I'm having a hard time finishing posts lately. I get 3/4 through them and then move onto something else. So now I've got piles of unfinished posts. Nice job me.

I have an idea. How about I let you readers give me some ideas of posts you would like me to write (i.e. how to dilute feeds at night). Or you can just asks general questions that you want me to answer (i.e. how do you get your kids to sleep?).

This way, not only will you get posts about things that truly interest you or that you really need help with (assuming I know the information you are asking), but maybe this will get me to actually finish up an entire posts before moving onto the next one!

Happy sleeping!


  1. I would love to get some advice on sleep training my almost 3 month old (12 weeks 3 days). I am a first time mom, and ended up with some bad sleep issues! My daughter was underweight at birth, so we pretty much fed her whenever she woke early on. She got super fussy so we changed her to a feeding schedule which helped for a while, but now she needs walking, shushing, patting, etc etc to get her to sleep. She really has no ability to settle herself (bad mommy for letting bad habits develop). So when she reaches transition she almost NEVER is able to sleep through it.

    I am attempting TBW method now (can't do CIO, she never cries it out) and starting a presleep routine. I have been attempting to do the 4 S method and also the shush-pat when she wakes at transition.

    My BIG question is this: How much do I change at a time? Do I go cold turkey on everything? Or do I gradually phase out of all the "bad habits"?

    Typical pre-sleep training routine: Baby gets fussy so I know it's time for a nap. I take her in her room, swaddle her, put her paci in, and walk her carried in a cradle hold shushing and patting as needed until she falls asleep. Try like hell not to wake her while putting her in her crib or swing to sleep. If she wakes up during transition, go in and walk & shush/pat her until she falls asleep again and put her back down. Horrible, I know!

    Routine I am Trying to Get To: Watch for sleepy signs, take her into her room, do our pre-sleep routine (close blinds, turn off lights, turn on white noise). Swaddle her. Sit with her until she mostly falls asleep, put her in the crib. Hopefully she self soothes through transition.

    Right now I have broken her of the cradle hold, she will now fall asleep upright on my shoulder while I sit or stand still (no walking). But I am currently still patting her during this part. If I don't pat her, she screams and screams with no end (at least 5 minutes before I patted her to calm her down this last time). As long as she is mostly asleep and calm once I put her in the crib she goes down on her own even if she wakes a bit. Also she is still using her paci during this part, but she has been spitting it out before falling asleep in her crib.

    What to do? Do I do it this way for a few days/week to get her used to the things I have changed already and then work on phasing out the patting during sitting and the paci use? Or do I go cold turkey on the rest and deal with the crying? Advice please and thank you sooooo much!

  2. Guinevere,
    Oh, you're not a bad mommy for doing some things that led to bad habits. I would have probably done the same in your situation. And with some tough newborns, you might have to end up with some bad habits to change later down the road or you and your baby will never get a second of sleep! The good news is that you can change things. So no worries.

    It sounds like you have already made some good changes. i would say it is a good idea to first introduce a bedtime routine and structured daily routine before doing more sleep training, but it sounds like you already have.

    Both my boys have hated to be held vertical when they are young. I actually asked some baby whisperer moms about this once and the consensus was that it didn't matter if they were held cradle. It is just easier to block out stimulation and do the shush-pat with a vertical baby. Just thought I'd mention that! Guess it doesn't matter now though.

    I think what you are doing so far sounds good. The phasing out will probably happen naturally. Has with both of my kids. The sitting gets shorter until we no longer sit. The shush-pat is no longer needed or at least not effective anymore (baby seems to cry more if you try and help her settle to sleep instead of just putting her down and letting her fall asleep or with my second son, it stimulated him). You hold her until she is sleepy now and slowly hold her until she is less sleepy. Over time she may resist your efforts to help her get sleepy and even get upset and be happier just put in her bed. So I don't think you really need to worry about phasing this stuff out, it will probably just happen on its own. If it doesn't in a couple weeks then you take initiative and shorten the routine every few days.

    As for the pacifier, it is up to you if you want to use it. If it falls out and she stays asleep then it might not be an issue. But if she is waking at transition she might be waking for this. Then again, lots of babies wake during transition even when they do not use a pacifier. The pacifier can be a helpful tool to help baby go back to sleep when she wakes at transition and you don't feel ready to sleep train during this time or she isn't responsive to sleep training at this time--see the post on short naps and how to extend them.

    Short naps are SOOO common even with babies that go to sleep well from the time they are a newborn. My kids have both had issues with this for a period of time.

    I would first mainly work on getting her to go to sleep on her own initially. Sometimes when this is fixed the sleep transitions are fixed. If she wakes during a transition at this time then do what you need to to help her get back to sleep. If she took a long time to go to sleep initially, then you might want to really help her out now to prevent her from getting too overtired. If she took just a bit of time to fall asleep initially, then the 4 s is a good idea. The 4 s might be a good idea either way though if she falls back asleep pretty easily with it. I hope that made sense. I kind of talked in a circle!

    Oh, and as for crying, I usually like the idea of trying more gentle methods first (like you are doing) and if they are not working or you feel like you are loosing your mind :), then possibly introduce some cio.

    Good luck!

  3. QUESTION VIA EMAIL: Did you experience nap regression when your LO began pulling himself up to a standing position? If so, how did you get over the hurdle?

    My simple answer to this is YES and I MAINLY WAITED IT OUT. But I decided to look in my journal for more exact details.

    Journal entry when he is 9 months old:
    "Joshua started to pull himself up in his crib to a standing position a coule days ago. He is constantly pulling himself to a standing position while he is awake and while he is in his crib. He has been napping horrible the last week. Taking 1 hour plus to fall asleep then only sleeping for 45-60 minutes. I think it has to do with his increased mobility".

    1.5 weeks later:
    "He still is standing up in his crib for some of his naps and taks one plus hour to go to sleep sometimes.

    A week later:
    "His sleeping is almost perfect which is awesome! Has been for almost a week"

    As you can see, he started to sleep pretty badly when he started to pull himself to a standing position. Not only was he doing this, but he was crawling around in the crib too. Lucky for me, he rarely ever cried in his crib at this time so it wasn't too stressful. He was more tired than usual when he was awake because he wasn't sleeping as much as normal, but he wasn't too bad. We often did an earlier bedtime to make up for it. He never really got stuck in a standing position. There were a few times he fell over while standing or trying to get down and hit his head on his crib and I had to go in and hold him for a minute to comfort him. I pretty much just had to wait this one out. It went on for a couple weeks then suddenly he started sleeping like a champ again. This processes happened more than once for various reasons! He'd sleep good, something would happen to mess things up,he's not sleep so great for a while, then he'd start sleeping good again. He was and is a very sensitive guy so many things affect him more than they do other children. As he has gotten older he has slept well a greater percentage of the time. It is rare for there to be issues now. He had some issues when he was moved to a new room and bed (and I was sick and pregnant to add to that) but he hasn't had any issues for the last 6 months. Well, he has woken up and cried for his dropped blanket a couple times, but I don't really consider that an issue. Random things like that will always happen with children.

    Something that has always helped during rough sleepign times is solid sleeping habits for consistent, long periods of time. I worked hard to get him to be a good sleeper early on. So when things started popping up--like teeth (ha, get it!?)--he didn't have that big of issues. He was a good sleeper already. It wasn't like he has known how to sleep for a week then something happened to challenge his new sleeping skills.

  4. Rachel,
    Great blog! My son is the same age as your youngest 4.5mo) and we've been having some sleep concerns even though he used to be a great sleeper. We do BW (not always very strict). At night, he used to sleep mostly through the night with one feeding max. I EBF and do have some concerns about my supply and have added additional daytime feedings for this and frequently giving BM bottle at bedtime (7pm) with evening pumping. About a month ago, we started CIO for seemingly unnecessary wakings (fell asleep on his own each time w/in 10 min). It worked initially but now we are back to inconsistent wakings throughout the night and I have felt the need to feed him 2-3x the last 2 nights. He started waking as early as 10:30 and often hourly (CIO) until 1:30-2:30 when I fed him, then 2hrs after that for more feedings. There is a possibility of teething. I'm at a crossroads of trying not to reinforce the wakings while still maintaining my supply and meeting his needs. I'd love some suggestions! Thank you!

  5. Anonymous,
    Milk supply can make some things tricky! When baby is having wakings it is common (and a good idea) to consider if this is going on. But likely it is not the main issue since he seems to be wakings often throughout the night and he obviously doesn't need to be fed that frequently.

    Foremost you will want to figure out the supply issue. Giving pumped milk before bed is a good idea bc it lets you know he has had a full feeding. It might even be a good idea to do this during a night waking bc then you'd know he had a full feeding and that future early wake ups were not due to hunger. But if he isn't getting anything to eat during the day he very well might need a fair amount to eat at night (but still not more than every few hours likely) so you might want to try having him eat then topping him off with pumped milk after you feed him then pumping after this. A lot of work I know! This can still make things confusing though bc most babies will suck on a bottle and eat a bit more even if they are hungry. I'm not the number one expert on this, especially bc my memory is still half functioning after having a baby so I'd contact a lactation center to see what they suggest to see how your supply is. Some bf books will have this info too like the womanly art of breastfeeding.

    Once you figure out the hunger issue, you can work on the waking. If cio is what you want to do, then I would either work on dropping one feed at a time (work where you are right now, not where you used to be) or moving each feed time back a little each few nights.

    you might want to give tylenol for a few nights to see if it helps with teething. or some other things like oragel etc.

  6. PLEASE write something about helping reflux babies sleep!!!! I sleep trained my first child and am a total schedule oriented mom,but I'm so lost as to how to help my second one who is 1.5 months old and can't stay asleep due to all the grunting, writhing in pain, and sudden crying he does due to reflux. I can literally hear his milk (along w acid) regurgitating in his sleep and he always wakes in pain and discomfort. HELP!!

  7. Chungsta,
    That is on my to do list. Until then, I suggest looking up the group on babycenter


    and a website


    Sorry, I know it is rough. If it is causing pain, see your doctor about it for treatments. Going a long time between feeds may make it worse so keep that in mind and realize that if you are doing some sort of routine it may need to be shortened compared to other babies. More frequent feeds with less food are best. Some babies need to be on some kind of thickener. Keep baby with head elevated at least 30 minutes after a feed (maybe while sleeping if it is that bad) but not with head and back tilted forward where it puts pressure on baby's tummy. Some babies who have severe reflux are better sleeping on their tummies but only do this your pediatrician is ok with this. Good luck

  8. Hi!

    Your blog is really helpful! I am glad I discovered it!

    This post is quite old, I don't know if you still want to answer questions, but if yes I have one...

    I messed up a schedule of my 3 months and 3 weeks old son and ended up with sleep deprived baby who have troubles to go down for naps and if he does he wakes up after 30 minutes. And at nights he wakes up every 2, 3 or 1 hour. Before I was doing TBW and he would nap for 2 hours and had 6 hours stretches. At certain point he stopped sleeping well, I thought he had reflux and started to feed him very often ruining my routine (I still suspect some allergies). But after reading "Healthy sleep habits ..." (that I discovered on your blog)I realized that I was putting my baby to bed too late and cutting on his last nap, because it became his bedtime (Now I know how stupid I was!!!), because I didn't want him to go to bed at 6 with last feeding at 5 p.m. Anyway, he doesn't sleep well anymore, he wakes up after 12 hours of sleep (fragmented) and rubs his eyes, yawns and is obviously sleepy, same with naps (which are 30 minutes short)- I don't know how to get out of this vicious cycle!!! Should make his naps as long as possible? Or should I make him sleep long in the mornings, or put him for a nap right after waking up? What do you think? I really appreciate your help . Aaaa, and I am working on his pacifier sleep association, because he is not able to fall back asleep without it, and even if I inserted back he spits it out before he falls asleep. However, I had some success with putting him for night without it and he falls asleep (with some fussing but not crying). I still give him a paci for naps, because making him sleep at the daytime is almost impossible...Any thought on that?

  9. Dorota,
    Just work on one thing at a time. I would try to get feeds straightened up right now. THen work on getting him to sleep no matter what so you can get rid of the over tiredness. Then work on getting him to sleep by himself for long periods.

    Sounds lie the pacifier might be causing some problems so you'll want to either decide to live with those problems, totally drop it or maybe do something like only reinsert once.

    If you suspect some allergies and you are bf, then go to kellymom.com for some help figuring those out. They have some great suggestions there.

  10. Hello Rachel. I have a question in regards to moving our 7 month (4 months adjusted) son from the cosleeper in our room to his own crib. I have been sleep training and working on getting him to fall asleep on his own for a while now and things are improving. We are moving in about a month and half and I would like him to sleep in his crib in his own room. I was wondering your advice on when to do this. Should I start with having him take naps in it here at this house or just start all fresh in a new room at the new house. I am worried this might be too much change. I do try to lay him in his crib often and let him roll around etc so the crib is not completley foregin to him. I know that however and whenever I do it I will probably end up having to retrain alot of different things. Any advice would help. Thanks!

    1. Collette,
      It seems that most kids will sleep pretty well somewhere else if they have sleep habits down and if they have things that they recognize with them. So if you were to ST now and use the same crib, lovey etc my guess is that he'd probably do ok with the move. But I can't guarantee it since it may take him a while to st and he may also be more sensitive to change.

      Good luck with the move and everything

  11. Thanks Rachel. He has pretty good sleep habits. Still waking up atleast once in the middle of the night. The time changes but its always the same for awhile. For example he will wake up at 11:45 everynight for a week or so and then it might be 2:00 for a week. Also almost always awake at 5 in the morning. I try to soothe him through both of these awakenings without breastfeeding but he is always wide awake and it seems almost impossible for anything else to get him sleepy again. The mornning waking he eats and then plays hard for an hour or so and then is ready to crash again. So these are the things we are working on now. I am still happy with his sleep in comparison to what it was..waking almost every hour. So I guess I will start with some naps in his big boy crib this week and see how they go.

    1. Collette,
      If fed at the first waking, does he sleep through the next one? I suggest an early bedtime if you don't already have one for your son and keep doing what you are doing to encourage good sleep habits. Best of luck!


  12. Rachel, he still wakes up if I feed him at his first wakening. For example this week he has been waking up at about 2:45 am...I feed him and he will sometimes wake at 4...I will feed him then he will be up and not going back down at 5:00. Some times he will skip the 4am waking but always up and playing and ready to go at 5..bleh. We have an early bed time. Start his rouutine at 6 and then he is usually down at about 6:30, 6:45..depending on how long or short his bath is. We have tried making the bedtime later and hope he would wake up later...but he refuses to take an late afternoon-evening nap and is so cranky and tired that 6 seems to be the best time. Any advice will help...but he has been naping in his crib well so yay for that!!!!

    1. Collette,
      Congrats on making the crib transition. For the morning wkeups, I would hold off on feeding him or doing anything else at that time that you wouldn't do in the middle if the night. Offer minimal attention. Trying wake to sleep may help here. Just keep in mind that you want to minimalist anything that encourages waking at this time--attention and feeds etc.

  13. Hi, I have an almost 5 month old baby who was previously sleeping through the night but now for some reason, wakes up around midnight and then around 4. We haven't been doing night feeings for a while, and I really don't think she's hungry, and lately it's been harder to get her to go back to sleep. We did CIO last night and she cried for a total of almost 2 hours. We are getting to the end of our rope! Any suggestions? She is eating rice cereal and we do swaddle her, but she's been getting out of it lately.

    1. Ropa726,
      Are you feeding her now when she wakes? If so, she may have woken for who knows why (it's common around this age) and now the wakings are reinforced by your presence or by feeds. Look over the night waking post to rule out other issues too. Maybe getting out of the swaddle is agitating her and you need to either figure out how to keep her in it, or possibly drop it and have her learn to adjust without it (it'll be a few days, but she'll get it). Since she's waking just twice, it's probably not the new rice cereal, but as a last resort you could always stop that for a few days and see what happens. If you do cio after ruling out other issues, be sure to be consistent and you'll likely see changes real quick. Good luck!


    2. Thanks! She was sick a couple weeks ago and is over it now but getting sleep figured out is a challenge. we are now leaving her arms out when we swaddle her and have started introducing solids. No night feedings but she still uses a pacifer. She is sleeing through the night some nights and then others (like last night) she'll literally cry until someone goes in there, this time it was almost 2 hours. we would periodically go in to check to make sure she was ok, but not pick her up or talk to her. If you're doing CIO- at what point to you go in there and pat them or pick them up if they keep crying? She had a dried up bloody nose this morning and it didn't look like she had one at 4:30 when I went in there and pat her until she fell asleep, but at 6:45 when I got her up it was there and I'm really worried she gave it to herself from crying.

    3. Ropa,
      If you are doing cio with checks, it's up to you how often you go in there. I'd try to not go in any less than every 5 minutes though. You can extend how long you wait (like ferber suggests) or just do the same interval. It's best if you try not to pick baby up--it'll probably cause some regression in the sleep training process. BUT if you feel you really need to, then go ahead and do it. You want to be consistent, but you also need to make sure you are all handling things ok. If you are going in there and patting her until she falls asleep, you'll want to be consistently going in there to do that and not just doing it sometimes when she cries for a long time--that just sends an inconsistent message that if she cries long enough, you'll eventually come in. And if you pat to sleep, try to do it for less time and stop as she gets less drowsy.