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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Baby V #3- 14 Weeks

We have some HUGE announcements this week. We got the test results back from the first trimester screen (aka the nuchal translucency test), and the cell free DNA test. Through the cell free DNA test, we also found out the sex of the baby and now know if it is a little Amelia or a little William!

So let me start with some history and what these tests mean to us:

First Trimester Screen: 

When I was pregnant with April, the ultrasound looked beautiful at this stage. We were told everything looked great. Then the blood work came back. It indicated a 1 in 77 chance of Down Syndrome. Since we had increased risk, we then did another test- the cell free DNA test.

Click here to read about-->  when we found out this news from the results of our nuchal translucency test for April's pregnancy.

Cell Free DNA test: 

This test is noninvasive. It is a simple blood test that is very accurate, but only predictive, and not diagnostic. We were just looking for more information about our increased risk of Down Syndrome.

We weren't expecting the devastating news, that April had a huge risk of trisomy 13 (click here to read about the cell free DNA test results from our pregnancy with April).

This test can also tell you with 99% accuracy the sex of the baby.

When your child is ready to drop the last nap, it is so important to think through how this transition to no naps will happen. It is also very important that some sort of rest time still be present during the day.

Your child may not need a nap with actual sleep, but they certainly need some downtime or rest time to refuel throughout the day and make it to bedtime.

Once you've determined if your child is ready to drop to no naps, you can then make a plan as to how this "no nap" day will look.

If you are wondering when to make the transition to no naps, click this link for tips on how to know if your child is ready for no naps.

Here are 4 tips to make the transition to no naps go as smoothly as possible:

1. Keep a Time Slot Every Day

A child that has just had nap time removed, still needs rest and quiet time. Honestly this is beneficial for everyone! This time should occur at the same time that nap time was occurring (most likely right after lunch).

During this time, your child should be in their room, by themselves, and in bed.

I know, you are sitting there asking "What? Why would we implement a rule like that when my child won't be napping?" 

Here's why: Your child needs downtime. They need quiet. This time will provide that.

Since you know your child doesn't sleep during naps any longer, however, you can make some changes (see #2 below - call it rest time).

2. Call it Rest Time

We've transitioned to calling nap time "rest time" since Caroline was about 2.5 years old. Oh my gosh this worked wonders for us.

We used to put Caroline in bed, turn her clock blue to indicate it was nap time, and leave the room. She'd stay awake, and for awhile, she was even getting upset.

She wasn't, however, ready to drop her naps (troubleshoot if your little one is ready to drop naps at this link)

So, we started turning her clock green instead of blue. We started calling it "rest time" instead of nap time.

And we implemented new rules:

- She is now allowed to get out of bed to get books, or stuffed animals (no toys other than that) to bring to bed.

- She must stay in bed other than to retrieve a book or stuffed animal.

- She is allowed to quietly "read" or play with her friends (stuffed animals).

- She is welcome to sleep if she feels like it. (be sure to mention this)

- If, after an hour, she is still awake, I will let her know that she can get out of bed to play quietly in her room.

My gosh did we see an immediate difference in our daughter's behavior!

Not only did she start napping on occasion, her mood was much better. She doesn't always nap, but many days she does.

When she's fully ready to stop napping, this time will be in place, already called rest time, and she'll already be used to the rules of rest time.

Calling it something new, and making new rules that gave her a tiny bit more freedom, took the pressure off of "nap time".

It gave her ownership of the process as well. She decides if she sleeps or stays awake. Sleep is not something we can force our children to do. So, if we can set them up for success, they can learn to make good decisions about their sleep.

Caroline did just that.

3. Allow for flexibility within the structure of "rest time"

You'll notice above that we gave Caroline flexibility in two ways:

- First, we allow her to get books and stuffed animals. If your child isn't tired, this really helps to keep them entertained, yet quiet. She is still required to return to bed, and she is still required to stay in bed. There is structure and flexibility.

- Second, if she is clearly not going to be sleeping, we reward her for listening and staying in bed. After 1 hour of true quiet rest time in bed, she is told that she can get up and have room time (quiet play time in her room by herself).

This helps to lengthen the restful time, while again trusting her with some flexibility within our structured time.

She's thrilled to be able to get up and play. Independent playtime is then an exciting time in her day, as we'd like it to be!

4. Earlier Bedtime

Don't forget that your child is going to be tired, sooner in the evening, if they are suddenly not napping.

It's ok to push bedtime to a slightly earlier time if your child didn't nap.

Just as it's ok to push bedtime to be a slightly later time if your child did decide to nap one day.

I've found that we end up having an A and B schedule. On days she decides to nap, she stays up later in the evening. On days she doesn't nap, we keep the usual earlier time.

Again, it's all about keeping structure, but giving yourself enough flexibility to adjust to your child's needs.


Welcome to the Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! This week happens twice a year, and it is SO very exciting. This week I have the pleasure of bringing to you, 8 posts all on the hot babywise topic of: sleep.

Below you will find our schedule for the week, so you know what sleep topics to expect.

Today I am super excited about these final two posts! Emily and Carrie are so brilliant with their writing. These are must reads about children and their sleep needs!

1. How to Tell If You Have a High Sleep Needs or Low Sleep Needs Baby

Sleep can be a challenging thing to figure out with little babies that can't just tell us what they need. This post is so insightful. Emily talks about high sleep needs babies versus low sleep needs children. She outlines specific traits to look for when trying to determine your baby's unique sleep needs.

"I am a hardcore Babywise mama. I start implementing sleep strategies from birth to help my babies become great sleepers (Click here for my post on how to start Babywise from birth!). It's not easy: it takes WORK. When you put in all that work, time and effort and then your baby just isn't sleeping the way you think they should be it's beyond stressful.

Welcome to the Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! This week happens twice a year, and it is SO very exciting. This week I have the pleasure of bringing to you, 8 posts all on the hot babywise topic of: sleep.

Below you will find our schedule for the week, so you know what sleep topics to expect.

Today I am very excited to bring to you, a very interesting sleep topic:

5 Reasons Babywise is Effective for All Babies

"I think sometimes as parents we can be guilty of thinking that our child is the exception to the rule.

Y'know, we've got the difficult sleeper, or the colicky newborn, or the baby that gets overstimulated far too easily. Which of course means that the typical parenting methods won't be effective.

Welcome to the Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! This week happens twice a year, and it is SO very exciting. This week I have the pleasure of bringing to you, 8 posts all on the hot babywise topic of: sleep.

Below you will find our schedule for the week, so you know what sleep topics to expect.

Today, Kim is talking about one of my favorite concepts- having awake time, in bed, before nighttime.  This is something that just naturally happened in Caroline's schedules. 

We put her to bed, and she's allowed to have quiet time. She can whisper, "read" her books, and play with the stuffed animals that she has in bed. No toys are allowed, and she must be quiet.

She loves this time, and it's really become a nice way for her schedule to kind of self adjust if need be. 

It is Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! We are all blogging on the topic of "sleep". Today I'm writing specifically about knowing when to drop to no naps. You can find a full list of links for the week below this post. 

Knowing when your child is ready to drop a nap can be difficult. Knowing when they are ready to drop the very last nap, can be a bit daunting.

Our children like to go through phases (sleep regressions) where they try and tell us they no longer need the nap. We have to be savvy enough parents to see through this and know whether or not they truly need a nap or not.

Click this link to read more about age specific sleep regressions.

The good news, is that there are some general guidelines that you can follow on when to drop the last nap.

There are also some telltale signs to keep in mind, and behaviors that your toddler will exhibit (or not) if they are ready to drop the nap, versus just being stubborn and not wanting to sleep.

Things to consider when determining if your child is ready to drop to no naps:

1. Age

First and foremost is to consider your child's age. A 2 year old is not ready to stop napping. Odds are, your 3 year old is not ready to stop napping, although can be ready at this age. Typically it is not until age 4 that your child is truly ready to drop the nap all together.

So, if your child is 2 and it appears that they are dropping their last nap of the day, rethink this and give it time. They are most likely in a sleep regression.

Click this link to see how we handled our 2.5 year old trying to drop her naps. (We powered through and she's now 3.5 and still going strong with her naps a year later).

If your child is 3, and appears to be ready to drop naps, you have some investigation to do (see napping patterns and behavior below).

If your child is 4, and seemingly to the point of dropping naps, it's still good to give it time and do some investigation on napping patterns and behaviors before you throw the nap out all together.

You also want a plan in place on how to make the transition to no naps. Hint: plan on keeping a slot for rest time (post on this to come).

Often times, parents jump the gun and drop the nap too soon. If this happens, you'll have a cranky toddler on your hands, so be careful and don't be too quick to drop the nap!

2. Napping Patterns

Observe and take note of your child's napping patterns. Do this for at least a solid two-three weeks so you have a good set of data to go on. Don't make any sudden changes based on a sample set of a few days.

Is your child napping every day? 
Are his/her naps getting consistently shorter?
Does your child nap every other day?
Maybe your child naps 3-4 times a week?
Is your child refusing to take naps every single day for a couple of weeks?

Other things to consider...

Is this a season that your child is not as physically active (winter)?
If you incorporate more physical activities into the day, is he/she napping better?
Is your child getting enough mental stimulation before nap time?
Is your child learning new skills?

Take a few weeks and really take note of your child's behavior. They might go several days without napping, but then take a 3 hour nap 2 days in a row.

Children go through phases.

It could be due to lower physical activity in the winter months, lower mental stimulation in the summer months, he/she could be learning something new and really excited about it, or they could be going through something emotionally that is altering their desire to sleep for the time being.

These are all phases and things that can cause nap and sleep disruptions. But often they are not permanent.

And, if your child is taking any naps at all (even only 1 day per week), they still need their naps.

Consider the entire package before making a judgement call. Wait it out if in doubt. 

A 3 year old not napping in the winter, might very well be napping in the summer.

Click here to try using our rest time tactic to keep the consistency of a "nap time", if your toddler seems like he or she is not yet ready to drop the nap completely, but also not sleeping much during nap time

3. Behavior

A tired child is a cranky child. It is that simple. If removing naps has put your child in a funk, they were not ready. Get that nap back into routine asap.

They may end up napping only a few times per week. Or maybe their nap is short, but still there. That's ok.

A well rested child is one that is happy and ready to learn. They behave MUCH better than a tired child.

4. Total Sleep

A child that is age 3-5, needs a total amount of sleep (in a 24 hour period), of 11-13 hours on average.

The Baby Sleep Site guides are my go to resource for sleep totals- it is a fantastic website!

Keep in mind, that this is an average and all children are unique, so your 3 year old may need 14 hours of sleep, and your 5 year old might end up needing 10.

But most children in the 3-5 age range will fall into the 11-14 hours of sleep category. If your child gets that all at night, they may not need a nap (assuming their behavior stays fine without the nap).

If they can't handle dropping a nap based on their behavior, you may need to push bedtime out to a later time, in order to be able to keep a nap in place.

Total sleep in a 24 hour period should be in this range, and it is up to you as the parent to figure out when and how it should happen.

Making the Decision To Keep Naps or Drop Naps

Don't forget that this decision to drop naps should not be up to your child. You set the bedtime, you set the nap time (if they still have one).

You know best because, as the parent, you are looking at the whole picture and considering all of the factors.

If you have any doubt, don't drop the nap! Put rules in place, implement a rest time as I discuss in this sleep regression post, and simply give it time.

See if it is a season that your child will outgrow. Give it a couple of months. That is an ok thing to do!

We've been through many phases where I thought Caroline was ready to drop her nap, and she always came back around to it. I am one happy mama that I held onto the nap, because I'd have one cranky toddler otherwise!

Caroline is currently 3.5. There are many days she doesn't nap. She's still in bed, however, having rest time. Then, on the days she does nap, she takes long solid 3 hour naps.

We've also made the choice to extend bedtime to 7:30/8pm (from her previous 7pm time). That one change helped a lot in keeping her napping, keeping her behavior on par, and in getting her to sleep faster at bedtime.


If you are interested in even more resources on this topic from my fellow Babywise Friendly Blog Network bloggers, please take a look at this post from Valerie called "How to know when your child is ready to stop napping". Valerie goes into some of the same concepts I've discussed here. 

And, if your child is ready to drop their last nap, Kimberly talks about how to make the transition to from nap time to rest time here, and Carrie talks about what rest time looks like in their household in this post

I hope you join us for all of these amazing sleep topics. I will bring them all to you on the blog daily so you can find the links easily!

Welcome to the Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! This week happens twice a year, and it is SO very exciting. This week I have the pleasure of bringing to you, 8 posts all on the hot babywise topic of: sleep.

Below you will find our schedule for the week, so you know what sleep topics to expect.

Today we have TWO posts on sleep:

1. 7 Ways to Establish Good Sleep Habits From Birth (must read for expectant moms)

We all hear it- the comments from parents about how their children still aren't sleeping through the night. These comments come from parents whose children are anywhere from 1-6+ years of age. They've just kind of accepted that they won't be getting sleep as a parent.

Welcome to the Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! This week happens twice a year, and it is SO very exciting. This week I have the pleasure of bringing to you, 8 posts all on the hot babywise topic of: sleep.

Below you will find our schedule for the week, so you know what sleep topics to expect.

Sleep is just one of those things that babywise mamas love to talk about. We all prioritize our children's sleep, and really focus in on making our children's sleep as good as possible.

In the process, lots of "sleep troubleshooting" happens in our babywise worlds!

Today the Babywise Mom, yes the one from (Valerie), is posting her thoughts on how to solve sleep issues when it comes to the toddler and preschool aged child.

When you bring baby home from the hospital, you will most likely be feeding her anywhere from 8-10 times throughout the day.

By the time she is 1 year old, she will be down to 2-3 bottles and ready to transition from formula/breast to cow's milk!

There are constant changes in feeding schedules throughout this first year.

It can be difficult to know when to drop feedings, especially if you are breastfeeding. 

Here is a look at what the timeline looked like for us during the 1st year with regards to breastfeeding:

Note: MOTN means middle of the night

Newborn (1-2 weeks):
8 scheduled feedings during the day + ~3 MOTN feedings
Newborn (3-4 weeks):
6 scheduled feedings during the day + 1 MOTN feeding
Month 2:
7 scheduled feedings during the day + 2 MOTN feedings
Month 3:
5 scheduled feedings during the day + 1 MOTN feeding
Months 4-8:
4 scheduled feedings during the day & no MOTN feeding
*Started solid food in month 4 

Month 9:
3 scheduled feedings during the day & no MOTN feeding

Month 10:
2 scheduled feedings during the day & no MOTN feeding

Month 11: 0 scheduled feedings (we had to wean to cows milk 1 month early due to a medication that I needed to be on) & no MOTN feeding.
*I would have dropped to 1 scheduled feeding during this month otherwise

You'll notice that in month 2 we upped the number of daytime feedings from the previous month. Caroline started waking more at night and seemed to be going through a growth spurt, so we tried a technique called cluster feeding to help combat this issue.

It helped to stretch the feedings out at night, but did not eliminate them. The cluster feeding is why you see the spike in the number of daytime feedings.

Check out the page on the wake to sleep method to see how we eventually and successfully eliminated the second MOTN feeding.

We were typically ahead of the recommended curve when it came to dropping feedings. The Babywise book and all of my other research tended to recommend 1 more feeding than what we were doing.

I mention this, because it is key that you listen to your baby's cues. Caroline simply did better and ate more when we used the above schedules instead of what was "recommended", and she always gained weight perfectly, so there was no cause for concern.

Knowing when it is time to drop a feeding:
- Baby is snacking instead of taking full feeds. 

If bottle feeding, you'll see a drop in the ounces eaten; if breastfeeding, you might notice a drop in the amount of feeding time.

Where this gets tricky for breastfeeding moms, is that babies also get more efficient and effective with breastfeeding as they get older.

So, she could still be taking a full feeding, even though the nursing time has gotten shorter. You'll want to watch for other signs as well...
- Baby is disinterested. 

She might be looking around, and just more interested in other things. This happens a lot when babies learn new skills, so if your baby is doing this for a few days, it is normal.

Wait it out and see if she comes around. If it continues for a week or longer, it may be time to consider that she isn't hungry enough, and a schedule change might be in order.

- Baby pushes breast or bottle away.

This is the clear cut sign that baby doesn't want food. Don't force it.

Just try rearranging the schedule to see if she'll eat at different time intervals. Again, make sure that this is a pattern for several days before adjusting your schedule.
- Baby starts to take longer naps, and there isn't time for another feeding in the schedule. 

Sometimes a schedule change occurs because of other factors. This is completely okay. As long as your baby can handle the new schedule and isn't too hungry, she will make up for the dropped feed during the other feeding times.

Note: if she is sleeping, she is not hungry. 

An example of a change we made at the 9 month mark:

 Caroline was still nursing 4 times a day. She did great with the first morning breastfeed, but then the next 3 were getting shorter and shorter. It felt very forced, which was frustrating for Mama and baby!

She would feed for only a couple of minutes on each side and was completely disinterested in nursing. She'd literally take a few sucks and be done.

I waited it out for over a week, and then made the decision to drop to 3 feedings. Almost immediately, she started taking nice long feeds for all 3 that I offered.

I knew she was getting more food with 3 nursing sessions than she was with 4.
After our morning nursing session.
Happy Mama and happy Caroline!
9.5 months old
As a breastfeeding mama, I know that it can be a nerve wracking decision to drop a feed. Your supply is at stake (especially if you are over 30 and are getting down to fewer feeds a day).

If you are nervous about this, make sure you drink plenty of water, and you can also choose to pump during the dropped feeding time, if you feel it is necessary.

I have never pumped just because of a dropped feed, however, and my supply has never been negatively impacted.

From my research, it sounds to me that if you are going to have supply issues, it is going to happen regardless of the schedule that you keep or the number of times you pump, feed, etc.

I was very nervous to drop to 3 feedings though, since I don't pump. With each change, I worried. No supply issues ever came, even when down to just two feedings a day.


Other Posts of Interest:

8 Benefits of Keeping Baby on a Schedule (Feeding on Demand vs. Feeding on Schedule)

Knowing When to Drop a Feeding

How to Drop the Last Middle of the Night Feeding

Schedules- Info on eating habits, times, etc can be found here listed by age

Advantages of Breastfeeding on a Schedule

Handling the 3-6-9 Growth Spurts (When they happen and what to expect)

When and How to Give Solid Foods to your Baby

When to Introduce Water to Your Infant