Category: Common Problems

5 Tips to Help Your Newborn Sleep Longer

5 Tips to Help Your Newborn Sleep Longer
Being a brand new parent of a brand new baby who had trouble sleeping longer than an hour at a time I utilized every resource I could find to help me. I met with professional sleep consultants, read popular books about parenting newborns, called the fussy baby network, and of course – scoured online forums for anyone suffering from the same lack of sleep with a trick or idea I hadn’t tried yet.

Here’s what I was dealing with:

  • Baby would only fall asleep in my arms
  • Baby would wake up when I tried to put her down
  • Baby would only stay asleep for an hour at a time
  • When she would wake in the night, she would want to stay awake instead of going back to sleep

I discovered that a tip from here and an idea from there brought impressive results.

1. Fill That Belly

Think of the time when you are most interested in having a good long sleep. Most likely that time involves having a nice, satisfying meal right beforehand. To create a state of contentment, and to keep it that way for a few hours, make sure your little one has a nice full belly before trying to send them off to dreamland.

2. Pre-Flight Sleep Checklist

To sleep for a longer stretch of time ensure all of the following are taken care of after a nice, full feed:

  • Burped to prevent mid-sleep gas pains
  • Gas drops if needed
  • A fresh diaper
  • Adequately dressed – being too hot or too cold can cause wake-ups

3. Set the Sleep Cues Part I:
Emulate the Comfort of the Womb

Setting up specific bedtime or naptime cues lets your baby know: “Oh, it’s time for me to have a nice, big sleep.”

The simple comfort cues that worked the best for me are:

  • A tight swaddle
  • Rocking motion
  • Pacifier

A lot of newborns feel most contented in a cozy setting that resembles the womb. A tight swaddle and heavy bouncing may seem uncomfortable to adults, but babies are used to being compressed into a little ball and jiggled constantly. Perhaps you remember your baby being the most bouncy when you were trying to sleep at night? Stillness makes babies unsettled!

4. Set the Sleep Cues Part II:
Emulate the Sounds of the Womb

Along with a snug squeeze, the womb was loud – as loud as a vacuum cleaner – with the sounds of mom’s heartbeat, lungs, and belly growls. After your baby is gently jiggling in a snug swaddle give her some familiar, pacifying background noise.

The sounds that worked for me are:

  • Fan or white noise machine
  • A special sleep-time song

After putting the noise machine on the loudest setting, I wrapped everything up with a special song just for sleep time. It was usually something I just made up on the fly with a soothing rhythm. Give it a try – it may only take a few times for your baby to recognize their special sleep song with heavy eyes when you start singing.

5. And Then You Wake Your Baby Up…

Yes, I know this sounds crazy. When I heard this I thought to myself, “I am trying to get this child to SLEEP! How is waking her a good idea??” However, when you think about it, this is the perfect time to get your baby to learn how to fall asleep on their own– baby is full of milk, swaddled, comforted, and heavy with sleep. The best method (tried and true by me, I swear!) is to gently wake up your baby before putting them down in their sleep area.

The Reasoning: It’s easy for your baby to fall asleep in your arms – being gently rocked against a warm body – the soothing sound of a heartbeat – what’s not to love? It’s tempting to just let the little nugget remain peacefully asleep on your chest. Just keep in mind if this is the only way you let your baby fall asleep, this could cause a dependency on mom or dad to get them back asleep during wake-ups caused by noises or mild hunger.

Yes, at first this could take a few tries. I remember having to pick my baby up and soothe her back to a calm state at least five times before she fell asleep on her own. But she learned – and now I can lay her down in her bassinet after two rounds of the special sleep song when her eyes are heavy and starting to close and she falls asleep. On her own. Just like magic.

6. Bonus Tip: Rock n’ Play Your Way to Victory

Putting a baby down on a still surface can wake them right up. I struggled with this for weeks – I tried everything and nothing seemed to work. Every sleeping setup I tried was so different from rocking in the warmth of moms arms.

That is until I was told about the Fisher Price Rock n’ Play by my lactation consultant.

At first I was skeptical. Another baby contraption I had no interest in buying let alone cluttering up my already small city apartment. It sat in the box for a few days and then after I put it together I was reluctant to try it. But let me tell you – IT CHANGED MY LIFE.

After my baby was fed, burped, changed, and rocked to sleep in my arms, the easiest transition was laying her down in the Rock n’ Play and gently rocking her back to sleep. So easy, so light – it works like magic.

Learn How Using the Rock n’ Play Can Help Parents Get More Sleep, Too!

Roxann Blue
©2014 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Roxann is a new mom, graphic designer, and contributing author for Head & Heart Parents. In her spare time she likes to sleep. You can learn more about her at www.roxannblue.com

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The Amazing Rock ‘n Play*

Get Better Sleep with a New Infant
Find the Rock n’ Play on Amazon.com

 

Acid Reflux Reducer

Dealing with a baby that suffers from serious acid reflux, I found I couldn’t just lay her on her back or I would be faced with a giant projectile spit-up. Yet the bed with a pillow, or Boppy-propping alternatives, all had their own downfalls as well.

I found when I propped up my baby girl on a pillow on the bed she would sometimes “roll down” the pillow – leaving her face down or in an awkward position – thus risking her safety or waking her up. No good either way. The Boppy worked great – for short periods – and is not actually recommended for sleeping at all.

Per the Fisher Price website, the Rock ‘n Play is great for babies to snooze in. Mesh sides and a belt keep the baby from falling out. Finally, it has the gentle incline from toe to head, resulting in significantly less spit-up.

A Great Alternative to Co-Sleeping

Let me preface by saying I really loved the idea of having my little nugget cozied up next to me in bed – content to sleep with mom. However, I found co-sleeping to be a bit of a nightmare. Yes, for naps and short periods, I still love it. But for those long stretches at night where I am hoping for 4-5 hours of solid, heavy sleep? Not so great. The reason being, I was always so worried about smothering my baby, or her rolling onto her face and smothering herself, that I found I didn’t sleep well at all. I woke up every 20 minutes to check her breathing situation. It wasn’t until I found her swaddled, face down in a pillow that I sadly decided co-sleeping with my newborn wasn’t going to work for me.

The Rock ‘n Play offers a close-to-the-bed, rock-able, lightweight alternative to co-sleeping. Baby is right there, can see your face AND can be gently swayed to sleep. Perfect!

Helps Parents Get More Sleep Too

After nighttime feeding and diaper change, parents are already half awake. Add in having to rock or soothe a baby back to sleep and you could be wide-eyed for the next 30 minutes. The Rock ‘n Play is great in that regard. After feeding, diapering re-swaddling, simply lay the baby back in the Rock ‘n Play right next to your bed. Then lie down next to him, with your head on the bed right in line with his. Use your arm to gently rock the baby to sleep. You’ll find it’s so soothing that you’re falling asleep, right in your bed, along with him. Funny sidenote: I’ve fallen asleep BEFORE my baby doing this. Then I wake up to find her staring at me with wide eyes as if to say “Where did you go? I’m still awake here….”

Buy the Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play on Amazon

I will tell you that my baby did not love her Rock ‘n Play at first. It took a few times to get her settled and into a rhythm with it. If you’re willing to try something new, give it a few nights for your baby to get used to it.

Good Luck!

Roxann Blue
©2014 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Roxann is a new mom, graphic designer, and contributing author for Head & Heart Parents. In her spare time she likes to sleep. You can learn more about her at www.roxannblue.com

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*DISCLAIMER* This is not an Advertisement, but an enthusiastic mom whose life got so much better when she started using the Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play.

5 Peculiar Things My 1-Year Old Does

So, as a first time mom I’m not sure what is normal baby behavior and what is unusual – so here is a list of things I find my one-year old doing that I’m not sure what to make of –

Anyone out there have similar experiences?

5 Peculiar Things My 1-Year Old Does1. Moans Incredibly Loudly While Eating

Did anyone ever see the episode of Friends where Phoebe gives Monica the back rub and she moans so loudly it makes the whole situation turn a tad awkward? Well, I imagine this will be my daughter in 25 years. She moans so loudly out of sheer contented happiness while eating people turn their heads in public places to see what could possibly be happening.

2. Is Obsessed with the Pile of Shoes by the Door

What is it about a pile of stinky, dirty shoes that is so attractive to my child? Is it the filthy rubber soles? The dingy fabric sides? Or the mysterious, odiferous foot holes she can stick her hand in? These shoes call to her like Sirens to Odysseus – alluring and slightly dangerous (you know, with all the city germs and goose poop from the park) – she mustgototheshoes.

3. Turns All Her Toys Face Down

The new baby computer, the Meowsic Keyboard, the Fisher Price piano – she prefers them to be face down on the floor. At which point she just looks at them and smiles.

4. Constantly Tries to Drink Her Bathwater

I have had to remove any object capable of holding water from her bath because every time I turn my head she has dipped the receptacle into the water and is hurriedly trying to get the water to her mouth. It’s like she’s been lost in the desert for days and finally see’s a sparkling pool of beautiful, delicious water. I would always catch her with a fountain of water spilling down her chin and eyes trying to see “Look how clever I am!” Since removing the water-holding toys, she now tries to lap it up like a dog. Oh lord…

5. Pulls Her Own Hair

The look on her face is sort of like she’s trying to slip her arm around someone without them noticing – and then she grabs these little tufts of hair behind her ears and pulls – HARD! The feeling of having her hair pulled seems to surprise her – every single time she does it.

Roxann Blue
©2014 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Roxann is a new mom, graphic designer, and contributing author for Head & Heart Parents. In her spare time she likes to sleep. You can learn more about her at www.roxannblue.com

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Empty Threats Make Weak Parents

A father had no less than a gaggle of children in the grocery store…

little girl in supermarketGranted it was a Saturday, granted they were in the toy isle, and granted he was alone. I watched him try to corral all of his kids for about five solid minutes – he would get two listening and then another one was waving a small plastic sword around as if she was fighting some sort of eight-armed dragon. It was funny – but also a bit sad. He was struggling.

He kept saying things like “get over here,” “stop that,” and “c’mon” – pretty typical things for someone trying to gain control of a situation teetering on uncontrollable. And then we heard a large fart noise. It was super loud and all the kids fell into peals of laughter. The middle boy had stomped his foot on a whoppie cushion, which was now lying deflated on the floor.

This sent dad over the edge.

“You know what, now you are going to pay for that! Where is your money?? Get it out RIGHT NOW.”

Now, we all knew he wasn’t going to make the kid pay for it. I knew it, the store clerk knew it, and the kids especially knew it. The kids ignored the dad and all ran down the isle and around the corner – probably to find someone whom they respected.

So, what really happened here?
The kids knew they were pushing dad to the brink.
They knew no matter what they did, he didn’t have any follow through.
They kept testing – and finally found his trigger.
They laughed at his angry outburst and empty threat.
Dad was left feeling ineffective and outnumbered.

When you’re in this situation, take a few moments to form your plan of attack. What reasonable consequence might you propose right now, in this situation, that you will actually follow through with?  THEN DO JUST THAT.

No compromising. No empty threats.

Your kids will be mad. They will backtalk or cry or they might even throw a fit. But in the end, they will know you are a person of your word. That what you say is truth.

And that is something they will respect.

One final note: next time, plan ahead.  Have a game plan in mind since history tells you that the kids are likely to be unruly. Set up an incentive for good behavior. The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is definitely true when it comes to parenting.
Roxann Blue
©2013 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Roxann is a new mom, graphic designer, and contributing author for Head & Heart Parents. In her spare time she likes to sleep. You can learn more about her at www.roxannblue.com

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“I Overreacted and Gave My Child Too Harsh a Consequence…. Now What..?”

Dad: Kerry, I’m a single dad and wondering how I can gracefully back out from having overreacted and given my son a harsher consequence than I should have?

Clever kidHe’s 4 and was throwing water out of the bathtub. I got mad and told him he had to go straight to bed with no stories. I cooled down a few minutes later and realized I had overreacted. I told him I was sorry that I’d gotten so irritated and I had reconsidered and that he didn’t have to go to bed yet. But now I’m worried that I’ve lost credibility with him. Was there a better way to handle that?

Kerry: Chris, I think the way you handled it was completely appropriate. It’s ok to teach your kids that sometimes we adults re-think things and change our minds. It’s also ok to model that a normal part of being a grown-up is making mistakes and then fixing them.

If you want to bring a little more playfulness into your parenting, you can try a “re-do.” That’s where you tell your son that you didn’t like the way you handled the bathtub scene and that you would like to re-do it. You playfully back out of the bathroom and pretend you are talking backwards. Then you stick your head back in and ask if he’s ready for you to do that scene over. You can say, “Bathtub Scene, Take Two.” You might even ask him to splash the water again! (That’s optional.) Then you go in and handle the situation the way you wished you had done it in the first place.
Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2014 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and
Family Therapist
and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps
parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Happy Starts to Preschool

Dear Kerry,
I’m a stay at home mom of twin boys and I knew that starting preschool would be difficult for them to deal with. New places, new faces, a new routine and the absence of mom would be a lot for them to digest so; I decided that instead of dreading this wonderful event in the lives of my boys, I would embrace it with Love and Logic® parenting. Following are some of the ideas that were a success for me and my boys; I hope your readers find them useful.

Loads of Love

Before we head to class, I gave each of them plenty of hugs and kisses. Not just a few, I overloaded them with lots of love, snuggles, hugs and kisses while asking them if they had gotten enough to last until pick up time. I also asked if I could give one more kiss on their nose, forehead, cheek, chin, etc. just to make sure that they were covered from head to toe in love. When they decided that they had received enough loving to make it through the day, I would take them into class.

Practice Makes Perfect

In order to get my boys accustomed to a new experience, I decided to practice the preschool routine in an effort to turn their jitters to joy. I held preschool practice sessions on days when my boys didn’t have to go to school. From walking out the door with backpacks in hand, to walking into the classroom and saying goodbye, my boys became familiar with the process and what to expect. I made sure to document this process with lots of pictures in order to remember our practice routine and show my boys how to successfully arrive at preschool with zero anxiety and fuss.

Preschool Platter

Another great idea that worked well for my boys was a menu board. The board showed pictures ranging from a crying and screaming child that’s holding his mother’s leg to a happy and hopping child that’s glad to be going to school. There was enough variety on the board that my boys were able to plan out their week of going to school, which allowed them to decide how they wanted to arrive at school. If either boy started to fuss on day one, I would offer a reminder that we’re “happy and hopping into class today” and that “crying and fussing” isn’t on the menu until Wednesday. This was a perfect way to create a positive experience while having fun.

Lastly, I found the following books to be helpful; “The Kissing Hand”, “The Invisible String” and “I Love You All Day Long”. They were great tools that prepared my boys for preschool while helping them to understand and enjoy the experience. I hope these ideas are helpful!
Thanks,
Jan
Auburn, CA
Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2013 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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How To Turn Your Words from Garbage to Gold

Little boy with shoes on

TWIN TERRORS CAN CAUSE DOUBLE TROUBLE

Every parent knows how exhausting it can be to raise a child, especially toddlers. For parents of twins, that exhaustion is enough to make you see double, literally. What do you do when faced with temper tantrum throwing twin terrors at dinnertime and how do you elicit a positive response from one or both when they seem to feed off each other? It’s not easy but, with a little Love and Logic®, this mom turned her misbehaving minions into terrific toddlers.

DINNERTIME DISASTER DUO

The day was winding down and, as the sun sank low in the sky, mom thought it would be a perfect fall evening for a dinner on the patio. The only problem was her defiant 3 year old that refused to put his shoes on before joining them. While mom sat patiently at the dinner table, this twin toddler put up quite a fight. Refusing to put his shoes on and causing quite a scene was enough to send this mom over the edge. Luckily, her toddler’s tantrum didn’t throw his twin into the same tizzy. As they both sat waiting for the storm to calm, mom had an idea. She decided to try an enforceable statement in hopes of turning his tantrum into a lesson of love and patience.

With a calm voice and a steady gaze, mom simply said “anybody who has their shoes on gets dinner” and turned her defiant son’s seat away from the table. While mom and the rest of the family began to enjoy their supper, her surprised son decided that he wanted to join them for dinner and, if it meant he had to put his shoes on to do it that was OK. As mom watched, what had become a customary dinnertime meltdown, turned into an easy fix. Her son put on his shoes and joined his brother and mom at the table. Mom couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride for the actions of her baby boy.

ENFORCEABLE STATEMENTS THAT STICK

When mom decided to use an enforceable statement, she sent a message to her son that his actions or inactions would warrant a response. This type of enforceable statement can reinforce to the child that what they’re doing is unacceptable and that there is a repercussion for their behavior. Additionally, using enforceable statements can also let the child feel that they are in control of the situation. By forcing the child to claim control of his actions mom allowed him to make the decision to put his shoes on and join in dinner, while letting him know that his actions would not be tolerated. Enforceable statements are a great way to elicit the response you want without all the fuss. This mom took care of business without losing her cool.



Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2013 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents


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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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“I Want What’s On TV!”

 
IWantThatonTVMy 4 year old son wants everything he sees on TV so the other day when he said “Mom, I want that!”  I used my “brain dead skills” and replied, “I know.”   He finally stopped asking after 4-5 times of me saying “I know.”

Then Daddy came home from work and my son looked at his daddy and said “Daddy, I want that on TV!”

My husband replied “I know, buddy.”

My son looked at him with wide eyes and said “Daddy, you can’t use the same words Mommy uses!!”

I guess he’s figuring out that limits are getting firm around our house with both Mom and Dad!  It felt good to set the limit in a loving way and I didn’t have to hear him whine about it!

Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2013 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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My 1.5 Year Old Hates the Car Seat

assorted sweets in a square box
My 1.5 year old son didn’t want to get in his car seat.  He wasn’t responding to the choices I was giving him and instead was fighting me.  I finally got him buckled in and wondered what  Love and Logic skills I could use for a consequence for his sad decision. 

He is too young for a delayed consequence, so I used an enforceable statement.

I had a bag of M&M’s that I opened up and shared with his 3 year old brother saying  “ I only give treats to boys who get in their carseats for their Mommy.”   Yes, of course he started crying and screaming.  But I know that it worked because later that day when I needed him to get in the car seat, he jumped right in!    It felt good to have some skills to use.

–Margaret

Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2013 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Setting Limits for Bathtime

Toddler bathtime limitsAfter our son threw water out of the bathtub I said, “What a bummer.  It’s going to take a while to clean up the water so we won’t have time for books tonight.”

He was devastated, but helped me clean up.  He kept crying to read books and I used my brain dead statement and said “I know,”  a whole bunch of times. We stuck with it and it felt really good to stay calm!

Shelly Moorman
©2010 Shelly Moorman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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