Sleep Routines with Anna McMillian

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Sleep Routines with Anna McMillian

Sleep Routines vs. Sleep Training

When we are talking about sleep routine vs. sleep training we are discussing totally different choices. You've got to look at the foundations because if you are going to sleep train and you don't have your foundations sorted- it's not going to work anyway. There are things that need to be in place regardless of how a child gets to sleep. So sleep training is looking at how the child is getting to sleep. This is what I need to go to bed. For an adult that might be like turning off the lights, locking the front door, brushing your teeth. When we look at a child's sleep routines and health what we're looking to do is actually set up healthy habits.

If you think about the habits that are gonna last a lifetime, those are the things that we really want to concentrate on as a newborn. We're looking at how we are communicating with our baby? How are they communicating with us? They're actually trying to tell us an awful lot. Babies are born with 12 to 15 different cries. And if we answer the same time with everything, they actually narrow that down. We want to have our baby feel like they're able to communicate what is happening to us. We're able to listen to them and then those communication tracks really go together. So if they signal that they are tired, you're then having a routine that you're able to communicate back to them.

It's opening up those communication lines. It's looking at those sleep hygiene hygiene. And also setting up those realistic expectations, even for yourself as a parent, what is healthy sleep hygiene? The bedtime routine having pajamas is a good sleep signal for a baby to know it's sleep time. For routines we're looking at those things that help a child communicate, feel safe, and that signal that sleep is coming. When we look at sleep training we're helping them shape how they want to get to sleep. We want to make sure that they feel comforted and safe.When we have really good foundations the baby feels competent and safe in expressing their need for sleep.

The need for sleep training doesn't always arise because we're able to make sure that everything is in line. When a baby has great communication skills you have a jiving between parent and baby from the beginning where a baby is able to cue their need for sleep and the parent is able to respond appropriately to the sleep cue to support the baby.

What to do if you already have bad habits in place?

There's no reason why you can't adjust your sleep routines that are going to be really healthy shifts that are not, that are not kind of brutal. It doesn't need to be like, cry it out and really tough. Yeah. It needs to be focused and strategic, but that's why we have healthy sleep routines right from the beginning. And that's why when you change, sleep for babies, it needs to be, you need to have a plan about how you're going to do it and we need to do it strategically and consistently. So that then baby is like, I know when mom or dad makes a change that this is like, I can trust that I can lean into it.

Then they're able to lean into those sleep skills that they already have, because there's no such thing as like a good or a bad sleeper. There's no such thing because to be honest, 25-50% is genetic. That means 50-75% is learned behavior. So that is the portion that we need to focus on. This is how we can set them up for success and really do it in a way that your child's feeling confident and safe.

Why your baby needs routines

  • - They need to start understanding day and night. The way they do that is by having day and night routines that differentiate the two.
    • - Ex. It is nighttime and when it is night we: do a bath, we do our pajamas, we do a feed and we also do a dark room.
  • - They need to have quality awake time during the day. And this is different during the night. We want to have these routines because they need to understand how to know that their body is tired. It is super stimulating for them to be awake in the early weeks of life and we need to help direct them to sleep to avoid overtired and over-stimulated babies. This helps them to work with sleep pressure instead of against it when they are over exhausted.
  • - We need to communicate with our babies. By consistently using these routines, your baby will know when it is bedtime after a few weeks exactly how they know it is time to feed when you grab the bottle, grab a nursing pillow, etc. These routines help you to communicate with your baby to support their expectations of what is happening.
  • - Routines will help you to support a healthy sleep foundation for your child and allow you to spend less time as a new parent stressed about sleep.

Follow along with Anna for more tips! Check out Little Winks Sleep Courses here and follow along on Instagram here!

How an Active Pregnancy Fosters an Enjoyable Pregnancy

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

How an Active Pregnancy Fosters an Enjoyable Pregnancy

As a physical therapist and mother of two, I am passionate about helping other women have an enjoyable pregnancy. As a society, we need to take better care of our mothers. We are the caregivers of the world and should be treated as such. Growing and birthing a human being is a freaking super power. I’m here to empower you to enjoy this monumental time in your life.

Being pregnant is hard work.
Pregnancy can be draining emotionally and physically. Our bodies are adapting to different hormones and a different weight distribution. Our sleeping patterns are changing and our stress levels may be rising. You might be taking care of other children or working outside the home. So, how do we get through nine months of growing a baby and a changing body while still feeling well mentally and physically?

Pain and leakage--common but no longer the standard!
Low back pain, pelvic pain, hip pain, and urinary incontinence are all common symptoms during pregnancy, but are actually very treatable symptoms. They should not be accepted as something you have to live with during pregnancy. A physical therapist who specializes in treating women during pregnancy can help you resolve pain and/or urinary leakage. Specific exercises, positions, postures, and techniques can prevent and alleviate these symptoms. Sometimes it’s an easy fix, like using an SIJ belt or belly support, using pillows between your knees at night, or practicing good mechanics during your daily activities. It’s important to address your pain and leakage during pregnancy. If left untreated, these symptoms can persist throughout pregnancy, postpartum, and in future pregnancies. Living with pain can lead to poor sleep, depression, and a decreased quality of life. Don’t accept these symptoms as just being “part of pregnancy”, a physical therapist can help you!

Exercise is medicine.
Before starting an exercise routine, you first should clear this with your physician. Once cleared by a doctor, starting and maintaining an exercise program is beneficial for the health of both mom and baby. Regular exercise during pregnancy leads to less pain, improved mental wellbeing, increased energy, improved sleep, decreased constipation, and a lower risk for excessive weight gain. Participating in regular physical activity decreases your risk for gestational diabetes and c-section. It is also associated with shortened labor and faster recovery. If prior to pregnancy you were running or exercising at a higher intensity, I encourage you to continue these activities (if you want to) if your physician has cleared you to do so. Symptoms like pain, urine leakage, or a “heaviness” feeling in the pelvis or rectum warrant a decrease in the intensity of the exercise. If you’re experiencing any of the following, you should contact your doctor immediately: bleeding or fluid leaking, severe abdominal cramping, dizziness, or headaches. I’m a firm believer that we know our bodies best. If you listen to your body and modify exercise when needed, it is safe and healthy. I love problem solving with clients to find ways to move more optimally so that you can maintain your current level of fitness during pregnancy.

Every Mother is an Athlete.
As a lifelong athlete and marathoner I can tell you that labor and delivery was the most intense workout of my life. It requires endurance, strength, tolerance to discomfort, mindfulness, and a degree of flexibility. If we train for sports, marathons, and even 5Ks, why don’t we train for labor and delivery? Especially if you’re planning for an unmedicated birth, we have to start training for this event. Having experienced two child births along with my expert level knowledge and education, I’m blessed to be in a perfect position to help you train for the “marathon” of labor and delivery.

Want to start an exercise program?
I’d love to share a week by week program that will keep you active and feeling good throughout your pregnancy.  Click here and use the code 'TBL' for my free labor and delivery eBook! Congratulations and I can’t wait to meet you! Postpartum plans are also available for after delivery! If you’d like more information regarding fitness and wellness during pregnancy, visit or contact me at 

 Hello! My name is Katie Ruebush and I am a women's health physical therapist, farm wife, and boy mom dedicated to helping women throughout their lifespan live healthy, active lifestyles. I am particularly passionate about caring for and pampering the pregnant and postpartum woman and helping new moms embrace a new body and a new way of life. I love empowering women to take control of their pelvic health and reach their goals through education and expert level care. I look forward to meeting you!

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