Before the title causes a knee-jerk reaction from breastfeeding advocates, let me just say that this week's episode is, in no way, intended to discourage mothers who are happily and successfully breastfeeding.
This is just an honest account of my experience with breastfeeding and the life lessons it taught me.
It's blunt, it's straight-forward, and it's sincere, but as the title suggests, breastfeeding did NOT go well for my first child and I, and the pressure I put on myself to make it work was intense.
It was also, as I realized later, unnecessary.
So, just a heads-up! If you're a devout breastfeeding advocate, chances are you might not want to tune in this week, but for those of you who had a hard time, or are currently struggling with breastfeeding, I think you'll find some comfort and a few genuine laughs in this week's episode.
Every parent looks forward to the day when they can finally say goodbye to diapers, but the process usually isn't a lot of fun. Kids tend to protest change and that can lead to some unpleasant and occasionally embarrassing accidents.
Today, I'll tell you about three of the biggest mistakes parents make when they're potty training their little ones, and help you avoid them, as well as a few tips to help minimize the conflict and even make potty training fun for both you and your child.
I recently read a fascinating book by Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams called Bodywise: Discovering Your Body’s Intelligence for Lifelong Health and Healing, and I have to say, I was absolutely captivated from cover to cover.
Which is why I'm so excited to be speaking with her on today's podcast! We talk about sleep (naturally) and the health problems caused when we don't get enough of it, but we also discuss whether or not today’s modern lifestyle (hurried meals, device addiction, etc.) is responsible for an increase in women feeling “tired” all the time, and what can be done about it.
Give it a listen, and once you're done, you can pick up a copy of her book here.
Most of us, by the time we have kids, are savvy enough not to feed them energy drinks or sugary snacks right before bed. (Most of us. Not all.)
Because, obviously, a bunch of caffeine and sugar will get them fired up and make it hard for them to sleep. But those aren't the only culprits hiding in your kids' food that might cause them some sleep issues.
Today, I'm looking at the correlation between diet and sleep, and I'll give you some hints on foods to avoid, as well as a few to encourage, in order to help your little ones get the best night's sleep they can.
The dreaded sleep prop. Whether it's a pacifier, a breast, or rocking motions provided by Mom every time baby wakes in the night, they're the single biggest cause of baby not sleeping through the night. Which is ironic, because that's the very reason people employ them in the first place.
Don't get me wrong. As the parent of a once-terrible sleeper myself, I know how desperate we can get to find something, anything, that will help us get our babies to fall asleep.
Today, I'm looking back at some of the more innovative, bizarre, and downright absurd sleep props I've seen through my 14-year career as a baby sleep coach, and I've got a little advice for those of you who find yourselves thinking, "Oh hey, that might work!"
The toddler years are an amazing experience for both parents and kids. New skills and personality traits seem to develop almost every day, and it's a really fascinating process to be a part of.
But as they develop, they like to experiment and see where their boundaries are, so there are usually some frustrating moments to go along with the magical ones, and a whole bunch of those boundary-testing moments are likely to happen around bedtime.
Today, I'm discussing the 4 most common challenges parents are likely to face when it comes to toddlers and sleep, and I've got some great tips on how to deal with them calmly, effectively, and with as little protesting as possible.
Why is it, given how quickly babies adapt to a new sleep routine at bedtime, that they can't do the same thing when it comes to naps?
Many of the parents I've worked with have been flat-out amazed at how easily their child started sleeping through the night, but when it comes to naps, the results often take quite a bit longer to materialize.
It can be a frustrating endeavor, but I've got some tips in today's show to help you understand why daytime sleep can be so challenging for little ones, and how you can help them get over the hump to start taking long, rejuvenating naps during the day.
It's not uncommon to hear a parent refer to their kids as their top priority, or the center of their universe, and for good reason. For most parents, their kids are the single most important thing in their lives.
But there's a slight variance on those expressions that I hear a lot, and it gets under my skin a little bit.
"My kids are my whole world."
I know it might seem like nitpicking, but there's a reason why that particular turn of phrase bugs me, and I'll tell you all about it on today's episode.
As long as I've been a sleep consultant, and as much as I've seen the Sleep Sense brand grow, I've never lost my love for one-on-one consultations with people regarding their babies' sleep.
Having dealt with a terrible sleeper myself so many years ago, I know the struggle parents go through, and the amazing sense of relief and happiness that comes when the situation gets resolved.
With that in mind, a couple of weeks ago, I asked listeners to send me their questions about their little ones' sleep issues, and told them I'd respond on the air.
The response, I'd just like to say, was amazing. So a big thank you to everyone who took the time to record their questions.
This week, I'm answering those questions. (Or as many as I could fit into the time we had.) So have a listen and check out the solutions to some of the most common problems that you might be facing as the parent of a sleep-resistant baby! :)
There's no avoiding it. Your toddler is going to pitch a fit or two. However, tantrums are not usually due to anything serious, and are often just the result of frustration, overtiredness, or some good old fashioned boundary testing.
Which is why, with a little foresight and clever distraction, a lot of them can be avoided before they get out of hand.
On today's episode, I've got some specific, practical, easy-to-follow tips that can help you catch a toddler tantrum in its tracks, and give your little one something to occupy their thoughts and actions before they go into meltdown mode.
When it comes to getting kids to sleep through the night, nothing compares to a well-crafted bedtime routine. Many parents don't realize the importance of a predictable, relaxing regimen before putting their babies into their crib, or their toddlers into bed.
The reasons for this aren't just psychological. Our bodies go through a fascinating physical process when we start sending signals that we're getting ready for bed.
Although it might seem like an intuitive process, I've seen all kinds of kids improve their sleep habits by leaps and bounds after identifying the problems in their routine. I'll tell you what to stick to and what to avoid on this week's episode.
I had to be careful in titling this episode, because there's no real "fix" for bad habits in others. (Especially kids, as any parent knows.) All we can do is try to discourage the behavior.
But what form should that discouragement take, and how can we help to make it easier for our little ones to kick those habits? After all, we've all been there, right? Kicking a habit is hard, frustrating work, no matter what age you are.
In today's episode, I'm addressing the "big three" habitual behaviors that kids exhibit, and I'll give you some tips for breaking the compulsion in ways that are both effective and compassionate.
New parents are often warned about "The 3 month sleep regression" or "The 9 month sleep regression."
Really, you can substitute any number you want and you'll have no trouble finding corroboration that there's a sleep regression that happens around that age.
But in my experience, there are causes for sleep regressions that have nothing to do with age.
Today, I'll be discussing the three biggest reasons why your little one might suddenly break away from their carefully crafted routine, and what you can do to help get them back on track.
"Be a good girl!" "Do you need a time-out?" Make sure you say thank you!"
The way we talk to our kids is so generic, it could be coming from a handbook. We tell them to behave responsibly, to be considerate of others, and to be mindful of their actions, but is the message we're trying to communicate the one they're receiving?
My guest today, Jennifer Lehr, is the author of ParentSpeak: What's Wrong with How We Talk to Our Children--and What to Say Instead, and she's sharing her thoughts on the traditional approaches to communicating with kids, how kids actually interpret them, and how we can improve our communication tools to be more respectful and effective in talking to our children.
For a lot of parents I've worked with, room-sharing is straight-up indisputable. Just not always in the same way.
Many parents feel that their baby absolutely has to be in the room with them. Not necessarily in the same bed, but definitely the same room.
Others, myself included, decided early on that baby was going to sleep in their own room, and that the issue wasn't up for debate.
The choice is, obviously, up to you, but it's important to understand what you're taking on when you allow your little one into your bedroom. There are a lot of pros, a lot of cons, and a lot of things you might not have considered.
I'll be talking all about the benefits and drawbacks in this week's episode.
When it comes to babies, teething is the ultimate scapegoat. From diaper rashes to earaches, from fevers to nighttime wake-ups, the classic fall back position for parents has traditionally been, "It's probably because she's teething."
Which is why I hear a lot of parents thinking twice about whether it's the right time to start sleep training.
It's a valid concern, but one that I think gets overthought and over applied. After all, if you're not going to sleep train for the entire time that your little one might have a tooth coming in, you could be waiting for years.
In today's episode, I dispel some of the myths about teething, and give you some strategies for continuing your sleep training schedule while your little one is cutting teeth. (As well as a few ingenious tips I've learned from my clients for keeping baby's teeth clean without a fuss.)
I'm always inspired by the stories I hear on Facebook about parents who try the Sleep Sense Program and get results within a night or two, but the truth is, it's not always the way things go.
Some babies can take more time, or don't respond to the initial approach, and things take a little longer, which can leave parents discouraged and unsure how to proceed.
Today on The Sleep Sense Show, I'm talking about some of the reasons you might not be getting that "miracle morning" as early as you might have expected, and what you can do to change up your techniques to get and your baby the results you're after as soon as possible.
Ask any new parent what the single most valuable tool in their parenting kit is, and chances are you're going to hear, "iPad!" 2 times out of 3.
I'm not criticizing. Tablets and computers have changed the way our kids learn and play, and they can hold their attention in those periods of time when parents just need a chance to get dinner together, throw in a load of laundry, whatever.
But between their parents' attention and the ever-ready screens waiting to entertain them in the intervals, kids rarely have an opportunity anymore to just entertain themselves.
Playing with a toy, exploring the living room, or just playing with their toes don't get nearly as much air time these days, and I'm talking about why I think it's a concern on today's episode of The Sleep Sense Show.
Have you ever wondered why your baby can sleep so soundly in the car seat, or a swing, or a Rock N' Play, but the second you move her to her nice, soft, stationary crib, those eyes pop open and all thoughts of sleep go out the window?
Although it can seem like motion is the "magic bullet" when your baby won't settle down and go to sleep, it's usually not nearly as restful or restorative as your little one might be leading you to believe.
Today on The Sleep Sense Show, we'll be examining motion sleep (and why I'm not a big fan of it) as well as revealing the answer to the big question, "Why can baby nod off while sitting up in a moving car, but howls in protest once she's placed in her luxurious bed?"
There's a fine line to walk when it comes to your little ones and their sugar intake. Kids and candy go together like nuts and bolts, and there's no denying that parents get a little surge of happiness when they see their kids' eyes light up once they get an ice cream cone in their hand, or get their first taste of birthday cake.
We know that too much is bad for them, of course, but there's a flip side to that coin. In my experience, depriving kids of sugar entirely can also have some negative consequences that tend to materialize further down the road.
So where's the balance, and how can you stop your child from tugging at your pant leg every time you take them through the cashier line at the grocery store? I've got some great tips for you in today's episode.
There's no set age or developmental milestone which marks the right time to move your little one out of their crib and into a big-kid bed, but there are definitely some situations that can either help or hinder the transition. On today's episode, I've got some scenarios you'll want to consider before making the switch, and a strong case against the "never too early" argument.
Getting your baby sleeping through the night can be a challenge, but getting them to sleep during the day presents a whole new set of obstacles.
Between the natural light, the ambient noises, and the activities surrounding them, babies can have a real issue getting quality naps. That's a problem for parents and baby alike, since they're such are an essential element to a baby's overall sleep schedule.
So how can you help your little ones enjoy some quality shut-eye with all these factors working against them? I've got a great strategy for you in this week's episode.
Have you made your new year's resolutions yet? Every year, we vow that we're going to lose a few pounds, run a half marathon, and start taking better care of ourselves in a meaningful, noticeable way, which is great! I'm all for self-improvement.
So today, I've got a great idea for a realistic, attainable resolution that's guaranteed to make you look and feel better, and genuinely improve your overall health and well-being.
I suggest you make this the year you finally improve your sleep, and I've got some suggestions on how you can do it almost effortlessly! It'll give you more energy, help you lose weight, help you look your best, and improve your mood and overall health! I'll tell you how in this week's episode!
The season's upon us, and with it comes travel, get-togethers, out-of-town visitors, and a dozen other sleep saboteurs that can throw your little one's schedule out of sync. In today's episode, I've got some tips to help you keep things on track through the holiday festivities and make sure everyone in the house gets a good night's sleep.
We're taking a break from sleep-related topics today to discuss the other source of endless frustration for parents and kids.
What do you do when your child refuses to eat?
Do you withhold dessert, wait at the table until they finish, or try to persuade them with rewards and treats?
These are particularly tricky waters to navigate, because you're helping to establish the relationship that your children are going to have with food through the rest of their lives.
Today, I've got a few strategies you can try that can get your child eating well, stop the stress and conflict over mealtimes, and help them develop a positive, healthy association with food.
For more info on The Food Sense Program, check out kidsfoodcenter.com.