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Get a Better Night's Sleep

Courtney Z.
COURTNEY Z.
Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant
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Join Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, Courtney Zentz, for a live Q&A to get help with everything related to infant, toddler and child sleep! She is here to answer questions about nap transitions, night wakings, bedtimes and more!

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COURTNEY ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Waking up at night/ night feedings
PAULA

Our 9-month old is exclusively breastfed, no formula/bottle. She won't fall asleep except at the breast and keeps waking up every 2 hrs during the night. We tried to CIO but it made us even more miserable and my husband and I do not feel comfortable doing that. She sleeps in a separate room and sometimes she would fall back to sleep if we let her cry a little bit when she starts crying really bad we go to pick her up. When she wakes up she definitely eats a lot (5-10 min) then she falls back asleep. Is this normal? How long will this continue? Or should we do something about it?

Courtney
COURTNEY

Exclusively breast-fed babies can sleep. Many clients of mine EBF and still have little ones that can sleep, so the good news there, it's possible. Right now, her prop is believing that the only way she knows how to fall asleep is at the breast. That's all she's ever known. Sleep is a skill that babies learn like crawling, holding a bottle or using their hands. Change is often required to help flip the night feeds to ensure they are getting the milk during the daytime hours (6am-7pm). She sounds like she is graze eating when she wakes, for comfort and falling asleep vs. nutrition. The challenge for you is that this isn't something that in my experience stops on it's own, until you help them understand they can sleep, but that doesn't mean leaving them to cry. Understanding all aspects of what's going on, props, schedules, habits, etc. are part of building a sleep solution that helps the baby (most importantly) but that is also a comfortable approach for the family. I am happy to setup time if you want to learn more about my services, please feel free to reach out. This one is something that is going to require more one on one help and very common with how I support families.

SARAH

I just wanted to chime in to say that I got my EBF baby to sleep through the night right around that age -- 9 months -- by gradually shortening nursing sessions (one minute at a time) so she was doing more and more of the "work" of falling asleep by herself. I was so worried that she really was just hungry, but when I shortened sessions, she didn't wake up any more often, so that helped me feel more confident.

COURTNEY ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
5 Mo Old Naps
APRIL, PARENT OF 6 YEAR OLD

Hi Courtney -

We are having a tough time getting my five month old to move from micro-napping during day. She prefers to take 5-7 naps per day from 25-45 minutes each. I have tried keeping her awake in the hopes she will merge some of these into longer naps, and get on a more predicable schedule, but so far it has just amounted to having a very overtired, fussy baby that just skips over a few of her regular naps. It hasn't elongated her sleep time for the other naps much, if at all. Thanks so much for any advice.

Courtney
COURTNEY

Hi April, At this age, consolidated naps are tough. I always tell clients before 9 months, focus on total daytime sleep not nap duration. Awake time is 1.5-2 hours during the day between naps. You want them napping no more than 3-4 hours total with bedtime at 7. No naps after 5:00pm and ensuring the naps cover the whole day to ensure not being over-tired for bed. It's a balance, but here is a great sample "day" for you.

Sample:
6:30am Wake up, breast or bottle<br/>8:30am Nap #1 for 30 minutes
10:30am-11:45am Nap #2 for 75 minutes
1:45pm-2:15pm Nap #3 for 30 minutes
4:15pm – 5:00pm Nap #4 for 45 minutes
6:30 pm Bedtime routine to begin
7:00 pm Bedtime
Total Daytime Sleep: 3 hours

Once they are closer to 9 months, the ideal is 90 minutes at 10 & 2. For now, focus on the total daytime sleep though. Naps in the crib, and a good bedtime at 7pm also will help to align all of this. Also ensure she's falling to sleep without props like rocking or nursing as they only get worse over time..

APRIL

Thanks so much! She is a good night sleeper (overall, minus a few issues that I think are related to teething), so this gives me hope that she still has plenty of time to get into a good daytime nap schedule.

COURTNEY ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Sleep training
JEN, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD, 3 YEAR OLD

When is the earliest you can start sleep training? And what method do you recommend. We did full on CIO at 4 months with our first but still had a lot of issues with short naps and early wake ups. I have a 7 week old and she is a pretty good sleeper but only sleeps swaddled, in the rock n play or swing. I just don't want to be creating too many bad habits that I'm going to eventually break. Last question, our girls share a wall so how do you sleep train the baby without waking the toddler and what do I do if the toddler wakes up too? Let them both cry? We use white noise machines in both rooms.

Courtney
COURTNEY

Good Morning Jen, Congrats on the newest edition to the family! I am sure you are quite busy and tired, but the good news is, following a few things NOW will stop much of the pain you had with your first. This is a new Blog I just wrote exactly on this, that will detail all of it out for you. https://journal.thriveglobal.com/is-2017-the-year-for-your-baby-to-sleep-bbbc383c4a9e#.p0iz1wk89

I would recommend once they are 12lbs/3months, getting a Magic SleepSuit swaddle transition, as the AAP recommends now that as of 8 weeks, you no longer swaddle with the arms in, for fear of them rolling. This product is amazing and safe for use in the crib, which is where you want them sleeping.

For now, ensure your timing for naps is correct, babies that age nap every 1-1.5 hours. Feed, swaddle and place in the crib awake. They learn to realize they can sleep in the crib, fall asleep on their own and it's a safe place. People fear the crib because it's big...which I never understand. To the baby, big or small, they become familiar. The more props like the rock and play you remove now, the less you deal with later. At this age they are sponges learning from you, so teach them how to fall asleep! That blog will be super helpful. For your toddler, short naps and early wakings are almost always a sign of overtired. Ensure a 7pm bedtime and even today a 2-2.5 hour nap to remove those early wakings :) And for the time being, the noise machine is the best. It's short term so do your best but don't create bad habits now that end up lasting years, as before you know it everyone will be sleeping!

Our Q&A starts now!
TINYHOOD, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD

Welcome Courtney Zentz from Tiny Transitions Sleep Consulting. Courtney is here to answer your questions and help you get your babies and toddlers to sleep better. She will be answering the first 40 questions, so ask early.