Is your toddler climbing out of the crib?

Is your toddler climbing out of the crib?  Are they losing sleep and up all nap/night with you bringing him/her back to bed? Are you thinking of transitioning to a bed instead?



Hold that thought!


The important question is, Is he/she still under 2.5 years old?  There is a level of cognitive understanding needed to comprehend more complex concepts like…”Stay In Bed!”  Most children under 2.5 aren’t quite there yet and so moving them to a toddler bed starts a whole new problem of your child getting out of bed and coming to you in the night or wandering the house  in the middle of the night while you are sleeping.


Here are some tricks I have seem Mom’s get creative with in order to try to keep their toddler from climbing out of their crib.  This is assuming you have already put the mattress on the lowest setting.


1. Dress them in a PJ night shirt that goes to their feet.  That can help prevent them from getting that leg up.

2. Put them in a sleep sack.  That also can help prevent them from getting a leg up.  Some mom’s have sewn the bottom to be a little more narrow for added effect.  Yes, they make sleep sacks in toddler sizes.

3. Sew the legs together of their sleeper.  Very hard to get a leg up.

4. Drop the bottom out of your crib to make the rail higher.

Fill in the bottom with boards.  Make it secure with screws.  Be sure it is solid and Safe.






If you are determined to take them from the crib and use a bed instead, if they continue to get up in the night, you can try a gentle sleep plan.  That still may not give you 100% success of keeping them in bed all night if they just aren’t ready.  Putting a tall gate at the door and clearing the room of climbable furniture and distracting toys would be like turning the whole room into one big crib and there they would be safe all night.


If you have forgone the crib all together and are sleeping on a floor mattress with your child, that works too.


Everyone needs sleep to be healthy and productive.


Tracy Spackman is a gentle sleep coach living in Phoenix, Arizona and she is helping families get better sleep all over the world.  To set up a consultation, go to


Tracy Spackman


To bathe or not to bathe at bedtime, that is the question.

Do you give your little one a bath at bedtime? Or books? Songs and kisses?

There was a small study done that showed that the children who got a bath 30 minutes before bed had an easier time going to bed.


But why?


Was it the consistancy of the regular routine? Did it relax them and encourage the production of  the calming melatonin hormone?


What if the bath is very fun and exciting and ends up stimulating your child? What if they were all ready tired and ready to sleep, wouldn’t the bath just wake them up and give them a second wind? (Cortisol hormone rush-NOT what you want at bedtime.)


So let’s approach bedtime in a totally different way. (I say this a lot)  Think of the “Bedtime Routine” as having 2 pieces.


First, we have the wind-down activities. This is all the things you have to do to prepare for bed. Like supper, feedings, baths (only if you like it and it is calming for your child), fresh diaper, maybe massage while they are undressed for the diaper, PJ’s on etc.  For the wind-down, it helps to do them in the same order but how long you spend on each activity can vary. This will give you consistancy and a good flow to your activities. It will be familiar. If you like to do the bath every other night or less frequently, place it into the same slot in your order of things.


Second, you have your routine of signals to sleep. 3-5 things that you do in the same order for the same amount of time in the same way. You could do a story, a song, a prayer and a kiss.  When done consistently, these things will signal to your child that they are about to be put in bed.


So here’s the secret…

Between the wind-down and the signal routine, watch for sleep cues. If you see sleep cues while doing your wind-down, end it, skip the last steps if necessary, and do your signals routine.  Catching the sleep window helps everyone get to sleep more easily. If you can slide smoothly  through the routines and catch the sleep window, you will be in a better place to get sleep success.


For more sleep secrets, call me for a gentle sleep consultation.  I create gentle sleep plans that don’t involve “cry it out”.


Tracy Spackman

Certified Gentle Sleep Coach


Call for a free 15 minute sleep assessment.

Specializing in alert, bright eyed, observant, curious, spirited babies and children.


When should my baby be sleeping through the night?

There seems to be a lot of pressure on moms to have a quiet, sleeping through the night baby at a very young age. But in fact this is just not normal. It’s not about weight, or even weeks, it’s about developmental readiness and temperment.


In and around the 4th month of age there is a lot of cognitive development. Some babies may be ready as early as 18 weeks and others need more time to grow and bond. Follow your heart and do what you feel is best for your baby. Bond, nurse, co-sleep, wear, whatever feels safe and right. It doesn’t matter what culture, neighbors, sisters or mothers in law say about it.


The range of what a baby can do it very broad. Some babies are naturallly good sleepers. Others have a difficult time shutting down their minds to sleep. Talk to your doctor and still listen to your intuition. When he says babies wake a lot at night, he’s right. And some babies wake more than others. If you are sleep deprived and going crazy, try motion naps in the stroller, swing or carrier and part of the nights in a swing laid all the way back. Does co-sleeping work for you? Would room sharing help? Be responsive.


If you are at your wits end and just need a plan, I can help. I may just help you have reasonable expectations or there maybe a few things you can do to help your baby sleep longer stretches until your baby is ready to do more. But if you are fine, keep doing what you are doing. If you don’t have a problem with the waking, it’s not a problem. I can’t believe how fast they grow. Get past the 4 month vision changes and brain development and then see how you are doing. It’s so fun when baby can see you from further away. The increased perceptiveness is exciting for your baby and very distracting. So much of the world to see. Get to at least 18 weeks and re-evaluate. If you can hold off until 6 months, even better but I understand if you can’t get that far.


If you wonder if you have realistic expectations, I can talk to you about that for free. I speak on that subject regularly at the local moms groups, hospitals and baby stores. Let me give you some coping stratagies.

Take a few minutes of my time for free. 602-524-7610. Call, text or message me to set up a free 5 minute call. I’m here to help. If you know you are ready to make major changes and just want someone to give you step by step instructions that fit with your family goals, book a consultation and we will get you sleeping in no time.


Tracy Spackman

Certified Gentle Sleep Coach



How do you improve naps in 4-5 month old babies? (If I don’t hold him, he won’t sleep.)

How do you improve naps in 4-5 month old babies?  (If I don’t hold him, he won’t sleep.)


Getting enough day sleep any way possible  is the building block for night time sleep and sleep skills. Night time sleep skills is the building block for daytime sleep skills. Especially in alert babies. Maximize day sleep by using your sleep crutch blessings. Work on night skills if your baby is ready and then work in nap skills.


Do people describe your baby as “bright eyed”, curious, observant, social, aware? If so then his alert temperament likely means he has an active mind and has a hard time shutting if off to sleep. It also means he is probably very smart. I have 5 of these alert children. They are very fun as they grow up but sleep is a real challenge at first.


Learning to self-regulate (manage stress like going to sleep without mom) is much more difficult for alert temperaments and he needs you to help him. If he is over 18 weeks, was born full term, is heathy and you have seen an increase in his perceptiveness for over 2 weeks, then you can gently do some sleep shaping to begin working on night skills but take it slow. Usually, once the nights get to using less crutches, the naps get easier.


Gentle sleep Tip for immediate results: Catch the sleep window. Doing this for naps prevents the cortisol hormone from complicating things. Cortisol is the hormone the body produces when it is ready for sleep (run out of energy) but not going to sleep. It’s a defense mechanism. It feels like the second wind you as an adult get when you stay up later than usual. In fact, that is exactly what it is.


How do you do it?   Try napping him after 60-90 minutes of wakefulness when you see him staring into space, zoning out, glassy eyes, disinterest. That should happen before yawning and eye rubbing. Pay close attention, it’s easy to miss.  If all you see is yawning, take note of the timing interval from the last wake up. Then try for a bit shorter interval next time. So if it’s been 1.5 hours since the last wake up when you see him yawn, try watching his body language closely after an hour and 15 minutes next time to see if you notice the earlier sleep cues. Some babies pull their ears, bonk their head against mom or have some other unique but subtle signal.  When you see this, put your baby down to sleep. You may even get a longer crib nap if you have caught the sleep window. Try a swing nap. Motion sleep is better than no sleep.  If notch at still doesn’t get you longer naps, keep doing it while you spend some time on removing night crutches.  For some babies, naps just don’t get better into 6 months and nights improve. Just be sure to get lots of those 30 min naps. (More than 3.)


If you are happy snuggling or nursing your baby to sleep and/or holding for naps, and you are both bonding, eating enough and getting an adequate amount of sleep, don’t let anyone tell you that you have a problem. For young babies, sleep crutches are not a problem. You are a terrific mom taking great care of your baby.


If you want to talk to me about gentle sleep shaping plans or your baby is older and need a gentle sleep coaching plan and don’t want to do cry it out, give me a call. I’m a certified gentle sleep coach. No cry it out. I’m different from other sleep trainers. I’m pro nursing, pro attachment theory, and you can night feed and co sleep or not depending on your family goals. I look at your unique scenario and your unique baby and I will come up with the right gentle plan for your family. And it may not be what you think. I prefer resonsive methods that support the baby’s healthy growth and development.


Contact me for a free 15 minute sleep assessment.


Tracy Spackman  602-524-7610

Epsom Salts! Can it fix…Acting out, Biting, acting violent…

Talking with a wise friend today, she shared a great parenting tip. Epsom salts. If you have a child that is acting out, biting, acting violent and you don’t know where these behaviors could possibly be coming from, perhaps they are low in magnesium which increases anxiety and causes discomfort in their bodies. She was the 4th friend to tell me she had done this with her children and seen dramatic behavioral improvement.epsom salts, bath, sleep babies, children

Epson Salts is Magnesium Sulfate. The body uses Magnesium to keep bones strong and the heart rhythm steady. It also supports the immune system and helps maintain muscle and nerve function. Studies indicate that giving your child take a bath can be part of a comforting routine (with or without adding Epsom salt) which can help improve sleep. Further, it is believed that Epsom salts especially help with stress, circulation and softening the skin. As an added health benefit, the Epsom Salt Council reports that magnesium and sulfates, both important minerals for the body, may be absorbed through the skin. (See Source)

Try giving your child an Epsom salts baths every other day or even every day and see if it improves the behavior.  Soak for 10-15 minutes.  Just get the no-name brand from the drugstore. It’s very cheap.

Edible sources of Magnesium include All-Bran cereal, nuts, soymilk, edamame, spinach, oatmeal, black and other beans, whole wheat bread, yogurt, brown rice, bananas, milk, raisins, avocado, halibut.

This is not the first time I have heard this great tip. So I’m passing on to you.

Another common reason for this type of behavior is sleep deprivation.  If you need to improve your child’s sleep, please give me a call.  Sleep consultations done in person or over the phone.

Contact me for a consultation today.

Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach


My baby likes me better when…

My baby likes me better when…twins sleeping throught the night baby

1. I come to him as soon as he calls for me in the morning

2. I pay attention to his sleep cues and put him to sleep before he’s overtired.

3. I nurse and cuddle him before his nap since he doesn’t have day time sleep skills yet.

4. I close the curtains for his nap. He likes to sleep in the dark, just like me.

5. When he wakes up after 30 minutes, I snuggle him back to sleep and hold him for a while so he can finish his nap in my arms (he doesn’t have daytime sleep skills yet and he needs 45 minutes to feel rested.)

6. I feed him when he wakes up from his nap. His tummy is small and needs to eat frequently.

7. I talk to him and tell him what I’m going to do next. I’m not sure if he understands but I think he does.

8. I watch the clock so I can be watching his body language for his next sleep window. If I catch his tired signs, he seems happy to nap and less frustrated.

9. I sing to him. I want him to feel safe.

10. I put off sleep training him until he is ready. No rush.

I was thinking about a 4-9 month old baby when I wrote this.
If you are ready for sleep coaching and you think your baby is ready to learn sleep skills, Give me a call.
Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

Are you keeping a log?

Have you ever heard the expression, “Return and Report”.   It means to get the job done and then report the progress or completion to your superiors or others who need to know.  This helps us keep track of progress.  We do it for work, health and goals.  It’s very important in sleep coaching.

After a few days of sleep coaching, you start to forget what happens in the previous days and it all blends together.  So keep a log.  Then you can see your progress in black and white.  When keeping your log digitally, it’s going to get lost unless you label it properly. It’s called digital filing and as I was explaining my preference to a Mom I am working with she said, “you are so right, people don’t realize how important proper labeling of digital filing is.”  I look at a lot of logs and have found a way to keep them all straight. From person to person and from day to day.  Here’s the secret.  Label Everything.
Name, age, city (this helps me know what time zone you are in for follow up calls), Night, Step, Date with Day of the Week.
So for example:  Baby Spackman, 7mo, Phoenix, Night 1, Step 1, Tuesday, June 10 2014
Then as you progress, the Night and Step and Date Change and if it goes long, the age adjusts.  This is especially important if your baby is 18 weeks old when you start.  Every week matters.

Title every log this way.  The order of the info can change, just be consistent about it.  Condensed, this log title may be: Baby Spackman, 7mo Phx N1 S1 Tues 6/10/14
The log itself is especially helpful if you keep it like a list. Start with the time and then what happened. Add as many details as you like.

For Example:

4-4:30pm Last nap (30 min)6:30 in crib (1 pick up, lots of quiet breaks, moderate fussing)
6:50 Asleep

9pm woke up (coached step 1)
9:15 back to sleep

12 Dream Feed (10 min)

3 woke up (2 pick ups, lots of gas)
4 back to sleep

4:30 woke up
4:45 back to sleep
5 woke up
5:20 back to sleep
6 woke up
6:10 back to sleep
7 woke up  DWU (Dramatic Wake Up)  & Nursed.

With your logs, lay look at them in multi-day lists side by side.  Compare the falling asleep times.  Compare how many wake ups and how long.  Compare any early rising.  Where do you see the progress.  Have you gone from 60 min to fall asleep to 10 min to fall asleep?  Have you gone from 6 wake ups to 1?  Have you gone from 5am wake up for the day to 6 am wake up for the day?  These would be signs of progress.

If you need help putting a sleep plan together and want to do a gentle method, give me a call.
Contact me for a Free 15 min sleep assessment.

Tracy Spackman
Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

Moving to a new house this summer? Worried your child will be scared of their new room?


Any change in a child’s sleep environment can effect sleep.  It’s so important to keep things consistent, especially if they are just learning to master sleep skills.  For example, if you use white noise (which I love), turn it on when your child starts falling asleep.  Then continue to play it all night.  If it goes off after 45 minutes like in the super cute sleep sheep, then when they wake up between sleep cycles –(Which is totally normal and is never going to change) … so when they wake up between sleep cycles, the white noise will still be there.  If it’s not, it’s a change in their environment that they will likely notice and find disconcerting.  Can there really be such a thing as too quiet?  For some babies, yes.


Moving to a new house with a new room for the baby is a big change in the sleep environment.  Be sure to clearly label all the boxes containing the baby stuff so it’s easy to find.  The baby’s room is the first room you set up. (Even before the kitchen)  Let your baby hang out with you while you do it or even let them “help”.


Put your baby’s recently used sheets (so they smell like her old room) back on her bed and play a few games of airplane with her bed being the landing field.  Make this clearly a play time and not a plop her in bed time.  Spend enough time in her room to help her get used to it and make it look like her room as much as you can.  Hang the black out blinds or curtains so the late setting summer sun doesn’t make bedtime harder.


If your child is slow to handle change, consider camping out in her room to offer her reassurance that you haven’t left her in a strange place.  Some children need you to go through a few steps of your sleep coaching routine again to help them adjust and others surprise you by how easily they make the change.


It’s important to catch your child’s sleep window so you don’t have overtired stress compounding on new room stress.  The familiar smelling sheets, the close proximity to parents, the usual teddy bear or special blanket, the soothing calm of darkness and a predictable bedtime routine can help make this a smooth transition.


If the kids are sleeping well, it’s much more likely the parents are sleeping well, too.  …Unless you stay up all night setting up the kitchen.


Do you need a sleep plan?  Call me for help with sleep issues for Sleeping through the night, napping consistently, or bedtime battles.  Free 15 minutes for new inquiry’s.  Just call and leave a message.


Tracy Spackman

Certified Gentle Sleep Coach


I’m the first to admit that it’s “OK” to ask for help. With sleep training, potty training, even personal training.

This week I asked my 13 year old son to be my personal trainer. (I need some serious help) I told him I would give him $10 if he could get me to work out 15 min a day 5 days each week. Each consecutive week,  I would increase it by $1.  It was hard for me to ask him for help but he really knows his stuff.   He’s almost 14 and starting high school freshman football. The Cross Country Running Coach was disappointed he wasn’t doing High School Running.  All my boys are Athletic.

My Son woke me up at 5:45am and told me I had to be outside by 6. He only had until 6:30 to get out the door to go to his own work out club. He had already been up and was ready for school.  I got a “Dramatic Wake Up”.  He slammed the mattress by my head with his fist.  It’s a good thing I was already rousing or it would have made me fall out of bed.  I had to laugh at myself all through the work out as he told me to jog around the lawn 3 times to warm up (it was already 78 degress outside) and do side sit ups etc.  I had previously had him research how to use the TRX (Tension Resistance eXercise) thing I had and we have a bunch of free weights, skipping rope, yoga mats etc.  He had 7-10 exercises for me to do switching me between types of exercises that he encouraged me through (through my laughing) and I may be a little sore tomorrow.  I may get a flatter tummy yet.  Today was day 1.


Yesterday I asked my 15 year old daughter if she would work out with me.  She agreed right away but then I told her who my personal trainer was…her little brother (who has been beating her at almost everything lately-piano playing, sports, marks, but not singing–She rocks the vocal talent)  She still agreed to work out with us.  It’ll be good for both of us and I love we are doing it together.  She’s not laughing and wants me to take it more seriously. She’ll be good for me, too.

What do you need  help with.  Go ahead and ask.  I can’t believe it took me this long to ask for help.  I have been trying to fix my tummy on my own for years.  (5 kids is a lot of tummy troubles to overcome)

I hope you don’t wait as long as I did to get a knowledgeable person to walk and encourage you through the information and to get  a plan in place to fix what is bothering you.  Sleep.  Weight.  Potty Training.  Cooking.  Nutrition.  Sometimes a YouTube video just isn’t enough.

If you need sleep help, call me.  Free 15 minute initial sleep assessment with me.

I am a trained and certified Gentle Sleep Coach and I won’t tell you to Cry It Out. I want to help you get your child sleeping through the night.

Tracy Spackman 602-524-7610

Tenacious, spirited, alert babies grow up to be smart, driven, go-getters.

Tenacious, spirited, alert babies grow up to be smart, driven, go-getters.

Meet my son Christian. Frequent night waking until sleep trained around 13 months old. (I waited so long and was at the end of my rope). I wish I had known then what I know now as a gentle sleep coach. I needed a sleep coach. Someone to tell me how to help him sleep.

Now that he’s 13 years old he is still very spirited and needs an outlet for all his energy. (Football and other sports help a lot). He taught himself to play the guitar while taking piano lessons and doing band at school. His tenaciousness proved to be a good thing as he was determined to find his lost capo (a guitar tool) so he could help me with a song parody I’m making up about whining bedtime toddlers based on the song ‘Last Friday Night’ by Katy Perry- or rather it’s a parody of the mine craft version ‘Don’t Mine at night’. My song is called ‘Don’t Whine at Night’. Well Christian couldn’t play it without his capo and just wouldn’t give up looking for it. Today was day 4 of his search for it. Today he was looking behind furniture, on tops of book shelves, in pick up baskets and all the weird places. He finally found it. Now we can work on my parody. I can make up songs but I don’t play any instruments.

My spirited, energetic children are true blessings. It’s just hard to get past the sleep challenges they have as babies and children. Now I can help you with that and I can relate to all that you are going through. I’ve been there.
Tracy Spackman
Free 15 minute sleep assessment for sleep deprived parents of sleep deprived babies and children.
Text me, call me, contact me through my website.