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

Nap Transitions

Questions Asked:
My daughter Ayven is 17 months and has been a great sleeper thanks to you! We are now transitioning to 1 nap – any tips on the best way to do this and is there a best time for that once a day nap? Rises at 6:30 bed at 7pm used to nap 9-945 (we’d wake her) and then in the afternoon going down between 1:30 and 3 depending on our plans for the day and would usually nap 1.5-2 hours. Any tips would be appreciated!

My Answer:
The afternoon nap may lengthen. One way to transition is to drop the am nap and switch it to a cat nap (20-30 min). 1 pm may be a good time for your afternoon nap. The transition period can be long and there are a few ways to do it but this is my favorite one to try first.
If you need sleep help, I do personal consultations.

Tracy Spackman 602-524-7610

“My 2 year old was a great sleeper and now for the past 2 weeks has been having sleep issues. Why?”

Great Question from my Mom’s club talk:
“My 2 year old was a great sleeper and now for the past 2 weeks has been having sleep issues. Why?”
This is a common question. Sometimes, you just get a string of bad luck when you have even just 2 nights in a row of disrupted sleep, from maybe a cold or thunderstorms or summer guests and your response of bringing to bed with your of staying with them while they fall asleep is enough to create a new “conditioned response”. If toddlers, or older children have 2 or more disrupted nights in a row, they may start getting anxious about sleep. After 2 weeks has gone by, you may have forgotten the cause of the sleep stress. A manners chart to help focus on good sleep habits may help a lot. If you need sleep help, call me, Text me.

Tracy Spackman 602-524-7610

Back to School Bedtimes

Have your kids gone back to school? Planning to go soon? Take a good look at their bedtime. Do you know if your child is a 10, 11 or 12 hour sleeper for optimum benefit? If your child has a meltdown about having to write a few sentences about their summer for homework, chances are they are not getting enough sleep. Thinking of ideas to write about when writing is still a challenge for kindergarten-3rd grade kids, getting enough sleep can make all the difference. 11 hours is a common amount of sleep to need for young school aged kids. Teens typically need 9 hours. If you need sleep help, check out my website.

Not ready to commit to a plan or a sleep package?

Get a group together and we can do a group workshop. Minimum 5 people/couples. This would be different than the free talk I give to Mom’s groups. We will talk specifics and methods that you can implement immediately. If you have 5 or more people, the host gets to come free. $50 per family. Runs about 2 hours. Follow up support is available a la crate.

Workshop fee will be deducted from full package price if you choose to get a personal consultation afterwards.

A good sleep makes a world of difference.

Tracy Spackman


Reaction of a 5 Year Old

A 5 year old’s morning response to sleep coaching day 6 after lots of resisting last night, “That was the best sleep I’ve had in weeks!” Mom said, “That was the best sleep you have had in your life!”
I know it’s only going to get better for them.  This family has had trouble with sleep for a long time and needed to lay with their child to help her fall asleep and she repeatedly came to their bed in the middle of the night.  Sound familiar?

For sleep help, call me 602-524-7610, email me

My latest question was “How exactly do you help us get sleep?”

My latest question was “How exactly do you help us get sleep?” Great Question! First I can give you a free call for a few minutes to talk about what is going on with your child’s sleep. Then, you choose a package from my website, I send you a sleep history questionnaire to fill out to add to the details I got from you over the phone so I can get a good overview of your sleep situation. Then I create a personalized sleep plan for you giving you step by step instructions to follow to get you to sleeping through the night or whatever your goals are. We will then have a consultation in person or over the phone. Then, the day after you start your plan, we talk about how the first night went and further personalize the plan depending how it went. Then we continue to talk and email and skype and text as you go through your plan. The amount of support you have during your plan implementation depends on the support package you buy. Yes, you can start small and upgrade.
I teach you how to teach your child how to get good sleep. You will learn how to support and respond in a manner that progresses towards good sleep skills. It’s gentle, responsive and scientific. I use evidence based methods that are proven to work. I have been there with children who don’t sleep. I have personally experienced most of the scenarios my families bring to me. I wish I had a sleep coach when my children were young. I have 5 children and although that certainly helps me be a good sleep coach, I am extensively trained and my success track record is amazing.