Kiddo Q&A

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I’ve gotten a ton of parenting-related questions lately, so I figured I’d put the answers all in one post.  Enjoy!


What’s Claire’s sleep like?  How do you get her to sleep like that?


At 3 months, Claire goes to bed around 7:30, although actually falling asleep usually takes some time.  She normally wakes up and requires comforting about 2 – 3 times before she’s actually out at 8:30 or 9.  I dream feed her at 10 PM, and then she wakes up typically once in the middle of the night to eat.  She wakes again at 6 to snack, and then I can usually get her to go back to sleep for another hour or two, which is nice because I either 1) continue sleeping; 2) get  up and work; or 3) get up and hang out with Henry alone.


I think some kids are just naturally better sleepers than others.  They want to sleep more, they wake up less, they eat more during the day, etc.  But I also think I’ve done a few things differently with Claire that helped a lot:  from the start, we swaddled (I like this swaddle as well as this warmer option), dream fed, used a pacifier, and used the swing when necessary.  I was afraid to do these things with Henry because I didn’t want to create sleep dependencies, but she doesn’t seem to be dependent on any of these things now (she’ll sleep with arms out of the swaddle or let the pacifier fall out).  When she didn’t need the swing, I put her in her crib or bassinet (and now, we never use the swing).  Beyond the initial first few weeks, I tried put her to sleep in her swing or crib instead of letting her sleep on me.  I also put her down for naps a lot – she is just now staying awake for longer than 1:00 – 1:30 hours at a time.  She naps 4 or 5 times a day!  Sleep begets sleep, after all.  Re-reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child helped us a lot.


Also, I regularly let her fuss in her crib longer than Henry EVER fussed before I sleep trained her.  Some of this is just practical – I can’t always jump up to rescue Claire from her crib; sometimes it takes me 5 minutes to get to her because I’m supervising Henry in the bathtub or whatever.  But some of it is also that I think my biggest mistake with Henry was that I always rescued him whenever he made a peep.  I trained him to expect to be picked up the moment he woke up (even if I had just fed him a full bottle at 3 AM and had merely startled himself awake).  50% of the time, she fusses and cannot work herself back down – this is normal.  But the other 50% of the time, she fusses for a few moments and puts herself back to sleep.  I plan to sleep train her at 5 months (I CANNOT WAIT!) and know this is good practice for her.  I wrote extensively about Henry’s sleep patterns and eventual training (here and here). I know sleep training is not for every parent or kid, but it really worked for us.


Everything I read said that infants need predictable naps but that seems SO hard when you have a toddler. I was so good about having my infant home for naps when he was little but with #2 coming soon, I don’t know how that is possible. How do you create good sleep habits but not get chained to your house?


I just try to get her in her crib/bassinet whenever possible. For both Henry and Claire, it seemed like the act of sleeping was more important than where they were sleeping.  Sleep above all else, right?  Again – sleep begets sleep.  I’d rather have her nap in the carseat than not nap at all.  Right now, we are usually at home for her first nap; second nap is in the car/stroller; third nap is at home because Henry is eating lunch, having quiet time, or watching TV; fourth nap is usually on-the-go as well, but sometimes it’s not.  Fourth nap is always the hardest, right?

photo (46)

A lot of having two kids seems to be about doing the best you can.  It’s hard to juggle her sleep needs with Henry’s need for play and exploration, so I’m okay with on-the-go naps. I just try to make up for them when we’re at home. Regarding pumping, if you pump milk, too, here’s a handy chart that lets you know how long it can sit out – I usually just toss a back up bottle in my bag without worrying about keeping it cold (and then heating it up). Sometimes I pump in the car with an adaptor that plugs into the lighter; I wish I could recommend ours because it rocks but I don’t know what brand it is.


What’s Henry’s sleep like these days? Does he nap?


Nope.  Man, I miss toddler naps a lot.  He naps about 2 times a week, but I still make him do 45 minutes to an hour of quiet time in his room every day so he can decompress by himself.  On the days he doesn’t nap, he sleeps from 7 PM – 6:30 AM.


Why is Henry still in diapers? Are you going to potty train him soon?


Maybe.  I’m letting Henry (who is 2 years and 9 months) take the lead on this.  He shows lots of signs of readiness and will go on the potty about once or twice a day, but he hasn’t expressed true interest in going cold turkey with underwear. I want it to be his decision, so I’m waiting for him to let me know. 


How was Henry’s preschool adjustment? Any tips?


It didn’t go as well as I thought. Henry is super social and loves people, so I thought he would adore daycare (he goes three times a week for half days).  It took him a long time to warm up and there were a LOT of tears (and sometimes, there still are).  Things that helped: When I drop him off, I basically drop him and turn on my heel and bolt.  Lingering makes the tears a lot worse.  When my mom was here for Claire’s birth, she really got Henry into a few other boys in his class. She learned their names and would talk about them a lot and basically motivated Henry to make the boys his BFFs.  He really likes having close friends in the classroom, so I think talking up that aspect of it helped, too.


How’s breastfeeding going?


Well, I’m pumping again <—an explanation of last time.  I pump all her daytime bottles + first nighttime bottle but breastfeed her in the morning and randomly throughout the day.  I still have to use a shield because she struggles to latch onto my flat nipples (TMI, sorry), so that’s part of why I went back to pumping.  But also… I just prefer pumping.  Which I can’t even believe that I’m saying because I hated it so much last time.  I pump really fast, so it’s just easier for me than messing with breastfeeding.  I don’t seem to despise pumping as much this time around, mostly because 1) I knew what I was getting into and 2) I have a breastfeeding quit date in my mind already.  Knowing that I’m okay with introducing formula, like I eventually did with Henry, takes the pressure off big-time.


Everyone always wants to know what the kids do when I pump – Claire sits in a bouncy seat and Henry and I talk to her and entertain her. Sometimes I feed her a bottle while I pump. Henry usually chats with us, plays nearby, or watches TV. And never doubt the power of a well-timed snack!


Where are Claire’s booties from?


Hah, this is seriously my #1 asked question.  Her booties are the Zutano booties – they are so cute and way better than socks.


Remember that orange hat that Henry wore all last summer? Where is it from?


It’s the iPlay Flap Sun Hat.  It is awesome and I already bought it in a bigger size for him to wear this summer, too!


What pregnancy books and baby books would you recommend?

PicMonkey Collage2

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Birthing from Within

Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way

Panic-Free Pregnancy

Happiest Baby on the Block

Baby Whisperer

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen & Listen so Your Kids Will Talk



You asked this all the time when you were pregnant, so I’d love to know what you think now.  What’s harder, going from no kids to 1 kid or 1 kid to 2 kids?


Definitely 0 to 1.  That’s when the lifestyle shift occurs – your time is not always your own, your sleep is disrupted, and you have to figure out how to parent a baby. HUGE learning curve, often very stressful.  I found #2 to be so much easier because I already knew what I was doing, knew what I was getting (all the great parts of having a baby), and knew what I just to power through and survive (all the not-so-great parts that eventually pass).


How do you find time to workout with kids and your job?


Well, remember that I’m a work-from-home mom that works about 15 hours a week, so I have wiggle room in my schedule.  I workout either when Henry is in school and put Claire in childcare at the gym OR I put both kids in.  If you work full-time, it’s definitely more challenging to make it work.  We had a discussion about this on the HTP Facebook page, as well as at the bottom of this post.


Do you let Henry watch TV?


I didn’t let him watch TV for a long time, but now I don’t think we could survive without it.  I really, really need that break during the day (especially now that he’s not napping) to work, clean, or cook (or just decompress).  I actually think the shows that he watches are pretty cool – he’s super into Octonauts and has learned SO MUCH about sea life from it.  I don’t let him watch commercials, and I moderate what he watches (no shows with annoying child characters or hitting, which is in a lot more children’s programming than you’d think).  His screen time is limited to the TV; he doesn’t use a tablet because I want him to think of TV as a special thing that we go into the TV room for, not something available in the car etc.


What monitor do you have?


This one – love it!  We have two cameras so we can toggle back and forth between the kiddos.


What toys are Henry into right now?

PicMonkey Collage

Where’s Waldo <— great sitting on the potty or car book

This shark

TOOB Animals, especially the Whales and Dolphins TOOB

His plastic golf clubs

Kwazii from Octonauts

Brain Quest <— so much fun to play together!



  • Britt@MyOwnBalance March 12, 2015, 7:58 am

    My three month old son has always been a great sleeper waking up once a night and sleeping all the way through when he was a couple weeks old. Lately he has been having a sleep regression and I think he has developed some sleep dependencies. I am trying to let him settle himself but it can be so hard sometimes!

    I started pumping almost immediately after he was born and I find that it takes a lot of pressure off when you have a bottle available!

  • Grace March 12, 2015, 8:34 am

    I love your parenting posts the most! I have to say, you make the cutest babies EVER. And Claire looks so much like Henry!
    Oh man, I can’t imagine having my daughter drop naps so young, I thought the average kid needs naps until age 4 at least? That stinks! It’s funny, we never did any type of sleep training (we co-slept, nursed on demand for almost three years, the whole nine yards) and it’s light a switch flipped at 15 months and she became a “good” sleeper completely on her own, and at 3 and a half she still naps 2-3 hours a day every day, and sleeps a solid 10-11 hours every night, and bedtime and naptime is a breeze (like, put her down, say goodnight, and walk out of the room, and that’s it). I would say she sleeps better than any of her friends that were sleep trained. I wonder if it’s genetic or something else? Who knows?
    As for potty training, our daughter was where Henry was – going on her own on occasion – around 2, and at 2 years 4 months I tried the no-pants “bootcamp” method on a whim, and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s something I never thought I’d do, but it “clicked” for her by the first afternoon, and she was going on the potty 100% by the second day, and has never had an accident after the first week. It could just be luck, but I really recommend it. They say there’s a good “window” for potty training between 20 and 30 months, and it’s must harder (and much more of a battle of wills) after that age.
    That’s a bummer about preschool, too. One of my favorite child development books (Burton White’s First Three Years of Life) says that the scientific research does show (although it’s unpopular for parents to hear!) there’s no developmental or social benefit from peer-based play under the age of three, and for a lot of kids, especially boys, they are put in preschool too early and it can be more harmful than helpful. Have you thought about hiring a one-on-one babysitter instead, if he’s still unhappy?

    • Caitlin March 12, 2015, 9:38 am

      Interesting. He really likes it once he’s there, it’s just the anticipation of going (I think he’d rather be at home!! Hah), but I need a chance to work. I think a babysitter wouldn’t be cost efficient unfortunately!

  • Erica { } March 12, 2015, 8:36 am

    I read nurture shock when teaching Human Growth & Development and LOVED it. Such an eye-opening book!

  • kristin | W [H] A T C H March 12, 2015, 9:04 am

    your babes are so sweet.

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork March 12, 2015, 9:11 am

    Thanks for always sharing such great and practical information and for sharing your experiences with us! I’m not a mom yet, but I’ll be saving this for reference and sharing with my expectant friends and friends with children.

  • Laura Swanson March 12, 2015, 9:12 am

    How do you avoid letting him watch commercials? Is there kids programming available without it?

    • Caitlin March 12, 2015, 9:17 am


  • Kayla March 12, 2015, 10:13 am

    I just had twins and am having a hard time with the pump. I have the hospital medela Pump and it takes 10 or 15 minutes before it even pulls any milk out… But if I just squeeze my nipples (sorry for Tmi) milk comes out immediately. Is there any advice you have to make the pump work quicker?

    • Caitlin March 12, 2015, 1:43 pm

      Squeeze your nipples 🙂 hah no really! Do it. I massage my breasts and it makes the milk come out faster. Looking at Claire or thinking about her helps too.

  • Sabrina March 12, 2015, 10:14 am

    R is obsessed with Where’s Waldo too. He has Trig’s childhood books and looks at them almost every night after we leave his room.

    I’m stressing pumping this time around. Last time when I had to pump R was still so little (18.5 months) and wouldn’t really notice. Is it weird, though, to pump in front of an almost 4 year old? Seems like it to me. And Ali is obsessed with me so I doubt she will leave me alone while pumping. I’m going to have to work that one out.

    And I totally agree that going from 0 to 1 is the hardest transition. Sometimes I still mourn those days where I could just put on shoes and GO!

    • Caitlin March 12, 2015, 1:42 pm

      I was going to say “would you BF in front of him?” And if the answer is yes, then you really shouldn’t feel weird about pumping… But then I realized that I would BF in front of WAY more people than I would pump in front of. I don’t know why… I pump in front of my husband and kids though – it’s hard to avoid it.

      • kira March 13, 2015, 12:17 pm

        seriously.. i only pumped in front of my boyfriend and my family.. its so akward with your nipples being pulled out. lol but yea.. i had flat nipples too and pumped till he was 10 months exclusively i feel your pain! it makes me not want to have another just because pumping took over my life.

  • Mandy B March 12, 2015, 10:28 am

    I work from home too (20 hours a week) with a 14 month old – man it’s not as easy as people think it is, is it? The number 1 reason I’m nervous about the idea of having another (though I’m really looking forward to it) is wondering how on earth I could pull this off with a toddler AND an infant. It’s nice to see how someone in a similar position does it!

  • Katalina @ Peas and Peonies March 12, 2015, 11:09 am

    I love this post, I am always looking forward to read about your parenting approach as it is so similar to mine. I also exclusively pumped with my baby, and now that I am thinking about second one, I know that I will pump again. I work fulltime, and I am a consultant so I can’t even take 3 months off, a few weeks if I am lucky, I don’t even have the timing to master breastfeeding. Second time around I will be more open minded, and as you said it makes it easier when you know what to expect.

  • Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries March 12, 2015, 11:45 am

    This was awesome and super helpful! I’m pregnant with our second, and my son will be about 2.5 when the new babe comes along, so I was really intrigued by your answers regarding dealing with two kids, schedules, naps, etc. Thanks for sharing!

  • Julie March 12, 2015, 11:47 am

    LOVED the Brain Quest packets when my daughter was little (she’s 15 now!)! They are so easily portable that they make great time passers when waiting at a restaurant or in line at an amusement park, etc.

  • Nikki March 12, 2015, 11:50 am

    I get so many GREAT ideas from you! I can’t wait to go on a treasure hunt, start Where’s Waldo books, and try Brain Quest with my 3 year old!

  • Megan March 12, 2015, 12:05 pm

    Your kids are adorable.

    I think some kids are just better sleeper than others, and some definitely take to sleep training more than others. I briefly tried it with my first but it didn’t work and I missed nursing him to sleep. Like another poster- we coslept and nurses on demand and eventually figured out the sleep thing. I honestly can say I was more well rested than my sleep training peers, he eventually could just latch on when he wanted to and I didn’t really even have to wake up. 🙂

    I do think it is important to note, any time you mention early sleep training, that you mention that it isn’t recommended by the sleep experts.

    • stacy March 12, 2015, 3:31 pm

      I don’t think Caitlin needs to note anything. She has a disclaimer: “I’m not a Registered Dietitian (RD). For specific medical counseling, please contact a Registered Dietitian or your doctor. My blog posts are based on my own personal knowledge, experience, and opinions.” This is just her experience as a mom. She isn’t telling everyone else what to do.

      • Caitlin March 12, 2015, 3:36 pm

        I don’t really feel the need to mention it every time either because it would be super redundant. It’s all over the sleep training posts and I would hope that no parent would sleep train without running the concept by their ped first.

        • Megan March 13, 2015, 12:25 am

          I didn’t finish my sentence (isn’t that what happens when you try to do anything while kids are around, lol!) I meant not recommended until 6 months. 😃

  • ellen March 12, 2015, 12:38 pm

    I am always interested with whats going on with Henry since my son is two months younger then him.. My son does not take naps with me or my husband but naps at my moms or daycare….weird. Also if Henry likes the toob animals he might like these buckets of animal figurines that Target sells….i think there are 60 in a bucket for 8 dollars. They are my sons favorite toys ever and plays with them constantly.

  • Katie sB March 12, 2015, 1:48 pm

    thanks so much for all the book recommendations. I’m pregnant with my first baby and I’m so overwhelmed about all of the newborn stuff, especially sleeping stuff. Planning to buy a lot of these books and read up.

  • Michelle March 12, 2015, 6:36 pm

    You’re a great mom! I have three kids, and out of necessity, the third napped on the go all the time. Out of all three (now 16, 14, and 10), he’s the go with the flow kid. He’s always game to try something new and has a happy outlook on life, plus a hilarious sense of humor.

    I love the pictures of your kids you’ve been posting lately, especially the one of Henry building a tower on “Qlaire”. So cute!

  • Lucia March 12, 2015, 9:49 pm

    thanks for ideas about Waldo and Brain Quest, both sound like they would be fun in the car or when I attempt potty training boot camp. My kiddo is just 2-3 days younger than Henry (I remember reading your birth announcement while I was in the hospital!) and he also had a super hard time at preschool. His teacher recommended upping the days or at least having them be consecutive and bam, just in 2-3 weeks, no more tears. We also switched to 5 days a week after the holidays and I think that the consistency really made a difference, way less confusing for him, but I think even if we had done M-W that would have helped. Good luck!

  • jill March 12, 2015, 9:56 pm

    I bought my nephew a pair of those booties based off your recommendation- my sister loves them! In fact I just bought him a few more pairs. Thanks for the rec!

  • Rosie March 12, 2015, 10:27 pm

    Hey Caitlin,
    I was just rereading Claire’s birth story (I love all birth stories even thought I’m not yet a mom) and smiled at the part where you mentioned Henry just knew Claire’s sex. My mom tells the same story about me: like Henry, I’m also the oldest and they did not know the sexy of my baby brother, and apparently even thought I was only 2 years old (so same as Henry!) I was utterly convinced I was having a baby brother and could not be swayed – pretty amazing. Maybe there really is something to it? Along those lines, I know you are passionate about parenting both your son and daughter the same way you would if you had two sons or daughters but as someone who also comes from a brother-sister family, is having a girl vs. boy any different? Do you find yourself acting any differently? Do other people act/speak differently toward Claire vs. Henry? Maybe it’s too soon to notice anything but I remember you saying before Claire was born that having another boy would in a sense be easier since you already knew what to expect and how to parent a boy. I know this can be a touchy subject for some but I would be interested to hear your viewpoint! Thanks so much and as always, your blog is a joy.

    • Caitlin March 13, 2015, 8:33 am

      I think it’s somewhat too soon to tell. The only thing I’ve really noticed is how much people assume Claire is a boy because I don’t dress her in overly girl things usually. Hah!

      I have read that parents play tougher with boy children so I’m trying to physically treat them the same. I like a girlie who can tumble!!!

  • emma @ be mom strong March 13, 2015, 7:23 am

    Brain Quest!! I loved that game when I was younger. I agree- could NOT survive without TV and I’m a former reading specialist!
    You’re doing great mama! We are hitting 7 months next week! It flies!

  • Jill March 13, 2015, 8:50 am

    I have a 3.5 year old and an 8 month old. The 8 month old was sleeping just like Claire at 3 months, and then things took a turn for the worse around 3.5-4 months old. I think it was the 4 month sleep regression, and he went from waking up once a night to twice…then 3 times…then every 2-3 hours again like a newborn! We went to him every cry until he hit 5 months old, then we did sleep training. After 5 completely awful days he now has been sleeping 12 hours a night (with no waking up at night) since the time we did the sleep training. SO glad that phase is over (especially since we don’t plan to have any more kids)! So just wanted to warn you it might get a little worse at 4 months but at least you know there is light at the end of the tunnel 🙂

  • Katie March 13, 2015, 10:14 am

    Love, love the Zutano booties! So worth the money– just bought my 6 month old the next size.

  • Sara March 13, 2015, 10:47 am

    Thanks for this Caitlin! I have major baby no. 2 fever! But we want to wait a couple more months before trying. I did a lot with no. 1 that it sounds like you did with Henry (picking my son up as soon as he made a peep, etc. etc.) I also pumped exclusively and I hated it so much I thought I would never do it again. I quit around 10 months because I needed to for my mental sanity and you know what–Luke is fine. He got half formula and half stored breast milk until 11 months and then all formula until we switched him entirely to whole milk around 13 months. Anyway, I love your attitude and I hope I can feel similarly about baby no. 2. I had to use a shield also when I did try to breastfeed. I’m hoping breastfeeding goes better this time, but if not, I can return to the pump (I will have to when I go back to work anyway). The only thing we struggle with my son about (he is almost 2) is sleeping. And we’re almost getting there. He still sleeps with us half of the night, but it’s getting to be shorter and shorter (the amount of time he is in bed with us. I’m trying to get him to cuddle with a stuffed animal instead of mommy and daddy). Thanks for letting me go on and on and on…

  • Amanda K. March 13, 2015, 2:29 pm

    fist-pump for your potty training decision! my son was over three when we potty trained and it was actually not that hard (i mean, i think it’s always hard…) because he was totally ready.
    the hardest part, looking back, was probably dealing with all the “why isn’t he potty trained!? my kid potty trained at 6 months!!” comments.
    but everyone who mattered (me, my husband, my son, my son’s doctor) was on the same page.

  • Rebecca March 13, 2015, 5:55 pm

    My cousin would fast-forward through parts of movies she knew were “inappropriate” (ie the characters called each names or were mean to each other). I thought it was a little over-bearing, because they learn to do and not do that kind of thing. You can take a second to say “This is not okay” versus not letting them see it. But it’s your parenting style, not mine, so.
    Although I do have issues watching certain scary scenes in shows, and I refuse to watch horror movies. But like. I watched shows all the time where kids would call each other dumb names and beat up on each other (usually playfully), and I grew up to be normal. Haha. I guess everyone has different tolerances and you know your kids’ personalities and tendencies better than anybody else, so have at it.

    My last course at school required me to write a paper to a parent of young kids on technology, and I love your idea with the tablet. If they’re over-exposed to tablets and things like that, their brains develop differently than if they were turning pages in a book. McLuhan and Rushkoff have really interesting books on how tech shapes our brains and our lives. And while I didn’t always love writing response paragraphs to their chapters, I marked pages (on my Kindle, because it was easier than buying the giant hardcover…) and used them as references in the paper I wrote. I got a really good grade on the paper, too, come to think of it…

  • Becky March 17, 2015, 11:14 am

    Wondering if you have any book/website recommendations on balancing nursing and pumping? Trying to figure out how often to do each without messing up my supply.

    • Caitlin March 18, 2015, 2:58 pm

      I think Kelly Mom has some resources and there’s a BabyCenter group on pumping. I would just say to pump after a feeding, such as first thing in the morning, if you want to pump off extra bottles and not make your supply go crazy. Or you could pump in place of a nurse and that wouldn’t impact supply much at all. It’s all supply/demand based.

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