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Dear Caroline,

This world that you are growing up in has a lot of violence. There aren't too many days that go by that I don't turn on the television and hear about yet another shooting. Some of the shootings are random and involve innocent strangers, and others are based on hatred or revenge towards specific individuals. There are shootings at schools, malls, movie theaters, gas stations, and more. A police officer was shot the other day because he stopped to help a stranger that was stuck in a ditch. That stranger pulled out a gun. It's scary, and it is sad. I find myself playing out scenarios in my head and figuring out what I would do to save us- to save you. I want to be prepared. The reality, however, is you can never be prepared.

Your world will include lock-down drills at school. This isn't something I ever did in my school days. We practiced earthquake drills, tornado drills and fire drills. Lock-down drills are something you will know, however. Your world is different. Perhaps the violence always happened, and now that we have information at our fingertips in a moment's notice, the violence has been brought to light. Perhaps the media focuses on it now more than they used to. Perhaps the world isn't any more violent than it was, but you will be much more aware of it than I was as a child. The reality is that the violence is different. It often times targets innocent people that are helpless and caught off guard. It is scary and needs to stop.

For that I am deeply sorry. I never want you to be frightened or live your life making decisions based on fear. So know this:

The world has more good than bad. 
Daddy said these words yesterday, and they are very, very true.
We hear about the bad all the time, but we don't hear about all of the amazing things that go on every second of every day. Please never forget that the world has more good than bad.

Every time Caroline learns a new skill that is of significance (sitting up, rolling both directions, standing, etc.), her sleep is interrupted. She likes to wake up because she is so eager to practice her skills.

She recently learned how to pull herself up, take assisted steps, and sit up on her own. Her sleep has been pretty much unaffected- until today (actually it started last night). I was waiting for it. I knew it was inevitable. She now wants to stand as much as possible. She wants to practice, she wants to walk, she wants to be up.

Last night she slept for about 45 minutes. She then woke and was super excited to practice those new skills! So she started trying to sit up. She tried for several minutes, but was unsuccessful and then started crying. Daddy and I went in and let her practice standing. When I put her to bed about 20/30 minutes later she went right out. She was happy to have gotten in some time with us. She woke up a couple of hours later and was trying to sit up again. Luckily, she decided she was too tired and went back to sleep.

Then came today. Her morning nap was a hot mess. She didn't want to go to sleep on time, so we stayed up an extra 30 minutes. I then put her down and she thought about sleeping, but decided against it. She was up until an hour after her nap usually starts. What was she doing? She was trying to sit up. She was unsuccessful and eventually went to sleep. But wait- she only slept for 30 minutes. She wanted to get up and practice some more. Which she did. I left her in her crib until nap time was over and then we proceeded about our day as usual. She was happy to be up and unaffected by her lack of sleep.

Her second nap is now upon us. She isn't sleeping at all. I don't usually put her in her sleep sack for naps, but she is becoming quite fond of her sleep sack, so she grabbed it on our way to the crib and started snuggling with it. I let her hold onto it in the crib. Then the fun started. I watched on the video monitor as she tried to sit up but would then reach out to grab her sleep sack and take it with her- she'd end up back on her belly. This process repeated a good 15 times or so before she finally succeeded in sitting up with the sleep sack in her hand. Then she decided she wanted to stand. She, of course, wanted to bring the sleep sack along. Unfortunately, she was sitting on the sleep sack, so when she tried to lift it and stand she was having no success. She finally lifted that little butt and got the sleep sack out from underneath her. She then realized she needed both hands to hold onto the crib in order to stand up. She started trying to put the sleep sack over her shoulder!!!!! What!?!? How smart is my daughter!?! Seriously though. That's amazing! She did not succeed, but what an awesome problem solver! She ended up flinging it too far and then reached out and was back on her belly.

We are 30 minutes into her "nap" at this point and she is going back and forth between trying to sit up again and possibly going to sleep . But, unfortunately, she is now crying. So, if she doesn't go to sleep in the next 10 minutes I am going to go get her and forget the nap all together. Not excited to do that as she really needs to get a little sleep today or bedtime is not going to be fun! I did have an incredible time watching the video monitor, though. This right here is the reason to get the video monitor! I also learned today that she is either going to be in her sleep sack or not have it at all! LOL Literally at this very moment, she is just throwing the sleep sack around....covering her face, uncovering her face, covering her face, uncovering her face. She must be playing peek-a-boo with me knowing that I'm watching.

UPDATE: I wrote this post a few days ago and hadn't posted it since then here's what's happened. The day after what was written above was a great sleep day! She slept great for both of her naps and at bedtime. The day after that she only took 30/45 minute naps and she took awhile to go to sleep at night. She is now sitting up by the time I can turn the monitor on.  She seems to practice for about 10 minutes or so during naps and then goes to sleep. The naps are short, however, as she is so eager to wake up and practice standing! She's such a trooper, though. Through all of this, she is still in great spirits and seemingly unaffected by the lack of sleep that she is getting throughout the day.

Leap 6 was a pretty amazing leap for Caroline! She learned SO much. I can't even begin to describe everything that she learned during this leap.

The really big milestone that occurred during the leap was her being able to use the pincher grasp. In literally a couple of days, she went from not really being able to feed herself, to being able to pick up a pea and get it into her mouth with little to no effort.

She made HUGE strides with this skill. Now that she has completed leap 6, she is a pro at this and you'd never know that just a few weeks ago she was far from being able to do this.

Once she made it through the leap, she was able to do several other important things as well!

She started pulling herself up!

A couple of days after that, she decided she could lean over from the standing position and pick something up (while still holding on for support).

A day after that, she learned how to re-position her feet to get a better stance.

A couple of days after that, she decided to take steps while holding on to Mama's hands!

She had an amazing week! Again, this all occurred just after she finished leap 6. Such a very important leap.

She is also pointing at objects now to tell us what she wants, and she has learned how to point and how to wave. She knows exactly what she wants. I can put a variety of food in front of her and mix it up, and she will literally pick through to get the pieces of food that she wants to eat.

She is also working on mastering sitting up on her own (She's done it a few times successfully.), and she is trying very hard to crawl. She gets up on her hands and knees/feet at times, and appears to be trying to stand, but really she'd take any kind of forward motion.

Another skill (?) that she's learned, is how to throw a tantrum! This girl will throw her body backwards with no regard and start slamming her head into anything and everything- just to get what she wants.

She bites, screams, cries, and just throws huge fits. And they stop in a second, if I give her what she wants (often her water glass). She also at times goes forward with her head and starts pecking at the ground like a chicken...all because she can't do something.

So, you might be wondering how difficult this leap was to get through. Honestly, it wasn't that bad. We had a couple of set backs with sleep, but they only lasted a few days each, and she'd go back to her usual habits.

I took a look back at some of my comments to other mamas inquiring about leap 6 on Facebook posts. Here's what I wrote:

End of July:

"So we are in leap 6... before I went on vacation, Caroline's first nap had randomly gone down to 45 minutes or so. 4 days ago she wouldn't go to bed without me holding her for 2 hrs! Both of those things have stopped. I attributed the bedtime issue to vacation and over-stimulation, but it very well may have been leap 6. She is learning SO VERY MUCH, the most I've seen her learn at once. She is talking a ton, definitely saying "ma" appropriately, showing likes and dislikes a lot now, trying to crawl, has become a mobile rolling baby (like all over), is perfecting the pincher grasp, plays peek a boo so well, lifts blankets up to find a toy, looks through bins of toys to find exactly what she wants, and on and on. We aren't even done with it. This is just so much learning. It's awesome!"

One day later:

"May have spoken too early about leap 6....she's currently screaming at the top of her lungs because she doesn't want to nap. :( "

Early August:

"So far she's had ups and downs....refusing naps because she is looking around and so interested in the world. A little separation anxiety phase, needing more help getting to sleep at nights...shorter naps...but then all goes back to normal, then repeats lol"

We are about a week and a half out from leap 6, and this is what Caroline is up to now:

Other Posts of Interest:

Leaps and Wonder Weeks

The Wonder Weeks Book Reviewed

The Wonder Weeks "Grey Period" - What is it?

Wonder Weeks Leap 6

Wonder Weeks Leap 7

I feel Like Such a Terrible Mother (Leap 10)

Leap 10- It's Happening, She's Talking

Wonder Weeks Data Collection - Add your experiences here!

I see this question pop up a lot, so I wanted to take a moment to describe what I have done when Caroline wakes up early from a nap.

Below you'll find each age (from 1 month to 6 months) broken down with what to do.

I will start by saying that it has completely changed with her age. This is one of those things that, as she matures and is able to handle different circumstances, I challenge her a bit more.

Newborn (first month)- 

At this age if Caroline woke up early from a nap, I simply went to get her. We were trying to have a schedule as our goal each day, but the reality was just that- it was a goal.

She was brand new and just figuring out her world.

If she woke and was upset, I always grabbed her. At this age, she was also sleeping in various locations- the swing, the day dreamer, the bassinet, the couch, our bed, in my arms, etc.

Naps were wherever they would happen successfully!

In an attempt to still keep eat, wake, sleep cycles, I would feed her and adjust our "schedule" as needed.  We focused on the routine of eat, wake, sleep, and getting enough feedings in.

At this age I also woke her from naps if they went too long (unless it was allowing us to get back on schedule). This was to make sure I would be able to feed her enough times throughout the day.

The second month-

Pretty much the same as the first month. The only change here is that I would let her "fuss" a bit more.

I never left her to cry if she woke early, but I did let her fuss a bit to see if she would go back to sleep.
The third month-
During this month I changed things up slightly. I still only let her fuss and not cry.

If she didn't go back to sleep I would attempt to put her back to sleep.

If that didn't work, we had wake time until her scheduled feeding time.

She was on a good enough schedule at this point with her feedings, that I didn't want to disrupt that.

So, instead of doing eat, wake, sleep cycles, we would occasionally do eat, wake, sleep, wake cycles.

I kept the last wake time quiet and restful.

The fourth & fifth months- 

At this point we had started sleep training, and her schedule was working perfectly.

If she occasionally woke early from her nap, I would let her cry for 5 minutes. She often put herself back to sleep in those 5 minutes (even if they were all out screams).

It was an amazing learning experience for me. Had I gone in and let her get up, she would have been getting much less daytime sleep which would have directly impacted her nighttime sleep.

Just by allowing 5 minutes of crying, she was able to teach herself to transition sleep cycles much easier.

If the 5 minutes of crying did not work, I would go in and have quiet wake time as described above, and feed on schedule.

Six months and up- 

Due to the sleep training that we'd done, Caroline rarely woke early from naps from 6 months and up.

If and when she did, I was able to pinpoint exactly why she was waking early and it was usually due to learning new skills.

She wakes up happy and rested at this point, so when she wakes I leave her in her crib for the FULL nap time. She will only cry if she is still tired, in which case she usually puts herself back to sleep.

If she is awake, she is happy and just looking around and practicing her new skills.
How to help your baby not wake early from naps:

I've noticed a few things that help tremendously for us.

1. In the earlier months especially, make sure to get FULL feedings.

2. Make sure that wake time is not overstimulating.

3. Make sure that wake time is the appropriate length by adjusting your schedule if need be.

4. Allow baby to practice new skills right before his nap.

5. Teach baby how to transition sleep cycles by doing some form of nap training or sleep training.

A general rule of thumb:

If your baby wakes at around the 20-30 minute mark, he is overstimulated and/or overtired.

If your baby wakes at around the 45 minute mark this could be due to a variety of things:

-  Wake times might not be long enough

-  He might not know how to transition sleep cycles yet

-  He might be learning new skills and excited to wake and practice them

-  Your baby might be uncomfortable, cold, hungry or have any number of things bothering him

(In other words, the 45 minute intruder, as it is referred to, can be a challenging mystery to solve).

Yesterday we went out to dinner for the first time in a LONG time. Daddy got to join us and be home for dinner (which also hasn't happened in awhile). We were thrilled! It was fascinating to see Caroline in a new environment, and I loved that Daddy was getting to see her new eating skills, because she has come a long way in the last 2 weeks.

The last Daddy saw, Caroline was just barely learning to pick up food on her own. She only succeeded about 1 out of every 10 tries or so. Now, she is a little eating machine. She effortlessly picks up the smallest of things and puts it in her mouth like she's been doing it for ages. She also eats SO MUCH. She shoveled the food into her mouth faster than we could cut it up and give it to her. We have never felt the need to order her a kids' meal or cook extra food at home. I noticed the other day, however, that she was eating so much, there wasn't quite enough food for Mama and Daddy to eat! The same thing was close to happening when we went out to eat. She ate a good portion of my food! She's right on the cusp of needing that kids' menu...

The main thing that stood out to both of us at dinner was how stinkin' sweet she was. She sat right next to me at the table and was constantly checking in with me. She touched my arm, fed me some of her food and gave kisses. She talked to me and to Daddy the whole time. She asked and pointed when she needed something at the table, and she was very well behaved the entire time (even after skipping her second nap of the day). She is so perfect in all of her little ways. She does things like this at home as well, of course, but it was much more pronounced while we were out to eat. With Daddy still at work, dinner can end up to be more of a task than an enjoyable moment from Mama's perspective. I am so busy cutting up food for Caroline, trying to figure out what she needs (since she can't express herself very well yet), asking her not to throw food, attempting to clean up the
disaster zone that has appeared, and trying to sneak a bite of my own food in, that I don't often get to sit back and notice all of the cute things she is doing- nor does she have time to do them.

She also loves to show off. When she is learning something new, she looks at us to make sure we see her. She even does this with her grandparents on Skype! She is proud of her new accomplishments and wants to make sure that we are paying full attention to her! So cute to see!

One of my favorite things to watch is how she interacts with her daddy. We often wait outside for him when he is on his way home. As he walks up the sidewalk, he calls her name. She looks up and gets the biggest grin on her face. She jumps with excitement to see him. Of course, I also look at Daddy's face, and he is equally as excited to see her- sporting the biggest smile you'll ever see! They have a new tradition at night. Daddy tells her goodnight and gives kisses and hugs.
He leaves the room. She looks at the door with excitement, eagerly awaiting him to poke his head back in and play peek-a-boo! She knows he's going to do it, so she's learned to anticipate it. She caught on after only a couple of nights! He opens the door and sticks his head in. Caroline just lights up with excitement. She has a huge smile on her face, and her whole body jumps to say, "More, Daddy! More!". He continues a few times, and then it's my turn to give kisses and say goodnight. I put her to bed.

She is so happy, so sweet, so intelligent, and simply so amazing. We are so lucky to have a daughter that takes the time to show us so much love. While her ways of showing us change as the weeks and months go by, she always finds her ways of giving us affection. She brings out so much joy and happiness in our family.

This recipe is SO easy and is a one that will use up leftover vegetables! The bite sized pieces allow baby to feed himself, which leaves you relatively hands free to enjoy your own meal at the same time! Unless, of course, he decides to start throwing his food.... This is what Caroline is currently doing at 8.5 months. The dogs have been incredibly happy!

- Italian sausage (we used mild so it wouldn't bother Caroline)
- Veggies (whatever you have or want to use)
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper

The vegetables that we chose were simply what we had on hand at the time:
- 1 onion
- 1 sweet potato
- frozen California medley (cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots)

Cut the italian sausage and veggies into bite sized pieces and place into an oven safe pan. Drizzle some olive oil over the top and sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste. Mix it all up and put it in the oven at 350 degrees. Cook until the sausage is cooked through (approximately 30 min).

So this recipe I found online and decided to tweak just a bit to make it easier. It came out great! The only thing I'll warn: If you have your meal cooked perfectly, do not decide to turn the oven off and leave it in the oven to "keep it warm". I ruined my chicken this way! :( Other than that, had I taken it out when it was still nice and juicy, the flavor was amazing and it would have been a spectacular meal! We will definitely have this again, and may substitute the chicken for pork chops.

- 2 boneless chicken breasts
- 3 apples (we used Jazz apples)
- 1 small bag of frozen green beans
- 2 cups of water
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 1 cup apple juice
- Cinnamon
- Oregano
- Salt and pepper

Place whole chicken breasts in oven at 450 degrees for 20 min.
(Gives the chicken a head start as you prepare the rest of the meal).

Cut apples into bite sized pieces and layer in a separate pan.
Sprinkle with a tiny bit of cinnamon.
Layer green beans over the apples.

Boil water and chicken bouillon cube until melted.
Add apple juice.
Pour over apples & green beans.

Cut chicken into slices.
Layer chicken on top of green beans.
Sprinkle oregano, salt and pepper over chicken.

Bake until the chicken is cooked through at 350 degrees.
Switch over to broil for 5-7 minutes (until a chicken is a nice golden brown).

This is another baby friendly meal that allows baby to feed herself! The apples get nice and soft and are going to be the favorite! The green beans are easy to handle, and the chicken can be cut to desired size.

On August 14th, Caroline amazed me! She amazes me every day, but this day in particular was a big one. The quickness at which she learns things is simply astounding. She focuses and I can see her thinking and going over every scenario in her head. She lays everything out in her mind before she tries it. Then she practices something for a couple of days, and she masters the skill that fast. She is fascinating to observe.

This past week has been an exciting one. She's always loved being upright- whether sitting or standing. She mastered sitting at 5 months old, and she's been standing on her own (while holding onto something) for about a month now. She hadn't yet attempted to pull herself up. Well, this week she did. She has been fixated on learning this skill. She thinks about it (so clearly written all over her face), and then she puts every muscle in her body to work as she tries to hoist her body into the standing position. She tried and tried for about 2 days, and then I sat her on the floor the next morning next to her activity cube... she simply grabbed it and stood up in one motion. Her feet would be in a less than deal position- sometimes her ankle even rolled over, and she'd just stand there. I would encourage her to fix her feet, but she didn't understand. I would help her readjust and get a good stance. 

Then Friday came along. On the 14th of August, my smart, strong, beautiful girl decided that she now understood to fix her legs. She started trying to adjust her feet. So amazing to
see! This was all happening in about a 5 day process. And on this day, she even took it a step further- literally! We were in the kitchen and I was trying to get some dishes cleaned up and into the dishwasher. She had become bored with her toys, so I decided to bring her over closer to me. I sat her down right at my feet and kept on with the dishes. I felt a tug on my pants and looked down to see her trying to pull up. She didn't have a good grip on anything, so she was having a hard time. I helped her out a bit and held her hands. I backed up to see her better and told her, "Good job!" She looked up at me and took a step forward! She moved her right foot so deliberately. She took a giant, purposeful step! I encouraged her to move her left foot forward as well, and eventually helped her out. She again moved her right foot forward. She did this 3 times! I couldn't believe it! I called Daddy immediately and told him the exciting news. Luckily, when he got home, she decided to repeat it and show him her new trick!

On Saturday I tried a few times to get her to take some steps for me. Nothing happened. She was more focused on learning how to bend over and pick something up while holding onto something else for support. She would stand at her activity cube, drop her ball on the floor, hold on with one hand, and lean over to pick up the ball. She was careful and deliberate. She'd stand and assess the situation before she tried anything. She'd let go with one hand and make sure she had her balance, and then she'd pick up the ball. She didn't even have to see what she was doing to know where the ball's location was. She was successful in her attempts to pick it up several times. It was pretty interesting watching her manipulate her body and use the activity cube for balance. She had a full understanding of what would happen if she lost her balance, and she knew just how to avoid that.

Daddy tried to get her to take some steps after work and she gave him 6 steps! 4 of them were with her right foot, and 2 with her left. She seems a little reluctant with her left leg for
some reason, but it will catch up soon. In the meantime, she's going to have my running in circles! She is climbing on everything and really starting to move around. She is getting very frustrated that she can't get to things she wants, so I think she's going to start moving here pretty quickly on her own out of sheer determination and a little frustration. She expresses herself very willingly, so I'm hoping she also starts finding ways to communicate with me as well. I am trying to show her how to point, and of course telling her all of the names of things. She doesn't seem to have an interest in learning to crawl. She tries, but she isn't getting anywhere yet, so she seems to have moved on to standing and perhaps walking sooner than later!

I can't wait to see how this month progresses. She is learning at such a fast rate. This mama is so impressed. And the teacher in me wishes that the natural desire to learn wouldn't get lost on young adults. I wish we could bottle up the desire, enthusiasm and excitement of learning, and keep it forever. It is such an amazing gift that we are all born with. So inspiring to watch babies have so much fun learning!

Once babies are on solid foods, I think it is very important to offer breakfast, lunch and dinner on a daily basis. Our goal is to eventually have them eating with us during those meals (once they pass the 1 year mark). There are moments, however, where we might be out and about and have to take food on the go.

Depending on the age, you can get away with more or less emphasis on the solid food intake versus formula/breast milk. At 4 months of age (when we first started Caroline on solid foods), if we had to miss a solid food meal one day, it was certainly not the end of the world, as she wasn't dependent on that food to satisfy her hunger at all. Once she was on solid foods for about a month, I noticed that she noticed if we skipped a meal! And by 6 months of age, she definitely would fuss and tell me "It's time to eat!" in her own little ways. It will make your life a whole lot easier if you have introduced bite sized foods and have started working on the pincher grasp as soon as you can.

During month 4 and 5 we were offering Caroline purees, and we started moving into chopped food by the end of month 5. As her first bite sized food, I gave her puffs. I knew they would dissolve and we weren't at any risk of choking (This first time mama was nervous!). I started by breaking the puff in half and dipping it in water. Overly cautious I know! By the 4th or 5th one she was eating them whole and dry. From there we started bite sized pieces of soft foods (bread, soft fruit and veggies). Her ability to eat these foods drastically changed our behavior for "on the go".

Now that Caroline is 8 months old, she eats ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. She also picks it up on her own and has mastered the pincher grasp! YAY for Mama being hands free! While we rarely miss a full meal at home, we do occasionally find the need to have some snacks on the go, so we like to be prepared.

Our favorite item for on the go is the POUCH. Applesauce pouches, fruit and veggie pouches, and yogurt pouches. Caroline just learned how to use these in month 7, and she has already become a pro! I can hand her one and she handles it well and knows just what to do. I was thrilled when I found out that Stonyfield made yogurt pouches, because yogurt is our go to food when Caroline is refusing everything else. She literally NEVER refuses a yogurt!

Once she was handling food and chewing well, our on the go menu was able to expand. Some of the dry foods that we like to carry are: Hawaiian rolls (another item she never refuses), graham crackers  and Cheerios. These can be put in little baggies and left in your diaper bag for future use, along with some food pouches, of course. We usually always have 1 or all of these in the bag just in case. You never know when your errands might run long and your baby might need a snack.

If I am feeling really adventurous (and I know that we will be needing a snack on the go for sure), I
pack something a bit different. Cheese cubes, chunks of deli meat, bite sized veggies, baby pancakes  and fruit are a few options. We have these wonderful glass containers that we store things in. I purchased these to heat up purees in the microwave so we weren't having to worry about all of the issues involved with heating plastic. They have turned out to be great on the go containers as well. You can find the link to these containers on the Must Have List For Baby page!

I also have to mention this AMAZING trick with bananas! Mamas, if you haven't seen this
leave part of the banana unpeeled. You no longer have a slippery banana that your little one can't hold on to! Such a great idea that was sent my way by another mama who was doing some poking around on Pinterest!

The baby pancakes are another favorite in this house. They are easy to make and fabulous for taking on the go. It's another food that Caroline never says "NO" to. They freeze well, so I make a huge batch at once. Check back soon for the recipe!

Finally, our absolute new favorite for taking on the go and beating the heat.... Stonyfield Squeezers! We tried putting these in the freezer today, and serving it up as a frozen treat. WOW, did Caroline love these! These are going to be a great option when she eventually gets around to teething (yes that's right - over 8 months in with no teeth). It is a fabulous way to cool her off with one of her favorite items. You can't beat the fact that it is a healthy and exciting treat all in one!

Mama, where have these been all my life!?

What are some go to items that you pack for baby "on the go"?
Let us know in the comments section!

Disclaimer: I am a YoGetter blogger and I am compensated for my time. My opinions are my own. I really do LOVE Stonyfield products!

So this is being posted very late (we are in mid-August already)! We had such a great turnout with the Real, Mom's Real Stories series on sleeping through the night, that this had to get pushed out.

July was a GREAT month for books. Pretty much every book we checked out at the library, we enjoyed! I tried to pick our absolute favorites out of the stack of books.

Some of our favorites this month:

Cloudette: This book is about being different and finding your unique qualities that make you special. Very good read!
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?: This is another series that we plan on reading more of. The series is teaching about good behaviors- this one being going to bed.
The Baby Tree: A book about where babies come from. In the back is has suggestions on how to talk about this topic with your child. We will be checking this out from the library when it comes time!
Froggy Goes To Bed: All about Froggy's nighttime adventures before FINALLY going to bed! This is a series and we plan on reading more of these fun books.
My Very Big Little World: This is told from the perspective of a little girl. I loved the new perspective as we often find ourselves "speaking" for Caroline :)
Trucks Roll: This book was just very interactive and fun! All about trucks and what they do. 
Otis: Otis is such a sweet story about a tractor and his friend. Otis isn't the biggest, newest tractor, but he is the only one that can help his friend when in need. Otis is so special.
The Wishing Ball: Fun story about a cat that dreams of having a home, food, and a friend. 
Meet Me at the Moon: Cute story about a Mama and baby elephant. Mama has to go on a journey, but gets to meet up with her baby when she is done.

Note: this post contains affiliate links. The links take you to amazon, where if you purchase, I would receive a small percentage of the money. There is NO additional cost to you- it is the same price you'd find if you searched amazon on your own.
Again, a HUGE thank you to all of the mamas that participated in the Real Mom's, Real Stories- Sleeping Through the Night Series!

This is my story.
Caroline was 4 months old when she consistently slept through the night (7pm to 7am).
We achieved this using Babywise methods and sleep training.

I'll try to keep this simple and to the point!

From day 1 we started by establishing a schedule. We fed every 2 hours as our doctor had wanted (since Caroline was born at 37 weeks). We woke her during the day and during the night, because they wanted her to get a kick start on her nutrition and needed her to gain weight.

At our 2 week appointment, we got the go ahead to allow her to sleep at night. We continued waking her during the day to help establish day versus night, but let her sleep as long as she would at night. During the day we opened the curtains and tried to make sure she knew it was day time and time to be awake. We followed eat, wake, sleep cycles the best we could at this age, and established a routine. By the 4 week mark, she was only waking once in the middle of the night. We transferred her to her crib at 6 weeks.

In the second month, Caroline digressed a bit, and started waking twice a night. We started cluster feeding at night to help this. We made sure to not feed her right away if she woke in the middle of the night. We would start by trying to help her get back to sleep, then checking her diaper, then feeding. This helped her push out the times and get used to not feeding right away. I also sent Daddy in a lot so she wouldn't see me and immediately want to nurse.

At around the 10 week time frame, we tried something called wake to sleep. Simply put you are disrupting a sleep cycle in the hopes that they will start another one and sleep longer. We were able to drop the second feeding this way fairly quickly. We felt the need to do this because once Caroline was up for the second middle of the night feed, she was so hard to get back to sleep. The only way I was successful was to hold her and co-sleep. I did not want to carry on like that for too long and create a bad habit. So glad we found the wake to sleep idea!

During her 3rd month, Caroline was only waking once in the middle of the night. She was not asking for food, just needed help resettling. I fell into the trap of feeding her anyway, because her and I both got to sleep faster this way. I know if I would have worked harder during this month we could have extended the time out and dropped it in a more natural way. 

When month 4 rolled around, we decided to try our hand at sleep training. We mostly wanted to do this because Caroline was being rocked to sleep still. We did our best at getting her drowsy and immediately putting her down in her crib, but she always woke and we'd have to repeat the process several times. We put in a lot of hard work with this, but at the end of the day, she still needed some help learning to self soothe. At 4 months we did CIO. In one night she dropped the middle of the night feeding, and in 2 weeks she was putting herself to sleep without a sound. 

If you'd like more detail on our personal experiences, please see the below links:

Today's story is written by Andrea.
She has 3 children and they were sleeping through the night at 5 months, 9 months, and the 3rd is still too young. 
She achieved this by using cry it out methods and Babywise.

Hi Mamas!
My name is Andrea, I'm a mommy to THREE sweet beans born in less than three years!! I started the "Babywise Mamas" Facebook page in 2012 when my oldest was about 4 mos's really cool to see it have over 3500 mamas helping each other out in there now! Here's my story for each of my kiddos getting to sttn.

Disclaimer: I'm a HUGE fan of a lot of the overall principles of Babywise...but I'll be the first to admit, I don't like strict schedules or staying home all day every day, so I've taken what works for me and run with it! Also, prior to being a mommy I had thousands of hours babysitting experience and even nannied full time for 6 mos - kiddos what were 9.5mos apart, both experiences have helped me be a VERY go with the flow BW mommy. Also, we have lived in an apartment the whole time having kids, so that has shaped my experience as well in terms of teaching my kids to sleep through noise, etc.

With my oldest we lived in a large one bedroom apartment in an adorable little 4-plex downtown. All wood floors and TONS of windows that I never could contend with covering. Her "room" was the dining room- so she had a space, but not an actual enclosed room with a door. She slept in her moses basket next to my side of the bed until she was 8 weeks old, then I bravely moved her to her crib and we all started sleeping a bit better, not hearing each other's every noise. I followed BW pretty true to schedule, trying to be home for all but one nap every day. She was very good at napping in her space with me doing my daily stuff for many months. I recall we were in a good groove until we hit the dreaded 4-month sleep regression. I had no idea such a thing even existed until it happened and I got to googling. In her 4th month we took 2 trips, so I tried to extend lots of grace to her night wakings. But by 5 mos,  nights were in bad shape. So I got to googling again and found the best article on CIO (mind you, with all my babysitting experience, I was very comfortable with CIO cause most the families I babysat for were comfortable with it- "at our house we have a 15 minute cry rule before you go in" etc). Here's the blog post: So the day she turned 5mo I decided to ditch the swaddle completely (we'd been using the Miracle Blanket) and do Ferber CIO. It took 45 minutes the first night at her first wake up, 30 minutes the second night, and complete 12hrs sttn by the 3rd night, I was stokked!! I however continued to wake around 4am and pump for quite a while as that was the only time I could ever easily get 8-10oz for my "grandma days" with my MIL. Then when she was about 7mos, I got the flu and my milk supply took quite a hit, she began nursing again at that 4am time. I was ok with it for quite a while as it wasn't actually that disruptive to my night since I was used to pumping. I always found it was easier to do a quick nursing than have an unsettled last few hours of sleep each night. If i remember right though, she went back to a full 12hrs again before a year. Then right at 12mos she started waking again a lot- I credited to learning to walk. I was also pregnant again and working towards weaning her. So for a whole week Daddy went in at every night wake up and her night wake ups subsided almost instantly- he didn't mean food. We moved into a 2 bedroom apartment when she was 14mos. I could easily cover her one window and my great sleeper became and excellent sleeper! We literally didn't hear a peep from her at night from 12 mos until we hit the 2.5yo sleep regression! It was glorious. We are now charting the waters of 3yrs, big girl beds and opinions. I'm happy she's growing up, but I won't lie, I dearly miss the days of simply just putting her in her crib and that was that! (side note: she went to one nap a day at 17mos)

Ok, so chapter 2 of my novel: My 2nd is 19mos younger than big sister. With him, he broke out of the Miracle Blanket every single night from day 1, so I ordered him a Woombie of Amazon and LOVED it! He too slept in my Moses basket next to my side of the bed, but this time till 12 weeks. I was SUPER nervous about putting them into the same room since my oldest was such a perfect sleeper. He too was not getting to fully sttn just by doing BW, so I figured so what, I'll do the same CIO just like I did with my 1st. Well, let me tell you this. No two kids are the same, you absolutely cannot compare you kids or parent them the exact same way. We all hear that, but until this point I didn't believe it. He could cry and cry and cry. CIO got us absolutely no where. I found myself wearing a trail to his bedroom each night just to replace a binky several times (big sis had found her thumb when unswaddled her at 5mos). Every month I would try Ferber CIO with him. Nothing. I took a trip with him 8.5mos to visit friends in CA in their 750sqft beach house- 4 adults and 3 kids, I had no allowance to letting him cry. I lost SO much sleep on that trip. Also, but the time I got home, my milk had pretty much dried up. He wouldn't take a bottle or sippy of any kind of milk, so I got to work counting calories for him that I would put into smoothies. He ate 2 high calories smoothies a day plus other solids for 6 mos. Anyways, when I came back from that trip I was exhausted. A week after I knew he was getting enough daytime calories from my smoothies (900-1000 calories a day) I simply unplugged my baby monitor and did extinction CIO. In hindsight, I did A LOT of things wrong with him- I allowed the binky & rolling to his tummy to become problems requiring me to go in and fix. I also got really gung ho about working out and counting calories with the Lose It app to lose my babyweight. While I thought I was doing just fine with my milk supply, in hindsight I clearly was not. He did not gain well for 5 consecutive months OR sleep well obviously. After I did extinction CIO with him, he's slept near perfect every since! Also, for having 2 kiddos in a room, doing CIO with either of them for various reasons, me being in their room to replace a binky, etc has NEVER affected the other child. It's truly amazing what they can tune out! (My 2nd went to 1 nap a day at 8mos. Super early, but it worked so well with my daily routine, I ran with it!)

And now to number 3. She is 16mos younger than my 2nd and currently 14wks old. We are still in the same 2 bedroom apartment and since our bedrooms are big I do have 2 cribs and a toddler bed in the kid's room, but my 3rd has only slept in her crib a handful of times for a nap. She is by far my best sleeper from the beginning- 4 hour stretches at night instantly from the first night in the hospital! The one piece of baby gear I bought for her was an Arm's Reach Mini Co-Sleeper. It's like a mini Pack n Play, but with one side that drops down, it's level with my mattress so it's super easy to get her in and out at night to nurse. It's awesome! She also has only been loosely swaddled in a muslin blanket from the beginning. My daily routine is about the same- we eat breakfast and do our morning stuff till about 10am with daddy home. Then we go do something or have someone over - including lunch- until everyone takes a big nap at 1/2ish pm for 2-3 hours. Then we snuggle on the couch and read books for a while, I do household chores, make dinner, daddy comes home around 6:30-7pm and he puts the older two to bed after playing for a bit. I've had this routine since we added my 2nd in- lining up everyone for a big afternoon nap is my BEST piece of parenting advice for closely spaced kids!! So my 2nd & 3rd have become very adept at napping on the go as we are rarely home all day every day- carseat, arms, stroller, ergo, etc. My 3rd takes a morning nap, a catnap, long afternoon nap and then an evening cat nap currently. And she sometimes naps in her co-sleeper or on the couch or in her swing or in her crib...building in flexibility in sleeping is highly important to us as we really like to travel...and I just have my hands too full to make sure things are "just so" anyways, haha! She currently goes to bed around 8pm and wakes once around 4am to nurse and then usually gets woken up by 7am by someone (ahem big sister). I still am undecided when I'll move her to the kids room, the Arm's Reach sleeper is just so easy for me right now. I may even just go to the PNP in the corner of my room with her next (it's what big brother naps in daily).

If you're still with me, haha, the BW principles I still love are - not feeding to sleep (EWS), set bedtime, and making your marriage a priority because your children are sleeping in the evenings & also not in your bed....but you can see, I've become more relaxed the more kids I have and I know we'll get to sttn sooner than later, no worries!

Today's story is written by Daria Lee.
Her daughter's name is Fiona Lee, and she was sleeping through the night by 6 months of age.
She achieved this by getting her on a routine (through daycare), and using CIO.
Check out her blog at https//

OK so our sleep battle was really more like a war. In the beginning our little Fi was a great sleeper and really do mean in the beginning. She slept great until she hit 9 weeks and then all hell broke loose. She decided that she hated everything; sleep, eating, being put name it, she hated it. She started eating less and sleeping less. Nothing satisfied her. We came to learn that she had a milk protein allergy. We switched her to hypoallergenic formula, Similac Alimentum, and hoped all would be wasn't. She still wouldn't sleep. It got to the point where she was only sleeping in 45-75 minute increments and was barely napping during the day. So many people told me that babies do not sleep through the night, it is just their body, they don't have the mental ability to do it, they need their mommy, blah, blah blah. I would not accept that as an answer. I mean she would not even nap! Like at all!

The pediatrician wanted me to let her cry as soon as I brought her home from the hospital because that is what she did with her children, who are all well-adjusted young adults. I desperately needed sleep and so did my poor husband. He was home on paternity leave while I went back to work and he was very frustrated. I was suffering from severe anxiety and possible some postpartum depression. I didn't want to come home from work; I would take on lots of overtime so that she would hopefully be asleep by the time I got home (which was never the case.) I was at my wits end. I needed help!!! I started seeing a councilor through my work and leaned on my mother for help.

She started taking Fi on Wednesday nights so hubby and I could get some sleep. At 3.5 months we started Fi on baby rice cereal, a little early I know, but she was hungry. The formula was going through her like water. While this did not help her sleep (as I do not think giving them food early will make them STTN) it did make her more pleasant during the day, which was a start. At 4 months she started daycare and it was the best thing that could have happened. I love daycare!!! She started to get on a routine. At 4.5 months we also decided to start sleep training. My philosophy is go big or go home. We took her out of the rock and play (she was climbing out it even though she was strapped in), out of the swaddle and directly into the crib.

We decided to do it all at once instead of in stages. You may think we were crazy but it worked for us. Fi learned to roll over and this was the BIG blessing as she did not like being on her back. The sleep training really began to work. I am not going to lie the first night was hell, the second night I thought I stopped into the seventh circle of hell but the third night was better. We decided against extinction and did a modified Ferber, intervals did not work for us...they just made things worse. We did what my mother did with my brother and I...she set her own time limit, a set number she was comfortable letting us cry...10 minutes and that was it. If we were still crying after 10 minutes she went in and patted our backs, no picking up unless we were crazed. This is how we handled Fi.
After about 3 weeks Fi was sleeping from 7:30p until 12a for a bottle and then back down til 7am. When she hit 6 months we stopped the middle of the night feeding through the same method we used to get her to sleep initially. Now she sleeps from 7:30p until 6a when hubby gets her up for daycare.

Now every night is not perfect, she has nightmares, teeth, illness...whatever that may change things up but for the most part she is sleeping like a dream...and our family is stronger and better for it. I am a huge advocate for sleep training and allowing my child to work things out on her own. I help her through things but I do not coddle her and in the end that is what she needed to get the sleep she, and we, desperately needed.

I hope that my story can give you some hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Parenthood is not easy but in the end it is so incredibly worth it. Take each day one at a time, each problem as it comes and each smile with infinite joy. This is what makes life worth living!