No, my baby doesn’t sleep through the night

But thanks for asking. ?

No, my baby doesn’t sleep through the night

It’s the first question we ask far too many new parents: “Is he a good sleeper?” “Getting any rest?” “Sleeping through the night yet?”

And when the answer is a huge, resounding “Nope!” (as it most certainly is about 90% of the time in the early days/weeks/months), the asker will often give a deeply pitying look and respond with the fact that their child slept 15 consecutive hours a night from day three of life because they did Baby Wise/CIO/Ferberizing/witchcraft/etc.

How is the shell-shocked new parent supposed to respond to this, exactly? Because there is literally nothing less helpful in the universe than subtly shaming a brand-new mom or dad for being exhausted. Comments like these leave the parent feeling like a failure, like their child is somehow deficient, and reminds them yet again that they are just. So. Sleepy.

Here’s the thing: Lots of babies take a really long time to start sleeping through the night. Lots of babies will never respond to the popular make-a-baby-sleep tricks. And plenty of parents just aren’t comfortable with anything resembling sleep training. And that’s more than okay.

My child is one of the happiest and healthiest toddlers I’ve ever encountered. He’s bright, curious, adventurous, active, nurturing and a really healthy eater. He’s 19 months old. And plenty of nights he still wakes up for some snuggles. And while he finally (finally) will actually sleep through the night on a semi-regular basis, this is a new development.

In the early days he wanted to sleep all the time. In the hospital, the nurses even had to put cold water on his feet to wake him from his deepest slumber. But due to some major breastfeeding problems, he lost tons of weight in his first two weeks of life and we had to start setting alarms to wake him up every two hours to eat. (If there’s anything more depressing than waking up a peacefully sleeping newborn when you’re more tired than you’ve ever been in your life, I can’t think of it.)

Did we destroy his natural bent toward sleeping long stretches with this routine? Maybe so. We’ll never know. But he needed to eat, so we did what we had to do.

Only within the last month or so has my son learned to put himself to sleep on his own with minimal fuss. Cry-it-out methods always tore our hearts out, and honestly, even when we got really desperate and gave modified CIO a try, he didn’t respond well. Swaddling didn’t help. Sound machines and pitch-black rooms made no difference. We tried it all. But still he woke up for hugs.

Sometimes in the desert of new-parent exhaustion, you will be seduced by the shimmering oasis of The Sleep Magic Bullet—that one time your baby wore the astronaut footie pajamas and drank exactly 7 ounces of milk before bed and had the swaddle blanket with the monkeys on it and Jupiter was in retrograde and he slept through the night!

In your sleep-deprived state, you will start to see patterns that might relieve you of your exhaustion everywhere, but often, you’re just looking for things that aren’t there.

So don’t get discouraged if exactly re-creating that magical night yields less-than-satisfactory results. There are so many factors at play, sometimes it’s impossible to find the elusive Sleep Magic Bullet. And that’s okay.

We survived. It’s been 19 months, and we are all reasonably well rested. Even though he still wakes up sometimes, he gets 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night. Our sanity, marriage and sex life have emerged intact.

Healthy, happy babies with completely wonderful parents can be totally terrible sleepers. You’re not a failure. Your baby is not deficient. You’re doing a great job and your baby is doing just fine. It will get better, but sometimes it just takes a while. No two babies are the same, and there’s no one-size-fits-all way to be a parent.

And one day, your baby will be a teenager who sleeps 15 hours a night. It will happen. So at least there’s that.

(Note: The writing of this article was interrupted by my child waking up for a hug.)

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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