Sleep Baby Sleep

Wonder Weeks and Sleep

Ever wonder if the wonder weeks affect your baby's sleep? Whoa, try saying that 5 times fast! What if I told you they don't?  You would probably be a little surprised right? Well, I guess I will need to elaborate. Explaining what the wonder weeks are will help you understand why they might not affect your baby's sleep after all.
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What Are the Wonder Weeks?

To put it simply, wonder weeks are period of fussiness ( Cranky, Clingy, Crying), that have been narrowed down to exact weeks. According to the wonder weeks book, this fussiness is due to major development going on in your baby's brain. During these wonder weeks a baby takes a "mental leap" and acquires many new skills. Since this is all new to her, she is fussy during this time. 

When Do the Wonder Weeks Happen?

5, 8, 12, 19, 26, 37, 46, 55, 64, and 75 weeks. That's right 10 wonder weeks and mental leaps.


Do Wonder Weeks Affect My Baby's Sleep?

Well, let's just say I'm not quite sure I really even believe in these so called "wonder weeks". Of course a baby goes through major cognitive and physical development, and sometimes this keep them up at night. These are already called growth spurts and regressions. Now wonder weeks too!?! If we take into account growth spurts, sleep regressions, and wonder weeks, then our babies will never sleep well because they are always going to be experiencing one of these set backs. Let's be serious, there is literally some development planned for our baby just about every single week of their life. There's no way a baby is going to be fussy for that long. Take a look at the first 5 months of your baby's life.
  • There's a growth spurt between 1 week and 10 days.
  • Another growth spurt between 2 and 4 weeks.
  • Wonder week at 5 weeks.
  • Growth spurt at 6-7weeks. 
  • Wonder week at 8 weeks.
  • Growth spurt again between 9-10 weeks.
  • WHOO HOO,  we get a break at 11 weeks!
  • Wonder week at 12 weeks. 
  • Sleep regression between 3-5 months.
  • And so on...
Ok, you get the point. I won't continue, but this literally goes on until toddlerhood.

What I am trying to say, is that if we put off teaching our babies good sleep habits, because we are constantly worried about  a leap, wonder week, or what have you, then you will never have a chance to teach your baby to sleep well. 

I am not suggesting you ignore the major developments in your baby's life. Certainly during the major milestones, it is possible that your baby may be have some small sleep troubles. Around 4 months of age a baby learns to roll, and practices it all day and night. Sure, this can keep your baby awake at night. Around 8 months a baby learns to crawl,  again your baby may practice crawling at night. And at 12 months, a baby learns to walk and talk, so this may cause some sleep disturbances. (Learn more about Sleep Regressions). I think focusing on these major milestones, is a good rule of thumb, otherwise you will be putting off teaching your child good sleep habits for well over a year.

Every baby is so different, and develops at their own unique rate. To say that these developments/wonder weeks happen at the exact same time, for every single baby... sorry I'm just not buying this part of the theory. Also, In my opinion Wonder weeks are an unreliable tool to use for when your baby is going to be fussy and up at night.  Some babies are affected by growth spurts and major developments, while others breeze right through them. Even if there are developments on those exact weeks, it certainly doesn't mean your baby is going to experience the 3 C's.

My recommendation is to focus on major milestones, keep in mind growth spurts, and forget about the wonder weeks in relation to sleep training. I have not yet had a client who had a baby that was so affected by a wonder week, that  he/she could not go ahead with sleep training. However, I have had many client's with babies affected by the major developments such as rolling, crawling, and walking. In other words the 4, 8, and 12 month sleep regression. Whether or not the wonder weeks actually exist, I'm just not sure. But I can say that in my experience, even if there are "wonder weeks" they do not affect sleep training. 

If you are ready to start teaching your baby to sleep well and sleep through the night, here's a great place to start Sleep Training: The Basics


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Sleep Training Myths

I have been around the sleeping training world for quite some time now.  I've seen controversial threads about sleep training on baby forums, read misleading articles on the web, and have seen false advice being dispersed by so called "experts".  Heck, I've recently read a blog post that warns parents not to sleep train because "it's dangerous, it doesn't work, and you risk losing your baby's trust", among other crazy things. The author of this particular post goes on to say that it's not fair to leave your child alone to cry in a dark room….wait a minute….who said sleep training means you have to leave your child alone to cry!?! Did the author just confuse cry it out with the term sleep training?? Oh boy….I've got a lot of work to do. I'm pretty sure it was that exact article that sparked me to write this, so that I can clear up any misinformation that is being given to parents. Either that, or the comment on the BabyCenter by one mom who said "training is for dogs"


So let's do this! Let's talk about all the myths, misconceptions, and false information that's confusing the heck out of parents.  Here are the craziest sleep training myths I have come across thus far.

Sleep training is the same thing as cry it out
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No, no, no…. and NO! Sleep training is not synonymous with cry it out. Sleep training is the process of helping your baby get to sleep and stay asleep. In other words, when you are sleep training you are simply teaching your baby good sleep habits so that your baby can easily fall asleep, and sleep well at night. How you do that is entirely up to you, but it does not have to be by leaving your baby alone in the dark to cry her little head off. So you wonder, "Why on earth did people start confusing cry it out, with sleep training?" Well, for a long time, the only way people knew to get their baby to sleep through the night, was by letting them cry it out or what's referred to as "Ferberizing". I want parents to be clear on this, cry it out is just one of many sleep training techniques. I "sleep trained" my babies using techniques that didn't involve leaving them alone to cry. So the next time your friends talk about sleep training and cry it out in the same sentence, inform them…sleep training is not the same thing as cry it out. Here are some No Tears Methods of Sleep Training.



Training is for dogs, not for babies
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Ummm….what!?! I think the word "training" is what really gets people's panties up in a bunch. I agree, it's not a great term to use for a sweet little baby. When you think of training, you think of training a dog. If you don't want to view it as such, then think of it as coaching, teaching, or guiding your baby to sleep. Whatever term you use, won't change the fact that if your baby is having sleep troubles, some sort of training, coaching, or teaching will need to be done. As humans we are born to learn skills and evolve into fully functioning human beings. Think about all the skills that we as parents teach our children: How to use a sippy cup,  to how to eat with a fork, how take first steps, how to use the potty, to ride a bike,  to jump rope, and the list goes on. Sure, you don't have to help your child with any of that. And perhaps one day your child will learn to do these things completely on their own. But as parents, yes we are here to "train",  help,  teach, and guide our children with these skills. And sleep is just as important, if not most important of all things that a parent should help with. Because without good sleep, everything else will be very difficult to accomplish.




You don't have to train a baby to sleep, they are born with the ability to do so

Yes and no. Sure a baby knows how to fall asleep from the moment they are born, but do they know how to sleep well? That depends on what you teach/guide/train your baby. During the first months of life, a baby learns certain sleep habits, routines, and create sleep associations. When you decide to sleep train, all you are doing is making sure these sleep habits are healthy and promote restful sleep. If they are not, you have to "train" your baby to have better sleep habits, so she can fall asleep peacefully and sleep well at night.

If I don't sleep train, my baby will eventually sleep through the night. 

This comment is usually followed by "I don't know many college kids that are not sleeping through the night". Ok, sure. If you don't teach your baby healthy sleep habits, and don't do any sleep training, then yes, your baby will obviously eventually sleep through the night. BUT and there's a huge BUT, it can take up to 3-5 years. Two studies were conducted, one found that 84% of babies that have sleep troubles in infancy will continue to do so until that age of 3. Another study, found that some babies continue to have such troubles up until age 5. So yes, your baby will eventually learn to sleep through the night, but waiting 3-5 years for her sleep troubles to improve is a very long time to be miserable and exhausted. Not to mention what sleep deprivation does to a child's health. Also worth mentioning is that what ends up happening with some of these children, is that they finally do start sleeping longer stretches at night, but continue to have sleep troubles because they have never learned the skills of independent sleep. I have seen this over and over with my clients. Babies that don't have these skills, continue to have nap troubles, fight sleep, wake frequently during the night, and wake very early in the morning. In other words, they eventually learn how to get just the bare minimum of sleep. It's not until good sleep habits are instilled/sleep training takes place, that all of these sleep troubles improve.

Sleep training prevents closeness and interferes with the mommy/baby bond
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Wait, what did you just accuse me of doing? Let's be clear here, snuggling and cuddling with my girls, is my favorite thing in the whole world. Secretly, I'm pretty sure that's why I had them. There is nothing more enjoyable than a baby draped across your chest, and snuggling up into your neck. Nothing else compares to this special closeness. I do this with my kids EVERY single night before bed. When we are done, I lay them down, and they happily and peacefully drift off to sleep. Usually within a couple minutes. And that's what sleep training does. It teaches healthy sleep habits, so that your baby knows how to fall asleep on her own, feels safe doing so, and sleeps well through the night. Sleep training has never, ever, interfered with our snuggling, or mommy and baby bond. Picking the right sleep training method is key.


Sleep training is not for every baby. My baby is different and will never learn to sleep without me

Really? That's like saying my my child will never learn to walk, or use the potty. I've heard people say that, but you've got admit, it's slightly dramatic. You have to think about what you are saying. If we agree that sleep training means you are helping to teach your baby good sleep habits, then why wouldn't your baby learn these habits if you just stick to it and are consistent? Babies, human beings for that matter, are the most adaptable species on the planet for goodness sakes.  It's part of who are, so that we can survive in this world. We are very moldable, teachable, and adapt easily. Especially as babies. Let's be serious, your baby will learn to fall asleep on her own, and sleep well through the night. Just like she will learn anything else you as a parent will have to teach her throughout her life. What I think ends up happening is that parent's get confused on what they are doing when it comes to sleep training because there is so much misleading information out there. Parents are not quite sure how to handle sleep training and give up quickly because it doesn't seem to be working. Sleep training can be tricky. You really do have to have a good system in place that includes an age appropriate sleep schedule, consistent bedtime routine, putting your baby down awake, responding appropriately to the wakings, and using sleep training techniques you are comfortable with. So yes, it can definitely be confusing and overwhelming! That is exactly why I created this site.  If you are not sure how to tackle this, here's a great place to start Sleep Training: The Basics. There are also tons of articles in the left side bar.

So there you have it, the most absurd sleep training myths I have been exposed to. If you have heard some silly ones, please comment below. I would love to debunk some more. It's a shame that there are parent''s out there that truly need some help when it comes to sleep training, and they are faced with loads of horrible misguided information. I too was one of those parents, and struggled badly with getting my little one to sleep. We were literally up 5-6 times a night, until she was about 8 months old and I decided enough was enough. I was exhausted, sleep deprived, and just a miserable person. I did some major research and decided that sleep training was our golden ticket. I am so glad I was able to weed out the bad information, from the good. Sleep training was the best decision I made for our family. My kids are such great sleepers. To this day, they still amaze me at how easily and peacefully they drift off to sleep. Now my only hope is to help all the sleepless parents out there, so that their babies can sleep well too...




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When Do Babies Sleep Through the Night?


when do babies sleep through the night, how to get baby to sleep, when do babies start sleeping through the night
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When a baby is waking up several times a night, every parent wants to know, when do babies sleep through the night?. If you have researched and googled this topic already, then you have most likely noticed that every source gives you a different answer. So I will attempt to clear things up, and provide you with the best answer to this question. After all, I bet your dying to know when this exhaustion will end, and when your baby will finally sleep through the night.


First, let's define sleeping through the night. 

The "medical" definition of sleeping through the night is 5 hours. Now I know some of you would be happy with a measly 5 hours, but most of you want to know when your baby will sleep the entire night right? Say 10-12hrs?

After doing so much research I have narrowed the numbers down, and only considered answers from highly trusted sleep experts and organizations. Such as, pediatric sleep expert Jodi Mindell, The National Sleep Foundation, American Academy of Pediatrics, to name a few. I am a firm believer in gathering the most trusted and up to date information. Anyone can say anything they want on the web. Making sure the information is from a reliable source is very important, so that you know what information to trust. With that being said, most of these experts say that a baby is capable of sleeping an 8-12 hour stretch between the ages of 3-6 months.


Some babies take a bit longer than 6 months, but usually only wake and need one feeding. If for example your 7 month old baby is sleeping for a 10 hour stretch, then wakes for a feeding and goes right back to sleep, then this may be normal for her age. Chances are, that is the longest she can make it without needing a feed. As she gets older the stretch of sleep will extend, until she no longer needs it. To make sure that this doesn't become a habitual waking, always remember to put your baby down awake after a feeding.  It is very easy for a baby to start waking at a certain hour to be nursed back to sleep as a habit. Especially during the morning hours, when sleep is the lightest. So if your baby truly needs a feeding, always make sure she is put down awake when she's done . For more information on how to put your baby down awake, please refer to my article "How to Teach Your Baby to Self Soothe"


Another point worth mentioning is that just because most babies are capable of sleeping through the night at this age, doesn't mean they do sleep through the night. Many babies have bad sleep habits. They rely on sleep props or associations to fall asleep. They need mommy to do the work for them, and have other issues preventing them from sleeping through the night. If these issues are not addressed, then your baby may continue waking several times a night. Parents like to think that their baby's sleep troubles are just a phase and their baby will eventually outgrow this phase. A recent study shows that sleep troubles in infancy continue until 3 years of age. A similar study shows up to 5 years. Chances are your baby is not going to outgrow her sleep troubles anytime soon.


So somewhere between the age of 3-6 months, a baby is capable of sleeping through the night. Even if your baby is a little bit older and still waking for that one feeding, that is perfectly normal. But waking several times a night at that age definitely needs to be investigated further. Because by waiting and hoping that things will improve on their own, you will see that things usually only get worse. 


If you need more help getting your baby to sleep through the night, I have many resources on my site. Please look through my articles, and feel free to contact me. A great start would be this article "How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night: My Secrets Revealed".




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Sleep Regression

This is what a typical sleep regression looks like:
Your baby goes from sleeping through the night, to suddenly waking several times a night. She can't fall asleep, or stay asleep. She fights naps, bedtime, and wakes frequently at night, often crying. Your baby is clingy, cranky and super needy during the day. You have ruled out illness, teething, and it's way longer than a few day growth spurt.


Sleep regression, sleep training
A sleep regression most commonly presents itself at around 4 months, 9 months, and 12 months.  This is around the time that your baby is going through some major milestones: rolling, sitting, standing, crawling, walking etc. What's actually happening with your baby is pretty interesting. Your baby is going through tremendous cognitive development. She is learning new skills and is practicing them in her head. Over and over, until they finally master the skill, which usually then terminates the sleep regression. Your baby's brain during this time is in overdrive. Try to imagine for a minute what you feel like the night before a big event like going away on a vacation, or the night before your wedding. You stay up all night thinking about everything, making sure you don't forget anything. You toss and turn, and keep looking at the clock. It keeps getting later and later and no matter what you do, you can't turn off your thoughts and just fall asleep. You start to get angry which makes it even harder to fall asleep. At this point you just want to scream! The next day you are over tired, cranky and just want to crawl back into your bed. This is exactly what's going on with your baby. Your baby can't turn off the brain work. She tries to soothe herself to sleep like she always did, but that doesn't seem to work. She often wakes up crying and screaming for your help, because she can't do it on her own. Your baby becomes overtired from all of this interrupted sleep, and ends up being cranky all day long.

So what do you do?

 1.) Try your best to stick to your bedtime routine to keep things consistent. You may have to make minor adjustments during a regression, but you don't want to completely change your routine, this will only confuse your little one even more.

 2.) Extra comfort during this time. Extra hugs and kisses. Try your best to settle your baby.

 3.) Don't let your baby cry. Respond to her need. She's telling you she's confused, tired, and doesn't know what to do with all these new ideas in her head. Respond to her, distract her, let her know it's ok and that you are there beside her, to help her through this.

 4.) Pull out your bag of tricks (most of which you probably used when your baby was newborn). White noise, bouncer, binky, "lovey", whatever it takes to get your baby to sleep. You both need sleep, otherwise you will find it very difficult to make it through several week of this.

5.) Lullabies work great to calm your baby down before bed, and to slow down all that brain work. Try incorporating a few lullabies in your bedtime routine. Brianna's favorite was Baby Einstein Lullabies

6.) Give your baby some practice time during the day to master her new skill. Let her roll around on the carpet or mat. Encourage tummy time if she's having a hard time rolling off her tummy. Help her out with crawling, with activities like these 
Toys for Crawling Babies

7.) Remember a sleep regression doesn't last forever, on average 2-6 weeks. The 8 month sleep regression usually lasts the longest because of all the physical development. Keep reminding yourself that this will pass, and your life will be back to normal soon.

8.) Sometimes there's not much you can do, but just tough it out.  Stay strong, don't get frustrated, and take naps during the day to be handle the rough night

I have been through this and it's not pretty. My baby went from sleeping 12 hours to suddenly waking several times a night. I was so confused and frustrated, until my Pediatrician told me about the regression. Made total sense to me once it was explained. Brianna's sleep regression only lasted 2-3 weeks. I thought to myself  "I have been through months of not sleeping, I can sure handle a couple weeks". So I just cuddled her more, responded right away, and even gave her extra feedings. I was so afraid that the extra feedings would be a major set back. I thought I would have to start sleep training all over again, but I knew she needed it during that time. I strongly believed that since she had already mastered the skills of falling asleep independently for several weeks, she would go back to that once the regression was over. And guess what? That's exactly what happened. Once she worked out whatever she was working on in her little noggin, she immediately went back to sleeping 12 hours a night.

I look at a sleep regression  like when you first bring your baby home from the hospital. Anything goes at that point, anything she needs you provide. No set rules.  So that the both of you get some sleep, otherwise you'll slowly start to lose your sanity. Don't be afraid that your going to have to start sleep training all over. Like I said, once your baby already has those skills, the most that you'll have to do is remind her, not start all over.

If it has already been several weeks and your baby is still waking up frequently or relying on you to fall asleep, there may be other sleep issues causing this. Take advantage of the free sleep assessment HERE. You will get a detailed report back within a few minutes on what might be going on, and how you could fix it. This a wonderful tool and it's the first step I took to get Brianna sleeping through the night. If you are still having trouble, I am also available for consultations. I can create a sleep plan for your baby, and help him/her start sleeping through the night. Please take a look at my Baby Sleep Consultation Packages or see what others are saying about how I have helped them.


My next article How I got My Baby to Sleep Through the Night!



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Sleep Training

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Can Sleep Training Help my Baby Sleep Through the Night?

Many parents get confused about the sleep training process, and wonder how they could possibly get their baby, who wakes every 2 hours, to sleep through the night. They hear "sleep training" and they run, because they think that this means that the only way their baby will sleep is by closing the door and leaving the baby to cry it out, until he/she falls asleep from exhaustion. So I wanted to clear up some common misconceptions and explain how "sleep training", can help your baby sleep through the night.



What is sleep training?

First, let's define "sleep training". Baby sleep training should not be used interchangeably with the cry it out technique. It is not the same thing. There are different sleep training techniques, and CIO is just one of them. Sleep training is the process of helping your baby get to sleep, and stay asleep by teaching good sleep habits. This can be done by using any method that you feel most comfortable with. 



How can sleep training help my baby sleep through the night?

Now let's talk about how sleep training can help your baby sleep through the night. Learning to sleep is a process, and for most babies it's not something that just happens naturally, especially not at night. During this process your baby learns a bedtime ritual, starts to associate different things with going to sleep, and learns different soothing techniques to help him/her sleep through the night. It's not much different from an adult. Before you go to bed each night, I'm sure you have a ritual. Whether you watch your favorite show, read a book, or take a warm bath, these things help you wind down for the night. Then you get in bed with your favorite pillow, blanket, or pajamas, and these things are sleep associations and help you associate with going to sleep. During the night, when you wake I'm sure you can use your sleep association to help you get back to sleep. That can be snuggling your pillow, or turning into a certain position. Even the comfort of your cozy pajamas can help you get right back to sleep. Now imagine that all of those sleep associations were something that would require someone else to come in and help you with. This is exactly where sleep troubles begin for your baby. If her sleep association is something that you have to provide (nursing, feeding, rocking, movement etc) then your baby will continue waking and crying for you to come in and help her get back to sleep. Your baby needs to learn how to associate sleep with something that does not rely on you. Once a baby learn this, she can go back to sleep completely on her own in the middle of the night without needing your help at all. Makes sense right?

We never think about these things and that the journey of sleep is an actual process. Because we have been doing it for so long, it's just second nature to us. But the fact that sleep is a learned process is evident when your baby starts having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. If a baby hasn't learned the right rituals and associations, or the process of sleep is dependent on you, then your baby will continue to wake and cry for your assistance.



Will My Baby Sleep Well If I Don't Sleep Train?

Another misconception is that a baby will just "grow out of this". I have heard this a million times. In my experience, a baby will not just grow out of the habits she has learned to fall asleep. How can she? If your baby has learned that she needs certain "props" to fall asleep, then how can she just one day forget about those props and rituals? She can't. A new process has to be learned. And that's where sleep training comes in. Remember sleep training is a process of helping your baby to get to sleep and stay asleep, by teaching good sleep habits. Teaching your baby to fall asleep on her own, without any props is a great sleep habit to teach. Thinking a baby will just "grow out of it" is a huge misconception. As a matter of fact studies have been conducted to prove that a baby will not just grow out of her sleep troubles. One study shows that babies that have trouble with sleep will continue to do so until the age of 3 yrs. A more recent study has shown that the sleep troubles continue up until the age of 5 yrs. 



What can I do?

Helping your baby learn to fall asleep and stay asleep independently, is the best thing you can do for him/her. Not to mention the extra Zzz's you will benefit from. Sleep training can involve ridding of any other bad sleep habits, but relying on you or a feeding is the most common, so I talk about that a lot in this article. 

Sleep training is not easy and can seem daunting to parents. Many parents give up because they don't know how to respond to the wakings. They don't know when to feed, when not to feed. How to stop the crying, and how to help their baby get back to sleep in the middle of the night. It gets confusing, exhausting, and parents just give up and deal with the wakings. The problem is, 3-5 years is a long time to deal with the wakings…

This is where my expertise comes in. I have gone through this over and over with hundreds of parents, and in the end they always tell the same thing "I couldn't of done this without your help". I help parents with the entire process, and give them a step by step plan of exactly what to do when their baby wakes or starts crying. In addition to that, I am available whenever questions or variables arise. As mentioned before, questions always come up, and parents give up because they don't know how to handle certain situations. That's why I offer this unique service, so that you know exactly what to do, and succeed at sleep training. 

Getting my baby to sleep through the night was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. I went through months and months of sleep deprivation, until I decided sleep training was our golden ticket.  Once I figured it out, I applied the techniques to my second baby. She started sleeping 8hrs at 6 weeks, and 12hrs by 3 months. It wasn't long before I started helping other sleepless parents. If your baby has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep please consider one of my Baby Sleep Consultation Packages, or learn more about how I became a Baby Sleep Consultant in my candid Biography.


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Baby Sleep: Frequently Asked Questions

when do babies sleep through the night, sleep training, what can i do baby sleep, baby do, baby night, self soothe, self settleHow can I get my baby to sleep through the night?
Everyone always wants to know how to to get their baby to sleep through the night. I wish I had a simple answer and a quick fix, but this is an extensive topic. Here are a few of my articles that will guide you in the right direction.

Sleep Training: The Basics
Sleeping Through the Night: My Secrets Revealed
Sleeping Through the Night

When do babies sleep through the night?
Every baby is different, but most experts say anywhere between 3-6 months a baby is capable of sleeping an 8-12 hour stretch. Read more about that HERE

What age can I start sleep training my baby?
There are some components you can start within the first weeks of birth, while others you will have to wait to implement. Here's a great article  When Should I Start Sleep Training?.

Does sleep training mean cry it out?
Absolutely not! There are many different methods of sleep training. These phrases should not be used interchangeably.  Here are some no cry sleep solutions

Why is my baby waking so often at night?
Newborns wake frequently because they need nutrition, this is normal. If your baby is older and still waking often during the night. Here are the Most Common Reasons Babies Wake Up at Night.


How can I eliminate unnecessary night time wakings?
The best way to eliminate unnecessary wakings is by teaching your baby how to fall asleep on his/her own. However a baby goes to sleep is how he/she will expect to fall back asleep when they wake in the middle of the night. So if you nurse or rock to sleep, you can expect that your baby will cry for you to do the same when he/she wakes up in the middle of the night. Here is my article on How Do I Teach My Baby to Self Soothe?.


What if I have tried everything on your site and still can't get my baby to sleep through the night? 
Some babies take a little bit longer to sleep train, because of their personality, temperament, or just because parents need a step by step process to help their baby. Because of this, I offer Personal Email Consultations. Your Consultation will include a step by step plan, along with email support from me each night, so that you know exactly what to do. I offer a variety of options, take a look at my  Baby Sleep Consultation Packages. You can also see what others are saying about my services on my Testimonials Page.

What books or program do you recommend to help my baby sleep through the night?
I highly recommend the Sleep Sense Program. I have read just about every book and tried every program out there. The Sleep Sense Program is truly the best program available. When I recommend something, I don't like to only base things on my personal experience. I always look at how successful it is for other parents as well. The Sleep Sense has a very high success rate, with almost 100% of parents being successful at getting their baby to sleep through the night. Over 32,000 parents have purchased this program, so with a success rate that high, that speaks volumes about this program, and the reason I recommend it on my site.  Here is more information about the Sleep Sense Program.



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Baby Sleep Training: No Cry Methods

Everyone always thinks that sleep training has to involve letting your baby cry it out. You don't have to let your baby cry her little head off, to get her to start sleeping through the night. I'm going to introduce some sleep training methods and techniques that don't involve leaving your baby to cry alone. I like to call these methods No cry sleep solutions.

Womb-Like Environment
no cry sleep solution, no tears sleep training, gentle sleep training, This is something that works great for very young babies (0-2 months). This is not really a method, but I did want to mention it because a "womb-like" feel, is all some babies may need to sleep well. It works great for young babies because they are so use to being in a warm cozy womb, that they get all confused when they are born, and have a very difficult time sleeping. So what you want to do is create what I call a "womb-like environment".
  • Swaddle your baby nice and snug, a HALO SleepSack works great for this. 
  • Slightly elevate the head of the bassinet, co-sleeper, or crib. Your baby didn't sleep flat in your belly, don't think she's going to love sleeping flat in her crib. You can use this baby sleep positioner, or you can use folded towels under the mattress. You can also take off one set of legs on one side of the co-sleeper
  • Turn on some womb sounds or white noise . 
  • For newborns, place a rolled up receiving blanket on each side of the body (armpit level), which makes your baby feel as if you are holding her. Since I am a strong advocate of the SIDS campaign and believe a bare crib is best, this is only appropriate for newborns because they don't yet wiggle enough, where this can pose a danger.

Pick Up Put Down (PUPD)

This is a method made popular by Tracy Hog. It involves you picking up your baby when she cries, comforting her, and putting her back down when she calms down. You do this over and over until your baby falls asleep. I know what your thinking, this sounds exhausting. And it can be, but eventually your baby learns that when she cries, you are right there to comfort her. She learns that you won't desert her when she cries for you, and she will feel safe to fall asleep on her own. 


Shush/Pat

This is a technique used to calm your baby down when she is crying. For an "easy" baby, you can use this method alone. For a more difficult baby, you may want to use this in combination with another method. But the general idea is that, you make a shushing noise which mimics the sound of your womb and acts as white noise for your baby. You can also pat your baby, or leave your hand on her back. This lets her know, you are there and you are not leaving. This works great when you don't want to pick your baby up from the crib, to give her a chance to calm down, and learn to self settle.


Getting Rid of "Sleep Props" or Sleep Associations

This method, introduced to me by Dana Obleman creator of the Sleep Sense Program, helps get rid your baby of sleep associations, that cause her to wake multiple times at night. Dana explains that however a baby falls asleep, is how she will expect to fall back asleep when she wakes up in the middle of the night. So if your baby nurses to sleep, she will need to be nursed back to sleep, even if she is not hungry. Since babies have shorter sleep-wake cycles than adults, they wake up many times at night wanting to be put back to sleep by that particular "sleep prop". The sleep sense program teaches you how to get rid of sleep props and teaches your baby to fall asleep on her own.


Drowsy but Awake

A baby that falls asleep in your arms and wakes up in her crib becomes very alarmed. Just as you would if you fell asleep in your bed and woke up in your back yard. So with this method, you lay your baby down "drowsy" or very sleepy, but making sure she is still awake. This does two things. First, it gives your baby the opportunity to self soothe and fall asleep on her own without any "props". Second, it allows her to fall asleep in her crib so that she doesn't get alarmed when she wakes up in the middle of the night. For babies that have been nursed or rocked to sleep, this is obviously not going to be as easy as just laying them down. You are probably going to have to use one of the methods above in combination. PUPD is a good one to add to this.


All of these methods take some time, commitment, and consistency. It's obviously alot easier to close the door and just let your baby cry. I don't know about you, but I would much rather put in some work, than leave my child alone to cry her head off until she falls asleep. Bedtime should be a relaxing, calm, and cozy opportunity for you and your child to connect. Not a dreaded, all out crying disaster.

I have had great success teaching my baby to sleep using very gentle, no tears type of sleep training techniques/methods. My first baby was a very stubborn, strong-willed little girl. I thought it would be impossible to get her to sleep through the night when she was already 9 months old and still waking every 2 hours. Her habits were so set, on top of her strong personality. She insisted on being held, nursed, or rocked back to sleep. But I did it, within a week she was falling asleep on her own and sleeping through the night. It's not an easy process, and you have to know exactly how to respond to the crying in order to be successful. Also, every baby is different. So what may work for one baby, may not work for the next. Age too, plays a huge part in the process. You can't expect a 3 month old to respond, the same way a 9 month old will. Some techniques are appropriate for younger babies, but will not work for older babies, or vice versa. I learned that helping your baby sleep, is more than just reading about a few techniques on the web, and trying them out. There are many different components to consider, and it's whole process. If you don't consider your baby's age, development, or temperament, you can use the PUPD technique till your arms fall off and he/she still won't sleep. That is exactly why I decided to offer customized sleep plans along with consultations to help parents with the entire process. I offer tons of advice on my site, but I realized that everyone's situation is very unique. In order to help, a consultation may be the best way I can offer my assistance. Please take a look at my Baby Sleep Consultation Packages which are designed to help, no matter your budget.  



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Most Common Reasons Babies Wake Up at Night

    
Using Sleep Props

The use of props to help a baby fall asleep, is the number one reason a sleeping baby wakes up at night (something I learned from the Sleep Sense Program). Here are some common props or sleep associations: 
  • Bottle or breastfeeding/nursing to sleep 
  • Rocking to sleep 
  • Swinging to sleep
  • Movement in a carseat or stroller
  • Even the *pacifier if your baby is dependent on it 

If your baby relies on any of the above to fall asleep, and needs them when she wakes up at night, then it is considered a prop or sleep association. Your baby will continue waking throughout the night and not be able to soothe herself back to sleep, without that particular prop. Your baby should always go to sleep awake, without any props. Trust me, your baby will find a way to soothe herself. When Brianna was in the  HALO SleepSack , she would rub her face against the sheets. She would turn her head side to side, until she fell asleep. She now sways her hand across the sheets back and forth. The texture of the sheet soothes her, and she falls asleep. That would never cross my mind as soothing, but that's what she does. We even bought her these Velour sheets, which she absolutely loved.

By teaching your baby to fall asleep on her own, and getting rid of sleep props, you will solve most, if not all of your baby's sleep troubles. I am not suggesting, by any means, to be cold or harsh to your baby. As a matter of fact you want to do everything you can, to comfort your baby before bed. Kisses, hugs, and cuddling, is the best part of our bedtime routine! Of course you want to make your baby feel safe, secure, and loved before bed. Just don't let the sleep props be the reason your baby falls asleep.  Here's a separate article that explains Sleep Associations/Props and how to handle them. 

You obviously don't want to impose anything strict on a newborn. Newborn sleep troubles are very common. You should give your baby some time to transition. When you first bring your newborn home, you may need to use some rocking, swinging, or even a white noise machine, just so your baby can associate night with sleep-time. Womb sounds work really well to help a baby transition. Once your baby has settled into this world, then you can start working on helping your baby sleep without any sleep props. 

* A side note on the use of the pacifier. I encourage the use of a pacifier because it has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. However, if your baby is crying in the middle of the night because it fell out, and you need to go and put it back in, then you might want to evaluate if you really want to use it. This is a personal choice, one you will have to make weighing your pros and cons. I thought Brianna was reliant on the pacifier, then I put her to the test. I took the binky away, and let her fall asleep without it for a few nights, and she didn't cry for it. So I knew she wasn't relying on it. She fell asleep with it, but didn't care when it fell out. So I decided to keep it. I think I would of kept it either way, at least for the first few months because of the whole SIDS thing. Tell a nurse something reduces SIDS, and she's not going to think twice.
 
Circadian  Rhythm

 It's also known as our biological clock. It's a 24 hour pattern of biological activities that occur in our body. The sleep-wake cycle is part of that circadian rhythm. As part of sleep-wake cycle our body releases certain hormones during night time to help us fall asleep. It also releases daytime hormones to help us wake up. Babies are born with an under developed circadian rhythm. That's why when you bring your baby home from the hospital, he or she sleeps during the day, and is awake at night. Also, don't forget throughout your pregnancy, your baby was rocked to sleep during the day by your movements. That's why you felt her movements at night when she was awake. So what can you do to help your little night owl? Just keep your baby on a regular feeding cycle. Keep the blinds open, turn on the t.v or radio, and just go about your day as you normally would to help create an association with daytime. Then at night, obviously you do the exact opposite. Quiet all noise, turn down the lights, and establish your bedtime routine. Be patient, it can take some babies up to 8 weeks to know the difference between day and night. To complicate things even more, melatonin (the sleep hormone) is not produced until a baby is about 2-3 months old. So don't get discouraged, it takes a while for a baby to settle into this world.

Startle Reflex

Also known as the Moro reflex, is a normal infantile reflex. When some stimulus causes your baby to startle, the legs flex and the arms stretch out. This stimulus can be a loud noise, an unexpected touch, or a bad dream. This reflex lasts only a few seconds, but can wake a sleeping baby. Some babies can drift right back to sleep, while others will completely wake up. This reflex usually diminishes by 4 months of age. Until then the  Swaddle Sleep Sack is great. Those nifty velcro patches were intended to keep your baby's arms inside, and prevent awakening from the startle reflex. I watched Brianna, completely wake up from the startle reflex over and over. Her arms would fan out and she was awake! That's when I decided to put her in the Swaddle Sack. It helped so much, she slept so much better.


Temperature 

At one point Brianna started waking more frequently for a few days in a row, right at the start of winter. I noticed her little hands and feet were cold. Now it's pretty warm in our house. As a matter of fact, I slept in shorts and a tank top. Apparently it wasn't warm enough for Brianna. I had to adjust the temperature for her. When I did, she was back to her normal sleep schedule. The same thing happened in the summer when it got really warm out. At this point she was sleeping through the night, and she started waking up a for a few nights. That's when I realized it was too warm for her. It was only April, I never turn on the air condition this early! I had to put a low fan setting on the A.C. and that kept her comfortable. Babies are picky about the right temperature. We naturally regulated their temperatures for them, while they were in utero. Out here, it's a bit more difficult to get that temperature just right.

Hunger

Ok this may sound self explanatory but it's not. You may Think your baby is hungry, but she may not be. Here are some clues that your baby is waking up because she is truly hungry:

1. She's wakes up whining at first, then transitions into a louder and louder cry. If your baby wakes up hysterical, she's probably waking up because she's scared or confused, not because she's immediately hungry. Babies will wake up screaming if they fell asleep in your arms, and didn't go to sleep on their own. They wake up alarmed, wondering where they are, and where you disappeared. Sort of like you would if you fell asleep in your warm bed, but woke up in your backyard. That's how alarming it is for a baby, and that's why your baby wakes up screaming.  

2. Your baby is waking up consistent with her daytime feeding schedule. Meaning if she's eating every 4 hours during the day, she will probably do the same at night. Especially if she is young. A young baby may only be able to make it 4hrs at night. If your baby is older, her consistent wakings may be purely out of habit, so continue reading to see if other clues are present

3. She only wakes for one feeding. If your baby is only waking for one feeding, and goes right back to sleep, she is most likely hungry and still needs that feeding. If your baby is waking up multiple times a night, chances are she is just comfort feeding. (Unless she is really young of course)


4. When your baby is eating, you hear loud, audible swallows. What I mean is, she is not just playing around, suckling a little here, a little there. She is truly drinking and actively eating. Some babies wake up from a sleep cycle, and just want to be soothed back to sleep, and the bottle or breast is obviously going to do the trick. Brianna was infamous for this. She would wake up, suckle a little, and fall right asleep on me. I would slip her into bed and half hour to an 1 hour later, she did it again. She wasn't hungry, she was using me as a soother! And this went on for months. It wasn't until she was 8 months old, when I learned about sleep props, and that she was actually only comfort nursing. 

5. Your baby stays awake during the entire feeding, and usually drinks a large bottle or feeds from both breasts. A baby wouldn't be able to eat that much, if she was not hungry. It is possible that your baby is eating a large amount out of habit, or simply because it's offered and she knows it's an easy way to fall back asleep. If your baby is comfort feeding while her stomach is full, she will eat a little bit and fall asleep on the bottle or breast. So it can be very tricky. You have to really be in-tune with your baby's hunger cues. 


6. Here's the biggie, your baby falls asleep after you place her back in the crib awake! Now only a content baby could do that. If you fulfilled her need for calories because she was hungry, and she falls asleep knowing that she is back in her crib, then she was most likely hungry. Otherwise she would put up a fight and stay awake.

When Brianna was finally waking only to eat, I knew she was truly hungry. By now I learned the difference. She would guzzle her milk like it's the last time she would ever have it. She stayed awake the whole time with the sole intention of eating. She didn't play around, waste time, or fall asleep on the breast. When she was done (usually within 10min), I would place her back in the crib awake. She fell asleep right away, of course so did I, and we both woke up with a smile in the morning. She continued to have this one night time feeding, until she was just about 8 months. I even emailed the Sleep Sense Program who's opinion I truly value, just to make sure I was doing things right by still feeding her, and this is the response I got:

Hi Violet,

That is absolutely fine then as long as she is staying awake for it and falling asleep in her bed, on her own afterward. You're on the right path!


Best,


Regan Forsyth
Sleep Sense Client Support

Growth Spurt

We all heard about this right? Your baby grows at a rapid rate and needs to eat more. Common growth spurts are 7-10 days, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 9 months. Give or take a little, they are not exact. Brianna must of hit every single one of these. She was on a great sleep schedule, then all of the sudden started waking frequently. I knew it was only a growth spurt, because it only lasted 3-4 days. After a while, I loved growth spurts. Because at the end of each growth spurt, she would get right back on her sleep schedule, and even slept a little bit longer. My recommendation, just feed on demand during a growth spurt. If you are breastfeeding, don't worry about your supply being low. Your supply will actually increase to meet the demand of your baby. I always thought it was cool how that works. Don't forget to drink extra fluids. You are going to be thirsty from all the feedings. And if you are bottle feeding, your partner can help with the extra feedings. Growth spurts can be exhausting but thankfully they don't last long.

New Developmental Skill

Your baby learned how to kick, roll, sit or stand and now they want to do it all night. Sound familiar? You can't stop a baby from exploring her new skills. For younger babies, the Swaddle Sack is great. You can use it up until your baby starts to roll. It keeps their little arms and legs inside. At first I wasn't very fond of using the Swaddle Sack. I felt like I was restraining my baby. After a few uses, I realized it was really helping her. By using a good swaddle, you are keeping your baby snug, and preventing her from even getting the idea of kicking or swinging her arms. At first I was swaddling Brianna in a regular receiving blanket. It didn't take long for her to slip out of there. As soon as an arm or leg broke loose, she fully woke up to further experiment. With the SleepSack , that never even crossed her mind because her arms and legs never came out of it. She slept so soundly in it. As you can tell, I really love the Sleep Sack. 

When my baby Brianna learned how to sit and crawl, that's all she wanted to do! I would put her in the crib awake, and up she went. When your baby starts practicing her new skills, simply remind her it's time to sleep and place her back into her usual sleep position. You will most likely have to do that over and over, because chances are she's going to keep getting up. After a few tries she should get the point and tire out. Keep in mind that she could be testing you, to see if you allow her to play. Keep conversation to a minimum, so that you don't over-stimulate her. Only repeat it's sleepy time if she really resists, whines, or fusses. If you did your bedtime routine, and did everything else right, your baby will eventually fall asleep. Because guess what time it is?… sleepy time, meaning she is already drowsy and tired. Your baby will soon tire out and give up and fall asleep. If your baby thinks this is a game, walking out of the room may work better. Not all babies respond well to being laid down over and over. 

I also encourage lots of playtime on the mat during the day. This helps your baby practice her new skills, so she's not doing it so much at night. Unfortunately there's not much you can do when your baby is going through this part of development. Just wait it out, until your baby learns and masters the skill. She will soon go back to her regular sleep schedule. Learn more about Sleep Regressions

Teething
sleep training, baby sleep training, baby wakes up, baby waking
For some babies teething can feel like an itch, and for others it can be very painful. But either way, it's annoying and can keep a baby up all night. 6 months is the average time a baby cuts her first tooth, but it can be way earlier or later. Bottom line, you will have to find some way to ease the pain. Talk to to your doctor about some options. You can also check out my article Chamomile for Babies. I have some really neat tips.

Light

Is there any light coming in the room? Perhaps it's a full moon, or your neighbor just bought a new garage light. Lights can really bother a sleeping baby, because they disrupt the sleep-wake cycle. Illumination suppresses Melatonin, the hormone that helps us sleep. If you suspect light to be waking your baby, I recommend room darkening or black out shades. Before we put Brianna in her own room, she slept 2 hours later in our bedroom which had the room darkening shades. I learned that she's one of those babies that wakes as soon as there's any tiny bit of light coming through. Blackout shades are great, they keep the bright sunlight out, and most of them block out 95-99% of light. 

Some babies are just more sensitive than others. Studies show that even a small amount of light can prevent us from going to sleep and staying asleep. You may have to get rid of the cute nightlight you registered for, or cover up the light on the smoke detector. I actually had to cover the green light coming from the baby monitor camera. I just stuck a piece of black tape on the light. I caught Brianna staring at it the first few nights we installed it, it was preventing her from falling asleep. It was such a tiny pin size light, but it still bothered her. Some babies won't even give you any clues that a light is bothering them. Instead they will just have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

You can buy room darkening shades in Home Depot or Lowe's. You might have to custom order the black out shades, which don't permit any light. You can also take a look at these blackout shades. I have done some research and these seem to have the best reviews. They are also less expensive than custom shades.

Illness
It should be no surprise that a baby that is sick, is now waking in the middle of the night. Whether it's a cold, stomach bug, or just a fever, your baby will have a hard time sleeping due to the discomfort. Stuffy noses cause mouth breathing, and mouth breathing causes dry mouth, which in turn makes your baby wake more frequently. Fevers are also very uncomfortable, even for us adults, so think about what it does to our babies who can't communicate their needs very well. During this time, try your best to soothe your baby, but you may just have to deal with a few rough nights. 


So there you have it, the most common reasons a baby wakes frequently at night. If your baby is still waking, for reasons other than the ones mentioned above, you may want to try taking a free sleep assessment, to see what's going on with your child's sleep. You answer a few questions, and get emailed back a detailed report with suggestions on what to do. 
Check it out here.

I am also available for consultations. I can create a sleep plan for your baby and help you with the entire process, so that your baby can start sleeping through the night. If you need help getting your baby to sleep, please take a look at my Consultation Packages, or see what others are saying about my services on the Testimonials Page

                               

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Sleep Sense Program Review

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When your baby keeps you up all night long and you can’t get more than two or three hours of shut-eye at a time, it can feel like your whole world is falling apart. You’re exhausted. You can’t think straight. Your nerves are completely frayed. In other words, you’re not exactly at your parenting best. And your child isn’t at his or her best either. When babies and children don’t get a full night’s rest, everything is harder for them. They are fussy and cranky all day. They don’t eat right. Learning basic skills is more challenging. Sleep deprivation starts to take a toll on the whole family. I know I have been there!

I used to have a lot of trouble getting Brianna to sleep well at night. For months, she’d go to bed really late, then wake me up four or five times a night,  demanding to be fed, rocked, or just held back to sleep. It was a nightmare! I love her to pieces, but she was cranky and always tired. I was sleep-deprived and exhausted! And it wasn't getting any better either, this lasted almost a year! I knew something had to be done. Through the midst of all my crazy research on how to get her to sleep through the night, I came across the Sleep Sense site. It's run by  Dana Obleman a professional sleep coach who created the Sleep Sense Program. I started reading and a lot of the things she was saying, described to a T what was going on with Brianna. So I immediately took the free customized sleep assessment . I have to be honest, at first I was a little bit weary about this site, and the way it is advertised, sort of "sales pitch" style. But I am so glad I tried her methods. The first night it took Brianna 1 hour to fall asleep on her own, by the 3rd night we were down to 5 minutes. Brianna was a very stubborn and strong-willed 8 month old, with many sleep associations. Dana's methods worked wonders for our family. She uses a very gentle and effective approach. If you have been reading my blog you know I'm totally against CIO. It was really hard to trust any program guaranteeing my baby to sleep through the night, but I was confident that at least this one would give me my money back if my baby didn't. I could not believe that within a week my baby who was waking every 1-2 hours, was falling asleep on her own and sleeping through the night. Needless to say…we didn't need our money back:)

Before I even purchased the program, I became a fan on Dana's Facebook page and saw a lot of really great comments about her sleep training methods. Those are real people on there and real comments, no marketing and no gimmicks. Each day I read testimonials and success stories, and saw that she’s obviously helped a huge number of families! These families were a real inspiration and the reason I decided to give the Sleep Sense a try. 

I see nothing but great things being said about this program and Dana Obleman herself. She's helped so many people with a success rate in the 90's in getting babies to sleep through the night. 

Here is a comment a Father...yes a Father, posted on her page. It's kind of long but I just had to share.

"Not sure if this is a real email address or not, but I wanted to send a response. My wife and I have been struggling with our 5-month old to sleep (naps and at night) since we brought her home. She rarely slept more than an hour at a time at night and rarely napped for more than 30 minutes during the day. We have been suffering from sleep deprivation for many weeks, and although I think we inherently knew we were doing something wrong, we were simply too tired to think straight.

I signed up for your program yesterday morning after a HORRIBLE sleepless night and forwarded the user and password information to my wife at home. She began reading the material almost immediately and called me in tears saying how many mistakes we've committed and bad habits we've instilled in our daughter. The way you laid it out really made sense to us and gave us hope from the very beginning. We read the material together aloud yesterday evening and put the bedtime routine into action last night.

Abi
gail slept for 12 straight hours: from 7:30 pm to 7:30 am. We woke to my alarm in stunned disbelief. We look forward to daytime naps that will allow us to exercise, clean house, or even relax. We are craving the adult time we can enjoy by putting her to bed earlier and going out for dinner together. But most importantly, we look forward to the happy, giggly times lasting longer and knowing that our daughter is getting her proper rest. As parents, we can tell that she has been WANTING to sleep and was getting frustrated that she COULDN'T!! She didn't know how, and you're helping us teach her
.

Your program is not rocket science. The principles are simple and straightforward--as were reading we kept saying "that makes total sense." The value in your program is the way you lay it out, the plain language you use to describe your ideas, and the kind way you point out the mistakes we're making. Thank you very much for making your product available...what a difference a day can make.

This morning, I drank a cup of coffee because I like the taste...not because I needed it to stay awake on the drive to work.

May God watch over you and bless you and your family."

Jonathan and Patricia


And here is a recent email from a Sleep, Baby, Sleep reader:

"Violet,

I am near tears of joy as I write this to you. Thank you SO much for your blog AND for recommending Sleep Sense. I've resorted to your blog since our daughter was born in January of 2014. I found it immediately spoke to my "mama gut" in a way that was realistic. You never recommend the impossible.  Along those same lines, after our daughter was sick for nearly a month...followed by an allergic reaction to antibiotics...her sleep schedule was unmanageable. I purchased Sleep Sense. We are on night two (it is 7:00 a.m. as I write this) and Norah has been asleep since 7:45 last night. I am so grateful for what this means for her development and our family's happiness. We are still working on longer naps, but this step feels incredible. Thank you so much. Please keep writing! I read every word.     

   -Best, Jenni Frizzell-Fuller (and family) "

This type of feedback is exactly why I recommend the Sleep Sense Program, many other books and programs just don't compare. Trust me I have read them all:) Most of the other books or programs, give you tons of tips, but no definite plan. This is exactly what the Sleep Sense does. It gives you a step by step plan for each night, and a clear explanation as to why you are doing what you are doing. This is why I believe so many people have been successful with it. If you are going the route of a sleep program/guide, then this is definitely the one. Here is more information as well as different prices and options   www.sleepsense.net/info 


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