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Hello everyone!  Please note that our blog has moved to our new site.  For all my posts on sleep tips and sleep training information please click here.

See you on the other side!

March 26, 2013 at 10:40 PM Leave a comment

Deck The Halls With Your Well-Rested Baby via babypost.com

My top tips on maintaining your babys sleep routine during the holidays via babypost.com.


December 21, 2012 at 4:17 PM Leave a comment

Fall Back Baby!

It’s that time again!  Sunday November 4th we change our clocks and gain an hour of sleep.  Ya right!  If you’re ready this than chances are you have kids.  Gone are the days of singlehood where you can bask in slumberville and enjoy that extra hour.  Here are the days of early rising cries and late bedtime battles.  So what do you do?

The first thing you do is take a deep breath.  These time changes happen twice a year and we always manage to get through them unharmed.  Say it with me – this too shall pass.

If your child isn’t super sleep sensitive, and some kids aren’t, then you may be able to just jump to the new times and wait for them to adapt.  Consistency is key in whichever approach you take.  It may take them a week or two to adapt but they do adapt just like we do :).

For those who are a little more sensitive to routine and sleep the best approach to take is a gradual shift in schedule.  You have to understand that with setting the clocks back, what was a 7am wakeup for your child will now turn into a 6am wakeup.  It’s always a good idea to bump up your routine in the beginning.  So for the little nappers of the house, because wake time in the morning will be earlier, it’s a good idea to bump up the morning nap by 30 minutes.  So your normal naptime of 9am will get moved up to 8:30 am.  The same will happen for your afternoon nap.

Because everything will be bumped up throughout the day, and naps will end earlier, you will also need to bump up bedtime by 30-minutes as well.  This super early bedtime won’t be forever, dont’ worry!  Once wake time in the morning and daily naps start inching closer to your original wake times you can start adjusting bedtime and naptimes to your normal routine again.

For the older kids who don’t take naps anymore, bump up that bedtime!  At least until their sleepy biological clocks have adjusted.

Hang in there moms and dads.  The shift in this new schedule normally takes a week or two for our kiddies to adapt to it.  They will get there!  Remember my two favourite words – persistance and consistency!  You will get through this.


September 29, 2012 at 8:46 AM 1 comment

WIN a Customized Sleep Plan on Pinterest!

September 8, 2012 at 8:44 PM Leave a comment

Day 3 of Transition to One Nap

Okay so on Day 3 I cheated a little…  I kind of pawned the twins off to my parents while we took the four-year old to Canada’s Wonderland.  So I wasn’t really there to experience the crankiness in all it’s glory but gathering from Nana’s report there wasn’t too much crankiness to witness!  Yay!

My mom was so happy to hear they didn’t have to have their morning nap.  She’s been wanting to spend more time with them and it was tough when she always had to work around their nap schedule.  We brought her the stroller and she was finally able to take them out to the park and show off her grandchildren.  She frequented the park quite a bit with my eldest daughter so everyone knew about the twins. She was so happy to finally bring them and more importantly Duncan and Lila had a blast.  She followed my instructions of getting them down no later than noon and letting them go as long as possible.  My mom is pretty awesome with following my sleep instructions as she understands the importance of a consistent routine and the need to not push their limits when it comes to sleep, so I wasn’t at all worried that all my previous hard work the days before would be for nothing.

The report came back that all went well.  She fed them an early lunch and got them down on time and they slept off and on until around 3:30.  Amazing.  When we picked them up they seemed in good spirits but I could tell they were a little rough for wear around their eyes.  It was day 3 after all and the change of routine, not to mention they just napped in their pack and plays and probably didn’t have the best sleep possible, was starting to catch up to them.  It was even more important now to watch their signs and get them down nice and early for bedtime.

It was another night of an early dinner and bedtime.  Everyone was in bed by 6pm, including the four-year old.  It was a loooong day at Canada’s Wonderland, for mom and dad too.  Early bedtime for everyone all around!

The past couple of days there hasn’t been too much to report.  Lila is adjusting and Duncan is doing great.  He really could have dropped that nap a few weeks ago but such is life with twins!  Had to meet in the middle so they could remain on the same schedule.  This is it, there’s no going back.  No more morning nap, so all I can do is remain consistent with their routine and make sure that for the next few weeks I’m making a conscious effort of having them log in as much sleep as possible so that they don’t accumulate any sleep debt.  That means that start time for their nap will remain at 12:00 pm for a while with our goal to be pushing it to 12:30.  I’ll know when I’m able to do that.  I also have the rule that no matter what they are in their crib until at least 3:00 pm.  I have to encourage them to lengthen out that nap again.  A 1 to 1.5 hour nap won’t cut it anymore in the afternoon.  Because there isn’t a morning nap any longer we have to redistribute their sleep time, therefore making that afternoon nap longer.  Even if they wake up at 2:00 pm they stay in their crib until 3pm.  Bedtime will remain at 6pm for another week or so.  I’ll be able to push that back to 6:30 pm soon and then aim for 7:00 once they get closer to 24 months.

So that has been my journey thus far.  While I won’t be updating daily, I will let you know if we have any hiccups down the road.  Sleep training and making transitions can have its ups and downs even for my children.  But as I always tell you, with persistence and consistency we will succeed!  And we are more than half way there.

Thank you for joining me on my journey everyone!  Lila and Duncan say thank you too 🙂

August 18, 2012 at 8:56 AM Leave a comment

Day 2 of Transition to One Nap

Day 1 of the nap transition proved to be successful.  For the most part they made the jump from wakeup to a 12:00 pm afternoon nap relatively well.  Please understand this isn’t the only way.  You can definitely take a gradual approach when transitioning to one nap.  I chose to take the big jump because I was dealing with two at the same time and I knew my son could handle it.  Also we were both home on vacation this week so keeping both busy during the morning would prove to be a lot easier.  I wanted to keep them on the same schedule for the most part, so I made the decision that this was the route I was going to take with both my son and my daughter.

Day 2 started out like most days, we woke up at 7am had breakfast and our day began.  We kept it busy with walks and some park time.  Duncan was a trooper yet again.  Missing that morning nap didn’t even phase him.  Lila on the other hand was having a tough time with it.  While she was loving all the extra playtime and the smile was there, we noticed her patience was very short and she always seemed on that brink of a meltdown.  An edge I like to stay clear from always.  So it was another early lunch and both down by noon.  Again they both had a great sleep, logging a good 3 hours (remember that afternoon nap get’s lengthened out as it’s the only time throughout the day that they are sleeping) and woke up fresh and alert.  Bedtime was again bumped up to 6pm, balancing out the lack of sleep throughout the day, which was accepted by both beautifully and without fuss, and another great night of sleep followed.

This small sleep journey just proves that every child is truly different and methods that you choose really depends on the temperament and personality of your child.  My daughter will have a bigger struggle with this transition, and had I been dealing with just her I’d keep her on two naps for a few more weeks.  But she’ll adapt and catch up to her brother.  It will take time and patience, and some of that consistency that I like to preach about, but we’ll get there.

Day 3 for you tomorrow!  There was an extremely cranky child but that was the four-year old at Canada’s Wonderland.  Not a 18 month old twin…sigh…

August 16, 2012 at 7:53 PM Leave a comment

Day 1 of Transition to One Nap

I’ve been in denial for a month or so now.  I knew the time had come, the day was here, it was game time.  It was time to drop the twins morning nap…gasp!…sigh…

I had held on to it for probably a month more than I should have for a few reasons.  Even though they hadn’t been sleeping so great for their afternoon naps lately, my little all-star independent sleepers were fine with chilling in their crib for an hour or so and having some quiet time, or entertaining one another (the perks of having them in the same room.)  They were still going down fine at night and sleeping through until morning, so I held on as long as I could.  I used the ‘me’ time to write sleep plans for you :), and was able to stretch out the transition to when they were closer to 18 months and older, and therefore making that jump from wakeup in the morning to the afternoon nap that much easier.

I also wanted to wait until my husband was home while we were on vacation.  I thought oh no, I’m not doing this alone buddy!  If I’m going down you’re going down with me.  So we planned that Tuesday would be our day.  A few days before I was starting to put them down a bit later and later, pushing out that 9am start time to 9:30 or 10am.  I knew that my son would have no problem with the jump, he has always been better at stretching out those awake times.  It was my daughter I was worried about.  She is my routine girl and she loves and needs her sleep.  She was not going to be easy, but she’d pull through.

Tuesday came around and we woke up saying okay this is it, we’re doing it today.  We woke everyone up at 7am and had breakfast and it was go time.  The next step was the smartest I could make, I left!  Haha!  I grabbed the four-year old and high-tailed it out of there 🙂  Only after I made sure hubby was okay with it, of course.  Hey it was Oakville Momstowns birthday party and we wanted to go!  I left strict instructions; watch their signs, especially Lila’s, and if by 11am she is in meltdown mode then get them down to bed.  My husband was capable and supportive, I wasn’t worried.

We had a blast at the party and when we came home around noon they were still up.  Uh oh.  But they were still up and smiling – yay!  Hubby said around 11am Lila really started getting fussy and crying, Duncan of course was my one-nap trooper.  So he made the decision of rather than putting them to bed he would make them lunch.  He knows my daughter so well, sleep is her first love, and food is a very close second.  Once they had lunch she was fine.  Nice!  So I cleaned them up and got them  in their cribs at 12:00 pm and they were out like a light.  Normally they would play a bit and talk a bit, and sleep and wake up and fall back asleep and wake up, but they both slept through until 3pm!  Yay!  Nothing like some fabulous consolidated & restorative sleep for my wee ones 🙂

The important thing was to make sure that because I was taking away some sleep throughout the day, I was adding some in as well at different times of the day.  So they had a nice 3 hour nap and I made sure I bumped up their bedtime to 6pm from 6:30 pm.  They went down fine and slept through until this morning.  We are now on Day 2 and we had a minor meltdown this morning, nothing that some cheerios and walk around the block couldn’t fix but more on that tomorrow!

So this is a new stage in the McGinn household.  It means a new transition for the babies and for mom too.  My schedule needs some reorganizing now as well, but nothing that I can’t do.  Sophie will be off to school in September all day and the Grandma’s have already offered their morning duty services so I can still provide you the best service possible.  This week we will mourn the morning nap but by next week it will all be a fond and distant memory.  Join me on my nap transition journey, won’t you?

R.I.P. The Morning Nap.  You developed, they adapted, they took what they needed from you and now we must let you go.  Thank you for your healthy Zzzz’s…you will be missed but never forgotten.

August 15, 2012 at 2:02 PM 4 comments

Twin/Multiple Tip of The Day – Treat All as One

When my husband and I found out we were having twins we were thrilled, we had never imagined we would be having twins.  Talk about best shock of our lives.  We walked out of the doctor’s office excited and anxious but during the car ride home the panic crept in.  While my husband had visions of University tuition dancing around in his brain, all I could think was I. Am. Never. Going. To. Sleep. Again.

Yes my twins were my first set of twin clients, since then of course I’ve gone on to helping countless other multiples, but the first time around can and did appear completely, and utterly terrifying.  Fear not multiple mom’s and dad’s, the basic fundamentals of healthy sleep are the same, whether you’re dealing with one baby or two babies.  We still need to focus on the 5 Sleep Basics: Sleep Routine, Early Bedtime, Naps, Manage Sleep Associations, and Consistency.  With multiples it’s all how you execute your plan, as well as consistency and organization has never been more important than now.  Here are a few tips to help you down the right road.

  1. Keep Them on the Same Routine – I’m sure you’ve heard this before.  Well it’s true!  You want to get into the habit of putting them on the same sleep and feeding schedule right from the start.  If one wakes up, then wake the other no later than half an hour later.  You’ll want to put them back down at the same time and if you don’t wake the sleeper up to keep them on the same routine as the non sleeper, you’re always going to have a baby awake with you, and really, where’s the fun in that!  Many twin moms I speak with struggle because a lot of the times they are on their own at bedtime because husbands are working.  When it’s just you don’t worry too much about having them exactly on the same schedule in regards to when they sleep and eat.  A half an hour difference is no big deal.
  2. Stay Organized! – Some of you may not agree and may think it’s not necessary but if you are that person that needs some control in life when it’s almost impossible to have any, you have to stay organized.  I found that having every half hour accounted for something made things easier.  I scheduled in cooking, cleaning, laundry (washing, folding, putting away), SLEEPING, showers, brushing my teeth (yes it was scheduled), feeding babies, sleeping babies, playing with babies, feeding toddlers, sleeping toddlers, playing with toddlers, EVERYTHING was scheduled in.  It had to be.  But that was what I needed to do.  While I do recommend it, you may not feel it necessary to shower or brush your teeth everyday, or have clean clothes to wear.  That’s cool.  Whatever works for you 🙂
  3. Keep Them in the Same Room – If you want to or unable to separate them then keeping them in the same room is okay.  If they are in the same crib I would recommend putting them into their own cribs around 4 months of age.  At this point they start moving around more and trying to roll over and they could start waking each other up.  If one cries don’t panic!  Don’t feel like you have to spilt them up.  They will get used to each other’s sounds and cries and this is something you want to encourag.  For the most part the other will sleep through it.
  4. Get Help! – I can’t stress this enough.  Husbands need to get on board when dealing with twins.  It can’t always be you and two babies.  You need the help and your need the relief every now and then.  Your babies and the rest of your family need you strong and healthy, don’t try to take it on yourself.  If you are fortunate to have grandparents around or other family then enlist them too!  Especially if you are dealing with other children as well.  At least the grandparents can help with your toddler while you deal with the babies.
  5. One Day You Need to Take a Chance – Even knowing what I know and doing what I do I was terrified of letting the night just play out.  I knew I had to.  And I tell parents to do it all the time.  Don’t wake a baby in the middle of the night to feed them.  They will naturally push out these feeds themselves but we have to give them a chance to do it.  I was so scared of both babies waking at the same time and screaming their heads off because they were hungry.  One screaming baby – not fun.  Two screaming babies – not possible!  So I was waking them to feed them for their 2am feed until one day I said this needs to stop!  It may have meant I was going to be up all night for a few nights because they may not be on the same schedule for night feedings but so be it.  And that’s all it took.  2 nights and that 2am feed was gone and they were sleeping through.  Yes guys, it can be that easy just by simply giving them the chance to self soothe and stopping interfering with their sleep!

So those are my top 5 tips on surviving the first few months of twindom.  Here is what you have to remember, you will get through it!  It may be double or triple the work but it’s also double or triple the love.  It really doesn’t get much better then that.  It may not seem it at the time but enjoy your newborn twins who sleep a lot and eat a lot because in a year or so they are going to be walking a lot, climbing a lot, talking a lot, and fighting a lot.  But you’ll survive that too 🙂

August 6, 2012 at 9:02 PM Leave a comment

Twin/Multiple Tip of The Day – Stop Comparing!

I’m going to start at the beginning. This tip is even before you start worrying about sleep, okay never mind, tell me you didn’t start worrying about sleep the second you found out you were having twins! No this tip is when you get home from the hospital and you have two babies, the same age side by side and then it starts. The CONSTANT comparison. Everyone tells you not to do it and you know you shouldn’t, you understand the rationale, but it’s soooo easy to do.

With my twins – Twin A – Lila, Twin B – Duncan, they were different right from the start.  While in the womb Lila was the bully 🙂 She stole all the food and took up all the room. Poor little Duncan was squished right under my ribs while Miss Lila was sprawled out, enjoying the time. We had a 3D ultrasound and I swear we saw Lila kicking poor little D in the head :(.  When it was time to meet your little bundles, Lila came out screaming, Duncan came out calm and quiet.  This speaks volumes in what their personality is now.  Lila was awake and alert the first few days, while Duncan remained my chill little dude and barely opened his eyes.

When you have more then 1 child, it’s what you do.  You compare the new baby to your other children.  Well when you have two of the same age it’s almost impossible not to compare.  Why did Lila seem so much more alert?  Why did Duncan eat more?  Why was Duncan so much easier to soothe, and why is he sleeping all the time?  She doesn’t??  I was driving myself crazy.  Lila is doing this but Duncan’s not.  I wonder when Lila will start this and what’s wrong with her that she hasn’t??  I was going crazy, and I was driving everyone else crazy around me, doctors and all.

It wasn’t until they both got a bit older, maybe a few months old, that I started to relax and realized they are both perfectly fine and will master certain skills at different times and display different personalities, because they are different children.  My Lila is my spit fire.  She yells the loudest, laughs the loudest, and can never sit still.  My Duncan is my calm, cool, collective little guy.  He is shy and always full of smiles.  Lila was the first to crawl and walk, while Duncan was the first to talk and sleep through the night :).  Lila follows me around everywhere I go (I secretly love it) but try and get a snuggle from this kid, forget it.  She always has to be moving.  Whereas Duncan is my sit quietly and play boy, but he is the first to give you cuddles and kisses – LOVE it.

So they are both very different and I’m thankful for those differences because it allows me to constantly be learning new things about them every day and how boring would it be if they were both bang on the same!

Take a deep breath moms and dads of multiples.  One may be in the lead on a new milestone or throughout life’s adventures, but the other one always catches up.  My three children, all very different and thank goodness for that!

August 1, 2012 at 2:44 PM Leave a comment

aden + anais Serenity Star

When I’m writing Sleep Plans for parents I don’t just include the sleep schedule.  The uniqueness of my plans provides both a feeding and sleeping schedule for my parents and baby, which is why when I saw this amazing new product I fell in love.  The aden+ anais Serenity Star is an electronic feeding and sleeping system that combines every nursery essentials into one functional, modern 5-point star design.  This is it guys.  The one-stop-shop of every nursery must-have.  All rolled into one gorgeous design.
The Serenity Star includes:

  • Electronic Feeding Diary: Moms can record feeding start times and which side (L or R) baby last fed from (if nursing).  All the information is displayed on the easy to read LCD screen, paired with a handy 12-hour AM/PM clock.  Even the most tired of moms can record and remember this information, thanks to the Serenity Stars easy functions and display.
  • Sound Machine: plays four soothing sounds including 2 lullabies, heartbeat, and white noise that can be set for 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or for continuous play, all creating a perfectly peaceful environment.
  • Room Temperature Indicator/Nightlight:  When the nursery is at an ideal temperature, it emits a soft white glow for the perfect nightlight.  If the room temperature rise above 23.3 degrees Celsius, the glow will turn red to indicate the room is warmer than recommended.  If it drops below 17.7 degrees Celsius, the Serenity Star will emanate a blue glow as a recommendation to adjust the room temperature and/or the baby’s clothing.
  • Portable: compact size, dual plug-in and battery-powered operation makes it perfect for travel.  Leave all the other gadgets at home!  All you need is this.

This is an amazing addition to your nursery and the perfect present for a mom-to-be.  This is the first system to combine the variety of helpful feeding and sleep aids, all in one, which contributes to peace of mind for you.

Our friends at Simply Green Baby in Oakville have the Stars in stock and the BIG NEWS is that they are donating one as our big giveaway during out City Parent Sleep Event!  Join Good Night Sleep Site and City Parent Magazine on July 25th, from 1:30-3:30 for City Parent’s first ever online Sleep Clinic.  I’ll be online with you to answer all of your sleep questions and there will be many giveaways!  I hope you can join us and good luck winning this amazing innovative product from aden + anais.

July 19, 2012 at 10:28 AM Leave a comment

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Alanna McGinn



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