated movements. Thus the two words you need to remember at all times:

Free Movement!

How can we help children with free movement?

  1. By keeping them out of containers and ON THE FLOOR!

2. By keeping their environment at the right temperature or clothing them properly. Some underweight babies who aren’t dressed warmly may be using their energy to keep warm instead of using it to develop.

3. By wearing non-restrictive clothing. Pants cannot be too tight. No dresses on crawling babies (they will crawl onto the bottom of the dress and choke themselves.)

4. No overalls on children interested in potty training. It takes too long.

We can’t ask infants to develop on our schedule. This is especially true in the area of gross motor development. But of course all of the developmental domains are inter-related. His movement is a function of his cognition. His socialization is influenced by his emotional attachment. A baby is tension free. His does not get fatigued by moving. If given a chance to initiate, he will. Watch. He explores. He develops. We just need to stay out of his way.

Most of our interventions are harmful. For instance, when we put him in an upright car seat before he has moved to the sitting position on his own, we are compressing his chest, neck and tracheal. In the LA times in November 2001 there was an article about breathing difficulties of infants, especially pre-term babies. Sometimes they suffer sleep apnea in car seats. There is a car seat called the Dream Ride made by Cosco for $93 on Amazon. It allows babies to be on their back until they are ready (when they sit on their own.)

We need give information to children, not directions. “Your foot is near the edge of the stair.” “Learning to fall, get up again, and move on, is the best preparation for life.” Magda Gerber.

A child moves with such elegance and efficiency when he moves and develops on his own schedule. His inner agenda is so important to his spatial relationships and sensory skills. Why are there so many sensory issues now? Are babies not exploring enough?

Children know what they can’t do. Babies raised this way are coordinated and graceful but they also know their limits. I knew a child who climbed onto a bookshelf that wasn’t attached to the wall and pulled it down. The same girl also fell out of a tree. I also noticed her mother often “saved” her at the last minute from her precarious adventures, grabbing her just as she was about to have a mishap. She didn’t learn correctly because of her hovering mother saving her from the natural consequences of gravity and other natural phenomena.

Newborns can sleep when tired, feed when hungry, have a fully developed sense of touch and can communicate their needs to us. Sucking is a reflex and a baby can begin to organize himself to find self soothing strategies. But he needs freedom. He needs freedom to find his thumb (no swaddling) and to organize and learn about his body.

When a child moves on his own, from one activity to another, he gains intelligence, discovers his abilities, makes use of his knowledge, experiences success and failure. All of that is happening without you. He is learning that but you are not teaching it. If there is one thing I would want to help parents to prepare themselves for – it is to give their babies free movement!

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How to Simplify Baby Sleep

This seems overly complicated to me and I prefer referencing Dr. Weissbluth and 12 Hours by 12 Weeks but some people swear by the BabyCenter Sleep Forum. See what you think!

I really think if you are trying to:

  1. sleep baby in own room (they can smell that breast milk a long way off!)
  2. not make sleep associations (nurse to sleep, etc.) and
  3. encourage baby so self soothe (no pacifier under 3 weeks when they find fingers)
  4. think vaguely in terms of moving baby toward 7pm to 7am with a 9-11 and   1-3 nap.
  5. remember that, after a year, morning nap will go later until it replaces afternoon.

That’s really it for me. I think if you do these things with your own mommy intuition and knowledge of you and your baby, you’ll be fine. But look at all of this complication!!

 

WU – wake up
BT – bed time
WT – wake time
OT – over tired
TWT – total wake time
EWU – early wake up
Sample Sleep Schedules & FAQ

The advice and sample schedules below are based on the experiences of mom’s from the BabyCenter sleep forum. After hanging around on the forum for a while, you can start to see trends of what works and doesn’t work and the below is a sort-of summary of frequently asked questions on the forum. The below is for educational purposes only and as always, you should use your common sense and consult your Ped for medical advice, when it’s ok to drop nightfeeds, when something doesn’t seem right etc.

*Do not fix what isn’t broken* — If your baby’s schedule seems to be working for you, even if it’s not aligning to what here, there is no need to try to fix it. If you want to co-sleep, nurse to sleep, rock to sleep, hold to sleep, etc and it is working for your family, there is no need to change anything for now. If your baby’s sleep habits are deteriorating and it’s taking hours to get them to sleep and/or your work is suffering, your marriage is suffering, and/or YOU are suffering, then that’s where sleep training comes in.

*“The theory”* — On the forum we talk about age-appropriate sleep schedules. If you are keeping your baby up for too long between naps and/or he/she has too late of a bedtime, they become overtired (“OT”) and then become more dependent on sleep dependencies (rocking/nursing/paci, etc.) to get them to sleep. By keeping to an age-appropriate schedule and putting down (“PD”) at an appropriate awake time (“WT”), you minimize OT. As a results, they have an easier time falling asleep on their own and require less of your “help” so you avoid developing sleep dependencies (them expecting to be nursed/fed, rocked, paci, etc. to sleep and back to sleep in the middle of the night (“MOTN”).

*Perfect sleep schedule/WTs won’t fix sleep dependencies* — An age-appropriate sleep schedule will help reduce some NWs and help out naps and you can use the suggested sleep schedules while still nursing to sleep, co-sleeping, etc. But, at some point, for the best and most consistent results, consistency and sleep training will need to be part of the plan (for naps and nights). Sleep dependencies are easier to break at 4 months compared to 9 months (or 1 year or 3 years, etc). The longer you wait, the more those habits are ingrained and become more difficult to break. But with a plan and being 100% consistent, and sticking to an age-appropriate schedule, you should get results pretty quickly.

*For best results…* — If you’re following appropriate WTs and schedules and have a consistent ST plan but still having problems, consider tweaking some of these:

  • Blackout shades — It doesn’t have to be 100% pitch black but it should block out the majority of light
  • White noise — This helps drown out background noise and also helps to re-create womb noise. You can keep it on full volume for entire duration of sleep or turn it down while asleep for naps/nights. Usually you don’t need white noise past 9-12 months but you can continue to use it if you want.
  • Have the baby sleep in his/her own room — If they can smell their food nearby, they tend to wake more frequently. If they are sleeping right next to you, you can get into the habit of responding to every peep too quickly and actually creating a nightwaking (NW). Babies wriggle and make noise in the MOTN so give them 5-10 min before responding to give them the opportunity to practice going back to sleep on their own.
  • Stick to EASY during the day — That is, “Eat, Activity, Sleep, Your Time”. By separating the eating from the sleeping, you prevent feed-to-sleep habits. EASY is also better for managing reflux because you allow the food time to settle before laying them them down. For the first few months, it is fine for the last bottle/nursing to be right before bedtime. But when they stop falling asleep on it, try moving the last bottle/nursing to before bathtime instead. EASY also helps them get full feedings instead of just “snacking” every couple hours. By “snacking” every couple of hours they don’t get the rich hind milk and can wake up more often at night due to hunger.. At 6+ months, you can do AEASY, where you do a little activity before feeding.
  • Don’t get them out of bed until 6:30/6:45am — If you start their day earlier than that, then they will tend to wake up earlier and earlier. For any early wakings, go in and do a quick check (e.g., hush/pat) to signal to them that it’s still bedtime and then CIO and don’t get them out til 6:30/6:45am. It takes practice for them to learn how to fall back asleep on in those early morning hours, so keep giving them the opportunity and you will prevent early wake up (EWU) habits. Keeping them in bed until at least 6:30am also keeps them rested enough to last until the time of their first nap. (Versus taking them out in the 5’s, they will tend to fall asleep for their first nap too early and this tends to propagate EWU’s). After ~5 months, avoid early morning nursing/co-sleeping as often times they become habits that are hard to break and propagate EWUs.
  • Sleep train for BT — having the child fall asleep on their own at BT reduces NWs and EWUs.
  • Nap train — For things to come together better, it seems like nap training (having them fall asleep on their own for naps) has to be part of the picture. You can wait until nights are better to nap train or nap train at the same time.
  • Try nap extensions — Leave in crib for the full hour for nap attempts so they get practice falling back to sleep and so that they can make it to their next nap time better. You can also try “wake-to-sleep” by slightly stirring them a few minutes before they usually wake up to reset their nap cycle. Or you can go in quickly when they wake and paci/pat/rock back to sleep to continue the nap.
  • Drop nightfeeds — If after 7 months you are still having inconsistent wakings even though your schedule is appropriate and you have an appropriate ST plan, some babies just will keep waking up expecting to be fed at least once in the MOTN. Once NFs are dropped, typically the schedule and naps start coming together better.
  • The schedules/suggested WTs are a good starting point, but every baby is different — Also, sometimes family schedules, daycare, doctor appointments, etc. happen. Do your best to minimize OT and play catch up on the weekends with a slightly earlier naptime and bedtime if necessary. Keep an eye on total daytime awake time (TWT). If you’ve overshot a middle WT, then the last WT will likely need to be shorter to compensate. Try to keep an eye out for trends and/or keep a sleep log. Their sleep needs are constantly changing and your child may be higher or lower in sleep needs so play around with WTs.

OTHER HELPFUL LINKS

NEWBORNS to 2 MONTHS

0-5 weeks

  • The first week or two is usually a “honeymoon” period where they will pretty much just feed and go to sleep for a few hours. This period may be longer if the baby was born early or shorter if the baby was born late.
  • You can practice putting down drowsy/awake after feed/burp and hold/rock if you want.
  • Don’t worry about “play” time the first couple of weeks. They should only be awake for about 30-35 minutes, which includes feeding time before they should be sleeping again.
  • Nap the baby in a bright room during the day during the first 6 weeks helps to sort out day/night confusion.
  • Ask your Ped on when you can stop waking to feed every 3 hours (it helps bring in your milk and depends on the baby’s weight gain).
  • The first couple months you are just trying to figure out the child’s sleep rhythm and prevent day/night confusion and help bring in milk supply (for BFers). Nurse on demand the first 6 weeks, but try to somewhat stick to a 2-3hr schedule to avoid snacking and encourage full feeds (hind milk for BFers) during the day.
  • BT is usually around 9-11pm the first few weeks.
  • 3 weeks: Baby will seem a little more awake after feeds and can become over-stimulated quickly. Around this age try to have a consistent nap-routine set up to help his/her brain get ready for sleep time by having certain sleep associations (eg. hold/rock/sing).
  • Around 3-4 weeks naps can become progressively short (45min) and difficult due to increased awareness and gassy phase. Tummy sleeping typically helps. Do nap extensions but be somewhat flexible and try to catch the baby’s sleep rhythms. Swaddling, especially for naps, typically helps them sleep better even if they seem to hate it. Most people start using swing/carrier for naps around this age but you can try some gentle sleep training for the crib.
  • 4 weeks: Should only be awake for 45 minutes at the most, including feeding time.

~6 weeks (WT ~45min-1hr) (example schedule)

  • The baby’s natural schedule should start to emerge and you should start to get on more of a consistent 2.5-3.5hr schedule during the day (WTs 45min-1hr).
  • Darkening the room for naptime usually helps naps (day/night confusion is usually over by now).
  • BT gradually shifts earlier (watch baby’s cues) about 20 minutes every 2 weeks. The last nap usually starts around 6pm and BT is around 8pm. The “long stretch” (usually 4-5 hours) starts developing

7am WU

7:45-10 nap

11-1 nap

2-3:45 nap

4:30pm-5:30pm nap

6:15-7pm nap

~8pm BT. Start doing the “long” stretch ~4-5hrs+ before next feed, then 3+hours before next feed (you can do a DF at ~10pm if you want so that the long stretch occurs after the DF)

7-12 weeks (2.5-3.5hr schedule; WT ~1-1.25 hr) (example schedule)

  • 7-9 weeks: Should only be awake about 1 hour before being put back to sleep, including feeding time.

7am WU

8:00-10am nap 1

11:15-1:15 nap 2

2:30-4:30pm nap 3

5:45-6:30pm catnap

~7:45pm BT

3 to 4 MONTH OLDS

  • This is the age for the “3-4 month sleep regression” which is partly associated with the need to transition to 3 naps (4-3 transition) and partly because their sleep rhythms become more adult-like, and as a result, trying to put them down already asleep causes them to wake up which can start the process all over.
  • At this age, you have to get from about 1.25-1.5hr WTs on 4 naps to 2-2.5hr WTs on 3 naps so there is some OT and extra NWs that come from stretching WTs.
  • At 4 months your Ped will likely tell you that you can go ahead and stop nightfeeds (NFs), but most of us found that NFs were typically dropped at around the 3-2 transition (7-8 months) which coincides with increased solids. However, if your baby is gaining weight properly, you can try cutting out all the NFs at this age and they should be able to compensate for it during the day by taking in a few extra ounces per feed. If they are not able to (e.g. for reflux babies), then you probably should hang onto NFs longer.

3 month old schedule on 4 naps

  • WT’s are ~1.5 (eg. 1.25/1.25/1.5/1.5/1.75)
  • Aim for 11-12 hours of nightsleep and about 4 hours in naps (Total sleep 15.5-18 hours, not including nightwakings).
  • If naps are short or you’re dealing with multiple NWs, you may need to use an earlier BT to compensate
  • 1-2 nightfeeds, with the cut-off for first feed being at least 5 hours (conservative cut-off) and the 2nd feed at least 3 hours later. You can try encouraging later cut-offs by doing your ST plan for earlier wakings.

6:30/7am WU

8:00-9:45am nap 1

11:00-1 nap 2

2:30-3:30pm nap 3

5/5:30pm catnap

~7/7:30pm BT

3/4 month old starting 4-3 transition

  • WTs are stretching to 1.5-1.75 (e.g. 1.5/1.5/1.75/1.5/1.25) until there is no time for the 4th nap . Sometimes the last WT shortens as the earlier ones increase
  • Offer the 4th nap around 5pm. If it doesn’t happen, change gears and do your bedtime routine and aim for an earlier bedtime (6-6:30 BT depending on naps)
  • 1-2 nightfeeds, with the cut-off for first feed being at least 5 hours (conservative cut-off) and the 2nd feed at least 3 hours later. You can try encouraging later cut-offs by doing your ST plan for earlier wakings. Alternatively, for NFs you can do a dreamfeed at around 10pm and then another one around 5am when the baby wakes (the “long stretch” should coincide from the time of the DF to the next feed). Or, you can just do a 2am dreamfeed and do your ST plan for any other waking.

6:30/7am WU

8:15-9:45am nap 1

11:15-1 nap 2

2:45:-3:30pm nap 3

5/5:30pm catnap (this can be a stroller/carseat nap)

~7/7:30pm BT if catnap happens (if no catnap, BT is 6-6:30pm)

4 month old schedule on 3 naps

  • WTs are to 2-2.25hrs (e.g. 2/2.25/2.25/2.25)
  • TWT 8.5-9 (about 15-15.5 hours of total sleep, not including NWs, (i.e. ~12hrs at night and 3 hrs in naps)
  • 1-2 nightfeeds, with the cut-off for first feed being at least 5 hours (conservative cut-off) and the 2nd feed at least 3 hours later. You can try encouraging later cut-offs by doing your ST plan for earlier wakings. Alternatively, for NFs you can do a dreamfeed at around 10pm and then another one around 5am when the baby wakes (the “long stretch” should coincide from the time of the DF to the next feed). Or, you can just do a 2am dreamfeed and do your ST plan for any other waking.
  • This is the age for 30 min naps. Play around with WTs and nap extensions and/or consider nap training. Use earlier bedtimes to compensate for crap naps. (If you’ve had a 3 30min nap day, bedtime should be 5-5:30pm to compensate). If you are starting nap/BT training, it’s a good time to get rid of swaddle and paci

6:30/7am WU

8:30-9:45am nap 1

11:45-1 nap 2

3:00-3:45pm nap 3

~6-6:30pm BT (depending on length of naps)

5 to 6 MONTH OLDS

5 month old schedule on 3 naps

  • 3 nap schedule should be stabilized (4 naps at this age tend to cause EWUs and NWs)
  • WTs are to 2-2.5hrs (e.g. 2/2.25/2.25/2.5)
  • TWT ~9 (about 15 hours of total sleep, not including nightwakings, (i.e. ~12hrs at night and 3hrs in naps)
  • 1-2 nightfeeds, with the cut-off for first feed being at least 6 hours (conservative cut-off) and the 2nd feed at least 3 hours later. You can try encouraging later cut-offs by doing your ST plan for earlier wakings. Alternatively, for NFs you can do a dreamfeed at around 10pm and then another one around 5am when the baby wakes (the “long stretch” should coincide from the time of the DF to the next feed). Or, you can just do a 2am dreamfeed and do your ST plan for any other waking. Well-rested babies without sleep dependencies are typically down to one NF around 2am+ by this age.
  • This is the age for 30 min naps. Play around with WTs and nap extensions and/or consider nap training. Use earlier bedtimes to compensate for crap naps. (If you’ve had a 3 30min nap day, bedtime should be 5-5:30pm to compensate).

6:30/7am WU

8:30-9:45am nap 1 (nap no earlier than 8:15 on a 3 nap schedule)

11:45-1 nap 2

3:15-4pm nap 3

~6-6:30pm BT (depending on length of naps)

6 month old schedule on 3 naps

  • 3 nap schedule with WTs are to 2.25-2.75hrs (e.g. 2/2.5/2.5/2.5)
  • TWT ~9.5-10 (about 14-14.5 total hours of total sleep, not including nightwakings, i.e. 11-12hrs at night and 2.5-3.5hrs in naps)
  • Down to 1 nightfeed, with the cut-off for first feed being at least 7 hours (conservative cut-off). You can try encouraging later cut-offs by doing your ST plan for earlier wakings. Alternatively, for NFs you can do a dreamfeed at around 10pm and then another one around 5am when the baby wakes (the “long stretch” should coincide from the time of the DF to the next feed), eventually dropping the 5am feed. Or, you can just do a 2am dreamfeed and do your ST plan for any other waking. Well-rested babies without sleep dependencies are typically down to one NF around 2am+ by this age.
  • There are often some early signs of 3-2 transition starting at 6 months (shorter naps, more trouble at BT, unusual NWs, earlier wakings)

6:30/7am WU

8:30-9:30am nap 1 (nap no earlier than 8:15/8:30am on a 3 nap schedule)

12:00-1:15 nap 2

3:45-4:30pm nap 3

6:30-7pm BT (depending on length of naps)

7 to 8 MONTH OLDS

7/8 month old schedule starting 3-2 transition

  • There is usually a sleep regression around this age partially due to milestones (sitting/crawling) and partially due to the need to transition to 2 naps
  • WTs start to stretch to 2.25-3 and eventually there is no time for the 3rd nap to happen
  • TWT = 10+ if the 3rd nap happens (about 14 total hours of total sleep, i.e. 11-11.5 hrs at night and 2.5-3hrs in naps), otherwise TWT = 8.5-9 if only 2 nap happens (about 15 total hours of total sleep, i.e. 12 hrs at night and 3hrs in naps)
  • Starting WTs are 2.5 for the first WT, ~3 for the 2nd WT, offer catnap around 3-4pm if the first two naps are short. If the catnap doesn’t happen, the last WT will be around 3.5
  • Down to 1 nightfeed, with the cut-off for first feed being at least 8 hours (conservative cut-off). You can try encouraging later cut-offs by doing your ST plan for earlier wakings. Alternatively, for NFs you can do a dreamfeed at around 10pm. Or, you can just do a 2am dreamfeed and do your ST plan for any other waking. Well-rested babies without sleep dependencies are typically down to one NF around 2am+ by this age.
  • If solids are decently established, often times babies will drop the NF on their own around this age. However, other babies will need some ST to drop this final NF.
  • Earlier morning wakings often happen early in transition. Be consistent (a quick check to encourage them to go back to sleep) and leave in the crib til 6:30am. The early wakings usually eventually go away on their own as the 2 naps become more settled. You can try feeding for these early wakings to hope they go back to sleep, but if they rarely go back to sleep, just stick with a quick check instead. Theoretically though, if they can make it til 5am without a feed, they probably will be ok holding off another 1.5-2hrs (and feeding at 5am can sometimes throw off daytime feeding schedules anyway). Avoid holding/bring to your bed for these early wakings as these habits can be hard to break in the future and tend to propagate EWUs.

6:30/7am WU

8:45-10am nap 1 (nap no earlier than 8:45/9am when starting 3-2)

1-2:15pm nap 2

Offer catnap around 3-4pm if first two naps are short (this can be a stroller/carseat nap)

~7pm BT if catnap happens (TWT ~10)

~6pm BT if catnap doesn’t happen (TWT ~9), depending on the length of naps.

7/8 month old schedule on 2 naps

  • WTs on 2 naps start something like 2/3/4 or 2.5/3/3.5 with a TWT = 9, but as the 2 naps become settled, TWT starts gradually going back up towards 10 (e.g. 3/3.25/3.5). You should have about 11-12hrs at night and 2.5-3.5hrs in naps (14 hours total sleep)
  • Down to 1 nightfeed, with the cut-off for first feed being at least 9 hours (conservative cut-off). You can try encouraging later cut-offs by doing your ST plan for earlier wakings. Alternatively, for NFs you can do a dreamfeed at around 10pm. Or, you can just do a 2am dreamfeed and do your ST plan for any other waking. Well-rested babies without sleep dependencies are typically down to one NF around 2am+ by this age.
  • If solids are decently established, often times babies will drop the NF on their own around this age. However, other babies will need some ST to drop this final NF.

6:30/7am WU

9:15-10:30am nap 1 (nap no earlier than 9am on 2 naps)

1:45-3pm nap 2

~6-6:30pm BT

9 to 11 MONTH OLDS

9 to 11 month old schedule on 2 naps

  • TWT gradually goes up from 10 (with WTs ~3-3.25/3.5/3-3.5) to TWT 10.5 (~3.25/3.5-3.75/3.5)  You should have about 13.5-14 hrs of total sleep with about 11-12hrs at night and 2-3 hrs in naps
  • No nightfeeds. With solids established, any nightfeeds at this point are typically out of habit and typically don’t go away without doing some ST in the MOTN.

6:30/7am WU

9:30-10:45am nap 1 (nap no earlier than 9:15am at this age)

2:15-3:30pm nap 2

~7pm BT

12 to 17 MONTH OLDS

12 to 14 month old schedule holding onto 2 naps

  • At around 12 months you start seeing 2-1 signs (shorter naps, taking longer to fall asleep for BT, earlier wake-ups). Before you start 2-1, it is best if nightfeeds are out and the child is sleep trained and STTN. Unlike other nap transitions which only take a couple weeks, 2-1 takes a few months to stabilize.
  • TWT gradually goes up from 10.5 to TWT 11+ (3.25/3.5-4/3.5-4)  Once you are consistently getting over 11+ TWT on 2 naps, it is typically best to start transition.
  • You can hold onto 2 naps longer by trying to limit naps, but you may still have problems with them taking a long time to fall asleep at BT and EWUs.

6:30/7am WU

10-11am nap  (If you are nap limiting, limit this nap to 45min-1hr to preserve the 2nd nap)

3-4pm nap (This nap can be a stroller or carseat nap if you need this nap to happen)

7-8pm BT

12 to 14 month old schedule starting 2-1

  • To start transition, you gradually stretch the first WT to 4hrs and don’t limit the nap. If the nap is less than 1.5hrs, you offer a catnap around 3-4pm. Starting TWT on 2 naps is around 10. Typically, you start around 4/6 WTs, then gradually keep upping the first WT (e.g 4.25/5.75 then 4.5/5.5).
  • You may need to alternate 1 and 2 nap days for a few weeks. If you start getting EWUs, move BT earlier to compensate since OT tends to slowly build up on 2-1, and then push the nap time out again. EWUs are often from BT not being early enough.

6:30/7am WU

10:30am nap (nap no earlier than 10am for doing 2-1, WT ~4hrs)

(Offer a catnap around 3-4pm if the first nap was

~6pm BT (WT 5.5-6hrs from when the nap ended; so if the nap was 10:30-12pm, BT is 6pm)

eventually…..

14 to 18 month old settled on 1 nap

  • As the first WT increases, the nap time gradually moves out to 10:45am, then 11am, etc. Once you hit the nap starting around 11am-12pm (5-5.5hr WT), one nap is established and you are settled on 1 nap with TWT of about 10.5-11 (total sleep 13-13.5hrs).
  • EWUs often happen early in transition. Be consistent (a quick check to encourage them to go back to sleep) and leave in the crib til at least 6:30/6:45am. The early wakings usually eventually go away on their own as the 1 nap become more settled. Avoid nursing/bring to your bed for these early wakings as these habits can be hard to break in the future and tend to propagate EWUs.

6:30/7am WU

nap starting between 11-12pm (WT 5-5.5hrs)

~6:30-7pm BT (WT 5-5.5hrs)

19-23 MONTH OLDS

18-23 month olds 1 nap schedule

  • Sleep needs start to drop a little around 18 months and the nap moves a little later. If the nap gets shorter or they start taking longer to fall asleep for BT, try moving the naptime 15 minutes later.
  • TWT = 11-12 (Total sleep 12-13hrs with about 11-12hrs at night and 1.5-2hrs in naps)
  • WTs are 5.5-6+/5.5
  • There are typically extra bedtime shenanigans due to increased talking/milestones. Stay the course and be consistent with BT and NWs and avoid starting up habits that will need to be broken.

6:30/7am WU

nap starting around 12-1pm for 1.5-2hrs

7-7:30pm BT

2 YEAR OLDS

24 month old 1 nap schedule

  • Schedule doesn’t change that much. Sometimes the nap shifts another 15-30 minutes later. If the nap gets shorter or they start taking longer to fall asleep for BT, try moving the naptime 15 minutes later.
  • There are typically extra bedtime shenanigans due to increased talking/milestones. Stay the course and be consistent with BT and NWs and avoid starting up habits that will need to be broken.

6:30/7am WU

nap starting around 12:30-1pm for 1.5-2hrs

7-8pm BT

2.5-4 YEAR OLDS

2.5-4 year olds start 1-0 transition

  • 1-0 is a gradual transition that can take a couple of years. Your child may miss one nap a week, then 2 naps a week, then every other day, then just nap once a week, etc.
  • You can try pushing the nap later in the day to preserve it. Often times this will push BT later.
  • There are typically extra naptime and bedtime shenanigans due to testing boundaries. Stay the course and be consistent with BT and naps and avoid starting up habits that will need to be broken.
  • Potty training and transition to toddler bed will throw things off. Stay conservative with BT and be consistent with EWUs and stress that it isn’t time to wake up yet and for them to go back to sleep.

6:30/7am WU

nap starting around 1-2pm for ~1.5hrs

~8pm BT

(If no nap, BT should be 0.5-1hr earlier)

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How to Let Your Baby Sleep Like a Boss!

  1. Be careful of “sleep aids” whereby a baby comes to associate something with going to sleep (feeding, rocking, pacifier, a warm body, a beating heart, driving, white noise, etc.) If they become conditioned to falling asleep with these aids, they will believe they need them to fall asleep.
    1. Wait on a pacifier. Some say if you wait a few weeks before offering a pacifier your baby will have more control of his thumb and will be able to get it to his mouth for self soothing. In the long run, you will save lots of lost sleep by not having to run to his room to put the pacifier back in the mouth when he spits it out and awakens.
  2. Let your baby adjust to the room he will be sleeping in beyond the first few months.    Open the door slowly. I am a firm believer in baby having his own room from day one. A low floor bed in a double or queen size allows a parent to lie down and/or nurse but also allows baby to acclimate to one environment at a time. heather ellis floor bedWhen they grow accustomed to the sounds, smells, temperature of parents’ room, it is confusing to have to adjust to a new room.
  3. Establish sleep associations and routines you can live with long term. You might want to:
    1. dress your baby in a sleep sack,
    2. draw the blinds,
    3. turn on the fan (or white noise if you’re willing to travel with it!)
    4. read a book and/or sing a song.
    5. speak softly. Establish a “sleep voice”
    6. close the door
  4. Give opportunities for self soothing. Most babies will learn to self soothe quickly by giving them the chance. One way to do this is to settle the baby, then leave the room for increasing periods of time, giving baby the opportunity to fall asleep independently.
    1. Learn about your baby’s temperament. T. Berry Brazelton has a great book called Infants and Mothers which describes 3 different baby temperaments. I had one baby who needed a lot of winding down to fall asleep and I eventually learned that 10 minutes of crying was necessary for her to purge the sensory input she accumulated (she was very sensitive to sounds, etc.).

There is one book that was so important to me when my kids were babies. Healthy Sleep, Happy Baby by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. He was my cousin’s pediatrician here in Chicago and I knew about his theories even before I had kids. They reminded me of the successful habits I saw while babysitting as a child in the 60s and 70s (when sleep wasn’t such a big deal). .

Another book I wished I’d had when my kids were young is 12 Hours by 12 Weeks. I highly recommend this to new parents!

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Put Some Bang in Your Bagwa!

A friend of mine is getting trained in Feng Shui and will be working on my house as part of her credentialing. I am sooo excited as this is something I’ve always wanted to do.

In case you aren’t familiar Feng Shui is the Chinese system of harmonizing one with the environment.  From Wikipedia: “Feng Shui is is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics, classified as physiognomy (observation of appearances through formulas and calculations). The feng shui practice discusses architecture in metaphoric terms of “invisible forces” that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together, known as qi (life force).

Spaces are mapped as a large octagon and then divided into 8 bagwas by life forces such as wealth, family, relationships, career, etc. I saw my friend this week and because we won’t have time to get going until after the holidays, she gave me a few quick tips for the meantime. She told my front entry is my “career bagwa” and that I was to put pictures (could be hidden) of people who had been helpful or inspirational in my career there.

These are the people I chose. I was so happy to see them all together! Now that would  be a dinner party!!!

I have printed a page out which I will now roll up and stuff into my staircase! These are my helpful teachers. Eight of nine of them are authors…..hmmmmm….

maria-montessori-faceina-maeemi-pikler

magda weissbluth ken-robinsonresa-steindel-brownsuzy-giordanotracyhogg

  • Maria Montessori, scientist, pedagogist, author of many books
  • Ina May Gaskin, midwife, author Spiritual Midwifery, Guide to Childbirth
  • Dr. Emi Pikler, pediatrician, pedagogist, orphanage founder, author of Give me time. The Independent Movement of the Child’s Development to Go Free
  • Magda Gerber, parent-infant teacher
  • Dr. Marc Weissbluth, pediatrician, sleep specialist, author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
  • Ken Robinson, arts educator, author of Finding Your Element: How To Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life
  • Resa Steindel Brown, alternative educator, author of Call to Brilliance
  • Suzy Giordano, infant sleep coach, author of 12 Hours by 12 Weeks
  • Tracy Hogg, nurse, baby nanny, author of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer
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One Person Every Parent Should Know!!!

I have always had a hard time writing here with the consistency I would prefer, with my other commitments. I am doing and thinking and talking about Montessori and RIE every single day yet rarely get it down in print here. So I asked one of the people I spend a fair amount of time talking about these things with – my friend and colleague – Heather Ellis. She is going to be a guest contributor and author!

A little background: “Heather Ellis holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and is certified as a Montessori guide through the global organization, Association Montessori International (AMI). She has spent the past twelve years honing her skills in the prepared environment known as the Children’s House, which serves children between the ages of 3 to 6 years. She is currently staying at home with her two-year-old daughter, as well as training to become a recognized AMI consultant.”

More importantly, to me, Heather has raised her daughter with one of the more “true” applied Montessori upbringings I’ve ever witnessed. This is an infant who was respected and honored and allowed opportunities for independence from the beginning with ever expanding freedom within limits. It’s been a marvel to behold! I’ve been lucky to watch some of this unfold from the beginning as this little one attended my MontessoRIE Parent-Infant and was also in my todller program.

You may have seen pictures I’ve posted of Heather’s floor bed in her home environment that is the BEST because it meets needs at every developmental phase. As a newborn Mom and/or Dad could lie down with baby. As she grew and began to explore, and might prefer exploring over sleeping, the gate could be shut to ensure a needed rest.

heather ellis floor bed

I’ve never seen a child potty train so effortlessly (and early!), dress herself completely with ease at such a young age, go to sleep without struggle, and feed herself so independently. I’ve asked Heather if she could share how these events came to pass. She promises she has a wealth of videos and thoughts to pass on to all of us and I can’t wait to hear and see!!!

Let’s welcome Heather and her font of Montessori knowledge!!!

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MontessoRIE Parent-Infant Classes

DCP01691

MontessoRIE  (Montessori and RIE-inspired) parent-infant classes are scheduled for next semester! These classes run continuously but in 6-week blocks, rather than semester-long so that parents can opt out of a block if they are vacationing, etc.. For more information about RIE, visit rie.org or janetlansbury.com.

 

Pre-Walking Infants & Parents: Saturday mornings from 8-9 a.m. at Sweet Pea’s Studio 3717 North Ravenswood #217.

January 7- February 11       $85

Walking Children & Parents: Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 at Demeter’s Montessori 1775 West Devon.

January 13-February 17      $85

 

In these classes we spend an hour together with the first half hour spent in quiet observation, watching our babies, finding them where they are, and seeing what they are capable of. We call this “wants nothing” time. In the second half of the class we come together as adults. The children have acclimated and are engaged with the environment or each other and we can have a discussion on a topic which has been emailed the week previous. Sometimes the discussion takes its own form as parents’ need for support is met.

Regarding the quiet observation time: Babies and children need a safe space. This means a place where they come to predict what will be there and what they will do. Security, not novelty, is what they really need. They also need to be cognitively challenged (appropriate materials) and emotionally nurtured (caring relationship.) That is it.

We don’t intervene when children are concentrating as it disrupts them and the flow doesn’t happen. Uninterrupted play can last while the child has energy and focus and doesn’t show you that he needs relationship. If he is not doing anything, isn’t that okay? Don’t we sometimes do nothing? Don’t project boredom. He is never bored but he is sometimes finished.

Does this mean we leave our children alone? We can when they are in their “safe space.” But we can also be with them, observing. This is “wants nothing time.” One father, Peter Mangione,  says “your baby will tell you when he wants to interact with you.”

Thomas Mann said “Solitude is an important expression of the original in all of us.” For most of our history, babies had “alone time.” During the 1950s and 1960s children had playpens and they were left there for hours! They played; they fell asleep; they awoke and played some more. Now it sounds like child abuse or at best benign neglect to leave a child in a play-jail. We prefer to leave them confined in containers while we tote them from room to room with us while we do the things parents need to do (clean, cook, shower).

When left on their own, babies change position every minute. They develop elasticity and balance. They self regulate as they move from one activity to another.

Also, parents needs and rights are respected. I’m always surprised when I hear parents say they haven’t been to the bathroom alone in years. You may go to the bathroom alone because you have created a safe space where your child feels secure and you know he will not hurt himself if you need to leave for some amount of time.

He loves nursing.” “He loves TV.” “He loves when I play with him.” Read up on conditioning. What babies get, they come to expect, and eventually they need.

Here is a quote from the RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) board of directors from 2010.

“The infant needs an intimate, stable relationship with at least one primary person. This relationship can best be developed during “caretime” — diapering, dressing, feeding and bathing. These activities offer excellent opportunities for teaching cooperation, language, body image and mutuality in task-oriented experiences. The infant is an active participant rather than a passive recipient  during caretime. The infant needs a safe and carefully designed environment in which to move, explore and manipulate. He thus achieves the stages of gross motor and sensory-motor development in his own time. Spontaneous, self-induced activities, which the infant pursues freely and autonomously, have an essential value for his/her physical and mental development. The pleasure in the process of exploration and mastery is self-reinforcing. The infant becomes intrinsically motivated to learn.  Meanwhile, the Educarer must learn to observe, understand and respect the individuality of the infant and respond with sensitivity and empathy to the infant’s cues.”

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“Dead Parents?”

I just came across something fun. Recently, in an online group, someone was asking about television for children. In my Montessori training, we learned that children under six should not have screens, so my husband and I decided to abide by that in our house. Once our younger child turned six, we began watching family movies on DVD every Friday night, but we never had any broadcast TV until they were teenagers. (I don’t remember discussing television or screens in my RIE course in 2012, so I can’t say what the opinion is there.)

So when they were five and six-years-old, someone mentioned to me that they didn’t fight much. She asked if they fought over toys. I thought about it and said they didn’t play with toys much.

She looked incredulous.

“Well, they have toys, they just tend to do more imaginative games,” I said.

Later, while we were driving, I asked my kids what games they played. I’d noticed that they always invited each other to play games with very specific titles.

The list they gave me was so long that I stopped the car to write it down. And recently it came across my desk so I’ve shared it with you here:

  • Spies
  • Friends with Spies
  • Plain Friends
  • Brother & Sister
  • Little Brother
  • Little Sister
  • Meets (“We meet each other…”)
  • Little Brother Stuck in Airport (this happened to us.)
  • School (but only with another family that visits)
  • Friends in College

In addition to these standards, for a period of about two years, they added a question to these titles.

“With dead parents?” As in, shall we play these characters with dead parents or not? They had a friend who had lost his mother to cancer, so this became part of their play. Their friend always had lots to say about his mother’s death and they were riveted. “My Mom’s in heaven now but she can see me and watch me.”

This was fascinating to me! They were working out this very traumatic yet puzzling situation through their imaginative play. They were finding answers, trying on life’s difficulties, and becoming comfortable with different scenarios. This is what imaginative play is all about. It’s so important! But does this happen when screens are introduced early?

I just don’t see the same kind of imaginative play present unless children are allowed to develop a creative life that isn’t dictated by commercial influences. I see children who embrace the fantasy character and act out the rules based on what they’ve learned but this limits their own experience of creating and imagining.

I  insisted my children read books before seeing the movies based on them which is a standard I hold for myself as well. My daughter was so inspired to read the Harry Potter books, so that she could watch the movies, she willed herself to read at age 7 and read EVERY SINGLE HARRY POTTER book, all 7 of them, in 30 days. She read day and night. She brought a flashlight to bed and read at night. When I awoke early in the morning, she was already back at it.

I just don’t think a lifetime of screens would have promoted as much imagining as I saw in my own kids. What do you think? Do you have TV in your house with little ones?

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