The best trick for teaching your child deep breathing!

This post contains affiliate links which means that if you purchase something using one of my links I may receive a small commission at not additional cost to you.

Deep breathing is one of the most important skills that we can teach a child to help them learn how to regulate themselves. If your child has trouble calming down or they get stressed easily, deep breathing is a coping skill that can really help them.

They have all different sizes, colors, light up ones, and even glow in the dark. Glow in the dark ones would be super fun to use as a calming bedtime activity. You little one could lay in their bed and take deep breaths with their calming breathing ball to help them get sleepy, how cool!

DIRECTIONS: Start with the ball together. Slowly pull the ball apart as you take a deep breath in through your nose. Keep breathing in until the ball is fully extended. Then breathe out slowly through your mouth. The trick is to go very slowly. Tell your child that you want the air to fill their tummy up as big as the ball is getting.

Check out my previous post about how to teach your child about how their body and brain are like an engine and how we can learn to help our engine run smoothly. My previous post tells all about how to make an engine plate. If you have an engine plate on your refrigerator or classroom wall, you can have your dysregulated child check their engine plate and then use the breathing ball to help get their engine back in the green. After you do several repetitions they can check their engine again to see if they feel better. Ask them how their body feels. Depending on their mood you might say “Do you still feel like you could bounce off the walls, do you still feel very angry, do your fists still feel really tight or does your body feel more relaxed?”.

I would love to see how you and your little ones practice deep breathing with your spheres! Check out my instagram account thewholekidandkaboodle and post pictures of your breathing ball fun and #kaboodlebreathingballfun and tag @thewholekidandkaboodle

Check out my other posts below:

How to teach your little one to learn to regulate themselves

How to create a gross motor/sensory room in your home

How to “discipline: your one year old

Why bubble gum can help your child’s sensory needs

#1 tip for calming a fussy baby

DIY Kid Sleep Hack: Sleepy Time Clouds

The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine

How to “discipline” your one year old…

How to “discipline” your one year old…


What age you should start “disciplining” your child?

I was inspired to write this post because of reading Whitney Ports insta post where she was asking questions like “when should kids be taught the difference between right and wrong, safe and unsafe, good and bad, nice and mean. She mentions not wanting to be one of those no no no no parents but also doesn’t want her child to have no boundaries. Her question is such a great one and is something that I am currently going through with my almost 1 year old. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Play Therapist and am still navigating mom life day by day. This post explains how I have used my knowledge in the field of child development when working with my 1 year old.

Baby Discipline: 1 year old

The first step is to exchange the word “discipline” for the word “teach”. It is a parents job to “teach” their baby about the world even before age 1. All the ways you interact with your child teach your child about their world. Starting at birth we want to teach our children that the world is a safe place, their needs will be met, and that there is an adult who is bigger/stronger/wiser who will take care of them and keep them safe. So even though I am suggesting you get rid of the word “discipline” from your parenting vocabulary, your children still will learn boundaries that you teach and set for them.

How to teach your 1 year old “to mind”:

This is kind of an old timey phrase that my parents generation used “teach that kid to mind” type of mentality. The fact is that if we set up a child’s environment in a way that will lead to their success, the focus shifts from teaching them to mind to teaching them how to thrive.

Setting your child’s environment up for success:

It is important to try to create an environment for your child where they can be as successful as possible. I have done my best to child proof my house so that my little one can be free to explore most things. When the house is child proofed I do not have to spend as much time and stress telling my child “no” every 5 seconds because they are getting into things. I have become way less stressed and my child is happier. At this age children are so curious about everything and by child proofing as best as possible, I can let my child explore and he loves this. He hates being in a play pen. I have a play pen and I use it when I have to but I try let him be free to explore most of the time. Another thing I try to do is give my child ample time of outdoor activities. Taking a walk, splashing in the pool, swinging on the park swings, going to feed the ducks. During most of these activities I realize that I hardly ever have to tell my child no because they are having so much fun. I think that when children get bored they tend to “get into stuff” a lot more. If the weather isn’t good or swimming isn’t an option I will let my little guy splash in the sink in his bath chair or in the tub. This is a great way for him to expel energy. Babies who get their energy out and have ample time for play and exercise exhibit less acting out behaviors. I try to almost never tell my child no (I am constantly working on this even though saying no is sometimes my first instinct). I think you want to provide so many “yes” experiences by creating a proper environment described above that you only have to say no on rare and serious occasions.

Is it ever okay to use the word “no” when disciplining your child?

The fact is, if you constantly say “no” to your child you will begin to sound like a broken record and they will completely disregard what you are saying. Children will take attention any way they can get it and if they realize that doing things they are not suppose to do causes you to come over to them and say no and make a big fuss, they will continue to do the things just to push your buttons and get a reaction out of you.

One exception that I use the word “no” for is physical harm and danger. But even in these types of situation you can often correct the behavior without actually saying the word “no”. Say your child is pulling your hair. You can say “no hurting mommy” or “be gentle” or “mommy’s hair is not for pulling”. If my child kept pulling my hair I would say “no hurting mommy” and put my child down or move myself out of harms away. I would then try to engage my child in a new activity “look, lets play over here with your toy car”. Redirecting your child to a more acceptable activity is a great way to change their behavior in a positive way.

Using empathy when you set limits with you child:

This is one of the most helpful concepts in working with children of all ages. Say your one year old is about to reach their hand in the toilet because they think it is fun to splash in there you can say ” I know you think that is really fun but our toilet is not for splashing in” and pick them up and move them to a safe location. Toilet locks come in handy as well so you can prevent the whole situation or keeping the bathroom door shut but sometimes your little ones discover new things and you have to respond in the moment. Another example of using empathy when setting limits or boundaries with your child: say your child is banging a toy on your glass coffee table you might say “I know you are really having fun making music with that but our table is not for breaking” and hand them a soft toy that they can hit on the table that will not break the table (or just get rid of the glass table…because is it really worth it?)

Discipline approaches that you should never use:

One approach that I think is absolutely NOT a good approach would be to try to disiciple a 1 year old with using a fear method, such as spanking them for getting into things they aren’t suppose to or for not listening. Child Development theorists Erik Erikson would say that during 0-18 months a baby is learning to either trust or mistrust their caregivers and the outcome of this can either be a healthy trajectory for your child or a negative one. Attachment theory explains that when a parent consistently meets a child’s needs in a loving way the child learns that their parent is a “secure base” (a safe person to turn to in times of fear) to seek comfort and reassurance. By using fear as a means to “control” your 1 year old, you are teaching them that they cannot always trust you and that sometimes you are frightening (which is extremely damaging to children emotionally).

Increasing positive interactions with your child will decrease the need for “discipline”:

If you are stressing out about how to discipline your child, I urge you to change your focus on increasing positive interactions with your child. Instead of following your one year old around waiting for them to “get into something” create a situation in which you can play with them. Carry them to a safe play space and say to them “lets play”. Put your phone and other distractions away and be present with your child more often throughout the day. I have found that when I am fully available to my child not only physically there with them but mentally and emotionally present to play with him, he his less interested in “getting into things” and more interested in playing with me.

Final thoughts:

Remember your goal is to be your child’s teacher. If they are doing something they are not suppose to do, teach them what they can do. Remember to limit the amount of words you use when you are trying to get your point across to your child. One rule of thumb is use 1 word for every year old that they are. For example, if my 1 year old tries to eat a leaf off the ground I will take it out of his mouth and say one word “yucky”. I try to use some of the same very simple phrases over and over with my child to help it sink in such as: “not safe” and “be gentle”. Be aware of the positive to negative ratio of comments you make to your child in a day. You want most of your interaction with your child to be positive. If you find yourself constantly correcting your child, find ways to comment on the positive things they are doing.

Check out some of my other posts:

A Gentle Approach to Sleep Training:

The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine:

#1 Tip for Calming a Fussy Baby:

Check out this DIY kid sleep hack :

Why Bubble Gum Can Help Your Child’s Sensory Needs:

I am always looking for new parenting questions and topics that people have to write about, I would love to hear from you!

Why Bubble Gum Can Help Your Child’s Sensory Needs!

sensory, sensory integration, proprioception, self regulation*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using my links.

Did you know that aside from the commonly known senses like smell, touch, taste, see, and hear we also have some other senses that really effect our daily life? One of these other senses is called proprioception. When a child gets firm, gentle muscle pressure, the proprioception sense is at work! Proprioceptive input can be calming and organizing for children’s brains (and adults too!).

Chewing bubble gum is a way to engage the proprioceptive system and this can be a major trick for helping children to regulate themselves (or calm themselves down when they are dysregulated aka hyper/overexcited/stressed etc.)

I learned about this bubble gum trick from the bubble gum queen herself, Dr. Karyn Purvis  when I was a camp buddy for kids at The TCU Hope Connection Camp, a therapeutic day camp for internationally adopted children. Dr. Purvis was an expert in helping children from hard places and children who had experienced trauma. Dr. Purvis would greet new children at camp with a friendly smile and a playful tone of voice and introduce herself as The Bubble Gum Queen! Dr. Purvis knew that play reduces fear and many of the children who came to the camp were fearful of new situations and new people due to frightening people and places in their past. Dr. Purvis also knew that when children chew bubble gum it engages their proprioceptive sense and helps the children’s brains calm and organize. In fact, Dr. Purvis would let children get multiple pieces of bubble gum because the bigger the chew the more calming the effect was due to the firm muscle pressure.

Dr. Purvis also used bubble gum as a way to help children learn to use their words and give good eye contact. For a child who acts out to get their needs met instead of using their words, learning to communicate their needs with words is life changing for the child and the parent. Dr. Purvis would gladly give a child bubble gum if they “used good words and gave good eyes”. Dr. Purvis always praised good words and good eyes by saying things like “oh I just love good words and those sweet eyes”. She would give the child choices by playfully saying “do you think you need one piece of gum or two pieces” to help you calm down? Karyn Purvis truly was a child whisperer! She and Dr. David Cross’s (who is also amazing!) book “The Connected Child” is a must read for anyone who cares for children.

So…if you are a teacher, you may want to consider letting your students chew a double bubble during testing time to help with testing anxiety. This can also help hyper children or children with ADHD be able to calm and regulate themselves during long periods of sitting and focusing. If you get the kind of bubble gum with different flavors see which types of flavors the children prefer. It turns out that sweet flavors are calming and sour flavors are alerting. A child who likes sour flavors may do well with the sour gum because it will keep them awake and alert during their test taking. Just provide them with a tissue at their desk so that if they need to spit it out they don’t have to get up to throw it away and disrupt the class. Also make sure they know that bubble blowing is not allowed…until after the test of course 🙂

If you are a parent or caretaker…you may want to purchase a big tub of double bubble and keep a baggie of gum in your purse for times when you need your children to regulate and  calm themselves. For kids who are old enough not to choke (please don’t give bubble gum to kids who will choke) you might want to give your child bubble gum in the car to help them calm down. Make it fun- your children can have contests of who can blow the biggest bubble, what a fun car ride activity! (give them a tissue incase they need to spit it out during the ride) Need to go on a long shopping spree and need your children to behave? BUBBLE GUM might be your best friend! Obviously kids need good nutrition and should eat healthy snacks on the regular but bubble gum can be a secret weapon for you when you need to help your child regulate! Teaching them how to dispose of their gum properly is also important but be playful about it (lets see who can spit their gum the best into the trashcan!) Having your kids brush their teeth frequently is also a must. Although there are many sugar haters out there…it turns out there may be more benefits than cons to the MAGIC bubble gum trick!



#1 Tip for Calming a Fussy Baby

#1 Tip for Calming a Fussy Baby

how to calm a fussy baby, mom tips, baby tips, mom life, baby hacks

What can cause a baby to be fussy?

Have you ever tried to soothe a fussy baby and nothing seemed to work? When a baby gets fussy often their caretakers become stressed. The babies then pick up on this stress via the mirror neuron pathways in the brain. What this means is that the more stressed the adult gets, the fussier the baby is going to get.

How to calm a fussy baby:

The #1 trick to calm a fussy baby is to first focus on calming yourself. 

First, you need to focus on your breathing. There is a proper way to deep breath that can actually calm your brain and body. You need to 1. take a deep breath in through your nose  and 2. breath out through your mouth-but SLOWLY…like really slowly. You can even do this breathing out loud and the baby will hear this and they will start to align their breathing with the adults breathing, which will calm them too. Repeat the deep breathing over and over again. Notice how your body is feeling. Is your body feeling tight and tense or are your muscles loose and relaxed?

Second, you need to SLOW DOWN the rocking, jiggling, bouncing, or patting that you are doing with your baby. When you rock a baby you should move to the rhythm of a heartbeat. Most times when caretakers are stressed, they start rocking faster and faster because they are getting stressed. This actually makes the baby fussier.

Third, pay attention to the sensory information in the room. What are you smelling, touching, tasting, seeing, and hearing. Do you like these things or is there something in the room that is bothering you? Chances are if it is bothering you it is bothering your baby.

Fourth, try to observe over time the types of sensory input that may make your baby fussy. Does your baby get fussy every time you wear a certain perfume? Is the music in the room to loud? Is your baby hot or cold? Are the lights to bright or is there not enough natural light and only artificial lighting in the room? Are there to many stimulating toys and high contrasting pictures in the room?

Check out my other blog post “The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine” for more tips on how to create a calm environment to prevent your baby from getting overly tired and fussy.

DIY Kid Sleep Hack: Sleepy Time Clouds

DIY Kid Sleep Hack: Sleepy Time Clouds

bedtime sleep hack for kids, kids sleep, essential oils for sleep

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using my links.

This is my DIY Kid Sleep Hack: Sleepy Time Clouds Recipe

Do your kids have trouble falling asleep at night? Is bedtime a struggle? Is your child having trouble winding down at night?

I created this “Sleepy Time Cloud” Recipe when I was working as a children’s counselor at a residential treatment facility for women who were addicted to drugs and alcohol (the mom’s & children lived at the facility). Many of the children (and moms) had trouble calming down before they went to sleep. I was desperate to find something that could help them relax before bedtime. As a play therapist, I knew I wanted to come up with something that would be playful and fun yet relaxing at the same time.

Ingredients for essential oils for sleep and anxiety recipe:

  1. Cotton Balls
  2. Lavender Essential Oil
  3. Small Container

How to use lavender oil for sleep:

Lavender essential oil is a great natural remedy to help children & adults calm down before bedtime. Even though essential oils can be a bit pricey, they are the best way to consume the lavender smell (other products like cheap lavender candles contain chemicals that can produce negative effects such as headaches and agitation). A little goes a long way with the essential oils, you only need a couple drops.


You want to make this recipe for the first time when your child is calm. Do this in the daytime or early evening when you have time to practice how to use the sleepy time clouds that way when bedtime comes around they will be pros!

Step 1:Get the ingredients all together listed above.

Step 2:Tell your child that you have a fun recipe called Sleepy Time Clouds that they get to make that will help them relax before bedtime.

Step 3: Let your child put a few (2 or 3) cotton balls in the small container. Give them choices to help them feel empowered, “Do you think we should put 2 or 3 cotton balls in here?”.

Step 4: Put 1 drop of lavender oil on the cotton balls (it comes out fast). If they are old enough, show your child how fast it comes out and tell them that they can put 1 or 2 more drops but they have to do it very slowly. (you don’t want the lavender smell to be too overpowering). The good news is-if they mess up and put a ton on, you can try it again with new cotton balls or disperse those cotton balls amongst other containers so the scent won’t be too  strong. [The goal is for this to be a playful and bonding activity not a power struggle session, let them have fun with it].

Step 5: You and your child will practice DEEP BREATHING using the sleepy time clouds. SMELL THE CLOUDS IN THROUGH YOUR NOSE AND BREATH OUT SLOWLY THROUGH YOUR MOUTH. Explain to them in a playful tone of voice that you don’t want to breathe out too fast because you don’t want the clouds to blow away, but you do want to blow a little wind on them. Repeat 5 times. Check in with your child to see if they notice if they feel more relaxed or not. Also ask them if the scent smells good to them or if it is too strong. If it is too strong they can use less oil on the next batch.

*Encourage your child to try this activity but if they do not like it or the smell bothers them then DO NOT make them do this. This is only suppose to be a helpful and fun activity not a forced activity or punishment for previous bad bedtime behavior.

Step 6: Let your child try this out at bedtime. Help remind them how to take proper deep breaths (breathe deep in through your nose and breathe out SLOWLY through your mouth) & repeat until your child feels calm & sleepy or they don’t want to do it anymore (it is their choice).

Other Options:

I hope you and your children have fun with this playful and peaceful bedtime activity!

If you have an infant and are looking for an infant bedtime routine see my other post The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine and A Gentle Approach to Sleep Training

The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine

The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine

calming bedtime routine for infants, baby sleep, infant sleep, bedtime routines

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using my links.

This is the ultimate guide for creating a bedtime routine for infants.

The definition of a routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.

Research supported idea: Babies need consistent and predictable environments to help them feel safe.

You want your baby’s bedtime routine to be CONSISTENT and PREDICTABLE.

Here is an example of an infant bedtime routine that I am currently using with my 7 month old baby.

The bedtime routine is going to be affected by the rest of the baby’s day, so hopefully you have a daytime schedule for your baby as well. You want to make sure that your baby has enough to eat during the day and that they took the amount of naps that they need during the day so that they can sleep their best at night. An overtired baby will be fussier and take longer to get down to sleep at night.

If your baby is on solid foods, be aware of the types of foods that you feed your baby late in the day. Certain types of foods may upset your babies tummy at night or make them poop.

6:00 begin bedtime routine: Pick a time that works for you to begin your bedtime routine each night. Ideally, 2 hours before you want your baby to actually be asleep. For me, this was 6:00. Beginning at 6:00 you want to be aware of the types of stimulus that your baby is getting from the environment. At this time you want to turn off all of the televisions and dim the lights in the house. Be aware of your voice tone and try to have a calming tone of voice rather than a playful one with your baby.

6:30 bath: Be aware of the lighting in the bathroom, you want it to be bright enough to see but dim. You want to set the mood for your babies bedtime. A nice way to do this is to put some lavender essential oil in a diffuser in the room where you are giving your bath. Sometimes you may not feel like giving your baby a bath but if you can make yourself do it you will thank yourself later. The key to getting yourself to actually give your baby a bath is to have a bathtub set up that makes it easy on you. If you are struggling leaning over the bathtub trying to make sure your baby is not slipping and sliding you are not going to be able to stick with the every night bath routine. Here are some bathtubs that I recommend for different ages/home set ups:

0-3 months baby in a small bathroom sink: you could use this tub

0-3 months baby in a half farmhouse sink: you could use this tub

0-3 months in a farmhouse size sink: this tub

When babies can start to sit up with a little help these tub seats are game changers and make life a lot easier

These kneeler pads can also save you serious pain from kneeling at the bath tub

Taking a bath with your baby on occasion is a nice bonding and relaxing activity for both mom and baby but obviously not something you want to do every night. If you have had a long day with your baby and you are feeling stressed but still have a while before you put your child to bed, put your baby in the bathtub with you and let them splash and play around, it is a win win for everyone! When getting out of the bath with your baby, I suggest you place a towel on a bouncing chair and then place the baby on the bouncing chair while you dry off.

7:00 lotion massage: turn calming bedtime music  (this CD is my favorite) on and put lotion (this is my favorite) on baby. Infant Massage is very good for babies brains. This video shows you how to do infant massage to help your baby calm and help their brain grow.

7:10 bottle then snuggles & rocking with music, then bed (sometimes my baby is asleep by 7:30 and sometimes it takes him a little long until 8)

*Remember: Try to keep as many things the same as you can (the same music, the same room, the same bed, the same time etc)

*Since my baby was born I have played the same song each night at bedtime (I just recently introduced the calming CD I listed above). No matter where I am, if I play this song I swear my baby starts to yawn. He knows that this song means bedtime. I use this song and now the CD as well for putting my baby down for naps during the day. Creating strong sleep associations in the brain is the KEY!

I hope you and your baby enjoy trying this calming bedtime routine! 🙂

A Gentle Approach to Sleep Training

A Gentle Approach to Sleep Training

sleep training, cry it out method, gentle sleep training

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.

What you need to know about child development and child neuroscience when deciding how to “sleep train” your baby:

I am writing this post to share my method of “sleep training” that I created based on some fundamental concepts of child development.

What is the cry it out method?

I have had numerous people tell me that they sleep trained their child by putting their child in their own room and “let them cry it out” or “turned off the monitor and didn’t come back until the morning”. These people have explained to me the great successes that they have had with this method and that their child is sleeping through the night after doing these things.

A note to cry it out advocates:

If you are one of these people and are reading this post, I appreciate you caring enough to share the ways that have helped you and your baby get sleep in hopes of helping me as well. Every mom has the right to their own choices & methods of parenting. With that being said, I am going to explain why I have chosen to not use the cry it out method.

Child Development concepts I used to create a sleeping plan for my baby:

Child Development Concept #1: The most important lesson a baby needs to learn in the first year of life is that the world is a safe place and that their needs will be met.

  • If babies needs are met promptly, they learn that they are loved and worthy of love
  • If babies needs are not met promptly, a baby learns that they are unworthy of care and that others are not to be relied on for help and support.

Child Development Concept #2: Babies need warm, consistent, prompt, and reliable caregiving

Child Development Concept #3: The caregiver must be the external stress regulator for the infant so that they can eventually learn how to regulate/soothe themselves. Basically, a child must be deeply dependent before they can be independent.

Here is my no tears sleep training/gentle approach to sleep training:

When I brought home my baby from the hospital I slept in the guest room with my baby right next to me in a queen bed in the DocATot. I am a very light sleeper and do not roll in my sleep and so I knew I would not roll over on my child. I also made sure that the blankets were not anywhere near my child. If you take sleeping pills or are intoxicated in any way, co sleeping and bed sharing is extremely dangerous. Also, please read the Academy of Pediatrics Sleep Guidelines for safe sleeping. I slept with my face literally on the edge of the DocATot because I was terrified my child would stop breathing. I wanted to hear his breathing the whole night (I think I will be more relaxed about this on baby #2, maybe haha). This set up worked out great for me because I could meet my babies needs immediately. I swear mom hearing is like a superpower though, you can hear a whimper from miles away (it really is incredible). Also, once my husband when back to work (a short 1 week later- boo paternity leave stinks) he was able to sleep and be rested for work.

Once my baby started sleeping for longer portions of the night I was able to bring him into our room and had him in the Halo Basinette in the Doc a Tot right next to my bed. Now, my baby is in the bed with me in his own spot (and he is out of the swaddle and DocATot because he can roll over and I do not want him to suffocate on these items). I actually love having my baby in bed with me, it makes life SO much easier.

I support co sleeping and bed sharing!

Yes, I said it CO SLEEPING and BEDSHARING. It is important that you make sure that the bed is big enough for your baby to have their own space and you take precautions so that your child does not roll off the bed or get rolled onto. Bed rails, bumpers, and Swaddle Me by Your Side Sleeper are a good options. My favorite idea is turning a crib into a bed side car. See picture below that I found on pinterest, pretty sweet.

I’m not sure if this will work for me because my mattress is thick and it would not be the same height. If anyone has any suggestions on how to have a side crib the exact height of a very thick mattress and high bed please leave those suggestions in the comments below! 🙂

I know many people think that the baby needs to be in their crib and in their room at some point and at some point you may just need to “let them cry it out” or “turn off the monitor” and then they will be sleeping through the night in just a few times of doing this. Trust me, I have contemplated doing this many times when I just wanted my child to “sleep through the night”.  However, I can’t bring myself to do this for several reasons.

Crying it out method pros and cons:

First of all, I am aware that if you let a baby cry it out and turn off the monitor you will eventually achieve the outcome you are wanting (for the child to stop crying and eventually go to sleep). In psychology this method of behavior modification is called “extinction”. People who tell me that this method works are right… BUTTTTT…there is a major BUT…. BUT what if what you are teaching your child is that their voice does not matter, that their needs will not be met, that the world is not a safe place, that when they need comfort no one will comfort them. What if they cry so hard and for so long that they start to dissociate. Dissociation is a typical response to threat and it is a form of freezing-as in the fight, flight, or freeze types of fear responses. Dissociation is when someone shuts down mentally and emotionally in order to survive. Some babies even cry so hard they puke..which is the ultimate fear response. What if you are creating stressful mental associations related to sleep that could last the person for a lifetime? Think about how many people have trouble sleeping as adults, as well as how many people have trouble with dysregulation, children diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety disorders, etc.

Benefits of co sleeping & bed sharing:

When you look at sleeping practices around the world, the US is one of the few countries that believes in putting their child in the crib in their own room. Many other countries and cultures co sleep. If you think back to hunter gatherer days (I love evolutionary psychology) a baby would be right with a mom in the hut and would not be sleeping in a separate room. I just don’t think that we were created for such distance from our caregivers. I think all signs point to the fact that we should be close to our young (in the daytime and the night time) and meet their needs promptly and consistently.

How long do I plan on co sleeping or bed sharing?

I am confident that eventually my child will feel safe enough to sleep alone. I will pay attention to my child’s cues and when he seems ready I will encourage his independence. I anticipate when I do make the change of having my child sleep in a separate room, it will be a transitioning period and I will be sensitive to his needs. Right now, it is working for me and my baby. I am able to lay down with him and put him to bed early and then I can leave the room and watch him on my Nest Camera until I am ready to go to bed. Some nights my baby sleeps a good chunk of the night and other times he wakes up a few times. When my baby whimpers I am able to put the pacifier back in his mouth to see if this calms him and if it does not then I can feed him if I think that he is hungry. I believe that babies can sleep for extended periods of time during the night but I do not think that they should be expected to sleep all night every night. This is because babies often have regression periods where they are having changes in their development. Babies may wake up in the night when they are having a growth spurt and are hungry, when they are teething, sick, etc. and bed sharing makes it so easy to be able to meet their needs swiftly and get both parties back to bed.

My goal is to share how I believe co sleeping and bed sharing is beneficial to the caregiver and the baby and not to shame anyone about their sleep training methods.

If you used this method and you seem to be having no problems with your child’s behavior I’m sure that your child will be fine. However, if you are struggling with your child’s behavior and it seems that your child is struggling with regulating/calming themselves down, it may be that you need to make some repairs in your relationship with your child. Many moms have told me that they have done the cry it out method or the turn off the monitor method but they felt so bad about it and hated hearing their baby cry. I encourage you to listen to your gut and that motherly feeling you experience you when you hear your baby cry.  Crying is actually a helpful tool that babies use as their way of communicating that they are: hungry, tired, or needing emotional comfort and attention.

Now with all that being said, I reserve the right to change my mind and change my “sleep training” methods as I navigate momhood, but as of now, I feel like I am doing what is best for me and my child with child development and child neuroscience concepts in mind.