Weighted Blankets, Overactive Four-Year-Olds, and Sleep (Sweet, Elusive Sleep)

weighted blanket reviewI’ve seen this article about weighted blankets floating around social media lately, and since we just got one for my eldest, I thought I’d do a little weighted blanket review today.  I forget how exactly I found this Forbes article saying that weighted blankets are amazing for all sorts of kids (although they’re most often used for kids with sensory disorders) — probably somewhere in my sleep research.  Bedtime was crazy crazy crazy for us for months (maybe years! taking the fourth side off the crib in January 2014 was what I generally view as the start of his sleep troubles), complete with meltdowns, screaming, and more.  We moved his bedtime up, we moved his bedtime back… we set strict routines and stuck to them as best we could with him fighting every step.  Finally I found this article about weighted blankets and decided to give it a try.  (It didn’t help that he had a major itchy rash from May 2015 until recently (more thoughts on eczema to come in the future), and would itch like mad at bedtime unless we gave him Benadryl, which only seemed to help enough to help him fall asleep.

Finally, I found this article and decided to give it a try, even though it sounded crazy — putting an 8 pound weight on my son while he slept?  But you know what: dang if it hasn’t solved a lot of our sleep problems.  The first few nights he refused to use it, and I had to put it on his legs after he fell asleep in hopes that it would help him sleep.  Now, after having it for almost three months, he happily snuggles under it at bedtime and knows it helps him fall asleep. Even if he was crazy just a minute before, if we can get him under the blanket for just 20-30 seconds it seems to really help calm him down.  (Note that it isn’t a bed-sized blanket; it’s more the size of our Dream Blanket.) The one downside is that he seems to sleep so well with it that he has more nighttime accidents than he ever did before, so we’ve started taking the blanket off him after he falls asleep. (But then again, he is 4.5, so that’s probably par for the course.)  The blankets come in a range of sizes, colors, and weights; we paid around $114 for ours with tax and shipping.  The Magic Blanket

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one mom's weighted blanket review

Comments

  1. Meg Murry says:

    I’ve been thinking about weighed blankets with my kids (and myself) since reading this post: (which may be where Kat saw the Forbes article, or not, it’s been re-posted on a lot of blogs)

    I’m ADHD and have a few ASD spectrum-y traits (not enough to worry or seek a diagnosis, just enough to know that some of the solutions for ASD problems are often worth trying on myself too, and if they work, great, and if not, nothing ventured, nothing gained).

    Growing up, there was a really heavy feather quilt at my grandmother’s house that I looooved sleeping under, and eventually it made it’s way to my childhood bedroom. Unfortunately, it has shed a lot of feathers over the years, so it isn’t so heavy, but I always loved sleeping under it and it definitely helped me feel calm and cozy, and I have always wondered in the back of my mind if a weighted blanket would help me sleep better – but not enough to bite the bullet and try it yet, especially for the cost.

    FYI for anyone thinking of trying this blanket, don’t forget that it isn’t advised for very young kids – I wouldn’t recommend it for kids under 4 myself, and definitely not for tiny kids who shouldn’t even be using more than a single light blanket yet.

    FWIW, I’ve also noticed what Kat points out about bedtime accidents vs heavy sleepers. My oldest is/was a pretty light sleeper and was a thumb sucker, and while he took a while to potty train overall, he has been pretty much night trained as soon as he was day trained – he gets himself up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night as needed, and rarely had any accidents. My youngest has always been a better and heavier sleeper, but is not consistently night trained at 4.5 – if we don’t take him to the bathroom every night at 11-12 pm he will wake up wet in the night at least once a week, often 3-4 times a week.

    [Ed. note: This link was deleted because it was broken, sorry!]

  2. Any recommendations for websites / other reaourcesdiscussing food intake for infants/toddlers? My 11 month old is still drinking 5-6 5 oz bottles of formula per day as well as solids two times a day. I’m interested in reading strategies on how to gradually reduce the formula (eapecially as we will be moving to milk soon) and increasing solids. Right now she really won’t eat more solids even if she’s hungry (i.e. we offer before q bottle). I will discuss this with the pediatrician at her one year but would like to know more about what’s typical now. Thanks!

    • CPA Lady says:

      Anything by Ellyn Satter is amazing. I got her book Child of Mine. In that book, she talks about food for infants through age 4 or 5. It helped me relax a lot.

    • Weaning says:

      Offer small meals of solids more frequently and she will start to take less formula. We do 5 times a day – breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, supper. They eat better in small amount at that age. Offer formula on waking and then before nap and before bed.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      One thing that I have noticed recently is that my daughter nurses for a shorter period of time in the morning when she eats yogurt with breakfast. So perhaps trying yogurt or cheese at mealtimes or as a snack would reduce your LO’s formula intake.

    • Ours (11 mo) has reduced formula himself as he’s eaten more food. 2x/day seems like not that much — but ours loooooooves food so maybe my perception is skewed. Our current schedule is oatmeal/fruit upon waking, followed by 5 oz bottle; 6 oz bottle around 11 plus some kind of small snack if necessary; big lunch around 12:30 of whatever table food; 6 oz bottle and fairly substantial snack around 4 (yogurt/fruit usually); big dinner at 7ish with 5-6 oz bottle immediately following. We think our doctor is going to tell us to cut down the size of the mid-morning and mid-afternoon bottles, and he doesn’t always finish them now (a huge change from his first 9-12 mo of life).

      • duh, that was meant to be 9-10 mo of life.

      • Anonymous says:

        Also, at 9 mo our pediatrician advised that 24-30 oz was an appropriate amount of formula for months 9-12, after which she’d want to see a decrease to no more than 20 oz. YMMV.

    • Thank you! (And sorry for all of the typos – on my phone). She had trouble gaining weight initially (until about 9 months), so part of the issue is me getting used to the fact that she is learning to self-regulate. I will try adding a breakfast. She normally wants a whole bottle immediately upon awakening but maybe I can get her to do food first.

    • Anonymama says:

      Also consider what foods you are giving her… At about that age my kids got tired of straight purées but would eat real food (like seasoned food that actually appeals to you too). And I always found that the kids wanted to eat what I was eating, so maybe try eating together?

      • Meg Murry says:

        +1 to eating together, giving her more variety or introducing finger foods instead of purees. My kids ate a lot more once they were able to shove it in their own mouths quickly instead of running out of patience with purees.

  3. Weaning says:

    My twins weaned two weeks ago at 18 months. Not sure what advice I’m looking for – I’ve been surprised what a hard time I’ve been having with it. It happened in less than a week and I’ve been really sad about it – it’s like the end of their babyhood. They were combo fed so now they get a bottle of milk before bed. My older son was EBF so he never had bottles and had a sippy of milk instead – that was easier somehow? Any suggestions on how to deal?

    • Aww, hang in there. It is sad! It’s a big transition and definitely something that marks a change from infant to toddler. I would let yourself be sad for a little bit, and then look ahead to the next wonderful stages. Also, I had a huge hormonal shift when weaning. For about two weeks, I was really sad about it. And then my pre-pregnancy energy came back for the first time in two years, and I suddenly felt like myself again. It was great in the end, even though I was sad during the process.

    • EB0220 says:

      I think it gets better, but you’ll still be hit with sadness about it for a while. I weaned my daughter about 4 months ago at 16 months. She never had bottles with me. I’m still sad occasionally, and she still seems sad/confused sometimes, but it has gotten much better. I was a mess for months as I was ramping down pumping and then after I weaned.

      • DC Mom anon says:

        I am thinking about weaning my 17 month old soon, but I sort of don’t know how. Can you share tips on how to end nursing? We usually nurse in the morning and before bed. But when she is home sick (like today) it seems like the only thing I can do to comfort her. I guess part of me is sad/afraid of losing my “super power.”

        • Weaning says:

          I was only doing morning and night before the twins decided they were done within a couple days of each other so it could happen faster than you expect. On my older son, he stopped wanting to nurse before bed and then dropped the morning feed a few weeks later. When you’re ready to stop, you can cut down the amount of time she nurses before bed by moving books after nursing. Then stop offering at nighttime and have dad put her to bed. Give it a few weeks and then drop the morning feed too.

      • Weaning says:

        Thanks – gives me some perspective that I might not feel 100% over it right away.

        • Meg Murry says:

          Are the twins probably your last kids? That part was also what made weaning hard for me – compound the “my baby’s not such a baby anymore” feelings with the “and I’m never going to have another tiny baby again” and add a dose of screwed up hormones and that was a recipe for weepyness for me.

          • Weaning says:

            This is 100% a factor. In theory it’s the right decision to be done because we planned 2 and have 3 but my ovaries are not agreeing with my head right now – even before the weaning. Twins are great but I feel like I got 3 kids without getting to enjoy 3 separate babyhoods – I hate pregnancy but I loved the first year period.

    • Scandia says:

      I felt sad after weaning my last child.
      I think it took about a month before that sadness went away.
      I believe it helped both of us , that I held him a lot,
      just to cuddle and feel the closeness of the bodies.

      My child is 8 now, and sometimes I feel a pang of longing, like “can it really be, that I am never going to nurse again?”.
      I really loved nursing.
      You will be all rigth

  4. Spirograph says:

    I swear I’m not trying to be alarmist, but I remember being horrified about something I read on the internet (I know, I know) about a baby’s death in a daycare being linked to use of a weighted blanket. Improper use, I’m sure; I don’t think these things are intended for <1 year olds, and I can't imagine how they would hurt an older child. I love snuggling up under a heavy blanket (and my 3 year old sleeps under about 4 blankets, so same idea), so why wouldn't a kid?! But anyway, just wanted to mention it in case anyone is considering using one of these for a restless infant.

    • I totally agree — I have a really big 4 year old (he wears size 7s!) so I felt like it was something I would consider. I would not have wanted to try the blanket any earlier than we did.

    • Anons says:

      You aren’t being alarmist. There was a daycare death involving a weighted blanket used on a young baby during nap. A weighted blanket us only recommended for an older child, I think 3+ from something else I read. I absolutely would not use a weighted blanket on an infant less than 12 months. The daycare situation happened during the day, so scary and heartbreaking.

      • Meg Murry says:

        Yes, I would never use one on an infant, and I would use caution if you have both a 4 year old and a younger kid. We’ve had to keep a really close eye on my 4 year old with his new baby cousin after catching him trying to “help” and “share” with her by tossing his favorite stuffed animals and blankets into her crib.

    • Anonymous says:

      My 2.5 y/o has been using a homemade chrocheted blanket that doesn’t weigh 8lbs but is fairly heavy-maybe 2-3lbs? Since 4 months old at nap time. It has lots of holes in it but is thick. Perfect napping blanket,

  5. Cradle Crap says:

    Any advice on how to finally get rid of cradle cap? My LO had it pretty bad starting around 2-3 weeks and I think we made it worse by not doing anything about it until the pediatrician said it was okay at the 1 mo. appointment so it really grew like pondscum and now he’s almost 3 months and there are still little remnants that we just can’t get rid off on his forehead and under his hair. It’s not too noticeable but I’d like to be done with it already. The internet is full of wonky solutions so thought I’d ask here.
    PS: we have tried olive oil and a little plastic comb, which helped, but still getting residuals I can’t ever quite “get.”

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I have the joy of experiencing cradle cap flare ups as an adult (yay!) and the things that help me are:

      1. Regularly massaging my scalp with my fingertips (somewhat assertively) to loosen all the scaly stuff, sometimes with a good conditioner on my fingertips
      2. Mineral oil
      3. Tea tree oil

      I don’t know if you can use those oils on an infant, but the head massage is my “maintenance” therapy (per the dermatologist), and that is safe for a kiddo. Maybe every time you do a diaper change for a while, and then taper off to a few times a day.

    • Have you tried the mustela shampoo? That massaged in with a little plastic scalp brush helped keep the remnants of our babies cradle cap under control. Also the oil works best if you get head wet first then let oil really soak in for a while to soften everything then do it. Of course my kid had a lot of hair do it would take 3 shampoos to keep him from looking like a grease ball after this. Mustela works great and is much less labor intensive. I lather him up, let it sit for 1-2 min, then massage with brush and rinse.

    • I highly recommend the Mustela cradle cap shampoo.

    • I liked the Mustela cradle cap foam shampoo. It’s not fragrance-free, but as someone very sensitive to fragrance, this was one I could tolerate. Leaving the foam on for a few minutes, rinsing, and then using a soft brush worked for us.

    • Anonymous says:

      I massaged a bit of coconut oil in and then used a soft-bristled baby hairbrush to loosen the flakes, then washed off in the bath. I don’t think my LO had a particularly bad case, but this seemed to help.

      • Meg Murry says:

        +1 to coconut oil – I use it on my own dandruff/dry scalp as a massage oil and it definitely helps. I know the coconut oil marketing machine likes to go on about it having antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties – not sure if that is true or not, but it did work for me. Massage in your fingers to get it soft, rub on the scaly patches and let it sit a little while, and then wash with a very mild shampoo just until you get the worst of the greasiness out.

    • Diapers says:

      We mixed a very thick paste of baking soda and baby oil, and applied to a wet scalp. I put a hat on him, and left it there for about 2 hrs. I used a special cradle cap brush (from Amazon), and scrubbed it all off. We occasionally treated with the Mustela shampoo after, but one treatment with the paste is what really knocked out the persistent, itchy gross flakes.

    • Our doctor told us to get mineral oil, if memory serves. They sell it in huge containers and it would get everywhere. I finally got a cheap, soft toothbrush and would dip it into the container and kind of scrub his little head. He looked like a grease monkey for a while but we finally got rid of it.

  6. NewMomAnon says:

    Can we talk about medical care for yourself after having a baby? My GP has always been in an inconvenient location (a good 45 minute drive from work/home), and when I got pregnant she basically said I was in the OB’s hands for the next year. Things got crazy during pregnancy and I wound up seeing the OB, a psychiatrist, and an endocrinologist, followed by a surgeon for a random intestinal thing. And now I’m 2 years postpartum (is that a thing?) and haven’t yet taken the time to find a more convenient GP.

    I think I would be OK with just the docs I already have and no GP, but then it leads to the question of what to do for “urgent care” situations and annual physicals. Do OBs do annual physicals? Is it appropriate to just use a random urgent care for any non-routine issues? I’ve been using the online e-visit service for things that I can self-diagnose easily (sinus infections, mostly), but what to do about the more complicated things (painful shoulder, lingering stomach bug, etc)?

    See, this is why adulthood should come with a user manual.

    • Spirograph says:

      A lot of people (including my husband) do use urgent care clinics for these things. The urgent care clinic near us also accepts appointment for routine physicals and well visits.

      That said, urgent care has a higher copay than a GP, and I personally prefer having a GP because there’s more continuity there. If I were you, I’d focus on finding a new GP in a more convenient location. But I don’t think there’s really a “right” answer.

    • I’ve always considered the annual physical from the ob/gyn to be my routine physical – is that OK? It seems like they go over a lot more than just a pap smear.

      For GP, I’ve had one, but I’m rarely sick, so I’ve actually completely forgotten where it is, and might just need to get another one. But since I am rarely sick, I know that I can count on urgent care/the clinic at my grocery store if needed for something acute. But if you have more chronic or complicated things, I would definitely seek out a convenient GP.

    • Meg Murry says:

      Are any of the people you mentioned (OB, psychaitrist, endo, surgeon, etc) or your kid’s pediatrician part of a larger medical group, and do you like the care you’ve received from them? Why not start there and see if there is a GP you could work with? After all, you probably know things like whether their billing system is a disaster or how far the office is from your home or work, so at least that’s starting from a known entity.

      FWIW, in my area seeing a GP about some of the things you bring up like a painful shoulder is likely to just result in a referral to a specialist – and it isn’t a specific specialist, just a “you should go see an XYZ doctor”, which under my insurance doesn’t require a referral anyway.

      I’m with you, adulting is hard. I don’t have a GP right now, because the one that I had been seeing that I was kind of ‘meh’ about didn’t take my insurance when I changed jobs. I’ve had different insurance every year for the past 5 years, and I am so done with playing the “do you take my insurance? How long do I have to wait for an appointment? How is your bedside manner? Is your billing office a disaster?” game for doctors, dentists and everyone else, so I’m just hoping I don’t get an ear infection anytime soon or I’m screwed.

      As much as people complained about it, I kind of liked a previous insurance company that assigned you a GP if you didn’t pick one yourself. At least then you had one doctor that couldn’t say “nope, sorry, only accepting current patients” and you didn’t have to think to hard about finding someone.

      • +1 to trying to keep things within a medical group.

        I don’t really like my GP but I never see her, because as you mention I see my OB, orthopedist, psychiatrist, etc for actual issues, and the GP is more just like a placeholder for a referral. She basically just writes my maintenance prescriptions and checks my blood once a year and that’s it. But, she’s within the same medical group as everyone else so it makes everything really easy.

        I take that back, she did have her nurse help me with one non-urgent issue once – I thought I was having hearing trouble, turns out I had too much earwax. The nurse flushed it out in like 10 seconds, for no copay because it was my checkup. There’s an example of where you’d want GP over urgent care or specialist, lol.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am so glad I’m not the only one who feels this adulting business is hard.

      I really like HMOs for this reason (when they are done right), and I loved my campus medical center (grad student for a long time) because they are the same – they have someone to treat everything and all your records. But, I don’t have either option anymore. During the pregnant/pp years, I just used my OB/midwife because frankly I was pretty healthy. Chronic issues were just allergies and/or headaches, which they have to know about anyway for medication purposes. I did have urgent-care issues (broken feet, both times!) but those were clearly urgent-care related.

      So…I don’t have a suggestion for you but I hope that some the MDs who visit here can chime in with a “right” answer.

  7. Am I totally crazy? says:

    Am I totally crazy for not using an epidural? I was reading through some old archives here on doulas and it seems like every person used an epidural. Same thing in a book I was reading with lots of mom stories. We are currently deciding between giving birth at the birth center or going to the hospital (but the midwife would be there). I am leaning towards the birth center because I am NOT a hospital person, but there is no epidural there. I feel dumb about deciding to the go to the hospital ONLY because I can get an epidural there, since everything else points me in the direction of the birthing center.

    For context, my first birth, my husband’s second (I have a stepdaughter).

    • Famouscait says:

      I gave birth in a hospital with an epidural, but delivered with a midwife. It was a great combo for me – perhaps it could be an option for you if you want an epidural but a less hospitaly experience?

    • I’ve had two births and didn’t use an epidural with either. Did birth classes with DH to prep and I had a doula. I was at a hospital both times so it was an option to have the epidural. I found the book ‘Natural Hospital Birth’ helpful. I was trying to find a middle road between wanting a ‘natural’ experience but with modern medicine readily available if necessary.

      • adding that if you are not a hospital person – birth center might be better. My first labor did stall for a while when I arrived at the hospital. If you’re tense about being at hospitals it could stall your labor which can lead other interventions. Hospital tour beforehand so you know what to expect might help.

        • Meg Murry says:

          +1 to touring both first, then making a decision, and trusting your midwife to help you make the decision.

          I am not very comfortable with hospitals – however, in my area, the L&D wings of the hospitals have had rennovations to make them much less hospital-like and much more birth-center like. And different wings of the hospital can be so, so different. I was all set to deliver at hospital A, which is a newer and nicer hospital overall that hospital B and had a much better overall reputation as a hospital than hospital B, but my doctor encouraged me to tour both, and I was surprised to find that while hospital B is overall pretty meh, the L&D renovations made it far, far nicer than the L&D wing of hospital A, both in terms of decor, patient comfort AND in terms of the medical interventions available in case of an emergency (that were well tucked away and hidden until actually needed).

          Tour both, ask your midwife and then decide.

          • We haven’t toured the hospital yet, and you are right – doing that will definitely help me feel more confident in my decision, whichever it is.

    • Plenty of people don’t have them, even if the majority do. It’s up to you! I wanted to be somewhere where I would have the *option,* since it was hard to know ahead of time how things would go.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 for keeping options open. I thought I was going to have a med-free birth (but was open to epidural if needed) but the combination of going into labor around midnight (i.e., on 3 hours of sleep), being in labor for 24 hours total was too much and so around the 18 hour mark I decided it made sense to get an epidural so I could get some sleep. Very happy with the decision (especially because I had to push for over 3 hours as my contractions didn’t speed up at the end) and glad that I gave birth in a place where I had the flexibility to get an epidural.

      • Anonymous says:

        I would agree with being in a place where you have the “option”. My very best friend in the world had a labor that wasn’t progressing and finally agreed to have an epidural after over 24 hours of labor. It turned out that she had scar tissue around her cervix from a biopsy that had been done over 15 years ago! that she didn’t even remember until this came about! and they had to essentially remove the scar tissue or her cervix couldn’t dilate. If she hadn’t had the epidural, she would have had to have a Csection.
        I also had an epidural in my own labor after being in labor about 26 hours and just being too exhausted to function. It was a blessing in disguise, as I had a post-birth issue and but for the epidural, they would have had to give me general anesthesia to address it. Instead, I was able to have my baby on my chest with us both awake while that was being managed. So the epidural gave me a more “natural” birth and bonding experience, by far.

    • Anonymous says:

      You do you. In the past year of births: I had an unplanned c-section, another friend planned for and received an epidural, my good friend absolutely and firmly planned an unmedicated birth including lots of meditative birth classes but about an hour in changed her mind (and was so glad she had access to meds), another friend sort of planned an unmedicated birth and was able to carry that plan out, another firmly planned an unmedicated birth and had that, and three other friends were “we’ll see” and ended up with epidurals.

      So, no, you’re not “totally crazy.” It’s not the choice *I* would make, but I am not you.

      One question though – what if you end up needing an emergency c-section? Would the birthing center ship you somewhere else??

      • Legally Brunette says:

        +1. I had an emergency c-section and I can’t imagine how it would have been possible if I weren’t in a hospital already. The baby’s heartbeat went way way way down and I was whisked to the OR immediately (like, within 60 seconds) and had an emergency c right after. It was pretty terrifying but fortunately, it all led to a happy ending. I don’t know if things would have worked out if I hadn’t been at a hospital already. I was already stressed and worried and the idea of getting into a car (or ambulance) and then going to a second location for a c-section would have been too much. I don’t know if the baby would have made it, honestly.

        sorry for sounding alarmist. This is obviously just one person’s experience and I know many many people who went to a birth center and had a great experience. But I was (and am) a very healthy woman in my mid 30s and nothing in my pregnancy would have given any indication that I would needed an emergency c. I like to be prepared for the worst case scenario and in my eyes, there is no question that a hospital is where you are best prepared for the worst case scenario.

        For that reason alone, I would not recommend a birth center.

      • Agree with all of this. You’re not crazy for wanting over or for not. There is no one right way to do this.

        I had a natural birth in a hospital with a midwife, as planned. I had a fairly long labor (18 hr, 9 hr in hospital) there was a point where I asked for meds, mw talked me of it because I was almost done at that point. She was right and im glad she did because baby was born 2hr later. However I very well may get an epidural next time. Based on my one experience, I think a short labor is very doable without epidural if you want. As labor went longer, it got more miserable and difficult because I was just so tired and it’s hard to maintain good pain coping ability at that point. More mental exhaustion than anything. So if my next labor goes fast (and I think it will because I will have them manually break water- water not breaking despite hours at 9 cm was main hold up for me), I may go drug free again. But I kind of want to try it with epidural now that I know what it’s like without.

        Anyway, point is, it is very personal to you both psychologically and medically. There is no wrong way to do it.

      • If I needed an emergency C-section (or anything else), the hospital is about a ten minute drive away by car, less by ambulance (though I assume you’d be waiting for the ambulance to arrive).

        • Diapers says:

          You do you, but that would be too far for my comfort zone.

        • Anon at 11:58 says:

          Given that my cousin was laboring (unmedicated) for several hours, baby’s heartbeat dropped and the baby needed to come out RIGHT THAT MINUTE, so they wheeled her into the OR and she had a baby in her arms within about 4 minutes of the heartbeat drop, ten minutes in a completely separate building is also too far away for my comfort.

          Realize it’s not just ten minutes. They have to get you out of the birth center, into the ambulance, drive to the hospital, get you into the hospital OR, and then do the emergency C-section.

          • No, the baby didn’t NEED to come out RIGHT THAT MINUTE. That’s what they tell you to make you think the C was critical at that second. It almost never is, and she would have known sooner than that if it were. One temporary heartbeat drop does not mean the baby would not have been fine with a 20 minute delay – they almost certainly would have been.

    • I though that the idea of going with out was pretty nuts until I learned that my mom (who is definitely not the crunchy non-interventionist natural sort) birthed all four of us without any medication. (!!!) So it sounds more realistic now. But I would definitely not want to rule it out by going somewhere that didn’t even offer it as an option. It seems to me that everyone has different experiences, and you really don’t know what it’s going to be like until you get there.

      (I wound up with 2 planned c-sections, so it was never an issue for me.)

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I had a doula and didn’t get an epidural. Question your motives – if avoiding the epidural is coming from a place of fear, reconsider adding in some flexibility to your birth plans. I didn’t get an epidural because I am really afraid of needles and wasn’t sure what I would do if someone stuck one in my back…and that was a bad reason. FWIW, my birth plan was to first get narcotics if I asked for them, and then an epidural if I asked for it. I did get Fentanyl as I went through “transition” from labor to pushing, because transition is a b*tch. The only time I really regretted not having an epidural was during pushing, because I was terrified and the risk of an emergency C section was imminent (would have required general anesthetic because I didn’t have an epidural).

      The pain of going through labor was intense and it sucked, but it was survivable. If you are a person who likes to run marathons or other activities that push you to the limit of your physical capabilities, there is a thrill of getting through labor without medication.

      One benefit I found to having no epidural was that I was able to labor in the tub and in the shower, which helped keep me calm. I think (but am not sure) that an epidural means you have to stay in the bed; maybe someone can correct me if I’m wrong on that.

    • Spirograph says:

      I had 2 epidural-free births, one by choice and one not. It was uncomfortable, but my labor was comparatively pretty quick, so not the worst thing in the world. You do you. If you think you will be more comfortable at a birth center and you mentally prepare yourself for self-management of labor pain, you can absolutely do it and it’s not crazy. The time I went in wanting an epidural and did not get one was worse, because I just not put myself in the right mindset ahead of time. That said, if you want an epidural, hospitals are OK too. Hospital L&D can feel very sterile and assembly line-like, and I certainly didn’t have what I would describe as transportive, wonderful experiences there, but it is not terrible either.

    • What are the reasons you do/don’t want an epidural? I initially thought I didn’t want one and then when my contractions got more intense I changed my mind. I couldn’t be happier that I did. I can honestly say the rest of my labor was a more or less pleasant experience (I even napped). Fwiw, my reasons for not wanting one were that I had read that recovery would be easier if you toughed it out. Based on my understanding of the evidence, epidural do not affect the baby so that wasn’t a concern for me. I didn’t have a tough or long labor, so my recovery was fine. I don’t think the epidural made any difference other than the fact that I wasn’t in terrible pain. I was also concerned about tearing if I got one but that also wasn’t an issue because the doctor turned it off when it came time to push and really acted to prevent that with lots of massage and mineral oil. But I did have to communicate that this was important to me.

      Having a doula definitely helps if you are not getting one – s/he can help you manage your pain in a way that doctors and nurses (and most partners) cannot. At the time I remember thinking that if I really wanted to go without pain meds, I should have gotten a doula. But I don’t regret it and I don’t regret getting an epidural at all. The way I look at it is I get novocaine at the dentist, why not get this when in labor? But I think it’s an individual choice that’s different for everyone.

      As to hospital vs birthing center, I am also not a ‘hospital person,’ but I wanted to be in a hospital in case anything went wrong with me or baby. Luckily all went well, but I know too many perfectly healthy women who needed emergency intervention or whose babies had to be rushed to NICU that I didn’t want to chance it. I chose a doctor I really liked and delivered at a hospital I was very happy with – no one pressured me into unnecessary interventions, inc. the epidural (I had to ask for it), and it was all in all a great experience. I don’t think I would have been as relaxed if I had to worry about being transferred to a hospital if something went wrong.

      • I guess honestly I would want one, but I also am leaning towards being in the birthing center. And while they offer an IV narcotic there (I can’t remember what it is called, but it’s basically to help you sleep in a long labor, I think) but not the epidural. I do like the idea of having the option, but I guess I am partly afraid of the hospital.

      • PregLawyer says:

        I don’t know what I would have done without an epidural. I almost passed out during pushing even though I was on meds (and I went into it wanting a natural birth). My baby’s head didn’t cone, and was very large (95th percentile), so I had significant internal tearing during labor. Sorry, tmi, I know. I had to be on oxygen throughout my 1.5 hours of pushing. It was really really really hard. And really painful. The epidural at least helped to control the sharp pains, even though it couldn’t alleviate the significant pressure from pushing. If I had added the pain I would have felt without the epidural, I honestly don’t know if I could have made it without a c-section.

        You should certainly do what you are comfortable with. I have lots of reasons why I thought the hospital was problematic and I completely understand the benefits of a birthing center, but just wanted to share my pro-epidural story.

    • Momata says:

      I had one birth without an epidural and one with. If I could guarantee that the transition/pushing phase would be less than an hour, I would absolutely go without an epidural again. I found the recovery was so much better. But I know I couldn’t do it for much longer than I did. So personally, I would pick the hospital because at least the option is there. Both my births were hospital births and I never felt like they were overly clinical; the room was comfortable and large, the environment was quiet, etc.

      Relatedly, I second Spirograph on being mentally prepared — I was NOT prepared or equipped to handle the pain (my birth plan was “get an epidural”) and the whole thing was very chaotic and primal.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lots of people don’t use epidurals. If this is the route you want to go, find books by Ina May Gaskin for inspiration (wayyyyyy hippie-dippie, so for me it completely normalized the desire to do things naturally).

      I had 2 no-epi births with back labor, motivated primarily from my fear of hospitals and needles.

      Yes, it was awful going through it but it was an amazing feeling afterwards (I AM LIFE-MAKING GODDESS!) and I think my healing was faster. The first time with no doula I was begging for one but it was too late and my husband didn’t realize I was serious (we had anticipated that I might ask for one, but I wanted him to stall for me because I wanted to power through it). Anyway, for me, the part before pushing was the worst and the pushing was relatively easy, not sure if that was because of my body or because I wasn’t medicated. But I did it and I made it and that memory kept me going for the second time. That, and an amazing doula. :)

      I debated between a birthing center and hospital and decided that since I was most afraid of needles and dying, a hospital might be a better place for me to be in case of potential death (I am so morbid! and also not science-based at all, this was purely an emotional feeling).

      Things that helped prepare me:
      – Ina May Gaskin books
      – A really good childbirth class (I think it was the Birthworks series); what I remember most is that labor pain is pain with a purpose – each contraction is helping the baby get closer to coming out
      – A doula
      – My fear of needles (the epi needle is SO BIG!)

      All that said…be prepared to get one if you decide to. It’s not a mark of weakness and you won’t be a better or worse mom because you did or didn’t have one. Good luck!!

    • Induced at a hospital, with a midwife and doula. No epidural (although I remember thinking at the time, boy, this is dumb). Lots of ways to have a baby – you do you.

    • I have intense needle fear (sobbed at my first pregnancy blood draw) and was planning an unmedicated birth. Didn’t care about “natural” as much as “no needles”. Went into labor at 4 am, contractions were livable, then around 11 that night I thought I was going to die. Around midnight I started reconsidering, and while walking the hospital halls at 4:30 am because I wasn’t quite dilated enough to be admitted, I thought “you know what sounds great? An epidural.” Had it by 7, and I don’t regret it. I don’t feel like I missed out on anything other than intense pain, and it let me actually enjoy the last stages of labor, and joking around with the doctors and nurses while pushing. But do whatever you want. I considered a home birth but wanted to be at a hospital because it was my first birth and I didn’t know what to expect. It was the right choice for me.

    • EB0220 says:

      Short answer – you’re not crazy to want to go unmedicated. I’ve had two hospital births – one with an epidural and one without. I had mostly good experiences both times. That being said, if we were to have a third (unlikely), I’d push to use a birth center. I’m over the cold hospital room where the doctors and nurses don’t believe you that you’re having a baby, like, now. Definitely tour both, though, and choose what works best for you and your husband. It’s different for everyone.

      • Spirograph says:

        Ha. I’m glad I’m not the only one with “doctors and nurses don’t believe you that you’re having a baby, like, now” stories. I am pregnant with #3 and planning on going back to the hospital because 1. I’m too lazy/busy to look for a new OB or midwife practice, and I generally like my doctors (they did not get to the hospital in time for the birth of my kids, it was just whatever random ones were around) and 2. The birthing centers are much farther away, and my labors have been quick and traffic can be bad around here. But I have zero expectations of “liking” my experience.

        • EB0220 says:

          Hah, I hear you. A birth center just opened less than 10 minutes from my house, so that would be an easy decision next time…if there is a next time.

      • PregLawyer says:

        The things I hated about the hospital was just the complete lack of sleep after the birth. We were stuck in the hospital for 72 hours after the birth and it was impossible to sleep. They had no space for my husband in the recovery room and they kept coming in to check my vitals at staggered times from my baby’s vitals–so the nurses were in EVERY HOUR. There are birth centers near me that are set up like an actual house, with bedrooms with large king-sized beds and private bathrooms. If I could have actually left the hospital well-rested, those first couple weeks would have been so much more manageable.

        • Anonymous says:

          You’re right, this is a terrible problem with hospitals. After a night in the ER, I asked my dad, who is a doctor, about it, and he just laughed and said that they do things based on the lab schedule and shift change and don’t really care whether patients get any sleep. Ironic, because I’m pretty sure sleep helps almost everything…

          For all the frustrations I had with my L&D experiences, the recovery room nurses were actually really nice about leaving me & baby alone for as long as they could and keeping the lights dim. I had a private recovery room with a couch, rocking chair, and private bathroom, but the bed was one of those awful things that loudly adjusts the pressure in the mattress every time you move (it’s supposed to keep bedridden patients from getting bedsores), so it was still hard to get much sleep. Wanting to minimize post-birth interruptions is a GREAT reason to choose a birth center over a hospital.

        • MDMom says:

          Yes! I mean, I would still do a hospital again but this was so irritating. My coworker delivered at a birthing center, however, and they didn’t let you stay overnight. They want you to bond as family so you either go home or to nearby hotel almost immediately. I wouldn’t have wanted that either. I was ready to go home the next day, but not the same day. The nurses were really helpful with breastfeeding. Particularly because it was our first, it was nice to have a little bit of transition time before being out on our own. Also really glad it wasn’t my bathroom getting all messy… The lack of sleep is a major drawback though.

        • layered bob says:

          So right. I wish it had been every hour! Both baby and I had a few minor complications and needed some extra blood draws afterwards, and for two days after the birth we had someone in our room EVERY 20 MINUTES. I gave birth on a Wednesday morning (having labored through the two previous nights) so I didn’t sleep for more than 20 minutes at a stretch from Sunday night until Friday night.

          I was the biggest mess. I read my hospital chart later and the OB resident kept noting that “mother seems to be having a difficult time;” “mother is very emotional,” etc…. no kidding, I hand’t slept in a week.

    • Thank you so much for everyone’s responses! This is giving me a ton to think about and I really appreciate it. My mind is just everywhere right now so it’s great to hear so many experiences.

      • Anonymous says:

        Short answer: tour the hospital. Labor & Delivery is nothing like the ER.

      • I have had two birth center births with no epidurals. Both were incredible and positive experiences.

        My first labor was long but not painful at all until the very end. Most of it was just pressure and feeling uncomfortable.

        My second labor was very short (5 hours from first contraction to baby). I do remember thinking at one point, “This is why people get epidurals.” But it turns out that I was in transition and baby was born very shortly after.

        My main reason for avoiding the hospital is fear of unnecessary interventions.

    • Edna Mazur says:

      My first was unmedicated and I had an epidural for the second. I have a big fear of back injuries and to a lesser extent needles so the thought of an epidural is the stuff my nightmares are made of. When you’re in that much pain though, I was fearless.

      For what it’s worth, my recovery was the same for both. I was up and about within the hour after giving birth but with my first, unmedicated birth, I almost passed out upon standing. That didn’t happen the second time. My second was a better eater and more alert than the first so I don’t think the epidural drugged the baby at all.

      I had, almost some PTSD about my first labor. I kept having flashbacks for a month or two after the baby was born. The epidural birth was definitely more pleasant and less traumatic.

      I never had any doubt about giving birth in a hospital (I know to many people who needed immediate, right now C-sections) but I concur that you should tour the L&D units. At least in my neck of the woods there is beaucoup competition for L&D so they are pretty luxurious. One of the hospitals in my town has the facilities for water births. Not super hospitably at all really.

      Good luck no matter which way you go!

    • Hippie Engineer says:

      I had unmedicated birth at a birth center (unaffiliated with a hospital) with midwives (who also provided my prenatal care instead of an OB/GYN) and a doula. Not going to lie, it was painful. But I was mentally prepared for it. My husband and I took a 7 week birth class especially geared for birth center and home births. It went over all the possible scenarios and decisions we can make before, during, and after the birthing process (i.e. how and when to transfer to a hospital, coping mechanisms for the pain, etc). Best decision ever. I also did the Hypnobabies home study course, which provided me with another pain management tool and “mental crutch”.
      Both my husband and I have graduate degrees in engineering. We chose the unmedicated, unhospitalized birth after watching The Business of Being Born. We are lucky to live in hippie, crunchy Seattle where birth centers, midwives, and doulas are not uncommon. The birth class we took was through the Penny Simkin Center and it used her books as core of the class material: “The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas,
      and All Other Labor Companions” (HIGHLY HIGHLY recommended this book regardless of where you give birth…sorry for the Ellen caps. But seriously, go get this book) and Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide (good book, though the info is repeated in other sources and books).

      • I also highly recommend the Hypnobabies course. If you can find a doula who teaches it, that’s the best but otherwise the home study is good.

    • Clementine says:

      I did the natural, no meds thing in a hospital. I also was able to push extremely effectively. I used a doula and an ob.

      Before giving birth, I had waivered between a hospital and birthing center, but I ended up needing a nicu and was really glad to have one there,

      Don’t be scared of birth- I found it actually really enjoyable and so much less painful than many many other Things in life.

    • Scandia says:

      Where I live in Europe, epidural is only used at 20 procent of the births, so not crazy.
      Good luck!

    • Induced no epi says:

      I know this is a late reply – but I was induced and no epidural birth. I was already 3 cm dilated when I received pitocin and had a “very favorable cervix” to being induced. Transition was the hardest, but pushing was actually quick. All in all my labor was around 6 hours, pushed for 20 minutes, only three rounds.

      I wanted to avoid an epi bc I didn’t want to be tied to the bed, sitting / laying down was torture, I wanted to be up walking / in a semi squat the whole time. Also – I just wanted to see if I could do it. And I could.

      Either way, your choice, but unmedicated is possible.

    • I had planned on laboring at home as long as possible, going to the hospital and delivering the baby sans epidural. What actually happened was that my water broke a week early, I wasn’t dilated (or dilating), but having strong, organized contractions that I couldn’t feel (strong as in to the top of their little monitoring chart and the nurse staring open mouthed at me as I talked through contractions). Cervadil was to risky for the baby due to my contractions and if your water breaks you only have 24 hours to deliver before you have to have a c-section.

      So I was put on a pitocin drip, which meant I couldn’t move (and you have to use a bed pan) and I was going to be on it for 12 or more hours. The contractions were unpleasant but not terribly painful– but my sciatica and some joint pain from repetitive stress injuries was through the roof from not being able to move. I got the epidural as much for the contractions as for the pain in my hip / shoulder.

      The benefit was that I actually had two months joint-pain-free post epidural! Which is huge, because I’m in pain again and can’t find the time for regular physical therapy appointments. Maybe this summer…

      tl;dr: Nothing is going to go the way you plan it. Epidurals may have some surprising benefits. Also, babies are hard.

  8. Biting at daycare? says:

    I need some anecdata. How much did your child(ren) get bitten at daycare?

    My son is in a classroom of 13m – 24m children; about 16 kids to 2-3 teachers at all times. I love his daycare and have no other complaints, but… he’s been bitten three times this week (probably 6 times in all since he moved into this room at the first of the year). The teachers have a protocol for when bites happen, avoiding/discouraging biting, etc. So I’m not even sure what I would ask of them to do differently… this just seems like a lot of nibbling on my kiddo. =(

    -Famouscait

    • NewMomAnon says:

      16 kids with 2 teachers is a high ratio…my state is 6:1 for toddlers, and toddlers starts at 16 months. 3 teachers makes more sense. I would question the ratios if there are truly only 2 teachers with 16 kids; that could mean that 1 teacher is changing diapers while the other teacher is supervising 15 kids, and that is really not OK.

      My kiddo has been in toddlers for almost a year now, and has gotten bit twice? Maybe three times? Each time it was a spat over a toy that she instigated and lost. So, valuable lessons learned.

      • This makes me laugh. (second paragraph, not the first, obviously)

      • Meg Murry says:

        I think 16:2 sounds high to me too, but I also think it depends on how OP is counting vs how the daycare officially counts. For instance, my son’s classroom probably had around 16 kids assigned to it, and 3 assigned teachers (with any 2 of them there at any time) – but not every single one of those 16 was there at the exact same time (some were part time), so it was usually 9:2 and once there was a 10th or more a floater would be called in to the class.

        But yes, biting comes in waves, and my kids have been both the bite-er and bite-ee. My most embarrassing early daycare moment was the day we found out my son had bitten 6! different kids in one day, before he could even walk – he was crawling over and taking a chomp out of them, and then laughing when they cried. Luckily that phase didn’t last long, but I was so embarrassed when a friend posted a picture of her poor chomped kid on Facebook (luckily she didn’t know my kid was the biter and she was good natured and joking about it).

        • Famouscait says:

          Yes – that’s roughly how I’m calculating the kid:teacher ratio.

          It’s interesting to hear the biting happens in waves. I’ll wait to see if it settles down soon.

    • Around 14 months all of the kids in my son’s class bit each other – he was sent home with sheets about being bit / biting a couple of times a week. It lasted for about a month, then stopped except for exceptional circumstances (ie, last month my 2-year old tried to sit on / push another kid out of a chair he wanted, got bit in the back.)

      Hopefully this phase won’t last long. Don’t be surprised if he starts biting back – that, too, should be short lived.

    • Pigpen's Mama says:

      My LO is in the 1-yr room at daycare and there were some biting incidents (she was the biter in one case, much to my continued embarrassment), and it was either the daycare provider or someone here who said that biting tends to happen in waves — the kids, especially at that age, get a little bite-happy and several of them bite.

      Are you comfortable with their protocol for discouraging biting?

      As NewMomAnon said, the kid to teacher ratio seems a bit on the high-side. I can see how it could be hard for two adults to monitor that many kiddos. If it’s working other than the biting thing, is there a way they could provide some more staff until the biting fad goes away?

    • So, so often in that age group. DS was both a biter and a bite-ee, and there was a period of about 2-3 months when all the kids were bite crazy. And he kept biting (and being bitten by) his very best buddy, usually when they were playing together and one would take the other’s toy, etc. For us, it was a developmental stage where they would get very frustrated but didn’t have the tools to express it yet.

      What is your school’s protocol? Our school was very strict about it, but it was still hard to stop because the bites would happen in a split second.

    • EB0220 says:

      Sigh…my kid is a biter and bites someone at least once a week. They get sent home after 2 bites. There are usually 3 adults in her class of 8 kids so they are decent about managing it – but it’s hard to be perfect.

    • Anonymous says:

      My state (MA) is 4:1 (or 9:2) for toddlers, which are 15 months-2.9 years.

      For infants (<15 mos) ratio was 3:1. My kid was bitten twice in the infant room, by the same kid. She also bit once or twice. It all happened in the same 3 week period. Nobody had any real damage and the class read "teeth are not for biting" like 5x/day. The teachers were really good about keeping watch, and all bites seem end to be over you sharing.

  9. After a long and frustrating search, we are bringing in a new nanny on Monday. Woohoo! Although I’ve had several nannies in the past, my most recent experience was so bad, that I feel like I need a refresher. What have you ladies done to set expectations and get things off on a good foot?

    • Anonymous says:

      Have some sort of document that sets out expectations – hours of work, house rules, pay, vacation/sick time, etc.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes. We were big on having things in writing when we had a nanny. We made a list of house rules for her and encouraged her to take them home and come back to us with any questions or concerns. It covered things like
        Timing expectations – when you need to be at work, how far in advance we need notice if you will not be at work, let us know if you’re running late, etc.
        Food – you can store some at our house, and are free to use condiments or grab small snacks. Please ask before feeding kiddos anything we don’t already have in the house.
        Job expectations – clean up kid messes/dishes, do kid laundry, kid spaces should be tidyish when we come home
        Privacy – you are NOT allowed to post photos or information about our kids or our family on social media or any other internet or public forum
        Field trips – Don’t drive anywhere with the kids unless we know and have OK’d ahead of time. Never leave kids unattended in the car. Walks anywhere in the neighborhood are OK.
        Visitors – no one is allowed in our house or to interact with our kids (excepting normal public/playground stuff) unless we know and have OK’d ahead of time.
        Nap time – is this break time for nanny, or is there something else you’d like her to do with it?
        Communication during the day – Do you usually call to check in? Do you want e-mails/photos or would you prefer not to be interrupted unless it’s an emergency?
        Electronic Device usage – Both for kiddo screen time and as a standard for what’s acceptable for the nanny. We said no computer or phone calls unless kiddo is napping.
        Emergency procedures – Call 911 first, then call us at work. Also where to find all the emergency contact info and which neighbors are home during the day, etc.

        I’d plan on scheduling a check-in meeting on Thursday or Friday afternoon for the first few weeks just to give her time to ask questions and make sure you’re on the same page with things.

        I hope this new nanny works out better than the last!

    • Meg Murry says:

      I’ve never had a nanny, but based on your stories, I would say that you may want to consider planning to come home early a few times during the early days/weeks to do some check ins and make sure that you aren’t surprised by what you see, more for your own comfort but also so you can put a stop to anything you don’t like early before it becomes a problem.

      Are you also the poster who has family with Celiac? If so, I think you need to hammer down that point hard, whatever your rule is (don’t feed the kids anything but what’s in the house, she can’t bring in her own outside food, whatever you want the rule to be to avoid anyone getting sick) and make sure she is 100% clear that this is not a fad diet or a trend but that it is a serious health condition that she can’t take lightly.

      Beyond the food rules, you probably need to determine what your other “must have/must do” vs “nice to do/would like to do” policies are. And don’t assume anything – if you expect her to load the dishwasher, limit kids to X hours of screen time a day, take them outside, whatever – tell her, don’t punish her for not reading your mind. I recently read an online post where someone ranted about how her teenage babysitters didn’t clean up around the house or do the dishes, etc – but she never made that expectation clear, whereas I had a bad experience with getting yelled at as a teenage babysitter for putting items in the dishwasher that shouldn’t have gone in there (I didn’t know – in my parents household if it couldn’t go in the dishwasher, we didn’t own it), so I never would have done that on my own without the parents talking to me about it.

    • Claudette says:

      Congratulations on finding a new nanny!

      If possible, plan to be at home with her at least part of her first day so you have time to demonstrate all the required tasks and routines and show her where to find all the necessary stuff in your house, as well as give her the opportunity to observe how you interact with your child(ren) — that is the best training. And it will give you a chance to start building a rapport with her and establishing that, although you are her employer, you are also on the same team of caring for your kid(s).

      As far as what to go over with her, keep a running list over the next few days, especially this weekend. As you go through a regular full day with your kid(s), you’ll identify the specific things you need to show or tell her.

      And I strongly second the advice to draw up a written agreement if you haven’t already.

    • Anonymous says:

      Care.com has a great model contract for nannies. I would use it as a guide.

      One thing I’d be sure to include are rules about who else can come to your house and where the kids can go. We had a Bad Nanny Experience and it involved her taking the baby back to her house so she could hang out at home. We fired her for that.

  10. Lurker says:

    Lol at your last paragraph. I see my experience with puppies won’t be that much different from kids. :) My dog learned very quickly that taking a german shepherd’s tennis ball was a bad idea.

  11. Pigpen's Mama says:

    Any tricks to get my almost 18 month old to sleep in a little bit so she’s in a better mood in the morning?

    She’s waking up between 4:45 and 5:15, with a bedtime of ~ 7:15/7:30 and a 2.5 hr nap after lunch. Based on her behavior in the morning, that’s just not enough sleep for her. If she doesn’t get a short nap before daycare she turns into Miss Cranky Pants mid-morning at daycare. Some mornings I can have her nap at home while I get ready/do some work, but some mornings that’s just not possible.

    I have a feeling the answer is ‘you get what you get’ with toddler wake-up times, but I thought I’d ask! Going to bed later doesn’t help. Haven’t tried bed earlier, it would be rough with traffic/work/dinner and I don’t know if she would fall asleep before 7pm anyway.

    • Anons says:

      We struggled with this for so, so long. Basically, since birth–my daughter has always been an early riser even when she needs the extra sleep. The only thing that worked was cutting nap down to 2 hours. Over two hours long, and the child refuses to sleep past 5am. At two hours, she will sleep in to 6-6:30. This was not a popular revelation with our childcare (nanny), but I put down my foot and was ready to fire her over this issue. I’m a night owl and getting up so early for two years destroyed my mood and energy.

      • Anons says:

        Oh, and I should add that my daughter is only a few months ahead of yours. We started cutting the nap down around 18 months.

        • Pigpen's Mama says:

          Interesting — she has longer naps at daycare than at home and on the weekends she ‘sleeps in’ a little in the morning. I wonder if that may be it.

          I have a feeling our daycare is not going to be happy about cutting back her nap, because the whole room naps at that time, but I may mention it, since it’s in their interest to keep her happy in the am.

          • Anonymous says:

            They should be fine with it…nap time at our daycare is 1-3:30/4/whenever the kids are up. Some parents have their kids awakened at 3; mine has to be roused if she’s still asleep T 3:30’or it kills bedtime. One parent lets their kid sleep as long as he can, and the guy is sometimes still asleep when I pick up DD at 4:30!!

          • Anons says:

            Yeah, we had tried everything else. EVERYTHING. Nothing else worked. It took about 2 weeks to transition, so there were some cranky mornings and nap awakenings in there.

            Another thing that seemed mildly helpful was to tell her to sleep until the sun comes up. That is a running theme in our house–we incorporate it into discussions and bedtime stories (“and then they all went to bed and were asleep until the sun came up”).

            Definitely a first world problem, but it has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with.

      • In House Lobbyist says:

        We got blackout curtains around this age and it was such a big help.

    • Momata says:

      At around that age we did some sleep training around early wakeups, to moderate success. We’d let her fuss, telling her over the baby monitor that it wasn’t time to get up yet and to go back to sleep. Obviously if she got hysterical or it went on for too long we’d just get up. After about a week she started going back to sleep with a little reminder. At around 20 months we got one of those “OK to Wake” clocks that lights up at the parent-set time; that seemed to be helpful at around 22 months.

      Is it possible she is getting her molars? Teething always causes early wakeups in our house.

      • Pigpen's Mama says:

        I am so looking forward to the day we can use those clocks.

        I have thought about some sleep training, and we usually only go in once she’s really fussy, but that happens pretty quickly. To be fair, she’s pretty wet and often poopy. But maybe we need to be a bit more hardline about it.

        • Meg Murry says:

          If she’s wet and poopy can you go in and change her in dim light making as little fuss as possible and then tell her “the sun isn’t up yet, it’s still nighttime, back to bed?”

          This may be setting a bad precedent that you would have to break later, but can you bring her into your bed for some snuggles and maybe she’ll doze back off? It means you have to get yourself ready in semi-darkness, but that usually works for me through a combination of setting my clothes out the night before in the bathroom and/or only turning on the dim closet light. Although I have had some near misses with arriving at work to discover my shirt had a stain on it that I didn’t see in the dim light, so it’s not ideal.

          Before my kids were born I thought we were going to be hard-liners about kids sleeping in their own beds. Ha! If it means mommy gets 30 more minutes of sleep, I’m willing to do just about anything, including let the kid sleep with me.

          • Pigpen's Mama says:

            We tried our bed, but she sees that as playtime and starts crawling around! Plus we like to be up and getting stuff done before Miss Nosy Pants is up wants to ‘help’ with everything.

            The diaper change in the dark + milk sometimes works — maybe we’ll be more successful with it as she gets a little older and can understand it’s not time to get up.

      • Philanthropy Girl says:

        Yes, this is what we do. Ours is almost 18 months, and is a typically early riser (sleeping past 615 is a luxury!). He’s gone through spells off and on where he wants to be up at 4, 4:30, 5:30. We usually do quick diaper check, and a gentle reminder it isn’t time to get up yet and back to bed – basically a bit of sleep training on the morning end of things. Depending on what else is going on (growth spurt, teething, skills development), his early waking spells last anywhere from 3 weeks to a couple of days, and then he’s back to his usual 615-630 wake up.

    • Is there anything environmental going on? My son started waking up early around that age and I realized it was because of the duplex neighbour’s garage door opening when he left for work – our bedroom was on the other side of the house so I couldn’t hear it/slept though it. White noise helped him sleep longer.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      IME, going to bed later doesn’t help at all – you just end up with a cranky pants toddler who got even less sleep and still woke up early. Is her room nice and dark? The house super quiet? Blackout curtains can help if it’s a question of being woken up by morning sun, or even street lights that they don’t notice during their really heavy sleeping periods.

      If she’ll let you, we went through a period of time at that age where we brought her in with us in the early morning. That didn’t always work, but it was a treat when it did for mom and dad!

    • K in Tulsa says:

      Unfortunately you may have to try an earlier bedtime. Our little one (16 months) has to go to bed by 6:30 to sleep well (until at least 6am) – later than that and she wakes extra early. It sucks, especially bc on days she doesn’t get a good nap at daycare it can be a 5:45-6 bedtime. My husband and I take turns getting off work at 4pm to get her so that we have enough time to get her home and fed with a little time before bed, then we work from home after she is in bed. We are very lucky to be able to have that flexibility, I know.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Over on the regular site there’s a ton of talk about money. For moms, do you have 529s for your kids/for yourself with the intent of using for kid? If so, how old are the kids and how much is in the account? I thought I was ahead but have recently been feeling behind.

    • We have nothing set up. We’re doing public school and plan to pay the daycare dollars we’ll free up when they go to school into a 529 to catch up.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      Yes, but it’s only moderately funded. We received a very modest (three figure) gift from my parents when baby was born, which we used to start the account, and then we contribute $150 each month from us. I always joke that at this point we could probably pay for a semester of books. But like Anon and Spirograph, with public school looming, I’m hoping to divert some of the daycare dollars there in the future. Frankly, I pay as much in daycare fees as tuition at our State U per year…

    • PregLawyer says:

      Ugh, our’s is pathetic. My son is 8 months old and we just opened ours in December. We funded it with $500 in December and are putting $100/month in it right now. We aren’t maxing out our 401ks yet, and we haven’t fully paid off all our student loans, so I wanted to prioritize those accounts first before hitting the 529 too hard.

    • Anonymous says:

      My kid is 4. We’ve contributed $600 per month since birth and relatives usually give us about $2k per year, so the balance is around $40k.

    • I’ve heard that anything in kiddo’s name is considered for financial aid, so with my in-laws, they’ve just set aside separate money for the grandkids that will be neither in the parents or grandkids’ names. But this is for my B/SIL who may want/need financial aid.

      I have tried to explain to DH that there is no way we’ll even be considered for financial aid given our income, so I’m not sure this really matters to us. I think we’ll just try to save as much as we can and hope for the best.

    • Anons says:

      We aren’t doing a 529. We do have an investment account for our child. If college costs continue on the current trend, college at anything other than a state university will be a financial scam. If rather buy a fast food franchise for my child than a 4-year liberal arts degree. The 529 locks your money away for educational expenses, so we wanted more flexibility.

    • Meg Murry says:

      My kids have 529s only because my parents opened them. However, our situation is a bit unique in that we own rental properties that are being paid off on a 15 year mortgage plan, so a couple of the properties are due to be paid off a few years before my oldest finishes high school, so that income that the properties will have without a mortgage payment is part of our potential college fund.

      I’m also with Anons below that if college costs don’t get off the current trend, the costs will be a total scam – I’m not even sure our in-state schools would be affordable to anyone other than the 1% (which I know some ladies here are, and I’m disparaging you, but I am so very very not, we are only slightly above the median for our state), so I don’t want to lock up a lot of money in a 529 that can only be used for education instead of in more general investments. And we don’t have much money to set aside anyway – maybe once we are done paying for daycare in 2 years we can consider it.

      Although FYI for anyone who’s plan is to save your daycare costs once your kids are in school – be prepared for some sticker shock as to how much summer camp that only runs 9-3 plus before/after camp babysitters can cost, it’s so not pretty.

    • Pigpen's Mama says:

      This is fortuitous, I was going to open up a 529 plan for my LO (18 months) today, but couldn’t find her SSN and got distracted.

      Anyway, my plan is to front load it. Even though we’re paying through the nose for daycare, I may consider a career/geographical move in the future and not make as much as I’m making now. We only have the one kid and are planning on staying that way, so I’m not sure if we should cap it at something. Although the though of having ”too much” in college savings seems ridiculous.

      As far as gift tax implications, my understanding is that as married-filing jointly, H and I can gift her up $28,000 before the tax kicks in. We also have a regular joint bank account for her that we put in ~$100/month each. I’m not sure if that also counts towards the $28,000 or not.

    • Philanthropy Girl says:

      We have nothing, sadly. With both of us paying on student loans still, there just isn’t enough money to go around. We need to get those loans paid off and start on a healthy 401K before we can consider college savings. We may be one of those families where kids shoulder college burden themselves.

  13. shortperson says:

    we contribute $1k/month which our financial planner told us is very aggressive for one child but not so much for two. when baby #2 (not conceived yet) starts daycare we plan to stop contributions for a few years.

  14. Looking for your thoughts on this. A few months ago, I noticed my toddler-aged daughter was rubbing herself against things (to put it politely). The past few mornings, when I go to shower, she is laying on her back watching TV in my bed, but when I come out from the shower, she is laying on her stomach with her hands hidden under her. She tells me this is very relaxing. I get that this is all normal – it feels good, just like having her back or feet rubbed – so I am trying to figure out how best to respond. I want her to be all body positive, and definitely do not want to stigmatize what she is doing, but I feel like I am struggling. The position has always been, “that’s cool, just do it in your room/in private.” Have any of you experienced this? How have you handled it?

    • I imagine it’s normal. My toddler son does it in the bathtub, and I haven’t felt a need to say anything. I’m sorry to go here, but for elementary-school age kids, that behavior can be considered a symptom of abuse — and at least some teachers as mandatory reporters are so advised — so it’s in your family’s interest to make sure it is a private-only behavior by then, at least. Just putting the warning out there.

    • MomAnon4This says:

      ‘OK. It makes people uncomfortable when you do that in front of them, so please just remember to do it in your room, private/bathroom.”
      My son did this age 3-4 a lot in the living room and was constantly reminded. It worked. It’d be bad for, like, a month or so, then be better, then “relapse” whatever.
      At this age they are are OK to know what to do in private and what not. You can say it makes YOU feel uncomfortable when people touch their privates (you can use the words that are banned by the censors here, too) and she doesn’t see you do that, does she?
      Maybe some extra time in the bath ‘helps’ too.

      Seriously. That’s all. totally normal. low-key.

      • MomAnon4This says:

        ETA: Yes, if he didn’t listen, we did carry him bodily to his room and told him to emerge when finished. For whatever reason, I am less worried about body issues with him. I am also willing to promote both healthy sexual mores and prudishness in society. Really, it’s a balance. Teaching it is OK to touch yourself in private – and it is NOT ok for anyone else to touch you there, or for you to touch grown-ups there, and continue talking about permission.

        It’s an ongoing conversation. Good luck!

    • Sarabeth says:

      “We touch our v*lva and our b*tt in the bathroom or the bedroom.” At this age, privacy is too complex a concept, so a straightforward rule is better. If she’s touching herself in the living room, we ask if she’d like to go to her bedroom.

    • Anonymous says:

      Response is totally age dependent in my view. I wouldn’t say anything to a 1/2/3 year old but a 4/5 year old I would definitely talk to about doing it in bedroom/bathroom/private.

    • Spirograph says:

      I think it’s totally normal. My daughter’s not there yet, but my son certainly has a fascination with his privates and grabs them at inappropriate times (dinner, for example). We just remind him that he should only do that in his bedroom/the bathroom/when he’s alone because it’s “not polite” or “not good manners.” If he does it in the bath, he’s usually talking about it anyway, and we use that as an opportunity to remind him that it’s a part of his body that is just for him, and if anyone else touches him in a way that makes him sad or scared, he should tell mommy and daddy. One of my friends is a social worker and a huge proponent of keeping this a repeated, but casual and matter-of-fact conversation with your kids.

    • OP here. Thanks for the feedback. I know that it is normal, I guess what I was looking for was validation that my response was appropriate. I am going to keep on being positive about it but stress the “you do that in private” aspect.

    • I’d recommend reading “Everything You Never Wanted Your Kid to Know About S3x But Were Afraid They’d Ask.” It’s by two psychologists and they go over what is normal at different ages from birth to adolescence. I think they’d recommend that you tell your daughter that she do this in private in her room. But they get into body positive stuff and give different scripts for situations.

  15. betsy says:

    Kat- love this idea! Could you please tell me the specific size and weight of the blanket you got your son? Would you go with the same size/weight in retrospect? I am interested in this for my 3 year old. thank you so much!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone have any idea for a meal planning plan/website app for a limited diet? We have a family member staying with us for a few months who has some health issues, the most minor of which is celiac, and some other grain intolerance issues. I guess we need something like a Paleo meal planner? But we’re not trying to lose weight, just avoid wheat and corn (and some other grains that don’t really pop up regularly anyway).

    Thanks!

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