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Various Reader Questions/Requests Part II

    • susie said... I know this may sound selfish, but did you ever feel for your child's first 2 years staying home all day was best for your child. We are on the 4 hour schedule and so going out in the evenings is a little easier. (due to only 2 naps a day). However, my daughter at 7 1/2 months is teething and not napping well. So I just feel it is best I stay home everyday, except the 2 days I work. Did you feel this way?
      April 11, 2008 5:35 AM
      Plowmanators said... yes, but I am surprised you feel selfish about that :). Most moms feel selfish for not wanting to stay home all day, not for wanting to. Doing what you think is best for your baby is in no way selfish. :)
      April 11, 2008 2:56 PM

      • momto3 said...
        I am on babywise baby #3. She is 51/2 months old and started 2 weeks ago waking again at night. Any thoughts??
        March 19, 2008 8:33 PM
        Plowmanators said...
        See this post:Nighttime Sleep Issues: Beyond those thoughts, I would wonder if she is either 1.going through 6 month growth spurt early or 2.reaching that age where they are more aware and so they awake more fully to check out their surroundings.
        March 20, 2008 11:03 AM
        momto3 said...
        I read through the blog you recommended. None of those issues seem to apply. We are going on almost 3 weeks of the nighttime waking. When she first started it, i fed her since we were traveling. But after a week and half of that, she started waking more than once. I just can not figure it out. I have tried shortening daytime waketime, adding cereal and staying close an strict with our sched. Any thoughts???
        March 22, 2008 1:02 PM
        Plowmanators said...
        Have you tried shortening daytime napping instead of waketime? At your baby's age, BW suggests shortening naptime if night wakings suddenly start for no other reason. How many naps does she have in a day? Most 5 month olds will have only 3.
        March 22, 2008 10:58 PM
        momto3 said...
        She takes 3 good naps still. The last nap ends around 5:30 or 6 and then bedtime is after her last feeding at 8:45 or 9. She then, before all this, slept till 8am.
        March 23, 2008 5:31 AM
        Plowmanators said...
        My next thought would be that perhaps you need to shorten the third nap. It is also possible that it is just a phase.
        March 24, 2008 9:37 PM
      • Becca said...
        I've been trying to implement babywise strategies basically since my 10 wk baby was born. in the past 2 weeks however I feel like his night sleep has gotten worse instead of better. before, he would take 2 night feedings (and the dreamfeed) with a waketime at 7:45. he's moved up to 3 (sometimes 4!) night feedings. I don't know what happened. Our day schedule is the same...the only difference is that CIO is over and he sleeps right away. I read that by now he should be sleeping 7-8 hours at night. The best he's ever done is 5, but now it's really every 2.5 hours. He takes a full feeding each time (except possibly when he wakes up for a 4th night feeding). Any ideas on what I'm doing wrong??Thanks so much for all your input!
        June 20, 2008 1:52 PM
        Plowmanators said...
        Becca,Have you treated it like a growth spurt? There is often a growth spurt around 8 weeks. I would first do that, then see how it goes. See this post: Growth Spurts:
        June 23, 2008 2:31 PM
        Becca said...
        Plowmanators, Originally I did think growth spurt, but he's been taking 3-4 night feedings (not including DF) for 3 weeks now. Can growth spurts last that long? If that's what this is, it looks like we'll move straight into the 3 mo. growth spurt with no break. I was hoping things would improve by now!He does still have nights where he feeds "normally" (2x), but at this point it's pretty random. Even before all of this, the 5 hr. stretch happened maybe 2x and 4 hr stretches maybe a few times per week. Generally it was every 3 hr. I'm still waiting for those days to return. I went back and read that most naturally sttn by week 12. Looks like we're a LONG way from that! I just want to make sure I'm doing everything possible to help him make it there!Thanks for your thoughts. It's always nice to be reminded that others made it through!
        June 23, 2008 4:13 PM
        Plowmanators said...
        Becca,I once asked my doctor how long a growth spurt should last, and he said there is no way to predict. But my guess would be that if he has been given extra food for that long, it isn't a growth spurt.Are you breastfeeding? If so, I would check your supply. I don't want to make you paranoid or anything, but that is another possible reason for him to be hungry for that long. Also, do you use a pacifier? If so, that might be the reason he is waking often. He also might just need more time to improve his self-soothing. It will come. It is funny, on my end, 10 weeks just doesn't sound like a long time. But I remember when Kaitlyn was first born and thinking about how long it would be before she would possibly be sleeping through the night. It felt like an eternity!
        June 24, 2008 6:41 PM
      • Becca said...
        Plowmanators, Thanks so much for your response to my last concerns (June 23rd); I did look into your suggestions and found that my milk supply is ok and we don't use a pacifier. The increased night wakings has never decreased and my lo is now 15 wks. I've been troubleshooting (temperature, diapers, cutting out last nap; dreamfeeds,...)using the info in your posts and just can't find the reason for his waking. I'm thinking he hit a growth spurt, I fed him and then we were in close quarters with relatives for 2 weeks so I just kept feeding him when he woke (even past growth spurt) so it eventually became routine for him to wake. I did discover that he really isn't hungry (but he will feed if I offer)... and could be comforted back to sleep w/o food...which I did all last week. So I decided to start CIO at night Sunday night. Problem is he wakes up 2-4 times at night and it's just so sad to hear him CIO so many times at night. I moved his dreamfeed back to 11 pm in hopes it would keep him full longer and I do feed him and put him back to bed if he wakes up past 5 am but before waketime at 7:30. In reading comments it seems most CIO at night only once per night...have you ever heard of CIO more often in the night? I know it's just day 3 and I probably should be tougher after succeeding CIO for naps, but it's no easier to listen to his cries. Generally he cries between 20 minutes to 1 hour at each waking (with me checking on him every 20 minutes). I know he's just exhausted. Di you think it's wrong for me to do CIO at each waking?? If there's any other solution I'm all ears. I know that he will benefit from better sleep though and will do what it takes. Thanks so much for your input.Becca
        July 30, 2008 5:04 PM
        Becca said...
        I just realized how long my last comment was...sorry about that I should have been more concise...we now have an additional hitch to CIO at night...rolling over. We were finally making improvement at night and now this. I think it's accidental since he never does it during the day. I can't imagine quitting CIO but feel bad that it's an additional thing to learn in the midst of CIO. I read "sleep disruptions" and figure I just have to wait it out; any additional thoughts?? Thanks so much!
        August 2, 2008 1:57 PM
        Plowmanators said...
        Becca,It sounds like a tough situation. If you want to try soothing without CIO, I would look into the Baby Whisperer. She has a method for teaching self-soothing that doesn't require CIO. IT does require a lot of effort on the part of mom/dad, though. It might be worth a shot. Until he can learn to get back over, it will be a problem . It sounds like he just needs some consistency. This were disrupted for a long time and he needs to re-learn what things are like. Good luck!
        August 3, 2008 3:30 PM

      • Christie said... I know this is unrelated to this post, but could you give me some tips to encourage my 13 month old to walk? She is not walking yet, beginning to worry...:)
        August 25, 2008 11:12 AM
        mmonfore said... Val, I hope you don't mind me offering my advice, but sometimes I can't help myself. Christie, do not worry about a 13-month-old not walking. My older son didn't walk until 14 months and my neighbor's baby was 15 months. I didn't walk until I was 18 months. 18 months is definitely on the late side, but at 13 months I wouldn't worry at all. For us it was just that he didn't realize he could stand on his own. He fell to the floor when I put him down. One day, he stayed standing and from that day on he was walking. A little light bulb went off.
        August 25, 2008 11:27 PM
        Plowmanators said... Christie, I wouldn't worry at 13 months. If you are really worried, talk to your pediatrition. My daughter didn't take her first steps until 15 months and didn't become a real walker (where she walks basically all the time) until 16 months. With my daughter, I would have practice sessions. For her it was mental. for some reason she was afraid of getting hurt even though she never had. My efforts might have helped (and the cheering definitely helped), but really it happened when she decided she was ready. August 28, 2008 9:18 PM


      • Kate said...
        I have 2 schedule questions

        1. My daughter is still eating ever 2.5-3 hours. If she wakes up early from a nap during a normal 3 hr feeding is it okay to go ahead and feed her at 2.5 hrs or should I try to keep the same feeding schedule every day. (of course if she acts starving and can't be calmed I feed her)

        2. During the first half of the day she can only be awake 1 hour before she takes a nap. If she wakes early, say 12:30 instead of 1and I still feed her at 1 is it okay to lay her down before 2 or should I try to keep to the nap time on a normal day and hold her off until 2?Thanks, hope you're having a fun trip!
        April 22, 2008 12:38 PM
        Plowmanators said...
        Kate,1. It is fine for you to wait a bit after she wakes (assuming she is older than 6-8 weeks). See this post: Eat/Wake/Sleep Cycle: You could do a combo of having her be awake for 15ish minutes after she wakes and then feeding her 15 minutes early. But yes, it is okay.

        2. If she can go down at normal nap time and still sleep well, then do that. If she is tired or if she doesn't nap well, put her down early. Some babies will sleep until the normal wakeup time to make up for the shortened earlier nap.
        April 23, 2008 10:50 AM
      • heather said... It seems like I have seen a post before where you gave a sample of your schedule by months. I'm wondering how a day looks when you drop to two naps. Could you remind me of where to find the post on your daily schedule? Thanks!
        May 19, 2008 8:02 PM
        Plowmanators said... Here are the links Heather: Sample Schedules : Sample Schedules: One Year and Up :
        May 20, 2008 10:47 AM
      • Jordan & Nikki said...
        We have a 10 1/2 week old & for some reason, I am really struggling to get a schedule with her. She is at the 95th percentile for weight, so very healthy. At 9 weeks she had a 3 to 3.5 hour schedule; so I pushed back to a 3 hour schedule to firm up the nighttime and remove that feeding. It worked for two nights - 8 hours of straight sleep. Then, for the last 3 days, she routinely wakes up at exactly a 1 hour nap - isn't really hungry, but is livid until I pick her up. Once I have her, she immediately calms down & is pleasant. I figured it was just a form of the 45-minute intruder & restarted her cycle. Then I questioned my milk supply (I BF); yet, there is still plenty of milk when she refuses to eat more. A few weeks from birth, I quickly found out that she needed to be asleep by 1 hour of waking. We've continued that, but now with the 1 hour naps, that puts us at a 2 hour cycle! After 3 days of a 2 hour cycle I am completely baffled...what in the world is going on?! The last thing I want is an inflexible, difficult I am bound and determined to figure anything out now! Any and all suggestions would be appreciated...I've read the blog entries & evaluated our log...but maybe I'm missing something!
        June 9, 2008 2:16 PM
        Plowmanators said...
        Nikki,It might just be one of those bumps in the road that comes along. If so, push through. I will suggest some posts that I think can help in case you haven't read them:
        Naps: Troubleshooting:
        Waking Early From Naps/Won't Fall Asleep For Naps:
        Getting a Consistent Schedule:
        June 11, 2008 10:16 AM
        Jordan & Nikki said...
        Thanks for the advice. I think my problem was that when her daytime schedule seemed off, I reverted to nighttime feedings and dropped "sleeping through the night." I started it anew that night & although it was a very rough first night, the next night had only one waking & she fell asleep on her own in 10 minutes. We are now back to a normal day schedule. Consistency is the key - even when there are bumps in the road! A principle forgotten, but now doubly reinforced.
        June 11, 2008 3:58 PM
        Plowmanators said...
        I am glad you got if figured out. Consistency is key :)
        June 11, 2008 10:51 PM
      • The Brace Family said... hi there! getting ready to have #2 and loved reading this our children will be almost the same apart...23 months. we have a boy and are expecting a girl on the 11th of Aug. do you have the schedule for right when you get home from the hospital for feeding? pattern? eat,wake, sleep right? what about 2nd week.thanks for this!!!
        July 25, 2008 11:03 AM
        Plowmanators said... Brace Family, Kaitlyn was in the NICU, so she was on a 3 hour schedule there. She came home and continued that way for several weeks. With newborns, they are so sleepy that you basically set the schedule. I would choose what you want to do to work around the older child's schedule. It is eat/wake/sleep, but you often only have waketime long enough to feed and change diaper. For the first week, you can definitely do no more than the pattern if needed, and if you have hte luxury of help with your older boy. Good luck! It is so fun.
        July 28, 2008 11:34 AM
      • Kim said...
        Hi there,My son is 19 weeks old. He has been on a 3 hour schedule for several months. His schedule is:7am- nurse8am- nap10am- nurse11am - nap1pm- nurse2pm - nap4pm- nurse5-6pm- I try to put him down for a nap but he usually will not go to sleep. So I end up just trying to get him to hold out until as close to 7 as possible.6:30-7pm - nurse7:30pm - Because he didn't have that last nap he usually is exhausted by this time so I put him to bed.10pm- nurse then straight back to bed.I have been wondering if I should start him on a 3 1/2 hour schedule. Also wondering if I should drop the dreamfeed and should I start dropping that 4th nap. If I want to do these things, should I do them all at once? Should I stagger them? And if so, which should come first? If I drop that 4th nap which seems to have already happened, how should I adjust the schedule? Is it okay that the waketime after the 6:30-7pm feeding is so short? How do I change that? I am sorry to bombard you with so many questions but I just am not sure what route to take.Thank you so much for your constant help!You are a lifesaver!
        November 2, 2008 3:21 PM
        Plowmanators said...
        Kim, definitely stagger. I would do things in this order if he is ready:1-Drop 4th nap 2-Drop Dreamfeed 3-Extend schedule

        See the blog labels (on the left side of the page). See Dropping Naps, Dreamfeed, and Four Hour Schedule. Those should answer all of your questions.
        November 10, 2008 3:31 PM
      • Charlotte said... My 6.5 month old son is recently experiencing separation anxiety and now wails every time I put him to bed. He is still sttn but cries for 30-45 minutes until I calm him down. He gets so worked up that he no longer can calm himself down. How long is this going to last and what can I do to help?
        September 26, 2008 9:10 PM
        Plowmanators said...
        Charlotte, I unfortunately don't have any experience with separation anxiety. From what I have read, I don't think it will last a really long time, but could be 2-4 weeks (maybe more). I would be sure he has a long enough waketime before bed (and conversely that it isn't too long), that he has a good, predictable routine before bed, that he has independent playtime, that dad spends good, quality time with him each day and helps with his care...then just hang in there! But I would also go to perhaps and read up on separation anxiety and see if there are any good tips there.
        September 29, 2008 11:23 AM

        Merry Christmas Break!

        I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas! What a wonderful time to reflect on the birth of the Savior of the world. I will be taking a break until the new year. Here is a video of the Nativity for you to enjoy. Merry Christmas!

        Pinteresting Fridays: Christmas Things

        Here are my five favorite finds on Pinterest for Christmas stuff. You can find my general Christmas finds here: You can find my learning activity Christmas finds here:

        by Bath Activities for Kids

        by Toddler Approved
        *Note: we have tried this and really like it! 

        by Lemon Squeezy

        by Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour

        by Over the Big Moon
        *We have also done this and love it! Something like this is awesome to have printed out to pull out and give your child while you are doing something to prep for Christmas stuff.

        Do you have favorite Christmas finds on Pinterest?

        Exercise and Weight Loss

        New Years is approaching! And with New Years often comes resolutions. One of the most common, if not the most common, resolutions is to lose weight and/or get in shape. Gym memberships go up. Time Magazine reported, “60% of gym memberships go unused and attendance is usually back to normal by mid-February.” 

        So how can you take this goal of losing weight and/or getting in shape (no matter what time of year it is) and make it a goal you meet? I have some ideas for you. But before you go on, I end referring to this article. I think it is so good,  I don't want you to miss it. If you get bored and stop reading, make sure you still go on to this article here: 5 Reasons Running May Not Help You Lose Weight.

        Let me start by saying I am not the portrait of perfection when it comes to being in shape. I will tell you what I am, though. I am a mom. I am a mom who exercises every day but Sunday. I am a mom who has been exercising regularly like this for about four years. Before that, I was a hit and miss type. But four years ago I got serious and I got consistent. Before I got pregnant with Brinley, I was in pretty good shape. I am still working to get back to that post-Brinley. Over the past four years, I have learned some important things about exercising that I think should be common knowledge but for some reason aren't. So here are my tips to get you going.

        1-Make it about being healthy.
        Don't make your daily exercising about losing weight. Don't! It is about so much more than that. Exercise is good for you, whether you are losing weight or not. I have had months go by where I lost not a pound. Not a single pound. I kept going. And after some time, weight started to come off again. If I exercised in order to lose weight, I would have stopped long long ago. And I would have missed out on a lot. Make exercise about making your body healthier, not fewer pounds.

        2-If you are just starting, expect it to suck.
        Quite frankly, when you first make exercise a regular part of your life, it sucks for a long time! It hurts. It is hard. But  you will get stronger as you persevere. It will come. After I had Brinley, I had to build up a lot of my endurance again because I couldn't be as intense while pregnant (some people can, I couldn't). It didn't suck as much, so that is the good news (for more on exercising while pregnant, see this post). 

        You might have friends who are exercising people who will say, "After a few times, you will be addicted and love it!" I have those friends. That is not what my reality was. I hated it for a long time. I dreaded getting up the next morning and exercising. 

        Even this last summer, I started running with a friend. We ran MWF mornings. I dreaded it each Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday night for a couple of months. Then a switch hit and I loved it. That love and addiction will come. You will at the very least move out of dread and into "this is normal life." But it might take time. And that is okay. 

        3-Make time for it.
        You have to find a time that you will be consistent about exercising. I don't know what that looks like for you. I have written about this extensively in my post How I Do it: Exercise. Make it part of your daily routine--as much as getting dressed. Consistency is so important to meeting any goal you have in association with exercising, and so important to getting yourself to the point of tolerating it.

        4-Be aware of fat vs. muscle.
        We have all heard "fat weighs more than muscle." I remember hearing that when I was a teenager and thinking, "well I don't want muscle then!" But here is a visual. 
        That is five pounds of fat versus five pounds of muscle. This is why you can not lose weight but can still look better and better over time. As you are building muscle, you might be adding weight to your body but you are removing volume. Be aware of this so as you are exercising and not noticing any difference, you can keep going! 

        5-Take "befores."
        You will be able to keep going if you are aware of what "before" was. Weigh yourself. Take measurements. Take photos. Whatever works for you, get that before documented so in six months when you feel like nothing has changed, you will have a quantifiable way to see it actually has.

        6-Figure out what works for you.
        I have one friend who says the only way he can lose weight is to limit his calories. No amount of exercise matters--the calories matter. I have another friend who says the only way she can ever lose weight is by running. Get to know your body and what works for your body. How much cardio do you need? How much strength training? How many calories can you eat? 

        I have personally noticed that I lose weight best when I am doing at least 45 minutes of cardio a few times a week along with some strength training the other days of the week. I can't just do cardio. My cardio has to be a certain length of time. 

        If I count calories, I can lose weight, but I hate it. When I am doing the exercise I listed above, I more naturally eat the right amount of calories. 

        7-Drink lots of water.
        Seriously such a simple and common piece of advice. Just do it.

        8-Switch up exercises.
        I hear this often enough I assume everyone knows this, but I am sure some haven't heard yet. You can't do the same thing day after day and continue to lose weight. You need to change things so it requires different things of your body. You can find lots of ideas on the internet. I have some on my Exercise board on Pinterest.

        9-Burn some fissures.
        A few months ago, I read this article that I think explained basic exercise in such a simple, perfect way. Everyone should know this. Read it. It will enlighten you. This is why trainers say that when it hurts is when it matters most. That is when you need to push through a little further. When you push, your muscles tear a bit creating fissures. Then your body burns more calories to repair those fissures and build new muscle. More muscle equals more calories burned day after day. Seriously read that article. 

        Check out the Babywise Friendly Blog Network Pinterst account. Today we are blogging on goals and resolutions.

        Chronic Short Nappers {Poll Results}

        This poll is for babies who were at some point a chronic short napper. This is a baby who pretty consistently takes short naps. This wouldn't be for the baby who takes short naps during a growth spurt or some other common and obvious cause. This is for babies for whom the normal nap is short (about 45-60 minutes long) all day, every day. The original poll post can be found here:

        As I read through the comments, here are a few overall impressions I got. 

        Most people believed their baby didn't sleep for longer naps because of an inability to self-soothe. This is going to be the base of the problem for all babies--the issue you want to try to discover is why. Why can't the baby self-soothe? Some babies will have reasons (waketime length, temperatures, sickness) and some might just need to be older to be able to develop that skill.

        There were many different things people did to get baby to sleep longer, but the answer with the most people on it is "nothing." This supports the idea that some babies just need to grow into it. But sometimes babies grow into the situation you are presenting (like a baby can be old enough to really handle a certain waketime length). 

        The list of things people did to try to help but didn't help is much more varied. Some things listed on the "didn't help" list were also listed on the "helped" list. I think this is the root of why short naps can be so long and frustrating for people. The things that help one baby will not help another. There are so many options and combinations of options for you to try to solve this short nap situation. Read through ideas and then trust your instincts. You know your baby best. 

        Here are the results. There were 19 responders:
        1. Have baby's naps extended so he/she is no longer taking chronically short naps?
          Yes: 17
          No: 2
        2. At what age did baby's naps get longer?
          4 Months: 4
          5 Months: 2
          6 Months: 2
          7 Months: 2
          9 Months: 2
          12 Months: 2
          14 Months: 1
          15 Months: 1
          N/A: 2
        3. Why do you think baby was/is taking short naps?
          Can't self soothe at transition: 8
          Low sleep needs: 1
          Too long waketime: 2
          Light/Darkness: 2
          Temperature not right: 2
          Sensitive to noise: 2
          Just a phase: 1
          Allergy: 1
          Just the way she/he is: 3
          No answer/don't know: 2
        4. What did you do that helped baby's naps get longer?
          Put in swing: 3
          Bouncy Seat: 1
          Longer waketime: 3
          Shorter waketime: 1
          Unswaddling: 1
          Lovey: 1
          Dropped Pacifier: 1
          Appropriate waketime length: 2
          Wake consistent time each morning: 1
          Made room darker: 1
          Burn more energy for baby/toddler: 1
          Slowly extended time in crib: 1
          CIO: 2
          Consistency: 1
          Quiet room: 1
          Nothing really: 5
        5. What things did you try that did not help baby's naps get longer?
          Longer waketime: 5
          Shorter waketime: 6
          CIO: 9
          Unswaddling: 1
          Tummy Sleeping: 2
          Swing: 3
          Clothes: 1
          Light/dark: 4
          Temperature: 4
          Solids: 1
          White noise: 3
          Pick up/put down: 3
          Doing nothing: 1
          We tried it all!: 4
          No answer: 1
        Helpful Comments: 

        "Advice for the weary - be consistent and one day your baby will hopefully nap better. Don't be disheartened by the many sleep 'success' stories of other Babywise Moms - there are those of us out here who still follow BW, but just have to wait a bit longer for our little one to nap consistently."

        "We moved her to the swing to finish her nap (your suggestion). If she was just awake and happy we would leave her in the crib the finish the nap. The key for us was to have a minimum nap length where we stayed in nap mode even if she was awake. I believe this helped her body get used to the longer nap length."

        "I think he was unable to self-soothe through the sleep cycle transitions. His naps improved after we stopped swaddling and he had access to his thumb AND was able to roll onto his tummy. He is much more able to self-soothe now that he has his thumb/rolling as "tools" in his little toolbelt."

        "CIO midnap didn't help because she didn't cry--she just woke happy after 30 minutes and laid there awake for as long as you would leave her there."

        "Three things [helped her sleep longer]. First, even when she was a short napper, we tried to gt her back to sleep. It often worked. Our methods were to re-insert her paci; if that didn't work, we would rock her in the dark room; we would also use the swing, which was in our living room. Second, we dropped the pacifier cold turkey at 3.5 months because we felt it had a negative impact on her sleep. We used the Baby Whisperer 4 S wind down and the shush-pat method to get her to go to sleep with no paci, and also at any sleep interruptions. Third, we made her room darker. I hung our largest, darkest quilts on her curtain rods. Ugly? You bet. Effective? YES! I later switched to tinfoil on the windows + blackout curtains and then to better curtain liners. Anyway, between 3.5 months and 4 months, we dropped the paci and made the room much darker; we were already using white noise so the three together did the trick."

        "Biggest advice I give to parents is to try everything, but let go of the expectation that you will get a perfect textbook sleeper. I had to realize that "naptime" wasn't "me" time, or else I would be ANGRY at my child who wasn't asleep for x amount of time."

        "What things did you try that did not help baby's naps get longer? In addition to CIO, I did try to put him in the swing or stroller, if he woke early from a nap, to see if he would go back to sleep. This worked occasionally, but very inconsistently. I also tried longer/shorter waketimes, white noise, dim room, too hot/too cold, etc. I ultimately decided not to worry about it, and simply tried to work my schedule around his short naps as best I could. I figured his wake times would eventually increase and it would work itself out on its own. I agree with waiting it out. "

        " I learned to use her level of happiness vs. crankiness as my litmus test for how well-rested she was, instead of trying to make her fit into the normal Babywise mold."

        " I hyper-analyzed every detail of her schedule (especially waketimes) and tweaked things constantly. I believe in troubleshooting for a while when faced with situations like this, but trying so hard to "fix" my child sometimes drove me crazy so that I was spending my time being discontent and missing out on the joys of having a baby."

        See also: 

        Brinley Pre-Toddler Summary: 16 Months Old

        This is a summary for Brinley from 15.5-16 months old.
        This is her favorite thing to do right now--sit at the
        table with the picnic set. 

        Eating is good and normal. Have I mentioned that she is a sugar-addict? She loves sugar, especially chocolate. Loves. You know the crazy thing? Brayden tasted some sugar at his first birthday, then not again until he was 18 months old. Just another difference between a first and fourth child. At least she still eats healthy food :)

        Playing is also good.

        Brinley moved to one nap a day even on Sundays. She is quite flexible, so on Sunday we can put her down two hours early and she still takes a good nap. I don't know if that is because she is still young for one nap or if it is just how flexible she is. Time will tell. My best guess is it is her age. She definitely is a flexible person--she has been great through disruptions over the holiday season. So she definitely has flexibility going for her, but going down for a nap two hours early is pretty odd for a baby, so I am guessing it is mostly that she is young enough she can be tired enough for a nap at that point and partially that she is also flexible.

        Remember how I was wondering how the whole Christmas tree thing would go? She has been awesome! She started by touching, then moved to just looking, and now she doesn't even seem to be tempted by it. She only took one day of reminders to get to be consistent enough I trusted her by the tree. 

        Brinley got another cold during this period. Sicknesses are so annoying! And I don't think she is sick that often, but it seems like every summary lately has had a section on her having a cold or some other sickness. 

        8:15--wake up. Eat breakfast (fruit, cereal, and milk)
        Get ready. Clean with mom.
        10:30 Independent Playtime.
        11:30 Play
        12:00 Lunch.
        Play with McKenna.
        1:00--Nap starts
        4:00-4:30--wake up. Snack. Play.
        7:30--Sippy of milk, then bedtime. In bed by 8:00.

        How To Stop a Tantrum

        Tantrums! Tantrums are NO fun. But did you know there are ways to stop a tantrum in its tracks? I do not jest. Here are some things I do when I have a young one starting a tantrum. When I was growing up, personal indulgence in a "wo is me" monologue was never entertained. My parents came from poor upbringings and so throwing any sort of fit over things seemed rather spoiled and, well, dumb. I think I have taken the experience from my childhood and applied it to my methods today.

        These are all methods I use to stop a tantrum. I don't do each one each time and I don't do any special order. You kind of have to feel it out and go with what you think seems best at the moment. You will find some methods are more effective for different children or different ages.

        1-Lighten the Mood
        My most common thing to do when I have a little one starting a fit is to lighten the mood. I tickle. I joke. I get them laughing. You don't have to respond to tantrums with a firm, stern face. What you don't want to do is give in to the tantrum. So say your child starts throwing a fit because she wants to watch TV and you have told her no. You might start tickling her to get her to "turn that frown upside down," but you still don't turn the TV on. The rule stays, the attitude changes.

        Mimicing seems to work best for the older toddler on into preschooler age range. Sometimes younger toddlers will stop with mimicing, too. Your child starts that fit and you join right in (though I don't think I ever match the magnitude). This is an extension of my suggestion to lighten the mood. Watching an adult throw a tantrum is quite entertaining. Then the child sees how silly it looks and usually goes from mid-cry to laughter.

        3-Independent Play Time
        Sometimes a child just needs to be alone. If your child is having a super grumpy day, do an extra session of Independent Play. Or make sure to get your one session in there. I often find if Brinley is having a grumpy morning, she will come out of Independent Play quite pleasant. 

        4-Remain Calm and Basically Remain Unimpressed
        As your child throws a tantrum, continue on with your business. If you weren't doing anything, find something to do. Wipe the counter off if you can think of nothing else. Fluff some pillows. Continue on as though that tantrum isn't phasing you in the least. Your child often wants some sort of reaction from you. If you react with some strong emotion, your child will feel a bit vindicated. 

        5-Express Empathy
        Sometimes you child needs you to pick her up and hold her and empathize. "I know you really wanted to watch a show. You can't right now, but I know you are disappointed about it."

        Redirection can work for any age. Young toddlers can be physically moved to a better location or activity. Toddlers and young preschoolers can be directed to new activities. Preschoolers and children can be given a list of other options to choose from. As your child gets older, you can encourage personal problem solving by helping your child brainstorm what to do. "No, you cannot watch a show right now. Can you think of a different activity you could do instead?" (and if they try to pull the "nothing" thing, see this post: Discipline Phrase: "Just Sit and Be Bored")
        See Substitution: Toddlerwise for more on redirection.

        7-Tell Your Child To Stop
        Sometimes, even admist all of these awesome tools I just listed, your child will carry on with the tantrum. At that point, I tell the child it isn't okay. It is okay to be sad or disappointed, but it isn't okay to carry on and throw a tantrum. If the child wants to continue throwing a tantrum, it will have to be done on his or her bed.

        The next time you encounter a tantrum, try some of these methods out. Always remember to remain calm--that is your best tool ever. 

        For more posts on discipline, see:

        Feed Me Friday: Whole Wheat Bread

        You know how time flies? I took this picture shortly after a reader mentioned wanting this recipe. Well, as I look at this picture I realize it was at least two years ago! It was taken before we remodeled our kitchen. I am so sorry reader!

        Bread is something that seems intimidating but I promise you it is really quite easy. If you have never had homemade wheat bread, you are seriously missing out! It is so much better than store-bought wheat. So much. This is the recipe I use for wheat bread. It makes four loaves of bread. That's a lot! We can go through three loaves before it goes bad, but the fourth usually starts to mold, so we take one to someone we think can use it each time I make bread.

        Mix together:
        • 5 cups warm water
        • 2 T yeast
        • 1/4 cup honey
        Let rise and get frothy.

        Then add:
        • 1/4 cup oil
        • 1/4 cup dough conditioner OR 3 T dough enhancer
        • 1/2 cup gluten
        • 1 T salt
        • 12 cups whole wheat flour (when making bread, the exact amount of flour varies from day to day, so you might need less and you might need more. Also, we grind our own wheat. We use 8 cups of wheat to get the flour we need. We usually have extra; I save it for making rolls later in the week).
        You wan to allow this to mix for 8-10 minutes. I should note, I have a Bosche--I am not sure a Kitchen Aide could make this much dough at one time so if you have something other than a Bosche, you might want to try half of the recipe initially. 

        Put the dough into a greased bread pan. You just take a quarter of the dough (if you are doing four loaves) and form it into a cylinder that looks like a loaf of bread. 

        Let raise. You don't want it to raise too much or it will "fall" and look all wrinkly on top. You let it go until it looks about the right size. This is usually under an hour, but the length of time depends on the temperature in your house.

        Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

        Once it is done, you can take a stick of butter and run it over the top if you would like. Do not let it sit in your bread pan too long--if you do it will get soggy on the bottom. I remove it after a few minutes and let it cool on a wire cooling rack.

        Talking About Adoption {Guest Post}

        How do you talk to an adopted child about their adoption story?

        When it came to this particular topic concerning adoption, my husband and I simply discussed the matter and decided pretty quickly that we would openly talk about our girls’ adoption stories from a very early age so that there will never be a time in their lives when they are not aware of their adoption stories.

        We came up with five ways we felt this could best be accomplished and, so far, we are seeing beautiful results in teaching our daughters their adoption stories in this way.

        1. Tell them their adoption story when they are very young.
        We desire for their stories to be familiar to them from the time they can even begin to slightly understand their adoption stories. We didn’t want this to be something that we formally tell them when they are old enough to understand the complete story. We don’t want the fact they are adopted to be a surprise to them. Instead we want them to begin having an understanding about being adopted at a very early age.

        Our oldest daughter is 4.5 years old and it is amazing what she understands about her story. From the time she was about 2 years old, she knew that she “used to be in Mrs. Tracy’s tummy” and that was the extent to what she knew. She didn’t need to know any more than that at the age of two. She probably didn’t understand what that simple statement meant at that age either, but that was the foundational phrase we wanted to use to build her adoption story for her. We wanted her to never remember a time she didn't know that simple fact.

        The way we introduced this statement was when she became curious about the pregnant belly. I cannot remember whose pregnant belly she asked about but I used her curiosity about the pregnant belly to have this simple conversation with her at around the age of two years old:

        Me: (in reference the pregnant belly) Little Bug, did you know that you did not grow in Mommy’s tummy?
        Little Bug: Why? (The “Why Stage” comes in real handy here!)
        Me: You used to be in Mrs. Tracy’s tummy!

        And that was all the information she needed at the age of two. I look at this phase of talking to my girls about their stories as the time when we are planting seeds to further discussions in the future.

        2. Tell them details that are age-appropriate.
        Those discussions will come! I can remember feeling nervous about this, wondering what I would say when Little Bug was ready to hear more.

        We decided to simply tell her age-appropriate details, nothing more and nothing less. There are details about her story that are not appropriate for her to know at the age of four. However, as she gets older and grows into a young lady she will be able to handle learning about some of the more difficult and sensitive details about her story.

        For now, we tell Little Bug the four-year-old version of her adoption and it goes something like this:
        Mommy and Daddy prayed that God would put a baby in Mommy’s tummy. But God kept saying, “No!” Mommy and Daddy were very sad, but we trusted God. God created you and you were growing in Mrs. Tracy’s belly. Mrs. Tracy decided that we would be the best parents for you and when you were born she gave you to us so we could be your Mommy and Daddy. God knew all along that you would be our special baby girl.

        That’s all she needs to know at the tender age of four. As she gets older, we will continue to build and expand on this foundational story that has already been planted in her heart.

        3. Allow the child’s curiosity to spur adoption conversations.
        We don’t press Little Bug to talk about being adopted. Most of our adoption conversations have been initiated by her. We don’t feel the need to constantly bombard her with “adoption talk” and instead take the approach of talking about her story whenever her natural curiosity desires to know more.

        4. Don’t hide anything.
        As our daughters grow up and may or may not want to know every little detail concerning their adoptions, we will hide nothing from them. It’s their story. They have a right to know and who better to tell them than us? I kept handwritten journals while we were going through both adoption processes. Those journals have very intricate details about things that happened along the way that I knew I would forget had I not written everything down. I imagine myself handing over my journals to my daughters one day and letting them read them at their leisure as they continue to put the pieces of their stories together, one by one.

        We desire for them to both understand that in our family, their stories are not taboo; we are all willing to talk about anything, anytime. All they have to do is express interest in learning more and they will have access to every piece of information we have access to.

        5. Focus on the redemption found in adoption.
        Every adoption has a painful side. That is the very reason the adoption was necessary. Adoption is the result of some kind of crisis, most likely. There is also a beautiful side to adoption and we will choose to focus on that with our daughters. This does not mean we will neglect the painful aspects. That is not it at all. We will talk about the painful aspects of their adoptions but we will also be sure our girls understand God’s redemptive love that is evident in their adoptions for both us and their birth mothers. We will choose to focus on that.

        Our Plan in Action
        While at a Reunion in Beersheba Springs I was sitting on the couch and Little Bug was standing in front of me. As I was siting there I heard Little Bug start telling my mom’s classmate, “Mommy prayed for me to be in her tummy, but God didn't."

        I immediately put my full attention on her to see where this was going to go.

        Never before had I heard Little Bug use those words to tell her story. They were basically the exact same words I have been using for a couple years now to tell her her story!

        The classmate said, “Well, you were in somebody’s tummy, weren't you?!”

        And Little Bug enthusiastically replied, “I used to be in Ms. Tracy’s tummy” and then, with a big smile she turned to me where I was siting on the couch and said, “but this is my mommy!”

        That was the extent of the conversation and Little Bug was on to something else but I sat there for a couple minutes, just amazed.

        I don’t know what kind of emotions Little Bug may have to deal with later on in life due to her adoption, but I do know I have desired from the beginning to make her adoption be something positive and special in her life because that is the truth. It was something positive that happened in her life and I believe one day she will see the complete picture of why being adopted was such a positive event in her life.

        I think for her four year old little mind, we are on the right path. The simple story God laid on my heart to tell her when she was just a toddler has taken root in her heart and I am beginning to see those results now as she is initiating adoption conversation to others.

        Elaine blogs at God’s Faithfulness Through Infertility about infertility, adoption, Babywise, parenting and her new adventure of homeschooling her two daughters who were adopted via domestic infant adoptions.