Worried about the Holidays and your child’s sleep?

December 7, 2017
Susete Pinto

With the holidays approaching, many new parents who have recently gotten their babies sleeping on a schedule are worried that they might regress a little over the holidays.

And I can assure you, those fears could not be more well-founded.

Between the travel, the excitement, the constant attention and then travel all over again, the holidays are the single easiest way to throw all of your hard work out with the wrapping paper and turkey bones.

But I’m happy to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way! With some strategic planning and an iron will, you can keep that carefullyorchestrated routine running just the way you did at home.

There are two major impediments to your little one’s sleep over the holidays. One is travel and the other is family and friends, so I just want to tackle both of those topics individually.

First off, travel. 

If you’re thinking about starting sleep training your little one, but you’ve got to take a trip in a few weeks, my suggestion is to put off the training until you get back. (Although if you’re looking for an excuse to cancel your trip, not wanting to throw your baby’s sleep schedule out of whack is a pretty good one. Just sayin’!)

If you’ve already started,not to worry. Taking a trip typically won’t help your little one sleep better, but if you can maintain some semblance of normalcy until the end of your trip, you and baby should be ready to get back to business as soon as you get home.

If you’re driving to your destination, a clever trick is to schedule your driving time over baby’s naps. Car naps aren’t ideal, but compared to no naps at all, they’re the lesser of two evils by a mile. So if at all possible, get on the road right around the time that baby would normally be taking their first nap.

If you’re really committed, you might even look for some parks, tourist attractions, or other outdoor activities that are on your route where you can stop when baby gets up. It’s a great chance to get out into the sunshine and fresh air, which will make that next nap that much easier.

If you’re flying, well, my heart goes out to you.

It’s no secret that planes and babies just don’t seem to like each other, so I suggest (and this is the only time you’ll hear me say this) that you do whatever gets you through the flight with a minimum amount of fuss. Hand out snacks, let them play with your phone, and otherwise let them do anything they want to do.

The truth is, if they don’t want to sleep on the plane, they’re just not going to, so don’t try to force it. It will just result in a lot offrustration for both of you. (And, most likely, the passengers around you.)

Alright! So you’ve arrived, and hopefully you’ve managed to maintain some degree of sanity. Now, I’m sorry to say, comes the hard part.

Because in the car or on the plane, everybody is on your side, right? Keeping baby quiet and relaxed, and hopefully asleep, is just what everyone is rooting for.

But now that you’re at Grandma and Grandpa’s place, it’s just the opposite. Everyone wants baby awake so they can see them, play with them, take a thousand pictures, and get them ridiculously overstimulated. And it’s exceptionally difficult to tell all of these friends and family members that you’re putting an end to the fun because baby needs to get to sleep.

So if you need permission to be the bad guy, I’m giving it to you right here and now. Don’t negotiate, don’t make exceptions, and don’t feel bad about it. Firmly explain to anyone who’s giving you the “I’ll just sneak in a take a quick peek,” routine that baby’s in the middle of sleep training and you’re not taking any chances of them waking up. Let them know when baby will be getting up and tell them to hang around, come back, or catch you the next time. Or better yet, tell people in advance when to expect some baby time based on baby’s schedule.

I know it sounds harsh, but the alternative is an almost immediate backslide right back into day one. Baby misses a nap, gets all fired up because of all the new faces and activity, then overtiredness kicks in, cortisol production goes up, and the next nap is ruined, which results in more overtiredness which derails nighttime sleep, and before you know it, you’re headed home and it seems like baby did nothing but cry the entire trip.

I’m not even slightly exaggerating. It happens that quickly.

So OK, you’ve steeled your nerves and let everyone know that you’re not budging on baby’s schedule. She took her naps at the right times, and now it’s time for bed. The only catch is that, with all of the company staying at the house, there’s only one room for you and baby.

No problem, right? Bed sharing for a few nights isn’t the end of the world, after all.

I wish I could make it that easy for you, but again, you want to make this as little of a deviation from the normal routine as possible, and babies can develop a real affinity for co-sleeping in as little as one night.

So this may sound a little unorthodox, but if you’re sharing a room, what I suggest is simple.

Make it into two rooms.

I’m not saying you need to bust out the lumber and drywall, but I do suggest hanging a blanket, setting up a dressing screen, or, yes, I’m going to go ahead and say it, put baby in the closet.

That sounds crazy, I know, but really, a decent sized closet is a great place for baby to sleep. It’s dark, it’s quiet, she won’t be distracted by being able to see you, and people accidentally walking in and out of the room are much less likely to distract her.

And while we’re on the subject of “no exceptions,” that rule extends to all other sleep props. You might be tempted to slip baby a pacifier or rock her to sleep if she’s disturbing the rest of the house, but baby is going to latch on to that really, really quickly, and chances are you’ll be waking up every hour or two, rocking baby back to sleep or putting her pacifier back in, which is going to end up disturbing everyone a lot worse than a half hour of crying at 7:00at night.

Now, on a serious note, I find the biggest reason that parents give in on these points is, quite simply, because they’re embarrassed. There’s a house full of eyes and they’re all focused on the new baby, and by association, the new parent.

The feeling that everyone is making judgments about how you’re parenting is nearly overwhelming in these family gatherings, but in those moments, remember what’s really important here.

Your baby, your family, and their health and well-being.

There may well be a few people who feel a bit jaded because you put baby to bed just when they got in the door, and your mother might tell you that putting your baby in the closet for the night is ridiculous, but remember you’re doing this for a very noble cause.

Perhaps the most noble cause there is.

So stand tall and remember that you’re a superhero, defending sleep for those who are too small to defend it for themselves. If you want to wear a cape and give yourself a cool superhero name, you go right ahead. WonderMom, UberMama, The Somnum Inducere, if you’re feeling really fancy. Just remember that, like any superhero, you may be misunderstood by the masses.

Ignore them. You’re on a mission.

Lastly, if things do go awry, don’t fret! when you get back home… just get back on track with a schedule and routine. 🙂

 

Happy Holidays!

A Guide to Baby Monitors

October 5, 2017
Susete Pinto

Hi All!

We are always looking for the best baby monitors that fits our needs and here is a great resource to help you decide.  Check out this article from Reviews.com on the Best Baby Monitors out there!

 

A busy parent’s best friend

The 30-Second Review

The best baby monitor is easy to use and comes with extra features like volume sensitivity and two-way talk. To find our picks, we surveyed parents for their must-haves, then put seven of the most popular baby monitors to test. In the end, we choose found three types of monitors that work for all types of parents.

Best Standard Monitor

This no-fuss monitor impressed us with its audio-visual quality, portability, and straightforward features menu. It nailed every test we threw at it too. Its picture remains clear under dim light or in the dark, and its microphone can pick up even the quietest whimpers.

Best WiFi Monitor

iBaby M6T
This monitor connects to your smartphone, so you can watch your baby from anywhere. And while it has a ton of features, it’s still intuitive enough to set up and customize in under 10 minutes.

Best Motion-Sensor Monitor

Angelcare AC315
It offers all of the features of the HelloBaby as well as a motion-sensitive pad that alerts you to any changes in your baby’s breathing.

The Best Baby Monitor

  • HelloBaby Portable Video Baby Monitor

    Best Standard Video Baby Monitor ($70)

  • iBaby M6T

    Best WiFi Monitor ($160)

  • Cocoon Cam

    Runner-Up WiFi Monitor ($150)

  • Angelcare AC315

    Best Motion-Sensor Baby Monitor ($200)

  • Baby Delight 5″ Video, Movement and Positioning Monitor

    Runner-Up Motion-Sensor Monitor ($180)

Our favorite standard video monitor, HelloBaby, masters the basic features. It’s the easiest to set up and its video and sound quality competes with monitors twice the price. Its screen is smaller than most, but its simple interface gives you immediate access to the most important functions: talk-back, zoom, and pan; while menu button opens up customizable settings for temperature, sound, lullabies, and timers.

If you’re looking to take your baby monitor to the next level of features, choose a WiFi monitor. Our top pick is the iBaby M6T. You can watch your baby from literally anywhere through its Apple or Android app. There are lots of customization options too, like receiving push notifications when your baby wakes up or instructions on how to improve the room’s air quality.

Like the flexibility of an app-based monitor, but don’t want to navigate through all those features? Go with our WiFi monitor runner-up, the Cocoon Cam. It has the four important ones: you can adjust sound, screen brightness, motion sensitivity, and noise threshold.

If you want to know everything about your baby, down to the heartbeat — the Angelcare AC315 is our top motion-sensor monitor. The sensor mat slips under the mattress in your baby’s crib, and if it detects no movement after 20 seconds, it sends a loud alarm to the baby and parent units. Its touchscreen can be a little finicky. The Baby Delight is less prone to false alarms; however, our parent testers were concerned that the small clip-on sensor might be a choking hazard.

Our Picks for the Best Baby Monitors

The Best Standard Video Baby Monitor

HelloBaby Portable Video Baby MonitorHelloBaby has the right features to help any parent take care of their baby.

The HelloBaby might be a standard monitor, but it excels at the basics. It scored better than some of the more expensive WiFi monitors in picture clarity, and was hands-down the easiest to use. Just open the box, plug in the two devices, and you’re ready to go. No difficult packaging to tear through, and no account setup or device pairing necessary. Our testers had it up in running in less than 3 minutes each time.

We liked the sleek look of the camera, and while the base is grippy enough to feel secure on a dresser, it can be wall mounted to get that perfect angle looking over into the crib.

It has some nice extras tooThe center button brings up a small menu to set up a temperature alert, scan through additonal cameras, set a timer up to four hours in the future, or play a lullaby.

Its parent display unit is the smallest we tested, with a screen only 2.4 inches wide, but the video quality was among the best. By comparison, Infant Optics’ bigger screen didn’t offer a better picture, and our Motorola model had an obvious two-second delay — even when we took it off WiFi and used its direct signal mode to rule out connectivity issues. The differences are slight, but we were impressed that the HelloBaby could keep up with monitors twice its price.

We appreciated how easy it was to use the parent unit too. “It’s like an old-generation iPod,” one tester commented, noting the circular pad in the center. Volume, screen brightness, zoom, and talk-back are all available on the home screen, so it’s still easy to find the right button when you’re half asleep at 3AM.

Among our top picks, HelloBaby made up for its smaller display size with good video quality.

The Best WiFi Monitor

iBaby M6TThis cute WiFi Monitor is packed with features controlled directly from your smartphone.

A good WiFi monitor is convenient and feature-rich — or else we may as well stick with the HelloBaby. The iBaby takes both aspect to the next level. It was the fastest WiFi model to set up at only five minutes. Once you download the app, a straightforward tutorial walks you through every feature. We liked that you can choose both sensitivity levels and notification options for noise, motion, temperature, and humidity — meaning the iBaby won’t alert you to those quiet falling-asleep sounds, or small movements unless you want it to.

Even better, you’d don’t need to keep your phone turned to the app to hear your baby or receive notifications. The iBaby works both in the background and when your phone is in sleep mode.

The iBaby had all of our most critical features and more. Plus, like a recent Star Wars robot, its round camera is gosh darn cute.

We also liked the iBaby because while it allowed us to invite other users to see through the camera — great if you want to give your babysitter access while you’re out — only the person who registered the iBaby monitor has administrator access to all of the features. The administrator can give some privileges to other users, like being able to move the camera around, but they can take them away just as quickly.

The iBaby app walks you through setup (left), displays activity history (center), and allows you to adjust settings (right).

The iBaby’s video and audio quality were among the best in the WiFi group, but like all WiFi monitors, quality and how well it displays real-time action depends largely on your internet quality and speed. Our testers only experienced a delay of less than a second, more noticeable than HelloBaby’s, but nowhere close to Motorola’s three-second delay.

The biggest downside to the iBaby is that its stand doesn’t attach to a wall. It’s designed to be placed on top of a table or dresser. Luckily, it’s not likely to go anywhere — it’d need a good shove to push it off.

WiFi Monitor Runner-Up

Cocoon CamKeep track of your baby from anywhere, without all the extra features.

The Cocoon Cam brings the convenience of a WiFi monitor, while keeping its user interface simple and scoring high for picture and sound quality. So if you glanced over all the features of the iBaby and thought, “Just give me a good WiFi monitor without all that jazz,” you’ll like the Cocoon Cam.

This app-based monitor gave us better video and audio quality than the iBaby with just four customizations: volume, screen brightness, motion sensitivity, and noise threshold. Setup was on the longer side at nine minutes — you have to wait a few minutes for the monitor to sync to the WiFi and the app — but it’s not complicated.

The Best Baby Movement Monitor

Angelcare AC315Our top pick for motion has a plastic pad to slip under the mattress to keep track of your baby’s every wiggle.

The Angelcare AC315 earned high marks for audio and visual quality, was fairly easy to use, and comes with a movement sensor that slips under your crib’s mattress. If it ever detects more than 20 seconds of without movement, it triggers an alarm.

It’s the only monitor we tested with a touchscreen on the parent unit, though the unit we tested didn’t always recognize our clicks. Instead of buttons, the parent unit uses a touchscreen to adjust settings — but this feature actually makes the monitor harder to use. Sometimes the screen wouldn’t recognize our clicks; other times it over-clicked.

We were also disappointed that the Angelcare’s parent unit lacks an out-of-range warning. If you’re in the backyard or basement and the monitor disconnects, it’s not clear whether you’re looking at a napping baby or a frozen screen. Still, it beat out the Baby Delight for sound and video quality and offers a few customizable features: You can adjust the volume on the baby unit as well as the parent unit, and set up timed alarms and temperature alerts.

The AngelCare’s battery-operated movement sensor slips under your crib’s mattress.

Movement Monitor Runner-Up

Baby Delight 5″ Video, Movement and Positioning MonitorWe loved the clip-on button’s accuracy for tracking movements, but felt uneasy about its small size.

Our testers preferred the Baby Delight’s parent unit — its buttons were more responsive than Angelcare and it was easier to set up. This movement monitor uses a cordless magnetic sensor instead of a pad. Because the sensor is clipped onto your baby’s onesie, right next to their chest, the alarm won’t go off if you forget to disarm it before a middle-of-the-night feeding.

However, the Baby Delight’s biggest flaw is one of technicality: Its button sensor is just large enough to avoid being labeled as a choking hazard, but it doesn’t leave a lot of room for error. In fact, the button does become a choking risk after your child is 3 years old, and the new parents we spoke to felt uneasy about using it after 12 months just to be safe. Still, if you’re only interested in monitoring movements for the first few months, the Baby Delight is a more user-friendly alternative to the Angelcare.

Did You Know?

Experts are skeptical about movement monitors.

Though they often perceived to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend them, saying point-blank, “There is no evidence that use of such devices decreases the incidence of SIDS.”

In addition to being untested for efficacy, physiologic monitors can increase both your stress and your baby’s stress with false alarms and unnecessary trips to the hospital. Dr. Christopher Bonafide, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia wrote that parents are increasingly bringing healthy babies to the hospital over a false alarm, noting that changes that often set off a monitor are “just normal fluctuations.”

If it would give you personal peace of mind to see how much your baby is breathing, or how often they wiggle on their bed, you might consider a baby movement monitor. But if the idea of listening to your baby’s every breath, heartbeat, and sigh fills you with anxiety, stick to a standard or a WiFi monitor.

You can take extra steps to secure a WiFi monitor.

While there are a lot of options for putting your internet on lockdown, if you want to go the extra mile in securing your home network and your WiFi baby monitor, here are a few easy suggestions:

  • Just like your WiFi network, when naming your monitor, make sure to not use any identifying information, like “Smith2A” for the Smith family in apartment 2A.
  • Change the password. Manufacturers often use simple passwords as their defaults, which may be easy to remember, but are also easy to guess. Use a strong password — a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols — and don’t share this password with anyone, or use it for another website.
  • Keep your baby monitor up to date. Stay on top of app updates by checking the Apple or Android app stores and keep an eye on manufacturer websites for other updates. Companies regularly roll out changes to strengthen security and improve functionality.

More features aren’t always better.

Baby monitors, despite the name, are meant more for the caregiver than they are for the baby. We asked parents about which features they felt were helpful, like a long range so they could wander carefree all over the house, and reliability so they weren’t struggling to maintain a signal. Other features like being able to play lullabies, or receive temperature alerts are only as useful as you make them. And a few features, like motion monitors, can be exceptionally comforting for some, and distressing for others.

Ultimately, all of our recommended monitors do what is absolutely necessary: give you a window into the nursery so you can look after your baby without being directly in the room. Any other features are a matter of personal preference.

The Best Baby Monitor: Summed Up

Baby Monitor
The Best
HelloBaby Portable Video Baby Monitor
Best Standard Video Baby Monitor
iBaby M6T
Best WiFi Monitor
Cocoon Cam
Runner-Up WiFi Monitor
Angelcare AC315
Best Motion-Sensor Baby Monitor
Baby Delight 5” Video, Movement and Positioning Monitor
Runner-Up Motion-Sensor Monitor

 Top

Mid-Summer SALE!

July 31, 2017
Susete Pinto

Can you believe that we are halfway through the summer already?!

Some families are enjoying their summer by traveling while others are getting ready for the beginning of the new school year.  Either way, it can be costly.  As we move into the month of August, Night Night Baby Consulting will be REDUCING OUR PRICES for the entire month!!!

Take advantage of the lowered prices by scheduling a chat about your child’s sleep problems and let me tell you how I can help!

 

Sale ends: August 31, 2017

How Much Sleep Does Your Baby Need?

February 2, 2017
Susete Pinto

Most parents don’t realize how much sleep their children need.  A rested child will typically be an overall happier child.  Newborns and infants are learning so much every day and sleep them helps to absorb everything in this new world of theirs.

At Night Night Baby Consulting, I am frequently asked how long babies should be awake and parents are usually very surprised to hear the truth.  As you will see in the chart below, a newborn’s wake time is only about 45 minutes to one hour…  That’s not a long time!

What does it look like when your child isn’t getting enough sleep? Overtiredness in children doesn’t look the same as it does in adults.  Children become hyperactive (wired, manic, even giddy) and most likely will resist bedtime.

Here’s a quick table of how much sleep your baby needs:

Age Number of Naps Time Awake Avg. Hours Night Sleep Total Hours Sleep
0-10 weeks 4-8 45min-1 hour 10-14 14-18
11wks – 3.5 months 3-4 1.5hrs 10-13 12-16
3.5-5 months 3 2 hours 10-12 12-16
5-7 months 2-3 2.5-3 hours 10-12 12-16
8-13 months 1-2 3-4 hours 10-12 12-16
14m-3years 1 5-6 hours 10-12 11-14

Paying attention to what time they wake and calculating their Time Awake, you will notice that they begin to show that they are tired before the sleepy cry begins.  Once a baby hits the sleepy cry, he may already be overtired and therefore, may be difficult to put down again for a nap.

Sometimes, a simple change in schedule of by 30-60 minutes can make a world of a difference.  Every child is different and there is no one-size-fits-all way to tell you what is the winning formula.  However, identifying what their wake time is and knowing how much sleep your baby needs will help you to get your baby on the path to sleeping well.

My Services Are Not Medical Advice.  The advice you receive from me is for informational purposes only and is intended for use with common early childhood sleep issues that are unrelated to medical conditions.  My advice is NOT intended to be a substitute for medical advice or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health practitioner regarding any matters that may require medical attention or diagnosis, and before following the advice and using the techniques described in The Sleep Sense Program.  Reliance on any information provided by Susete Pinto is solely at your own risk.

Susete Pinto, Certified Sleep Sense Consultant
www.nightnightbabyconsulting.com
www.facebook.com/nightnightbabyconsulting

 

Photo credit: www.kathleenfelionphotography.com

Why I Chose to Sleep Train

January 7, 2017
Susete Pinto

Remember the excitement you felt when first found out you were pregnant?

We were so excited that we immediately cleared out the spare room, painted a cute design on the walls, and each drawer was perfectly organized.  I even remember sitting in my nursery chair one evening, dreaming about how wonderful it was going to be when he arrives.

When my son finally arrived, it was exactly as I imagined.  He was amazing and I just couldn’t love on him enough.  Then something changed.

Continue Reading