Successfully Setting the Stage for Sleep Schedules, Mealtime Struggles + Screen Time Limits
WITH KATIE KELLEY
Guys we are on to part 2 today of my conversation with Katie Kelley – Advanced Newborn Care Specialist.
If you’re just tuning in for the first time, be sure to go back to last week’s episode and check out part 1 first! There was SO much good insight given on all things potty training and discipline for your new borns and toddlers.
In today’s chat, Katie and I are diving into:
- The 4 phases to foundational sleep patterns,
- Screen time guidelines,
- How to navigate meal time, and
- Her GO TO products that every mama needs
- My favorite thing we chatted about today? CHOICE VS DEMAND.
Katie dives into the reason why when it’s time to, let’s say, clean up – you should *not* say – ‘Hey, want to help me clean up?” Because they don’t have a choice in the matter! They need to help ya clean up!
So what to do instead? Tell them: ‘Hey, let’s clean up!’ But give them choices when they have choices – things like, ‘Do you want milk or water?‘ ‘Do you want to wear blue flip flips or red?’
Mommy approved choices, while also fostering independence!
I really enjoy and appreciate Katie‘s outlook on parenting and raising well mannered, world changing children. I may not be in the newborn mama phase any more, but I know many of you are! And I know all of us mamas could use some extra tips and tricks for those early years!
I really hope this episode helps you feel more confident as a mom and creates a closer connection to your kids.
Well guys – here is part 2 of my conversation with Katie!
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What are your top four steps to establishing a good sleep foundation from day one with a baby?
- First, you want to get the right sleep environment – try to recreate the womb. 68-72 degrees. Pacifier. Loud sound machine. Black out curtains. Swaddle.
- Other than that, learn your children’s sleep cues. Yawning, eyebrows turn red, rubbing eyes.
- Establishing a huge difference between night time and day time. Specifically: night time feedings. Keep it quiet. Don’t talk with them. Don’t look at them. This is why I don’t love velcro swaddles! They are so loud! In the day time, open the blinds! Keep it bright and loud. For morning feedings, I try to take them out of their room to affirm a huge difference in night and day time.
- Put your kids down drowsy, but awake! You want them to know they’re falling asleep in their crib. They can fall asleep on you, but if you’re going to put them in their crib and you want them to nap in their crib, wake them up a little bit when you put them down. So they know they’re in their crib.
What is your #1 tip to getting a three-year-old to sleep through the night when they’re starting to get out of the bed?
I am huge on positive rewards to encourage positive behaviors. One of my things is a positivity jar, where you have a little list and you get a marble, you get a marble every time you do this thing. So if the child stays in bed through the night, they get a marble.
I also love the hatch rest. It’s a sound machine, but also functions as an ‘Okay to Wake up light.’
You pick the color of the light and it turns on when it’s wake-up time. And that I have found has really, really helped with the middle of the night wake ups. Because all you have to do is say, “Is your light on? Okay, it’s not wake-up time. We need to stay in bed until our lights on. If you stay in bed until your lights on, you can get a marble.”
And if they keep getting out of bed, I will walk the child back to their room 800 times over. I will continue to walk right back, again and again, until eventually the child will give up! It will only be a few days that you will have to do this – I know you’ll sleep over those fews, but you will have such long term gain if you can stick to this.
When do we start nap times and schedules?
I say start at 6 weeks. I follow the Eat, Play, Sleep routine. It’s my favorite because you know whether your baby’s crying because they’re tired or they’re crying because they’re hungry.
- They wake up, you feed them.
- They play for an hour and a half.
- They go down for a nap for an hour and a half.
- They wake right back up at that three hour, Mark, you feed them. T
- hey play for an hour and a half.
- They go back to sleep for an hour and a half.
What are proper sleeping positions by age, what should not be in the crib / bed and when should I change from a crib to a bed?
So the ABCs of safe sleep, I am all about safe sleep :
Alone on their Back in their Crib.
So they have nothing with them except a pacifier they’re swaddled.
Usually zero to four months, that’s how they’re sleeping. They’re swaddled, they’re alone on their back in their crib. Once they start flipping themselves, you’re going to take them out of the swaddle and put them in a sleep sack.
Changing from the crib to bed will depend on your kid. If they are a great listener, 2 years old is great. If they are a bit more wild, you can wait until later! But definitely by the time they are trying to get out of bed on their own.
A suggestion on swaddle products?
I love The Miracle Blanket – my all time favorite. But, also, the Love to Dream is a swaddle where they can actually have their arms up.
First let’s talk about when they’re infants. What are the steps to start to wean the night feedings?
With night feedings, I always recommend you start pushing them 15 minutes at a time.
By six weeks, you’re probably eating at 7:00 PM, 10:00 PM. 1:00 AM, 4:00 AM. So your first step is going to be bumping that 1:00 AM by 15 minutes. So if they wake up at 1AM ready to eat, that doesn’t mean you ignore them for 15 minutes. That means you just you hold them, you snuggle them. You give them a pacy, you change their diaper, super slow.
You do whatever it takes to just get them to wait 15 minutes. So then it’s 1:15AM. Then, their next feeding is 4:15. Then the next day you do the same thing to 1:30. You’re going to push them 15 minutes to one 30, do whatever it takes to get them to one 30. It’s a slow, it can be a slow and easy process.
And eventually you’re pushing that feeding right into the 4:00 AM. And there’s now, now a 7:00 PM, a 10:00 PM and a 4:00 AM feeding.
When do I begin to introduce solids?
asks your pediatrician about everything – but I love to wait until six months, wait until you’re sitting up and you have, they have kind of that core strength to sit to eat. And then, um, I love baby led weaning.
Basically, we’re giving you big chunks of food and you’re figuring it out a lot of the time. They may get one bite, but at that age it’s just about exploring and having fun. They’re not really getting their nutrition for milk, it’s more just teaching about textures and about how to eat food and how to chew food and how to swallow food.
How to prepare a toddler for a new baby sister or brother?
You want to talk to them about it a lot, get them really excited about it and, read books about new babies, etc. Just really push that narrative that this is what’s going to happen.
BUT THEN – once the baby arrives, getting them as involved as possible. Because you may find that your toddler starts to regress because they see all the attention the baby gets for things like crying or for going to the bathroom in a diaper or at all of these things that.
So getting them involved in teaching them, having them be your helper as much as possible, and really reminding them like you are so big, you can do this because you’re so grown up and you’re such a big helper.
Tell me your thoughts on the difference between a toddler’s choice and a demand.
It’s really important in fostering independence in kids to give them choices when they have choices, but don’t give them a choice if they don’t have a choice.
I’m not going to say, ‘Hey, can you help me clean up?’ Because they don’t have a choice – we have to clean up right now. Obviously they don’t want to clean up. So they’re going to say no, or I don’t want to. And then I’m gonna say, ‘Well, you don’t have a choice.’
Demand does not have to be negative. A demand is, ‘Hey, it’s time to clean up.’ That’s it.
I can give you a choice in things, like ‘Do you want milk or water?’ But on certain things like bedtime or time to leave or clean up, when they genuinely don’t have an option – don’t give them the option. It’s just confusing to everybody.