So much of a mother’s life revolves around the success and failure of sleep. Not only that, but the health and wellness of her children depend on those sleep habits. Here are the most asked questions (and answers) about baby and toddler sleep habits, solutions, and problems:
Having helped thousands of babies and toddlers learn to sleep (and their mamas!) I’m no stranger to specific detailed questions.
So in this video below I’m going to answer them all :).
Well, the most common.
Why do babies wake early in the morning?
There are a few reasons why this may be happening. You want to use process of elimination to decide your baby’s reason Why They Wake Up Early in the morning.
First of all, have the had enough sleep already? Check and evaluate your nap and bedtime schedule.
Secondly, Are they overtired? This is a big one! The more tired a baby is the more likely they are to wake up early in the morning. Make sure that your sleep schedule throughout the day doesn’t make them extra tired.
Thirdly, don’t have unrealistic expectations. Your baby may not need as much time in the bed as you think they do.
Lastly, light. Yes, light. Maybe your baby sees the light in the window or even the sliver of light from under the door and wakes up.
Read: Is Sleep Training a Baby Bad or Dangerous? Let’s Talk Facts!
Ready for everyone to start sleeping better? Use this checklist to help you get there.
Can you be a “gentle attachment momma” and sleep train?
Yes, you can.
This is because sleep training is fostering healthy sleep habits. So I feel like every momma on the planet should be doing this. It doesn’t matter if you’re more gentile attachment or mainstream thinking.
Here’s the question that may be intended…
Can I sleep train without crying it out?
Yes. You can choose a settling method that you’re comfortable with. Now, if you’ve done the same thing every night for months… and you switch it up, your baby is going to cry in protest.
Create sustainable sleep habits for your little lamb so the whole family can sleep peacefully without the stress, drama, and tears.Learn More
Read: 7 Simple Reasons Why Your Baby Won’t Nap & What To Do
What do I when baby wakes up from a nap in only 30 minutes?
This is a good question, because 30 minutes is not even a full sleep schedule.
Now, new borns will sleep for 30-45 minutes and wake up because they benefit from cat naps. This is where they don’t transition from active to passive for a “full nap.”
Read: How to Stop Contact Naps (Peacefully)- and What to Do Instead
But, once they pass that new born phase and they don’t know how to sleep past 45 mins… they don’t know how to sleep on their own.
We all want to try tricking them, but this is why it doesn’t work.
You see, they will wake up wanting everything to be the same but it’s not. From their perspective, they have a job to do and once they figure out… they are over their nap time.
Read: The Top 10 Indicators It’s Time to Sleep Train
So, why won’t baby sleep?
- mom is making them sleep too much
- in pain
- they don’t want to
- sleep enviroment
- never learned how to go to sleep alone
- hat’s a lot of reasons why baby isn’t sleeping…
There’s a lot of reasons why baby isn’t sleeping…
Tried-and-true *hands on* newborn settling strategies that even the most fussy (or wide-awake-sleep-refusing) newborns cannot resist!Learn More
Read: Separation Anxiety At Bedtime – Calm Solutions For Peaceful Sleep
But there’s only a few things you can do that will cover all of these.
- A good daily routine
- full feeds
- Heping them learn how to go to sleep on their own
- learning how to settle in age apprpoote ways
Why doesn’t my baby wake up every 30 minutes/every hour during the night?
Through my training and experience I have learned first of all… rule out a medical explanation.
For example: if they are waking relentlessly every hour throughout the night, it could be a food allergy situation.
Then, consider this: what is your settling method? Some mom’s may feel like the only “tool up their belt” is to feed a baby.
Read: Quiet time (Rest time) for Toddlers: All You Need to Know
And now that you’ve ruled out hunger and medical reasons… they must be overtired and unsettled.
Here’s the truth- the Worse They Sleep During The Day, the worse they will sleep at night. Because they are overtired.
Being overtired makes it very difficult to sleep well.
So, getting your settling routine down with a daily routine… this is key.
Should I let my overtired baby cry it out?
This is a good question. First of all, overtired babies have the hardest time getting good sleep.
So, if baby is past the point of overtired, here’s what I suggest:
- Take a few days and do all the things “you shouldn’t do” before you delve into your more formal sleep training.
- You wanna take that time to hold them if they need that to sleep.
- Ride them in the stroller if that’s what it takes.
- Give them that time to get enough sleep and become less tired.
So back to the original question- can you? Yes. But I wouldn’t recommend it.
Will it be effective? Probably not. Cry-It-Out is not just letting baby cry because I have nothing else to do.
It is a certain method done in a certain way that helps them, “quickly” adjust. It may be recommended for someone who needs baby to sleep because they are going into the hospital or back to work.
But, I do not recommend this strategy for an overtired baby.
What position should a baby sleep in?
Safe sleep experts say- sleep on the back, always. This is absolutely the way.
However, a lot of moms will say that their babies sleep so much better on their tummies. Let me explain why this is…
Because if they are on their tummies, they are unable to startle as much as if they were on their backs. In other words, they won’t do a full flail.
There’s an easy fix. Swaddle your newborns so they don’t startle and wake themselves.
There’s no reason to break the sleep experts new born recommendations for safe sleeping.
Find the best swaddles here: Best Selling Sleepers and Swaddles
How do I put my baby to sleep?
It isn’t until about the 4 month period that a baby’s sleep patterns are more “adult like” with sleep cycles and the passive/active sleep patterns.
So this is why I suggest 4 months as a great time time to do a formal sleep training.
But before this time, you can take a little more relaxed method. You can settle them some in your arms and then keep your hands on them while they are in the crib to help them settle.
Getting them drowsy in you arms and then I recommend keeping your hands on them to help them fall asleep when they are new borns.
Read: The Nap Trap – How To Deal With It & Not Resist It
Growth spurts…how do I know if I’m in one?
There are some tells…
Maybe they were sleeping just fine and then all of the sudden they are unable to. Or, maybe they started waking up hungry when they weren’t before.
So, adjust your feeds for a few days until it’s ironed out.
If it is a growth spurt, put your Feeds Closer Together so you can up your supply- if you’re nursing.
But If your baby has never slept well and still isn’t… it’s probably not a growth spurt. It’s probably a sleep issue.
How do I know if my baby is sick or if it’s a sleep issue?
My answer is similar to the question above. If baby has never slept well, than it’s probably that baby has never learned to sleep well.
However, if baby has been sleeping well and now all of the sudden… there could be something going on.
But now, an all of the sudden Sleep Progression Does Happen at 4 Months. This is where their sleep rhythms mature and if they have always slept in mom’s arms, they may feel like they don’t need as much sleep.
Again, this is where getting them into a good settling method through a formal sleep training method can be helpful.
Now, if you feel like their in pain and this is happening all of the sudden- it would be something looking into.
Read: 12 Medical Reasons Your Baby is Not sleeping
Is a routine necessary for a baby to sleep well?
Yes, but this is different than clock watching. You don’t have to watch a clock for baby to sleep well.
A routine is just a set of things that you do regularly.
If you routine is that you feed baby and they fall asleep in your arms. Then, you nap for two hours together. Well… that is your routine.
Or, if you hug-kiss-cuddle- change sleep environment- kiss- and go. This is your routine.
If you do it every time and it works… this is your routine.
Anything You Do is a Routine, even if you don’t think you have one- you do.
Whatever you do on a daily basis to get baby to sleep… it’s a routine. And yes, Babies Need Routine to Sleep Well.
A good routine produces:
- Less resistance and protesting
- A healthier sleep habit
- Less stress on mommy and baby
How do I know if it’s a sleep cycle issue?
Sleep cycle issues means baby is not connecting their Sleep Cycles on their own.
So, this means that if they need mom to get them to sleep- they will probably need mom to keep them asleep when they transition.
Because they have a “job to do”.
This is about every 45 minutes during nap-time and probably every 2 hours at night.
They can’t keep sleeping on their own because they need you to help them.
During sleep cycles, it’s normal for baby to wake up just a little bit before going back to deeper sleep. If they are waking totally up, it’s because they are dependent on you to get them back to sleep.
Why does baby wake up when I try to put them down in their crib?
The answer is really pretty simple… they don’t like the new environment. They likes mommies arms better than their crib.
You see, this is why I don’t like “tricking” baby to sleep.
I’m not saying your doing this deceptively. But if you want them to sleep in their crib, you don’t have to get them asleep somewhere else and then put them in their crib.
Especially as they get older and having some separation anxiety- you don’t want to get them to sleep- and then sneak out. Because it isn’t building trust between you.
Instead, work with them through support to let them be ok in their crib.
Most importantly, you need to work on their Settling Technic in Their Crib. Because that’s where they will wake up in-between sleep cycles.
If they comfortably went to sleep in their crib and roll over/wake up a bit… still in their crib. Then, everything is ok.
As opposed to “I was in mommy’s loving arms but now I’m in the crib alone.”
In conclusion, we don’t want to trick them and lay them down. We want to choose a settling technic that will work in the environment we want them to sleep in.
Create sustainable sleep habits for your little lamb so the whole family can sleep peacefully without the stress, drama, and tears.Learn More
Why is baby waking up for hours at night?
The answer to this probably depends on the baby’s age.
For a newborn they are probably day/night confused. For example, if you let baby sleep for 4-5 hours during the day they will probably be day/night confused that night.
As they get older, sometimes a mom may allow baby to nap for too long during the day. This means that baby simply won’t need as much sleep at night.
Also- what is happening when they wake up?
During the night when they wake up…
- Are they laying happy in their bed and talking to themeless? This is probably too much time in bed.
- Are they waking up crying? This could it be that they have learned that if they wake up and cry… they get extra snuggles with mommy.
It’s not manipulation. They have just learned it so they do it… and it works.
So, add that time up during the day to be sure baby is getting proper amounts of sleep.
And, set boundaries. I know parents are 24/7, but it’s not going to be good for anyone if you try to survive on little to no sleep at night.
Night waking… how do I stop this?
It depends on what they are waking for.
- If it’s a habit that they have formed- settle them back to sleep with settling method.
- If they are past 6 months and not on solids- they will probably start to wake up more because they are getting hungrier.
But if they are getting enough food, you are going to have to feed them. Maybe try to combine feeds to one full feed.
If it’s a habit, getting them to Settle In Their Environment is what will stop this.
- Maybe it’s they aren’t feeling well or maybe it’s a noise in the room that wakes them. For example: if they share a room maybe their sibling is turning over and waking them. Try a white noise machine.
- Here’s the truth: babies who are really tired will wake up a lot more at night.
Did you know that most nighttime sleep issues can be solved during the day?
Babies really do want to sleep at night. We are created this way… but an overtired baby will have a very hard time resting and staying asleep.
What time is a good bedtime for babies and toddlers?
From babies to toddlers- there’s not really that much of a difference.
Meaning, a good bedtime for children aged 5 all the way down to newborns is right in there about the same time.
Some sleep studies like a 6:30 bedtime, I prefer a 7:00 or 7:30 bedtime myself.
- As long as there isn’t a huge gap between nap time and bedtime. You don’t want baby to wake up from their nap at 4:30 and not go to bed at 8. This is not good for a little one.
- Now every bit of sleep they get before midnight is much better than the sleep they get after. This is when our most deep sleep happens.
- That’s why it’s not good for bedtime to be 9:00. Because they will probably sleep good until about 12:30 and then make your life miserable all morning.
A Good Standard for Bedtime is 7:00 PM.
This is as long as their late nap is over in time to Build Some Sleep Pressure Back Up. But now as toddlers if they are still having their second nap and it runs late, you may want to push their bedtime back a bit.
So let’s say that as a toddler they are still taking a two hour nap. Push bedtime back to 8:00 PM. They do that for a year. And then when the nap is dropped, move bedtime back up to 7:00.
Some mom’s ask this question: what if my husband comes home late and wants to hold the baby? Well, then you do what works best for your family. Push bedtime back and see how it pans out. Or, see if morning time is a better time together.
How do I know how many naps my little one needs?
A new born naps after every feed.
Learn how to space naps, how many a day per age, best times, etc. and get your nap game ON!
Then it moves to three naps a day… then down to two naps a day.
At 7 months- you’re probably about 2 naps a day.
At about 13-18 months your’e probably down to one nap a day. This varies from day to day and which each child. Some days they may one two and some days they may want one at this age.
By 18 months, they should be at one nap a day.
Is sleep training dangerous?
I want to encourage you to watch my video – Is Sleep Training Dangerous – if you haven’t already done so!
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