Confessions of a Mom who coached her baby to sleep through the night.

Kelly says:
“Confession: We got more sleep during sleep coaching. It’s true. Our sweet baby girl had become quite accustomed to her sleep crutches. We swaddled, pacified, rocked, swayed, jiggled, and shushed. She slept in the Rock n’ Play, and the Rock n’ Play alone. That it, if she let us put her down at all! After five months and several failed attempts to wean said crutches, we reached out to Tracy. We were tired, as was our baby. And we had a toddler to care for, as well. Our baby’s sleep needs were changing and we just didn’t know how to help her in a gentle, supported way. Tracy was our answer. With her help, our little one did what we thought was impossible without hours and hours of crying and many sleepless nights. Now, she is placed in her crib, awake, crutch-free and is able fall asleep on her own with minimal support.

Update: It has been a few months since we had our consult with Tracy. Things are still going great! Our daughter is almost 8 months old and is sleeping 11-12 hours at night and is on a predictable nap routine. Now, like every child, she might need a bit more support with teething, milestones, illness, etc., but is able to get right back on track using the tools we learned during our initial consult.”

If you need help, call me, text me, message me. 602-524-7610

4 months old and sleep is falling apart?

  • Andrea Strang from KinderSleep described it perfectly.  She says,

    “This is a very exciting time in a baby’s life. The 4-month milestone marks on of the most pronounce developmental periods. Schedules, feeding and sleep often get off track at this time.

    The good news is that your baby is completely on track! This is an exciting time for him…and can be for you too. He is discovering the world around him and learning how he can manipulate objects around him. He’s making connections between his actions and the reactions they produce. When he laughs, you laugh; when he drops something, it’s still there. He’s learning how to control his body, to grasp things in reach and move them at will, to cough, sneeze and squeal on demand. His world is becoming more organized as he discovers the patterns and changes around him.
    However, these amazing discoveries do have some strings attached. This new awareness takes some getting used to. Feeding, whether breast or by bottle, now has fierce competition with the dog as she walks by or locating the source of that mysterious noise. Babies will often wake and want to feed more in the night. This can be due to getting distracted from having efficient feeds in the day or she may simply need more food to get through this period of immense growth. Sometimes we also see a reduction in breast milk around this time as well. It is important to continue with your night feeds. At the same time you can work on having more efficient feeds during the day. This may involve feeding in a dark, quiet room.
    Sleep also may become a challenge as the structure of sleep changes. Babies start to develop sleep patterns that are more like adult sleep. Naptimes can be either reduced or fought every step of the way. Night waking can occur at increased intervals.
    We often find at this age babies become more fussy, clingy and demanding. Schedules can be off and day and night sleep affected. This is not a time for making big changes, as you are unlikely to see results quickly and it will be an uphill battle. So hang in there!
    The good news is that this stage often lasts 2-3 weeks, after which you will find yourself with a more perceptive, interactive baby whose personality is shining through for the world to see. Sometimes the habits and routines that form during this time can last weeks, months or even years if they are not addressed.
    Once your baby is a few weeks past the on-set of this developmental period then she may be developmentally ready to learn long-term sleep skills, especially at night. Naps tend to develop more consistently around 6 months of age, however, we often see improvement on naps when night sleep improves.
    If you can wait until your baby is at least 18 weeks of age (waiting longer is not a problem either), then we can work on a gentle sleep coaching plan that is specific to your child and needs and get those long-term sleep habits.
    If you can’t wait that long, we know it is tough, we can start working together with a sleep plan that we address in phases. First we can focus on some interim steps that can improve sleep, determine when the best time for sleep coaching would be and coach you through the entire process.”

    We have several sleep coaching packages to choose from that include varying amounts of support. You can find more details here:
    Our Premium Package is our most popular package and is designed to give you the support you need for success. The details are below.
    When you are ready to move forward, please contact us be e-mail or phone/text, if you have any further questions and we can schedule a consult for you.
    The Premium Sleep Package $395 + HST Includes:
    • Evaluation of your child’s sleep from your history form before consultation
    • 1.5 Hour consultation
    • 6 follow up phone calls of 15 minutes each or a total of 1.5 hours follow up time broken up however you need it. A 15 minute follow up phone call can be exchanged for a night of texting support arranged in advance, or a longer email exchange for complicated answers when email is preferred or more convenient.
    • Option for overnight texting support (see above)

    • 2 weeks of e-mail support-for quick questions and updates. More involved answers will require a more comprehensive follow up conversation. Consecutive 2 weeks begins with first email after consultation or with plan start date.
    • 3 Month membership to our parent video site beginning with access once payment is received. The videos contain crucial evidence based information to help you get your child sleeping through the night. There are also videos that answer frequently asked questions and address special challenges parents often have.

    We look forward to working with you to help your family get better sleep.


    Tracy Spackman
    Gentle Sleep Coach

Success story of a 6 month old

  • Terri Moore's babyI wanted to send you a quick message about Fletcher’s progress since you started helping us in October.

    He is now successfully putting himself to sleep every night (within 0-5 minutes, with the odd exception here and there). He is also napping in his crib every day twice. He rarely has a nap under 35 minutes now, has napped as long as 1h45 minutes…before it was rare that crib naps happened, or lasted more than 15 minutes.

    While he is still up a few times in the night, he settles easily and we have gotten into the routine of cosleeping the last few hours of the night. I think this helps because he is such a distracted nurser in the day, it’s good for him to have some good, uninterrupted nursing time.

    The trigger for this note was that yesterday he woke from a nap for the first time ever without screaming. I saw him on the monitor start to move…he began to talk quietly to himself. Then I heard a few giggles. I went in to get him, and he was up on his hands and knees with a huge grin on his face. It totally made my day. It could have been a one-off situation, but it was so very nice to see, and something I NEVER thought I would see.

    We are very grateful for your help. Your methods are by far the most gentle I have come across in talking to others who have done sleep training/used sleep consultants. It made a big difference to me to feel like you are more concerned with his wellbeing than just making him sleep longer, if that makes sense. We appreciate you very much

    Thank you!
    Terri and Fletcher Moore

    I love getting emails like this!

Early Rising Question for a 3 year old

Rachel asked:
“Good morning, Tracy! I have another early riser question. My ds (dear son)  is 3 years old, does not nap, goes to sleep well at 7 and then gets up every morning between 4-5:30. Please help!!!”
  • It’s possible he is early rising because he still needs some day sleep. Try offering a ‘rest time’ daily and he can hang out on his bed with a book or a toy and either rest or sleep. Sometimes he may play or sometimes he may sleep. 1 pm is a good time. Watch his body language to see if there is a slowing down time. That will be the best time. Also, be consistent about how you respond to the early waking. That’s where you could use a sleep plan method like the sleep lady shuffle to encourage back to sleep. 
    A wake-up light may help too. One that doesn’t light up at night. A low watt lamp on an appliance timer like the one you use for Christmas lights works great. Not so bright it wakes him but is a signal he understands if he wakes up.
    Reinforce the sleep manners you expect with a consistent response, like bringing him back to bed or the sleep lady shuffle.
    Post your questions here on my facebook page or call me to talk about consultation possibilities. 602-524-7610

Sleep trained 16 month old but still not perfect, what am I missing?

Great Question:
Stephanie Nielsen asked:
“Hi Tracy, I have a quick question! I have done sleep training with my 16 month old son since he was around 5 months old and he’s doing great. However, two weeks ago I had the flu and didn’t see him in the day like normal so he wouldn’t go to bed that night. Since then, he has been staying up until 10-11:30 at night and wanting to sleep in until 9 or later if I let him. His naps have stayed completely intact.

His usual schedule is:
– wake-up 8 and 8:30
– Nap 12:30 (for 2-3 hours) (I lay him in his bed and walk out right away and he goes to sleep on his own with no crying)
– bedtime 8:15-8:30 with a routine.

He doesn’t have any sleep crutches that I am aware of at bedtime and I don’t think anything has changed to cause a difference in his bedtime. But he is wired and will not go to sleep. My only thought is maybe the gap between bedtime and nap time is too big? I have been waking him up at 8:30am to help get things back on track but its not working. I also tried putting him to bed at 9 one night to slowly move it bedtime back and he woke up at 10 and stayed up until 2am. I think I am missing something! Thanks!”

My Answer:
You nailed it. It looks like the wakeful window between the end of the nap and the bedtime is too long. Typically it’s just 4 hours. Can you push the nap later so you have a 4 hour window at the end of the day? This will change again around 2 years old. Having a consistent wake up time is a good idea to get things on track. Consistency is key here. When he wakes an hour or so (or less) after being put to bed, he probably was overtired and that makes the first sleep transition harder. So if he has trouble going back to sleep, be consistent about treating it like a middle of the night wake up. Does that help?

If you have a quick questions, post it here and I will do my best to answer it. If this or another question helped you, please like it or post your thanks to the ask-er for putting it out there!
Women need the support of other women and we all need sleep.

Early Rising – Please Help my 10 month old

Early Rising Question:
Our biggest issue is the early rising. He’s up at 4:30am no matter what we do. We’ve tried putting him to bed earlier/later done dream feeds, cry it out.. He’s just an insanely early riser. He’s 10.5 months and usually naps 2 times, the first one can range from and hour to 2 hours and the second is usually about an hour.. I can never get him to take a third.. He’s a little monkey!!
It’s not the 3rd nap you need. It’s a longer 2nd nap. Most babies over nine months have dropped the third nap and can go four hours from the end of the p.m. nap to bed time. Try limiting your morning up to one hour, so yes, wake him up. Then try to extend the afternoon nap to an hour and a half or longer. That way you can try to get that four hour or less wakeful window at the end of the day. That will probably fix your problem if you were consistent about how you respond to the early rising.

Post a quick question or call me for a free 15 call 602-524-7610. Maybe a consult is what you need.

How much sleep does my baby need?

Tracy talk to Merci Gilbert groupI speak to the Breast Feeding support groups at Mercy Gilbert Hospital and Chandler Regional Hospital every couple of months. I love talking to these mom’s and dispelling the myths about sleep coaching and nursing.  A common question I get asked is how much sleep should my baby get?  Well it varies by age and from Child to Child.  I put together a fridge magnet to share to give them a starting guideline but it’s more about watching for sleep cues, getting enough sleep cycles in a day for your baby’s age and needs.  It’s probably more than you think.  A typical 6 month old can have 3 naps a day and then sleep 12 hours at night. That would be very healthy and normal.  By 9 months the 3rd nap gets dropped and the baby can go a longer wakeful window at the end of the day. (But not likely longer than 4 hours.) Around 18 months, your baby will be ready to transition to 1 nap.  The afternoon nap is typically the one that stays and the 4 hour window at the end of the day stays.  It’s the wakeful time before that gets longer.  Nap transitions don’t usually happen quickly.  That last nap can stick around until age 3-5. Every baby is different.  I hope this helps.  Call me if you want personal assistance or you would like me to come speak to your group or do a workshop.  Find me on Facebook

What I wish they had told me…Or at least wish that I had been willling to Listen

I have 5 children and I am a sleep coach. People always ask me if I used my methods on my own children and I laugh and say “no”.  I didn’t know any better than the mom’s I talk to now.  I wish I had a sleep coach when my children were babies and I did so many things “wrong” but they still turned out pretty great.  It could have been so much easier but I certainly wouldn’t have the the helpful insight I have when talking to sleep deprived moms.  The things I wished I had known most were mostly what was realistic.  Babies can sleep long stretches at night usually after 6 months and night nursing’s are the first (not the last) ones you start to wean.  Not necessarily all of the night feedings but some of them.  I didn’t know that.  My doctor had said that at 3 months, my baby should be able to go all night but that didn’t sit right with me.  It still wouldn’t.  But I took it too far.  But you know, I handled it ok (other than some depression from lack of sleep)  I think that anything you really don’t have a problem with is not a problem.  In hindsight I wish I had done it differently but c’est la vie.  So here I’m telling you.  When your waking child seems to be waking too much, look at the longest they have ever gone and start there. Starting some gentle and responsive sleep coaching after 6 months is ideal but you can wait until you are both ready, whenever that is.  Try to get the best naps you can, anyway you can while you work on night skills.  Day sleep is the building block of night sleep skills.  Night sleep skills is the building block of Day sleep skills.  So nights first and then naps or do both together.  Every child is different so don’t compare your child to others. Your child is wonderful and unique and I’ll bet you are doing a great job!