A New Mom…Again

I became a mom for the second time a month and 4 days ago – but who’s counting? I had forgotten how hard this part of motherhood is. I’m feeling like I have a human attached to me at all times of day. Our daughter would much rather be held than put down. And I’m tired!

This time around, I am much more aware of our baby’s sleep patterns. I try to encourage her to sleep after being awake for an hour to an hour and a half. I recognize that the “witching hour” that everyone talks about from around 4-8pm is probably an indication that Julia is tired. Continue reading…

Preparing for Baby #2

It’s been 5 years since I’ve had a newborn. It’s amazing how much my husband and I have forgotten!  As I get closer and closer to “d-day,” I’ve been frantically emailing my friends and my sister to make sure I haven’t forgotten what I’ll need. In fact, many of the things I thought I needed have been replaced with newer, better, safer items. It’s pretty amazing how quickly the world of child-rearing changes! Continue reading…

Sleep Tight – Don’t Let the Nightmares Bite!

There are many causes for night-time wakings in toddlers.  Many of those are behavioral; however, it is not uncommon for children to start experiencing nightmares and night terrors at this age, as well.  Unlike children who wake up with phantom aches and pains, or who want a snuggle or a glass of water, nightmares and night terrors can be a little more tricky to deal with. Continue reading…

Transitions Part Two: The Big Kid Bed

By the time our children are around two-and-a-half to three years old, we (hopefully) have well-established sleep routines in place. Our toddlers are able to communicate with us, are more aware of their surroundings and have a great sense of humor. And, behaviorally, they start to become more challenging! I previously wrote about my struggles with my own three-year-old. I don’t think I’ve met a parent who has not struggled with this age. Whatever stage you are in feels like the worst, and some more experienced mother or father will tell you, “Just wait” – as if that’s helpful! Well, we’re here to tell you that you can do it – that sleep is just another one of the challenges that comes with having a toddler. When you figure this part out, the rest will fall into place. Believe us, a cranky toddler means a cranky parent! Continue reading…

Transitions…Transitions! (Part I)

We get many, many questions about those sleep stages where babies or toddlers experience a change in sleep patterns, nap times, and sleep environments. These are the toughest times for parents because they require us to be patient and to adapt – we are forced to abandon the routines that we’ve spent so long establishing! We have to accept that we will no longer have TWO breaks in the day, but now have to get all of our laundry, cleaning and food prep done in the span of one nap, and we have to take apart the darn crib and find a place to store it (or haul it away).  Yes, we know these are trying times but hang in there.  In a week or two, your “new routine” will be your “old routine!” Continue reading…

The “terrible twos”…and threes and fours

Everyone talks about the “terrible twos” and we understand – two-year-olds are challenging. They are starting to exert their independence but don’t necessarily have the skills they need to do all they want to do. Imagine you just arrived in a new city – one you’ve always wanted to visit – but when you arrive, you discover no one understands you, you can’t figure out how to move as quickly as everyone else, and they seem to be on a different time-zone. Frustrating! That’s how toddlers feel. And this impacts their sleep, too. Continue reading…

Pacifiers – Suck on This!

Parents frequently look at their shoes when we ask them if their baby uses a pacifier, as if it’s something to be ashamed of. Many moms think of it as their “dirty little secret.” Well, guess what? Our kids used pacifiers and we would do it again!

There is some controversy about the use of pacifiers stemming mostly from lactation consultants who can scare new moms into thinking that their baby will develop nipple confusion if he is given anything other than a breast to suck. Continue reading…

The Best Mistake I’ve Ever Made

Melissa and I are celebrating “significant” birthdays this year. For the first time in a long time, we decided to go away together – without the kids (mine went with my husband to his parents’ house)! Our mom and aunt (also celebrating important birthdays) met us in NYC for the weekend. We were so happy to have some time together. Melissa and I spent the first hour just sitting in our hotel room in bathrobes, drinking diet coke and reveling in the silence! We had both called our husbands and were assured that all was well in both households and so we were actually able to relax. Joy!
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ADHD and Sleep

People say things like this to us all the time, “My child is so hyper in the late afternoon – I’m sure he has ADHD.” This may be true. Another possibility is that a hyperactive child is over-tired. When a child is not getting enough sleep, his body makes more cortisol and adrenaline so that he can stay awake. Those hormones are his body’s way of fixing a problem, only, it’s a poor fix. When children are too tired, they can’t fall asleep when they need to and are missing out on important sleep time – time when their brains should be processing the day’s events, the learning that occurred and the emotions that were felt. Being overtired looks a lot like ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

A study summarized here on WebMD suggests that many children are misdiagnosed and in fact, are overtired. This doctor found that children who are getting the ADHD diagnosis mistakenly are children who sleep in a bed with their parents and who do not have a consistent bedtime. He emphasizes that sleep and ADHD are very complicated in their correlation. That is, many children with ADHD have a hard time with sleep and because they are missing sleep, their behaviors are more hyperactive. Of course, we don’t mean to say that all children who are getting an ADHD diagnosis are actually simply overtired, but we are saying that before you seek out this diagnosis for your child, it might be helpful first to examine how much sleep he’s getting and how firm your parenting is around sleep routines.

As with all children, it is important for children who have ADD/ADHD to have a very predictable and consistent pre-bed/nap routine and bedtime. For children who seem more active and who have more challenging behaviors, you might try some or all of the following:

  • Although your child may not want to nap anymore, we highly recommend that children (through kindergarten) take an hour every day for “quiet time.” Alone in her room playing quietly.

  • A weighted blanket may also be helpful. We use these blankets with kids who really find comfort in physical pressure (like hugs). Here’s just one weighted blanket – you can find more on Amazon.com.

  • Dim lights are really important 30 minutes before you would like your child to fall asleep – it helps your body produce more melatonin (the sleep hormone).

  • Limit screen time and no screens after 5pm. If you have a child who seems hyperactive, you might consider limiting screen time to an hour a day and should certainly not allow her to look at a screen within a few hours of bedtime.

  • Try an earlier bedtime – although it is counter-intuitive, your child may be overtired. Try moving bedtime a half hour earlier for 5 days and see what happens. If it’s been working, you can even try another half hour the following week.

  • Be patient! This is so hard – we know! When you’re dealing with a challenging child, it is easy to let your emotions rise to the surface. However, your child can tell how you feel and often, our emotions only escalate our children’s behavior.

If you have tried all of the above and are still finding that your child’s behavior is impulsive and hard to manage and if others who are with your child outside your home (teachers, care-givers) agree, it would be beneficial for you to speak to your child’s doctor and/or a developmental pediatrician.