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Sleep Support for Babies and Toddlers

Arielle D.
ARIELLE D.
Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant
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Join Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, Arielle Driscoll, and get all your sleep questions answered. Ask her about night wakings, short naps, early wake ups, and more!

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Message Arielle
ARIELLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Waking up at night
R, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

Our 6 month old had established a good 9pm-6am sleep routine for the past couple of months but recently wakes us crying in the middle of the night and it's tough to put him back to sleep, also has become tougher putting him to sleep at his usual bedtime. Not sure what's going on? Would appreciate help and advice!! Thank you
Roomasa

Arielle
ARIELLE

Hi Roomasa,

9 hours overnight is very low for a baby this age. My guess would be that he's overtired. At his age, I typically recommend a schedule like the following:

Nap 1 around 9 a.m.
Nap 2 around 1 p.m.
Optional nap 3 (if there is time) around 2 hours after waking from second nap but ending no later than 5 p.m.
Bedtime about 2 hours after waking from third nap

I believe your son is overtired. When a baby is overtired, his brain fills with cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. These hormones make it difficult for a baby to fall asleep and/or stay asleep.

Hope that helps!
Arielle

R

Thank you Arielle, we do try to get him to nap during the day but it is
very hard to get him to sleep and he wakes up at the smallest sound. We do
try to have at least one morning and one afternoon nap 1 hour each or a
longer afternoon nap for about an hour. Do you have any tips/advice on
getting his nap schedule regularized during the day?

Thanks again!
Roomasa

Arielle
ARIELLE

First, I would highly recommend white noise if he wakes easily from sounds. My favorite white noise machine is the Marpac Dohm.

Second, I would recommend considering a sleep training method to implement in order to help get him to nap longer and more consistently. Consistency is key when trying to help a child to sleep better. There are gentle methods that may work well, and of course there are firmer methods such as the Ferber method or Weissbluth's extinction method.

Arielle
ARIELLE

How are things going? Let me know!

R

Thanks you for checking in, yes I've been pushing the day time naps and that has really helped!! :)

Arielle
ARIELLE

Yay!!!

ARIELLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Early Riser
KATRINA, PARENT OF 6 YEAR OLD, 4 YEAR OLD

Tips for early riser?! My daughter just turned 17 months and for past month has been waking 445/5. She was sleeping 630-530 and takes 2 naps a day around 9
and 1. I was ok with 530 wake but the 445/5 is killing me. I have tried cio but does not work and I don't want her waking her 3yr old sister so I usually get her in 10-15 minutes. She is tired when she wakes so I know not ready to be up but then why wakeup?! i have read time to dropa nap but how do I keep her up from
5-11?!
TIA!

Arielle
ARIELLE

Hi Katrina,

Sounds like she's ready to transition to one nap for sure!

The first few days will be tough, but I would definitely say that's why she's waking early.

I would make sure you back up bedtime during the transition, too. I would get her down for the night around 6 p.m. if you're able. This will help.

As for keeping her up, I would get outside if you can. Try new activities, etc. Again, it may be challenging at first but it should improve within a week or two. :)

Best,
Arielle

KATRINA

is it true not to go in car or stroller, so she won't fall asleep? and do i push nap back 15 min every fewdays or just keep her up until
11?

KATRINA

thank u!!

KATRINA

i don't see my followup comment
do i push nap back every 15 minutes in morning until i hit 11 , or just keep her up from 5-11?
thank u!

Arielle
ARIELLE

I would just aim for 11, then you can slowly push by 15 minutes every few days. :)

Arielle
ARIELLE

How are things going? Let me know!

KATRINA

just started today
put her down 1025 and up at 1150
i guess bed 530 🙈🙈

KATRINA

started today at 10:25 and she woke at 11:50
Guessing bed 530 😩🙈

Arielle
ARIELLE

I would push her tomorrow! That's a GREAT first nap length. Yes, I'd do an early bedtime. Hang in there.

ARIELLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Toddler naps!
SARAH, PARENT OF 5 YEAR OLD, 16 MONTH OLD

My kiddo is 22 months; she sleeps 11 or 11.5 hours at night, pretty much regardless of when I put her to bed or how tired she is. She's in school 4 days and only naps 30-45 minutes there most of the time, getting increasingly tired towards the end of the week. For months, we gave her two naps on days she was home to catch up. A few weeks back, she started taking a long time to fall asleep and waking at night, so we switched to one nap every day. But her sleep is still a mess: it can take her up to 45 min to fall asleep and she's rarely napping much more than an hour, even at home. Did I jump the gun or should I stick it out? Thanks!

Arielle
ARIELLE

Hi Sarah!

Can you tell me what her schedule generally looks like? What time is she being offered the nap? What time are you putting her to bed? Does she fall asleep independently or does she need your assistance to fall asleep?

Arielle

SARAH

She's usually up between 6 and 6:30 am. (I don't take her out of the crib before 6.) School offers the nap at noon or a little bit before, so we've done the same, and she goes to bed between 6:30 and 7 pm. She falls asleep on her own and generally sleeps through the night or resettles herself if she wakes, and she has regularly taken long naps in the past! She's generally an easy sleeper unless overtired, but 13 hours seems like her happy place these days, and I haven't been able to get more than 11.5 (6:30-6 or 7-6:30) at night.

Arielle
ARIELLE

I would back up bedtime if her naps are super short. If she only naps 1 hour, I would get her down for bed by 6 instead of 6:30 and see how she does with that. My guess is that it's likely developmental and she will work through it. I would definitely stick with one nap at her age!

SARAH

Thank you!

Arielle
ARIELLE

You're welcome! :)

Arielle
ARIELLE

Hi Sarah! Just wanted to check in and see if you were able to implement the earlier bedtime?

SARAH

Yesterday, for mysterious toddler reasons, she napped an hour and 40 minutes at school, so we put her down a few minutes after 7 pm. She talked to herself until a bit past 7:30 pm but then slept through until 6 am. Maybe she knew I'd talked to you ;-)

Arielle
ARIELLE

Haha! That's great though!

ARIELLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
6 months and she don't sleep
KARLIN

How can my baby sleep for 3 or 4 hours straight ? Of all night long ? During the day she takes 3 naps but only sleeps for 30 mins. And at night she goes to bed at 830 but she wake up constantly using my boob as a pacifier . Sometimes every hour .

Arielle
ARIELLE

Hi Karlin,

At her age, I recommend a schedule like the following:

Wake by 7 a.m.
Nap 1 around 9 a.m.
Nap 2 around 1p.m.
Nap 3 about 1.5-2 hours after waking from second nap BUT ending no later than 5 p.m.

To get her to extend her sleep, you'll need to implement a sleep training method to help her learn to fall asleep without the boob. There are gentle methods like pick up/put down or the "Happy Sleeper" method, and there are firmer methods like Ferber and Weissbluth's extinction. You can find them all by googling. Read about them and figure out which one you think you can be super consistent with, then I would recommend implementing that method at bedtime and then moving on to nap time.

Arielle
ARIELLE

How are things going? Let me know!

KARLIN

Hi Arielle , she sleeps better last night .. I was thinking maybe is because she's teething . Because before she used to wake up twice to eat .

Arielle
ARIELLE

Have you tried the new schedule at all?

KARLIN

Yes I did yesterday but she didn't go to sleep until 2 pm and I today we wake up at 7 and it's 1023 and she's not sleepy at all :(

ARIELLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Sleeping through the night
CHRISTINA, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

My son is 6 months old and has yet to consistently sleep through the night. I've tried everything from giving him more food before bed, lavender and chamomile baths and Tylenol for teething but nothing seems to work. Any advice or suggestions?

Arielle
ARIELLE

Hi Christina,

You will likely need to choose a sleep training method that you're able to remain consistent with. There are gentle methods and firmer methods. Gentle methods would include the "Happy Sleeper" or "Shhh/Pat" and firmer methods would include Ferber or Weissbluth's extinction.

I'd also recommend an age appropriate schedule. At 6 months, I typically recommend a schedule like the following:

Nap 1 around 9 a.m.
Nap 2 around 1 p.m.
Nap 3 about 90-120 minutes after waking from second nap but ending no later than about 5 p.m.
Bedtime about 2/2.5 hours after waking from the third nap

It sounds to me that he needs to learn to fall asleep independently and that will help him get to sleeping better.

Arielle

Arielle
ARIELLE

How are things going? Let me know!

CHRISTINA

Things haven't changed yet but I will keep you posted as days progress. We're traveling a lot in the summer so it's been especially difficult to keep to a schedule

ARIELLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Bedtime and day care
CAITLAN, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

My 14 week old started day care a couple weeks ago on July 5 and is still adjusting (including not napping well while there - if we're lucky she gets and hour or hour and a half all day).

I bring her home and she sleeps much of the evening, which has worked okay with her bedtime, which seems to naturally fall around 10. I read about wake periods before bedtime and that her bedtime should be moving up at her age and I'm not quite sure the right approach to take - above all I want her to get enough sleep.

Her schedule is in crib at 10, sometimes with a wake up around 11:30 and more often another around 2. Wakes up for the day from 5:30-6:30. This has gone on for about 2 weeks. Before that she would sleep straight from 10 to 6.

How should I treat our after daycare time to best support a good night's sleep for her and I?

Arielle
ARIELLE

Hi Caitlan,

Her schedule isn't age appropriate. She's actually trying to go to bed for the night after daycare! At her age, she should be getting 12-16 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Given that she's not getting much sleep at daycare, I would be putting her to bed ASAP upon your return home from daycare. I know this is tough given that you probably want to spend time with her, but it's really in her best interest. When a baby is overtired, her brain fills with cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. These hormones make it difficult for a baby to fall asleep and stay asleep. By the time she comes home, she's wildly overtired. She definitely needs more than 8 hours of sleep overnight (10-6).

At her age, I typically recommend a schedule like the following:

Wake by 7 a.m.
First nap around 8:15/8:30
Second nap around 11:30/12
Third nap about 90 minutes after waking from nap 2
Optional 4th nap around 60-75 minutes after waking from third nap (but ending no later than 5 p.m.)
Bedtime about 60-90 minutes after waking from nap 4

Arielle
ARIELLE

How are things going? Let me know!

CAITLAN

We are still napping post daycare for 1.5-2 hours (I pick her up around 4/4:30), but I am trying to move up her bedtime - last night we started our routine at 7:30 but she didn't go to bed until 8:45. She did sleep until 7:30 this morning with one wake up at 3:30. Naps are slowly getting a little better during the day according to her teachers and I will continue to move her bedtime up.

Arielle
ARIELLE

Great! :)

ARIELLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Power naps
CRISTINA, PARENT OF 6 YEAR OLD, 3 YEAR OLD

Hi. My 15 weeks old sleeps some 6-7 Horus straight per night in bed with me (after nursing him), but during the day no matter what I do he won't sleep for more than 30-45 min. The only time he would sleep longer is if i put him in bed and have the boob there for him which he grabs every 10 min.
Thank you

Arielle
ARIELLE

Hi Christina,

At 15 weeks, I typically recommend a schedule like the following:

Wake by 7 a.m.
First nap around 8:15/8:30
Second nap around 11:30/12
Third nap about 90 minutes after waking from nap 2
Optional 4th nap around 60-75 minutes after waking from third nap (but ending no later than 5 p.m.)
Bedtime about 60-90 minutes after waking from nap 4

You'll probably also need to practice not letting him fall asleep on the boob. Try other soothing methods to get him to fall asleep. It's normal for him to have 1-2 night feeds at this age, but I would definitely work to get him falling asleep without the boob.

Let me know if you have other questions!
Arielle

CRISTINA

Thank you. Will try that. Until what age do you recommend this 4 naps schedule?
During the naps he sleeps in my arms otherwise he wakes up immediately...:(

Arielle
ARIELLE

I would drop the fourth nap pretty soon. And I would look into some sleep training methods to promote him learning to fall asleep somewhere other than your arms. Check out the "Happy Sleeper" method. It's a gentle method that's great for his age!

CRISTINA

Thank you!!!

CRISTINA

I have another question... not much related to first... apart for sleep consultation do you also offer a course to become a sleep consultant? Or advise on where to go to become one? Thanks

Arielle
ARIELLE

Hi Christina,

I do not currently offer a course on becoming a sleep consultant. I absolutely love the International Maternity and Parenting Institute. I work closely with its founder and she is a wonderful woman who knows her stuff. You can check them out here: http://maternityinstitute.com/

Best,
Arielle

Arielle
ARIELLE

How are things going? Let me know!

CRISTINA

Hi Arielle. Thanks for following up. Nights are still good ( although he still uses boob to fall asleep), nap times.. I tried to put him down 4 times but we are on holidays now and then we are going to go and change time zones ( 6 hours difference) so I am not quite sure about the plan....

Arielle
ARIELLE

Oh, yes. I would definitely wait until after your return!

ARIELLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
8 week old
DANIELLE, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

My 8week old will not sleep anywhere unless your holding him . You can't put him down . I know it's too early to do any kind of sleep training but I don't know what more I can do . I'm juggling to kids : infant has to be attached to me and toddler wants me in her bed with her. So I'm constantly going back-and-forth between rooms. Something is gotta give. But my infant seems to be plain spoiled what should I do

Arielle
ARIELLE

Hi Danielle,

First, your infant isn't spoiled! He's just learning how to live life outside of the womb. :)

I would just begin practicing getting him down independently throughout the day. You may consider something like the "pick up/put down" method. In the coming weeks, his circadian rhythms will begin to develop more, and you can implement some more strict "training" to help encourage him to sleep independently.

Hang in there - you're *almost* through the newborn stage!

Arielle
ARIELLE

How are things going? Let me know!

ARIELLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Toddler crazy sleep patterns
DANIELLE, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

My toddler is 2 and her sleep schedule has even crazy lately. I end up staying up til 9:30-10 just so she will may sleep through the night . But even that doesn't work. She wakes up at least twice through the night and either wants me to come in her room and lay next to her or get in my bed . and I try to reframe from doing that but that all that seems to settle her . I don't want her waking up even more. She takes one nap at school a day from 12:30-2:45. When it's bedtime she chooses to sleep on couch bed instead of her bed. Should I let her cry it out in the middle of the night?

Arielle
ARIELLE

Hi Danielle,

I would recommend a few things:

1) I would aim to get her down for the night by 7 p.m.

2) I would work on a very consistent bedtime routine. The routine would look something like this: bath, change into pjs, read a few books, into crib awake.

After you put her to bed, I would recommend choosing a method that may work best for her. Given that it sounds like she would like you nearby, I would recommend the Camping Out method (you can google it pretty easily!). When she wakes in the night, I would return her to her bed calmly and quietly, and begin using your method again. If that method is too tiring for you, then you could certainly implement something like the Ferber method.

At her age, she needs you to draw some firm boundaries for her. Children at this age push those boundaries and it can throw us for a loop, but in reality what they are looking for is for us to draw very clear boundaries for them. This makes them feel more secure.

Hope this helps!
Arielle

Arielle
ARIELLE

How are things going? Let me know!

ARIELLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Early Morning Wake Ups
SARAH, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

Hi Arielle! My 7.5 month old is waking up for the day between 5-5:30am after going to bed around 7pm. I used to be able to nurse him then put him back in his crib where he would fall back asleep until about 6:30 or 7, but for the past few weeks he hasn’t been able to fall back asleep after this feed. We end up getting him out of bed for the day in the 5 o’clock hour, which is rough! How can I help him to wake up a little later? His typical sleep schedule is below:

8/8:30am: Nap #1 for 1-1.5 hours
12:30/1pm: Nap #2 for about 1.5-2 hours
7pm: Bed
5/5:30am: Wakeup to nurse, up for the day

Thank you!

Arielle
ARIELLE

Hi Sarah!

Quick question for you - did he drop his third nap on his own?

LEIGH

I am having a very similar issue with our nearly 7 month old so I thought I'd ask here. Our son goes to bed at 8p and for the last two-ish weeks has been getting up between 430-530am. He used to sleep until about 6:30am. He doesn't nap a bunch either--about half an hour around 9am, about an hour around 1230pm and around half an hour around 5pm. Except for his bedtime around 8p, we're having a lot of trouble getting him to sleep at any other time for his naps/early morning now--we have to rock him all the way to sleep or he wakes up/cries as soon as he hits his crib. Thanks so much for your help!

Arielle
ARIELLE

At this age, I typically recommend a schedule like the following:

Nap 1 around 9 a.m.
Nap 2 around 1 p.m.
Optional nap 3 about 2 hours after waking from nap 2 (but ending no later than 5 p.m.)
Bedtime about 2.5 hours after nap 3 or 3 hours after nap 2

If your baby is experiencing short naps, I would encourage you to look into sleep training methods to lengthen naps and eliminate early wakeups.

SARAH

Hi Arielle,

Thanks for the follow up question. A few weeks ago he started to have a tough time falling asleep for his third nap around 5pm. He would whine and cry for about 30 minutes before I would get him up. I think this means that he dropped it on his own!

Sarah

LEIGH

What sleep training methods do you suggest for naps? We did Ferber around 4 months which got him sleeping through the night, but he's a really stubborn guy and I can tell when he starts crying at 430/5 (and for naps) that he's not going to be able to self soothe himself back to sleep

Arielle
ARIELLE

Sarah,

I would then recommend putting him to bed earlier. A 4-hour wake time after his second nap sets him up for a bad night. I would aim for him to be asleep about 3 hours after waking from nap 2, which will likely be much earlier than what you're used to!

Arielle

Arielle
ARIELLE

Leigh - I recommend being 100% consistent with method. I would use Ferber for naps and give him a full hour to try to extend his nap. As for mornings, I would also recommend using Ferber. I would drop the 5 p.m. nap and aim for an early bedtime.

Arielle
ARIELLE

How are things going? Let me know!