Can't Pause or Rewind Time...

As my baby's first birthday approaches, I realize that time has gone by way too fast. I am overwhelmed by the emotions and realization that no matter what I do, I can't pause or rewind time. I rarely do this here on the Sleep Baby Sleep site, but today I want to take some time to reflect and share with you a very personal and dear part of my life, my girls.

When my first baby was born, I was over joyed with being an new mom. I cannot even put into words, the feeling I had when my baby first snuggled into my chest. She immediately snuggled into my heart as well. I guess if I had to use a word to describe that moment, I would say magical. Nothing else in this entire universe could ever compare to the first moment you hold your child. Her skin so soft, her breath so sweet, her baby noises so precious. That day when I held my baby for the very first time, I didn't realize that as a mom, this was one of many life's moments, that only happens once. Just once. No redo's, no take backs, no rewinds. Just once. I realize this now, two babies later. My first 2.5 years old. My baby turning one. Life can get so busy, so hectic, that you don't even realize how many of these once in a lifetime moments have already passed us by. I won't get to re-experience Brianna rolling over for the first time, crawling, or taking her first step. I won't get to hear again the first time she said "mama", or what her cry sounded like when she got her first boo boo. I won't get to re-live the joy in her eyes when she got her first bike. The sad truth is that I can't pause and rewind the time. And I'm hit with the reality that some of the best parenting moments only happen once.

My Ava is now turning 1 and I still remember the very first time I held her. I didn't know it was possible to love a child as much as I loved my first…. until I had my 2nd. The emotions are not lessened because you have already given birth to a child before. The emotions are even more intense because you now have given life to two precious beings. I held her close, and thanked God for another blessing. If I had to describe the feeling I had when I first held her, I would say pure bliss.

I am now reflecting on Ava's last year, and wonder where the time went. Having 2 very young children has made time pass even faster than when I only had one. Doing daily laundry, cooking 4 meals a day, washing the dishes pretty much all day, cleaning up spills and messes, and changing a million diapers has really made the last year fly by. And this realization is what really made me think about how I want to go forth parenting my girls.

Now for the scary part. I also came to the realization that since I can't pause time, that my Brianna and Ava will have so many more firsts, that I won't get to re-live. Their first dance recital, field-trip, sleepover. The first day of pre-school, kindergarten, and high school (oh shoot, my heart just sank!).  Their first bike ride, skinned knee. Their first date and heartache (did I just say that??) Ok this is getting too real...

With all of this thinking also came a revelation, and a plan of what kind of mom I want to be for my girls. I can't stop time and I sure can't pause my little girls from growing up. In order to cope with the reality of how fast life passes us by, I have to somehow counteract that. So from here on out, I'm not rushing bedtime and skipping pages in books so I can quickly get back to cleaning. I'm not denying my daughter a game of puzzles, or a picnic on the kitchen floor because I'm afraid of the mess we will make. At 3am, I won't be saying "girls get back to bed", when they are begging for a slumber party with mommy. When Brianna says "mommy I want to play with you", I won't be telling her to go play with her sister because mommy's too busy. Because one day, and this really hurts to admit, the reality is that my girls won't need me anymore. They will not call me at 3am to snuggle, or want my help to do a dozen puzzles. They won't need me to read them books, we have read a hundred times. They won't want to play dress-up and finger paint all over the kitchen table with their mashed potatoes. And I will be BEGGING for these moments back. And no matter what I do, I will not be able to pause or rewind time…

So from this day, I am cherishing and procrastinating every single one of these moments. Because if I can't have these moments back, I can at least create as many as possible, and make them last, even if just for a few minutes longer. What's the big deal with some extra cleaning or an embarrassingly messy house when an unexpected guest comes by. Nothing in the world is more important than making my girls smile and creating memories that we will all cherish, even if we can't rewind them. 

I heard a saying once "Making the decision to have children- it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart walking outside your body." I see my two hearts walking outside my body, and it truly is momentous. I want to make sure that my hearts have memories with their mom that will last them a lifetime. I want the memories to be so great that they too will want to pause, rewind, and live them all over again.  

Baby Gas and Sleep Troubles

As a sleep consultant I get a lot of questions about gas and tummy troubles. Parents fear that the reason their baby is up all night is because they have horrible gas pains. Most of the time this is not the case. When a baby has bad sleep habits and does not know how to fall asleep on her own, the crying can sound just as alarming (more on that here). They wake frequently, want to be held all night, and refuse to be laid down in their crib. I was going to write an article dedicated to gas and tummy troubles but my friend Dana Obleman, creator of the Sleep Sense Program explains this so well. Here's what Dana says:

"1. Is Gas Keeping Your Baby Up At Night?

When I’m working with parents who are trying to get their restless babies to sleep through the night, many of them tell me they think gas is the culprit. If I had a nickel for every parent who thought gas was the reason their baby couldn’t sleep I would be rich! When my first son wasn’t sleeping well, my own mother told me over and over that it was probably because of gas.
In my experience, parents can get downright panicked about gas, but the truth is it’s not always what’s causing their baby’s night-waking. In fact, gas is actually rarely the huge concern we parents think it is.
What causes gas?
It’s important to note that gas is perfectly normal. It’s usually caused by swallowed air and undigested foods breaking down in our stomachs. Babies cry a lot more than adults or even older children, so they swallow more air than we do. Because their digestive systems are new and don’t function quite as well, it can be harder for them to get the gas out of their tummies.
As long as your baby isn’t exhibiting signs of colic or reflux (more on that later), he’s probably not as uncomfortable and miserable as you think. Fussing for a few seconds while passing gas is perfectly normal for babies and doesn’t mean they are in extreme pain. In fact, being worried about it and over-doing the burping could actually be causing some problems.
I find that lots of new parents “over burp” their babies because they’re worrying that gas is keeping their baby up. When my first son was born, I was known to pat away at his back for 20 minutes or more trying to get all the imagined gas out so he would sleep better.
The problem with spending too much time burping your baby is that this can be a soothing motion that will eventually put the baby to sleep if you do it long enough. This creates a very strong sleep prop, which could be the real reason he isn’t sleeping well. Soon enough he’ll start depending on being patted back to sleep every time he wakes in the night.
How long should you burp your baby?
For newborns, no more than 5 minutes of burping is necessary.If you put your baby down and 20 minutes later she’s squirmy and fussy, pick her up and give her a few more pats to see if a burp will come out. Gas will eventually come out one end or the other.
For older babies, a minute or two should be all it takes to bring on a burp. Resist the urge to keep patting, as all you’re doing is lulling your baby back to sleep.
Colic and Reflux: A whole different story
It’s important not to confuse gas with infant colic and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Babies with these conditions often cry for hours at a time and are inconsolable and visibly in distress. Gas does not cause colic, although colicky babies may swallow a lot of air while crying, which can bring on gas. Gas causes temporary discomfort that usually goes away quickly. If you suspect that your baby might have colic or reflux, see your pediatrician."
However, if you suspect that bad habits (rather than bad digestion) might be the cause of your baby’s sleepless nights, visit and learn more about how the Sleep Sense Program can help your baby sleep through the night. 

How 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.

First, let's define "sleep training". 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. 

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 provided (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 is not reliant 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 for us. But the fact that sleep is a learned process is evidenced 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.

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 they have learned to fall asleep. How can they? This is what they believe they need in order to fall asleep. How can a baby just one day forget about their sleep associations and rituals they use in order to fall asleep? They 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, 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 their sleep troubles. One study shows that a baby that has 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. 

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. 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, to be successful 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 to "sleep train". Once I figured it out, I applied the techniques to my second baby. She started sleeping 8hrs at 6weeks 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 Sleep Packages, or learn more about my story here in my candid Biography.