Hello moms and soon-to-be moms! I have an idea that I believe will help moms collect and share information but before I take the time to build it, I need to know that moms will come. This would be a huge undertaking and labor of love so before I can commit my blood, sweat, tears, time, money, resources and everything else, I need to know that it’ll actually be useful for moms. Please take 5 minutes to take this survey. Your opinion is very important to me so provide as much information as possible. Thanks so much!
Many of you know that I have worked as a baby and toddler sleep consultant for over 2 years and I have interacted with hundreds of families in regards to their children’s sleep. In considering this blog post, I wanted to think of some of the commonalities among many of these families and what I “usually” recommend to them. The problem with that is that it is always different. Every family and every child has their own unique situation so sleep is something that is difficult to generalize. With that said, there are definitely a few things that you could start doing right away to help your little one sleep – regardless of their age and their current sleep environment:
- Put your child down in the bed awake. I’m sure you have all heard this a million times but it is certainly difficult to do. When your little one falls asleep while nursing or rocking and you have the option of gently waking her or putting her into the crib asleep, it seems absolutely ludicrous to wake her! Do it. I know it seems crazy but even if you wake her and then gently pat or rub her tummy to help her stay calm, you want her to know she is in her bed it is time to go to sleep. It is very important that a child learns to fall asleep without help or you will end up with a baby that wakes constantly (after just about every sleep cycle) and needs help to go back to sleep. If you want to give this a try, start with bedtime first. Once bedtime is going well, then move on to night wakings.
- Schedule can make or break you. I have so many families that write in with questions about why their little one was doing well but now is waking for long periods in the night or just a mess all around. Schedules are key for little ones and toddlers. Now, don’t get me wrong… I usually do not use a by the clock (BTC) schedule for most babies (with twins being an exception) but rather, look at the wake times or nap gaps. Depending on your child’s age, you don’t want them to be awake longer than a few hours before sleeping again. For example, a six month old baby shouldn’t be awake for more than 2.5-3 hours before sleeping again. Constant night wakings, long night wakings and early morning waking are all usually attributed to schedule issues. Never underestimate trying an earlier bedtime. Many issues will arise from bedtimes that are too late. Sometimes just a 15 or 30 minute shift forward can do wonders.
- Create the Best Sleep Environment. Speaking of underestimating, so many people do not consider the importance of the child’s sleep environment and their bedtime routine. These things will add considerably to the consistency in your child’s sleep and are worth some thought. In regards to your child’s sleep environment, it should be dark, safe (nothing loose or too fluffy in the bed) and white noise can be an excellent tool to help a child who wakes from noise. We also recommend blackout blinds (these really help with early morning wakers and naps!). Establish a very consistent bedtime routine and it usually helps to end it with the same song or phrase every night. Recreating this environment and bedtime routine will also really help if you travel a lot with your little ones. Regardless of where you are, they will expect sleep if things are consistent.
Let us know your thoughts on sleep! Speaking of… I’m off to catch some zzzzzz.
So, let’s jump right in…. I get asked this question A LOT. “How is it REALLY to have three kids?” “Is it really that much harder than having two kids?” I find these questions interesting and funny at this point in life (even though I’m sure I have asked these same questions before having my third baby). But, since you asked, here are my answers (broken into parts because it’s never just that simple):
It’s hard (but everything in life worth doing is hard):
- You will have to buy a bigger car
- You will never be bored and you will always be laughing (or crying)
- You will have to wait 30 minutes longer than 4 person families at any given restaurant on a Friday / Saturday night
- You will always have someone to hug, squeeze, kiss or cuddle-one of them always needs you at any given time.
- It will be nearly impossible to find a hotel room that will accommodate your 5 person family (no, they don’t care that the youngest is a baby – don’t even bother asking) and truly impossible to find an affordable hotel room
- Don’t even worry about the aforementioned hotel room because you won’t be able to fly your family of 5 anywhere – too expensive!
- Don’t plan on going to sleep for at least two hours after putting three kids to bed because they will somehow take turns waking every 10 minutes and needing something different.
- Say goodbye to kid free vacations because three young kids is a bit much for anyone to take on for the long weekend so you are bringing them with you.
- All your friends will think you are a “super mom” even though you are just barely hanging on but, hey, take the compliment and be happy that you kept them all three alive all day!
- Your wardrobe might as well consist of black and white stripes because you will referee ALL day long. Surprisingly, it is hardly ever 2 on 1 but rather they are all for themselves and will fight over anything.
- You will end up buying diapers for 8 years straight, seriously…
In all seriousness, three, four, five… whatever makes you happy is what works for your family. There is nothing that I or anyone else will tell you that will make it the right or wrong decision. To grow your family or not is obviously a family decision and I would say that three is the new two if you don’t require a lot of sleep. I joke a lot about the craziness that is my life but having three kids is amazing. Many moms wonder if it “really is much harder than having 2 kids” and I will wholeheartedly answer a resounding YES to that. The jump from one to two kids was really difficult for me but going from two to three was much harder than I would have expected. People joke about going from a man to man defense to a zone defense and it is a perfect analogy. Going anywhere with all three of them alone is exhausting and usually involves some tears and lots of sweat. When you are that outnumbered, everything is difficult. The other side of this coin is that even though it is difficult, it is fun. Having kids in general invites a lot of chaos into your life but having more than one or two kids just makes it a lot more insane. If you thrive in that chaos, as I do, then yes, 3 is the new 2.
P.S. If you decide to go from 2 to 3 kids… become really good at asking for help :).
If you are reading this, you are probably a friend of either Minsun or mine (Lauren) because we are just starting out our adventures in blogging. We appreciate you taking the time to visit our site and check out what we are up to! It is now officially 2016 and now that the New Year is upon us, we are geared up to really pursue some adventures!! So, this is both scary and exciting and I’m praying that my writing gets better with time (it has been a while since I have had to write anything other than a work email). We have started this blog in order to discuss whatever is on our minds but also to document our adventures in entrepreneurship. You heard it here… we are currently working on a project that we hope will be much more than an application. I will let Minsun explain her vision more in a post but it all started with the need to express what is really going on in life and ask REAL questions with UNFILTERED discussions. So much of our social media lives are really just a highlight reel, right (be honest)? I don’t know about you but I need somewhere to ask more personal questions, find information, be genuine without the fear of someone judging me and support my friends, family or a stranger in need of help. We realize that we are embarking on an uphill battle. Our incredibly busy lives don’t need extra work added, yet we still get excited and brainstorm and draw out screen shots on napkins in front of the Apple store (yes that really happened). We are doing this and we hope that you support us along the way by reading our blog posts / adventures and give us feedback ;). I know it isn’t really clear what we are doing yet… I actually am keeping it somewhat vague because I haven’t spoken with Minsun about how much we want to put out there yet but just know that it will be really cool. We will be documenting a lot of our process through this blog but will also be blogging about things happening in our lives, work, love, kids… everything. If you have made it this far, thank you for enduring my terrible writing skills for a few minutes and Happy New Year!!! 2016 will be a year of hurdles and firsts for us!! Follow along with us and let’s have some fun!