0-3 Month Newborn Sleep Guide


As much as the idea of snuggling up with a newborn all day long for days (err, months) on end sounds kind of nice at first, when you get in the thick of it (i.e. you haven't brushed your teeth since yesterday, your stomach has been making sounds that would scare a bear away and the last time you showered was, well, you can't even remember when) you start to think that while this was nice for a few days or even weeks, now it's lost a bit of it's charm. 

We all have things to do and we all have our own personal insanity beeper that starts to go off when we've done nothing outside of care for a newborn for so long. Add in an extreme lack of sleep to the picture and you've got
a worn out parent who could really use a break. My insanity beeper goes off pretty early on, but some people can go on for quite a while before they feel like they're about to loose their mind. 

My goal is to help you not get to that permanent-shoulder-injury-from-holding-a-sleeping-child and can't-walk-without-running-into-the-wall you-are-so-tired state. Ideally, you'll also avoid any extreme crying at a later date from sleep training. I know many of you will snub my advice here. I get that some people don't like to enforce any sort of structure into a newborn because they either don't feel like it, or they don't agree with it. I'm not offended. You don't want to do something as much as I DO want to do something during this time! And I know some of you will take some of my advice but not all of it and that is totally fine too. Something I've learned from working with thousands of parents over the years is that we are all different and our children are all different. You do what you feel comfortable with, and you make changes along the way if you need to. And don't forget, if you pass this newborn window and sleep isn't going so great for you, there is still plenty of hope. It is never to late to get a full nights rest, for you or your child :)

Most of the info I'm going over has already been covered in various posts (like this one) but I know many of you would appreciate a newborn specific approach to these gentle sleep training methods (see what I consider sleep training here). I can only go into so much detail here without making this post 20 pages long, but there are plenty of links throughout the post that'll give you more info on a subject if you need it. Be sure to check out the Newborn Survival Guide too if you haven't already.

How do I encourage my newborn to be a great sleeper?

A WORD ON HABITS
You've probably heard the phrase "you can't spoil a baby" about a million times by this point. I know I have. Just throw this phrase out the window. It isn't remotely helpful. I expect all of you to be holding and cuddling your baby plenty, but the idea that whatever you do right now doesn't matter isn't on par. You are creating habits all the time with your baby, yes, even a newborn, and those habits will make a difference in the future. That's why I'm working on helping you establish eating and sleeping habits that you can live with right now, and in the future.

AND A WORD ON CONSISTENCY (yours and baby's)
Children thrive on routine and consistency. They learn what to expect which helps them feel more secure in their environment. When you are inconsistent (this is especially important as your child gets out of the newborn stage) you get inconsistent results. So if you want sleep to go as smoothly as possible, be as consist as possible. Your child won't know how to react to a situation if you keep changing all the rules. There will be times that things will be off for various reasons (vacations etc), but try to make it more the rare occasion, rather than the norm.

Another reason it's so darn important to be consistent is that children are totally inconsistent. The only consistency with children is change! One day he goes to sleep easily, the next he doesn't. One week he sleeps through the night then suddenly he starts waking frequently. Inconsistent!  Keeping things consistent on your end, while changing with your child when needed (like increasing how long they are awake between naps as they get older), will help things go more smoothly for all of you.

BABY'S HEALTH, YOUR INTUITION AND TAKING THINGS TO THE EXTREME
Always monitor baby's health, follow your pediatrician's advice and have regular pediatric well visits. Baby should be growing well, eating well and having plenty of full diapers on whatever feed and sleeping method you choose.

If at any time something doesn't seem right to you then stop doing it. Although I'm suggesting some methods that have worked well for many families, I firmly believe there isn't a one-method-fits-all approach. Do what seems right to you and listen to your baby and your gut feeling at all times. 

Lastly, please, please try not to take things to the extreme (like only feeding if it's been at least 3 hours even if baby is hungry much sooner) and try not to get set on the averages and estimates I give below. Your baby is unique and will have her own averages and she'll also likely vary a bit from what I say below. She isn't a computer after all. Having some sort of guideline can be helpful, but it shouldn't run your life. Always try to follow your baby's lead too.

BABIES ARE UNIQUE
Some babies are born naturally good sleepers while other are not, regardless of what you do. If your baby isn't sleeping as good as your best friend's baby (although, research shows that quite a few people lie about how well their child is sleeping!), don't get frustrated. Truly look at what is going on to see if you could be contributing to things (it happens quite often but can be hard to admit) and troubleshoot. After that, all you can do is try to be happy with the unique baby you have, even if all characteristics are not so easy to live with. All children have tough and easy characteristics to work with, your baby's tough area may just be sleep.


SLEEP GUIDE AT A GLANCE
Because this post is really long and because things are listed in steps (sort of), here's a quick list you can reference. Some of you will have to take things one step at a time. Some of you will be able to tackle most or all of it at once. Just move as quickly or slowly as you need to without overwhelming yourself.
  1. FULL FEEDS
  2. HOW OFTEN TO FEED
  3. A WORD ON DAY/NIGHT CONFUSION
  4. E/W/S CYCLE
  5. MORNING WAKE TIME
  6. BEDTIME
  7. NAPS AND THE E/W/S CYCLE
  8. WAKETIME
  9. OVERSTIMULATION
  10. SLEEP LOCATION
  11. SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
  12. PRE-SLEEP ROUTINE
  13. SWADDLING
  14. TANKING UP
  15. PUTTING BABY TO SLEEP DROWSY, BUT AWAKE
  16. SLEEP PROPS
  17. DON'T RUSH IN
  18. YOU'VE PUT BABY DOWN AWAKE AND DROWSY, BUT SHE IS CRYING. WHAT NEXT?

FULL FEEDS
You're first goal will be to get full feeds in so baby will spread out her feeds both day and night and not snack constantly. This will give you a break during the day and help you both sleep longer at night. To do this, you'll need to keep baby awake during her feed so she'll have more than a snack and not wake up 20 minutes later starving and ready to eat again. This can be a pretty hefty task at first for such a sleepy head, but it'll get much easier as she gets older (find tips on keeping her awake here). Don't kill yourself over this, if you can't get her to eat more, let her snooze for a few minutes then try again. The eat/wake/sleep cycle (see below) makes giving full feeds much easier to do.

HOW OFTEN TO FEED
If you are breastfeeding, you will probably be feeding baby pretty darn often for at least the first few days while your milk comes in. If you are bottle-feeding, baby will probably be eating every 2.5-3 hours (from the beginning of one feed to the beginning of the next feed--you'll end up with a couple hours break between feeds). She may be eating a bit more often and that's ok. You want to feed her when she's hungry. Just keep encouraging those full feeds. She may need more frequent feeds at first, especially if she is a small baby or a premature baby (listen to your pediatrician's feeding advice here please!) And remember to keep in mind that babies cry for reason other than hunger. If it hasn't been very long since her last feed, before offering a feed, first check to see that something else isn't bothering her, like a burp.

A WORD ON DAY/NIGHT CONFUSION
Many newborns like to sleep all day and stay awake all night. This will switch on it's own eventually, but some of the suggestions below, like the e/w/s cycle, will help this switch sooner and also usually lead to longer night sleep sooner.

E/W/S CYCLE
I like to start off doing a eat/wake/sleep cycle approximately every 2.5-3 hours during the day (baby will just eat and sleep at night). This means you'll feed baby, have her awake for a bit, then she'll go down for a nap and repeat. Working on full feeds at first usually leads to baby falling naturally into this spaced pattern of eating. If baby ever hasn't woken up after 3 hours (from the beginning of their last feed), you will wake baby up to offer her a feed and start the e/w/s cycle over again. Waking baby up ensures she has enough food and is awake enough during the day (see PDF feeds for more on this).  For the first couple weeks you'll very likely have more of a eat/sleep cycle, but by week two or so you'll probably get some waketime in there. I like the eat/wake/sleep routine mainly because it give some structure to your day, encourages full feeds, helps with longer night sleep and helps baby go to sleep without a sleep prop--you can find out all the nitty and gritty out it on the e/w/s/ post

During the first couple weeks, it isn't uncommon for many parents to just work on helping baby take full feeds and get into a routine. In terms of naps, this means that they try to encourage long naps (you can often easily get a newborn to fall back asleep after a short nap), but don't necessarily work hard to put baby down to sleep for a nap awake (unless he goes down really easily). In terms of night sleep, this means that the main emphasis is on helping baby distinguish night from day (see below) but not falling asleep by himself at night (once again, unless he goes down easily). This approach is totally fine. Getting baby into a routine of long naps and long night sleep is very helpful in the future. Just remember that if you don't work on having baby go to sleep on his own somewhat soon, you'll likely have some habits to break.

Also keep in mind that the e/w/s/ cycle is there to help you and your baby out. If you've given it a good try and it is simply making life a nightmare, then do something else. This doesn't mean I'm suggesting you give up after 3 days. The thing about babies is that a lot of the habits that people get themselves and their babies into at first are done because they make life easier-- but they very often make life harder in the long run. I'm trying to make things easier in the long run and that sometimes means more work upfront, but there is a limit to how much work up front everyone can handle. If you've reached your limit, don't' worry. There are plenty of other things you can do to encourage your baby to sleep well. And you don't have to start off at the newborn stage--it can be done at any stage down the road too (you just may get more resistance from your baby).

With the e/w/s routine always remember that it is important to monitor when baby is hungry, not just how long it has been since the last feed. Babies go through growth spurts and cluster feedings and various other things. The 2.5-3 hour suggestion is just an estimate. You do what your baby needs! Don't get overly strict with following a perfect schedule--it won't happen easily with most babies (remember how they're not robots?)

MORNING WAKE TIME
Whether or not you are doing the e/w/s cycle, having a consistent morning wake time (baby gets up at around the same time each day, give or take 30 minutes) will help your day be more consistent and will help baby's sleep organize itself better. Also make sure to expose baby to light first thing in the morning and darkness at night to help set her body rhythms.

BEDTIME
Bedtime can be a bit tricky with a newborn. Some newborns get really alert in the evenings and fussy and will not fall asleep until late (remember that witching hour I mentioned in this post?). Getting them to bed for the night between 6-7 pm can help you avoid this fussy period entirely. Sometimes though, you simply have to deal with the fussy period and get them to sleep when they'll finally go to sleep--fighting it and getting discouraged over the late bedtime only makes things that much harder. There are also some babies that do better with some extra cluster feeds in the evening (which moves bedtime a bit later than the usual suggested 7 pm ish) or parents that have their babies go to sleep a bit later at this age for various reasons. I suggest trying to keep bedtime not too much later than 7, but at this age, an early bedtime usually won't make or break things unless it helps decrease evening fussiness or if baby is very tired in the evening. An early bedtime will be come much more important as baby gets closer to 3 months though. It can be the difference between a good night's rest and frequent night wakings.

NAPS AND THE E/W/S CYCLE
Ideally naps will happen after your baby has eaten and had some activity and last until the next routine eat time. This means that they'll last naps around 1.5-2.5 hours. It isn't uncommon to have baby take short naps, even after you attempt to extend them out.  If long naps are not happening, you can look at the short naps post for tips. If you still cannot get long naps going, and you want to have feeds that aren't closer together than baby is requiring, then consider changing the cycle around to what fits your situation. People often end up with eat/wake/sleep/wake/sleep/eat/ or something along those lines. The point is to try to have something that is somewhat consistent and doesn't have baby feeding to sleep. And try not to stress yourself out! 

The last nap of the is often a short one, if it happens at all. Some babies will get pretty fussy in the evenings and have a hard time being happy at all, nevermind sleeping. Some babies simply won't sleep well in the evenings for the first few months even if they aren't very fussy. As I suggested above, try out an early bedtime to see if this fixes the issue. If that doesn't work, don't worry. Stop trying to force the impossible and go along with it. Get some extra snuggles in during this time (a baby carrier can be very handy) and even consider going out during baby's sleep time since he won't sleep anyway.

WAKETIME
When you put your little one down to sleep, there are several things you can do to increase the chance that she'll go to sleep easily and stay asleep with no crying or further assistance from you, now and in the future. We'll start by going over one of the most important things, how long your child is awake between naps, also known as waketime.

A big thing to keep in mind if you are doing the EWS cycle or simply have a newborn, is that newborn's have very little waketime --they are hardly awake at all! It's important that you let them get the rest they need and keep them awake very little between eat feed. Watch closely for their tired cues and put them down right when they start displaying them (during their sleep window). On the EWS cycle you can even predict when they will get tired and start getting them ready for sleep before they start to show their tired signs, helping to prevent them from getting too overtired by the time they get to sleep. Keeping a baby awake longer in hopes to make them sleep longer rarely works, in fact, it usually results in overtiredness that makes falling asleep and staying asleep more difficult for them. You can find a chart with average times newborns are awake and other info to troubleshoot waketimes here. Keep in mind that a baby that has a too sleepy of feed may end up needing more waketime than usual for them to go down well for their nap.

OVERSTIMULATION
Newborns get overstimulated very easily. Looking at a blank wall is stimulating to them, imagine how some of them do having grandma's energetic face two inches from theirs for 30 minutes straight! You get the same effect as putting them to bed way past their sleep window--bad sleep! There will be lots of time to play with baby soon, but for now, if your baby seems extra sensitive, keep things pretty calm. With brand new babies I often change their diaper in the middle of the feed to help keep them awake during the feed. As they get a bit older and more awake, I often change the diaper at the beginning of a feed to prevent overstimulation after the feed (this is just for newborns, older babies can generally handle a diaper change without getting overstimulated).

SLEEP LOCATION
Most parents prefer to have their new little bundle sleep in the room with them for a while at night. I generally recommend having baby sleep in a basinnett/crib/co-sleeper next to you--it's simply more practical than co-sleeping for most parents in the long run, and you'll probably end up with less night wakings in the long run his way too. If you do decide to co-sleep, there are still plenty of things youc an do to encourage good sleep habits, they'll just be a bit more tricky to cary out. 

For naps, I recommend having baby sleep in his own private space away from the craziness of every day life. By 6 weeks, 3 months at the latest, I would try to move baby in to his own sleeping space for naps and, if you feel comfortable, night sleep. After this time, the move can be much harder to make (especially if you are co-sleeping).

SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
Make sure your baby's sleep environment is safe and that she is dressed safely. Before you had a child you may have thought, well of course I'll follow all those AAP regulations and not have blankets in the crib and not have my baby sleep on his tummy etc, but once you're in the thick of it and horribly tired, you can feel tempted to try almost anything. There are some other alternative, like a swing (I recommend this one), that can be useful when you feel tempted to try something unsafe. If tummy sleeping is still happening, I at least recommend getting some sort of movement monitor for sense of mind. 

Most newborns aren't very sensitive to light and sound--they'll sleep through anything. As they get closer to 3 months, most are going to have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep if it is noisy or light. I always suggest having children sleep in a dark room--it simply results in better sleep at almost any age, especially mid nap and in the early morning hours. I also suggest the use of a white noise machine. It helps most newborns sleep better by imitating their loud womb and by blocking out outside noise.

PRE-SLEEP ROUTINE
Before baby goes down for naps and at night, it's a good idea to do something I call a pre-sleep routine. This consists of ritual of things you do every time (same order, same things) before baby goes to sleep. They can include singing a song, reading a book, saying some comforting words ("its time to sleep now"), etc. Usually the nap routine is a shorter version of the bedtime routine. It's a good idea to start this pretty early on--even within a couple weeks of birth. Babies start to fall into habits pretty quickly and a pre-sleep routine helps to signal to their body that it is time to relax and go to sleep. You can find more ideas of what to do at this pre-sleep routine link. The 4 S Routine is a common pre-sleep routine that people do.

SWADDLING
During the pre-sleep routine it's usually a good idea to swaddle your baby. Swaddling helps most babies fall asleep better and sleep more soundly. It gives them a bit of the crammed, womb-like feeling and security they are used to. I prefer to use blankets made just for swaddling (like the miracle blanket, but you can also use any old blanket. Just make sure to give baby freedom of movement at the hips. I also attempt to burp baby again after I swaddle--you can often get another burp out.

TANKING UP
Tanking your baby up before bed can help her sleep a longer stretch at night. This can be done by cluster feeding (generally for babies under a couple months) and by doing the dreamfeed. Cluster feeding involves feeding baby a bit more often before she goes to sleep at night. So instead of every, say 3 hours, you might feed every 2 hours for the last couple feeds. Just make sure you aren't force feeding and overfilling baby. That can just lead to stomach upset and lots of messy spit up.

I find that cluster feeding isn't always helpful. So if it isn't working for you, don't worry about doing it (unless baby is cluster feeding on her own, of course).

With a dreamfeed, you will feed baby a few hours after you put her to bed for the night, right before you go to bed. So say she goes to bed at 7 pm, you'd get her up while she's pretty much still asleep and give her a feed (which is why it's called a dreamfeed, she's still kind of dreaming) so that you can get a longer stretch of sleep yourself and not go to sleep only to awaken to a hungry baby 30 minutes later. You can read up more on clusterfeeds and dream feeds on the links above.

 If you are only going to do one of the above methods, choose the dream feed. A cluster feed without a longer stretch right before bed can lead baby to eat less right before bedtime which often means less of a stretch than if she'd gone say, 3-4 hours right before bedtime. A baby that has eaten just 2 hours before isn't going to take as big a feed as one who hasn't eaten for 3-4 hours. The same holds true for the dreamfeed. You want at least 3 hours before offering it unless you are in the process of dropping it.

PUTTING BABY TO SLEEP DROWSY, BUT AWAKE
It's time to work on putting baby to sleep drowsy, but awake. You were probably all wondering when I was going to get to this part. You knew it was coming, didn't you?! It couldn't be just as easy as the stuff I mentioned above. 

Believe it or not, but doing what I suggested above will nicely extend night sleep out (so you all get a consolidated chunck of sleep!) for most babies without doing anything else. And many babies will even go to sleep at bedtime without much of an issue. But naps are a different story. There are the occasional babies that will got sleep easily, but most will fight sleep sleep and/or get upset when you try to put them down to sleep. I'm going to go over a couple things that will help you do this successfully and with as little drama as possible. But keep in mind that changes don't happen over night. This is a process that will take some practice and time, for everyone involved.

SLEEP PROPS
We can't really go on much further without talking about sleep props. Sleep props are the eventual cause of most sleep issues. A sleep prop is something your baby associates with falling asleep, like the bottle or breast or being rocked. These are don't seem like such a big deal when you've got a brand new baby, but if she wakes up the second you ever put her down or stop nursing it can be pretty frustrating, especially if it's the middle of the night and you are utterly exhausted, or she's several months old and you are even more exhausted. So while many people prefer to keep up sleep props for some time, like until they become an issue or until they feel they can't keep it up anymore, I recommend trying to avoid them as much as possible to prevent sleep issues.

Take note that I say as much as possible. This is very important to keep in mind. Sometimes you'll use sleep props, even if it isn't in your future plans. You can't exactly go through having a newborn without ever holding them while they sleep. That is just too precious to miss out on, and sometimes, like if you are out and about or your baby just will not sleep, it is necessary.  Sometimes, you simply don't  have the physical or emotional energy to help baby sleep without sleep props, and that's OK too. There are many things worse than a baby with sleep association issues--like a baby who has zero sleep or a mom who's going half insane caring for herself and family. You do what you need to do in your unique situation. You can always break a sleep prop addiction at a later date.

You've probably heard of someone who held their baby to sleep or nursed their baby to sleep for months without any problem--no hourly night wakings at 9 months of age and no holding baby for his entire nap, every. single. time. The tricky thing is, you don't know what sleep prop will or will not cause an issue in the future. Most props will end up resulting in an issue, if not by 3/4 months, then almost always by 9 months. But there is always that baby out there who can have every sleep prop done in the world and they will still sleep like an angel. I wish I could tell you if that was your baby (and I wish I could give you or myself that baby!), but I can't. So that's why I suggest trying to prevent sleep issues form using sleep props, rather than fixing them down the road (which is quite possible, just not particularly fun or easy to do!)


DON'T RUSH IN
When baby starts to make sounds or even cries, follow the old crossing the street saying: stop, look (if you have a video monitor), and listen. It'll take some time, but you'll get better at determining what your baby is "saying". Is he in pain? Is he just making a sound in the middle of his sleep? Is he settling himself to sleep? Even before you've figured out what baby is trying to tell you, it is almost always a good idea to wait a few moments before going in to baby. If he is hungry, it'll be much eaiser to feed him and get a full feedig if he's wide awake, and if doesn't need something, he may fall asleep if you give him a minute. Much of the time parents rush to the aid of their children they are just going through a sleep transition--but before you know it, it turns into a habitual waking reinforced by the parents.

YOU'VE PUT BABY DOWN AWAKE AND DROWSY, BUT SHE IS CRYING. WHAT NEXT?
Now comes the especially tricky part. Lots of people will tell you what to do or be a bit obscure about what to do. Since there's no way I'll ever be able to work with each of you individually to see what would best for you, I'm going to give you some of my favorite options to choose from to see what works best for you--everyone has their own personal preferences and comfort levels. Some people feel comfortable starting these methods from day one, other people like to wake several weeks or even months before working on this.

For naps, you will limit your time helping baby fall asleep. After baby has been trying to go to sleep for 20 minutes, you will help her fall asleep so she doesn't get too tired. If you and baby feel up to it, you can attempt up to an hour for a nap, but most likely this will be a little tough for the two of you, especially if she's under 6-8 weeks. Once again, these guidelines are just for healthy babies that are growing well, and once a mother/baby pair are breastfeeding well.
  1. When baby starts to fuss, after giving him a few minutes to see if he'll go to sleep on his own (if you feel ok with this), pick him up and do what I call an extended pu/pd. You pick up baby when he cries and try to comfort him. You can walk around the room to do this or give some jiggles, but getting him used to less movement is helpful for the future, so only move around if you have to. Once he is drowsy, lay him back in his bed. Repeat as needed up to a max of 15-20 minutes. At this point, you will fully help baby go to sleep so he doesn't get too overtired. If you think you and your baby can handle doing it for longer (limit of an hour), then you can try this. Just don't do it for more than two naps in a row without making sure he gets a good nap in, however you have to make that happen (with feeding being a last resort).
  2. Ideally when baby starts to fuss, you will wait a few minutes before rushing in to see if she can settle herself to sleep (I call this "fussing it out"). If you don't feel comfortable waiting (or if it always backfires), you can go in right when the fuss turns into more of a cry, or when you hear the first fuss.  Keep baby in her bed and comfort her in whatever way works--pacifier (stay for a minute to make sure she's got a hold on it), shush-pat, comforting words, head stroking. Try to stay out of her site. She probably won't notice you early on, but you'll start to be a distraction as she gets older. Once she is comforted, leave. Repeat as needed up to 15-20 minutes into the nap. After this time, help her get to sleep in whatever way you can, avoiding feeding if possible. 
  3. When baby starts to fuss, leave her for 3-5 minute intervals, calming her each time you go in (calming, not putting her to sleep). Calm her in anyway that, works, trying to keep her in her bed. The limited crying solution suggests starting an approach like this closer to 4-6 weeks. I find it works fine at this age with a time limit. I wouldn't' keep it up for more than a total of 15-20 minutes. At that point, you will help baby to sleep in whatever way works, outside of feeding to sleep (unless you really, really have to). You are helping her to sleep so she doesn't get too sleep deprived which will likely frustate further attempts of sleep at this age--and be a little too warring on a mom who's just had a baby. If you feel your baby can handle more than 20 minutes, feel free to try it for up to an hour, but I wouldn't do this for more than two naps without helping her get a good nap in.
  4. When baby starts to fuss, leave her for a max of 15-20 minutes before going in and helping her go to sleep. Some babies almost always fall asleep by this time, others don't. If your baby rarely falls asleep after 15-20 minutes, I suggest another method right now.
You can treat bedtime similar to how you treat going down for naps, helping baby go to sleep after about 20 minutes. If you feel up to it, you can work for longer (there is no 1 hour limit at bedtime like there is for naps). It's also a good idea to double check that baby isn't hungry (especially if she was sleepy during the bedtime feed) if she is taking a little while to fall asleep.

I personally don't have the stamina to work on bedtime much with a brand new baby. I will hold or nurse to sleep at first (unless baby goes to sleep easily on her own) and put baby to bed more and more awake as the weeks go by. As long as baby is going to sleep not held/nursed most of the time by 2-3 months, this method usually doesn't cause issues with extra night wakings for people. If it does, then it's time to change the method and not hold/nurse to sleep anymore :)

It the middle of the night when baby wakes, give baby a few minutes to see if she will fall back asleep on her own ( I know, this is hard to do, especially if you are wide awake right by her!). If she doesn't, go ahead and offer a feed. If it hasn't been very long since she last ate, try to help her go to back to sleep in whatever way you can outside of a feed. If she won't go to sleep or wakes up again shortly after, assume she is hungry and feed her. As baby gets older, if she is having frequent night wakings not due to hunger, then you may also want to work on night wakings the same way you handle bedtime (see above).

Guess what, I'm going to tell you one other lazy thing I do in regards to sleep with brand new babies. :) When I give my babies middle of the night feeds, if they don't fall back asleep easily, I  hold or feed until very drowsy, sometimes even until they are asleep. I do not have the energy to spend tons of time soothing a newborn to sleep in the middle of the night so this is how I handle it. For me (and many others), as long as you are working on day sleep and bedtime (eventually), it doesn't usually cause any issues and baby will start going to sleep easily during the night with time and no extra work. The plus side of this is that just like getting baby used to sleeping at certain times during the day makes her feel sleepy at these times, ensuring she sleeps well at night will help her feel sleepy at this time and make future sleep easier then.

With diaper changes, I change the diaper in the middle of the feed the first couple weeks. Once a couple weeks have gone by and baby is less sleepy, I change the diaper at the beginning of the feed to make it easier for her to fall asleep after the feed. I try to avoid changing diapers early in the morning (like at 5 am) since this can wake up baby a bit and possibly even lead to some future issues with early morning wake ups (she gets used to being awake at this time as a newborn and keeps up the habit for months). I also try to get most of the burping done before I finish up a feed so that baby can be nice and relaxed before being put back down to sleep.

Lastly, here's one of my top tips for extending night sleep with a newborn. This is a touch similar to the core night method, but imo a lot easier for mom/dad and baby. After about 2 weeks (I generally feed every 3 hours at night before this time to make sure baby is gaining weight well and to make sure my milk supply is good) if baby is growing well, I start to monitor how long she is going at night. If she goes longer than the usual 3ish hours a few times, then I will start working with that time. 

So let's say baby goes 5 hours a few times. From now on, if she wakes sooner than 5 hours, instead of feeding her right off, I will see if she will easily extend out to the 5 hours. This usually involves me doing the easiest thing possible in the middle of the night--popping a pacifier into her mouth (I have a love/hate relationship with pacifiers and this is one reason I LOVE them!). If this doesn't work, I will pick up baby to see if she'll easily fall asleep in my arms (you can do whatever normally helps baby fall back asleep). Most of the time baby will quickly and easily fall right asleep and we'll get 5 hours between feeds in there, sometimes longer. If baby doesn't fall asleep after trying for a short time, I will give a feed and try again the next night. 

Keep in mind that I am not pushing her to sleep longer, I am working with how long she has shown me she can comfortable go on her own. At this age, my goal isn't to push baby to cut out extra feeds. If she doesn't easily go X hours with some gentle encouragement, then I will not push her to do it--she may need the feed. That said, with the ok from your pediatrician, you can try to extend out middle of the night feeds with this method around 1 month of age if baby is not extending them out on her own.

Don't fret too much about backtracking at this age. You may take a step back here and there, but overall you'll be taking steps forward.  I keep doing this method as sleep continues to extend out. I also use this method to extend a feed if baby eats very little for a feed a few nights in a row and seems to be waking out of habit or because they don't sleep well on their own yet, rather than hunger.

One important thing to point out about this
  • I often don't go more than 5-6 hours the first 4 weeks, you'll want to see what your pediatrician suggests
  • When picking a feed to extend out, you need to work with the same feed (2 am one, 5 am one etc.), not just any feed throughout the night. Babies fall into patterns of sleeping longer and shorter at different times of the night. 
  • You need to have some sort of daily routine in place and bedtime hour in place. Unless baby is eating around the same amount each day and night and going to sleep around the same time, you can't expect her to sleep predictably long at night.
  • It is common for a baby to do a longer stretch of sleep at night followed by a shorter stretch of sleep
  • Just because your baby takes the pacifier, it does not mean she has gone back to sleep and wasn't hungry. It is possible that she is sucking on it unsettled and hungry and not asleep. At this age, you don't want to offer a pacifier instead of a feed if your baby needs it. So if you offer the pacifier and she doesn't seem settled or she wakes shortly after, assume she needs that feed for now. Keep in mind that if she has been awake sucking at the pacifier for some time, she'll very likely be overtired and not take a good feed. This means that she may wake 1-2 hours later hungry again. So the pacifier can definitely backfire if you don't use it right. Sometimes, like if you are trying to drop a feed with an older baby this will simply be part of the struggle short term but will resolve long term.
  • While this method is often pretty painless for me and involves me being awake for a matter of seconds, sometimes if baby is really stuck in a feed (that she obviously no longer needs--eats very little etc.), it can take a bit of work short term. But the good news is that persevering for a few nights (at most several nights) will give you a longer stretch of sleep long term. Once the feed is dropped, the waking often goes away on its own (assuming there aren't other big sleep problems).
  • I started having my son Jacob sleep in the rock 'n play sleeper when he was a few weeks old (due to him hating sleeping flat on his back--reflux being part of the problem). He immediately started to sleep an extra two hours at night. I tried this sleeper at night with my next child and I had similar results. So yeah, I'm kind of in love with this sleeper since it gives me extra shut eye at night! The transfer from sleeper to flat bed at a later date is easy-peasy for most babies too.


Common Newborn Issues
  • Painful reflux: If your baby appears to have reflux that is bothersome (some spitting up is common and normal due to a newborn's immature sphincter) then let your pediatrician know. Some reflux medications can make a world of difference. Also, try to keep baby in an upright position for approximately 30 minutes after a feed. You may want to even have baby sleep on a wedge that keeps his head slightly elevated. More about this on a future post.
  • Dirty diaper: Most babies this age do not care much about a dirty or wet diaper. Lots of parents connect wet diapers with night wakings, but this most likely is not what is causing the waking, now or in the future. But you never know, so it worth considering.
  • Growth Spurts. Newborns have loads of growth spurts, or times they will eat/grow more and possibly sleep more or be fussy.
  • Colic. If your little one has colic you'll probably be holding and bouncing and doing all kinds of things to help her be happy and, if you're lucky, sleep. These things can and often do result in a baby having sleep issue when she gets older because, well, she's always had them to go to sleep so that's what she keeps needing to go to sleep. Don't worry about it. You have your hands full as it is. You can tackle sleep issues when the colic improves. You'll get a bit more protesting during the process, but it is never too late to improve on sleep.
  • Ear Infections. Ear infections and babies are not fun, but unfortunately they go together quite a lot with some babies. Breastfeeding, holding upright while bottle feeding and not smoking around your baby can reduce the risk of ear infections. If your baby has recently had a stuffy nose and suddenly gets a fever, is extra fussy or cries shortly after being layed flat, suspect an ear infection. Actually, regardless of what is wrong, any fever at this age warrants an immediate call or visit with your pediatrician. 
  • GasYour baby's digestive system is still trying to figure things out, and until that happens (and even maybe after :) you've got a little gas monster on your hands. Be sure to burp 2-3 times during a feed and if needed, try out different bottles if you're bottle feeding. If you're breastfeeding, you may want to adjust your diet a bit, although most of the time this doesn't seem to make much of a difference. Getting gas somewhat under control will help your little one sleep more soundly. If he wakes up suddenly with a high pitched scream, you might be dealing with gas. I also always recommend  probiotics to help with gas, especially for formula fed babies. Refrigerated ones (I use this one for my newborns) are the best, but this one seems to still have decent results and easy to find online and in stores

Common Questions:
Do I really need to wake my baby up to eat during the day? 
If your baby is growing well and not going an abnormally long period between day time feeds, then no, of course you don't need to wake baby up. BUT, not waking baby up during the day for feeds may lead to 1) not enough food/feeds during the day which means more feeds at night and 2) an extension of day night confusion--baby will be getting her long sleep stretches during the day and waking more at night. The above two things don't always happen, but from my experience, most newborns will sleep longer at night at a sooner age if they are woken during the day every 2.5-3 hours for a feed and some waketime. So what you do is up to you. If it feels wrong to wake baby up during the day for a feed and she's growing well, then don't do it. Just realize that an extended night sleep may take a bit longer for your little one.

Won't fully assisting my baby to fall asleep (say, after you've tried extended pu/pd for some time and it has failed or in an attempt to make a nap last longer) end up backfiring? I thought I was trying to teach her to fall asleep on her own? Wont' she start to depend on me if I don't let her do this?
Great question! If this has occurred to you, then high five, you're starting to understand this whole sleep prop and habits thing I've been talking about. I admit it does sound a bit odd to suggest helping baby to fall asleep on her own when you're trying to teach her to do it on her own, but it is necessary. With a baby this age, if she gets too overtired, you will get nowhere. Sleep will just keep getting worse and worse. And you know what, so will mom's patience. She has just had a baby! She needs some rest right now too. I don't expect she can handle helping baby sleep all. day. long. It is emotionally and physically exhausting. Believe it or not, but at this age, all the practice baby gets trying to fall asleep, even if it is just for several minutes at the beginning of each nap, really adds up. Most will get better at falling asleep on their own even if you end up helping them at times. By the time they are 3-6 months old, you'll stop helping them fall asleep when needed (it really backfires), but for now, it is in their best interest. 

Can I successfully breastfeed while encouraging my newborn to be a good sleeper?
Why yes, yes you can! The idea that breastfeeding automatically leads to terrible sleep and that there is nothing you can do about it a common myth. I've successfully breastfed past a year with my children and I've talked with hundreds of other parents who have done it successfully too--all while on a routine. You can find out more about breastfeeding and routines here.

Should I give my baby a Lovey?
At this age, babies will not respond much to any sort of lovey, and most of them are not very safe for their age anyway. Wait a bit longer before introducing them, usually not before 4 months.

Do I need to worry about limiting naps at this age?
Too much day sleep can rob night sleep. I know, most of you are thinking what, there's a baby out there that sleeps too much during the day! I can't get mine to sleep at all! Too much sleep in the day does happen sometimes though, and the result can be less sleep at night. With newborns, if you wake them around every 3 hours during the day and try to give them a little bit of awake time before they go back to sleep, you rarely have a problem with too much daily sleep.

When will my baby start to sleep through the night?
The all too common question! I've outlined when babies often start sleeping through the night on this post. After helping countless of parents with sleep, I can tell you that following the suggestions above will help you get there sooner rather than later. Remember to keep in mind that every baby is different and sleeps through the night at a different age.

Every time I lay my baby to sleep she suddenly pops right awake again. What can I do?
This is pretty common. Your baby, while drifting off to sleep, notices something different (being put down) and wakes right up again. And sometimes, because she's somewhat startled awake or has just had some of her tiredness knocked off by sleeping a few minutes, she'll be wide awake and not seem the least bit tired at all. There are a couple ways to deal with this. One way is to make sure she's in a deep sleep before you put her down, that means you'll have to wait 5-20 minutes before setting her down. Check to see if her arm is limp before setting her down and set her down slowly, step by step, possibly staying cuddled up with her for a moment in her bed before taking all contact away. THis works with many babies, but not all.  The other way is to put her to sleep before she gets so drowsy (or falls asleep) and work on having her fall asleep there alone, or with your help.

My baby wakes up 15 minutes after I put her to sleep (or some time around that). Help!
Check to see that gas or a remaining burp isn't a problem. I always burp baby before putting her to sleep just to make sure there's nothing there. Make sure she wasn't overtired or overstimulated before going to sleep since this can lead to super short naps. She may have also been put to sleep too drowsy or fast asleep and is waking up wondering where you went. You may want to check out the short nap post.

Some babies will be quiet after you put them down and then start to cry several minutes later. If you look in a monitor, you may see that they either never fell asleep or that they started to fall asleep (or got into the early stages of sleep) for several minutes then popped wide awake crying.

My baby wakes up from a nap after being asleep for 45-60 minutes. How can I get her to sleep a bit longer?
Make sure to give her a few minutes to see if she'll go back to sleep on her own.  If she won't go back to sleep on her own, try helping her go back to sleep (avoid a feed if possible). If, after about 20 minutes she still isn't asleep, get her up and plan on putting her down for another nap pretty soon. Check out the short naps and extending naps posts.

My baby always fights sleep. She gets upset the second I start getting her ready for bed.
Some children are just like this. They don't like to shut out the world. Keeping things extra calm a short time before their nap can help. Making sure they don't get overtired can also be helpful.

What if my baby won't fall asleep after putting her down awake?
If you've gone through one of the four options above and it has been more than 20 minutes, I would probably help her go to sleep so she doesn't get too overtired. If you and her feel up to it (and, preferably, she's over 6-8 weeks), you can keep working on helping her go to sleep on her own her entire nap (but for no more than two naps straight without her getting a good nap in). If she doesn't fall asleep after 1 hour, get her up and put her down again when she starts to get sleepy (this will be pretty darn soon). Try not to have her fall asleep on you if you can help it.

What if it's time to feed her but she either hasn't fallen asleep yet or is about to go to sleep?
If it is almost time to feed her but she still hasn't fallen asleep for a nap, go ahead and get her up, feed her, doing your best to keep her awake. Then put her down again for a nap after the feed is through. If she falls asleep eating, it isn't the end of the world. As long as this isn't happening all the time, it isn't a huge deal. As she gets closer to 3 months of age, it's a good idea to not have this happening much or it can turn into a big habit.

If you're about to put her down for a nap but she needs to eat soon (maybe your e/w/s/ routine is a bit off because she's been struggling falling asleep for naps), go ahead and feed her right now, trying not to have her fall asleep while eating.

How should I handle early morning wakings?
If baby is waking early in the morning at this age, most likely she needs a feed. If that isn't the issue (and you've given her a moment to settle and haven't rushed in), then after making sure there isn't something else going on (a poopy diaper, too cold, gassy etc) help baby go to sleep by any means necessary while keeping things as much night-like as you can (dark, quiet etc). You want her to get used to sleeping during this time so she doesn't continue to wake up early and alert. Two of my newborns have gone through a short period where they wanted to go for the day at 5 am. It passed, but it was super tiring. Just keep things nice and boring and sleepy and you'll get past it!



Let me know if I missed any questions you may have! 


51 comments :

  1. Hi Rachel,

    I came across your blog the other day and it's been helpful. I read some of the books that you reference with my first baby and it's handy to have the main ideas all summarized in the same place! I have a 21mo son and a 6 week old (tomorrow) daughter. With my son I did a combo of Babywise and Baby Whisperer. He definitely had to be sleep trained, but was easy and responded to the tips and tricks very well. My daughter has not been as easy!
    I'm having trouble with naps and hoped you could help. She sleeps great at night - goes down, wakes once to feed, then goes right back to sleep. Naps are another story - she will not fall asleep out of my arms. Even if she falls into a deep sleep (where she's so deep she's twitching!) I will lay her down, swaddled, in her bassinet and about 5 minutes later she'll be wide awake. I've also tried to put her down when she's only a little asleep and the same happens. I've resorted to carrying her in a moby wrap during the day - something I swore I would never do! I know that gas is not an issue - was in the first two weeks, but not anymore.
    I have tried shush pat, but she just lay there with her eyes wide open for 20 minutes. This method is a bit tricky for me to commit to since I have my son to look after at the same time. I also tried CIO for three naps a few days ago and she ended up laying in her bed for about 1 hour, alternating between crying and just being awake. I ended up getting her out when there was an hour left before the next feed, cause I needed her to get some sleep before she ate. I know that CIO needs more than a few tries to work, but I don't feel completely comfortable doing it at only 5 weeks. The baby swing doesn't even put this kid to sleep!
    I wanted to hear your opinion. Half the people I talk to and books I read say that the things you do now set a pattern, and she'll be dependent on me to nap if I keep this up. The other half say that she's still in the newborn transistion phase and will grow out of this and eventually be able to sleep on her own. What do you think? Any tips or tricks I should know about? Thanks!

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  2. Sara,
    I agree with both statements you mentioned...things you do now set a pattern and babies can outgrow things a bit when they get out of the newborn stage. It is the rare baby I hear of that is held all day to sleep and suddenly starts sleeping by herself when she gets older with no work. That said, many babies do improve a bit naturally as they get older (though not all). Sorry, not a great answer :)

    With newborns I like the 4S routine (or something similar) then trying to have them sleep on their own. Since they are so young and get overtired easily, I only suggest letting them try to go to sleep (however you do that) for a limited period of time so they don't get overtired (maybe 5-30 minutes depending on what you feel comfortable with and how baby responds). After this, try to get baby sleep however you can so she doesn't get overtired then try again with each additional nap. Babies often get better over time if you do this although you might have to do some mild sleep training later dependng on the baby.Some babies you will have to do something more extreme with this method. Most people don't have hours to spend at their baby's bedside each day (to do shush-pat or whatever) because they have other kids or whatever so this is something that can work for many people. I do think it is best if you can have baby not sleep on you because that makes the transition a lot harder than say a standstill or moving swing but you can only do what your baby will do.

    Rachel

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  3. Thanks Rachel! I like your idea of trying it for a limited period of time. I'm an all-or-nothing kind of person, so I didn't really think of compromising like that :) The most frustrating part of this is that she goes to bed awake at night and puts herself to sleep, so I know that she can do it. I'm wondering too if it's a waketime issue during the day, so I'm going to try to keep an eye on that - I often get so caught up with my son and other stuff after I finish feeding the baby that she stays awake alot longer than the average waketimes.
    Thanks for your response - it's great to have other moms to bounce ideas off of and hear a fresh perspective!

    Sara

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  4. sara,
    No problem. Hope you get things worked out. Naps and Nighttime are often somewhat separate things for kids. But the fact that she can put herself to sleep at night is encouraging.

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  5. Hi, found your site and hoping you're still checking messages here. We have an 8 week old boy with reflux and swallowing issues(risk of aspiration) and probably colicky as well. He only sleeps on us and whenever we've tried moving him to the bassinet or crib he doesn't last more than 15-20 minutes before he wakes himself up. We swaddle him. He sleeps better at night(once he's finally asleep after lots of fussing). We noticed he's sensitive to noise and light. What can we try to help him put himself to sleep and stay asleep? He is on several meds, but can still spit up an hour after eating and is uncomfortable every few minutes even when sleeping on us. When he's awake during the day, he can play happily and all of a sudden starts screaming and we can't catch him in time for a peaceful falling asleep routine, unless he'll accept the bottle and fall asleep while eating, but then he gets bothered by a painful burp or spit up. He also pacifies on the bottle when he starts stirring in discomfort. Need help!

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    1. Christina...
      I'd work on helping him to fall asleep without eating. Try a pacifier or some other method. The eating right before he sleeps is going to worsen the bad reflux, especially if you try to have him sleep flat. You may have the most luck setting things up for good sleep right now (see the top sleep post and sleep training define post) and maybe some gentle sleep training (see st tab) since he has some health issues that you need to monitor.

      Rachel

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  6. Hi Rachel,

    I THINK my baby is habitually waking up at night. She is 10 weeks old. I cluster feed at night and then do the df between 10 and 11. She dropped the 2:00 am feeding but she is still waking up every single night between 2 and 3. I walk back to her room, shush pat, give her a paci, and she falls right back to sleep. Sometimes this helps her sleep until 4:30 or 5:00 and then some nights she will wake up again at 3, 4, 5, etc. I've been doing the shush pat and giving her a paci during those times, and I usually give in and feed her if she wakes up at 4:00. It's driving me crazy b/c I don't know what to do! :) I feel like we are "tanking" her up before going to bed and she is 12 pounds now....I don't think she's hungry at 2:00 and 3:00! Am I wrong? Should I try the wake to sleep method? I go back to work in 4 weeks and would love to get her sleeping until at least 5:00 so mommy is happy too. :)

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  7. Hello,
    I am having problems putting down my 4 week old. Everytime I feed her, than put her down for a napy , 10 minutes later she is crying. I have tried even feeding her more but its the same situation. I never can put her down without her crying 10 minutes later. It is not her stomach, I have tried gripe water and gas drops as well. What can it be and what should I do ? Thank you !

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    Replies
    1. c87 etc (whoa, what is some name!),
      Likely, it's just that she hasn't learned to sleep on her own and she is waking up and needing help to go back to sleep, or she isn't able to fall asleep on her own (after a little trying). Take a look at this post to see if any of the things help you out, but a lot of it is just their age and some extra time and practice needed. Some babies will sleep great from an early age if put to sleep at the right time but other babies will have a difficult time dozing off--many even in their parent's arms.
      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2013/01/how-to-set-stage-for-good-sleep-tear.html

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  8. Hello there,

    I have a nearly 6 week old who doesn't extend his time between feeds at night time. He is on the baby whisperer 3 hr routine though he still often struggles waiting 3 hrs between feeds and it becomes 2.5 hrs.

    I have recently started tanking him up and have dream fed him since he was a couple of weeks old. However after a dream feed at 11pm, he will still wake at around 1:30, then again at around 4:30. He is then fed again at 7:00. Cluster feeding hasn't appeared to make any difference.

    I bf during the day. This lasts between 30 and 45 minutes but sometimes more as he is such a sleepy eater. His dream feed and two night feeds are 2 formula (180 ml) then one expressed bottle (150ml) and he usually finishes the lot.do you have any suggestions for helping him drop one of his night feeds? I was wondering if I should gradually reduce the amount in his 1:30 bottle?

    Your advice would be much appreciated.

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  9. I have a question about napping. I'm trying to do Babywise with my 6 week old and nap time is a huge struggle right now. She cries for 20 min. and then finally falls asleep but then wakes up 20 min later screaming and will cry for another 20 min. I try to go in and pat her but she is so worked up she won't calm down. If I pick her up she calms down but as soon as I put her down again when she looks tired, she begins screaming for 20 min. This goes on the entire nap period and I am feeling so horrible letting her cry. I don't know what to do. I'm hoping you have had similar issues and can help. At bedtime she seems do well. She eats at 8 and then goes down really well and sleeps until about 11 and then I feed her and she's asleep until 3:00 or 4:00 and then eats again at 7:00 or 8:00 am. She is formula fed so I don't think its an issue of her not getting enough food. She is on an every 3 hour eating schedule during the day. She usually is awake for about an hour including her feeding time (although I struggle to keep her awake while eating). Do babies at this age really nap for 2 hours? My first would only ever sleep 45 minutes so I haven't been very successful with naps until they are a bit older (4-6 months). I'm hoping you can help me.

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    Replies
    1. Kendall,
      Many babies will nap 2 hoursish at this age, but many will not take longer naps until closer to 6 months, and there are even a few children in there that won't take longer naps until sometime into their first year (this is assuming they've been given the chance to learn to take longer naps).

      If she's waking after 20 minutes, she was likely overtired or overstimulated before going down--which is likely just by the fact that it took her a while to fall asleep in the first place. Not sure where you are at now, but I would probably assist her falling back to sleep at this age, especially since your attempts so far haven't helped out yet. She'lll likely get much better at falling asleep initially and falling back to sleep as she gets older.

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  10. Hi Rachel, I love your blog. Thank you so much for your helpful posts! I have a 5wo who is a pretty decent sleeper with 2-3 hour sleeps and a longer 4-5 hour sleep at her first "night" sleep. I am new to Baby Whisperer but love to idea of putting her down awake and letting her fall asleep by herself. My question is that her wake times are much longer than suggested 45-60 min and she is difficult to put down. She is routinely up for 2 hours throughout the day and sometimes 3 hours before her night sleep at 10pm. I know that she's tired because she's displayed her sleep cues but she won't fall asleep (or stay asleep). After feeding (30-40 min), I do burp, diaper change, play and wait for her to show her sleep cues. Normally this happens about 60-75 minutes after waking. Then I move to the bedroom (darkened, white noise). I sing her sleep song and hold her upright while doing the shush-pat until her eyes close or almost close. From here I put her down and continue to pat. She'll fall asleep but wake a few minutes later. When this happens I do PU/PD to calm her. After 30-40 minutes of this, she may sleep in her bassinet but usually for naps, I'll put her in the carrier so at least she'll get sleep. If it's nighttime, I will feed again and try the sleep routine again if she's not going down. Of course, the longer this goes on, the more overtired she gets and the more tense/exhausted I get! Do you have any suggestions? Am I expecting too much from a 5 week old? BWT, she sleeps about 14 hours/day and is exclusively BF and gaining well. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Camille Schram,
      I would start the pre-sleep routine earlier than you are doing it. Either her initial overtired cues are being missed (some babies don't display very obvious ones until they are overtired) or by the time you get her almost to sleep she's been awake too long.

      Here's the thing, she's obviously not really putting herself to sleep on her own at all, she's relying almost completely on you. If you aren't there giving full support, she's awake. You have a couple options, you can keep doing what you are doing but I would consider trying to diminish the amount of help you offer--try not to put her completely to sleep, let her do some herself-- and if you do pupd, do a version where you hold until sleepy not until crying stops so she doesn't get so overstimulated. I would only do this like 15, a max of 30 minutes before helping baby to sleep for good--a carrier or a swing etc. You can also help her go to sleep now and work more on this stuff as she gets older and gets less overtired. Helping her sleep well for a few days to get over the over tiredness then starting again with helping her learn to sleep may also be more successful.

      best,
      rachel

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    2. Hi Rachel, thank you so much for your reply. Now I begin her sleep routine much earlier and she is SO MUCH easier to put down. I still help her fall asleep but put her in her bassinet a littler earlier and help her transition to sleep by placing a hand on her belly (instead of patting on the back). I leave it there until she is in deep sleep. I also stay close by so if she starts fussing in the middle of a nap I put my hand back on her belly and shush. It seems to work in putting her back to sleep without having to pick her up. It's only been a few days but I'm grateful for the progress made so far!

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    3. Camille Schram,
      That's great news to hear Camille. It'll likely get easier for her as time goes by. If it doesn't (because some children start to keep wanting your attention instead of letting you lessen it), that's ok, you can just address it then in what way seems best.

      Rachel

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  11. Hi Rachel. Thanks for the post, it is very helpful. We have been doing e/w/s cycles with our now 4 week old since birth. It has been going great till the past few days. She now will only sleep during the day if someone is holding her or in the swing. If I put her down she wakes up after 30 mins or so, or won't even go to sleep. In addition she has been fussier than usual and waking up earlier (every 1.5-2 hours) to eat. She consistently up to this point had to be woken up to eat every 3 hours. So my question is, how do I know if we're having a nap problem or if she's going through a growth spurt or her first wonder week? The advice for growth spurts/wonder week is to hold your baby often and give lots of love, and that the schedule will "go back to normal" once it's over. So should I just give it a few days or so and if she still won't nap lying down then try done of your tips? The thing that's confusing to me is that she is still sleeping her normal night time hours (11-3, 3-6:30) even though we're having all the new patterns during the day. that makes me question that it's a growth spurt/wonder week. All I know is that she has been a very different baby over the past 2 days or so. Thanks for your help in advance.

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    Replies
    1. Newmomma,
      Sounds kind of like she's gotten out of the super sleepy brand new baby stage and is simply having difficulty going to sleep on her own. Make sure to swaddle, watch the waketimes etc. At that point, you can decide if you want to work on helping her go to sleep on her own, or opt for holding/swing for now until having her sleep on her own at a later date.

      Fussiness may be related to her age too (it'll get worse for a few more weeks). Or she could have reflux or something. Address this with your per at your next visit. I'd be surprised if she needs to eat every 1.5 hours (from the beginning of one feed to the next) even if she was in a growth spurt. I wonder if she simply is having a hard time transitioning back to sleep during a nap and isn't actually hungry--that is something you'll have to evaluate. Some babies change over night with their sleeping (they suddenly become more alert etc) but sometimes it is simply a matter of waiting a couple more days then everything will go back to normal.

      Delete
  12. Hi Rachel,

    I'm in desperate need of some help. My son is 5 weeks old. He was generally good at night and not bad during the day until he hit 3.5 weeks then all hell broke loose. He began cluster feeding in the evenings from approx. 6 to 10 pm and as I am breastfeeding I could not handle this. I found your website when I was googling help for the cluster feeding. So we started the e/w/s cycle but I can not get the first nap to take. He'll sleep from 20 to 40 mins and then waken but display no hunger signs so I try to sooth him back to bed but this ends of lasting until his next cycle should begin. Then sometimes he'll go for an afternoon nap butnpot always it ends up being late afternoon or evening. Then I try again at night and this could be the same as the day. He'll feed for like an hour and then I'll put him to bed with a story and the 4 s routine. He only wakes 2 times in the night but that's only if he goes down properly. I haven't been able to get the dream feed down right yet. I've been trying this routine for 4 days and for the first 2 it went pretty well with most cycles but the last 2 and now again today its like we have taken 10 steps backwards. Help!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul DeVuono,
      If you can't get him back to sleep after X amount of time (say 20 minutes) then go ahead and get him up and put him down for a nap again relatively soon. You'll end up with a eat/play/sleep/play/sleep/ etc cycle, but your little one needs to get some sleep in there, and you need some rest too! Make sure to observe wartime etc, and try out other methods to help him back to sleep after short naps to see if something else works.

      best,
      rachel

      Delete
  13. Hi Rachel
    I'm so happy to find your blog - it's been so helpful and very thorough. I have two goals for my 7 week old I was hoping you could help me with:
    1.). Get her to fall asleep herself when I put her down drowsy (and self soothe!). I've been guilty of putting her to sleep while holding her in my arms and bouncing on a yoga ball. Works well but I know this is a habit I need to break!
    2.). Transition her to a crib from a bassinet/rocker. Since day 1 she has hated the crib and we first had to co sleep with her in our bed. Now it's been about 4 weeks of her sleeping in the bassinet. Would love to move her to the crib!

    Do you suggest I attempt the above simultaneously or focus on one first? Also, random question, do your suggested wake times include time spent feeding?

    Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CA Mom,
      The waketime include feeling time.

      Don't worry too much if she has a hard time with the crib at this age--she is still really little. Sometimes putting a baby in the corner can help with the transition. At this age I'd probably do 1 or 2 first, but not together--but if you do both together it will be fine. You may want to start with the crib at night then move to days. Make sure to set things up for good sleep too (see above and the post setting your child up for good sleep).

      best,
      rachel

      Delete
  14. Hi Rachel,
    I have a 3.5 week old son. He is pretty good at putting himself to sleep. I can often put him in his crib wide awake and he will go to sleep on his own. Only problem is he wakes up 15 minutes later. I burp him, and lay him back down. Then he wakes up every 10-20 minutes for another hour - 3 hours. I am not sure what to do about it, as I am already putting him down awake, so it's not like he is waking up wondering why he isn't in my arms anymore. Help please!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Rachel,
    we have a 10 week old girl. we follow yr suggestions for the extended pu/pd. it works well to put her down for her night sleep. As for the naps we are able to relax her and we do pu/pd for a few times untill she stops crying. After that she stays awake for 30 minutes and just moves around alot but doesnt make a sound. We dont know what to do as she is not crying but also doesnt seem to get sleepy (she keeps yawning though). pretty much after 30-40 minutes she starts crying out again. I usually pick her up and hold her a bit but by the time she is down in her be she is asleep. I tried to pat and shush instead of picking her up but she doesnt react to that. Do we just have to keep going and wait till she grows out of it or can we do more to help her?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enrico Ryll,
      I wonder if adjusting the waketime would make a difference. It might be too long or too short. Also, instead of doing extended pupd a few times for the nap, simply putting her down after a soothing pre-sleep routine and letting her be for a few minutes might solve the problem. It sounds weird, but the extra work calming some babies before they go to sleep sometimes backfires with them. You'll have to decide if you feel comfortable doing this though :)

      best,
      rachel

      Delete
  16. Hi Rachel,

    I'm struggling with a 7 week old who can actually fall asleep by himself in the crib, but cannot stay asleep for more than a few short minutes. Occasionally I have gotten a 20-30 mins nap from him, but usually it's less than 10 mins of sleep, and then some fussing until we go in to pu/pd again. In fact, the same thing happens at bedtime/after his DF! We barely get any sleep unless we hold him the entire nap or night.

    Some more info: he does have reflux but is on meds (Omeprazole), and he is extremely gassy (I'm trying to remedy this by cutting out dairy and block feeding due to my oversupply).

    When the reflux first kicked in and before we started him on meds, we did hold him for naps (upright) and upright on our chests for night sleep because he was inconsolably unhappy/crying after each feed. However, over the last 2 weeks or so, we have been doing extended pu/pd and he will fall asleep by himself in a crib, drowsy but awake. The only problem is he won't stay asleep! He continues to wake and fuss, so that after 20 mins or so, we give up and just hold him for the rest of the nap. This even happens at nighttime after his late night feed at 10 pm. Last night, we did extended pu/pd from 10:30 pm - 12:30 am after his DF, and he literally could not stay asleep for more than a few minutes at a time. We finally gave in and took turns holding him to sleep throughout the night. It was torture!

    His reflux is manageable with the meds--not as much spit up anymore. He does sleep inclined on a wedge, but it doesn't seem to do anything. He is constantly gassy though, and a lot of the times when he wakes fussing, he does end up burping (or spitting up a tiny bit). If his constant waking is due to his medical condition, how will we ever be able to get him back down after a DF or a MOTN feeding, since we can't give him a 45 mins wake time to hold him upright and burp him? It seems impossible to get him back to sleep right away.

    If we just have to wait for his reflux and gas conditions to improve over time, could you suggest any tips on how to make the next couple of months more bearable in terms of naps and bedtime? My DH goes back to work in 1.5 weeks, which is why it's been so important to us to sleep train (in some way) so that we at least don't have to hold baby all night long, or during every single nap. Unfortunately, he hates the swing, bouncer, Ergo and Moby wrap!

    Thank you for any advice!

    Clarissa

    ReplyDelete
  17. I need help regarding my almost 11 week old daughter. I have a very difficult time trying to get her to sleep by herself, and it ends up taking forever to get her to sleep, and then she sleeps for a short time. I have a two year old which is why I need to teach her independent sleep, but am having a hard time balancing over tiredness and appropriate amounts of rest for her. If I get her ready for sleep before her 1-1 hour 15 minute wakeful period, and have her in her crib, she will generally just be happy until I go in there and Rock her. No crying, just looking around contentedly. Then when I start to rock her she cries hysterically and does so for 15 minutes or so until she falls asleep. 30 minutes later she's up and crying, and we do the whole thing again. She can and will take long naps if I rock her to sleep (originally) or have her in the moby. What do I do if she's in her crib happy? Leave her? It just seems like she gets overtired and doesn't even try to sleep. I do put her in drowsy. I am trying to decide if it's worth the frustration at this point to teach her or if I should wait until she's 4 months old and letting her cry is more acceptable.
    Also, in the evenings she wakes up from her nap around 5:30/5:45, and seems happy and content long past her hour wakeful period. Then, when 1.5 hours roll around and I begin rocking her (not because she's acting tired just because it's been too long) she takes forever to get to sleep and then wakes up an hour later, screaming. This usually repeats 2 hours after that. Is it because she's overtired, not tired enough, or am I a sleep prop? She has been sick with a cold, which is on it's way out, and prior to that she would sleep 10-7 (which I miss as she's now waking at 3 for a feed). Is her bedtime naturally late right now and I'm trying to force her to sleep earlier? When she wakes up it's clear she needs to go back to sleep, so I generally rock her back to sleep or nurse her.
    Thank you for any advice!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hello! While I am a parent for the 2nd time, our first experience was not typical; our son was born at 28 weeks and spent 4 months in the NICU. He came home with an NG tube and on O2 and was FTT, so feedings, sleeping, etc. were anything but normal. So, now we have a 4 week old baby girl, who was born at 37 weeks weighing 7lb 4oz (no health issues, no NICU). We have been using the EASY routine for the past few days and it is going well. She loves her nap time, that is for certain, and typically eats 3-4 oz at each feeding. That being said, she seems to prefer going 4 hours between feedings, rather than 3. Should I be waking her at 3 hours, even though she typically wakes herself by 4? Also, because she is on the 4hr schedule, her cluster feedings run late (7 and 9pm) and we can't seem to fit in a dream feeding before 11pm. So we skip it and she wakes anywhere from 4-6 hours from the 9pm feeding.
    For example, her feedings yesterday were 3:30 am, 8am, 12pm, 3:45pm, 7:15pm, 9:30pm (about 21-23oz)...and then she woke again this morning at 4am and again at 8am, then 12pm (it's now 2:24p and she is napping). If she stays on an 8am waking, should I just adjust dream feedings to between 11p-12a. Or should I wake her earlier (7am)...to fit in the dream feeding by 11p? I feel like she can go for 6hrs at night, but would it be better to do the dream feeding and hope to eliminate the 3-4am feeding?
    Sorry...so many questions...this typical baby stuff is just as daunting as all the medical issues we had with our first little boy :)
    Thank you! Heather (mom to Jack and Harper)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Rachel,

    We are attempting the e/w/s routine with our first little girl. The first few days, I was trying to keep her awake for the entire suggested awake time. She ended up get WAY TOO overtired and every nap time/ bedtime we had a problem getting her to sleep.

    The past few days, I have taken cues from her for going down for naps and it has been working quite well. Although, I don't feel like I get a lot of awake time with her, the she has been sleeping well at night.

    Today, though, she is falling asleep VERY soon after she eats. I don't want to try to keep her awake, but even as I am talking to her, her eyes are closing. I am not sure what to do - I don't want her to get overtired if she needs the sleep and I try to wake her up, but I also don't want to throw off her sleep schedule.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Swimming in Fountains,
      Tiredness levels with babies will still vary from day to day when they are really young. Don't worry if she falls asleep while eating sometimes and doesn't have much wake time. If she isn't going dry long during feeds (getting hungry) or sleeps shortly after falling asleep then wakes up full of energy consider that she may need to be more awake during the feed or have a couple minutes of waketime after the feed. Try to ensure she has full feeds though--you may need to burp her a couple times during the feed to make this happen.

      Delete
  20. Hi Rachel,

    First of all, thank you for this! My baby girl is 8 weeks old and I've been reading (and re-reading) this post for the past couple weeks! There is so much material out there, and I SO appreciate how you consolidate everything into one place. I was hoping to ask you a couple questions that have come up with her:

    1- she has always been a sleepy baby, and if she doesn't get enough sleep, she is a major fuss. That said, she usually falls asleep around 6:30 but doesn't get up for the day until 8:30 or so. I've tried to wake her earlier in the morning, but after her feeding around 6am, her eyes are shut and she is sleeping so soundly (ie she sleeps through her burp and change, and I am not sure if i should wake her). Do you think this is too much sleep at night?? If so, any ideas about how to make it more balanced? After falling asleep around 6:30, she usually feeds at 8:30pm when I go to sleep, again around 12:30 or 1am (we are working on extending this with the core method), then twice again at 3ish hour intervals until about 8:30am...

    2- can you help me with understanding more about a bedtime routine? If she is going down about 6:30pm, should the feeding before that be around 5/ 5:30 to accommodate for the feeding + bedtime routine? Also, she requires assistance falling asleep... Usually 10-20 mins of rocking or bouncing on a medicine ball... Is that excessive?

    Thank you so much in advance!!

    Marilee

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    Replies
    1. Marilee,
      To get baby's longest length of night sleep while you are sleeping, you usually want to have at least 3 hours between feeds before you give the last feed. You want baby to be hungry enough that she takes a good amount of milk and go can a while with what she has eaten. If it has only been two hours since she last ate, she isn't going to eat as much and isn't going to go as long after that. I hope that made sense :) So I suggest feeding later than 8:30 or dropping that feed. She may surprise you by going a bit longer than usual!

      2) I always feed right before bedtime, even if that means I have some waketime before I do the last feeding of the night instead of after the last feeding. So if bedtime was at 6:30, I would feed around 6.

      I don't think 10-20 minutes is excessive. I would just keep in mind that she is getting pretty used to needing help falling asleep the, especially if you are doing bouncing etc, so you'll want to decrease this with time or plan on having to drop it at a later date (it'll likely take a lot longer than 10-20 minutes to get her to sleep later on if you keep it up for a while--and it can lead to more night wakings)

      1) The sleep after the 6 am feed could actually be the first nap. Many babies have very little waketime at this time and are really sleepy. But I'm not sure how long she's awake then. It would need to be more than like 20 minutes. Either way, I wouldn't worry tons about it. She 'll be sleeping longer soon so things will soon get all changed up again and you'll probably be able to adjust to have less night sleep. If something isn't broken, no sense fixing it :)

      best,
      rachel

      Delete
    2. She may also be considering the dreamfeed the night feed. Or her body simply isn't really set to considering anything the bedtime feed for sure yet :)

      Delete
    3. Hi Rachel,

      Wow! I'm so grateful you replied :). Thank you!

      One other quick question if you have the time?

      My daughter rarely will nap without being held. I try to put her down in various stages of sleep (even when she is "out"), but she continues to wake at the most 10 minutes after I put her down unless she is in my arms. She sleeps at night in a cosleeper beside the bed with no issues, it's just the naptime routine that's making me nervous.
      Any ideas?

      Delete
    4. Marilee,
      I don't have any quick and easy advice for naps outside of working on a good pre-sleep routine and putting her down at just the right tiredness level. They can take time to improve and lots of effort and consistency (and possibly some protests, particularly if baby is older). You probably want to rule out reflux, sometimes that causes babies to wake shortly after being put flat. Some babies simply want to be held by some nice and cozy and warm arms :)

      Delete
  21. I have two kids. One is two and the other is 6 weeks old. With my 2 year old by the time she was 6 weeks old she was waking up twice a night to eat then would go straight back to bed with no crying and would sleep until the next feeding. She slept through the night around 9 weeks. With my new baby I am starting to lose hope! Since he was born we have been on the 3 hour feeding cycle and doing E/W/S. We have had our good days of naps and our bad days. On the bad days I have had him CIO and it doesn't work. He will cry for an hour and a half and not fall asleep. Even on good days he usually wont take a fourth nap and he definitely has witching hour from 8-10 pm. Sometimes during witching hour I can get him to sleep but others I either have to hold him or put him in the swing. The part that Im starting to lose hope on is the night time sleep. He usually wakes up around 1am. I feed on one side, change diaper, feed on the next side and will put him back to bed. He usually goes down great on this one. Then the majority of nights he will wake back up 2 hours later at 3 am. I have tried the binki and it doesn't work. I ll usually have to hold him till he falls back asleep then He will wake back up around 4 or 430 to eat again. Now this is the one Im having a hard time with. He cant go back to sleep on his own after this feeding. I either have to hold him or put him in the swing. We are doing the same wake time everyday. It just seems odd that he isn't catching on by now and is waking up three times a night. Any suggestions on what I could be doing wrong? Do some babywise babies do this at this point? It seems like most dont :(

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Rachel.
    I have an 8 week old boy who has been a "C" baby since day 1. I started out with the EWS cycle, and still do this. Some days I'd swear I gave birth to an angel, because he follows this routine amazingly. :)

    Then my cranky baby comes to visit(and he usually stays for days), and he will not go down for naps! We do the put in crib drowsy/awake (with room darkened) and if he starts to fuss, we either pat/shush OR when that doesn't work, we pick him up, rock and calm him, then try again. Usually this works within the 20 minutes. But on cranky days, it doesn't and I find myself taking him for a walk/putting him in swing/rocking him to sleep, and sometimes that still doesn't work! So then I get desperate and nurse him, and sometimes that doesn't even work. And now we've spend 3 hours with a crying baby.

    Then finally exhausted, he eventually crashes for 3 hours. And I'm not sure whether to wake him, or let him sleep.

    More info: he sleeps great at night. Goes to bed around 10pm sleeps 5-8 hours, wakes, feeds, then back to bed until around 7am.

    What do we do? The inconsistency is making me crazy. And I've read so much! So many books and ideas and now I'm feeling confused and discouraged.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marsha,
      At this age, babies change so much. They can be content for a few days then fussy the next few days. Read the posts on the wonder weeks and it'll tell you more about some of these predictable fussy times.

      If you know he is having a rough time napping that day, then you may want to intervene early on with sleep to make sure he gets a good nap. At this age, that is more important then learning to sleep by himself. One thing that works for most babies if you haven't tried it is baby wearing. I have a post on baby carriers too. A stretchy wrap will probably work best at this age. You might also want to try an earlier bedtime to see if that helps. More sleep at night can help him be more rested during the day.

      best,
      rachel

      Delete
  23. Hi Rachel,

    Your blog/website is amazing. I am so grateful you took the time to put this together! I do have some concerns and troubles with my 3 week old. He as of late is having a harder time going down for naps. He gets sleepy while feeding, hasn’t been taking to the second breast and takes a lot to go down for a nap. I want him to be able to go down on his own, but after I diaper change him in between breasts, he has stopped taking the second breast. He also won’t fall asleep after I try putting him down in his crib. Swaddling hasn’t worked, white noise does, but I would prefer he go down on his own. I have tried the 4 S approach and I’m trying to stick with it, but it seems like he constantly needs me to pick him up, put him down and after two attempts, I have to add in white noise. This typically works. But I also feel like I’m creating a sleep prop by doing this. Should I be giving him some awake time after feedings at this point? Besides the diaper change? If I’m recognizing his sleep cues right, he starts to zone out shortly after the diaper change or during it. Actually he falls asleep on the first breast. Any tips you can offer, I am completely open to trying anything!

    Thank you so much!
    Danielle

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    Replies
    1. Danielle Campacci,
      Read my post on white nose for my thoughts on that. I think it is something worth trying and nothing to be worried about.

      Don't worry if he doesn't take the second breast. If he seems content, is having wet diapers and is going 2.5-3 hours happily between feeds, he's getting plenty. Your milk supply will changes with time as will his appetite. My stella rarely takes from both breasts even at 3 months. At 3 weeks, he will be getting less sleepy (which you've noticed) but still pretty much eat then sleep. See waketime charts for more on this. Try to keep awake during feeds as much as you can, but don't stress too much about it at this age (there is a keeping baby awake during feeds post too).

      best,
      rachel

      Delete
  24. Hi Rachel

    This is such a great blog, and you have really helped to give me some tools that I feel comfortable with to try with my 8 week old son. I have read Baby Whisperer, but find your posts a lot more practical - thank you!
    My 8 week old son has been resisting naps and has been waking up as soon as I put him down in his bassinet, no matter how drowsy he is. I resorted to letting him sleep on me or taking him for a walk in carrier to get naps in. My husband and I have been trying extended PU/PD (not that effective with our son) and we have moved onto trying the second point - settling after a few minutes with a pacifier/shush pat whilst leaving him in the bassinet. This seems more effective.
    My question is: If after doing this for 15minutes and he settles and no fussing for around 5 - 10minutes (?asleep) but then starts fussing again - is this when you recommend doing whatever it takes to get him to sleep to avoid overtiring him. Or would you try pacifier etc again a few more times and start another 15-20min cycle of trying self settling. It seems that what is happening is he is getting 10min catnaps and then when finally asleep for longer than 10minutes, this could have taken an hour already and then he only sleeps for 30 - 40min.

    Also, "doing whatever it takes to get him to sleep" - is it ok to let him fall asleep in my arms and put him down when/if able?

    Thank you in advance for your time and response.

    Emily

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Rachel,

    I am actually writing to you a second time. Thanks to you my 7 week old has made such progress. We have a FWS cycle of 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm and are pushing the night feeds as much as he can. Right now we are facing the catnapping hurdle. I have realized that my baby boy has a wake time of maximum 1 hr and 15 min or so, and if I put him down, he naps so well. The problem is his nap lasts about an hour and half to two hours which is good for his age, but b/c his wake time is so short, it doesn't take him to his next feed. It poses two problems, I have to distract him and his fussiness till the next feed, but then he has been up for over his wake time and becomes overtired for his next nap. Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Danielle,
      At that age, feeds every 3 hours are closer to what most babies can comfortably do. If you still have a hard time doing ews d/t nap length, then you simply change the routine down to fit your situation, trying not to feed to sleep.

      Delete
  26. Hi Rachel!
    I am writing with the hopes that you could possibly help me. I am a home schooling mom of 5 with a truck driver husband...I am desperate for a bit of advice. None of my children have been good sleepers and I am no stranger to the 45 minute nap issue. They've all been "needy" and difficult infants that transform into awesomely amazing children.
    #5 is an 8 week old little boy. I will try to make this as concise as possible because I know you are busy. Here is a rough schedule of ours:
    up between 7-8am, Nurse, down for 2 hour nap in swing (if in bed it is only 45 min. nap)
    Up, nurse, down for 45 minute nap regardless of swing vs. bed...repeat all day long. Gets increasingly fussy as day goes on and harder to put down as well. Sometimes I can extend a nap if I put him in the swing after getting him out of the bed, but never if nap started in the swing.

    Bedtime routine starts at 7:30-8pm..rocking, lullaby, swaddle, nurse until sleepy, put binky in, put in packnplay pat/shhh until almost asleep, slip out of room. Sometimes I have to go back in 2-4 times until he is finally out.

    sleep from 8:30/9-12/1 am. Bring to my bed nurse until nodding off, replace with binky falls asleep beautifully.
    at 2-3 am he wakes again, nurses nods off and then the 45 minute nap thing starts all over. From about 3:30 or 4am until about 6am he is awake every 45 minutes and only nursing will get him back to sleep. Finally if I unswaddle him, nurse him skin to skin and do not remove him from the breast he will sleep for about a 1.5-2 hour stretch and then we get up. This is the issue that I am struggling with. I am honestly awake from 3:30 am until about 10pm at night...very little sleep. How can I kill the 45 minute "naps" in the middle of the night? I try so hard to keep him quiet so my other kids stay asleep and so my husband can actually get some sleep because of his 15 hour long hard days are really taking a toll on him. Should I just roll with it and hope it gets better or do you have suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michelle C.
      As for daytime fussiness that increases throughout the day, I would try to put down for naps even earlier. As you said, he is overtired. I know this can be hard when you are so busy with other children--just do the best you can. Are you trying to not rush in, even with the swing? Make sure to give him a chance to fall back asleep mid nap (especially with the swing). If it is easier for you, you can even do all sleep in the swing right now. Making sure he gets the best sleep possible and that you are able to survive this tough time is the most important thing right now. As far as sleep props, the swing is one of the easiest to break later on.

      See if an earlier bedtime will help. He is reaching an age where it can help a lot of babies.

      He is at an age where he's probably still working on consolidating his nightly sleep. He may also have some fussiness that is at that time in the evening. I would also rule out any reflux with your pediatrician. Sometimes if you work on having baby sleep really well when you want them to (in the early morning hours for you) for several days then their body will start to sleep better then. But nursing endlessly during this time might end up not helping matters, so I would try to do other things if possible (hold pacifier in mouth, let him rest on your chest with pacifier skin to skin?). Some of this may just take some time to resolve :( I hope some of these suggestions help you! You certainly need more time to sleep!

      best,
      rachel

      Delete
  27. Rachel
    Thank you so much for your reply. He does have a touch of reflux but it is about 90% under control and only flares if I eat dairy. I do not rush to him during the day normally but try to get to him before he escalates which can happen very quickly sometimes. I will try to start bumping bedtime earlier to see if that helps. I have discovered that instead of doing 3-4 45 min naps... If I undwaddle him and allow him a good stretch and few minutes of awake time he settled down a bit and will sleep longer. Is that a habit I do not need to start? I appreciate your time and your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi rachel
    Your blog is a great source of info! Thanks so much for doing it! I have a 10 week old and a few questions...
    1- when I swaddle her before she freaks out so much until I feed her...sometimes I can stop before she falls asleep other times she passes out. What are some ways I can stop nursing her after I have swaddled her?
    2-is waketime before bed the same? Most days I have lots of trouble getting her to take a last nap but feel like I can't put her to bed so early bc she needs more feeds. Right now she goes down close to 7:30-8:00 wakes up 1/2 hr later then goes until 5-7am.
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi Rachel

    Your site is awesome and I've found some really great info. But, now I'm stuck and getting frustrated...

    y 9 week old is having a heck of a time settling for sleep, even physically resisting it by arching and thrashing about. She's textbook (mostly), no reflux and sleeps well at night. But getting her to sleep for naps and at BT is tough.

    A few weeks ago, we started rocking and singing her to sleep. Although not great in the long run, it cut down on crying and took only 10 minutes. But in the last several days, it doesn't seem to work anymore. I've tried shshing, shh/pat, singing, humming, walking, jiggling, putting her in her crib, etc. Sometimes one or two or three work. Other times, it's just such a battle. The longer it takes, the more OT she gets.

    We do a wind down - diaper, swaddle, sing a bit, white noise, then start rocking or whatever. It's at that point she often starts crying, arching, thrashing her head about, and/or 'climbing' with her legs. If I put her down, she either lays there wide wake or starts crying frantically (not a mantra or "I'm trying to settle" cry).

    Her A time is generally 60-75 min.

    I'd hoped to get her to self-settle with ssh/pat but at this point, I'll settle for whatever will stop the thrashing/arching/fighting. Any ideas? I'm really starting to dread each nap time..day after day after day...

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  30. Hi Rachel - until what age do you recommend the dream feed?

    Thanks!
    Allison

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  31. Hi Rachel,

    Thank you for the time and energy you spend helping other moms!

    My 8wo is a good sleeper. My concern is about the amount of awake time I have with her. I feel like I get very little awake time with her. She wakes and feeds for 30 minutes, we play, and the she starts to show signs of sleepiness at around 40 minutes. I swaddle her and set her down around 50 minutes and she is usually asleep, with little fussing, within 60-70 minutes of being awake. My question is, since she spends 10-20 minutes awake, but calm, before she falls asleep, should I try to keep her awake for longer or is that an appropriate amount of time for her to be awake before falling asleep?

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    Replies
    1. Khanh.stenberg.
      It sounds like she is doing well with that waketime so I think it's just fine.

      best,
      rachel

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